Nursing Stress? Let Go of the Need to Be Right

By NT Contributor on Thu, Jan 03, 2013

nursing stressLetting other people be right doesn't make you wrong. Think about it for a minute. You've locked horns with a co-worker or patient about something that you know you're right about, yet they think they are right too. What's a "need to be right" person to do? How can you turn away from a potential cause of nursing stress?

My husband, Alan, and son, Brian, were on a college visit recently which involved air travel. The two of them aren't big travelers and I usually take charge on trips. This time I couldn't go due to nursing work conflicts. Alan doesn't like the post 9/11 security rules and isn't necessarily good at navigating the in's and out's of the process. Already frustrated with having to be subjected to the inconvenience, he grew impatient as the lines were slow and employees seemed to be mulling around, chatting and not really taking care of their business. Add to this the anxiety of heading out on an airplane and you've got a prescription for trouble.


The real fun started when Alan was approached by a security guard who asked Alan about how he thought the service was going that morning. Alan proceeded to tell "the truth" about having to wait too long, employees standing around and his general displeasure with the whole process. Can you say "strip search"? 


Here's the deal. Alan was right. The service was crummy. The line was long and aggravating. But, the guard who asked was probably just being polite and thought he was right too. Of course, you've already guessed that when Alan and Brian got to the part where you walk through the metal detector, they were pulled aside for special screening. That security guard won the "who's right" competition and Alan and Brian paid for it.


How many times at your nursing workplace are you faced with a similar situation where your co-worker, customer or patient thinks s/he is right, but you know s/he isn't? Many times, when faced with a right versus right situation, we have to choose to be right or to be happy. I'm suggesting that you can SHIFT to happy just about anytime you choose.


Here's the caveat. You'll never be able to control the "security lines" of your life, but you can control your need to be right (at all costs) and your response in these situations. The trick is making the SHIFT before its too late and you're being held for further questioning (metaphorically speaking of course). 


To find the SHIFT steps, just go tonursing stress and click on the Free Paradise Tools link. Print out the ViewpointSHIFT PDF, think of your own "security line" situation and complete the exercise to practice using the SHIFT steps. For the whole story on SHIFT, just refer to my book at the same website.


Combat nursing stress by remembering that there's enough "right" for everyone. Relax and enjoy as the folks around revel in their "rightness" - inside you'll be smiling because you've made the SHIFT and you know you are right too!