Two weeks ago I shared a post about the do’s and don’t of our nursing careers. It was awesome that this post received so much attention from readers, however one comment struck me.
Brittney Wilson, aka the Nerdy Nurse, left a comment on this post that read:
“Have Fun” — I often found this difficult my first year on the floor. I barely had time to use the bathroom much less have fun. But I think part of that was because I didn’t try to find time for it or make it an important part of my nursing career. If that path would have continued much longer I know burn out would have come soon after.
What tips do you have for new nurses to find time for the fun?
- How hard it must be for a nurse working as an employee of an organization to have fun
- What ‘fun’ might actually look and feel like
So I’ve decided to share 3 tips in today’s post to help with some of the confusion, resistance, or flat out inability to find fun in our nursing careers. Here we go…
[Tweet “Here Are 3 Tips for How to Have Fun as a Nurse Professional”]
- Be Mindful of Work-Life Balance. Let’s be honest. As a new (and even experienced) nurse we want to be and do it all. Nothing can go wrong and it would be terrible if we left work undone. Right? WRONG! Here’s a hard, but very true statement: work will go on without you. If you leave, get sick, or cannot make it to a shift the unit will continue to function. Patients will come and go. The organization will hire someone else. Work will continue to keep speed. So the first suggestion I have about having fun at work is to have fun OUTSIDE of work. Find a hobby. Go out for a meal. Treat yourself to a show. Spend time with non-nursing friends. Do something that will fill you up besides being a nurse.
- Invite and Allow for Joy. This is a fun one… and one that CAN and should be done during your nursing career. It’s quite easy and everyone can do it. Ready? Laugh. That’s it. Turn those cheek corners up and smile. Bring some joy into the workplace. If not for you, for your co-workers and patients. Think about how much better your patient will do if you smile at them from time-to-time. Remember to laugh, smile and joke as laughter really can be the very best medicine.
- Ease Up On Yourself. My business coach always says ‘done is better than perfect’. While we may not be able to apply this one to patient care, well… hold that thought. Maybe we can. Think about a patient getting ready to go home for discharge. You do the best you can. You teach everything you can. And you still have this sinking feeling that the patient doesn’t ‘get’ it all. You can’t let this stress you out. You’ve done your best. Now part of the process is up to them. Those of you in more academic roles, non-clinical jobs, or part of nursing leadership- this tip can totally apply for you and your work. Quit taking yourself so seriously and realize that you’ve done what you can. Be gentle with yourself and move on to the next task.
Finally, if your nursing job is no longer ‘fun’ (as you would define fun), then maybe it’s time for a change. I’m not saying we all need to run for the hills and leave nursing altogether. What I am suggesting is that you take a good hard look at your career and figure out if you enjoy it. If not, what can do you do to make a change?
What did we miss? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below on a tip you’d add that can help nurses have more fun at work. Thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, 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.