A few months ago I floated to another unit and the nurse I received report from was so sweet and kind but somewhat “gruff”. I didn’t judge though because she had just worked a 12 hour night shift and I have mad respect for night nurses! I tried to work nights years ago and almost died 🙂 Anyway, as our report continued and we got to know each other a little she asked me how long I had been a nurse, I told her “It will be 14 years in August”. She then had a puzzled look on her face and said “how are you not jaded”? I then proceeded to tell her that I genuinely love what I do and I simply treat everyone the way I would want to be treated. She told me she had been a nurse for 4 years and was already looking at switching professions.
Just yesterday this same subject came up. Nurses getting jaded and losing their caring and compassion after a period of time. This came up in a different way yesterday. I am honored to be precepting a brand new graduate RN. We met for lunch prior to our first day together and it was so cool to hear why she chose nursing, to see that glow and passion for patient care and the profession of nursing. As we started our day yesterday, I could feel her positive energy and my heart was overflowing with excitement and happiness for her! I seriously felt like I was looking back in the mirror to 14 years ago when I started that first day! As the day progressed there were several times that I “preached” about the right way and not ever compromising care. She made a statement about not wanting to ever lose her caring heart and she was so glad that she seen through me that it is possible!
Since this theme of becoming “jaded” seems to come up over an over in our profession I thought I would write about it!! As I was thinking about this as it applies to nursing I realized it actually applies to all areas of life! Jaded is defined as: tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something. (Websters dictionary) WOW!!
How about you? Would you say that you have become jaded in your profession? Can other’s tell?
Becoming jaded professionally is easily identifiable. We all know that person that looks as though they are miserable in the workplace! Seriously, they are angry, they are fed up, they have no desire to be there, no one can do anything to please them and they have a complaint or a better way for every aspect of the job. I have been a nurse for a long time but not in the same place for a long time!! I have worked as a burn nurse most of my career but have also been a research coordinator, home health nurse, clinic nurse, and health science teacher. I have absolutely loved everything I have done in nursing! However, with each position there would be times that I felt “jaded”. Patients do not deserve to be treated like they are an inconvenience, a medical record number, a body in a bed. They are humans that did not plan to be where they are. As a healthcare professional we must remember that it is a privilege to help someone in need. When you get to a point of “being tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm” professionally, these are some things that I have found to help:
1) Look for ways to grow professionally -this will look different at different places. Do you have a clinical ladder? Can you do an in-service/education on something that is an issue? Can you teach others about something to increase knowledge in your area? Can you mentor someone? What is the next level of advancement? What do you need to do to move up? What does it take to get there? Anytime you lead others, you become refreshed professionally. It reminds you of your “why”. It will also bring you out of that bored state that we can all find ourselves in. Besides, if you aren’t moving forward you will become stagnant which leads to being bored and lack of enthusiasm.
2) Expand your knowledge-read articles, attend seminars, attend journal clubs, read books, take a college course or even go back to school. Learning new information helps you feel like you are moving forward and growing. Professionally we become experts in our field and it is easy to put on blinders for our areas, but there is so much more to learn out there! Take the blinders off and LEARN something new!
3) Take a break-take vacation, do whatever possible to “get away” and refresh and renew yourself. I realize this is not easy to do! Taking a break may mean that it is time to take a break from the area you are in. Maybe it’s time to move on and do something else in the same profession. Nursing is a wide open profession with so many different paths to take. Teachers-maybe you need a new school? If you are no longer effective in your position, you are no longer growing, you are no longer learning, you are no longer an asset to those around you, no longer improving the lives of others, maybe it is time for a change??? As I have said before, I have done many different things and usually it was to grow professionally, and to increase my knowledge in other areas. Each position I have held as a nurse has helped me to grow professionally and contribute to the lives of others. I can’t imagine staying in a position where this wasn’t occurring.
Take time to think about where you are professionally, and then think about where you would like to be. Are you doing anything at all to move forward? Maybe you are perfectly content with where you are…..does that show? As “new grad” season is beginning, it is my hope that these eager, passionate, knowledgeable, new nurses are joining a team of skilled, wise, passionate, caring nurses that are ready to be examples for this great profession. No matter what profession you are in, may you work so that others will wonder why you aren’t jaded.