Never forget your “why”

My mission for this blog is to provide tools that nurses need to be more resilient at work, especially because of the challenging work we do daily. But I often forget the reason why I decided to become a nurse in the first place. As an inpatient psychiatric nurse, I easily get caught up in the stress of the day and the many tasks I have to finish during the shift. I forget what actually matters most — the patient experience.

This morning, I realized how much I had forgotten about this when the hospital director walked around the unit and asked me questions. During my conversation with the HD, one of my patients came up to us and said, “This is one of the best nurses.” The HD was thankful for the compliment, but my patient went on to say more: “She’s relentless. You have great staff here.” Again, the HD was appreciative for the comment. As for me, I nearly broke into tears.

It had been so long since I had been thanked like that (in front of the hospital director, no less)! I had forgotten that in the midst of all the work I do, that at the end of the day what matters most is how the patient feels. I saw that this patient had improved significantly since admission, and seeing how big of a role I played in this patient’s progress was an enormous realization. I never actually realized how much of an impact I had on this patient. I never even actually knew this person was appreciative of me. In my mind, I was just going about doing my typical duties as a nurse.

When I am at work, I am not actively seeking gratitude or anticipating any form of thanks. I am actually too busy to even think about that (lol!). But from time to time, it is so amazing to hear those two simple words that every nurse wants to hear. “Thank you” doesn’t just mean “I appreciate your care.” It means, “You’ve made a difference in my life,” and for that reason, I am proud to be a registered nurse.

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