Happy Nurses Week! Every year, May 6-12 we take a week out to celebrate nurses, in accordance with Florence Nightengale’s birthday. My favorite quote from Florence is “The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.”
WOW. Florence was right on way back then. Our nursing profession is in so much angst today because we have not taken care of ourselves or each other. While the average age of the bedside nurse continues to increase, (age 46) we continue to do the same things the same way—and of course get the same results. We are worn out, stressed out, and burned out.
If we want to not only survive this demanding profession but also thrive in it, we have to get much better at self care We have to get better at saying no, asking for help, and supporting each other to do the same.
Many of the hospitals I have been presenting my program, 30 Days to Grace at have implemented the 5 minute grace break. Unlike the familiar time to shove a high fat, high sugar, high caffeinated something into your mouth, this 5 minutes is for a different kind of nourishment, to give you a chance to take a breath, gather your thoughts and yourself. Nurses listen to meditative music, or are guided into deep breathing or visualization exercises.
Let go of any martyr tendencies you may have today. Ask a coworker what you can do for them so they can take a grace break. And in turn, ask for one yourself. With this pause for reflection and renewal you may remember why you chose this noble profession and why you stay: To make a difference in the way people live and die everyday.
Thank you for all you do, this week and every week.