NHS Nurse Says Her Team Need Anti-depressants to Cope with Work

An NHS nurse recently hit the headlines when she claimed during a radio interview that she and 5 other members of her team needed to take anti-depressants to cope with the stress of their jobs.

Listing lack of support, volume of work and general stress as the main reasons for needing to take the medication, she went on to say that she had been reliant on anti-depressants since 2001 and would not be able to do her job without them.

Statistics show that the prescription of anti-depressant medication has doubled in the last decade, rising from 31 million items in 2006 to 64.7 million items in 2016 and with nursing and care roles being recognised as especially stressful it’s important to recognise the risk of stress and consider the wellbeing of your staff. Read on to learn more about stress in the workplace and steps you can take to support your team

Work-related Stress

Although anti-depressants can be a valuable tool in coping with stress and low mood, the potential side-effects mean that most people would prefer to use other methods of support. Promoting resilience can be a useful alternative and there are a range of skills and techniques that can be useful. Measures such as being self-aware and able to identify stressful situations can help and the use of strategies to deal with these situations can ensure that your care team respond well in challenging situations.

Share These 4 Measures to Build Resilience Within Your Team

  1. Identify stress relieving techniques: Simple strategies to deal with stressful situations can have immediate results. Steps such as deep breathing while counting to 20, tightening and relaxing muscles alternately for a count of 3 or taking a short, sharp walk when tension arises can all help diffuse stress. 
  1. Think about preventative measures: Strategies such as encouraging a positive work-life balance, taking regular exercise and eating and sleeping well can all help to build resilience but are often neglected. Remind your staff of the importance of ‘self-help’ at supervision and encourage them to consider measures that could help to manage their stress.  
  1. Share helpful resources: There are numerous resources offering advice on resilience and stress management and in many cases your staff can access these for free. Signpost your team to information that you feel would be useful to them. The tools provided by Mind (mind.org.uk) and Mindtools (www.mindtools.com) are excellent starting points. 
  1. Don’t be afraid to talk about stress: Acknowledging the stress of the caring role and discussing this at staff meetings and supervisions is important in letting your team know that it’s ok to admit feeling stressed or under pressure. If your team realise that seeking support without this being seen as a sign of failure is acceptable, they’ll feel more able to discuss any concerns at an early stage to prevent them escalating further.

Stay on top of the latest guidance, trends and advice for Registered Managers in care services: read Care Quality Matters for step-by-step excellence.

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