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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Sometimes We Need Inspiration

Published April 22, 2010 12:02 PM by Gail Guterl
The other day, while tidying up, I picked up a book, Inspired Nurse by Rich Bluni, RN, and leafed through it. My first reaction: How did I miss this book? My second: Wow, what a great book to tell nurses about, especially in this stressful time and especially because it's almost Nurses Week (May 6-12).

And you know how it works, once you hear or read something, you see it again and again. Lo and behold, honestly no more than a half hour after clearing my desk, I got an e-mail from a publicist promoting some inspirational tips from Bluni.

I wanted to share them with you apropos of Nurses Week because, let's face it, these are tough times for the profession. And sometimes it's helpful to remember why you chose to be a nurse.

Bluni says nurses never wake up asking themselves "how to be a nurse today," but he wondered if they ever ask "why?"

"Most nurses are so focused on the how of their jobs they completely overlook the why," Bluni said. "We chalk our stress, burnout and emptiness up to the demanding environment in which we work. And we assume the passion we once felt for healthcare is simply gone, unrecoverable. After all, it's not like taking a class on IV drip calculations will revitalize our spirits!

"But that assumption is far from true - we have the power to revamp the way we feel about the important work we do," he insists. "We just have to know where to start."

I suggest starting with the lucky find at my desk, Bluni's book. As he says: "When you own a car, you maintain it because it's yours and you want it to last. It's essential you feel that way about your work as well."

A few suggestions from Bluni:

  • Stop hanging out with the "psychic vampires, people who drain your life force and who break you down with their negativity."
  • Support new nurses. We're going to need them very soon and the destructive habit of "eating your young" is second nature for some animal species, but should not be a part of nursing.
  • Diagnose the problem of your burnout if you are a veteran nurse. "Burnout is the soul's way of telling you you need more self-care, a good dose of healing, and to connect back to your purpose."
  • It's been said time and again, journaling is very therapeutic, so consider journaling, if even on a notepad or a sticky note, Bluni suggests.

If you are one who enjoys introspection when you ponder a problem, the sections in Bluni's book called "Spiritual Stretch," provide various insights into issues like random acts of kindness, how you feel if involved in a medical error, when you lose a patient, and when you are mistreated by a colleague or patient.

All I can say is I'm glad I cleaned my desk because I would not have found a book that seems to provide some guidance in maneuvering the profession in these tough economic and social times.

The book has been added to the ADVANCE Book Club for Nurses of suggested reading at Everyone could use support throughout their busy days, so pick up a copy of Inspired Nurse to refresh your outlook on nursing. Also consider giving the book as a gift to colleagues and friends during Nurses Week. Such a random act of kindness is good for everyone's soul.


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