Working in the healthcare industry as a nurse or doctor can easily become overwhelming and stressful. Learn how to stay positive on the job using methods and tricks by professionals with years of experience:
Whether you’re a doctor or a nurse, you need a high level of specific knowledge to be good at your job. You need a degree, a license, and certain certifications. Because these things are required to practice, however, it is difficult to set yourself apart in your workplace simply through your knowledge and education. You need something else.
One of the best things you can bring to your work as a doctor or nurse is a positive attitude. Developing and maintaining a positive outlook can endear you to patients and colleagues alike. Staying positive allows you to offer comfort and compassion to your patients and their families. It gives you the strength to deal with long shifts, traumatic situations, and frustrating paperwork.
It may be easy to understand why it’s important to stay positive as a healthcare worker, but it’s often much more difficult to figure out how to. Being a doctor or nurse is an extremely challenging and often thankless job. However, there are some practical steps you can take to make it easier to cultivate a positive outlook.
Table of Contents:
Be Mindful and Adopt a Positive Mindset
A great first step toward developing an optimistic outlook is cultivating mindfulness. This generally means staying present and focusing on the current situation rather than dwelling on past stresses or future worries. Keeping a positive, mindful perspective doesn’t just happen – it requires mental discipline. You need to be able to actively choose positive thoughts over negative ones.
Replace Negativity With Positivity
Negative thoughts are the enemy of a positive mindset. Unfortunately, they’re all too common, especially for healthcare professionals with stressful and traumatic jobs. If you feel like you can’t be positive at work because most of your thoughts are negative, start training your brain to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Each time you identify a negative thought, actively focus on a positive alternative.
For many people, the source of most inner negativity is other people: managers and coworkers. As much as possible, choose to avoid spending time with negative people and develop relationships with positive individuals instead. You can also focus on being that positive influence on your colleagues. Proactively compliment others when you see them doing something good. Positivity is often contagious, so choosing to be positive can encourage those around you to do the same.
Related Article: 5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Life As A Nurse
Silence Your Inner Critic
While those around you can certainly be the cause of a lot of negativity, perhaps the biggest culprit of a negative outlook is your own inner critic. Everyone has an internal voice, but for many people, that voice is constantly criticizing them. If your inner voice is a critic most of the time, work on changing your self-perspective so your inner voice offers encouragement and constructive suggestions rather than demoralizing insults.
The next time you notice your inner voice being critical and mean, take a minute to stop and talk back. Think about how you are talking about yourself – is that how you would treat a friend? Focus on retraining your inner monologue to show just as much compassion and kindness to yourself as you would to a friend.
You can also use goal-setting practices to fight back against your inner critic. Take some time to develop some achievable goals for yourself, and remind yourself of them when you need extra motivation. When you achieve those goals, allow yourself to celebrate and feel proud! The next time your inner voice starts criticizing, you can remind yourself of those goals you achieved.
Key Takeaway: "Think about how you are talking about yourself – is that how you would treat a friend?"
Remind Yourself of Future Good
Worrying about the future is always a negative endeavor. When you are focusing on stress, anxiety, and uncertainty about what’s to come, you can’t maintain a positive mindset. Unfortunately, worrying about something doesn’t prepare you to handle it better if it does happen, it just feeds into a constant mindset of anxiety and negativity.
The solution to this cycle of negativity is to choose positivity instead. When you start worrying about a negative event, actively change your thoughts to visualize a positive outcome instead. Rather than fixating on all the things that could go wrong, imagine how many ways things could go right. In many cases, visualizing that positive outcome can increase the chances of it happening.
Deal With Death and Trauma Correctly
Nurses and doctors deal with extremely sad and stressful situations all the time on the job. These traumatic experiences are often the biggest contributors to a negative mindset. While it’s not possible to prevent these things from happening, you can learn to deal with them in a healthy and effective way.
Related Article: How To Deal With Difficult Patients in Healthcare
Many people find comfort and peace through meditation. This ancient practice can significantly increase your mindfulness and give you the tools you need to react to death and other traumatic situations without spiraling into depression. Here are some common meditation and self-calming techniques:
- Deep breathing: spending as long as possible on each inhale and exhale
- Manta meditation: repeating a calming word or phrase silently to yourself
- Progressive muscle relaxation: tensing each muscle and then consciously releasing the tension, working from your feet up to your head
- Walking meditation: getting into an easy rhythm and focusing your thoughts on how your body feels in the moment
Meditation is extremely personal, so it’s important to figure out how to do it in a way that fits your needs best
If meditation doesn’t work well for you, or you want to enhance it with a tactile exercise, consider journaling. There are many ways to journal, so you can try different options to find the one that works best for you. You could try thinking about upcoming situations and journaling potential positive outcomes. Another option is to create a gratitude journal and use it daily to keep track of things you’re thankful for.
Find Sources of Work Inspiration
The healthcare industry can feel lonely at times. You may think you are the only doctor or nurse struggling with negativity. Many healthcare workers feel isolated from their coworkers due to frantic schedules and exhaustion. It can be helpful to find sources of inspiration that you can return to when you feel discouraged and unmotivated about work.
Many media sources offer uplifting and inspiring content for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Here are a few suggestions:
- Americal Hospital Association: Stories from the Front Lines
- MPH Online: Inspiring Public Health Documentaries
- Instagram Accounts: @thekatieduke, @nursesofinstagram
- Online Community: Nurses Rock
- Podcasts: This Won’t Hurt A Bit, Docs Outside the Box, NurseSpeak
Additional Media/Social Media Resources:
- Instagram Accounts Every Nurse Should Follow
- Top 100 Healthcare Twitter Accounts To Follow
- Top 10 Blogs For Nurses
- Best Social Networks for Doctors
Your coworkers can also be sources of inspiration. When you’re feeling down or struggling with work, reach out to other healthcare workers for support. It’s important to choose colleagues who have a positive outlook – talking with negative people will just reinforce your negative feelings.
Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Finally, it’s essential to strike a good balance between your work and your life. You don’t want all your energy and time going to just one. You need enough downtime to recover and recharge for work, and enough work time to succeed in your career and support your lifestyle.
Related Article: 10 Time Management Tips For Nurses
Stick to a Schedule
Having a schedule is crucial to maintaining a good work/life balance. If you aren’t used to being on a schedule, you might want to set up strict timelines to start with. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of following a balanced schedule, you may not need the detailed timelines anymore.
As you set up your schedule, think about how your mindset should follow it as well. As you’re preparing for work each day, shift your thoughts and emotions so you’re ready to deal with the challenges of your job with a positive attitude. When you get home each day, you can take some time to decompress, identify the emotions you’re feeling, and deal with them in a constructive way.
Try Some Relaxation Methods
If you feel like all your time outside of work is spent worrying instead of recovering, here are some relaxation methods you can try:
- Take a soothing bath or shower
- Spend time with your loved ones
- Enjoy a hobby (e.g. gardening, cooking, reading, crafting)
- Call or text a friend who lives far away
- Practice yoga or tai chi
- Complete spiritual activities, such as prayer or meditation
When you truly relax and rest outside of work, you can restore the energy you need to be positive on the job.
Additional Nursing Articles Guaranteed To Brighten Your Day:
- Why Every Nurse Should Be Happy
- 10 Quotes That Will Make You Proud To Be A Nurse
- Hilarious GIFs Only Nurses Will Understand
Advance Your Healthcare Career With Vital Certifications
Being a doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider can be challenging, but it’s also a vital and fulfilling career. By taking some proactive steps, you can minimize the negativity that’s prevalent in healthcare and develop a positive, optimistic outlook. Staying positive makes you a better worker and advocate for your patients.
Another way to improve your healthcare career is to broaden your professional knowledge by earning sought-after professional certificates. Here at eMedCart, we make it easy to earn your ACLS, PALS, and BLS certification. You can take all our courses online and work them into your schedule whenever it’s convenient for you.