By LeAnn Thieman. This was originally published on LeAnn's blog.
Why Am I Still a Nurse Anyway?
Most nurses didn’t choose this career because of great hours and working conditions.
As trite as it may sound, most of us entered the profession of caring to help people…in their toughest times. I often say that nursing is a calling. That’s why we sign on and stay on.
Yet on the days when the workload is too great, on the occasions that we can’t take all the pain away, after the shift when we go home with achy feet and achy hearts, those are the days we need to be reminded of why we do what we do. We need to reignite our passion for nursing.
One of the best ways to do that is by recalling and sharing our stories. I learned the crucial importance of this when I read over 2,000 stories to select the top 101 for Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, then 2,000 more for the second edition, the Second Dose, and ANOTHER 2,000 for the third edition, Inspiration for Nurses.
Clearly, when nurses share their stories, they remember why they entered this profession, and why they stay...
Many nurses have told me, in order to begin their shifts with inspiration and hope, they together read a story from Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul. That is a great idea (of course!). Another equally great idea is to share your own true stories at this time. One hospital I work with calls these “Heart Moments.”
At other hospitals where I do retention events, I learned they created their own book of stories written by staff. What a great way to boost morale and retention.
Still other hospitals have “Best Story” contests. What a wonderful way to engage employees as each department gathers and chooses the top stories from their unit. Sometimes I may be the final judge, then a prize is given to the individual or department with the “Best Story.” Some have different categories (funniest, most compassionate, etc) and multiple winners are awarded.
While some people might say, “We don’t have time for this,” I submit that we must take time…make time…to enrich our spirits and soothe our souls and reignite our passion for nursing. We answered the calling for care.
Our stories prove the privilege we have to literally touch and save lives. That is surely the highest calling of all.
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