Nurses: Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?

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imageIn my encounters with nurses over the years it seems that everyone of them is either loving or hating their career choice. They’re either driven to succeed and feel confident that they’ve made the correct career choice, or they are going through the motions hopeful that no one will notice how much the loathe taking care of patients. I’ve met a few who are somewhere in between these two states but with time these nurses usually choose “a side” and consequently choose to love or hate nursing.

I say “choose” because I think our perspective of nursing is a choice. We determine how we perceive the experiences we have and consequently we decide whether we see nursing as an opportunity to serve and do good or as a burden that we wished we’d never heard of. Your experiences no doubt lend to your overall perspective, but I would argue that you control over how you react to your experiences and whether you grow and learn or just shut down and stew.

Personally, I’ve been in both places. I’ve bee a motivator who has helped others see the light in the darkness and overcome a difficult situation. I’ve been been a leader and change advocate who raised the bar and helped others be accountable with me. But I’ve also been a pot-stirrer. I’ve fed a frenzy a time or two and made a difficult situation even worse.

I know that there are some situations in nursing that are terrible. I recall moments in my early years of nursing when I was bullied and cried in the bathroom so hopeful that the shift would be over as quickly as possible I could go home and get away from the nurses who were tormenting me. I remember being fearful to ask questions because a certain nurse might make a mockery of me or call me stupid in a public arena in front my of peers. I remembers shifts that were so long and exhausting that I stayed several hours after my shift was over to ensure documentation was complete. I had moments when I was merely surviving.

But I’ve also had wonderful and positive experiences with patients, nurses, and other staff that I’ve work with. I’ve shared wonderful meals, created beautiful memories, and been made a more complete person by my experiences in nursing. These moments, any many more, are times in nursing where I was thriving.

Through all these ups and downs the one lesson that life has continuously tried to teach me is that you may not be able to control all your circumstances but you can always control your reaction. And this reaction is what can make the difference between whether you survive or thrive in nursing.

They say attitude is everything. I think the person who coined this phrase surely had to have been a nurse, or at the very least knew a few. There are so many opportunities in nursing that you can interpret in so many different ways. I firmly believe that when you wake up in the morning you make a decision (consciously or unconsciously) about whether your day is going to be good or bad. It all has to do with how you perceive and react to events.

Nurses: I have a few questions for you:

  • Are you taking charge of your own job satisfaction?
  • Are you waking up in the morning and making a conscious decision that you are going to have a good day?
  • Are you conscious of your perception and using every reaction opportunity as a chance to see something positive?
    If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you are no doubt already thriving, or well on your way to thriving as a nurse. 
    If you were unable to answer “Yes” to any of these questions I want to you think about why you weren’t able to do so. I want you to determine what is holding you back from creating your own happiness and job satisfaction. I want you to write it down on a piece of paper, hold it up in the air, and then burn it. I want you to destroy what is holding you back and creating stress in your life.

The Secret of the universe is that it will bring you what you seek. The underlying rule of life is that like attracts like. If you are positive, and look for positive things, they will come to you.

I want you to get up tomorrow and the first through in your brain to be “Today is going to be a great day!” I want to you think this throughout your day and see how much better life treats you. I want you to look for good and you will find it. Because I want you to be happy. I want you to be fulfilled. I want you to thrive.


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2 thoughts on “Nurses: Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?”

  1. Thank you for reminding me that happiness is a choice, and that as nurses we should be able to find joy in something every day, whether it is in helping a patient, or achieving a personal goal.

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