“It seems that our relationship with our Self is most critical to all other aspects of healing work. It starts with Self and moves in concentric radiating circles out to all whom we touch.”
– Nurse Theorist and Professor Jean Watson (2005, p.133)
INTRODUCTION TO SELF-CARE
Before exploring the contents of this chapter about self-care, take a moment to check in with yourself. How are you? How are you feeling – physically and emotionally? What’s on your mind? Take a brief moment to answer these questions for yourself…
Now, do you have an idea of how you are and what is going with you at this moment? Great job! You have just practiced self-care! With a quick self-care practice complete, let’s take a look at self-care. What is self-care? How does one practice self-care? And why is self-care important for nursing students?
As you move forward, keep in mind that self-care is a lifelong practice. Consider each section of this chapter thoughtfully, give yourself time to self-reflect as you go, and continually develop and use self-awareness to guide your experience. Self-care is not a destination; it’s a journey.
First, nursing and nursing school is demanding and, at times, stressful. Taking care of yourself, being mindful of and nurturing your health and well-being, supports academic performance and physical, mental, and emotional resilience.
Furthermore, self-care is a professional calling. The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics states, “the nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth.”
Finally, there is an expression relevant to helpers, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Self-care is about being a healthy and vital person to serve as a model for well-being and to best help everyone for whom you will give care. In fact, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, helping others is best accomplished when one’s own needs are being cared for. As Nurse Jean Watson said, “it seems that our relationship with our Self is most critical to all other aspects of healing work. It starts with Self and moves in concentric radiating circles out to all whom we touch.” (2005, p.133).