Nurses have a really hard job. They’re exposed to a lot of things, experience a lot of stress, and are expected to remain professional at all times. While it’s completely okay to have feelings about what you do day-to-day, there may be occasions where developing a thick skin is essential to maintaining your sanity. Here are a few things you can do to steel yourself to the hard parts of nursing.
Don’t Take it Personally
It’s easier said than done, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to not take criticism and commentary personally. Know that when someone is criticizing something you’re doing, they’re not criticizing you as a person. Remember that a lot of patients are undergoing physical stress while family members and patients are undergoing emotional stress as well.
It’s human nature to take these things personally, but it’s important to step back and consider what was said rather than getting defensive.
Discuss the Situation with a Trusted Confidant
After you’ve received some criticism that has you flustered, take some time to talk about it with a trusted friend, family member, or co-worker. This neutral third-party perspective can help give you clarity. They aren’t emotionally involved in the situation (at least directly) and that separation will help frame and dissect the criticism.
Your friend can give you their impression, help you talk through the next steps, and help you determine how to respond to the individual in a constructive way.
Give Yourself a Deadline
Rumination can be a major problem for someone prone to overthinking. Often, when you’re criticized by someone else, they’ve already forgotten about it a short time later. But you will dwell, and that can be a major problem.
Give yourself a period of time to stew over it. When that time is up, you need to let it go. Get involved in something that makes you excited so you can forget about the negativity.
Accept the Truth
There may be some truth in the negative feedback, so you may want to open yourself up to the possibility that you can improve something about your performance. If you can acknowledge where you were wrong, it will help you overcome the criticism
Putting words into action is always best. Think about the truth in what they’ve said and see where you can make a change.
Focus on the Positive
We often think about all the great things we could have said in response to negative feedback. But instead of clapping back, think about the positive things you could say.
For example, you can say, “Thank you so much for letting me know. I very much appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you felt comfortable talking to me about it directly.” This will help defuse the situation and let the other person know that you’ll consider what they’ve said.
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