As I’m sure you’re aware, this week is Nurses Week. And do you know what I love most about Nurses Week? Reflecting on my nursing career and making a conscious effort to be better when this week rolls around the following year.
One of the many ways to do that is to fall back in love with nursing.
Think back to when you were making the decision to become a nurse. For some of us, we have to think WAY back. You had other choices. Maybe not as many back then if you’ve been a nurse for decades, but especially today, we have so many career choices. When you were making the decision to become a nurse, did anybody warn you that you were choosing a profession where it was never going to be about you?
Think about it. No matter what we do or where we work, every decision we make is about the patient – not ourselves.
One day last year while working as a bedside nurse, our charge nurse Tracy called me to the nurses’ station and said, “I’m sorry Renee, but I have to give you an admission.” To which I replied, “That’s what I’m here for Tracy. To get admissions.” But my inside voice said, “Ugh. I don’t WANT an admission. I just got caught up with my LAST admission!”
Nurses are inconvenienced every day.
So, why did we do it?
Why did we CHOOSE to become nurses?
I’ve asked thousands of nurses over the years and it boils down to one of the following four reasons (in no particular order):
#1: We were a sick child and were cared for by an amazing nurse and wanted to grow up to be just like that nurse. Or, we watched our grandmother, father, or mother being cared for by an amazing nurse and wanted to do the same. These nurses modeled the way for us.
[Tweet “Many of us choose nursing because we’ve seen a nurse who embodies what it means to be a nurse.”]
#2: Our mothers, aunts, uncles, or neighbors were nurses so we decided to follow suit. During family gatherings they would share stories about patients, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying but those stories were inspiring. When I hear that a nurse chose nursing because he or she came from a long line of nurses, it tells me that when their moms or dads came home from work, they were saying GOOD things about what it means to be a nurse (sometimes we don’t say good things).
[Tweet “Many of us choose nursing because we’ve grown up listening to the stories our families told.”]
#3: The human body fascinates us. How many nurses, after working all day, still go home and turn on the Discovery Health Channel, Trauma in the ER, Mystery Diagnosis, or, okay, I admit it – Dr. Pimple Popper! We can’t get enough of medical science. Think about the pH of your blood – 7.35 to 7.45. Anything above or below and you’re dead. How aren’t we all dead? The body is beautiful, incredible, and fascinating.
[Tweet “Many of us choose nursing because we love figuring out what’s wrong with someone (patient’s always leave clues).”]
#4: To make a difference in the lives of other people. By far, the majority of human beings who choose to become nurses do so to make a difference – to help people in need. Nurses sacrifice their friends, families, their backs and their bladders to care for the human race.
[Tweet “Many of us choose nursing to make a difference in the lives of strangers. #LiveYourWhy #NursesWeek2018”]
Those of us who have been nurses for a long time, would we make the same decision if we had the opportunity for a do-over?
A study conducted by American Nursing Today surveyed 6,000 nurses to examine nursing trends across the country. They found…
87% of us would still become a nurse even though 62% said their workload has increased over the last year.
When asked what the single most important factor related to job satisfaction was, nurses answered: Caring for patients, making a difference, providing quality care.
Many of us get burned out over time (that’s a whole other conversation), but we still get up every day or every evening, go into to work, and do our best to care for our patients the way we would want our families cared for.
I have to think it’s our desire to serve, to generate stories, to be a witness to the miracles that often show up at 3 o’clock in the morning in the smallest patient, to help us remember why we choose this noble profession in the first place.
It’s time to fall back in love with being a nurse
The same four things that led us into nursing are the things that will help us fall back in love with what we do! If you make a genuine effort to do the four things below, it will be very difficult not to love being a nurse again.
- Influence others. Never forget that what you do every day might seem like just part of the job, but you are influencing others to join us – to become nurses too.
- Start a legacy. I was the first nurse in my family, but then my sister Tina became a nurse and now her daughter Brittney joined us three years ago. Start a legacy – leave a legacy of nurses who are called to serve others.
- Stay intrigued. Be fascinated every day by the human body and what modern medicine can do to keep families together. It’s a completely different world today than it was even 20 years ago. Just imagine what 20 years into the future will look like!
- Be mindful. Never forget that every day you come into work, you are caring for someone’s mom, dad, son, daughter, precious grandmother, or pap. You have an opportunity every day to make someone’s first or last moments on this earth remarkable.
Over the years, we forget many of our patients, often referring to them as ‘the glial tumor in bed 14’ or ‘the CABG in room 2’. Although some do stick with us forever (Jack – my first patient who died), I guarantee many patients will never forget you. You owe it to them and to yourself to LOVE what you do!
Thank you for making the decision to become a nurse! As a sign of my respect for all you put into our wonderful profession day in and day out I have two offers for you to take advantage of this week! The first is a FREE eBook on how to be a gifted nurse. Inside you’ll find the four most important characteristics of all successful nurses. Nurses who thrive despite any challenges they face and who seem to be immune to the fatigue and burnout that often comes along with our profession. The second thing I have for you is 30% off on ANY of my products with code LOVENURSING2018! Just click one (or both) of the offers below to take advantage of them.
Thanks again for all you do for me, my family, and the world!
Be Kind. Take Care. Stay Connected.
Helping you cultivate a healthy happy workforce,