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Keep calm and carry on

It almost goes without saying: jobs in healthcare can be stressful. So, how do you make sure you stay calm under pressure?

It doesn't matter whether you're a doctor, a nurse or an allied health professional such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or radiographer; there will be times when you have to deal with a very challenging work environment. Here are our top tips for staying sane and avoiding burn-out...

1. Talk it out

Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved. So, don't bottle things up inside you. Having a brief chat with a colleague can help you think things through, deal with issues or anxieties and put things in perspective.

2. Cut down on the caffeine

Avoid drinking too much coffee. It may give you a temporary boost, but the caffeine also ups your level of cortisone, a hormone related to stress. Research has shown that too much caffeine can also raise your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as promoting anxiety.

3. Take a break

In a busy hospital setting, it's easy to forget how important it is to take a break. However, for doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, sonographers and other healthcare workers, it's vital to take time out, even for just a couple of minutes. It's a chance to take a breather, clear your head and refocus. If possible, step outside for a few moments and get some fresh air.

4. Learn from chaos

Chaos theory is based on the idea that recognising the chaotic nature of a situation can give us new insight, power and wisdom. At the University of San Francisco's School of Nursing and Health Professions, chaos theory is used to help nurses deal with the challenges of working in the high-pressure environment of A&E. Find out more here.

5. Practise mindfulness

A 2014 study showed that mindfulness training could result in positive outcomes for a range of healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists. Originating from Buddhism, mindfulness involves using meditation to focus on what's happening in the present moment and be more self-aware. Find out more here.

6. Make a 'to do' list

In our high-tech world, it's easy to forget about simple, time-honoured techniques that can help you work more efficiently and, therefore, confidently. Starting the day by writing a simple 'to do' list will make you feel more in control. It will also give you an opportunity to prioritise tasks and allocate time to them, so that you're more organised and productive.
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