For nurses, managing our emotions is crucial to providing the best possible care for our patients. While anger is a natural human emotion, it can have serious consequences when it presents itself in a healthcare setting. As professionals who work in high acuity situations, it’s key that we learn to identify when we’re upset or angry, why, and how to deal with it in a healthy way so that our patients, the care we provide, and our own mental and physical health aren’t negatively impacted. Nurse to nurse, here are 6 tips that can help you manage your anger at work.
Tip #1 Recognize the Triggers of Your Anger
Do you know what triggers lead to your anger at work? In a healthcare setting, there may be multiple triggers including patients, colleagues, or administrative issues. If you can identify the triggers that cause your anger, it can help you anticipate and manage your emotions before they escalate.
Tip #2 Take a Break
Feeling angry can sometimes cause you to react impulsively, something that could negatively impact you at work. When you start to feel angry, take a step away from the situation. Try to do something that can help you calm down, such as taking a big deep breath or going for a walk. This could help you gain perspective and prevent you from reacting in an unprofessional manner.
Tip #3 Practice Mindfulness
Learn to focus your attention on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness can help you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Then, you can become more aware of your emotional reactions, allowing you to respond more calmly and effectively.
Tip #4 Communicate Assertively
Assertive communication can help you express your needs and feelings in a direct but respectful manner. When you start communicating this way, you can avoid passive or aggressive behaviors that tend to make conflicts worse. If you actively listen to others and start using “I” statements, you can help reduce any tension.
Tip #5 Seek Support
Dealing with anger at work can be challenging, especially when you’re taking care of patients. Seeking support, whether that’s from colleagues, friends or family, can be really helpful. Sometimes it helps just to talk to someone else, but they may also be able to offer guidance in the situation that can help you gain perspective.
Tip #6 Practice Self-Care
As nurses, we are always taking care of others. It’s imperative that we take the time to take care of ourselves, too. Self-care is essential for managing your emotions, and stress and maintaining your overall well-being. These can include any hobby or activity that brings you joy such as exercising, taking a bubble bath, baking cookies or practicing relaxation techniques. Prioritizing self-care can help you reduce stress and promote a more positive outlook, which can ultimately help you manage your anger more effectively.
While managing your anger at work can be challenging, it is a crucial skill for nurses to learn. We all have emotions, we just need to be able to identify them, recognize when they’re problematic, and resolve them before they become an issue. Take note of these six tips on how to manage your anger and share it with a fellow nurse, because we all could benefit from this, especially in a world of burnout.