That Einstein, a real genius. Ok, so I added the last part, but call it poetic license if you will.
For all the grief my 6th grade English teacher Mrs.Barnett gave me, she gave me one sweet reward: Poetic license, but I digress.
Back to the statement at hand: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Probably of the most profound an truthful statements I have ever heard. So what does this mean to me? What does this mean to nursing?
I was a mouthy child. Never would have guessed that about little old me? Me, mouthy, argumentative even? Nah… never. But unfortunately my boredom, and wandering mind, often found more entertaining material to amuse itself with over the monotony of the grammar school classroom. Because of this, most of my grammar school days were met with misunderstanding and annoyance by the teaching faculty and various other members of authority. Especially, my high school secretary… but that’s another story.
But on the rare occasion that a teacher took the time to try and understand me, rather than writing me off and a trouble-maker, or inconvenience, our mutual educational experiences were drastically improved. And what I mean by that, is they saw me as less of a pest, and I saw them as less of tyrant. The few I can remember who found humor in me, rather than disgust, were the ones that made some of the most profound impacts on my life and shaped me into the person I am today.
However, I have never had the pleasure to have a teacher be so interested in the things I have to say. For that matter, most of my life, most people have made it a point to tell me that my opinions don’t matter. Perhaps it is the fact that even as a child, I always had something on my mind and needed to get it out. Perhaps it is because I am female. Perhaps it is because I live in the south where good little women and children (note we fall in the same category) are mean to speak only when spoken to, bat their eyes, and be koi and submissive.
Apparently, I missed that memo.
However, my nursing professor see’s something in my that most people in positions of authority fear and avoid: passion.
When I was discussing with her my interests and improving communications and processes in nursing she smiled. “You know what I see in your future?” she smiled and said, “P.H.D.”
How flattering. But I hear that’s many a research paper, an dissertations, and lots of other A.P.A. usages that Id rather not even think of at the moment. What a nice way to have your passions acknowledged. I’m thankful to have had her say that to me, and it encourages me to continue the path I have chosen. It inspires me to speak up, be proactive and motivate positive change for my profession, even if that means through research papers and dissertations. If that is the way it must be done, then that is the way I will do it.
While I think that everyone should voice their opinions, I really don’t like negative attitudes. And unfortunately, my desire to promote positive change is often misinterpreted as “poor attitude”, however, truthfully, that is never my intent. We cannot just sweep issues under the rug, we cannot ignore problems, we cannot just assume it will get better on its on. It won’t. If you have a problem, state it, but then suggest a way to fix it, and if possible, do it. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people tell me I cannot change things. Like a particular co-worker of mine, who proudly refers to herself as “judgmental”, who tells me that “I’ve been working here for 10 years and things will never change.” She’s right though, you know, if she keeps bringing down morale, and keeps spouting negativity and complaints without even attempting to look for solutions, things WILL NEVER CHANGE.
However, I am a believer in positive thinking. “The Secret”, if you will, is very effective. Positivity beacons positivity. If you think things will never change, and you do nothing to change them, then naturally, things will never change. Who’s fault is this? Yours of course.
Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. As well as “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”. And finally, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
That pretty much sums up my point, and my growing frustration with my current role in nursing. I am in a place where I am not allowed to make change. I try. I seek out additional opportunity, committees, and extra responsibilities, but I am often denied these opportunities. The reason’s I’m given “We’ll you’re on night shift and that group meets during the day.” Well duh, but if you’ve forgotten, I didn’t choose to go to nightshift and I may be one of the few, but I would come to work on an off day in order to achieve greater good for nursing, my department, and the patients. But alas, perhaps you are afraid I will speak too much, have an opinion, or make a positive change for nurses. Heck, I might even help some people. I might even make your job easier and more cost efficient, but nah, we wouldn’t want people who have a desire for improvement and a distaste for getting by to be involved in opportunities for growth.
Its ok. I don’t have to go through you to have my voice heard. There are other ways. It will take longer, and I may be seen as a pest, but I will make things better.
My first goal: Improve Communications and Expect Excellence.
Ensuring that nurses have the tools and information available to deliver adequate patient care is crucial. Currently, I do not feel that is the case. I believe I can fix it, and perhaps I am thinking too highly of myself, but I would really like the opportunity to try. Also accountability and education have to be a focus. We as nurses have to have the integrity to expect excellence from ourselves and our co-workers. Positive reinforcement should be utilized as we do need to be told we are doing a good job. We need to hear it, at least every now and then. But on the same token, we also desperately need feedback. If we have been doing something the same way for years, and it was wrong, and we were truly oblivious of its wrongness and no-one ever brought it to our attention, how fair is it to punish us? Its not.
These things I want to change. These things we can easily change. Changes will not happen overnight, and there will always be a learning process, but it will make things better. It is going to be hard to accomplish these things as a floor nurse, but that is where I am currently, and we all have to start from somewhere, and Any Nurse Can Be a Leader.
My optimism on this matter amuses even me, as just today my nursing professor asked me “How can you stand it?”, in reference to the various issues and areas of opportunity I notice and want to change. To that I had one answer, and it’s the most truthful and succinct one possible: I am Stubborn, because in keeping with the spirit of Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
I am continuing to further my education, and I realize the importance of this on multiple levels, but I am also doing my very best to make appropriate contacts and inform the right people of my desire to do good for the patients and nurses.
I just really hope the right people listen.
I will do good things. I will make a big difference. I would like it to be for the place I am at.
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