Nurses have to become and stay motivated because people's lives depend on them feeling this way. Unlike other professionals, it’s their duty to provide compassionate care. That being said, here are the top 10 factors that drive me and my colleagues to be better nurses:
If my performance as a nurse improves, I derive more personal satisfaction in my career. Most nurses can see their improvement on a daily basis. All of a sudden, they are inserting more IVs or completing their assessments faster. They are becoming more proficient in dealing with relatives or doctors. This is also applicable at any stage of a nurse's career, from a new grad to a seasoned veteran. Every day brings new challenges.
- Colleague recognition
If I receive accolades or acknowledgements from my colleagues, then my self-esteem increases. The opposite is also true. If I am on the receiving end of criticism about my performance, I feel worse about myself.
- Is that all there is?
Sometimes, nurses like all other professions, hit the proverbial wall at work. It can happen gradually or be like a ton of bricks. But the realization that I have accomplished all I can in a certain setting can mean one of several things - that I am bored or have become the best I can at this level.
- Growth potential
This then can open the door to reinvention or change. Many nurses decide to go back to school in order to achieve career growth. Or they decide to change venues, by way of a transfer or even leave their unit or hospital altogether.
- The M word and I don't mean Madonna
Like Madonna, many nurses are the ultimate survivors. They have weathered many professional and personal storms. I can't deny that we all have bills to pay. We can't afford to lose our jobs, especially if we have no other way to earn money and meet our obligations. Sometimes, there isn't anyone we can fall back on. Many nurses use this as motivation to become better nurses, because they do not want to end up on the unemployment line.
- Childhood dreams and the realization of yearbook plans
Many nurses have wanted to become RNs since they were little. Being a better nurse is merely the fulfillment of a childhood dream. How many of us said we wanted to become nurses in our yearbook photos? What do you want to do when you grow up?
- Career changers
Others, however, have come late to the party, so to speak. They have had other careers and are becoming nurses after working in other fields that have not been as satisfying, either personally or professionally. Or they put off becoming nurses due to family problems.
- Being someone special
We are a reflection of other's perceptions. I have noticed the admiration that families have for the nurse who has it all together and is the epitome of warmth and competency in one package.
- The image of the nurse
We are aware of the image the nurse has in the popular culture. There are many stereotypes associated with being a nurse. They range from being compassionate to cold hearted and intelligent to trying to snag a doctor as a full-time goal. I have known and worked with all these stereotypes. Being a better nurse lets our personal version of the nurse emerge. We can write our own version of a nurse, ourselves.
- Would we do it all over again?
A great question. One I am always asked, at least a few times a year. My answer may vary depending on my life circumstances. For the most part, nursing is like no other profession. Once you emerge yourself in it, you find that it has an inescapable pull due to the flexible hours and varied settings as well as the economic rewards. Pair that with the ego boosts you can derive from it, it is hard to deny that these are reasons alone to want to excel and become better nurses.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO BE A BETTER NURSE?
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