Managing Wellbeing, Mental Health as an Emergency Department Nurse on the Frontlines of the Pandemic

Contemporary Clinic Staff

Nate Royster, RN, an emergency department charge nurse at Ohio State, discusses how he’s been able to manage his own daily wellbeing and mental health during the pandemic as an emergency department nurse working on the frontlines.

Contemporary Clinic interviewed Nate Royster, RN, an emergency department (ED) charge nurse at Ohio State, on how to encourage vaccinations without offending patients or making them feel belittled to help address disparities and hesitancy around COVID-19 immunizations.

During the interview, Royster addressed how he’s been able to manage his own wellbeing while dealing with the day-to-day stress of the pandemic as an ED nurse working on the frontlines.

Royster explained that remaining conscious of his own emotions, acknowledging the impact of his own efforts, and letting it be okay to feel overwhelmed have all been critical to manage his own mental health and wellness.

“A lot of the co-workers that we used to work with have left for either various travel jobs or fear of COVID-19 and things like that, and we're working with a lot of different employees that we may have not established a comfort level with or maybe we didn't go into the pandemic with these people,” Royster said. “There's definitely a lack of family support in that aspect because people are coming and going and you don't know if you should take the time to get to know these people or if they're just going to be here for a few weeks.”

Royster said that regardless of the longevity of the tenure of his colleagues working alongside him at any given moment, he has found it important to continue establishing good relationships with the people he’s working with because they are the people who understand what he’s going through each day.

“Also, make sure you have a good support system at home to kind of just decompress. Sometimes it can be exhausting to come home and feel like you're being a nuisance complaining about COVID-19 or complaining about your day just because it all can come off somewhat negative and kind of draining to other people,” Royster said. “I think just being realistic and understanding that you are a person as well, and just as friends, come to nurses and other professionals for support and to kind of grieve a little bit. I think we should just be kind to each other and be supportive of each other because you don't know what this virus has done to affect each individual personally.”

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