Nursing is a fascinating profession, with a rich history. We come from a founder in Florence Nightingale who had great vision for the nursing career. She instilled values of teamwork, leadership, research and a healing environment into her work which has been passed on for decades. When we think of a nurse, we think of a hard-working professional who values a job well done.
A nurse provides great care for his or her patients. They do their best to research and understand everything that is occurring in the life of the person before them. They communicate professionally and work in teams to provide exceptional care. And while a nurse often excels at the task before them, they also strive to improve on a daily basis.
For nursing is about growth. The profession is in transformation. These days we up-level our career status to be seen as equals in the health care arenas. We sit at board meeting tables; contribute to national publications; and present the work of nursing at international conferences.
Why and how then do we continue to hear of challenges within nursing? Obstacles such as burnout, bullying, and staffing cuts continue to exist. Nurses on and offline hold conversations about unsafe patient ratios, pay cuts, and difficulties with work-life balance. Who is accountable for the shift within the profession? Is it our nursing leadership that fails to meet our needs? I think not…
The other day, in my own self-care reflective reading that I do, I came across this profound quote:
To me, this sums up many of the great challenges mentioned above. Sure, we need our nursing leadership and professional colleagues to support the level of empowerment that we seek as healthcare professionals… but is it not within ourselves to be responsible for the growth that we seek?
When I read this quote, I thought of my own background- my history as a nurse. Over the past 10+ years, I have made many career-based decisions. I have practiced in the hospital in various roles, as well as in the community. I have faced great challenges with nursing of my own. Sure, I worked the rotating shift. At times, we didn’t have enough nurses and were forced to stay over. There was loads of behind-the-back conversation and negative chatter. Yet would that get fixed in totality by the nursing leadership?
My thought is, no.
It wasn’t until I started to take control of my own nursing career path, that I started to see changes. By working on my own mindset and how I perceived the profession of nursing, I was able to see positives about the workplace. We cannot expect another person to make things better for ourselves; we have to want to transform for our own reasons.
It’s similar to the world of health and wellness coaching. In one of the programs I went through, one of the professors stated something quite powerful to the class. She said something along the lines of the fact that we cannot change another human beings behavior- especially another adult’s. The more we tell them what to do or how to do it, the more push back we are likely to experience. Think about any teenager you know… if they are dating someone that the family does not approve of, once told of this they will only gravitate to them more!
What kind of nursing profession do you desire? How do you want your workplace to look and feel? The only person who can transform your practice and contribute to your growth is you. Yes, we can create teams of nurses and workplace conditions that are suitable for practice. And we all desire respect, collegiality, and professionalism in our relationships. Yet it’s up to us to start from within to embed these values in the health care environments of today.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear additional suggestions from you in the comments below on how we can help your nursing teams love the profession of nursing again. 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. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.