When we take time to care for ourselves, everyone wins: Our patients, our fellow nurses, and our families. More often than not, we spend much of our waking hours giving to others, leaving very few moments to devote to what drives our passions. I believe it is truly vital for nurses to cultivate professional fulfillment through self-care and self-improvement. When we do this, we can shine brighter, feel stronger, and show our best selves to the world around us.
After I had worked on a medical-surgical unit for about 10 years, I began to realize that the passion and excitement I had for my work when I first started was diminished. It seemed like there were more and more demands and less organizational support, more attention being paid to quality metrics than the personal aspects of patient care – all of which left me exhausted and disheartened at the end of the day. Yes, I was suffering from what author Richard Chang referred to as a “passion deficit” in his book entitled “The Passion Plan at Work.”
So, I decided that it was vital that I renew my passion and if I was to remain a nurse. I took a strong interest survey online to help me identify interests that I may have failed to nourish during my nursing career. Then I made a list of activities and aspects of my job as a nurse at the bedside that I enjoyed. I integrated some of these interests into my work setting by starting a newsletter for nursing staff on my unit, taking a renewed interest in mentoring students and new nurses, and becoming more involved in AMSN.
A key factor to increasing job satisfaction, in my experience, was taking action. Knowing that I was taking steps to achieve a certain goal (increasing my happiness and sense of satisfaction at work) made me feel better and like I was moving forward rather than standing still and letting the passion deficit continue to grow. One way I sought professional fulfillment was through certification. Research has demonstrated that nursing certification promotes feelings of professional accomplishment and growth, validates knowledge in a specialized area and enhances professional credibility and autonomy. I’m currently in the process of recertifying for the third time. I am so proud every time I sign my name professionally and add CMSRN at the end of my title. This is both a personal and professional validation of my continued competencies in the field of medical-surgical nursing. It’s a gift I give to myself as well as a demonstration of my professional credibility.
If you are intrigued and would like to learn more about becoming certified as a medical-surgical nurse (CMSRN), please visit the AMSN website here: www.amsn.org. There, you can obtain information on the certification process as well as find resources to help you prepare for the certification exam. You can also view videos on the website where certified medical-surgical nurses describe the professional goals they have been able to achieve as a result of their certification. If you need financial assistance getting your certification, you can also visit www.msncb.org for more information. AMSN and MSNCB will always be in your corner, helping you realize your personal and professional goals.
Have a wonderful month, and whatever you do, don’t forget to take some time for you.