1. Twiss, Julie RN, BSN, ONC
  2. NAON President 2014-2015

Article Content

Care is to want to do something; it is paying attention to the details. In other words, engaged. To be, means to change form and can relate to the future or merely to just occupying space. For me, when one cares, it is as if the object or subject is being treated as if it were a "prize." And for me, "to be" means engaged in.... well, whatever you are into at the time.

Julie Twiss, RN, BSN... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President 2014-2015

What comes to your mind with the words "care to be"? Is it looking at the bigger picture to better oneself? Is it being engaged in your profession? Is it being engaged in your community? Specifically, as an orthopaedic nurse, is it being engaged in making the musculoskeletal health of our nation a priority?


Are You Engaged? Do You Care to Be?

Statistics from the Gallagher Organization revealed that the typical work group has only 25% of its employees engaged; meaning 25% of the employees can be counted on. There are 15% of employees who are disengaged, and the remaining 60% of employees are neither. In other words, 60% of the employees are apathetic.


In the healthcare arena, we are facing change. Decreasing reimbursement for care provided and services rendered have organizations looking and relooking how to absorb these cuts. The largest expense for any healthcare organization is its workforce. Forewarning, do not be disengaged.


Protect your job. Establish yourself as engaged. Tune into your organization, invest in your role, and be engaged in what you are doing. Then demonstrate this, therefore protecting your job.


Here are six ways to demonstrate that you are engaged, according to Steve M. Cohen, EdD:


1. Consistently do good work well.


2. Be thoroughly dependable.


3. Be optimistic and positive.


4. Offer suggestions for improvements or efficiencies.


5. Volunteer to work on committees across the organization so others can get to know you.


6. Promote the organization within and in the greater community. (Cohen, 2011)



Do your work well. How, you might ask? You already work long hours and do more with less. Our time at the bedside seems less due to the documentation required and bureaucracy of the workplace. There are regulation requirements, guidelines, and the patient and physician satisfaction, all dependent upon the nurse. Be prepared to care for your patient. Be rested. Eat well. Take care of yourself. Then know the needs of your patient, anticipate.


Be dependable. Show up. Show up on time. Follow through. Follow the rules. Be optimistic and positive. This can be difficult some days. If you look around you, though, those who are having a tough day are blaming and whining. How does that make your day go? We all have tough days; sometimes things just go wrong, but really, when you review your day, most of the day went right. We have focused on the bad and let it overshadow the entire day.


Offer suggestions for improvements and efficiencies. You know best. Do not let others make process decisions for you. Caution, though, there are processes to make change that must be followed. Policy and procedures are in place to protect you and the patient. If a policy or procedure does not reflect practice, ensure the practice or the policy and procedure are evidence based.


Volunteer to work on committees. Your ideas to better the workplace are important. Let your voice be heard. If processes can't be changed, at least you have been involved to understand why the process can't change and communicate that to your peers.


Promote the organization. Volume creates revenue. Volume is created by great patient outcomes and satisfaction. Employee satisfaction equals patient satisfaction, which equals physician satisfaction, which then creates volume. You can't wait to be satisfied, the mentality "if this happens, then I'll be happy," is not going to cut it. You need to be engaged.


To care, you need to be authentic. The passion must be present for whatever you are caring for. You can detect the inauthentic, so can your peers, your patients, and your employer. So how can you be authentic, according to Stephen Joseph, PhD?


Say what you mean.


Stand up for yourself.


Know what you are feeling. (Joseph, 2014)



There must be a consistency between your words, your actions, and your values. These relate to your authenticity of the care you provide.


Not only have I asked you to care to be at work but also to care to be in your community. In your community, you have the opportunity to lead with purpose and integrity, and to motivate others to provide better customer service and produce better outcomes. You are empowered.


It takes much more than you to care, though. To care, the recipient of the care needs to cooperate. To cooperate, one must trust the caregiver. The caregiver is to be confident and knowledgeable. Know your resources, such as NAON, to obtain the knowledge and skill necessary to gain the trust of the patient. Inform the patient and his or her loved ones of the knowledge necessary to be successful after diagnosis and treatment. Again, pay attention to the details; be engaged. Care to be.




Cohen S. M. (2011, September 5). Being engaged in your work maters no matter your position. Worked up at work-how to handle sticky office situations. Psychology Today. [Context Link]


Joseph S. (2014, July 13). What are the 3 things that authentic people do? What doesn't kill us: The new psychology of posttraumatic growth. Psychology Today. [Context Link]