As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Clinical Advisor spoke with April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, on strategies that nurse practitioners and PAs can take to create professional and personal barriers and promote self-care to manage burnout.

“Nurse practitioners put themselves on the back burner and they put their patients first every day,” said Dr Kapu. “You have to stop and say, I can’t go on like this forever on an empty tank of gas. You’ve got to refuel, recharge. If you don’t, you are not going to be able to bring your very best self to your patients, which is really why we entered this profession in the first place.” Dr Kapu is president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), an acute care NP at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr Kapu reminds NPs to go back to the basics of self-care — make sure that you are eating, hydrating, sleeping, getting outside for fresh air and walks, exercising, and taking time off. “As we approach year 3 of the pandemic, this is the time to prioritize mental health and self-care,” she said.

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Are You Experiencing Moral Injury?

In a related article, Catherine R. Judd, MS, PA-C, CAQ-Psy, DFAAPA, pointed to the mental health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic among health care workers and the need to improve the recognition and implementation of intervention strategies among NPs and PAs experiencing moral injury.