There tend to be oh-so-many reasons why nursing careers can go awry. For one, the challenging work environments can completely burn us out. Patient acuity, adequate staffing, and provider conflict are all real world challenges for today’s nurse professional. Add to the work environment the global shifts in healthcare and the personal growth each nurse goes through during their career and you’ve got a recipe for hardship.
On the other hand, we have nurse professionals thriving in their nursing careers. But these men and women are also at risk for feeling disengaged with their nursing jobs. Why is that? Sometimes we reach a plateau, feeling like there is no where else to go in our careers. Other times we experience great loss at work- maybe a patient passed on or a mentor retired. Finally, we may feel stagnated by doing the ‘same old thing’ day in and day out.
Well, as always, there is more than one way to view a situation. I like to think about it as a shift in our perspective. Sure, we can look at our nursing careers and feel heavy, negative emotions. Or we can observe our day-to-day life, reflect upon where we find ourselves and find growth opportunities.
- Come Present. The first step is foundational to re-charging your nursing career. What if you’re not even aware of how you feel? How can you grow, develop or change if you’re distracted, avoiding or unclear? What you need to start off with is a practice that allows you to pause and come present. The best way to make any change is to know where you are starting from and where you’d like to go. This information can help you figure out the best choice to make in terms of your nursing career.
- Let Go. This second step refers to clearing the clutter. Once you are mindful of the distractions, dislikes and discomfort of your nursing job- you’ve got to do something about it. Is it time to let go of a resentment you are holding onto about a boss? Can you let go of your ill will with the co-worker who wronged you? The things we hold onto actually start to take hold of us. When we allow these ‘things’ to grip us with iron clad fists, they hold us back from what we truly want out of work.
- Allow Appreciation. Now we start to introduce the ‘fun’ stuff. Because we made room through releasing and clearing in the previous step, we now can invite in more joy. More gratitude. More optimism. More love, light and fun. Here I encourage you to figure out what you love about nursing. Remember the ‘good stuff’. Ask yourself what lifts you up? How does your nursing career allow you to thrive? Bring more joy, appreciation and energy into your work by paying attention to the positive.
- Your Authentic Self Knows Best. This final step sets the course for an entire career. This may be the ‘last’ part of this process, but it’s the beginning of your journey. So often in life, once we become adults, we lose our true sense of self. We wear so many ‘hats’: spouse, parent, employee, member, student, friend, sibling, etc. In addition to our roles, we are part of the nursing profession as a whole and while this can be a very great thing- it can also cause us to lose who we are in the crowd. When we tap back into who we truly are as unique and special individuals- and let that person who up each and every day in our nursing careers- then, and only then, will we love our nursing jobs again.
This certainly is an introduction and overview to a system that can deeply studied. While I introduced to you the overarching steps here, each part of this process really does have sub-steps we can travel to make this work in our nursing careers. If you’re looking to take your job to the next level, I invite you to consider checking out my book, ‘Nursing from Within’ which goes into this four-step process in more detail (click here to grab your copy).
Those of you reading who have started working on this process in your nursing career journey- I’d love to hear from you how it is going. Those reading who have questions- please leave them here. And for everyone else, what parts of this process resonate with you? How will you begin this journey of connection with the nurse within? Thanks for reading and leave a comment below to share.