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Topics About 'Gratitude'.

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Found 15 results

  1. Emergent

    "Thank you for your service"

    When people find out I'm a nurse these days, they keep thanking me for my service, like they do to the military. I want to roll my eyes at this point. Is this happening to you?
  2. J.Adderton

    If Truth Be Told...

    I have been moved by the awesome outpouring of gratitude from the public during the coronavirus pandemic. My spirits are lifted each day as I pass the homemade “Thank You” signs and banners that line the road leading to my workplace. I have especially enjoyed reading the cards and letters sent by the youth to encourage the nursing staff. It gives me hope that the younger generation will carry a deep respect and appreciation for healthcare workers. Gut Reaction Concerns But, there are some expressions of gratitude that have been gnawing at me. When certain people cheer on front-line workers, I immediately have a major internal “eye-rolling” moment. Since I’m not a cynical person by nature, this gut reaction has bothered me. When I am struggling with something internally, it always helps to write it down. I So, I did just that…. fleshed it out for insight. I write under a pseudonym, which gives me the freedom to openly share my experience and thoughts when I write. Insincerity? Now that I have a better understanding of my angst, I suspect I am not the only lonely tree in this parking lot. The “people” whose apology I often perceive as insincere are executive administrators, politicians and lawmakers. Recently, healthcare administrators sent messages praising how we’ve “all come together”, “stepped up to provide competent and compassionate care” and “supported the organization’s mission during trying times”. But, thoughts like these below keep me from truly accepting their gratitude. Because I'm a Nurse I am a nurse, and like other nurses, this is just what we do. Yes, it is unprecedented and scary times. But because I am a nurse… I care for COVID patients with the same high level of commitment that I have for all patients throughout my career. Feeling Under-Valued I don’t feel valued by executive leadership and this is a common occurrence throughout my nursing career. There are many reasons for this, but the majority seem to be “universal” regardless of the employer. The "Executive Silo" I have had exceptional supervisors, managers and directors over the course of my career. Unfortunately, there have been times the voices of nurse leaders are not heard. Decisions made by executive teams are often made in a silo. This “executive silo” too often consists of non-medical individuals or individuals who are long removed from day to day realities. Disregarding OUR Safety My safety, as well as my co-worker’s safety, has been undermined by decisions driven by profit. Safety concerns run the gamut, from available PPE to violence against healthcare workers. I have worked the past few years with less than a $1.00 raise despite stellar evaluations. However, I have never lowered my patient care standards based on pay gaps and poor incentives. FACT: I suspect that Senator Walsh’s “card playing” remarks are shared in political circles. At minimal, her public comments certainly did not help build a rapport of trust. Recognizing and Addressing Personal Biases I’ve given much thought to what it is that I can do to address my biases. Ultimately, I need to use my voice and get involved. I plan to communicate to upper management that I appreciate the recognition for the quality of care I and other nurses have always provided. I also need to network with other nurses and educate myself on the barriers that keep nursing from being perceived as a profession. But most of all, I need to advocate for the profession I love. Final Note I wrote this article about my experience during the COVID-19 crisis. I acknowledge that my thoughts are limited to my own personal experiences and circumstances, which may be hugely different from your own. Even though my facility had a large number of COVID patients, we have not reached a point of an overwhelmed system. I invite you to tell us about your experience.
  3. Ashley Hay, BSN, RN

    What Are You Thankful For?

    With the fall season in full swing, themes of pumpkin flavored everything, brightly colored foliage and crisp mornings are all around us. While I will not deny my undying love for pumpkin spice lattes, another important thought also comes to mind during this season - gratitude. When reflecting recently on things I'm thankful for, my nursing career and all it has provided seemed to somehow bubble toward the top of the list. Stability & Opportunity Pursuing a career in nursing gave me a stable income, something I hadn't had previously. Over the years, my earned income has allowed me to provide for my family, travel to amazing places, buy a house and continue to pay the ever-growing list of bills that seem to accumulate with age. While I don't think any bedside nurse is swimming in an excess of cash, a nursing career can provide a steady stream of income and having that comfort is not something I take lightly. I'm grateful to have a solid way to provide for myself and loved ones. The field of nursing is filled with opportunity. This is no longer your grandmother's idea of nursing (so to speak) - where working in a hospital or for a physician is the only possible setting for your hard earned skills. After over a decade at the bedside, I realized there was more this career had in store for me. I've been fortunate enough to utilize and expand my skill set from bedside care and use it in several new roles: case management, clinical educator, healthcare content writer, consulting and more. I'm incredibly thankful I chose a career that could stand the test of time while also allowing me to branch out creatively - and get paid to do it all while still helping others in some capacity. Greater Understanding Going into nursing at a young age, I feel I owe a lot of my character development to this career. You quickly realize what matters and what really just doesn't. Being a nurse has a funny way of putting life into perspective, no matter what age you come into the healthcare setting. Seeing life and death, suffering and joy - all in it's purest, most raw form, first hand, changes a person. If being a bedside nurse doesn't give you a greater understanding of life and true empathy, nothing will. And, for this experience, for being able to be a part of a patient's healthcare journey, I am filled with gratitude. All Kinds of Kinds As the years go by, the number of patients and families I've met seems to blur into an incomprehensible number. Yet so many individuals are still clear as day in my mind - their names & faces, their story, their pain, their successes. Being exposed to so many different cultures, personality types, and temperaments has given me a useful tool to carry with me outside of my life at work. Learning to work together despite our differences is a lesson I'll gladly take a refresher course on time and time again. Being a nurse can frequently mean practicing a delicate balancing act between providing comfort and setting boundaries, a valuable tactic that reaches far beyond just nursing. Life Lessons I've been a type-A personality for as long as I can remember. Nursing has been a wonderful way for me to harness this; teaching me the value of being flexible yet allowing room for my love of organization. We all know time management is key to a good day on the floor - but the truth is sometimes the best-laid plans just don't matter in healthcare. I quickly learned that if I couldn't roll with it - I would be flattened and steamrolled by the nursing powers that be. I'm grateful to have a career where I was able to learn it is possible to loosen up and yet still be effective - as a nurse, wife, entrepreneur, friend, and much more. What are you thankful for this season? What has your nursing career given you?
  4. Cynthiahowardrnphd

    Why I am Grateful for Burning Out as a Nurse

    Gratitude is medicine. It has the power to heal. Numerous studies have been done to reflect the significant changes in mood, attitude and even trips to the physician as a result of a regular practice of gratitude. A $6 million dollar research project was undertaken by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley along with the University of California, Davis, to explore the science of gratitude. This massive effort resulted in numerous grants being given to explore everything from the changes in gene expression to the changes in relationships to neuroscience to heart disease and more as a result of a regular practice of gratitude. So if gratitude is so great, why is it only talked about at Thanksgiving? Do we really need a holiday to remind ourselves to be grateful? Evidently we do. The problem is that it comes too late in the year and by the time the day rolls around most people are too tired to really make this practice of gratitude part of their day. That is what happened to me. Instead of being grateful, early in my nursing career I lived off of caffeine and the adrenaline rush that came from working in critical care. I loved the technology and the heroic effort required to do my job. That is until one day I had to wait for furniture to be delivered. I thought I would go crazy. I did not have a computer or smart phone. Believe it or not it was before they came out. I had to just wait. I was given a window of 4 hours and of course the delivery came at the end of 4 hours. During that time I realized I was hooked on the fast pace of work and desperately needed to reboot myself so I could learn to live life. This AHA moment helped me to realize that I was missing out on so much of my life because I was always looking forward to the next thing. Anything that happened in the moment was missed. I did not experience the many moments in the day when someone said, "Thank you" for what I did, nor did I recognize those times when someone needed me to just listen. In the whirlwind of saving the world and feeling so important, I lost the ability to be grateful and present. Instead I felt cynical. Sarcastic and a believer in Murphy 's Law that nothing ever turned out OK, I went through each day expecting problems until I had to stop and just be with myself. I did not like being with myself. I am grateful today for hitting this wall and recognizing that life is not best lived at 100 mph. I am grateful to nursing for the holistic framework in which I can view life. It has been decades since I have worked in a clinical setting however in private practice I have considered myself a nurse and love the opportunity to continue to serve others. This is what nursing offers, the opportunity to serve and in doing so to feel a part of something bigger. Before burnout, it was all about me and what I was doing. Having come face to face with the ugly truth of what I had become, I can now say I am grateful for burning out. It was at that point I had the chance to reclaim that part of me I lost along the way.
  5. We've all had that one teacher, or more, that left their mark with us. Whether they went above and beyond to make sure you knew what you were doing or just provided a listening ear when you needed it, you'll never forget them. Often times, the people that influence and affect our lives the most never know it. We take them for granted and assume our appreciation is known. Some of us even find it unnecessary. After all, they are teachers, it's their job--right? Most of us are too busy resenting their existance while slaving over that 10 page paper or challenging care plan. It's hard to fully appreciate the value of a great teacher until you've had some duds. There are those who couldn't care less about the student, but found the perk of having summers off too good to pass up. It's a shame, and our children, as well as adults for those continuing their education later on, are the ones who suffer. In grammar school, I had a teacher call me stupid. I was never good at math, and when it decided to start involving the alphabet, forget about it. That didn't stop me from trying, mind you. I would always ask questions, but that would frustrate the teachers until they stopped answering me, believing I was just trying to waste time. "You can't be that dumb"--and so, I started believing I was. I was defeated and figured I must be too stupid to help when even the teachers give up trying. It is quite possibly one of the most embarrassing feelings in the world. Then I got bit by the nursing bug. You know the one I'm talking about. You realize it's the perfect career for you, though stressful and demanding. So I applied and was accepted into nursing school, the first of my prerequisites being College Algebra. I was terrified and so sick with anxiety my first day of class, I probably looked as if I was entering a medieval tourture chamber. I imagined myself being the only idiot who failed and would therefore flunk out of nursing school, effectively crushing my dream of becoming a nurse. After all, a nurse needs to know math very well, and I was thinking I was going to fail before I even began. Enter my professor. We'll call him Mr. C. While I sat there, utterly discouraged and intimidated, Mr. C started talking about the class, assignments, expectations, you know, the usual first day spiel. It was then that I realized he couldn't possibly be my math professor. He had to be a motivational speaker of some sort, who lost his way and ended up in this classroom. He explained that he struggled with math while he was in school and needed to study more than his classmates in order to grasp the material. If he could do it, so could we. He was there for us and we could ask as many questions as we needed, and he would work with us until we understood it. As for tests, he would review them with us so we knew where we went wrong and could then retake it to get a better grade. There are no stupid students in his class. I had tears in my eyes because for the first time, I felt a surge of hope and confidence. Yes, I could do this. Yes, I could succeed. I was not a lost cause or stupid any longer, and in fact, I never was. Tomorrow will only be the start of my second week, but thus far, I have scored 100% on all of my assignments. I have NEVER done so well, nor understood what I was doing as much as I do now. I'm not afraid to ask him a question if I don't understand a problem, or to keep asking him to explain it when I still don't get it. He doesn't judge me or throw up his hands in frustration, rather he chooses another way of explaining it, and I learn. I'm not just learning math, I'm learning that he was right, I'm not stupid. I can pass and do well throughout my courses, disproving everyone who has said otherwise. That means more to me than words can say. When I pass this class, not if, but when, I'm going to sit down with Mr. C and make sure he knows just how much I appreciate his dedication and genuine caring attitude. We should all thank our teachers, not just those in the classroom, but anyone who chose to take the time and teach us or show us something we didn't know or were struggling with. They are so often over looked and taken for granted. Brushed aside in our haste to move up and on. If someone touches your life, makes it better, helps you, it doesn't take much to offer a heartfelt thank you. To let them know just how much of a difference they made, if only for one person, because in the end, it matters. So thank you. Not just Mr. C, but every teacher who has made a difference in a child's, student's, or adult's life. For guiding them as they find their way, for showing them their hidden abilities, for helping them succeed and reach their dreams. Thank you.
  6. J.Adderton

    Being Grateful in Chaos

    A common nurse scenario: A nurse clocks in to begin her shift and learns they will be working with 2 nurses less in staffing. A vendor has arrived for a "brief in-service" immediately following shift report and attendance is "mandatory" according to your charge nurse. While making your initial rounds, you are informed the first admission will be yours and a nurse is on hold to give you report. The patient arrives during am medication pass and is reporting severe pain. However, there are no orders for pain medication provided by the admitting physician. You think "why does this always seem to happen to me?". In this scenario, there are personnel, process and system work problems that can not be resolved during your shift. However, taking a few moments to acknowledge what you are grateful for in the moment will have positive effects.. In fact, there are scientifically proven physical and emotional benefits of gratitude. Physical Benefits Recent research studies have concluded that practicing gratitude is linked to improved health. Physical benefits include stronger immune systems, fewer aches and pains and lowered blood pressure. Grateful people have been shown to actually practice better safe care. They are more likely to exercise and attend regular check-ups. As a result, practicing gratitude leads to higher energy levels and improved quality and duration of sleep. Psychological Benefits Gratitude increases our ability to manage stress and reduce anxiety. Higher levels of self-worth, positivity and life satisfaction have also been linked to gratitude. A 2012 study by the University of Kentucky found that participants who ranked higher on a gratitude scale experienced more empathy and sensitivity towards other people. A Starting Place for the Common Nurse Scenario Start by asking yourself a question- "What is one thing about my job I appreciate and are grateful for today?". The answer may be simple: I am grateful for my coffee break with a friend I am grateful for my co-workers The goal is to turn your attention away from what we have, rather than what we don't. This is a good prompt to notice what is positive about your job, even amid the chaos. Cultivating Gratitude on a Daily Basis There are many ways to practice gratitude for both personal and work benefits. The important part... Finding the way that works best for you. Here are a few suggestions: 1. Wake up, take a deep breath and be grateful for a new day. 2. Set your smartphone alarm for a time during the workday. When the alarm goes off, think of something you are grateful for. 3. Place a gratitude note on your computer, desk or clipboard. When work becomes stressful, the note will help you return to an attitude of gratitude. 4. Express appreciation by telling someone else what you appreciate about them. Make it a goal to tell at least one person every day (spouse, partner, child, co-worker, friend). 5. Take time to acknowledge something about yourself that you are thankful for each day. For the stressed nurse- pat yourself on the back for something well done or for for situation you went above and beyond. 6. Take time before sleep to reflect on what about the day are you are thankful for. 7. Keep a gratitude journal and learn more about yourself and improve self-awareness. On tough days, read back through your journal to help reset your attitude. Keep in mind, simple is good and do not spin your wheels on "perfecting" your gratitude list or journal making sure it is "deep". There are days when I am grateful for low humidity, little traffic or a compliment from a co-worker. What are ways you have used gratitude, especially at work, to diffuse a difficult or stressful situation? How do you use gratitude to improve your work satisfaction? Additional Resources: 5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health
  7. Today is Mother's Day. I celebrated this day with my mother who has taken care of me, loved me since she found out I was inside of her, and has taken years of emotional/mental abuse for me from her ex-husband, my father. I woke up and got my gift ready to present to her which she loved. Let down the car windows for her while she was in the shower so that this Florida weather wouldn't make it so hot when she got in. Cleaned up the house while she was gone to run errands. Just anything that I thought would make her day easier even though I normally do these things anyway. But there is one person I also have on my mind today, and that is my stepmother. At the beginning of the week, I was notified by my friend of several years in class that she was going to die any day. Even though I have known that she was going to die for about a year (around the time I stopped talking and seeing my deadbeat father), it still made me upset. She let me borrow her phone to send one single message of love and goodbye to her that my father may or may have not told her, and if he did, if she were still conscious (my mom told me that if she is this close to death then she might not even know what's going on at this point). I made the decision not to go and see her. I have never in my life been around a dying person before, and it made me very uncomfortable and I don't think I could have handled it. I also could not be around my father because he would have tried to make any little effort to try and get me back under his thumb, which my stepmother could not get out of due to her having to depend on him for financial reasons. I heard he already had a new girlfriend. He was awful to my stepmom and any other woman he has every been with, resulting in domestic violence even. I'm actually relieved that she can finally get away from him, even if it has to be in death. I just hope the other woman is smart enough to find out how he is real quick and run away. My stepmom had two daughters that never talked to her for reasons unknown to me. She would always be severely depressed about it, being moody, crying, not wanting to do anything with her life except plan her next drink (which is what caused the end of her). But she would always tell me how smart and pretty I was, and that she loved me. I was her daughter when the other two were absent. She would enjoy every minute with me when my dad wasn't around. We would go out and about, she would take me to meet her friend at the liquor store, introduce me to her co-workers at Walmart, we would go have lunch, and she would buy me dresses, etc. I was her whole world. And that is why I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for not going to see her in her final days. I hoped and prayed that she wasn't alone, and maybe, just maybe, her daughters went to visit her one last time. Then I thought about the nurse that would be caring for her. It made me see all nurses in a different light and I was so grateful that I knew someone was there for her and was taking care of her. Thank goodness for nurses. Thank you nurses for all that you do, and giving patients and their loved ones the relief of not having to do such daunting things in their worst of times and emotional state. I'm 17 now, and maybe one day I can have the strength to join you and help others with the same problems. I really hope that my stepmom understands why I didn't see her and knows that I love her and always will. Thank you. Happy Mother's Day.
  8. Nurses do not care for the patients in order to receive a thank you. We tirelessly provide the best possible care day after day, night after night without dwelling on our needs or thinking if our patients are grateful or not. But, when out of the blue a patient says, "Thank you", it can be the one thing that boosts our spirits and energizes us to persevere. So, let me say right now, from the bottom of my heart ... THANK YOU, NURSES!
  9. DeepBreath

    To Those Educators That Care

    So reading around in allnurses made me feel a lot better. I am in my third semester of nursing school and from day one have felt not many of my professors care about my learning experience. Education nowadays is not what it used to be: it's become a money making machine for the universities. I am digressing now. That topic can be ranted upon for hours. What I want to write is a THANK YOU. A thank you to all those professors who ask them self "How can I improve my teaching capabilities" or those preceptors who spend the extra time to explain to us how certain protocols/ procedures are. Today in clinicals my current professor was saying she is leaving education because she realizes how its changed and all about money rather than helping students out. All I could think to myself "Oh, great there goes the one of the few professors who actually pushes and helps us to learn". I told her that she should start a nursing school because I'd attend. It's a shame, as an educator you have the ability to impact the future of nursing but if nursing school is just like being back in high school and middle were the focus is only to pass the NCLEX our FCAT, are we actually learning to the utmost fullest potential? Why stop at just the basic concepts to pass the NCLEX?? So here's to you, all you educators out there who never get a thank you, who have actually have had some students complain about their harshness when yes maybe you did push them too much but HEY AT LEAST YOU ACTUALLY PUSHED THEM. Because as much as I hate to say you were probably the first to tap their shoulder all this time. You were not the wrong ones, they are. They need to realize that if by the 5th semester of nursing that they can't answer basic nursing questions that they should take advantage of the knowledge most of you are willing to share and admit to their wrongdoing. Here's to you for answering emails/ phones calls at odd hours of the day. For listening to our concerns and not calling us babies or immature because we know we are paying for education and expect to be educated. For standing up against your fellow colleagues when they tell you that you baby us too much. Because you aren't. You are doing your job and making a difference. You are earning our respect and will forever impact our nursing careers. So please do not quit. There are nursing students who appreciate you. Though they may not say. Do not allow the future of nursing schools to succumb to this chaotic, money sucking machine, full of professors who do not give a flying flip about their student's education. MAKE THE DIFFERENCE and keep it up. And above all thank you. You mean the world to us.
  10. Carol Ebert

    A New Life Review for YOU

    What are you grateful for from all your experiences in nursing that have made you the person you are now, and even set the stage for the person you will be tomorrow when you no longer report to work every day? It's all about doing a life review of what you have learned and what you still have to offer. A bit like preparing yourself for a job interview, only now it is a life review as you prepare for your next - and hopefully - best time of your life. One thing I've learned about being grateful is that it changes your attitude from negative to positive, makes you feel a whole lot better and gives you an appreciation of everything you have and have done. It's like taking a happy pill without using drugs! So here are my thoughts and the thoughts of others to inspire and challenge your thinking about the power of the gratitude you may have from your nursing career to guide you as you move forward. Begin by making the statement - "I am grateful for" - and see how the rest of this flows for you: G - Giving to others from my heart and soul for the betterment of all I have served R - Relationships with co-workers who shared all the joys and sorrows of my profession and became a second family to me. A - Administering the healing touch of a nurse has more power than can be expressed and makes a huge difference in the lives of my patients T - Teachers from my past, not only in nursing school but daily at work who modeled what great nursing care and what great nurses are all about I - Intuitive hits that came once I had my feet on the ground with the profession and then following my intuition as another powerful nursing skill to use. T - Transitioning patients from illness to wellness through caring presence, compassion and competence U - Understanding the many facets of the human condition - body, mind and spirit - and learning how to heal the body holistically from adverse circumstances D - Deciding moment by moment the right course of action to achieve the best results for patients, family, and me E - Enlightenment about the power that nurses have to administer and heal and how incredibly important that role is for those in need How does this list feel for you to read? Does it make you feel better and more grateful for all you've done and who you are? I'm sure you could create your own gratitude list of how powerful this nursing career has been in your life. Please share some of them with us so we can all get in on that boost of positive energy that comes from gratitude being expressed!
  11. Ruby Vee

    A Waiting Room Christmas Story

    Christmas of 1981 -- it had been a horrible year. In May, I found my husband of three years, the church choir director, in bed with the soprano. In the wake of that disaster, we pulled up stakes and moved three thousand miles so that we could "work on our marriage" in the absence of what turned out to be Gerry's many mistresses. I was young and more or less fresh off the farm when we moved to the Big City. I didn't know anyone in the city except Gerry, and after I caught him cavorting with his boss's wife at the company barbeque and ejected him from our home, I didn't have him to talk to either. The patients and co-workers I was meeting in the Big City were SOOOOO different from the folks I'd grown up around on the farm, and even from the folks I met at the State College where I got my BSN. Nurses wore make-up to work and heels to go out for a drink on their weekends off. They called dinner (the noon meal) lunch and supper (the evening meal) dinner. They had more sophisticated tastes in music and books than I, had more sophisticated wardrobes and no one admitted to knowing how to milk a cow or fix a barbed-wire fence. I had nothing in common with them except the 40 hours a week we spent together at the hospital. I was no stranger to working Christmas, but I'd never been alone on the holidays before. Since I had no seniority, I was working Christmas and since I had no money to fly home for a visit any time during the holiday season, I volunteered to work all of the holidays. It was the only place I've ever worked in a career that has spanned three decades so far where there was no holiday potluck planned for Christmas Day. Christmas morning dawned cold and clear and I had been up most of the night sitting alone in my living room, crying and feeling sorry for myself. I dragged myself into work and greeted my patients with a profound lack of enthusiasm. Late in the morning, a very well dressed middle-aged woman appeared at the nurse's station where I was going over new orders and asked me "Where do you want me to set up the buffet?" "HUH?" I asked, articulately. "What buffet?" "Why the Christmas buffet, of course," she said. "Every Christmas I bring food for all the people visiting patients in the hospitals, and to the nurses, too. It's my way of saying thank you." She went on to tell me that "In the old building we used to set up in the waiting room between the ICU and the step-down unit, but this new hospital is laid out so differently I'm not sure where I can plug in my crockpot." No one had said anything to me about a potluck, but the nursing assistant working with me that day greeted the woman like an old friend. Together, they figured out where to set up the buffet, plug in the crockpot and seat the diners. When my turn to eat came, I was astounded to see the well-dressed woman with her husband and a grown daughter serving Christmas dinner next to a very shabbily dressed older woman and her family. I found myself sitting all alone to eat my Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and obviously taking pity on me, the well dressed woman sat down to chat with me while I ate. After a bit, the shabbier older woman came to sit with me as well, and then her younger daughter-in-law. Bit by bit, the story emerged. The week before Christmas some years ago, the 18-year-old son of the well-dressed woman had shot himself in the head while they were vacationing on the seashore. He was airlifted to our ICU, but it turned out that he was brain dead. In the same ICU was the other woman's 30-year-old son in end-stage congestive heart failure with no hope for survival other than a transplant. I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. Although we try to keep donors and recipients out of the same ICU, it didn't happen that way. The well dressed woman sat next to the family of the other patient in the waiting room and they began to talk to one another. As families sometimes do, they bonded. As they eagerly awaited news of their individual sons, they rejoiced at each tidbit of good news together and mourned together when the decision was made to let the 18 year old go. "I wanted to donate his organs," the boy's mother said. "I wanted something good to come out of this horrible situation." It turned out that the other woman's son was a match. If this were fiction, I'd have the teenager's heart transplanted into the young father of three and have him do well and live happily ever after with his wife and children. But this isn't fiction and it didn't turn out that way. After making the wrenching decision to say goodbye to her son and give his organs away, the well dressed woman found out that his heart was going to the son of the woman she'd been waiting with hour after hour, day after day. So after saying goodbye to her son, she sat with the other man's mother and his wife, waiting helplessly while the surgical team worked on the young father. It was her son's heart after all. She wanted to hear it beating in the other man. Things didn't go well in the OR that night -- and as Christmas Eve turned into Christmas morning, the young father of three bled out on the operating room table. All through that night, the three women sat together holding hands and praying together, and when the surgeons came out with the horrible news, they cried together. The following Christmas, the three women found themselves in touch once again, grieving over the loss of the 18-year-old with so much promise and the young father who would never see his children grow into adults. They claim not to remember whose idea it was, but the idea was born to serve Christmas dinner to other families stuck waiting for news on Christmas day, and to the hospital staff who tried so hard to save both men. "We can't do much," they said, "but we can make someone's Christmas a little less bleak." And so it was that every year the three women and their families put together a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and served it to the staff and visitors in the waiting room of the hospital where they'd lost so much. It turned out to be the last year for the elderly woman. How could I continue to feel sorry for myself after hearing a story like that? As I swallowed my turkey past the big lump in my throat, I felt my spirits lifting. It proved to be, it seems, that the big city women weren't all that different from the women in the small farming community where I grew up. They love their families, they pray with strangers and they give back whenever they can. That was the turning point for me -- I resolved to stop feeling sorry for myself, stop looking backward and to move ahead with as much grace and dignity as I could muster. As long as I live, though, I'll never match the grace and dignity of the three women I met that Christmas Day.
  12. VivaLasViejas

    The Grateful Nurse Speaks

    Alhough I have yet to make any solid plans for life after nursing, I have to be honest here: Nursing has become a lot leaner and a lot meaner since I got my start in school back in the fall of 1995, and I wonder sometimes how much longer I'm going to last. There's no question that things have been tough at work lately, what with my facility's unexpectedly poor showing during our recent state survey and my job essentially on the line. I'm chronically stressed, usually behind, and often overwhelmed with all the new documentation requirements imposed in response to the survey results......which take me even further away from the bedside than I already was. Yet I know what awaits me out there in the "real" world, where people who are smarter and have more education than I are battling to survive on a sales associate's wages, and older women like me are all but invisible. And as much as I complain, whine, gripe, and otherwise kvetch about nursing, both as a profession and as a job, it's brought me blessings I never would have thought possible. Like the parents of an infant I took care of one rainy night some years ago. Their little one was sick with RSV and not doing well, despite oxygen and other supportive care, and it was looking like he might have to be intubated and Life Flighted to another hospital. Needless to say, his young mom and dad were terrified. It dawned on me that this might be the reason why I'd gone through an eerily similar (and frightening) situation with my own baby son years before---so I could give someone else the strength to get through it. Drawing on this experience, somehow I was able to help this couple stay calm and focus on keeping the baby calm as well, so his medications could do their work. Fast-forward ten years or so. I recently bumped into the couple at church one morning; they'd moved away for a few years, then returned at the end of the summer and began attending the 11 AM Mass. They recognized me right away and gave me bear hugs---literally in front of God and everyone. Then they introduced their sturdy fifth-grader to "the nurse that saved your life". Which I didn't, of course.....but to be remembered as such, a full decade after a single eight-hour night shift spent with this family, is an honor for which I'll always be grateful. Another great thing about what nurses do for a living is what I call the "a-HA!" solution---when we get to play detective and figure out what's bothering a patient, recommend a course of treatment to the physician, and it WORKS. I love it when these things happen! One of my favorite success stories is that of an elderly woman who had suffered daily episodes of blinding pain along the side of her face for twenty-three years; she'd been misdiagnosed with post-herpetic neuralgia and given narcotics for most of that time with little relief. It just so happened that my sister's best friend had just been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, and she experienced all of the same symptoms; however, once she started on gabapentin, she'd received a new lease on life. So I approached the woman's doctor with my suspicions, asked him to try her on the medication........and voila! Blinding pain completely gone within 48 hours, and the last time I saw her, it hadn't returned. Now, what other job gives one such an awesome opportunity to "make it all better"---and change a life for the better in the bargain? Then there are the economic benefits: most of us make better-than-average money, considering the median hourly wage in the U.S. these days hovers somewhere around $13-15 per hour. Trust me, I've been poor and not-so-poor, and not-so-poor is better. I'm proud that even with a two-year degree, I'm able to earn a solidly middle-class salary all by myself, and have been able to provide my family with a few of life's little niceties. We will never be wealthy, and even on my current income it's a struggle to keep our heads above water; but in this economy I'm very, very thankful that we've survived as well as we have. I think of it this way: if I were working as a department manager at Wally World, I wouldn't be any happier or less stressed than I am right now, and I wouldn't have the opportunities that nursing offers to make a difference every single day. And as corny as that sounds, it's what keeps me going long after every other reason to stay has crumbled into dust and blown away.
  13. Ashley Hay, BSN, RN

    Recognizing Your Nurses

    "To fully engage employees and make them feel like they want to push the company forward just like the CEO, they need to be recognized. Humans have this need to be recognized and when they are, they perform better." (Apfelbaum, 2015) Recognizing Staff I've never been in a management position, but I have had some great (and admittedly not so great) nurse leaders and managers over the years. While many management styles exist and several factors weigh in on what makes a great manager, staff acknowledgement is one major piece of the puzzle. It feels good to be recognized, to know your efforts are not going unnoticed - especially in a field like ours. We are always trying our best. And who doesn't like giving or getting a little gratitude? My current hospital and nurse leader are both exceptional in staff recognition. During my first few weeks on the job I was shocked to see all the activities and small gifts they had planned for nurses week. A luncheon, fun photo booths, gifts of pins, hospital logo bags, phone chargers, and a daily coffee/tea cart with snacks. I had to keep my jaw from touching the floor below me when the man pushing the coffee cart introduced himself to me as the CEO of our hospital. Impressive. And he didn't seem to mind the least bit when we asked for extra creamer. My nurse leader has far too many people to keep track of, but somehow she does it. She knows all of our names, our stories, our struggles and keeps it all straight. She and the nurse educator on the unit frequently team up to organize potlucks for various occasions and cancel staff meetings to allow for more time with family during the holidays. They have even dragged in a cooler full of gourmet ice pops to boost unit morale (a crowd favorite). Yes, there is such a thing a gourmet ice pops...who knew? They come around our unit and personally deliver handwritten cards for the winter holidays and also for nurses week. It may not seem like much to some but I was extremely grateful to be appreciated, especially after my last job where the phrase "thank you" was few and far between. Anticipating Unit Needs My nurse leader and nurse educator have a great open door policy. You can stop into their office anytime. They always seem to greet you warmly and make time for any issues that come up, despite how jam packed their day might be. They are frequently seen around the unit, but never in a micromanaging, hovering sense. No one cowers or hides (as I've seen on other units) upon their arrival. They are simply around for whatever you may need. Our manager and educator never hesitate to help on the floor when asked. They are quick to help cover lunches, hang chemo or grab a blanket for a patient. While our staffing has greatly improved over the last six months it was bad for a while. However, it would have been far worse if they were not willing to roll up their sleeves and help. Full disclosure, they were both floor nurses on this unit years ago, working their way up. So they know the demands of our busy outpatient unit well. Policies and procedures frequently change, but the ability to help your fellow nurse and grant a few patient requests should always be in well within your scope of practice. Being able to sense the needs of a poorly staffed unit and coming to assist is one of the biggest acknowledgements you can provide your nurses. It shows staff you are attune to their efforts and that you are not above helping to ease the overall flow and reduce stress levels. While this assistance can be difficult to provide in between your already busy work day, it certainly does not have to be a frequent occurrence. A little goes a long way. A lot of small tasks can be done with only five minutes to spare. This kind of availability can increase the trust between management and staff and can only help retain those who appreciate the extra effort. Recognizing Peers & Coworkers It sounds simple, but a quick affirmation to anyone you work with can make a huge impact and change their day. Taking a brief moment to thank someone for going the extra mile or showing support for a job well done can make those you work with feel incredibly appreciated. At my current position we can write each other 'kudos' cards. A stack of blank brightly colored index cards and a submission envelope are always available in the nursing lounge. Anyone from any area of the department can write or receive a 'kudos' card. At each monthly staff meeting the cards are read and each recipient is then able to pick a prize out of a basket put together by our nurse leader and educator. The best part is the prizes are actually something you might want: full size chocolate bars, lunch bags, fun post-it notes, bookmarks, etc. A small yet very meaningful ritual where gratitude is the main theme. I find the kudos cards especially helpful for those times where it's so busy that you may not have time to acknowledge someone in the moment but do not want their actions to go unnoticed. Sharing Ideas of Recognition There are so many creative ways to show your staff, peers and coworkers you care. Taking this time can change a coworkers outlook on a previously overwhelming day, change their mood, brighten their day and can also improve their future performance. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. What are the ways your units express gratitude and acknowledge staff? What are your ideas for new ways to maintain this culture of recognition? References: Apfelbaum, J. (2015, December 15). 10 Creative Ways To Recognize Your Employees. Retrieved from Forbes Welcome
  14. Lynda Lampert, RN

    50 Reasons for Nurses to be Thankful

    Sometimes it is difficult to be thankful in a profession so challenging and all-consuming, but as you can see, you have many reasons to be thankful for your job, despite those challenges. You care for people from birth to death in so many often traumatic circumstances. Yet, you do it with grace. You are very fortunate to be part of a career field with so many options. Many jobs do not have the flexibility or choices that you have and that is probably one of the best perks of your job. Feel free to add your own to the list. I only went as far as fifty, but I could have come up with fifty more. I'm interested in what other nurses are grateful for! Let's see how many more we can come up with! You get to make a difference in other people's lives. You get to wear scrubs, or what amounts to pajamas, to work. You know how to talk to doctors and make them listen. You cherish the time you get to spend with your family because you know life is precious. Your holidays off are the best times of the year, even if you know you have to work the next one. Your co-workers have your back during some of the worst times. Bodily fluids wash off with soap and water. You only have to work three days per week if you work 12s. Patients often tell funny stories. You're part of a community of nurses when you pass boards. You have many options open to you in your nursing career. You can always go back to school to become a more specialized nurse. Certifications in specialties make you a more valuable nurse, usually resulting in higher pay. You can share horror stories with nurse colleagues and laugh about them. You can call that cranky doctor in the middle of the night and ruin his sleep. You can save lives with quick action and critical thinking. Assertiveness training in nursing leads to assertiveness in other parts of your life. No matter how sick your kids get, you can deal with it. You can assess certain patients from the door with experience. If you are unhappy with your workplace, you can always find another job. Nurses who work holidays have potluck parties so everyone can have fun. You get the chance to decorate the unit for the holidays. With your cheerfulness, you can brighten the day of someone in the hospital for the holidays. When the census is low, you can get called off. As your seniority grows, you can become more in charge of the unit and its direction. You never have a dull day. Taking off your shoes at the end of a shift feels like heaven. If a patient passes away, you can clean them so the family sees them in peace. You can really develop a connection with patients and their families. DVRs and Netflix exist so that you don't miss great TV and movies because you're working. Gloves and protective gear are plentiful to protect from disease. You wash your hands so much that you are less likely to get sick. Hand sanitizer makes your shift flow so much easier. You can type as fast as lightning after so much charting. Despite your lack of muscles, you can lift surprisingly heavyweights. There is no need to wear makeup and do your nails for your shift. You know a hundred ways to save a life. One look at a list of lab results can tell you what's wrong with a patient. You can wear Crocs without any fashion backlash. If you get your clothes dirty, there are always more scrubs in the OR to change into. You get paid more than minimum wage -- though admittedly not nearly enough. You get to choose the needle gauge based on your patient's behavior. Stabbing people with needles is easy, convenient, and fun. IV pumps mean you don't have to count drips anymore. Plastic bedpans mean you can just throw away messes instead of trying to clean them. Disposable plastic syringes mean that you can throw away used needles. CPR, ACLS, and 911 exist to save lives that would otherwise be lost. You have your beloved brain sheets and refer to them constantly throughout the shift. You don't have to chart by hand anymore. Computers have reduced errors and saved many lives in the process.
  15. Damion Jenkins

    How to Bring Holiday Cheer to the Bedside

    Of course we will have days that bring on the normal stress of the job, however many of us may feel the struggle a bit more ourselves with being away from our families because holiday shift bidding didn’t go as planned. Even though it comes with the territory of being a nurse, it doesn’t make being away from our loved ones any easier. Therefore, it’s essential to make the best of our holiday shifts and bring our colleagues, patients and their families the warmth and joy of the season! Here are 3 easy steps to sprinkle in a bit of Holiday cheer at the bedside: STEP 1: Live in the Light of GRATITUDE Start each of your days off by giving thanks for all that you have. It’s easy to get used to all of the comforts and conveniences that we’ve worked our butts off to enjoy, but we should always be wise to give thanks for what we have that’s going right for us, rather than focusing on the negative. One easy way to do this is to consider the fact that we get to go home to our families at the end of our shifts, and that our patients in many cases cannot. We should also be grateful that we have the opportunity and capacity to provide service to our patients and their families during the holidays. Whether they say so or not, I know my services are very much appreciated and that makes me feel good. So when you’re feeling frustrated or feeling down because you are not with your family during your holiday shifts, just think about all the things you are grateful for and your spirits will sure to be lifted! STEP 2: Be Festive and Create Some FUN at Work Whether it be caroling on the unit, making holiday cards for your patients, or participating in a pot-luck lunches, be sure to join in on the festivities! We all know that organizing a pot-luck luncheon for staff in a healthcare facility can be a challenge, but when we finally get that chance to break free from patient care to grab a bite to eat – NOTHING is better than having a home cooked holiday meal! Also, be sure to involve your patients and their family members in holiday festivities as well. It’s really something special when you can take a few extra minutes out of your shift to do something so very meaningful for your patients. So instead of being a Grinch because you are stuck at work during the holidays – make sure you have a little fun by sharing in the Joy of the season! STEP 3: Spend MORE Quality Time with Your Patients and Their Families Nothing means more to a patient and their family than a nurse or nursing assistant who spends a lot of quality time with them. Patients often complain that they get to see their healthcare providers and nursing staff far less than they would like. In order to bring your patients and their families some of that Holiday Spirit, plan to spend a little more time with them. Engaging in conversation about their holiday traditions, about their family members, and even what they plan to do after they are discharged (if possible), will really help to brighten up their stay, and help to pass the time. It’s understandable that you’ll find yourself busy per the usual, but finding an extra 30 minutes or so per patient will mean the world to them! So if you find yourself working this holiday season, be sure to implement these three simple, yet effective ways to help bring holiday cheer to the bedside! Best Wishes and Happy Holidays!