I recently wrote a blog post on Digital Doorway in which I expressed gratitude for being a nurse, for my nursing career, and for those of you who are part of my world. As challenging and frustrating as nursing can be, there’s quite a bit to be thankful for.
Give thanks for being a nurse.
Here’s what I said in that post about my own nursing journey:
When I became a nurse in 1996, I was a 32-year-old step-father of a teenager, my wife was in college, and I was in need of a remunerative and flexible career that would carry me into my thirties and beyond after floundering throughout my twenties. With several nurses on my dad’s side of the family, nursing became my targeted professional career, and I launched into the educational fray as a double art school dropout with a mortal fear of math and science, subjects I had barely survived in high school. It was carpe diem or bust.
Long story short, I did indeed thrive in nursing school, eschewed the regular Med-Surg route (much to everyone’s dismay), and created a solid career in community health, case management, home health, and hospice, with a short stint in public health for good measure. While I’m not the sharpest nurse when it comes to hard clinical skills, the other aspects of my nursesness have stood me in good stead, and I have no regrets about my chosen out-of-the-box path.
Now, as a nurse entrepreneur, I’m forging another outside-the-lines trajectory for myself, and am currently no longer employed as a nurse in any clinical or administrative fashion. Am I still a nurse? You bet. Do I feel like a nurse? Certainly. Will others potentially see me as no longer a “real” nurse? Perhaps. Do I care? Not a hoot.
Your stories are more fascinating than mine; I love hearing them, and I love cheering you on from the sidelines. Nurses are legion, and we are the heart, blood, connective tissue, and nervous system of healthcare, depending on how you look at it. You might even say we’re the mitochondria of healthcare. Do you like that metaphor?
Your Story, Your Gratitude
The story of your nursing career is your own, and things that you feel grateful for may be different than those of your colleagues. There is bound to be plenty of overlap, but what is it that has made your nursing journey uniquely valuable, and how much attention have you given to your gratitude for what being a nurse has brought to your life?
- How has being a nurse moved the needle for you in the course of your life and career?
- What experiences have you had that could never be encountered in another line of work?
- How have you developed your communication skills as a nurse?
- What kind of personal growth have you experienced being a nurse?
We’re giving thanks for so many things at this time of year. As I said in my blog post:
Thank you for being a nurse. Thank you for the ways in which you’ve supported me, my career coaching practice, my podcasts, and my speaking and writing.
Thank you for the lives you’ve touched and saved, the hands you’ve held, the diapers you’ve changed, the tears and sweat you’ve shed, the aches and pains you’ve endured and overcome.
Thank you for contributing to this noble and esteemed profession, and for being a representative of the nursing nation.
Just being a nurse is a gift to society, and doing it well is a service beyond measure. I give thanks for you, and I give thanks for what this profession has given me. Being a nurse is the gift that keeps on giving, and my nurse identity is a sacred one.
Many blessings to you at this time of openly expressed gratitude; and may the gratitude you feel be reflected back to you one thousand times over.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives