Elle Brown
Right now we are all feeling a sense of uncertainty. As a nurse, midwife or student you may feel uncertainty around your health, loved ones’ health, job security, availability of essentials or the possibility of being confronted by scenes similar to those we have seen in other countries. It is ok to feel that way but it is important to manage that feeling so that you can continue to look after yourself and your patients.
nurse in hallway of a hospital
Feeling unprepared?

It may feel like you have never faced anything like this before and that you feel unprepared. While none of us have faced anything exactly like this, you will definitely have past experiences that you can draw on to help you.
Just for a minute, stop and think about a time in the past when you have cared for a patient/client with an uncertain diagnosis. By responding to their needs and questions, you helped them to understand that sometimes uncertainty is what we face and we cannot control what we confront.

We think we can control and fix almost anything and when that illusion is challenged by uncertainty we feel the ground shifting beneath our feet. However: you are able to deal with uncertainty. You have done it in the past. You will do it in the future.

Finding Balance

We like to think that in normal times we are certain about life conforming to a pattern or expectation. In truth, we are always both certain and uncertain about what will happen. What helps us find balance are the rituals or behaviours we select that provide us with a foundation or steady ground. 

There are lots of options:

  • Focusing on behaviour will work for some people. Choosing gratefulness, kindness, mindfulness or any combination of those attributes.
  • Exercise will be some people’s go to — yoga, jogging, dancing, bike riding or tai chi — this could be indoors or out in nature.
  • Creativity and making will help some people — they may bake, crochet, knit or commence a crafting skill they have always wanted to master.
  • Intellectual pursuits may be your thing — learning a language, reading a book, learning to play a musical instrument or joining a virtual choir.
  • Cosiness and comfort in familiarity could help — watching your favourite TV show again, cuddling up on the couch with a loved one or pet, or chatting to a loved one by video.

Which of these do you turn to?

Why are these behaviours important?

What underpins these behaviours or rituals is also important and requires closer examination. Are you using them to escape a thought or feeling that you would be better off working through? Is the strategy you are using helping you, or is it actually adding more stress? 

Perhaps it’s time to try a different strategy — having a range of options that you use is really helpful rather than just relying on one. Think of it as your toolbox of strategies to help look after yourself.

Working through this with a counsellor or one of our team might be helpful you can call anytime on 1800 667 877.

Finding your routine

Having a routine — that can evolve with your working pattern — will help you through uncertainty as there will be some markers to your day that keep you on track.


Sleep is always crucial and building your routine around sleep can be vital.  Where possible, set a regular bedtime and wake time (this can change with your shift pattern), screen-free time for a period before sleeping, darkened room and giving yourself sleep cues with meditation or reading. 

Eating well

Eating well — however you define that — is also a key part of a routine that will help you deal with uncertainty. If you need some pointers, check out our page on healthy-eating.

Nurturing your connections to others gives a vital boost to your general wellbeing. Organise virtual catch-ups with friends or family, call someone just to say hello. You could even join an online class or group where you meet new people.

Once you have your roster, put together a plan for your week and integrate some of the options we have presented. We would love to hear how they work for you.

Keep in Touch

We are here for you now more than ever. Give us a call and tell us how you are travelling, ring us for a vent, email about what works for you or what you would like to see. Get yourself a cuppa, find a comfy spot and pick up the phone: 1800 667 877.

Also, check out Nurse and Midwife Support on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — we are always sharing helpful content that is specifically aimed at helping nurses and midwives.

Most importantly: look after yourselves out there.