Well, it's that time of year again, and National Nurses Week is just around the corner. Now, before you get too excited about the hearts, flowers and monogrammed mugs that your supervisors will leave in the nurses station (I just received a terribly ugly pin in the mail from one of my employers), the question of the day is: What will you do---for yourself---for National Nurses Week?
Most employers spend money on trinkets and other flotsam and jetsam for Nurses Week (if you're lucky), and the rare employer or facility will actually host a special meal for nurses in order to honor them. Still others might give gift certificates, flowers, gift cards, or other mementos in recognition.
Now, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth, but I honestly don't expect anything from either of my employers this month (except for the aforementioned ugly pin which is now making its way to the landfill as we speak---my eco-sin of the year). While I write for several nursing websites, I would also not expect special mention from those organizations within which I serve as a contractor/freelancer, so I realize that it's up to me to recognize myself for my "nurseness".
Considering the fact that National Nurses Week will go relatively unnoticed by the general public (like Administrative Assistants Day and Boss's Day), we nurses need to take the proverbial bull by the horns and treat ourselves the way we want to be treated.
We can't exactly give ourselves raises, single-handedly eradicate nurse bullying and horizontal violence, improve nurse-patient ratios overnight, or instigate the founding of a "nurse rejuvenation center" at our facilities and workplaces by next week, but we can take stock of our careers, enumerate our strengths and accomplishments, and reward ourselves for those accomplishments in myriad ways.
I don't know if I need to take myself out to dinner, buy myself a designer stethoscope, or have my scrubs monogrammed, but I can take a hard look at my career, pat myself on the back for a job---or jobs---well done, and perhaps list some professional goals for the coming year and list my many successes.
I have put in 16 good years as a nurse, touched many lives, written over 1,500 blog posts, been published in books, started a radio station for nurses, founded a practice as a nurse coach, and decided that my current situation of part-time nursing work, freelance writing, blogging and coaching is a nice mix for the moment. Some day, I hope to be coaching nurses full time, but for now my new practice is growing apace, and I'm pleased with how things are developing calmly and incrementally.
So, my dear nursing friends, what will you do for yourself for National Nurses Week? Buy a new purse? Get a new bike? Go for a walk? Take yourself to lunch? Write in your journal? Whatever you do, do it with a sense of gratitude and purpose, and make sure that you realize how your personal strengths and professional dedication impact your own life, as well as the lives of others.
Happy National Nurses Week, several days early.