Have you ever found yourself startled when someone says “Good morning” as you pass in a hallway or on a sidewalk? After the deer-in-headlights moment, do you find that you smile and say it back?
Early in my career, I worked in a small hospital where you knew everyone. The CEO would round and always say, “Good morning,” along with the person’s name, when he passed them in the hallway. I felt seen. I also found that what he was doing was contagious. I greeted people in the hallways, my colleagues greeted each other. It created connection, a sense of community and belonging.
Now, when I walk through the hallways of the hospital, very few people greet each other. We’re looking away—at the ground, at our phones, or at the wall. We have work badges that show we work here, but we don’t greet each other as though we belong—that we’re connected and that we’re a community.
Experiment with a self-care intervention
I’ve started saying “good morning” when I walk from place to place at work. It’s almost like a game to see who ignores me, who replies, or who follows up by asking, “How are you?” When I connect with another, through a simple greeting, I feel lighter. I’m being my own nurse by creating connection and a sense of community.
Amy E. Rettig, DNP, MALM, MSN, BSN, RN, ACNS-BC, PMHNP-BC, provides nursing care for both professional and non-professional caregivers. She presents, publishes and studies well-being (developing the caregiver within) from the perspectives of holism, caring relationships, and systems.