National Nurses Week is upon us for the year 2016. As we make plans to recognize and celebrate our profession and hard work, it has prompted me to reflect on how we can improve, how we can lift the profession of nursing higher.
One question nags at me. Are nurses forgiving people? Do we, as a collective whole, possess charitable spirits?
It’s no secret nurses eat their young. It appears as if we’ve all accepted this as some statement of fact instead of looking for ways to change it! New graduates are belittled and humiliated after arriving to orientation for a new job, pride in their accomplishments quickly trampled underfoot and tossed aside.
We’ll reach out and help patients in need, but apparently let our own colleagues drown when guidance and support is needed.
Getting Rid of a Fault-Finding Nature
We look for all the tasks as night nurses that day shifters never completed-because they just sit around all day, right? Day shift, in turn, looks for how many items were missed by night shift, neither taking the opportunity to realize how much was accomplished. Neither shift chooses to see the hardships the staff suffered, for whatever reason, and being thankful for the work they managed to complete.
Neither professional chooses to recognize the difficulties of working both shifts! It’s like we’re from two different political parties instead of being members of the same relay team who will always be continuously passing the baton to the next runner on the next shift!
Your attitude is easily explained, you follow behind a slacker at work. I realize not all nurses pull their weight. I’m talking about the mentality of a nurse, in general, to look to be critical first. We are fault-finding by nature and it’s my opinion that to lift our profession higher, we must shift this focus to one of forgiveness and gratitude.
It’s not about blame. It’s about unity. It’s not about condemning. It’s about offering kindness and forgiveness.
Why do we hold our fellow nurses to the impossible task each shift of perfection? I must admit, I have always felt saddened and shame to be associated with a profession that crushes the self-worth of another. It overshadows the pride I feel as a nurse, because it’s always there, the dirty little secret in nursing.
We walk around wearing a Fitbit while challenging friends to step up, get in shape, and work harder- why do we not challenge each other to forgive and let appreciation pave the way to improved working conditions? Why can’t grace and gratitude be the new buzz words in nursing?
The Free Gift of Kindness
I am a person of faith and I believe in the power of prayer, the power of forgiveness and the power of gratitude to change a life, to change a profession. You do not have to be a person of faith to choose the free gift of kindness. Some nurses truly are embracing this- trying to make a difference. Many others, countless others, are not. They choose grumbling, fault-finding and belittling- dragging our profession right along with them. Dare I say that a lack of gratitude and forgiveness as a nursing professional is directly related to who you are as a person?
Salary, improved ratios, balanced acuities, corporate changes… there are so many improvements needed. It’s not a simple fix. But sometimes, an obvious and glaring solution stares us right in the face and yet we continue to go the way it has always been. It’s also no secret that nurses do not like change! We get comfortable with status quo. We can’t afford to be comfortable about being heartless to each other any longer.
As we celebrate a much deserved recognition for National Nurses Week, I challenge all of you to thank the nurse who preceded your shift for what he/she managed to accomplish, not look for or point out the things she didn’t. I challenge all nurses to offer grace and choose gratitude, to not only lift your own personal and professional integrity, but to lift the profession of nursing.