In the emergency room, nurses assist the shocked and grieving parents of a teenager killed in a car accident.
Or in the critical care unit, they watch as a local resident takes a last breath.
Nurses often spend hours assisting the elderly, getting to know them personally until the day they pass away.
Nursing is more than physical work. It involves caring for people, nurturing them and helping their family members deal with their loved ones health issues.
In doing so, nurses often neglect their own needs.
So Lenoir Memorial Hospital, the hospital’s Foundation and friends of nursing are sponsoring two sessions of the inaugural Rosalind S. McDonald Nursing Education Seminar on Wednesday.
Lourdes Lorenz, the president-elect of the American Holistic Nursing Association, will be presenting “The Nursing Self-Care Journey Positively Impacts Patient Care.”
There will be a 90-minute session at 11 a.m., which repeats at 2 p.m. in the LMH auditorium. Participants may only attend one session. A Healthy Options Fair will be held from 12:30-2 p.m.
All nurses in the region are invited to attend, but registration is required.
Nursing is the largest profession in health care with more than 3 million of them taking care of and nurturing patients and their families, Lorenz said.
“So many times nurses don’t take breaks. They work long shifts — 12-hour shifts,” she said, “and they take care of their family, and the last person they take care of is themselves.”
Lorenz said nurses have a high obesity rate, often suffer from back injuries, may incur injuries from patients who become violent and many suffer from depression.
The work is physical, but also emotional as they deal with sickness, pain, terminal illness, the dying process and death, plus be observant for warning signs to inform the physicians.
“Because of that,” Lorenz said, “nurses are very stressed out, they get burned out (and) they get what’s called compassion fatigue, which is also called secondary post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Awareness of addressing their “whole” or “holistic” needs — physically, emotionally and spiritually — is paramount, she said.
“And spiritual needs is not only calling their pastor, their priest or their rabbi,” Lorenz said, “it’s finding out what gives them strength, what gives them hope, what anchors them.”
The seminars will provide tools, such as guided imagery and self-reflection, for nurses to gain stress-heartiness, she said. Attendees will receive one CEU credit.
Constance Hengel, a board certified holistic nurse and community program developer at LMH, said learning about oneself enables a nurse to be more perceptive and clinically aware of others.
“Holistic nursing practice encourages the nurse to be more personally aware,” she said, “and face one’s inner self with honesty, compassion, curiosity and hopefully even humor.”
Lorenz has a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in integrative health, is CEO and founder of the International Integrative Health Institute, is an advanced board certified holistic nurse and teaches holistic nursing.
For a brochure/registration form, visitlenoirmemorial.org and click on departments and specialization, then nursing. Email forms to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, call 252-522-7172.
Margaret Fisher can be reached at 252-559-1082 or Margaret.Fisher@Kinston.com. Follow her on Twitter @MargaretFishr.