The last few years have been especially challenging for the nursing profession. We have faced fighting a virus that has wreaked havoc on patients, families, and on ourselves. We have struggled with equity, diversity, and inclusivity issues and healthcare inequity has become more evident than ever. Schools of nursing have adapted to new ways of providing education to those who wish to join our profession although they were facing the reality of inadequate numbers of faculty, low salaries, and a lack of resources and clinical sites. Yet, our profession continues doing what it does best, making a difference each and every day and that’s what we celebrate this Nurses Month.
Every day I marvel at the dedication and resiliency I see in my colleagues – direct-caregivers; faculty and professional development practitioners; those developing evidence-based content for professional development and clinical decision support; and those working in industry to develop workforce resources to improve labor/productivity/and care models. The depth and breadth of those working in the nursing profession is vast and their efforts to consistently move the profession forward with the goal of optimizing patient outcomes is awe-inspiring.
How can we as profession continue making these efforts? We must invest in ourselves by making sure we address our own selfcare. We need to recognize when fatigue and exhaustion are moving to moral distress and burnout, and we must intervene before that happens. We need to gaze into our own mirror, assess our reflection, and initiate interventions that support our own wellbeing.
We need to recognize each other for the work we are doing each and every day and offer gratitude for those efforts. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and being ready to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It’s time to show some gratitude by saying thank you and doing random acts of kindness for our colleagues. Some may say our organizations and leaders should be showing gratitude and I can’t disagree. However, gratitude starts within each of us; we need to model the behaviors we want demonstrated to us.
We need to continue investing in professional development, so we are ready to lead the future of healthcare.Learning new skills, investing in new knowledge and education, and challenging ourselves to think differently about situations and being mindful will help propel our nursing journey. Our profession was built on nurses who were willing to take risks, learn, and challenge the status quo. The future of our profession will be secured if enough of us have the courage to keep moving forward.
Nursing is about caring for people. Our impact goes far beyond an individual person, it extends to our communities locally, nationally, and internationally. We need to be advocates for those in need and foster care equity, diversity, and inclusivity for those we serve. The nursing profession will insure every person’s life has value, and everyone has a right to health.
This Nurses Month, let’s remember to invest in our own wellbeing and professional development, engage in our communities, and demonstrate gratitude for those who travel with us on this wonderful journey we call nursing. Thank you for your investment in our profession!