Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Nurse's Magic Wand

Since the beginning of this new year, I've been asking some of my colleagues and clients about what's next for them in 2015, and beyond. I ask them in the context of my contention that, if the profession of nursing and the healthcare industry is your professional oyster, how will you find your pearls?

Nurse Keith's magic wand
Taking this line of thought further, what would you do if you had a magic wand, and you could create whatever nursing career you could imagine? What would it look like? Don't worry about how you would do it; this is solely about dreaming big. What's your pleasure?

 A Bold Vision of a Nursing Career

With no holds barred, what is your vision of the ultimate nursing career for you at this point in your life, and perhaps for, let's say, the next decade? What would it be like? What would you like to see and experience?

If you'd like to indulge me, just try this exercise.

Close your eyes, and sink into a few nice, deep abdominal breaths. Remind yourself that this is not a time for your logical mind to find reasons that you'll never have what you're able to visualize. Au contraire. This is a time to think big, with no self-imposed limitations, and no concerns for what's "possible" or not.

Now, when you're fully relaxed and have taken those deep breaths, continue to breathe in a way that will allow you to stay in that calm, centered place.

Picture your ultimate work environment. Walk through the front door. What does is look like? What colors are painted on the walls? What does it smell like? Is there light streaming through the windows? Are there plants in optimal locations, and attractive art adorning the rooms? Do you have an office or desk? What is your personal work environment like?

When you picture your optimal colleagues, what are they like, and how do they treat one another? What sort of atmosphere exists between you and your co-workers? Is there collaboration and openness? Are people transparent and supportive? Does administration give the support that's needed and desired?

Taking this further, how much are you paid for your work? What's your schedule like? How's your commute? How do you feel when you get home after a day's work? Do you look forward to returning the next day?

Your ideal workplace may feel like a dream, but it's a dream that can be sought after and manifested in your life to some degree, especially if you're thoughtful and careful about what you really want, and you take inspired action to find it (or create it).

Manifesting Your Ideal

While it might sound like a New Age daydream to visualize your perfect, most ideal job, isn't it better than continuing to complain about what you don't have, and how you'll never find anything better? If you can picture in your mind what you'd truly like to experience, don't you think it's much more likely that---just maybe---you'll put more energy into finding or creating work that might fulfill at least some of your criteria?

Let's face it, if you spend every day saying to yourself, "This job is horrible, and I'll never find another job that's any better, anyway, so I may as well just suck it up," do you think you'll be motivated to keep looking, networking, and trying to up your game and move on to a better situation? A defeatist, negative attitude will likely net you a career that matches that attitude pretty exactly, so why not spend time picturing what you want rather than what you don't want, or what you believe you can't have (or don't really deserve)? 

Sure, healthcare can be a tough industry, and nursing can be a challenging profession with many negative aspects that are hard to swallow. That said, since I assume that you have to work no matter what, why not continue to focus on what you want, while also advocating for change in your present situation? Why not spend your energy on visualizing the kind of work environment, career, and colleagues that would make your professional life more of a pleasant adventure, and less of a rat race?

It's Always Possible to Find the Pearls

If your eyes are on the prize---even a prize beyond your current situation---perhaps that prize will come that much closer to reality every day that you focus on the ultimate scenario that will make your nurse's heart sing.

In my work as the Chief Nursing Officer of a small but growing home health agency, our nurses say that we've created the most positive, convivial, transparent, welcoming, warm, and satisfying work environment that they've ever experienced. It's not perfect, but we work at it every day. Even as we continue to grow, part of our strategic plan is to make sure that our positive company culture is maintained and improved every step of the way.How does that sound to you?

Anything is possible, and everyone has some pearls out there in the deep, blue nursing ocean. It's up to you to find where yours are hiding, and if you can't find them, build your own from scratch.

Positive, supportive, and wonderful work environments for nurses do exist, especially when thoughtful people like us demand them and create them.

Now, wave your magic wand and get to work creating what you want!
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