We are taught as children that we should not be self-absorbed. As nurses, we generally have an exaggerated sense of just the opposite. Nursing is the profession that encompasses patience, compassion, empathy and caring. We are judged by how these characteristics show up in our actions to our patients and each other. How often have you heard a patient or another nurse say, “Oh! She’s such a good nurse!” It’s usually when a nurse is exhibiting one or more of these qualities. If we as nurses believe these are good qualities to exhibit, why don’t we model them for ourselves?
As nurses, we came to this profession because we felt we have something to give to others. We want to help people live to their fullest potential. For example, we help our patients live to their fullest potential by helping them manage their health. As nurses, we live our highest potential by doing the work we do. But what about us as individuals? I can’t tell you how often I’ve had conversations with colleagues that end with, “I don’t have work life balance or time for myself.” Yet we take extra time we have and give it to other people.
This self-deprivation philosophy has to stop! Why are nurses burnt out? Because we are trying to give what we don’t have! We need to show ourselves patience, compassion, empathy, and kindness. Making yourself a priority is essential to preventing burnout. Here are three basic strategies for getting your whole life balanced.
1. Take inventory of what you are doing with your time. Are you running to and fro with increasing job requirements, deadlines, children’s activities and family obligations? STOP ! Take a moment and just list them on a piece of paper. Reflect on what you do over one week’s time. What do you see?
2. Begin introducing yourself to yourself! Write down the things you like to do (You may have to think back before children or the job). Write those things down, no matter how small they might be.
3. Begin the reconciliation. In order for us to be our best and be complete, we must reconcile our mind, body, soul and spirit. Just like we reconcile medications, we need to match up our total being with life’s demands. Take a look at list #1 acknowledging all of the things you do for others. Then eliminate a task entirely, share the responsibility of it, or delegate it to someone else (possibly the person you are doing it for). Next, begin to transition one thing you enjoy from list #2 into your life on a regular basis. Continue this process until you achieve balance.
Patients look to nurses as their advocates. As nursing leaders, your staff looks to you for guidance and care. Your families look to you as a resource for everything that goes on in their lives. If you REALLY care about them, you absolutely must put yourself first. You will be able to improve patient care by improving your self-care. You will improve the quality of your life if you take the time to advocate and care for yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
For more tips on how to put yourself first contact Naomi for a free consultation and download “Living the Legacy of Leadership Day by Day”. www.lifecoachrn.com.
Naomi is a Registered Nurse, Certified Life Coach and Motivational Speaker. She is owner and CEO of Consults Unlimited Inc., a Professional Life Coaching company. She is known as the Life Coach RN. As a Life Coach she specializes in helping nursing leadership “Live and Work Smarter not Harder!” With over 30 years of nursing experience, she has been in management for over 19 years. For more information about coaching with Naomi, visit http://www.LifeCoachRN.com