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Laughter & Dancing Can Be The Best Medicine

07th, Jan 2022

Rachel Healy, Anaesthetic Nurse at Kingsbridge Private Hospital Belfast recently spoke to the Belfast Telegraph alongside other healthcare workers about self care and what it means to her. She also spoke about her role as a nurse and what she loves most about her job, and offers her self care advice for 2022.

"I am an Anaesthetic Nurse in theatres after spending the earlier part of my nursing career working in Cardiology and Emergency Departments. I was late to nursing, aged 30 with 2 young children after spending time in other jobs and teaching Irish dancing. I never had a sense of job satisfaction or fulfillment. My grandmother and mum were both in the caring field so it felt natural to follow in their footsteps. It was not easy being the oldest in the class but it made me work harder. 

It took me a long time to find my forever home in theatres but one of the reasons I can say for the first time that I truly love my job is my ‘work family’. Sometimes we spend more time with our work families than our actual families so having a great one is as important to me as the job. Self care in the workplace for me is having colleagues I can talk openly with about anything and everything. Experiencing the variety of surgeries and patients each day and being part of a patients journey keeps me interested.  It is like that old saying “every day is a school day”!!

Another reason I love my job is the encouragement I get to study and further my knowledge and career including being given the opportunity to go back to university to study a post grad course in Anaesthetic Nursing. This made me understand and love my role even more. 

In a busy work environment, self care is often a second thought as we are focused on caring for other people. It can be difficult some days to switch off and focus on ourselves, however, I believe, good self care makes us better equipped to look after our patients and our loved ones. 

Self care for me comes in the form of dance. I don’t like the gym, I run like Phoebe from friends and my dog trips me if I try to run with her. Exercise was never enjoyable for me physically or mentally unless it involves dance. I’ve been a dancer all my life and it has always been my go to for de stressing. Going to a Zumba class even just once a week, for me, improves my mood, makes me feel happy and gives me both physical and mental health benefits. The ripple effect of that self care I allow myself to have is that I am in a better place to care for my loved ones and patients. 

Another form of self care I use is talking. If I can’t dance it out, I talk. Having someone to talk to about your day who gets it is very important. I have that and I’m extremely lucky. A sense of humour is also incredibly important in healthcare, seeing how delicate and precious life is, I believe we tend to have a different sense of humour that others may not understand but some days it gets us through. To me, laughter is sometimes the best medicine and is a big part of my own self care. We work long shifts, have ridiculous sleeping and eating patterns and that can be a difficult cycle to break without looking after yourself.

My advice for self care in 2022 would be to find the thing that benefits you physically and mentally.

Last year was the most difficult for me to do that as classes were closed, we couldn’t mix with our social groups and everyone felt very much alone. To continue self care, the whole world had to learn to readjust and mental health decline was obvious. Being part of a worldwide Zumba instructor community was inspiring for me and joining them online really got me through some dark worrying times. 

I would be lost without my job as it is not just a job for me as Kingsbridge has really brought me back to life and it’s a huge part of my entity giving me that work, life and balance I need.  I really enjoyed working with cardiac patients before so I can’t wait to work in the new Cardiac Unit at the hospital, when it opens in the near future. As health professionals, we care for everyone else around us and our families. We can get lost and bogged down and it is easy to forget about our own physical and mental wellbeing. My biggest tip would be to find what works for you, make self care a priority, and the rest will fall into place."

You can check out the full article here.


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