So you all are probably opening this post and thinking, “What is this chick talking about?” Yes, Nursing is a lot like marriage! More than you would think! A little background on me:
I have been married a little under two years. I love my husband more than anything in the world, but marriage has not always been easy! The man I chose to marry is the man that I am committed to. There is no “if this doesn’t work out, then I can leave…” I took my marriage vows very seriously, and I committed to doing WHATEVER it takes to make this work, through the good times and the bad!
For those of you who know me, I may be a very happy and outgoing person a lot of the time, but I am incredibly stubborn! I’m a leader, not a follower. I get a little defensive with topics that I am passionate about, and I also am not the greatest listener (when it comes to things that I’m not interested in) at times. These are all areas that I have been working on, and continue to do so! These are also all of the areas that are going to help better my marriage (by working on them)! It’s not fun to admit you’re stubborn, or that you’re a bad listener, or that you don’t like to follow! The reason I am willing to work on these things is because this is going to help my marriage and I am committed to this man that I truly love! This is going to help the “team” that my husband and I are. This is ultimately going to help us “win together!”
I love that phrase, “ Winning Together.” What I mean by that is that not one person comes out on top and the other gets the short end of the stick. It means that by compromising, helping even when you don’t want to, serving even when you don’t want to, and holding your tongue even when you don’t want to, you still do it for the good of your relationship! Also, that other person does the exact same thing for you! When you both are meeting each other’s needs and tweaking how you see things or do things to maybe put that other person’s needs before your own, you both win. Ultimately, when you are able to let go of your selfish ways and put someone’s else needs before yours, it speaks VOLUMES to that person and who you are deep inside! It shows that you truly care! It also generates an appreciation from the other party that will benefit you in the future.
I’m by no means saying to get walked over and not take care of yourself, but there is a happy medium. It’s a give and take. And guess what? SO IS NURSING! I watch nurses every day interact with each other. I’ve witnessed some really nasty words get exchanged. I’ve witnessed hurtful actions and lack of support. I’ve seen bullying at its worst, and I’ve also witnessed leadership handle situations in ways that have made me cringe, and wonder how in the world these people were put in these positions?!
Putting Others Needs Before Our Own
Just like marriage, we need to be putting the needs of each other ahead of our own! I’m not saying neglect your patients to go take care of your fellow nurses, but lend a hand when it’s not always the most convenient for you. I was sitting down the hall at my computer when I watched a nurse about 5 doors away from me, sticking her head out in an isolation gown, CLEARLY looking for help. She needed to “boost” her patient. She had asked the tech as she was passing and the tech said she wasn’t able to help for whatever reason. I noticed that she didn’t seem to want to ask me. I knew she needed help and I just got up from my mounds of charting and I said, “ Girl, I got you!” She wasn’t going to ask because she knew how busy I looked and felt that she couldn’t, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about being there for each other and helping when needed. Even though it wasn’t super convenient to go help, I knew I’d want the same for me! Having that “being willing to always help” mindset is just healthier for so many reasons.
Encouragement and Support
Just like in any marriage, you need to be supporting and encouraging your the people you work alongside! Leadership needs to building up its staff! Instead of pointing fingers and constantly harping on the “why didn’t you do this?” How about, “ Hey, you are so amazing at what you do and we are so thankful to have you on our team, but I just had a question about something that I think we can work through….” I see situations handled so poorly and I watch good nurses get hurt, and new nurses run. We NEED to be ENCOURAGING and SUPPORTING one another NO MATTER WHAT!
The next time you are out on the floor, I need you to be aware of your surroundings and the people you are working with. When you notice that one room in particular’s call light goes off every 5 seconds and they are clearly a bit of a hot mess, try answering that call light a few times. You know “that” nurse cringes the minute she hears it go off… We need to be treating the floor like these are ALL of our patients, not just “my patients.” In order to foster a culture of love, support, and encouragement, we all have to do our part on a manager level, a leadership level, and a floor staff level.
Speaking Kindly To One Another
Lastly, just like in marriage, speak kind words. Words have so much more power than people truly understand. I see attitudes and negativity in the workplace everyday. If you can’t come to work with a smile and kindly say please and thank you, then just don’t come. I would rather work with one less nurse or staff member than someone who brings others down! We need to be building each other up. Congratulating and acknowledging accomplishments! Really taking interest in the personal life of our staff members, and making sure they are doing okay as well. I am always checking in with my hubs at the end of the day and just seeing how he’s doing. I identify when he’s “off” and its easy for my to see that same thing in my co-workers that I’m around all of the time! Support and Love them! Be intentional! We all have a desire to be loved and appreciated!
So in many ways, Nursing IS a lot like marriage. I know you are not married to your co-workers, and you spouses issues mean a lot more to you than than the call bell going off down the hallway, but the basics principles of serving each other selflessly and treating one another with kindness and respect, are things that can be done for anyone. We work in a very unique and intimate profession. We take care of lives. We are constantly worried about the physical aspects of our patients hearts, and also the emotional. Just like in marriage, we need to “check in” and see how things are going. We tend to get so busy and get caught up in our own issues. Do that this week with your staff. “Check in” and see how everyone is doing. Try holding your tongue when it’s hard, and be kind to one another. Just like marriage, when we actively put each other’s needs before our own, we will “Win Together.”
Your Heart Is Mine,