How RNs Are Coping With Pandemic Fatigue: Director of Clinical Operations Teresa Ann Zercher Explains

Teresa Zercher

February 22, 2021

Teresa Ann Zercher

The Challenges Nurses Are Facing Feel Impossible: Director of Clinical Operations Teresa Ann Zercher Explains How They’re Staying Strong

According to Teresa Ann Zercher, some nurses are working longer hours than ever before. While it’s normal for nurses to work 12-hour shifts that often turn into 13- or 14-hour shifts, many nurses find that their units are understaffed due to healthcare providers catching COVID-19 or needing to stay in quarantine after exposure. This can mean that nurses are putting in more than the required hours in order to provide care for their patients.

Catching short naps can be an important part of dealing with long shifts. Nurses keep a teamwork mentality and help one another get rest whenever possible. While staying on top of sleep as much as possible is important for providing great patient care, it’s also important for helping nurses manage their stress levels. Even lying down for a 20-minute nap can be enough to create a refreshed state of mind.

Video chatting with family is another way that nurses are working to stay mentally strong. Many nurses are having a hard time being away from loved ones, especially their young children. Video chatting during quick breaks on shifts can be a fun way to keep the family connection strong while away from home, says Teresa Ann Zercher.

Teresa Ann Zercher also says that many nurses are turning to mindfulness practices in order to help them manage stress, both on and off the job. Using meditation apps, taking a few quiet moments to reflect on the day after a long shift, participating in virtual yoga classes, and journaling all are ways that nurses are keeping calm during the pandemic.

One of the questions Teresa Ann Zercher gets most frequently is how people who are not in the healthcare profession can support care providers. While gift cards, food delivery, and other gifts are appreciated, she says that the best thing the general public can do for doctors and nurses is adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. If we all do our part to stop COVID-19, nurses may soon be able to rest easy as their workload lightens.

Teresa Ann Zercher

Teresa Ann Zercher