Health Effects of Work-Related Stress " Peter a 26-year-old nurse who "lost it"

Case study ( 1814 views as of October 16, 2018 )

Peter is a 26-year-old nurse who "lost it" on a patient and their family members at work. They complained about the food, and Peter ranted on about the hospital not being a hotel, and if they didn't like the service, they could "get the hell out". This behaviour was totally out of character for Peter, who had previously been considered a mentor by many colleagues for his caring bedside manners.

Peter has been working a lot of nights for the last three years. He is single, and doesn't mind trading with colleagues who want more time home with their kids. Increasingly though, Peter has had a hard time sleeping more than 4-5 hours after a night shift, and is finding himself alternately very drowsy or edgy and irritable at work, and very restless and agitated when at home. He finds it extremely frustrating to be home in bed, tossing and turning, and unable to sleep.

Peter has been trying over-the-counter sleep aids, and even takes "NyQuil" when he doesn't have a cold. They help him get to sleep, but 3-4 hours later, he's awake and can't get back to sleep. He tried having a beer before sleep, but it just made him wake up to have to urinate, and he worries about alcoholism, which runs in his family.

Peter needs to connect with a primary care provider. Healthcare workers often neglect their own health needs, and may require peer or employee specific services. Stress, anxiety, and sleep symptoms often go together, and a variety of other services may be of benefit.

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Conversation based on: Health Effects of Work-Related Stress " Peter a 26-year-old nurse who "lost it"

Health Effects of Work-Related Stress " Peter a 26-year-old nurse who "lost it"

  • It's likely that Peter has a union on his side at work as well, and there must be some channels he can take internally to see what his options are regarding his shift schedule. There could be some employee supports in place that he could access, along with seeing his family doctor to ensure his health needs are being addressed.
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    • Working frequent night shifts can wreck havoc with your sleep cycle. It would be a good idea to see if he can get switched to a different shift.
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  • I'm just wondering if in women hormones can play a role in stress levels and sleep quality?
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    • @ChantalSayers - I think that hormones must play a part in sleep quality. Many women begin to experience sleep disturbances with the onset of menopause. And if you don't sleep you can't handle stress as well
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  • Since he's experiencing such large amounts of stress and anxiety, it's likely Peter isn't giving much thought about eating well. Improving his eating habits would likely help him sleep better at night, so he may benefit from seeing a dietitian as part of a self-care plan.
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    • Eating at night is not something that works for me personally. I find gong to bed hungry the best route and I find if I eat a little fruit before bed it helps me to get to sleep. NO science to that though just instinct.
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    • This is a good point. We are more prone to reaching for junk food and comfort food when we are stressed. And that is when we should be taking care to fuel our body as efficiently as possible.
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  • Lack of quality sleep can really affect your entire life. Peter might benefit from having a sleep study done to determine why he can't sleep. He would also benefit from switching to a day or afternoon shift to help reset his sleep cycle
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