1. Section Editor(s): Raso, Rosanne MS, RN, NEA-BC

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Spring is in the air! With new blossoms come thoughts of fresh renewals and being joyful. There's a surprising amount of nursing literature on joy at work from our sages like Marie Manthey to contemporary leaders such as Jo Manion. The question is typically framed as "how can we bring joy to work?" or, more disappointingly, "how can we regain joy at work?" implying that we've lost it.

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The lucky ones have a hard time imagining not being joyful at work, although this can sometimes take a high level of conscious and subconscious effort. It really isn't about luck; it's about finding joy and reframing situations with that attitude. Whether joy is a matter of survival, well-being, personality, or responsibility for others, it's important for leaders.


What are the elements of joy to embody and embrace? A sense of mission and related accomplishments immediately come to mind. The opposite is approaching work on a transactional basis, which isn't inspiring for you or your staff. Work has to be connected to a greater purpose. Checking off rote tasks or attending supposedly meaningless meetings are typical transactional activities. But this isn't a joyful attitude. These meetings can be an opportunity to learn and play a role in bringing patient-centeredness. Or there may be something new for you to pick up-a collegial relationship, another side of the story, or a better way to get something done. Bring value to it. Find the joy.


Mission and purpose are best exemplified in those who are passionate about their work. When you have passion, it isn't work at all and you can't help but have positive energy and a transformational approach. Focus on what brings you enjoyment and get involved.


Respect in every possible direction is a factor in joyful work-with each other, patients, families, staff, providers, colleagues, bosses, everyone. Being respected requires behaving respectfully; it's a two-way street. Respect is an "always" issue; even one episode of disrespect is damaging. Expect respect from your staff at all times or it will affect engagement and morale. Unintentional disrespect isn't uncommon; fix it when you see it or if you discover it in yourself.


Professional pride internally and externally at every level from bedside care to national policy-making is cause for celebration. Being a nurse in and of itself brings joy. We're the most respected profession in the country. Advanced nursing practice is becoming a cornerstone of American healthcare. We have a powerful future mapped out in the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing report that needs proactive support from all of us. There's delight in being proud of your profession. If you don't have it, discover it.


Being a leader is a great foundation for enjoyment. You make a difference in so many ways to so many people. The elements I've mentioned are only part of being successful; there are more and you know what yours are. Be joyful-it's another essential component of your success and even your health.



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