At this time of Valentine’s Day, we see lots of hearts, flowers, candy, and other trappings of the holiday, even in nurses stations, clinics, and physician offices. These signs of appreciation and love are great in and of themselves, and they are also a reminder that the superficial can sometimes preclude going just a little bit deeper. Nurses, when it comes to self-love and self-care, you deserve to go deep.
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show will not teach you how to put more love into your resume, or when to update your LinkedIn profile. This podcast episode isn’t about getting ahead, networking, forward career momentum, or informational interview styles.
On this brief episode of The Nurse Keith Show, I want to cajole you to write yourself a nurse’s self-love Valentine. Or if you don’t want to write it, think it through with me as we delve into this notion of self-love for the busy nurse.
Hearts and Flowers
Yes, Valentine’s Day is all about the hearts and flowers and candy; I get it, and it’s fine. And if you get some candy and flowers from your workplace this week, consider yourself lucky.
Nurses, I want you to give yourself some metaphorical hearts and flowers — you deserve it, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pat yourself on the back and give yourself a heartfelt energetic should rub for a job well done.
If you were to make a list of twelve things about yourself that make you a great nurse, what would they be? If you’ll indulge me, consider pausing this recording and quickly jotting down ten things that make you brilliant, compassionate, kind, skillful, or otherwise effective in your work. These things may be clinical in nature, or they may have more to do with what we oddly call “soft” skills, like communication or empathy.
Have you written those twelve things down yet? What are you waiting for? When you’ve written them down, realize that you now have a bouquet of a dozen “thought roses” that you can gift yourself over and over again. These are the self-identified skills or attributes that make you the amazing nurse you are, and you’re taking the time to name them and then praise yourself for them.
Next, I want you to think of your best, most trustworthy and reliable nurse coworker. Now, it’s your turn to buy a greeting card or nice note paper, and write that nurse a little letter, elucidating the twelve things you love about them as a nurse. You can even tell them that you’re giving them a “bouquet of praise”.
These bouquets never die, but they do need to be watered; their water is essentially your ability to keep those attributes alive in your nursing career, and to continue to praise yourself for how those characteristics make you the powerful nurse and human being you are.
There’s Always More To Love
Friends, there’s always more ways to love yourself; this little exercise was just one method for making sure that you and a beloved colleague receive a bouquet or praise and self-worth, whether you’re listening around Valentine’s Day or not.
You of course want to love your job, your colleagues, your employer, and the work you do in the world; some days, it will be easier than others to feel the love. And sometimes you may realize you’ve fallen out of love, and this is when a new job, a new career path, or maybe a change of employers or facilities will do you some good.
But more than anything, I want you to realize that showing appreciation for the self is central to your well-being and career satisfaction. You need to feel good about who you are as a nurse and a human being, and you need to remind yourself of the reasons you’re amazing over and over again.
In this world and this time in history, there are plenty of negative messages that we can take in, consciously or subconsciously. Magazine ads tell us we’re too fat or skinny, other nurses tell us we’re not good enough, or physicians demean us and cut us down. The news can be depressing, and the state of the world can feel frail and tender, at best.
I implore you to keep your brag list handy; stay attuned to the things you love about yourself, your nursing practice, your role as a nurse, and your nursing identity. And infect some of your favorite and precious colleagues with this same brand of self-love and appreciation. Form a support circle of nurses willing to love themselves, and willing to give one another the praise that they may not get elsewhere.
Self-love is a radical act, nurses; be radical. I dare you.
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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 has written for Nurse.org, Nurse.com, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.
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.