Have you ever invested yourself 100% into a business, career or project to find out in the end that it wasn’t what you thought it would be like or that it had changed into something you did not like or could no longer support?
I felt this way. After all my dreams of being a nurse and the ultimate culmination of my education, beginning to practice in my new career and then finding after a couple of years that nursing was not really what I thought it would be. I was devastated and felt trapped in my career doing what I didn’t like.
The dreams about nursing began as a child. I always had a passion to help others, care about and for others. It’s been a part of my core self all my life. I always gravitated to the person who needed a friend, or needed help. I have been compassionate and caring for others as far back as I remember. I played nurse with my friends as a youngster. I volunteered as a Candy Striper in the hospital in high school and then finally decided my life career was going to be nursing. I had a mental concept of what I thought nursing was and should be.
My real journey became when I entered nursing school. Since I was a very quiet and shy child and my family did not engage in conversations often, one of the most difficult topics was communication skills. I learned how critical it was to develop this skill and worked very hard throughout my life to conquer my fears of communicating. I grew in my ability to demonstrate the passion and empathy for people that had always been a part of me.
My journey continued as I began nursing in the hospital. This was the beginning of being disillusioned with nursing. There was limited time to talk with patients, get to know them or develop therapeutic relationships to facilitate reaching goals. All I did was walk up and down, up and down the hallway passing medication, doing treatments and charting. That’s not what I thought nursing would be and it was not what I wanted to do. I didn’t stay in hospital nursing very long.
Then a grand opportunity came my way. I was offered as position to work with one of my great mentors and pioneer a new role as a clinical specialist. This was a highlight and turning point of my career. I was able to assist some patient’s transition from the hospital and work with them in their homes. I will never forget working with a young man who had brain cancer, and watching him enjoy time and a relationship with his 3 year old son. It was a beautiful, heartfelt experience. This was the beginning of specializing in home care and hospice. This combination of practices was an innovative nursing practice, “out of the box” thinking for our field. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I was able to share compassion and empathy as a necessary part of what nursing is about, which was natural a part of me.
From that time forward I worked in home care in a variety of positions. Home care seemed ideal, I was in charge of my practice, set my schedule and managed my time the way I chose or at least as much as possible considering patient’s requests, agency rules and other regulations. Eventually these rules and regulations limited practice, for example, I didn’t like being on call 24-hours a day or being responsible for others who chose not to perform as expected or having to stretch my time when I was unable to provide the necessary care in the usual work hours. The longer I practiced and the more patients and nurses I worked with I learned more about how nurses could be helping patients more than we were.
If nurses could use a different approach, one of discovering what a patient wanted rather than what the nurse thought the patient should know or do to solve the problem then the outcomes could be better. When I thought about it, wasn’t that what I wanted? Most of us are inclined to take action when we are asked rather then told. This thought excited me and I entered a course to learn how to become a coach. One area I wanted to coach was with people who have a chronic illnesses. I wanted to help them become more engaged in improving their health.
It proved to be a difficult task to become a nurse entrepreneur and find clients. Marketing to find clients is way out of my league. As I worked on this I actually went back on the road to work with patients in their homes. I become outraged seeing how nursing was changing. Nurses weren’t being taught the basics of nursing, companies were demanding increased productivity and documentation was increased. Nurses were now more removed from spending time with their patients. They are not able to focus on “what nursing should be” and many did not “know what nursing should be.”
My perfectionism and work ethic pushed me to focus my coaching skills on helping nurses be able to practice “real nursing.” I view this is a critical step in my career in light of my upcoming retirement and my passion for nursing. I want to contribute to the resurgence of nursing into the forefront of the health care system. Nurses can make the difference. From my experience working with patients and using my coaching skills patients tell me, “Don’t ever doubt that you do make a difference.” “You listen and then you do what I need done.” One daughter said to me, “I see Jesus in you, the way you talk to and treat my mom.” Others say, “I want you to be my nurse all the time, you sit and talk with me and spend time to know me. The others come in, take my vital signs, tell me what to do and leave.” I have gained more joy in working with patients and believe I have done a better job helping people since learning how to coach.
Now as I am closing in on retirement I am especially passionate about helping nurses to help patients in a different way. A way that will expand their practice and expand the nursing profession in a day of health reform and increasing emphasis on patient engagement in their health practices. I am excited to share what I have learned as a coach and using coaching techniques in my home care nursing practice.
I know that many nurses and other professionals are getting similar feedback from patients and that all professionals practice differently. There is always more we can learn to improve our practice. Nursing is a life-long learning career and my new course, 6 Best-Kept Sercrets of the Succesful Nurse, is an opportunity to learn tried and true tools and techniques to succeed in your career. Coaching and teaching other nurses has inspired me to keep practicing and to serve clients in a novel way. I am passionate about helping other nurses have this experience in their career and with their patients.
If you have lost the passion in your practice and no longer see or are not able to practice the way you always thought it would sign up for this course. There are many benefits to changing the reality of practice and bring back the joy in your nursing. You will find more time to spend on your personal life because your new practice allows patients to assume their share of the time and work in attaining their goals. Can you image how great it would be to regain the informal power in your career, achieve more joy in your work, and more time for personal interests?