My primary point in this blogpost is to suggest that the best human beings have to offer any goal or initiative will arise in part out of respect for self and others. I’ll try to articulate this more in words, but you might prefer to watch this video of starlings!
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Isn’t it amazing how responsive and flowing they are? How they don’t bump into each other? How they are all participating? Who is leading? Who is following? In my mind, this fluid interconnectedness relates to the art of nursing and how we navigate change. Individually and together.
If you are a nurse, you know that everything is changing almost all the time. Patient’s statuses are changing by the minute, there are new orders for patient care by the hour, there is new technology, treatments, and data every day, staff are coming and going, alarms are going off, and changes in organizational policies, protocols, and initiatives every week.
As a nurse, you are a change agent and have both daunting responsibilities and exciting opportunities to ensure that patients are getting the safest, most cost-effective, compassionate, and high quality care all the time. Your own health is very important to this process as is that of your team-mates and the organizations your working in and for.
What does respect for self and others have to do with navigating change?
Everything! We have to weave in and out of leadership and followership roles while bringing our best selves forward and encouraging others to do the same…not be the same, but be their best while honoring our own and others’ limitations. We’re adapting and flexing, in the moment, together as we navigate each hour of each shift. We are individuals and members of teams and complex adaptive systems. This means that both self and other are vital. For starlings, respect might translate into don’t get too close or too far away from your neighbors, head in roughly the same direction, try to go about the same speed as those nearby. But what does respect in humans look like?
Respecting yourself means you:
- Are in touch with your feelings and honor them, e.g. it is ok to feel tired, confident, worried, curious, etc
- Know that saying “No” can be healthy for you, your patients, colleagues, teams, and organizations.
- Value your ideas, knowledge, and experiences and don’t hesitate to make suggestions for solving problems or new ways of doing things
- Know it is ok to ask for help or say you don’t know something and that you deserve to get help or more training
- Can take in constructive feedback and learn from it graciously and with your head held up high whether you agree with it or not.
Respecting others means you:
- Are aware that others are experiencing the world differently and just as validly as you are and that they may be feeling e.g. tired, confident, worried, curious, etc.
- Are curious about what others’ limitations are without judgement.
- Value and consider other people’s ideas for problem solving or new ways of doing things including those of patients, families, colleagues, leaders, and followers
- Accept that others will know things you don’t and be grateful for and open to diversity
- Offer constructive feedback to others in kindness and without an agenda about what they will do with it
This blogpost is part of a Blog Carnival with a focus on the “Art of Nursing”. Read what leading nurse bloggers are saying about this topic.