New Year Nurse
As we all step into a new year, the author urges us as professional nurses to consider some nursing New Year's Resolutions.
"Happy New Year!" The greeting was frequent as I walked the halls of the hospital on the first day of the new year. As I exchanged greetings with those I passed by, I began to wonder about making some resolutions to help me be a better nurse.
Do you make New Year's resolutions? Many people do and they usually involve eating right or exercising more. But what are some resolutions we can make related to our work? What can we do differently to make 2018 and even better year for our patients' care?
1. Be kindKindness is something that is seriously lacking in our health care system. As computers, EMRs, pre-set meds, remote monitors, isolation precautions and other forms of interventional care pull us away from the bedside, the small acts of kindness that go to the very heart of patient care are sometimes lacking-the touch on the hand, the conversation with undivided attention and eye contact, the presence at the bedside-all of these are sometimes forfeited in modern medicine. The routine, day-to-day care can become burdensome, making it easier to take things for granted, and to not treat each individual with the same level of compassionate interest. Kindness is also needed not just with our patients but also with our co-workers, other professionals and staff. At times, we can be guilty of watching too much drama on television and begin to think that real-life should imitate the brash rudeness portrayed on medical shows. We forget that with honesty and speaking our minds must also comes a great deal of maturity and responsibility. Once spoken, words cannot be taken back. They can do immeasurable harm to our professional relationships and careers.
Bottom line: Be nice.
2. Be forgiving
People mess up; they do a bad job sometimes. We all do. It's hard not to remember forever after that mistake that we made or the mistake that someone else made. I remember being a new grad and getting called in to the nurse manager's office to talk about a mistake I had made. I was beyond mortified-still, 30 years later, it smarts to think about it- and fortunately, the patient was not seriously injured. But at some point, we have to start forgiving ourselves and others, helping each other to do better and move forward. Honestly, it's not easy. It doesn't mean that we "forgive and forget"-we should not forget to the point where we can't learn and continue to repeat what we have done, but we do have to find a way to put our mistakes-and others' mistakes- in the past and move on. Being forgiving to ourselves and others may require some work: we may have to apologize to someone and ask for them to forgive us. While this is not easy to do, it can make the path forward clearer. When we have a clean slate with our own psyche and in our relationships with others, then we can provide the kind of care that we can be proud of.
Bottom line: Say "I'm sorry" when we need to.
3. Keep smiling
Are you an optimist or a "realist?" William James once said, "Pessimism leads to weakness; optimism to power." Working as a nurse is never easy, no matter what setting you find yourself in. The job can be demanding, ever-changing, frequently frustrating and plain physically hard. But staying positive can help. Sometimes we have to be conscious of taking care of ourselves in mind, body and spirit so that we can continue to keep that sunny outlook. When we are weary, it shows. What helps you keep that focus: Is it exercise? Meditation? Yoga? Worship? Music?
Bottom line: Stay centered.
4. Prioritize the patient
Most of us go into nursing as a profession because we want to help people. But sometimes life takes a turn, and we struggle to keep that patient-centered focus. We begin to worry more about unfairness, about schedules, about assignments, breaks, uniforms, pay, things that are out of our control-and much less about the patient and their needs. These can be signs of burnout. But they can also be a sign that it's time to simply stop and re-orient ourselves and ask the question: Why did I go into nursing in the first place? If we look deep in our hearts, and find that we did it so we can give excellent care to others, then maybe we need to find a way to recommit to our goal.
Bottom line: It's not all about you.
Even though the party is over, the holidays are gone; the tree is out for pick-up or packed away in storage; the cookies are stale and the candy is past its prime, our work calls us back with increasing demands for a never-ending supply of enthusiasm and gusto! Let's respond as true professionals: stepping into our professional shoes with enthusiasm.Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 8
Joy has 30+ years of experience as a nurse. She enjoys her work as a Faith Community Nurse. In her free time she likes cooking for a crowd, walking her frisky dog and playing with her grandbabies.
Joined Jan '15; Posts: 304; Likes: 964.Jan 11i like it and i learned to my student to do it because the patient need it and every one not just the patient and we are the hero