Nursing is a tough and turbulent job, especially when taking care of the critically-ill.
The cumulative effects of what you see, do, and confront in the workplace can wear you thin, make you sad, drain your enthusiasm, and cripple your ability to live up to your caregiving potential. You spend your days responding to potentially life-threatening problems, making complex assessments, administering intense therapies and interventions, and vigilantly monitoring patients to ensure quality care. Add co-worker conflicts, medication mix-ups, and patient falls to your shift and there you have it: your definition of a perfectly miserable day.
While a few days on a tropical island might help restore your health and inner-peace, escapism does not help you cope with the realities of your job. Instead, consider another option—motivational quotes. These poignant sayings can lift you out of your funk and help you stay centered and strong when the events of the day hand you the worst. Here are a few to help you get by.
“Make sure your worst enemy is not living between your two ears.”— Anonymous
Filling your head with blame, shame, and self-doubt when a patient does not respond well under your care is self-destructive. The fact is hospitals are sickly places where the human condition of pain and death are, ironically, part of life. No matter how carefully and skillfully you do your job, uncontrollable circumstances in the workplace continually expose you to sad, unforeseeable, and inevitable patient outcomes. Accept this truth as an emotional burden every caregiver struggles with and take a stand against self-loathing. The next time the voice inside your head devalues your self-esteem, shoo it away and tell yourself “your best was good enough.”
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win—no matter what the outcome.”—Patch Adams
Intense efforts to eradicate a patient’s disease can often supersede a caregiver’s show of compassion. Life-saving strategies that ignore a patient’s emotional needs do not improve (and can sometimes worsen) treatment outcomes. On the contrary, connecting with your patients is the best medicine you can give. Every chance you get, try to ease their feelings of grief and helplessness. Acknowledge their pain, offer a gentle touch, and encourage them to share memories. Be truthful, be kind–see them for who they are. While you might not be able to cure their illness, the emotional comfort you provide promises to lighten their hearts and brighten their day–which can make your day a bit brighter, too.
“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” —Deepak Chopra
Homeostasis in a previously unstable patient is good. Homeostasis related to your negative feelings in the workplace is not. Granted, some pretty unfortunate stuff happens on the job: you make mistakes, elderly patients lash out or go missing, your workload doubles due to staffing shortages, patients die, you get injured, an attending physician degrades you, and the list goes on.
Instances like these can tempt even the best of us to openly break down, rant aloud, or run and hide—all of which are seen as unprofessional and self-destructive behaviors. If one of these coping methods has become your modus operandi when something bad happens in the workplace, break the pattern. Instead, look at adversity as a challenge: study the situation, determine what went wrong (and own your part in it), apply problem-solving skills to fix what you can, and identify strategies to prevent a recurrence in the future. These steps will empower you to move forward, grow, and live up to your potential.
“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” — Unknown Originator
Nursing exposes us to hardships. The job is a proverbial rollercoaster ride. However, rather than focus on the sad, exhausting, or difficult aspects of the job, be mindful of all the good that happens as a result of your actions. Celebrate the life you saved or brought into the world, the calming effect you had on a frightened patient, bonding with co-workers, a lifetime of learning, and so on. Essentially, accept the bad and embrace the good that comes with it. Finding the positive amidst the negative keeps life sweet.
To get more advice on topics of interest to the nursing profession, rely on BOS Medical. Whether you are looking for tips on how to handle challenges in the workplace or want to pursue your career options, our nursing and healthcare staffing recruiters go above and beyond to match each of our candidates to the right job. Contact BOS Medical today to find your next opportunity.