Nurses, are you giving yourself enough credit?

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by Beth Hawkes, MSN, RN-BC, HACP

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 2.05.33 PMAre you giving yourself enough credit? For all you do, for all you’ve accomplished, for all you are? Chances are… you aren’t.

What’s funny is, you probably are giving enough well-deserved credit to others!

As an example of  giving others credit, consider my friend Tiffany’s story.

Tiffany works two jobs- one as a full-time staff RN, and one as a Charge Nurse (CN) every other weekend.

The staff RN job is in her hometown, and the CN job is three hundred miles away “up the road” as we say, in a facility that pays so well that she can’t quit the job. She drives up every other Thursday afternoon, checks into a motel, and works Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (twelve hour shifts).

Tiffany and her husband have four children. Their youngest is eleven, which means she has (last-minute) science projects due and exhibits pre-teen behaviors. 

Last week Tiffany was T-boned by a driver who ran a red light, which totaled Tiffany’s three month-old car.  She has bruises, but no major injuries. She took one day off work.

Tiffany is also half-way through an online Master’s program. She has an in-depth research paper on Nursing Quality Indicators due next Friday. Friday is also date night with her husband.

It’s easy to see that Tiffany deserves a lot of credit for all she’s doing and going through right now. I’m not telling her story because it’s extraordinary. Quite the contrary, Tiffany is an ordinary HUMAN who is living LIFE and experiencing STRESS- just like you. Except that the details are different.

You Deserve to Give Yourself More Credit

Give Yourself Credit!juggling What’s YOUR story?  

Fill in the blanks:

I’m a (choose all that apply: parent, wife, husband, partner, student, mother, sister, daughter, friend, etc.) Not being independently wealthy, I work at _________, around ______ hours a week. I also work at _________. I am the main caregiver for ______ (number of) people. In addition, I _________ and volunteer at _________.  I belong to a church, club, and  _________. I’m thinking of _________ in the future. My stress level is high because _________.  Today I have to _________, _________, and __________.

Chances are, your plate is piled high if not spilling over!

I remember going through nursing school with three small children as a single parent. I look back now and wonder “How on earth did I do that?”  I got up at five am, took my children to a pre-school babysitter, went to school or clinic, picked up the kids, took them to a evening babysitter, and went to work a 3-11 shift. At close to midnight, I picked up my sleeping children, drove them home, carried them in, and tucked them into bed.

Did I think what I was doing was exceptional? Not particularly. I was just doing what I needed to do. Others around me noticed and gave me credit. I was always puzzled by their comments, and discounted them. What else was I supposed to do, right? Read Nurse Beth’s Storand judge for yourself.

Doubting, Denying, Discounting, Comparing

One way we fail to give ourselves enough credit is by allowing negative self-talk.

“I lost 10 lbs. but I still look fat next to Brittney, Ashley, and Jennifer Lawrence.”  (comparing and discounting).

“I could never work and go to school like you do.” (doubting and comparing).

“I’m not creative, I can’t (do crafts, sew, paint, write).” (denying an essential part of your being!).

“I’m not special, anyone would do that!” *said after spending the evening with your bff who was just dumped by her boyfriend* (denying, discounting).

Negative self-talk is so automatic that you may not even be conscious of doing it. Try listening to the critic in your head who’s incessantly chattering away, and stop her. Instead of “I lost 7 lbs., but…”say:

 “I lost 7 lbs. !!”

Lower Your Expectations

Lower your expectations of yourself and others. Keep your standards high, but your self-imposed expectations low.

You will be happier and less disappointed in others and yourself.

Do the bedsheets have to be changed every week? Do I have to get the best grade in class? Expect the wait in your doctor’s office to be thirty minutes. When it turns out to be only twenty minutes, you’ll be happy for the ten minutes gained!

Forgive Yourself

Sometimes I binge on ice cream. I did just last night (chocolate marshmellow). And this morning I was impatient with Bryan, a coworker.

  • I’m human. I screw up from time to time.
  • I’m doing my best under the circumstances. I acknowledge and learn from my mistakes.
  • The ice cream event is in the rear-view window (for now), and I made amends to Bryan. I forgive myself.
  • I choose to celebrate my progress instead. Today my food choices have been healthy, I drank a lot of water, and I’ve been kind to everyone I’ve talked to. Yay! me!

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

You are:

  • More beautiful than you know
  • Smarter than you think
  • Stronger than you realize

Another thing for sure- you have a unique core gift. It’s what makes you…you! Do you know what it is? Read “What is Your Core Gift?” to find out.

You are simply amazing.

You are enough.

Have you learned to give yourself enough credit? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your experience and share with each other.

Beth Hawkes, MSN, RN-BC, HACP

Beth’s passion is nursing and helping new nurses!  Currently she serves as Med-Surg Educator in Staff Development, holds a graduate degree is in Nursing Administrationand, and blogs at and   Email Beth at

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2 Responses to Nurses, are you giving yourself enough credit?

  1. Elizabeth Scala says:

    Beth(s), GREAT article. With a capital G. I love this!

    We (nurses, women, human beings in general) often short-change ourselves on the credit. I use this example in my webinars all of the time. When we receive a compliment (the simplest form of receiving), do we actually allow ourselves to simply smile and say ‘thank you’? Not usually.

    Often we say something like, ‘Thanks, but…’

    Great inspiration. I love this post and I thank you for writing it and posting it here.

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      I so agree, Elizabeth and appreciate your wonderful feedback about Beth Hawkes’ post. It feels like important advise along with what you share in claiming our power and honoring our selves.

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