As 2015 comes to an end, I can’t help but smile and feel empowered by the events that took place amongst all of the nurses in the world this past September! One beautiful and courageous woman, Kelly Johnson, stood up in front of a giant crowd on National Television to reveal her talent, of “being a nurse” in the 2015 Miss America Pageant. Little did she know the backlash she would receive from such a bold statement that only us nurses and a few others would truly understand! What we nurses thought/knew was the most amazing and best talent of the competition, many didn’t “get it”. It was viewed as a cop-out, and a joke. After the competition was all said and done, naturally daytime television pounced on the opportunity to critique the pageant. Little did we know that Miss Colorado was going to be “all the talk!” “She was wearing a doctors stethoscope, what was she thinking?” one daytime host stated. “Nursing isn’t a talent, it a job like everyone elses!” from another…..UMMM HOLD THE PHONE, YALL!?! Let me just go dust my guns off!!…..Those are the words, thoughts, and feelings that every nurse in the world felt that day when that big statement was made on a nationally broadcasted morning talk show, regarding the talent from Miss Colorado! This led to a world wide nursing social media uproar, empowering and uniting nurses all in a way that has never happened before! The facebook group “ Show Me Your Stethoscope” was created by a nurse, Janie Harvey ( the name in a response to the “doctors stethoscope” comment) and now has a whopping 700,000+ people in the group! This year has been a YEAR FOR NURSES to say the least, and it is my heart and goal to keep this excitement and passion flowing for 2016! We all know good and well that nursing is the one of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally draining professions out there! As crazy and hard as it can get, the profession holds some of the most beautiful and TALENTED individuals in the world! As the New Year rolls around, I want to help uphold the values of this profession and strengthen the talent it takes to be a nurse! I want to help yall make some nursing resolutions/goals for yourself this year, both personally and professionally!
I was raised in a household with parents that were two of the most loving and outgoing people I know. My parents both have hearts of gold, but I definitely see a lot of my mom in myself! She always has had such a huge heart for people, and giving when she didn’t have much to give! One thing that has always stuck out to me was her ATTITUDE. She has always had such a good attitude about everything in life. The financial hardships our family endured, her marriage, personal health, her kids being sick, and the list goes on. As I’ve gotten older, I realized that my mom has worked the same insurance desk job for 30 plus years now. This woman is not one to just “sit around.” She’s always cleaning, working out, cooking…..SOMETHING all the time. So for someone to sit at a desk all day long and answer phones on a computer, you’d think she’d be miserable?! Well guess what……I have never heard my mom complain once about hating her job! Yes, work is work, but it is what we make of it no matter how ideal the position. My mom’s job could potentially be the worst job ever for her considering she’s been doing the same thing for 30 years and sitting behind a desk. She CHOOSES every day to get up, have a smile on her face, do her job, and do it well! With a POSTIVE attitude! She invests in her co-workers, and tries to make a difference in the little ways every week! I have adopted this same attitude in my position as a registered nurse! I am encouraged by her and I want to encourage you! Your attitude is a choice. No nursing position is ideal. Work is work now matter what you are doing! We’re all trying to make a living and take care of ourselves and our family. But we don’t have to hate our jobs, right? Nursing is actually and really unique and awesome profession! We have to make a conscious decision to get up and choose a good attitude! It’s not easy. Especially when you aren’t on the floor you like, or your co-workers are difficult people. I get it. But your job is what YOU make of it. Having a positive attitude is a game changer. When I say it’s a choice, I mean it! We all have it in us to choose positivity. I challenge you this coming year, to CHOOSE your attitude wisely. Practice for a week, capturing your negative thoughts and rebuking them with a positive one. See the glass half full. Take a deep breath when that incessant call bell rings. Have grace for that new nurse, and lend a hand. I promise, it will make a world of difference for not only your heart and spirit, but for how people react around you! BE POSITIVE!
When people think of creativity, they like to think of arts and crafts, pinterest, hot glue guns, scrap booking etc. Creativity is really the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. In nursing, it’s the ability to add your own personal touch to what you do on a daily basis in the workplace. Some of you may be gifted with music! Music is HUGE in my book when it comes to healing! Stoping to ask a patient in distress if you can sing them a song or play their favorite artist on your phone for a few minutes, can literally turn their mood around! Some of you are super artsy, love to draw, paint and color! Carrying an adult coloring book (like 5$ at Target) in your locker and making copies for patients to color to help pass time can take their minds off things and can make for an amazing intervention! Just keep some colors pencils on hand and sanitize them after! Patients LOVE it! Some of you may not have the artsy gene, and be more right brain dominant! You Type-A organizers can make a difference too with your gifts! You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to just go in a room and clean off a bedside table! Those things get to the point where they should be cultured…GROSS! These little rooms can get so messy and disorganized. That can make the patients feel that way too, and when they are sick they can’t even take care of themselves! Take the time to tidy up the room while you’re in there. I’m not talking about calling Mr. Clean and doing hours, just tidying up. It makes for a more therapeutic atmosphere. When you are able to incorporate you own personal creativity (and gifts) into your profession, it makes for a more fulfilling and satisfying experience! I challenge you to be more creative with your nursing! Think outside of the nursing box and have fun! It’s in you!
3. Be a Team Player
Some of you may be just getting into nursing, finishing up your first year, or have been a nurse for 20+ years. No matter where you’re at in your career, team work is never going to change! It is one of the BIGGEST assets in nursing, and the most important in my book! One of my biggest pet peeves is when a I hear a bed alarm go off and a nurse says “That’s not my patient!” WHATTTT!!?! Are you kidding me!? These patients are ALL of our patients! Yes, we are specifically in charge of 4-5 individuals, but there is no way a nurse can be in every room at once playing super hero! We have to have each others backs! If a bed alarm goes off, everyone goes to it! If a patient that isn’t yours needs to use the bathroom and catches you as you’re passing in the hall, you go help them. You can call the nurse and ask if its okay to get that patient up and to the bathroom. This job is WAY too hard and laboring for all of us to count on ourselves, and ourselves only to get through the day. You will find that many nurses have this “that’s not my patient” attitude. DON’T BE THAT NURSE! Be different! Be the team player! When you begin to do favors for your co-workers, and keep a positive attitude about it, it fosters an environment that is therapeutic, helpful, and POSITIVE! Just as much as people feed off negativity, they see the difference in your positive team playing approach, and want to be helpful in return. I’m not saying neglect your patients and go take care of others, but I AM saying BE HELPFUL! If you can’t get to that patient that isn’t yours, call the tech or get someone else to help. It will mean a lot to the patient and the attending nurse! Also, if your tech is caught up in another room bathing a patient, don’t call them! You know they can’t get there. And nothing is more stressful than bathing a total care patient and getting a call that someone has to go to the bathroom ( I was a tech for 3 years before nursing school)! Go to your patient! WE ARE SO BUSY! I get it! Sometimes we don’t take lunch or pee in 12 hours….I get it!! Not only will your tech appreciate you and respect you, your patients take note of how nurses are always pawning off the dirty work! Those patients know wiping their dirty buts and cleaning up urine isn’t the coolest task in the world! But they remember that YOU took care of them and YOU did that dirty work. And most of them are quite thankful and in a weird way, it makes your heart feel good doing those things. Go out of your way to be more helpful this year! Secretly “adopt” a new nurse and be a set of wings for them in those hard times. Practice being a team player at least once a shift! It’s never going to be convenient, you will be exhausted at the end of the day, but it will make a difference for everyone!
I can’t say this enough! Practice smiling!! I understand that sometimes that is hard to do after receiving report on 5 pateints, 2 in which sounded like they jumped off the Hot-Mess-Express and landed on your floor! I get it! You can choose to start your day off crappy and complain about it, or you can realize that we all get poop assignments here and there. Thats the profession for ya! You’re not being punished! The report you receive doesn’t always indicate what the patient is going to be like for you or how they really are! You’d be surprised how patients respond differently to certain personality types. The best thing you can do is smile, go in the room, introduce yourself, and let the patient know you’re here for them and we’ll get through today! Every workplace has the Negative-Nancy’s! Blast those B’s with your pearly whites! Kill them with kindness. Be an example. Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do about those people. You may be one of those people like I was at one point! I was in a dark hole at my old position and someone called me out for being grumpier than usual. It hurt me to know my smile wasn’t shining! Just keep smiling and practicing those positive attitudes! I can think of a handful of nurses that need a come-to-Jesus-meeting because of their attitudes. Well I can’t do that 🙂 What I do is continue to lend a hand, be helpful to them, and keep smiling.
5. Take Care of YOU!
Lastly, I need you to commit to taking care of YOU! That may look differently for everyone! Our week to week is absolutely crazy! Contrary to what people think, our 12 hours shifts are really 13-14 hour shifts, and we spend 2 of our 4 days off catching up on rest and sleep! I sometimes want to scream when someone says, “ well you only work 3 days a week!” Yes! I work 3 days a week, 14 hours on my feet, scooping things in jars and doing things to people that you wouldn’t do for a million dollars!!! The point I’m getting at is our days are long and hard. We need to take care of ourselves on our days off. For me, its getting my pedicure every two weeks! I like to give my feet the TLC that they deserve. I also love crafting! I need you guys to find something that brings you joy and happiness outside of the work place. Pick up a new hobby. I’ve always wanted to play the Mandolin….I’ve got the guitar….but yes, maybe the mandolin this year. Whatever you do, let it relieve your stress! Go find a quaint coffee house and read a good book…ALONE! Get one of those fancy lattes. It’s okay to splurge for your spiritual health. Dr. Oz says we must exercise an hour a day for it to make a difference. Well nurse Kelsey says that if you just get off your butt to walk around the block when your used to just sitting around, that works for me! Just take care of YOU so you can keep giving of YOU! 🙂
Wrapping this up, I want yall to know my heart in this all. We truly have the ability to make a difference in the life of our patients and our fellow nurses! If you are struggling in your nursing, questioning your career, or are just in a hole like I was, I challenge you to make and implement these resolutions/goals above! I really believe it can be a game changer! And if you are contemplating going into nursing….DO IT! As I’ve always said, It’s the hardest best job in the world! Take care of those hearts physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I wish everyone the best 2016 and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Your heart is mine!