Businesswoman closed eyes makes inhale exhale exercise reducing headache feeling
HealthDecember 07, 2021

Four nurse educator self-care tips to inspire health and wellness

By: Lisa Shustack, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, CNEcl
Over the past couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our classrooms, teaching methodologies, clinical experiences, office spaces, research, and student interactions. But like the tried-and-true nurses we are, flexibility and resilience kicked into overdrive, and we overcame many of the obstacles that were thrown our way.

We transitioned to online learning and virtual clinical, we conquered the video conferencing world and made it our classroom, and we went over and above to ensure we were preparing future nurses to be safe, excellent, critical thinkers and steadfast patient advocates. Unfortunately, the nurse in all of us educators probably did the one thing we know we should not do, put ourselves last. So, as we embark on the start of a new semester, it is time for every nurse educator to take a moment, plug ourselves in, and recharge our nurse educator batteries so we are re-energized and ready for whatever is to come our way.

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we work and live our lives. Now more than ever, as we prepare to start a new semester, taking care of our individual emotional health and well-being is essential so that we can feel invigorated and enthusiastic about our passion for nursing education. Many of us will be returning to face-to-face classrooms unsure of what they will look like in this new world of social distancing and mask-wearing while others may continue the virtual learning path. Either way, we, the nurse educators, will be setting the emotional classroom climate that will be contagious among our students throughout the semester.

Therefore, nurse educators need to take an emotional time-out to recharge and focus on what makes us feel nourished, on what gives us meaning, and reconnect with finding our passion for nursing education. It will be the nurse educators who start the semester with their batteries recharged to 100% that will have a solid foundation to navigate the new normal in nursing education. Here are some nurse educator self-care tips meant to inspire your health and wellness while enabling you to feel less stressed and more resilient in preparation for the semester ahead.

Control your calendar

The first step to re-energize is to re-organize. Begin with a fresh calendar and purposely plan your semester. We start off each semester scheduling dedicated office hours to be available for our students, but do we intentionally schedule me time to recharge in our week? It is time that we block out time, 30 minutes, one hour, even 15 minutes, specifically for quiet time alone where you could plug in, breathe, and recharge. As the saying goes, “if it isn’t documented, it isn’t done.” The same holds true for me time, if we do not put it on our planner, it will not get done.

Take the time to make yourself a priority. Put it on your calendar and give yourself the moment you deserve. Have a quiet cup of tea, take a walk, and breathe in the fresh air, meditate, or just sit quietly in your office. Whatever it is, reward yourself for the great work you are doing, you earned it!

Find a new project to jump-start your professional passion

We are all nurse educators because we love what we do. We love sharing our knowledge and expertise and watching nursing students blossom into caring, critical thinkers, who are ready to conquer their entry-level position. But sometimes, along the way, the spark of enthusiasm begins to fade, and we fall prey to the monotony of routine. If there is anything good that came from the pandemic, it showed us that nurse educators are creative and innovative and have the flame to reignite that sparkler of passion for nursing education that we all once had.

You might begin by sharing an innovative project or active learning lesson plan that you created during the pandemic in a publication. Many nursing education journals have dedicated sections for teaching tips or syllabus selections that only require a minimum number of words without citations. Perhaps getting your work published will get your creative juices bubbling once again. Be brave, be vulnerable, take the leap, try something you’ve always wanted to do. You just might find that working through the pandemic has given you the courage to finally make it happen!

Curiosity cultivates character

Resilient faculty are curious. Resilient faculty experience challenges and search for the meaning and discovery of what could be learned. When the pandemic turned nursing education upside down, curiosity led to some fantastic discoveries which helped to propel nursing education into a place where innovation and creativity are now commonplace. Nurse educators should continue to cultivate that curiosity of discovery and learning so that we can not only better serve our students today but entice and reach the students of tomorrow. Being able to ask questions, remain inquisitive, show our vulnerability allows us to remain open to new ideas and, perhaps, better ways of doing things.

Find your positivity squad

We all know that energy is contagious. You’ve all been there. That one co-worker walks in the room, begins to complain and suddenly you feel that little twinge of headache poking you from behind your left eyeball. Not this year, not following the pandemic! It is time to recognize the toxic people in the workplace and try your best to distance yourself from that negative energy. Sure, sometimes it is easier said than done. Well, that is where your positivity squad comes in.

These are the people with who you align best. Those that love what they do and when you are with them the creative, positive, vibes fill the atmosphere and great ideas take root. Reach out to these people as the semester starts. Make a pact that you will each help to pull each other up when one is feeling down, or their emotional battery needs recharging. Make it a point to spend time together and share empowering stories. The beginning of the academic semester is the ideal time to start the positivity squad which can be a source of strength all year long.

There is no doubt that we have lived through one of the most challenging times in nursing education. Taking the time to recharge your emotional and professional battery is an important step to take to help you find the power to keep growing and thriving in a profession that you love. Taking a moment to step back and recalibrate our professional selves will help us to recenter and get back to the core of who we are as nurse educators.

From virtual learning to course curriculum to NCLEX and EHR preparation, learn how Lippincott supports nurse educators.

Learn How Lippincott Supports Nurse Faculty
Lisa Shustack, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, CNEcl
Expert Insights Contributor for Wolters Kluwer, Nursing Education
Lippincott® Nursing Education
Preparing today’s students to become tomorrow’s nurses
Back To Top