The Grass Isn’t Greener — It’s a Different Shade

Everyone has bad days, but what happens when a bad day turns into a series of bad days? Or when a series of bad days turns into burnout? Do you start to look elsewhere, hoping the grass is greener?

Join speakers Julie S. Miller, Anna M. Rodriguez, Magally Rolen and Andrea Useem on Monday, May 20, from 8-9:15 a.m., in room W206A, for an interactive session discussing how nurses in critical and progressive care settings can respond to bad days. During the session “Support for Practice: How to Survive a Bad Day,” Miller, an AACN clinical practice specialist, will moderate the panel of nurses in direct patient care roles as they present their strategies for getting through a bad day.

Throughout the session, the speakers will discuss how important it is to be open and honest and reach out for help when needed. Nurse burnout is common, yet many nurses do not speak up about it. “Everybody has bad days, but nobody acknowledges them,” Rolen says.

The panel discussion will focus on how crucial it is to be self-aware to avoid reaching burnout, as well as practicing self-care, an important step for nurses who often give so much to others but forget to give back to themselves. “Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your patients,” Rodriguez says.

The speakers will discuss changes that individuals can make, along with changes that can be made to the system. Although nurses can make small changes to cope with bad days, collaborating with the team can identify improvements for the nursing workplace.

Many strategies will be discussed throughout the session, but Useem says one of the most essential is to support each other. Having a good team — or even someone to talk to — can make all the difference when you’re having a bad day.

“Often people are on the fence, and then there’s a bad day that pushes them over the edge,” Useem says. “Surviving a bad day is a skill every nurse needs, and it’s a skill that’s worth learning.”

This session is part of a Special Focus Series, a set of four sessions offering specific strategies to address key issues that affect the work of critical and progressive care nurses. “Support for Practice” sessions will be held throughout the week:

  • Tuesday, 1-2:15 p.m., room W208C, join speaker Judy E. Davidson for the session “Support for Practice: Responding to a Colleague During Difficult Times.”
  • Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., room W206A, join speaker Stephanie Meyer for the session “Support for Practice: Collaborate With Nurse Leaders.”
  • Thursday, 8-9 a.m., room W206A, AACN clinical practice specialist and past president Caryl Goodyear will interview Kelly M. Kester and Heather Pena in the session “Support for Practice: Multifaceted Approach to Tackling Staff Nurse Turnover.”

Use #ChangeTheShift to share your Support for Practice experience.