Do you ever feel like you are losing your love for nursing? Well here are a few tips to keep that passion ALIVE!
- Try not to think of your patients as their diseases, procedures or room numbers. Make the extra effort to learn (and use) their names. Hospitals can be dehumanizing enough without our adding to the problem.
- Remember your roots. Last week I heard a nursing student say, “I had the best day! I gave a shot and I cleaned up the same gentleman eight times.” When asked how this made for a great day, she said, “Well, he was pretty embarrassed about his medicine giving him diarrhea but I told him that happens to lots of people and convinced him not to feel bad about it.” She’s got the qualities of a great nurse.
- Offer grace. Nurses see people at their worst during very difficult circumstances. Overlooking grumpiness, showing patience with the confused in general, cutting our patients a little slack helps them enter the healing state and saves us aggravation too.
- Don’t mouth empty words. It’s unfair to your patients and bad for your conscience. Yes, I know it’s hard to say the same things to different patients day after day. Be inventive practice finding new ways to get information across.
- Treat everyone with respect. And, yes, I mean everyone. You may be the only one who does and it may make all the difference. The Bible says, “Dignify those who are down on their luck; you’ll feel good—that’s what GOD does” (Psalm 41:1, MSG).
- Nurse stories are the best. But, don’t use your patients as fodder for gossip or entertainment, even among yourselves. First, it’s illegal, what with HIPAA and all; second, it’s disrespectful to tell stories that show them at a disadvantage. Even though it’s hard, keep your lips sealed as a secret gift to the people you care for.
- Really see your patients. Look at their faces; notice their expressions and their demeanor. That slightly confused elderly gentleman giving the call button a workout may be a World War II veteran, once handsome and brave; while the well-dressed but jumpy Junior Leaguer may be fighting battles at home that you can’t imagine. You may never know their stories, but you can be sure they have one.
- Be present to your patients. Don’t hurry into their rooms on autopilot with a mental to-do list. Pay attention. Forget yourself. Take time to get “in the zone.”
- Listen to what your patients are and aren’t saying. Imagine yourself with “antennae quivering.” It’s rare for people to feel heard. Think of it as another gift you can give them.
- Support life in your patients. Give the best patient care. Work to put them in a place where healing happens. Be sensitive to their emotional state and try to match it, offering hope, kindness and, above all, truthfulness. When physical life wanes, offer comfort and support their spiritual life and loved ones.