“New” nurses as well as “seasoned” ones should always be striving to be the type of employees people want to recruit and retain. There are many books, articles and entire seminars on what employers want in a nurse today. But you might be surprise that their intentions don't really oppose your idea of 'wellness'. Here are five strategies for you to implement today so you can stand out at work and be the best nurse your employer wants to keep.
- Don’t skip breaks. How often do you hear yourself or others boast, “I worked straight through lunch again today!” or, “I’ve worked here twenty years and I never have taken a break!” Often we are so busy taking care of others that we neglect to take care of ourselves. I still remember working with a bulging bladder, without breaks or meals. In spite of our demanding work schedules, our managers and leaders do not want us to neglect caring for our own bodies, minds and spirits. Take 15 minutes two to three times a shift to get away, sit down, breathe deeply, relax a bit, read something inspirational or whisper a prayer. I know your commitment to your patients makes this difficult but it’s important to your survival. Ask a teammate to back you up while you take a break, then return the favor. You’ll find this time is a good investment; you will go back to work refreshed, reinvigorated, more compassionate and more productive.
- Don’t neglect your own intake and output. We educate our patients to eat healthily and drink lots of water, yet how often do we follow that advice? I still remember on “good” days, stuffing cold food in my mouth while frantically charting in a so-called Break Room. One reason we don’t drink more water is because we don’t want to take time to go to the bathroom! When you take 15 minute breaks, eat healthy foods, drink adequate liquids, and empty your bladder, you are nourished, stronger, and better equipped to give the best patient care.
- Don’t be a party to Stinkin' Thinkin'. Mama used to say that one bad apple can spoil the whole bag, and that is true with a nurse's attitude at work. Negativity is contagious. So is positivity. We get what we expect, what we visualize, we become our most dominate thought. Think positive. Speak positive. When you witness negative talk or actions, refuse to be a part of it. Smile, whether you feel like it or not. Mama also said, “When you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” A simple smile is the best way to share comfort, hope, and healing with your patients and your coworkers.
- Don’t be high tech and low touch. Every year there is more and more technology to “help” us care for patients, yet most of us admit that it also takes us away from them. One of the biggest frustrations I hear from nurses is that they aren’t allowed time to care from their hearts as well as their hands. Remember we can “touch” patients by simply looking them in the eyes for a few seconds, smiling, holding their hands, and - get ready for this- if you are a hospital nurse, giving them a three minute backrub. My nursing instructor, a hundred years ago or so, was right. Giving a patient a short tender backrub provides them such comfort and assurance that they have fewer needs and requests the rest of the nursing shift - another good investment of time.
- Don’t quit. Your employer has invested a lot in you and hopes you will be a long-term nurse job employee. It is estimated to cost $60,000 to $80,000 to recruit and hire a new nurse. They hired you in good faith that you would be a good investment. Prove to them you are. Take advantage of all the opportunities they offer: education, wellness programs, and advancements. You deserve them.
The best way to stand out in you work as a nurse is to assure more professional prospects for the future.