1. Stoffan, Peter DNP, MPA, RN, CCRN, NEA-BC, CPXP

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Hello fellow nurses and associates! The tireless work we all do to ensure our patients, families, and communities are safe while providing the most human-centered care possible is inspiring. However, are we doing the best in taking care of ourselves? To deliver the best care, we adhere to scientific best practices while also taking a creative approach to problem solving in the moment. This is not a new approach to nursing practice.


There is much literature that highlights the connection between art and nursing. Even Florence Nightingale, one of the most famous pioneers of modern nursing, stressed the importance of the artistic application necessary for connecting with fellow humans while remaining scientific in the technical and theoretical aspects of nursing (McDonald, 2020). Nurses understand that to consider the psychosocial and spiritual needs of our patients, families, and communities, while balancing the ever-growing demands of the healthcare landscape, requires quite the artistic and most balanced touch ... especially in 2022 and onward.


Present day, we are facing an increased need to consider the mental health needs of our clients; therefore, the need to be creative with how we approach their care is paramount. What about remembering to be creative with how we take care of ourselves (Nolan, Carpenter, Cole, & Fitzpatrick, 2020)? Self-care can be scientific AND artistic, much like taking care of our patients, families, and communities.


Let's pause here to explore why self-care is important. The phrase we hear when we take a trip on an airplane: "Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others" should be embodied by nurses. Are we ensuring we are okay-mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually-before helping others? How should we be expected to promote the health of others if we are not promoting the health of ourselves first? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine includes the health of nurses as a priority for the next 10 years (NASEM, 2021). The Academy strengthens the argument that while our workplace environments impact our overall well-being, it is up to individuals to promote their own well-being as well. This means that there must be a partnership between the individual and environment or organization in which nurses practice to engage in the development and follow-through of ensuring the health of individual nurses and the nursing community at large. What are you doing to guarantee your own well-being while practicing in your current environment?


"The Great Resignation" is seen and felt around the country. In addition, "The Great Retirement" is already happening and will continue to affect our nursing workforce in upcoming years. Unfortunately, this means that nursing shortages will continue and the multifaceted demands on our own profession will be ongoing. To prevent burnout, we must increase our resilience.


Let's return to our discussion of the art-and-science blending point. Former methods of self-care may not "cut it" in our current landscape. We must think outside the box to create pockets of self-care promotion and personal well-being while working in our morphing environments. Artistic or creative self-care may mean finding new ways and new times to appreciate and take care of ourselves. To make it truly beneficial, we should be thinking scientifically about how we implement our artistic and creative self-care modalities. Solely pledging that we want to drink more water, eat healthier, or sleep more hours per night isn't enough to truly make a difference for ourselves and our practice. What would we do if we wanted to improve the care of our patients? We would assess our practice and outcomes, review the evidence, and then make a change. Why don't we do this for ourselves?


Let's pledge to start thinking outside the box and apply nurse well-being initiatives as the scientists we are. For example, why don't we apply ideas that are proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and burnout and implement them in a sustainable way? Could there be a community garden for nurses at our worksite to promote grounding and exercise? Should there be hydration and stretching breaks given by charge nurses? Is it possible to include time for meditation and reflection during the handoff between shifts? How does your team break room feel and look? Is it an opportunity for a team members' creative outlet while improving the safe space for our colleagues? And as a trained singer/dancer/actor who knows music has a healing power, the question must be asked-where is the music?


Whatever we decide to do for ourselves, let's make it stick and make it count. Get creative! We don't have time to waste.




McDonald L. (2020). Florence Nightingale: The making of a hospital reformer. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 13(2), 25-31. doi:10.1177/1937586720918239 [Context Link]


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). (2021). The future of nursing 2020-2030: Charting a path to achieve health equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/25982 [Context Link]


Nolan S., Carpenter H., Cole L., Fitzpatrick J. (2020). The HealthyNurse Leader. American Nurse. Retrieved from[Context Link]