5 things nurses should never have to change


James Peragine | Veer

Let me guess: It’s probably gray and depressing where you are, one month of self-control have worn you down and you’re ready to eat a big chocolate sundae/have a day off/rent a chainsaw.

As an antidote to any resolutions you may have made this month, I offer the following Anti-Resolutions for Nurses—and probably not a moment too soon:

1. You do not have to change the way you behave, ’cause it’s not about you.
If you get yelled at by a patient, a family member, a doctor or a coworker, remember that it’s their problem, not yours. People get stressed and yell. People are naturally bullies, or naturally power-hungry, and they yell. Have you ever noticed that it’s usually the first interaction with a new person that makes a yeller be a yeller? Yeah—that’s a power thing, not a you-screwed-up thing. Relax. A patient smile and calm demeanor makes you look better (and drives the yellers nuts).

2. You do not have to change the way you nurse, ’cause the folks who say you do have no clue.
If you work where I work, the new year brings a stack of great ideas from Manglement. In the last two weeks, we’ve gotten three new pieces of paperwork to fill out with our patients, none of which changes our nursing practice in the least. Remember that nine out of 10 new ideas from the Powers That Be are actually boxes they have to tick for one surveying organization or another, so don’t get too stressed about it. Yeah, it takes more time to fill out whichever sliver of brilliance is sitting in front of you, but it won’t change how you work.

3. You do not have to change what you think, ’cause that’s what makes you who you are.
It might be politic to keep your mouth shut about controversial issues, but you’re still allowed your own thoughts and feelings, no matter what anybody says. Those of you who work for state- or government-funded facilities are no doubt well acquainted with the side-eye, raised-eyebrow school of communication. In other words, you might have to toe the party line, but you don’t have to live it. Like a glass-bottom boat in a sewer, you can sail through your day untouched by office politics and institutional mandates, secure inside your own skull.

4. You do not have to stop getting irritated, but do ration your irritation wisely.
Every day involves something so moronic, so baffling, so illogical that it makes you want to change your name to Gorzar, Slayer of Stupid and go on a rampage. You don’t have to be totally apathetic, but do pick your battles. You’ll find that you have lower blood pressure and get better results if you don’t get irritated at every single molecule of Stupid that’s floating around.

5. You do not have to refrain from renting that chainsaw…just make sure you have a bail fund already set up among your friends and coworkers.
Who knows? You might be doing everybody a favor. Just make sure you don’t have to stay in the pokey for too long before you sacrifice yourself on the altar of efficiency.

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