Professional Caregiver Health Declines: A Badge of Honor?


By Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA

I recently attended a meeting where the presentation topic was presence; presence in our personal lives and presence in the work environment. To my surprise, the presenter cited research that nurses feel that they bear a badge of honor to sacrifice their good health and mental well-being to care for others.  Being curious, I researched this and discovered one example of this concept in the following:

This view that “good nurses” deprive themselves of even the basic necessities of life, such as sleep, to care for their patients, is pervasive within the nursing profession and establishes a dangerous and unhealthy environment for patients and nurses. (Free Library 2014)

Having worked in healthcare and aging since 2000, I have noticed many individuals in the profession who become burned out mentally and emotionally and others whose physical conditions is a poor state. The realization that these mental and health declines may result from purposeful and intentional action is shocking to me. Martyrdom in caregiving is rampant in the family caregivers that I support. For some reason, I believed that professional caregivers would choose otherwise.

If you are a professional caregiver, how might your thoughts affect the quality of your day to day work? How might your thoughts be affecting the way in which you care for yourself, your mind and your body? How might your actions be setting a poor example for those for whom you care?  What choices might you make to change your current situation?

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©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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