National Nurses Week is a time set aside for the public to recognize the amazing work of nurses. Nurses will be the topic and focus of hospitals, newspapers and media outlets. Our accomplishments, character and hard work will be applauded and we will receive all kinds of tokens of appreciation from employers, patients and family.
This year instead of another pen, coffee mug or tote bag, I want to give nurses something that that won’t end up in the summer yard sale.
Rosemarie Rizzo Parse’s 13 Fundamentals for Practicing Nursing
- Know and use nursing frameworks and theories.
You can begin with Parse’s theory of Humanbecoming, which is an insightful nursing theory that describes how nurses and patients co-create the health experience. Parse marries the art and science of nursing in a beautiful and applicable way.
- Be available to others.
Nurses are busy. Do not let the fast pace of healthcare prevent you from being available. Remember to be available for the nurses around you. No one understands you quite like a fellow nurse. Take the time to listen, help and care for one another.
- Value the other as a human presence.
It is a poor coping mechanism to view patients as diseases, room numbers or annoyances. Nursing is stressful, people are not always kind, and you may never hear a thank you, but it is important to value everyone as a human presence.
- Respect differences in view.
Whether you are a new graduate or about to retire, you are a nurse with opinions. Differences in opinions are good! Respecting differences of view is important too. Creating a safe and welcoming environment, for everyone to share their view, will allow nursing knowledge to evolve and grow.
- Own what you believe and be accountable for your actions.
If you believe in something or someone, stand up and speak up. If you turn out to be wrong, admit it and move on.
- Move on to the new and untested.
Change is hard. No one likes it, but change is necessary and good for us and nursing. If we did not push forward and try new nursing interventions we would still be sterilizing our own needles and fetching coffee for physicians. Parse’s theory is a paradigm shift away from medical thinking that embraces nursing as a standalone science.
- Connect with others.
Compassion, caring, respect, understanding are all qualities that nurses help nurses to connect with the healthcare team, including the patients.
- Take pride in self.
You are not “just a nurse.” Being a nurse is exceptional. Don’t shortchange your contributions to healthcare. You are brilliant, own it!
- Like what you do.
If you hate your job, find one where you can be happy. There are endless opportunities in nursing. You owe it to yourself and your patients to like coming to work every day.
- Recognize the moments of joy in the struggles of living.
Life is hard. Take time to recognize and feel joy when you find it.
- Appreciate mystery and be open to new discoveries.
Nursing is a beautiful work. We are the companions to humanity throughout the life span and in every imaginable condition. We continue to discover what it means to be human day after day. Be open to the mysteries of life and embrace what you find.
- Be competent in your chosen area.
What have you been doing since you graduated nursing school? Have you been to a conference, read a journal, taken a class? Choose your nursing niche and keep learning.
- Rest and begin anew.
Taking time for self is vital in order to prevent compassion fatigue and nurse burnout. Nurses are known for putting themselves last. Their own health, spirituality, emotion and mental needs are often put aside in order to care for others. Take care of yourself! Take a few minutes to meditate, pray or sit quietly during a hectic shift and you will feel the difference, and so will your patients.
Thank you to all my nursing colleagues around the world! This is the week that everyone remembers that nurses are a special kind of awesome.
Let’s remember this about ourselves the other fifty-one weeks of the year!
Bournes, D., & Mitchell, G. (2014). Humanbecoming. In Nursing Theorists and Their Work(8th ed., pp. 464-495). St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby.
I love Doctor Who. For anyone that is not familiar with this British television program, the basic premise is as follows. There is a cool alien that looks human, but regenerates every few season to look like the next actor to play him. This alien is called the ‘Doctor’ because no one can know his real name. The Doctor is a time lord from a planet called Gallifrey and he travels in what looks like an old police call box, much like a telephone booth. This police box, the TARDIS, takes the Doctor anywhere in time and space, but that is not the only amazing thing about the it. The TARDIS is bigger on the inside. We don’t know how big, but imagine the Star Trek Enterprise stuffed into a telephone booth and you get close.
Nursing is like the TARDIS.
People think they know about nursing. The public only sees the outside. They see that nurses work 3 days a week and are paid well. They see that nursing is not a glamorous job. They see smiling faces and skilled hands.
Nursing is bigger on the inside.
A lot of nurses look cute in scrubs, but even those scrubs lose their appeal when they are covered in various bodily fluids. I am frequently told by family, friends and random strangers that they could never be a nurse. I get it. Nursing is not for everyone.
Some of us do work 3 shifts a week. Those 12 hour shifts stretch into 14 or 15 hour days when you add in lunch, report, extra charting and commute time. The majority of nurses that I have known work much more than 36 hours a week.
For the most part nurses can at least fake a good mood and do their best to smile. Smiling and chatting with patients they perform the technical skills that keep patients safe and comfortable.
Nurses need to be smart, caring, brave, strong willed, strong stomached and have a sense of humor. We see the worst and best of humanity in our work. We are happy when our patients do well and cry when they are not. Nurses monitor, clean, feed, medicate, assess, educate, entertain, console, listen, advocate for and document about patients day and night. After doctors, therapists, family, friends and even dietary leave for the night, nurses remain at the bedside.
Caring for patients is rewarding, gratifying and exhausting. To be trusted to such a degree by a stranger is an honor. Helping people meet health goals or guiding them through milestones is an amazing feeling. Even when our patients pass away, helping the patient and family through the process is fulfilling.
Nursing is much bigger on the inside. It is easy to get lost in charting, policy reviews and quality audits and forget the art of nursing. Nurses need to be reminded of the amazing impact that we have on peoples lives. Nurses not only impact health at the bedside, but have the power to transform healthcare practice.
Take time to remember how big nursing is and why you do it. Energize and renew your yourself at the Art of Nursing 2.0 event from anywhere in the world.
Nurse burnout happens. No nurse is immune. If you are a nurse you are at risk for burnout.
Remember how it felt to be a brand new nurse?
The only thing more shiny than your new stethoscope was your happy face.
I diagnosed myself with nurse burnout when I started thinking that driving my car off a cliff sounded better than going to work.
I was able to get back to my nursing happy place and I am in love with nursing again.
Here are some ways to get you back to happy-dancing your way to work.
1. BLOG! I love it and I’m not the only nurse on the interwebs! If you are not a writer then read nursing blogs. There are all flavors of nursing blogs, from informative to hysterical.
2. Go back to school. Getting your BSN, MSN or DNP will make you more marketable and open up more options.
Going back to school will reenergize you about nursing.
You will read a LOT about new nursing research, which will get you out of a nursing rut.
You will be so busy making powerpoint presentations and writing discussion posts, you will have no time to think/complain about work.
3. Get certified in your specialty. If you are burned out then you probably have been a nurse more than 2 years. Congrats!
That means that you are qualified to become certified in your specialty.
There is a certification for just about everything nursing related.
Maintaining certification means that you will need to keep up continuing education in your speciality, which will prevent you from becoming stagnate.
4. Take your vacation days!! Everyone needs a break. Nursing is stressful.
If you don’t take vacation for yourself, then take it for your patients. Being a relaxed and refreshed nurse will benefit them.
5. Celebrate wins. We are always focused on what we need to improve and what we are doing wrong.
When you or your team have a win, celebrate!
6. Take some time for yourself. Nurses know how important self-care is, but its difficult to find the time. Find it!
7. Join a committee. Make changes. Give your input. Does your hospital have shared governance or unit representation to make decisions? If yes, join. If no, start it! You can change nursing practice.
8. Be active. Exercise can help improve mood and is a great outlet for work frustrations.
9. Go to a Nursing Conference.
There is nothing better than going to a conference full of nurses. People think that ComicCon is weird, but they have never been to a nursing conference! We have crazy nurse fun!
It is a great time and it is a place where you are reminded why the heck you became a nurse.
10. Spend some time with your work buddies away from the call lights and nurse rounds.
11. Attend a continuing education course or webinar about a topic that interests you.
Will you be inspired by experts talking about the topics that they love.
12. Quit. Not nursing, but quit your job. Sometimes you really don’t have nurse burnout, but job burnout.
One of the best things about being a nurse is the vast opportunities you have for employment.
If you need a change of pace, location or specialty do it. Give a proper notice and leave on good terms.
You never know when you may work with those nurses again. (It will happen.)
Nursing is a rewarding profession. If you feel yourself getting disenchanted, actively try to get the magic back.
If you are successful you will be back to the new grad feeling which is good for you and your patients.
How do you beat the nurse blues? Leave your suggestions in comments.
Follow Carrie on Facebook