Written by Guest Blogger and Spiritual Practical Nurse, Elizabeth Scala
Healthcare has gone, and will continue to go through, major shifts.
Political policy, economic environments, and the rise of technology could paint us this picture of healthcare as a big, money making business. The motivation to increase profits can potentially take out the love and genuine nature of what nursing represents.
On one hand, this landscape appears bleak. On another, we might see it as an opportunity.
In my line of work, I see so much stress coming at us nurses from every angle; I was thinking I’d opt for option two. We are at a crossroads and the path I choose to take is one in which we as nurses can rise above the stress when you may have lost hope, even worse, when you want to give up. Who’s with me?
What I’d like to offer in this article is a fresh, new perspective. This requires some out-of-the box thinking, but in the words of my teachers, Lissa Rankin and Rachel Naomi Remen- “Life is what happens outside of the box”.
The challenges touched on above are often beyond the individual nurse’s control. And this feeling of ‘lack of control’ is one of the reasons beneath the reasons for stress.
I was actually in a meeting a couple of weeks ago with some of the major leadership players on well-being at my workplace. A question was posed, as we tried to wrap up the conversation and nail down the key take-away points, “What is the one thing we could focus on to help our nurses? The one thing they struggle with?”
Stress. At first, that was the unanimous response.
I, with dozens of years less experience than any and the youngest in the room, timidly spoke up. And am glad that I did. My viewpoint: yes, stress is a major challenge. And there are things that are happening even beneath the stress. The underlying issues, so to speak.
So as I said above, the lack of control is one. Feeling as though we don’t have a voice can be another. Being unable to work up to our degrees and actually provide quality nursing care might still be an example.
In fact, I could go on and on.
This awareness that there are issues beneath the issues is what has sparked me to embark on my journey of bringing out the nurse within.
In today’s post, I’d like to share with you two techniques you might try to reconnect with your nurse within:
- Focus the Energy: It may be hard to do at first, especially with all of the challenges we’ve discussed above, but the best thing you can do in any and all situations is to focus on the positive. Sure you may have a lot of computerized work to do, but it’s so much more legible than those old handwritten notes we used to receive. OK so maybe the staffing isn’t great for the day, but you’re helping people heal. As Carl Jung put it: “What we resist, persists.” Where you place your energy, effort and attention will only grow in strength. Focus on all of the good you do at work, the joy you bring to others and the love you have of your role- this will bring you more good to be grateful for.
- Mindfulness Matters: Take up a mindfulness practice outside of work or class. A daily routine of going inward while you’re not engrossed with study or job will help you when the chaos of a nursing day lands on your shoulders. It’s hard to focus on being present in the moment when you’re just that busy. So a way to be better at concentrated attention is to take up a daily mindfulness practice like meditation, body scanning, Tai Chi, Reiki or Yoga.
There are many more ways to invite the nurse within. I encourage you to simply open up to the possibility and practice. The negativity, the stress, everything we encounter- it can become overwhelmingly exhausting. If we let it.
Focus on what you can control. Connect with the relationships that lift you up. Notice where you feel pride, gratitude and joy. Nursing truly is a beautiful blend of art and science; now allow the practice to flow from inside of you.
About the Author: Spiritual Practice Nurse Elizabeth Scala is on a mission to transform the profession of nursing from the inside out. Individuals typically enter nursing with a desire to provide compassionate, heart-based care. Challenged by regulations, financial pressures and technological advancements, today’s nurse struggles to balance the art with the science of nursing. As a speaker, trainer, facilitator and author, Elizabeth inspires nursing teams to reconnect with the passionate and fulfilling joy that once called them to their career. To find out more about Elizabeth Scala, please go to http://www.elizabethscala.com. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ElizabethScala, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn and You Tube and check out her latest book, Back to the Basics: A Nurse’s Pocket Guide to Self-Care.