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3 ways to stay positive on the job


Wavebreak Media | ThinkStock

Wavebreak Media | ThinkStock

No matter what you do for a living–and this includes the rich and famous–there will be days when it all seems annoying, pointless and beyond stressful. As a nurse, the hope is that helping people and making a difference will shine through any bumps along the way. But we understand that although that’s how you want to feel every day, it may not be how you feel right now.

Alicia-joy from Transitions in Nursing recently blogged about the topic and offered up six scenarios with solutions for each one. Here are three of our favorites:

Scenario #1: You like your specialty but don’t like the conditions of your job (i.e. patient/staff ratio, administration, coworkers, etc.).

Here’s the solution: Either decide to be happy or decide to be a force of change.

It’s actually easier than you think. Realize right now that how you feel is a choice. You can choose to complain and be negative, or you can choose to face your work day with an open, positive mind. Choose wisely. Here’s an excerpt from Sri Kumar Rao’s book Happiness at Work (EXCELLENT book, by the way):

There are many things you have to do in life that you find distasteful…Observe your emotions as you perform such activities. Note how often you feel self-pity and resentment. Now recognize that you can wallow in these negative feelings or simply let them go. And you can let them go.

If you try this for at least 21 days and this still doesn’t work, then be a force of change. Can you appeal to your manager about necessary changes?

If you decide to do this, you need to be strategic. Nobody wants to listen to complainers. If you go to your direct supervisor with nothing but complaints and negativity, you will not be successful. If something needs to change, come up with ideas for solutions and voice them.

Are your grievances universal? Are these things that are happening in many institutions? Perhaps you can join an organization that is actively lobbying for change. As you may know, some nurses lobby at the state and national level. Just the act of being involved with a change movement can often times make you feel more empowered and positive.

Here’s a resource about nurses lobbying for change. This organization has associations located throughout the US.

Scenario #2: You have been doing your specialty of nursing for X number of years and have no clue how to switch to another specialty.

Solution: Find out as much as you can about the desired specialty you want to change to and craft a plan of action.

Figure out how the skills you already have can be of use in that new specialty. Talk to nurses who are already working in that area and find out what it is like, how they got the job, if there are openings, etc.

Do research online to find out more information about the specialty; most have associations with information about education, networks, job boards and more.

Don’t know what kind of association I am talking about? Here are just 3 examples:

Emergency Nurses Association
American Case Management Association
National Association of Neonatal Nurses

And those are just a few. There are associations for almost every specialty. Use Google. That’s what it’s for.

Scenario #3: You endured being the new kid on the block when you first started at your job and the thought of enduring that again seems less appealing than a poop sandwich.

Solution: Step up and change.

This is the exact reason why you NEED to make a change. If you are afraid of feeling like you don’t know everything single solid thing about your job, then you have probably become complacent.

Is 90% of your job using the same skills every day? Do you feel you’re doing the same thing day in and day out? Do you know your job like the back of your hand? Kudos to you. Seriously, pat on the back for your level of competence and expertise.

Nevertheless, if you are not enjoying your work AND you have become complacent, perhaps it’s time to grow. Learning something new is the #1 way to grow in life. We are not meant to stop learning and growing. As children we are curious and we are constantly learning. Somewhere down the line (typically after college and our first few years on the job), we stop learning.

Yes, you may have a few new meds here and there,  new supplies, new policies or protocols. But those things pose little of a challenge and do not encourage growth.

So what if you will be the new kid on the block? Get over your ego, get over yourself, step out and do something new. I know it sounds cheesy but you can do it! Allow yourself to be challenged. Allow your brain to have to learn a new set of skills. Your brain will thank you for it later. And you may just feel happier in doing so.

I believe the opposite of happiness is not sadness, it’s boredom. Most people are just plain bored. Doing the same thing over and over again for years can make you feel disengaged and, well, bored. Accept that it will be a challenge and get out there and do it anyway!

Want to read the other three scenarios and advice? Head over to Transitions in Nursing and be sure to give us your own pieces of advice in the comments below!

Transitions in Nursing
Transitions in Nursing is written by Alicia-joy Pierre, RN, who's a writer, speaker and nurse career coach. Alicia-Joy enjoys helping fellow nurses connect with their inner genius and forge career transitions that make their hearts sing and their wallets happy. Alicia-joy is also an avid reader, adventurer and has an insatiable appetite for learning.

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