Nursing can be tough work. We’ve got teams to ‘play’ with, supervisors to report to and organizations to align with. It can seem as though the policies are consistently in a state of flux and the rules keep coming at us. I know I have felt a sense of exasperation and helplessness at times as I navigate my nursing role.
It’s hard to stay positive and upbeat amidst all of this change. It can be difficult to feel engaged in our work, when we’re unsure it’s really meaningful. We start to feel stressed out, burned out and even dissatisfied with our nursing careers. And then what happens?
Well, we may start calling out. Or we show up, but we’re not fully present. We feel cynical and speak with a negative tone. We begin to contribute to the toxic work environment everyone around us is referring to.
I can write all this with a strong sense of confidence. Because I have lived it. And I continue to observe it on a daily basis. I receive emails weekly from nurses who are telling me that they are fed up with nursing. I get mentions in my Twitter feed, asking me how they can change their careers. And guess what? My response may not be the one these beat down, burned out nurses were looking for.
Because I don’t believe that the answer lies in leaving the profession. I really don’t.
The answer is within.
And so what do I tell these stressed out nurse professionals? What do I attempt to instill in my colleagues on and offline? That there’s hope. And that once you make the choice to change, you can do it with some amount of ease.
You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars in some new degree. You don’t have to waste a lot of time in a course you hate. You may not even need outside help at all.. though support can always make things easier.
It’s about tapping to what’s inside that is going to change your external nursing environment. It’s about looking within to enjoy your nursing career.
So, let me ask you some questions. I encourage you to take out a paper and pencil (or open a word processing program on your device), and really reflect on these with some energy and attention. Especially if you’re finding this blog as a burned out, unhappy nurse looking for a career change. Here we go…
- Why did you go into nursing in the first place? What made you go into nursing?
- What did you want to feel as a nurse? What did you expect to do?
- Where are you now? With respect to your nursing career, what is going well? What is going less than that?
- What do you appreciate about your role? What do you enjoy?
- What makes you a unique human being? What traits, skills and personality qualities are ‘just yours’?
- How are you special? What have you accomplished or overcome? What can you brag about?
- Where would you like to be? With respect to your career, what do you want to be doing?
- What’s one step (just one) that you can take this week to find greater joy in your nursing career?
I’d love to hear from you. What did you realize from responding to the list above? How do you think you might go within to more fully enjoy your nursing career? Share a comment below and thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within‘, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.