Sometimes, You've Just Gotta Punt: More Nuggets of Nursing Wisdom

  1. 20

    Here are a few more words to the wise from VivaLasViejas, a diehard football fan and Guide, that blend pigskin prophecies with nursing knowledge in an essay that comes from the heart. But even if you're not a sports fan, these helpful hints are intended to help you become the best nurse you can be.

    Sometimes, You've Just Gotta Punt: More Nuggets of Nursing Wisdom

    As a San Diego Chargers fan of some 40+ years' vintage, I often find myself using football metaphors in discussing everyday situations. At home, it's "Okay, team, let's tackle this month's budget"; in meetings, I'll say things like "It's gonna take a Hail Mary pass to push this through Corporate".

    Naturally, this habit frequently spills over into my job as Director of Health Services in assisted living. At first, people tend to be surprised when all these sports cliches come out of the mouth of a five-foot-three-inch female; but as they get to know me and my quirks, they get used to hearing little nuggets of what I hope is wisdom amid the pigskin patter.

    Here, for your enjoyment, are a few more of the coaching strategies I've picked up during my nursing career.

    Fumbles happen.

    It's not just a Johnson & Johnson ad---we nurses really do hold peoples' lives in our hands every day. We're also human, and we are going to drop a punt from time to time. The sad thing is, we are more judgmental of each other than patients and their families could ever be, and that's what needs to change if we are ever going to form a winning team. Don't be the first to jump on a teammate who fumbles; instead, show her how to take the handoff and run with it.

    Master the art of the game.

    In nursing, just as in football, there is both art and science involved in executing plays successfully. Unfortunately, science often trumps art, and patients wind up as receivers of technological expertise at the expense of personal care. It's not that EMARs and other bells and whistles are bad; it's only that they seem to distract us from our real work, which is helping the patient get down the field and across the goal line.

    Take one for the team every now and then.

    Don't be a martyr, but do remember that your fellow players are human beings with lives of their own. Volunteer to trade shifts with that single mom who otherwise wouldn't get to see her little kicker graduate from kindergarten. Go all out and take the new admission when it's late in the fourth quarter and your team is down by one or two players. And when the game is on the line, be the one who puts it in the end zone and wins it all in the final seconds.

    Don't rely on others to pull you out of a losing situation.

    One of the biggest mistakes nurses make is hoping that other team members, such as doctors, therapists, and techs, will make more of a team effort. Hint: It's not going to happen. Just as a quarterback is the de facto leader of his team, so we are often (and unfairly) held responsible for the performance of the other players. But stomping off the field in a huff and throwing the ball into the stands will only get us flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, or perhaps even kicked off the team entirely.......and that'll just make it harder to sign on with another one.

    Sometimes, you've just gotta punt.

    When it's third down and long, call a time-out and go into the huddle to figure out your next move. Whether it's a code that went bad or a job that you can't endure one more day, you can either analyze it to death, or you can say, "I'm done here. Time to move forward." We nurses have this tendency to stay in the game till the bitter end, no matter what it costs us, even when we know we're losing. That's when we need to put the helmet back on, adjust those shoulder pads, get out there on the field........and give the ball back.

    In short: Forgive others' mistakes. Don't watch the monitor; look at your patient. Follow the Golden Rule. Don't take responsibility for anyone other than yourself. And never, ever forget that life is way too short to put up with miserable jobs.

    Go TEAM!!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 10, '15
    Do you like this Article? Click Like?

  2. Visit VivaLasViejas profile page

    About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,806; Likes: 43,945
    RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
    Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych

    Read My Articles


  3. by   txredheadnurse
    Amen sister! You can't control it all and that is alright. Only took me a few decades to realize that lol.
  4. by   Stcroix
    Thanks for the words of wisdom, much appreciated.
  5. by   KelRN215
    I found myself in that very position a few months ago. Right you are... there was nothing left to do but punt and the outcome was for the best!
  6. by   Wise Woman RN
    Such a GOOD nurse!! I love reading your posts... Thank you...
  7. by   merlee
    So I (3) take one for the team but (4) don't rely on others. Ah, the wonders of being the do-gooder who then gets hung out to dry.

    Can't count how many times I 'took one for the team' then was questioned about the overtime and was told to let other people do their own work.

    So all those sports metaphors only work when we want them to work.
  8. by   Rayden
    Exceptional tips for outstanding work ethics.

  9. by   chloram_24
    Best advice to ponder with. Thank you for sharing
  10. by   jcbautista03
    This made my day... something to think about. Thanks for the words of wisdom.