I once read a book called, The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck and first line in the book read, “Life is hard.” I paused after that line and thought, “Wow, I’m not the only one that feels this way!” I read on feeling comforted that I was in good company!
I mention that to say, if I wrote a book about nursing the first line in the book would be “nursing is hard”. It is hard! It’s difficult for many reasons, but here is why I think it’s harder than it needs to be.
1. Nurses don’t support each often enough.
2. Nurses are mean (lateral violence, bullying).
3. Nurses are stressed to the maximum capacity.
4. Nurses are terrible at taking care of themselves.
Here are my suggestions, inspired by my background and my friends:
A) Form a support group of nursing friends that you trust.
I have a few of friends from nursing school that I don’t get together with enough, but when we do get together it is so engergizing! I feel as if my battery has been charged 100%. We complain, gripe, laugh, tell our heartwarming and difficult stories, dream, discuss the ‘perfect’ work environment, etc. We support each other. We get out all the ‘hardships’ of nursing and verbalize the rewards! One of the greatest rewards of nursing for me are these compassionate, loving, beautiful friends I have developed relationships with.
B) Do fun, relaxing things together to decompress and recharge!
For example, a couple of my friends knit, so we have that in common. We get together and enjoy each others company relaxing and knitting. This past weekend we visited a beautiful botanical garden. It was so invigorating for me! We plan to go to a famous spa together in the near future-something beautiful to look forward to!
Why is this so important? Why shouldn’t I do this with my family or lifelong friends instead? Because these women are nurses! They get it. They know nursing is hard. It’s not easy. And they know survival in nursing is crucial.
I’ve met so many jaded nurses. Mean nurses. And if you get to know them I guarantee to you they don’t do these things. They go home night after night feeling the hardship of nursing and come back to work day after day and take out all those feelings on their patients and co-workers! I do not want to be like them!
My heart has been broken in nursing by losing patients, being understaffed and overworked, not getting support from leadership, etc. But I heal my broken heart time and time again with the support of my nursing friends. They get it, they get me. I can be real with them and I am not judged, I am loved and supported. I do the same for them. It’s an incredible bond that makes walking the path of our careers so much more rewarding.
I love nursing, I love nurses! We get to do this together. I am grateful. I am inspired.
Lisa Marie Walsh