Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go the distance in your practice!

In it for the long haul? Public health nursing is a tough professional track. I heard recently of a nurse that quit before her first year was out because of the political environment in her agency. So unfortunate! Your success is, at least in part, subject to the reality of your office's political environment. How to survive and thrive? Here are my suggestions:
  1. When you are new - pay attention! Lay back and put your own expectations aside for a while. Be a sponge, not a brillo pad. Embrace reality.
  2. Recognize and show an interest in the expertise around you. Ask for your coworker's stories of how they entered public health. Nothing kills a new employee like hearing how they know it all. Yikes.
  3. Fight your own fear and say an enthusiastic YES! to every assignment. You won't know what you're doing until you get out and do it.
  4. Fight the urge to join in cynical language you hear. There is a dark humor in nursing, but if you haven't cemented yourself in the role it may not just be blowing off steam, you may really damage your perception of your job. It's bad "self-talk" and I recommend you supplant it with positive thoughts (In the words of Stuart Smalley - "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit people like me!")
  5. Be prepared for a long adjustment. You can't really know what you are doing for a few years. That's unique in nursing. Give it time. The "long haul" view is exactly the same one that you will use to measure the success of your nursing interventions to families you serve.
You're in it, so give yourself the best chance to stick around for the reward of a nursing life well lived. Be patient and apply some strategy to give yourself the best chance for success.

No comments:

Post a Comment