7 Habits of Highly Empowered Nurses
71% of nurses don’t believe their well-being is a priority to their organizations. While every Nurse Leader I know has workforce well-being at the top of their list, it’s hard to determine what to do about it. Empowering nurses in their own well-being is a start and requires commitment at the organizational and the individual level.
Well-Being is how you feel about yourself and when you feel good about yourself, you are empowered to feel good about what you do every day. Here are 7 habits to empower nurses, all taught, coached, and supported in the Well-Being Coaching Program:
1. Slow down.
This is necessary for all of the Self-Leadership practices because you can’t be compassionate, present, or energized when you are powering through your life. When you slow down, you connect with yourself, remembering what is most important to prioritize.
Habit: Spend a minimum of 5 minutes of quiet time to connect with yourself to set the tone for or reflect on your day.
2. Honor Your Boundaries.
Nurses in general have a difficult time saying no because we think if we can, we should. This doesn’t mean refusing every invitation or growth opportunity, but intentionally choosing when you do say yes, with your eyes and hearts wide open.
Habit: Before you say yes to a request, even if you think it won’t take that long or it sounds interesting, respond with, “I’d love to help, but I need to consult my calendar (and do it) and get back to you”.
3. Arrive early.
Transition time always takes longer than we think, because we fail to factor in things out of our control, like construction, weather, technical issues or meetings that run over.
Habit: Plan to arrive early by leaving your home, office, or meeting early to allow more time to arrive at your next event more grounded and prepared.
4. Fill up.
Recovery is something you do to energize and fill yourself back up, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Rest is the foundation, but recovery also includes anything that brings you joy while doing it, like drawing, getting outside, playing an instrument, or dancing to your favorite music.
Habit: Make time to fill yourself up every day, even for 15 minutes, with something you either used to do, something you have always wanted to do, or something you already do, but not nearly enough.
What we don’t make time for can empower us to be more creative, focused, and productive, in other words, feel good about ourselves. Instead of just adding it something to your to-do list, timeblock it.
Habit: When you decide what is most important, timeblock it by scheduling the day, time, and minutes you can commit to it (5-60). Set a timer and focus on that one thing and take a break when the timer goes off.
Nurses have very high expectations of themselves and often don’t even consider asking for help, feedback or support. Instead of a sign of weakness, asking for help is how we empower ourselves to learn and grow in the areas we need to most.
Habit: At your next meeting, evaluation, or conversation, practice asking for help, feedback, or clarification with, “Can you say more about that?” or “Can you help me understand?“
7. Keep your word.
Keeping your word is keeping the promise to yourself and helps you do the right thing to stay the course, even when you don’t want to. It nurtures trust and confidence in the relationship with yourself because you feel good about yourself.
Habit: Before you commit to anything (see #2), make sure saying yes to someone else doesn’t mean saying no to a promise you have made to yourself.
All of these habits empower you to nurture the relationship you have with yourself by helping you feel good about yourself. They are quite simple and accessible, but not always easy, which is why we all need structure and support.
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