nursing, pandemic, self-care



  1. Logan, Jennette S.


ABSTRACT: Global pandemics and societal unrest add greater weight to nurses' workloads and personal coping abilities. Appropriate self-care includes assessing one's physical, emotional, and spiritual pulse. Taking needed breaks for rest and inner nourishment is essential.


Article Content

This morning I found myself engulfed in a sea of clouded emotions. Was this pain, hurt, fear, remorse, trepidation, or anger? I could not hone in on it, but something was clearly weighing me down. In my spirit, I recognized that regardless of what it was, I must not entertain it. Consequently, I began to write in hopes of finding release and relief.

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I was reminded that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV). Using that power and sound mind, I began a self-assessment, making a conscious effort to identify as well as categorize each sign and symptom and place it in my Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan, Implementation, Evaluation (SOAPIE) format. I felt a little nervousness; perhaps it was the White Coat Syndrome I discussed in class. Most will agree that sometimes, as nurses, we can be "somewhat challenging" patients because we do not particularly enjoy healthcare role reversal.


Nevertheless, I forged forward, remembering that we are to "Cast all your anxieties on him [God], for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7, RSV). I continued to peel back my pent-up emotions until I could partially visualize the core. As I pursued my emotions, I heard in my spirit the words, "On the pulse of morning." I immediately recognized this line from a poem penned so beautifully by Maya Angelou that she read at the inauguration of a president, but for the life of me, I could not recall the content or significance of the poem.


After commanding the busyness of my mind to cease and desist, I took the time to find and read the poem. I thought this might help quarantine my internal abyss of emotions. The line which read, "You may stand upon my back and face your distant destiny, but seek no haven in my shadow" (Angelou, 2020, para 2) stood out to me. It was time for me to grab my pen, aim, and release. Perhaps this would provide the relief I desperately sought.


After a few moments of deep contemplation, I found my pulse, my voice. My life had become bombarded and inundated with class transition, Zoom fatigue, COVID-19 statistics, social distancing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, followed by marches for justice, compounded with everyday life. Each issue is important, but the human mind occasionally requires respite. Reasonably, I concluded that if I was experiencing this quandary, then undoubtedly, so were my fellow nurses. I felt compelled to share two salient points.


First, amid the current social unrest and COVID-19 pandemic, nurses must assess themselves and examine their personal health status. Without hesitation, we have endlessly poured out and given much. But where are we mentally, emotionally, and physically, as well as spiritually? We must know when it is time to stand up and speak our truth, but also know that in order to be effective, we need self-care.


Second, nurses should pace themselves, measure their pulse, take breaks, and seek nourishment for their own body, mind, and spirit. Yes, we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14, NIV), but we must exercise self-care to maintain. Schedule regular appointments for the self-care repair shop.


As we witness social injustices, health disparities, and disease, do not allow bitterness and hatred to abound. We must continue to love one another, just as our heavenly Father loves us. Check your "love pulse" as part of your daily vital assessment. This will allow you and I to diagnose and treat conditions of our hearts.


As nurses, we measure pulses regularly to evaluate circulatory function. The strength and regularity of the pulse is an indication of the blood flow that impacts our individual strength. I encourage you to assess your pulse each morning to assure that your heart is strong enough to meet the demands of your day and profession.


Angelou M. (2020). On The Pulse of Morning.[Context Link]