The National Nurses Month theme and common sense.
If common sense were really common, we wouldn’t have to keep repeating ourselves. This year’s National Nurses Month theme is “You Make a Difference.” Of course, we already make an impact. Unfortunately, we frequently achieve it at a high cost. Why? Because we don’t follow our own advice! The American Nurses Association (ANA) offers four excellent recommendations for how nurses can make a difference without paying such a high price.
The first recommendation (cultivating and maintaining good mental and physical health) is one that I’ve written about several times during the pandemic. You can find a mountain of books on the subject. Each nurse serves as the foundation of patient care, but first we have to take care of our own well-being. If you want to provide great care to your patients for the long-term, you have to take care of yourself for the long-term. You have to be ready, willing, and able to care for yourself first. Let the ANA, your employer, and your family and friends help you achieve that goal.
The next recommendation asks us to acknowledge each other. I’ve written about this a number of times, too. Take a moment to give each other a pat on the back for a job well done or a patient well cared for. Appreciate one another for the hard work we do every day. We can forget to do this during a long day of hard work when so much is happening and we’re narrowly focused on the tasks directly in front of us. But take a breath each day and honor the everyday heroes around you. Honor one another for being there and getting the job done.
Nurses Month: A time for celebration
Nurses Month during a time of crisis
Nurses Month: You make a difference
Related to the next recommendation from ANA (access resources to guide professional development) is the advice from Stephen Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Sharpen the saw.” In other words, maintain your confidence and competence. Read journals, such as American Nurse and the many others that focus on your area of specialization or generalization, and take note of education in the form of helpful tips we share with one another.
ANA’s final recommendation reminds us to let patients and the community know what we do. Especially for patients and their families, make sure they know the scope and the limitation of what you can do. Teach them that they have a big role in their acute and post-acute care. These steps alone can lower some of our stress and theirs.
Part of the nursing oath might be a paraphrase of another oath we know well: First, do no harm…to ourselves. Enjoy your month of recognition. You all deserve it.
Lillee Gelinas, DNP, RN, CPPS, FAAN
American Nurse Journal. 2023; 18(5). Doi: 10.51256/ANJ052304
Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad my message resonated with you and appreciate that you took the time to write your thoughts! Here’s a virtual “pat on the back” to you!
It’s true reflection of each nurse, and very inspirational content. The most important recommendation I like is “Take a moment to give each other a pat on the back for a job well done or a patient well cared for”. I echo this as many at times the individuals do not get the due credit or acknowledgement of their hard work as they work behind the scenes. There should be a culture and transparency to acknowledge for the job done by individuals.