My purpose is to discuss the hard stuff, the stuff we know makes us hard as steel, yet weak in the knees. I will share stories of vulnerability, failures and successes, unbreakable relationships, and shattered moments. Most of all, I will share the best parts of us, nurses who overcome, innovate, and inspire. My mission is to ignite excellence in each of you through our shared journey, lessons learned along the way, and how we can all overcome the forces that have the potential to burn us out. As we walk together, learn together, and thrive together, we will find our flames while igniting the flame in others. Welcome to the first issue of Our Best Us! A place where we discuss what we bring to the table, leave at the door, and what penetrates our hearts.
As a Trauma ICU nurse, I remember the rushes of adrenaline filled shifts, working as a team giving every ounce of energy that we had to save the life of someone from a plane crash accident, multiple gunshot wounds, automobile crashes, or unimaginable traumatic events. We learned how to separate our emotions for the task at hand, the life in front of us and for the family praying in the waiting room. At least for the moment. Until the drive home. The flood of emotions, the fierce fall from adrenaline, the realization that we hadn’t eaten all day long. Sometimes, sleepless nights from wondering if we remembered everything, did we think of everything, would they survive the night, and was my charting complete. We were the last things on our minds, our own health, our own wellbeing.
I remember being a new nurse. I was on fire for nursing and wanted to be THAT nurse, the nurse trusted by patients, their families, the physicians, and most of all my peers. I will never forget my last day on orientation. I had a very tough day, although I was exhausted, I knew that I was THAT nurse that day. I did a great job, my patients even told me so. Unfortunately, the night nurse didn’t agree. When I came back the next day, the night shift nurse told me exactly what she thought about me and how I would never make it as a nurse. She took the liberty of writing a 3-page letter about how horrible I was. This was written about me, personal, attacking, not constructive. It was meant to harm. Unfortunately, this happened over 18 years ago and I can still feel this when I talk about it. I stuck around, but many new graduates do not. In fact, about 33% leave our amazing profession within their first year!
There were times in my career when I wasn’t THAT nurse, when I wasn’t present enough to care. During those times, I wasn’t healthy mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually. A recipe for burnout. I’m sure I was on the downward slope of burnout many times. Exhaustion and feelings of not being able to do my best and frustrated because I wasn’t able to break out of it. It wasn’t just my career; my personal life paid the price too.
Stressors in nursing come from many directions. Long hours of working under high acuity workloads, remembering to chart all the required items in the electronic medical record, expectations of perfectionism, and accounts of bullying and incivility that go unaddressed are some of the most significant contributors to developing burnout. We can also have positive stressors that grow us intellectually, like seeking certification, obtaining higher education, or learning a new specialty. These stressors, if not balanced with intentional energy replenishing habits that promote healthy physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, can cause a tipping point from recoverable moments of fatigue to a downward spiral into burnout, breakdown, and even into severe cases of suicidal events.
We deserve to be Our Best Us, for our patients, for our relationships, for our communities, and most of all, for ourselves. Showing up every day, being at our best, requires conscious work in the form of established habits that fill our energy banks. This is what this blog will be dedicated to cultivating. A community of nurses striving and thriving.
RN Rainmakers, simply stated, make things happen. We’re engaged in our work, take a seat at the table, innovate with evidence and practice excellence. We not only make things happen in our own lives; we ignite the flame in others and make more RN Rainmakers!
This is your personal invitation to ignite the excellence in you! Let’s make it rain!
This business and blog would not have come to life without the support, mentorship, and love of so many family, friends and colleagues. My biggest wholehearted gratitude is to John Bielinski, my dear friend, mentor, visionary, and believer. You have ignited my soul and I will forever spend a lifetime paying it forward.
I would love to hear your feedback or request for certain topics. Also, if you would like to contribute to Our Best Us, please email me at Crystal@RNRainmaker.com.