Career advice

Caring for yourself when you are the patient

Being a nurse doesn’t give immunity from long-term illness: points to consider after being diagnosed 
Look after yourself

More than 15 million people in England are estimated to be living with a long-term condition such as diabetes, asthma, depression, MS or cardiovascular disease.

While you may be skilled at helping your patients manage their conditions, being a nurse does not give you immunity from becoming ill yourself. Here we look at continuing to nurse after being diagnosed with a long-term condition.

The advice you give your patients also applies to you. It is important to allow yourself time to accept your diagnosis and what it means. Expect to feel a range of emotions such as anger, despair or hopelessness, which are entirely normal. Despite thinking that no one really understands, try not to bottle up your feelings.

The insight gained by becoming ill yourself will enhance your ability to empathise with your patients, but this should not be at the expense of


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