How to switch off and unwind after a nursing shift

Our podcast guest offers advice on how to decompress and practise self-care – and the importance of reaching out for help when you need it

Photo illustrating how walking and listening to podcasts can help you unwind after a nursing shift
Walking and listening to podcasts can help you unwind. Picture: iStock

At the end of a nursing shift, do you find it a challenge to leave the day behind?

Maybe your mind goes over events that happened at work, or you keep wondering and worrying about a patient?

The latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast can help with this common problem, providing tips on how to switch off after your shift.

Our podcast guest is paediatric critical care outreach nurse Ana Waddington, who was RCN Nurse of Year 2020.

Ms Waddington speaks to RCNi editorial assistant Serafina Basciano about the importance of having a moment to unwind before leaving work. She reminds herself of three positive things that happened that day and uses the ‘power’ of the 20-second hug.

Ana Waddington. Picture: Barney Newman

She also discusses an incident with a young patient that caused her trauma, and tells listeners that there is no shame in reaching out for help, explaining how eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy supports her.

Ms Waddington speaks about activities that help her decompress, including laughing at a comedy podcast while walking, and also reminds nurses to set aside some time every week to practise their own version of self-care.

Do you need help?

  • RCN members can get free, confidential support and assistance to help them deal with personal and work-related issues. The RCN counselling service is available from 8.30am to 8.30pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To make an appointment call 0345 772 6100
  • NHS England provides staff mental health and well-being hubs
  • The Samaritans offers a safe place to talk any time, including about work-related stress or anxiety. Call free on 116 123
  • The charity Mind provides a variety of support services

More Nursing Standard podcasts

Further information

Ana Waddington’s Your Stance initiative – empowering young people to save lives

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