National Nurses Week: Baylor Expert Shares Four Ways Nurses Can Cultivate Holistic Wellness
WACO, Texas (May 6, 2022) – Nursing continues to be the largest and most trusted profession and serves as the face of health care to the American public. However, it is also one of the most stressful professions, with studies showing that burnout among nurses – even before the COVID-19 pandemic – remains a significant issue.
Jessica Peck, DNP, APRN, clinical professor at Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) and immediate past president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), continues her research into this persistent issue, finding in a recent study that the most difficult challenges experienced by registered nurses and their families are mental health struggles.In their Journal of Pediatric Health Care article, Peck and her co-author Jennifer Sonney, Ph.D., APRN, wrote that although nurses are often lauded as heroes or angels – a “nobly directed but potentially damaging narrative” – nurses should be treated as humans with physical and mental health needs and should be supported as they prioritize – and promote – their individual health behaviors and access resources.
As the nation moves toward a post-pandemic reality, Peck offers four ways that nurses (regardless of specialty) – and those serving in other stressful professions – can avoid burnout and cultivate holistic wellness:
- Prioritize your own personal well-being and self-care physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
- Mindfully limit exposure to pandemic-related news media and contentious social media forums. Instead, practice intentional gratitude, mindfulness, prayer and meditation.
- Seek community-based support through professional networks and social support systems, prioritizing time away to engage in activities that are leisurely and fun.
- Seek mental health support early if any signs of concern appear.
Peck’s study received a great deal of interest from professionals around the country, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In response to a request for additional information from HHS, Peck and Sonney detailed the results of their initial research and “extremely concerning” preliminary data from a follow-up commissioned study in a NAPNAP letter to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. Among the researchers’ preliminary findings include that “nearly 90% of respondents to date report concern for professional burnout, with nearly 20% extremely concerned and more than a quarter moderately concerned.”
National Nurses Week May 6-12, 2022, honors nurses’ contributions and sacrifices and serves as a reminder to thank medical professionals for keeping people healthy, particularly nurses who often serve as the first point of contact for most patients. The week also commemorates the birthdate (May 12) of celebrated nurse Florence Nightingale, who laid the foundation for professional nursing through her tireless work during and after the Crimean War.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY LOUISE HERRINGTON SCHOOL OF NURSING
The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) located in Dallas, Texas, was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor Scott & White Health’s Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1952, establishing the School among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the School. The LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through Traditional, FastBacc® (one-year accelerated) and Distance Accelerated BSN programs. Plus, the LHSON offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with tracks that include Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Executive Nurse Leadership and U.S. Army Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN), which operates at the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. U.S. News & World Report‘s 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings include several LHSON programs, including the DNP at No. 60 nationally; “Best Nursing” specialty rankings for LHSON’s USAGPAN at No. 8; and Baylor’s Nurse-Midwifery program at No. 21. To learn more, visit baylor.edu/nursing.