1. Section Editor(s): Palatnik, AnneMarie MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

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You may recall, in my last editorial I wrote about the importance of caring for ourselves and encouraged everyone to take the time to "Stop, Breath, and Be." When you're taking that time to just be, I would like you to go one step further and spend a little time in self-reflection. Self-reflection is taking the time to know who we are in any given situation.

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Confucius once said, "By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter." More recently Peter F. Drucker, an author who created the concept of management by objectives, wrote, "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action."


While we really need to take time to self-reflect in all aspects of our lives, it's essential in these ever changing, stressful times in healthcare, for us to know who we are in our work. I'm sure that we're all experiencing many changes in our work settings as the landscape of healthcare is exploding with issues including the Affordable Care Act, Accountable Care Organizations, Healthcare Exchanges, and Population Health. These things are changing how we provide healthcare. If we don't take time to realize who we are in our work as all of the transition happens around us it'll be easy to feel displaced, victimized, or maybe even alienated.


According to Gary Saltus,1 we can self-reflect by asking ourselves the following questions:


* Why did I choose this work?


* What do I want to get out of this work experience?


* What is my contribution to this work?


* Are my unique contributions being best used in this work?


* Who am I in this work?



Asking these questions helps keep us engaged in the changes around us and impacts how the changes in our healthcare landscape affect our immediate work areas. The changes in healthcare are going to continue to happen but we're all in the position to influence how they happen. Knowing who we are in our work helps us have the greatest impact on the changes in our work.


Until next time, be healthy, be happy, be great advocates for your patients, and take time to self-reflect!


AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

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1. Saultus G. Field Guide: Relationship-based Care, Visions, Strategies, Tools, and Exemplars for Transforming Practice. Creative Health Care Management Inc.(2007) Canada, 138-149. [Context Link]