1. Wright, Kathy B. PhD(c), RN, CGRN, CS

Article Content

Choosing what is better-the obvious choice. Why wouldn't anyone choose what is better? I recently read a commentary on this topic that made me stop and think. Do I consistently make decisions based on "what is better," or am I driven by circumstances, convenience, or resources? I must admit, I am subject to all of these rationales. Sometimes, I make a spur-of-the-moment decision driven by my feelings (not usually the best outcome). At other times, I do what is convenient and move on to the next item on my life agenda. Why? It takes discipline, energy, and commitment to consistently choose what is better. What seems so obvious at first glance is, in reality, a bit more difficult to achieve.


Often, better means I have to give more, stretch further, take a risk. "Better" is demanding. It calls for sacrifice, discipline, perseverance, and often, leaving my comfort zone. For me, choosing what is better is living by the higher standard. It is knowing I've given all I can give, regardless of the final outcome. Choosing what is better doesn't mean you always "get it right;" it does mean you tried to.


So what's the payoff? And why am I writing about this topic? Few would argue we are facing tough times. Our country, our profession, our specialty: all have important decisions to make that will impact not only the current environment, but our future and history as well. Frequently when faced with difficult decisions that overwhelm and frustrate us, the instinct is to run. Avoid the situation. Minimize reality. Maybe this challenge will go away if I just ignore it long enough! Sometimes it will; most often, it won't. But regardless of the outcome, tough times are opportunities for big things to happen. And "big things" demand choosing what is best.


Look around you. What is your practice environment? Are you and your colleagues working just to meet the demands of the day and mark another day off the calendar? Or are you aware of the changes driven by the current economic trends, lack of resources, and stress of living for your patients and employer. Do you feel like a victim or are you determined to be a victor? Are you collaborating to identify the priority issues for your patients and practice, identifying creative strategies to tackle the challenges, choosing to go for the "best" instead of the easiest?


What about choosing what is better in your professional life? Are you actively involved in your regional? Do you give your best to make an impact on the discipline, or do you contribute the minimal requirements because you are, after all, a volunteer. Do you sit back and watch the same leaders carry the load year after year, program after program, meeting after meeting? Or do you choose what is better? Share the load. Contribute your ideas, your time and energy, your money, your expertise, your commitment.


I have come to realize that my life will never "let up." One major task is accomplished or role fulfilled, and another slips in to take its place. That is life, but that is also what gives the breadth and depth and substance to who I am. Choosing what is better isn't usually the easiest way to go, but I've found it's always the best. Choosing what is better stretches me, molds me, rewards me with satisfaction and confidence that I have made every effort to make my life count, to share the load, to influence the world around me.


During times of stress and demand, it's easy to sit back and say not now; not this time; oh no, not again. I can't serve. I don't have the time or energy to participate. My ideas aren't very inspirational or visionary. They don't need me and they sure won't listen to me. I would challenge you to choose what is better. Balance your commitments so you can serve. Share your thoughts and perspectives-creativity and inspiration often come from the simplest idea. Don't minimize your contributions and your value. Holding yourself to the higher standard-choosing what is better- affects history; molds the future; shapes your character; and makes a positive difference in the world, the profession, and our specialty.



Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.