How to Thrive as a Nurse! 10 Steps to Ensure a Long-term & Rewarding Career

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I saw aConversation post on Facebook recently on how to survive nursing.  Survival means that nurse is hanging onto the edge every day she or he works in an environment that takes every bit of energy to get through the day.  To me, if that was how I felt about a job, I would be looking for another quickly.  Instead of focusing on surviving, I felt that I needed to give information on how to thrive as a nurse.  However, it needs to start before someone begins one of the most awesome professions in the world.  I came up with this list and others may want to add more but this is my list.

How to thrive as a nurse:

1.  Know you want to be a nurse before seeking education/licensure.

2.  Know who you are, what your stress triggers are, and how your buttons get pushed.

3.  Know the patient population you want to work with and that there is other employment opportunities beside hospitals.

4.  Know how to care for yourself – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No one else will.

5.  Know you are NOT perfect. You cannot save everyone or control any other person except yourself. And, we all work to the best of our knowledge, skills, and abilities.   We are nurses who care.

6. Know that your professional life is intertwined with your personal life and a balance needs to be maintained in order to be your best.

7. Know that nursing is a lifetime of learning, hard physical labor, and the most rewarding career a man or woman can live through but…

8. Know when to ask for help for yourself, your patient, your unit, or your family. Knowing your limits and boundaries are a good thing. If you try to be all for everyone in your life, you will become a crispy critter and no longer enjoy your job or your life.

9. Know when to quit a toxic organization that blames the individual, adversely disciplines them rather than acknowledge system failure by not providing the time, tools, and support to do the job.

10. Know you do make a difference and your care has meaning to yourself, your patient, or the community where you provide service. You deserve a physically and psychologically SAFE workplace.

There is one more thing I would say to those individuals aspiring to be the best nurse possible for their patients.  Don’t silence yourself but learn to talk confidently about the changes needed to evolve your work environment into a place you want to go to every day, where you see your patients survive and begin to thrive because your care had meaning to them and you have the time, tools, and social support to provide it.  Violence, unpaid labor, injuries are not part of the job of healthcare.  Let’s work to create the change we want to see in our organizations and community.

 

Peggy Berry is a master’s prepared nurse with over 25 years of healthcare experience. Currently, she is a PhD candidate with the University of Cincinnati and consultant in occupational health and environmental health. She is studying workplace bullying in healthcare with her dissertation focus on what nurses do to work through, cope, and support each other when bullying occurs. She is certified as a Senior Human Resource Professional and a Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist. She has presented programs on benchmarking in occupational health, migraines in the workplace, on pandemic preparedness, communicable diseases, and workplace violence.  Peggy has volunteered her time as an examiner with the Baldrige National Quality Program and Ohio Partnership for Excellence and as a volunteer with the Dayton Chapter of the American

Red Cross as a Disaster Health Services and Emergency Services. Peggy is the current president of the Ohio Association of Occupational Health Nurses and a national director with AAOHN.

Peggy Ann Berry, RN, MSN, COHN-S, SPHR

paberryrn@msn.com

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/peggy-berry-msn-rn-cohn-s-sphr/8/989/904

 

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6 Responses to How to Thrive as a Nurse! 10 Steps to Ensure a Long-term & Rewarding Career

  1. Pingback: Meet Peggy Berry, PhD Candidate & Occupational Health and Environmental Health Consultant! (Not to mention 1970s Hippie and Confident Voices Guestblogger)

  2. Pingback: Meet Peggy Berry, PhD Candidate & Occupational Health/Environmental Health Consultant! (Not to mention 1970s Hippie and Confident Voices Guestblogger)

  3. Terence Singleton says:

    I innovate in Back Pain devices, and my objective is to bring Nursing care back in to Back Pain treatment, such expertise was lost when Therapy became the ‘Thing,’and they ring fenced the treatment for themselves.
    We can Nurse sciatic pain patients out of pain in 45 minutes, and in doing so elevate the standing of our Nurses in the Medical Profession. I think what you are doing is brilliant in identifying the problems facing our Nurses.
    It is just a thought, why don’t Nurse wear arm band heart rate monitors to show colleagues they are in stress and need assistance. why not use them in one of your sessions Kind Regards Terry

    • Hi Terry,
      Thanks for your comment. Please consider writing more about your thoughts. Either here or as a guest blogger. (It can’t be an ad although you are welcome to link to services provided some take-home info is in your piee) My immediate reactions are mixed. Back and other musculoskeletal injuries are a huge problem for us. The work itself is heavy, but we often lack staff, equipment, an a team culture that includes assertiveness and responsivity. (Translation: “I need help giving this patient a boost in bed!” “Ok, I’ll be right there!”) I, personally would not want another monitor as we are already overwhelmed by them. (See youtube on Interruption Awareness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGK9_CkhRNw) However, I do think raising awareness about how much stress we are under is a great idea so maybe some more dialogue around your idea. Btw, “Medical Improv” is a great way to build assertiveness: Check out 8/13//13 google + event http://bit.ly/1aLt5XU
      Beth
      Beth@bethboynton.com

  4. Peggy Berry says:

    4. Know how to care for yourself – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No one else will.

    We are responsible for taking care of ourselves so we need to know (just as what triggers are emotional responses) what helps us to care for ourselves in all quadrants of our lives. Your kids don’t take care of that, nor your spouse or significant other. You are responsible for that. I actually find that singing and whistling help relieve my stress, strange as that sounds, singing is a stress buster for me. Whistling before I go to a speaking engagement calms my nerves as well as positive thoughts.

    5. Know you are NOT perfect. You cannot save everyone or control any other person except yourself. And, we all work to the best of our knowledge, skills, and abilities. We are nurses who care.

    As a nurse and a human being, you can not be perfect at everything. You can be an expert in a couple of things, learn to convert a heart rhythm first time, every time. But being all knowing, all perfect, nope. We do care as nurses. We work to the best of our knowledge, skill, and ability but to be human means we are not perfect and we can’t control everything.

    I hope that helped clarify it. Have a great week!

  5. engel says:

    elaborate point 4&5. thank u for the

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