There is no better feeling to a person with a strong helping nature than to take care of other people and make those lives a little brighter. In my own case, my nursing degree has allowed me to serve so many patients well and to really make a great difference in their lives. That being the case, the most incredible opportunity my nursing education has given me is to allow me to help and serve my own family in very special ways.
As a Registered Nurse working on a gynecological-urological medical/surgical floor, the two most precious people I ever nursed were my parents. That’s right! My own parents. Allow me to explain a little. Several years ago, my mom needed a bladder lift surgery and my father needed a T.U.R.P. surgery (transurethral resection of the prostate) for BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy). It just so happened that those were the exact type of patients that my floor took care of (among others)?! So when it came time for their surgeries, although I did not serve as their “official” nurse, I was able to re-assure them with education and translation of medical terms, stay with them (overnight) to ensure all of their needs were met by staff, advocate for them when they were too overwhelmed or in pain to do so for themselves and do lots of “nursy things” to really help their recoveries be successful! Two amazing experiences!!!
I would venture to guess that there are many of us who were drawn to nursing because of the nursing care we or a loved one received at a crucial time in life. So to be able to be there for our own families in nursing ways is especially precious! For the record, going through nursing school and getting my nursing license were two of the best moves I ever made in my life! Nursing makes for a fabulous and rewarding career!
All that being true, I’ve also learned along my nursing journey that it is IMPERATIVE that a nurse learns how to take care of themselves before, during and after their shifts! I bet you would agree that it really is true that you do your best work when you take good physical care of yourself by getting decent sleep, eating well, getting regular exercise and consciously taking time for yourself to rejuvenate…tell me where I’m wrong.
Of course, eating right and getting exercise (etc, etc) are the common and conventional ways that most nurses are told to rejuvenate. However, there are other ways too! Here are three more ways I recommend nursing students and experienced nurses alike also begin to help themselves rejuvenate:
1) Develop a compassionate mindset TOWARDS YOURSELF — you’re a giver, you have the best of intentions to help, and, sometimes, you can’t quite get the whole job done or done to your exact liking…make the patient safe and inform your co-workers…and then learn to let it go…you’ll get many chances along the way.
2) Develop a sense of intuition AND LEARN TO TRUST IT. This will help you navigate all kinds of scenarios…from tests at school to patient care to family issues to developing healthy boundaries. And, believe me, everyone will benefit!!! There are excellent books written on the subject of intuition so that might be a start. Or you can always talk things out with a trustworthy friend. Or you can ask for help from a supportive counselor. Those are all great ways to begin to trust your intuitive self. However, there’s another resource that you may not know about. In some cases, a life coach can help you develop your intuitive sense. In fact, utilizing a life coach is a very acceptable and valid way to reach just about any personal or professional goal that you set for yourself nowadays. Just look at Oprah’s website. Talk about popular and accepted?! And she has a whole group of life coaches for people to choose from on many subjects from home décor to writing coaches. As far as life coaching being a valid tool, how about having your own educational institution’s endorsement. Now that’s validation! Pacific College really cares about their nursing students because they have given me the opportunity to reach out to you and support your journey. Along with being a nurse, I am also a life coach Certified by the Martha Beck Institute, http://marthabeck.com/. I am a resource for you and I am here to assist you to empower yourself. In helping nurses to get right with their intuition and learn to trust themselves, I believe patients will benefit. It’s been my experience that we all have a navigation system…we just need to make friends with it!
3) Learn to give yourself LOTS OF PATS ON THE BACK when you’ve done a good job! One of the best things a helping professional can do is to learn to praise themselves when they do good! Looking for validation outside yourself is an unsure gamble. Looking for validation within your own value system, learning to have your own good standards and then meeting them, is the truest way to empower yourself in your career. And along those lines, learn to compare you to YOU…not you to others. For example: Perhaps last week most of your class was successful at starting I.V.’s but you struggled with it and didn’t get it. However, this week you try again and you get it on the first try! And let’s say that both scenarios are within your school’s timeframe. Why look at anyone else? If you compare yourself to yourself, you made great progress! Yay! And you succeeded in the timing that was right for you! Excellent!
These principles have been instrumental in my own nursing career. However, in some cases, they take some practice and permission to really begin doing regularly. So, I’m here to give you the green light! Compassion, Intuition and Praise make for really good rejuvenation habits…and, in the end, it’s a WIN/WIN for your patients too!
With much gratitude,