Being a part of the nursing profession means you are no doubt familiar with multi-tasking and having to get loads of things done at the same time, overwhelming at times, to say the least.

Not only are you busy at work, meeting your patients’ needs, your students or your units needs every day, there is a lot going on in your world.

You have the home, you have your relationships and of course, there is work, how do you manage all the fragile balls of life and keep them in the air…successfully?

At some point, you have all experienced feelings of overwhelm, where not only is your brain in chaos, you also react physiologically and it can become simply too much.

This feeling of overwhelm is likened to paralysis, to feeling stuck; what needs to be done, far outweighs the minutes in your day to achieve it.


Sargeant & Laws-Chapman (2012) state that stress is a fact of life, the work and home environment are constantly changing, and it is critical that an understanding of stress and how it affects behaviour and emotions, plus having the tools to deal with stress, are key to a resilient pathway in life.

According to Boorman (2009) cited by Sargeant & Laws-Chapman (2012) identified three clear links between wellbeing and health and its influence on patient safety, the effectiveness of patient care and patient experience.

Research and statistics prove that everyday stress can be debilitating and destabilise, affect attention to detail, focus, and behaviour and productivity. It is essential to understand what constitutes stress to an individual, eliminate what we can control and become more resilient to the things we cannot change, of which there are many in the nursing profession (Sargeant & Laws-Chapman 2012).

We know what the problem is, we know the effects of stress and overwhelm on patient outcomes.  The tools for organisational change are available, but what can you do today, for yourself, right now to get your day, the way you want it to be?



Step One:

Get clear on your outcome; know what your outcome is.  I speak to many nurses who drift along, doing what needs to be done, without a clear outcome, they exist and allow life to carry them along, rather than take control.  This is about you, and what you really want from your year, your career and more.


Step Two:

Start your day with the intention for the day, which means you have an intention for your life, which means you have a plan and something to focus on.  Your intention means you have something to focus on, why you do what you do, rather than simply ‘drift’.


Step Three:

With so much happening at work, in your personal life and more, there is a lot of talk and thoughts filling your head every minute of every day.  Do a brain dump; get your thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto something visual.  Write down everything on your mind; just get them out of your head.


It could be applying for annual leave, finishing that application for study, taking your jacket to the dry cleaners, or going for a walk after work.  It could be to take courage and apply for the promotion or report horizontal bullying, whatever it is, just write it down and get it out of your head.


The reason why this is so important is it allows your mind to do what it does best, to focus on your outcome, it allows creativity. This means your mind will look at other ways to get around what needs to happen, rather than the brick wall you may be seeing now.

When the thoughts are whirling around in your head, the energy to organise what needs to happen is draining.  The worry thoughts, the anxiety thoughts of not enough time or not having enough knowledge, leads to being overwhelmed, which of course leads to…nothing, nothing gets done.


Keep your notebook with you, when something comes to mind, write it down.  You never know, it may be a best seller just waiting to happen.  As a mother of five busy boys, an educator and business owner, things can get pretty hectic.  This step will get you results right from the start, as it is a reminder of what is happening, and more importantly, what you would LIKE to happen.


Step Four:

The final step to get your ‘in-flow’ day started is to prioritise what you have written down. What are the ‘must do’ items, what can you delegate and what are things you really don’t need to do at all?


Finally, by knowing your outcome, and why you do what you do, will keep your intention for the day clear and right out front. 

Process your thoughts and ideas by taking a few moments to brain dump.

Doing this every day, will improve your level of productivity, and keep the feeling of overwhelm away.

Wishing you a great week and as Yoko Ono said; ‘Healing yourself is connected with healing others’.

Feeling stuck?

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