Do Leaders Know How & Why to Encourage Self Help for Healthcare Professionals?

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by Nurse Coach Elizabeth Scala of Living Sublime Wellness:  Health & Wellness Coaching & Rejuvenation Collaboration

Please let your staff, colleagues and leaders know about Rejuvenation Collaboration IV Coming this October! This exciting “Self Care” virtual retreat is designed for busy healthcare professionals!  The next RejuveNation Collaboration – the RCIV – begins on October 21st.

That is the “How” and here is the “Why”!

Picture the following scenario: You come into work and receive your assignment. You notice that your patient load for the day is pretty “heavy”… 2 total care patients, 1 isolation, a patient with a Trach, and a transfer to a sub-acute rehab center scheduled for early this morning.  You think to yourself, “Well, I am ready for the day. I can do this. I am a good nurse and am very organized… I will be just fine”.

Our Colleague, Beth Boynton RN, MS BEFORE Shift

You get the transfer off the unit, but it takes a bit longer than you planned. You are running late on two of your patients AM medications. A family member for your patient in 309B stops you in the hall to ask questions about the isolation signs and precautions.

Now you are running to the medication station, trying to get things organized, trying to get back on track. Things are slowly starting to unravel. Afternoon labs are coming through and you still need to get in to assess 3 of your patients…

As you are running through the halls, the charge nurse walks by asking if you need some help. “No, I’m fine I just have to do x, y, and z…”

Later in the medication room one of your colleagues asks if they can do anything for you. “I’m ok. I’ve got it. Thank you, though…”

Ok. STOP. What is going on here? Anyone reading this vignette can clearly see that this nurse needs help. But put those same people in a similar situation and guess what… most of us would do the same exact thing.

I know because I have been there. I have been working a shift, falling behind, feeling resentful towards my team, getting frustrated with myself- and all the while repeating to myself “I am fine. I can do this by myself. I don’t need any help.”

Nursing, as a profession, is notorious for giving, giving, giving. We give to our patients, their families, and our staff. Then we go home and give to our own families, our friends, neighborhoods, and communities. We want to provide the best care, excel in our roles, provide comfort/satisfaction/safety, and -well basically- leave each day feeling as though we did a job well done.

Beth AFTER Shift

However all of this giving does come with a price and self care is safe care.

Let’s pause to look at nature for a moment. Most things balance themselves out. Day balances with night, hot balances with cold, or sleep balances with time awake. Each system in our experience can be observed as a coin with two sides. So this “giving” we do as nurses can really be viewed in the same light.

Giving is balanced with receiving. Being able to receive for ourselves keeps us able to productively and effectively give. In fact, being able to receive makes us so much better able to give, in every single way.

So, what is one way we might practice more receiving in our lives? While I have many techniques, tools, and tips I will share one of the easiest here.

Observe this interaction:

Mary: “Kathy, I LOVE your outfit!!”

Kathy: “Oh really? I just threw something on today…”

Mary: “Well, you look fabulous. That top is just a great color for you!”

Kathy: “You must need glasses; this top is so old. I don’t even know if it matches with this skirt…”

Mary: “You’re crazy. You look fantastic. I wish I could look that good.”

Kathy: “Oh well, let’s get going… I’m late for work…”

Are you like Kathy in this conversation? Do you brush off compliments, change the subject, or avoid responding when someone says something nice to you? Is it difficult for you to believe that someone really does like you, your personality, or your gifts and talents?

In order to bring some balance to your giving-receiving relationship, start with this very simple technique first and foremost. Accept a compliment.

When someone says something kind to you or about you, simply say “Thank-you”. Just pause, hear it, receive it and accept it. Thank the person and do not say another word. Can you try that?

Elizabeth Scala, RN

Once you are able to receive in this very small and simple way, then you will find it easier to receive the helping hand at work, at home, or with friends. Practice with the little things first to strengthen your receptivity muscles.

Elizabeth “Coach” Scala, MSN/MBA, RN is passionate about helping healthcare professionals, nurses in particular, to embody holistic living and embrace self-care. Through her business, Living Sublime Wellness, she writes regularly on the topic of self-care, conducts a free, monthly wellness workshop, and offers both in person and online seminars for busy nurses.  Visit Elizabeth at and subscribe to her newsletter to receive your 3-Part Video Series Gift, “Here’s Time for Your Health”!

Rejuvenation Collaboration is a bi-annual, webinar series choc-full of strategies, tools, and resources to help you nurses practice better self-care.
The host, Elizabeth Scala – herself a nurse and wellness coach – has assembled nine fabulous presenters with specific knowledge and expertise to leave you Feeling energized and refocused, with renewed dedication to your personal and professional goals and ready to make more time for the relaxing, fun activities that leave you fulfilled.  You’ll also find yourselves armed with a variety of supports for continued accountability and lasting success.
To date, the series has served over 350 participants worldwide and, you’ll be pleased to know, that the Collaboration has been approved by the Maryland Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.


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5 Responses to Do Leaders Know How & Why to Encourage Self Help for Healthcare Professionals?

  1. Shari Ettinger says:

    Great post Beth! I met you at the NNBA Conference in 2012 and look forward to your presentation on RCVI!


    P.S. I learned lots from your book, “Confident Voices”, thank you!

  2. Great post, Beth.
    Every time I see your before and after shift photos, I laugh out loud. But then I catch myself, it actually isn’t that funny since it is the environment many of us live in.

    Thank you for allowing me to guest post and for the share and support of the RCIV! It really is going to be an awesome event!


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