I know I’ve said this before, but gosh… I’m so grateful that I am a nurse. My main reason for this? The enormous amount of opportunity. The fact that we don’t have to stay stuck in one place, one position forever. These days, when I hear the word ‘nurse’, my mind races with possibility.
- We can work in the clinical setting, as expert clinicians at the bedside.
- We can go back to school and become advanced practice nurses.
- We can thrive in academia, nursing research or clinical management.
- We are leaders, teachers, heroes, advocates and friends.
- We listen, love and help another human being heal.
This week, in the United States, we celebrate a special holiday. While many of us will eat turkey (not me, LOL) and watch football, I encourage us all to pause in mindful reflection. This doesn’t even have to be done around the table or in a group. Take a walk early Thanksgiving Day. Sit alone, quietly in nature. Journal before you retire to bed at night. Think about and experience the gratitude you have for the nursing profession. For your nursing career.
I’ve got a few tips to help you with these beautiful practices. And before I share them, I just want to thank each of you in so many ways. Thank you for reading my blog over the years. Thank you for following my work and participating in my programs. Thank you for reading my books and sharing them with your colleagues. It gives me great joy to share this content with you and I am so blessed by all of the feedback and appreciation I receive from you. What an honor to collaborate in this way to better, improve and always uplift the profession of nursing we all hold near and dear to our hearts.
- Joyce Fiodembo, a nurse blogger and author over at International Nurse Support, reminds us that gratitude is a decision. Sure there will be challenging shifts, where you want to throw in the towel and quit nursing altogether. And there will be times when the stress of your workplace brings you down. However, we can choose to focus on the bad or we can uplift ourselves by paying attention to the blessings we encounter on the job. How has a patient touched your life? What has a professor taught you about yourself? Why do you love nursing in the first place?
- Gratitude is also healthy practice. And we as nurses, who teach and speak healthcare all day long, ought to be engaging in these daily rituals that will increase our own energy levels and replenish our mind-body-spirit systems. Cynthia Howard offers an article on NurseTogether which talks about how gratitude can increase our heart health. She shares a quick exercise that can help us shift from anger and irritability to compassion and joy.
- The third and final way to increase your ability to introduce gratitude into nursing practice is to feel it. I was reminded by a colleague in the Art of Nursing community I run, that we can speak about gratitude. AND, more importantly, we must feel into it. I do this exercise during my key note speeches when I have nursing teams think about their gratitude and the emotions behind it. This gratitude with a twist is a whole new way to ensure that we embrace these feelings of appreciation all the way down to our cellular level.
Let’s hear from you! What would you add to this list? How do you invite and engage in an attitude of gratitude in your nursing practice? As always, thank you for reading, and for your thoughtful comments on the blog.
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.