Renewed Passion and Dedication to Nursing Profession

  1. The author discusses how we can renew our passion for nursing. She uses the example of the nurses/nuns who help to found Mayo Clinic.

    Renewed Passion and Dedication to Nursing Profession

    Renewed Passion and Dedication to Nursing Profession

    Do you ever feel depleted like you might have lost some of your passion and dedication to the nursing profession? How can we combat that tendency and turn the tide?

    Recently, PBS ran a special report by historian Ken Burns about the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota-"The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science." The documentary details the clinic's founding as well as its mission and development over the years. Started after a devastating earthquake in central Minnesota in 1883, it combined the profound work ethic and dedication of a country doctor, William Worrall Mayo, with the vision that came to a nun of the Franciscan Order, Sister Mary Alfred Moes. Together, they are largely responsible for pushing forward a hospital system whose name is synonymous with hope.

    The nuns were the first nurses and their devotion to their patients legendary. Eventually, they started the St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing (1906) and their motto was: "Enter in to learn - go forth to serve." Their students learned how to care for patients but more than that, they learned to see each new patient as Jesus Christ, meaning that as they served, they were to serve as if the one they worshipped were the patient. While most of us are not nuns and many do not follow Christianity as their religion or have a particular spiritual tradition, all nurses can see the beauty of this sense of mission and calling in nursing.

    Looking at the history of a venerable institution such as Mayo Clinic, now with branches around the country and the world, we are inspired to examine further the origins of our own calling to nursing as a profession. Do we feel a sense of mission and purpose? Are we in our chosen field for the opportunities that it gives us to serve our patients?

    We live in a time of deep disillusionment with our hospital systems. Increasingly, it feels that we have lost the personal touch. From the first encounter with our patients, we may find ourselves overwhelmed by well-intentioned barriers to care. Just to list a few...

    1. Excessive questions posed by our time-sucking EMRs
    2. Requirements to list cautions that seem out of touch with reality.
    3. Difficulty in coordinating and communicating with all involved in care due to the well-intentioned but at times onerous privacy limitations of HIPAA.
    4. Insurance dictates that limit and define what we can and can't do.
    5. Scheduling and assignments that spread us too thin and force us to push ourselves to points of discomfort and possibly even danger.
    6. Costs, costs, costs...


    While the Mayo nurses lived in a simpler time, it was also a more difficult time. Without the benefits of wide-ranging medications, antibiotics, technology they no doubt frequently found themselves helpless in the face of disease and death. But somehow, in spite of their limited knowledge and abilities, they reach across the years to inspire us today.


    How can we be agents of change and good in a profession that meets challenges at every turn?


    1. Keep up the good work! Excellence is the best way to defeat the naysayers that flee the profession. Let's be proud, be great at what we do, and serve well.
    2. Renew our devotion to our patients. As long as we are serving ourselves, we will be disappointed. There is no salary that is high enough, no schedule that is accommodating enough, no facility that is perfect enough. When we focus inward, we will always find room for complaints. Life is like that; it's always going to be hard. But keeping our eyes on doing good and then doing better will help us maintain that spirit that will pull us through. While higher salaries and more convenient scheduling can certainly contribute to our well-being, they are illusive goals that can result is less satisfaction that we originally thought they might. We can all relate to thinking that the next position will be better. It is, of course, true that some nursing jobs are toxic, some bosses really do a terrible job and sometimes we have to leave and start over. But often, our contentment results more from blooming where we are planted than with finding the exactly perfect garden.
    3. Be the change you want to see (Ghandi). Every floor, unit, practice, agency needs that nurse that helps to set a positive tone. While venting as a group can provide temporary relief, it may leave us with a sense of let-down in the end and rarely provides that fuel we need to keep going and re-charge our batteries. Being positive and encouraging doesn't mean we have to be super-cheerful and always sunny but it can mean that we refrain from dwelling on the negatives and tend toward highlighting the positives. Notice the word "tend." No one is perfect and we all enter into negativity from time to time but the long-term benefits of finding points of satisfaction are undeniable.


    If you didn't get to watch the documentary on Mayo, it's highly recommended viewing. Looking back at our history as nurses, our initial calling and passion can help re-energize us to stay in it for the long haul, serving our patients to the best of our ability.
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  2. Visit jeastridge profile page

    About jeastridge

    Joy has been a nurse for 30+ years, working in a variety of fields. She currently serves as a Faith Community Nurse.

    Joined: Jan '15; Posts: 352; Likes: 1,212

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    3 Comments

  3. by   RheumaticRN
    Beautiful article, Joy!

    I remember when I started nursing at 18. There were certain floors that the float nurses hated going to. Not because of the patients- because of the viral problem of complaining that had infected all the nurses on those particular floors. They complained about the weather, their patients, their lunches, their spouses, and about one another. It was awkward and uncomfortable at a young age to know that I didn't wait to be a part of that, but didn't know what to do about it.

    Now that I'm older (maybe wiser), I'm hopeful that I can be that source of kindness you mentioned. I'll be returning to nursing after a long break and will be starting classes to move from LPN to RN next fall. Kindness seems to be needed not only for our patients, but for fellow nurses and students! That's my focus, anyway

    Regarding interesting documentaries about nuns who are nurses- The Letters on Netflix is a wonderful documentary about Mother Teresa. I'm far from Catholic, yet that movie opened my eyes to what a wonderful woman she was. A true heroine and role model.
  4. by   jeastridge
    Thank you for your nice comment. I wish you all the very best as you set out to return to nursing. We welcome you back and need your enthusiasm. I also thank you for the recommendation and I will check it out. I'm a Mother Teresa fan!
    Quote from RheumaticRN

    Beautiful article, Joy!

    I remember when I started nursing at 18. There were certain floors that the float nurses hated going to. Not because of the patients- because of the viral problem of complaining that had infected all the nurses on those particular floors. They complained about the weather, their patients, their lunches, their spouses, and about one another. It was awkward and uncomfortable at a young age to know that I didn't wait to be a part of that, but didn't know what to do about it.

    Now that I'm older (maybe wiser), I'm hopeful that I can be that source of kindness you mentioned. I'll be returning to nursing after a long break and will be starting classes to move from LPN to RN next fall. Kindness seems to be needed not only for our patients, but for fellow nurses and students! That's my focus, anyway

    Regarding interesting documentaries about nuns who are nurses- The Letters on Netflix is a wonderful documentary about Mother Teresa. I'm far from Catholic, yet that movie opened my eyes to what a wonderful woman she was. A true heroine and role model.
  5. by   BeenThere2012
    Very inspiring and so true...all you said. My "problem" with staying positive has to do with feeling taken advantage of by the corporation who owns my hospital system. There is not one person, no matter the role, from the Director on down, who isn't racing to get all work done. The dietician, the director of risk management etc....EVERYONE works as in a state of chaos.

    Having said all that, I try hard every single day to remember why I'm there - To Care for the patients and help them somehow, some way. It's the only reason I'm still a nurse.
    And also, I agree the pasture is not greener somewhere else.

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