The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” resonates loudly with the growth and maturation of any nurse. I’m not talking just new nurses or new grads. This applies to all levels of experience and all levels of skill & education.
I think, at least for me, that the old proverb means simply that we are a product of our environment. It’s never just ‘one person or persons’ responsibility or ‘fault’ (although I hate using that word in this reference).
To make the comparison. While the child’s parents have the majority of responsibility in ‘raising’ their child, the parents are not with them 24/7. The child’s life is a sum of their experiences in and out of the home.
The same goes for a nurse. While the nursing school instructors / preceptors / managers / leadership team members have the majority of the responsibility ‘molding’ and ‘shaping’ the nurse, they are not with them 24/7. The nurse and their progress in their career is the sum of their experiences.
Now, this isn’t a discussion about blame or a debate on quality of care and responsibility. I’m simply bringing to light the obvious nature of our profession. We not only touch (impact) every walk of life, but those same foot steps touch (impact) us.
Here’s a personal story to help deliver this message.
In my previous career I was attending a sports banquet. The guest speaker was a home time ‘hero’ of sorts. He was a local success story that had was quite the success story in his chosen career path. He was the token guest speaker that night, and I cannot ever forget the message he relayed to the crowd.
He told the story about how great it was being successful, but that the road to success was littered with failures, falls and restarts. It was a great story about how he overcame the odds (I won’t bore you with that part of the story).
The ‘take home’ point of his story was that every night he goes home, on his way out of his place of business, he makes a conscious effort to seek out environmental services personnel. He greets them and thanks them for their hard work on an almost daily basis.
He not only does this, but he knows their names. All of them. He greets and thanks them all as a person.
The oh-so vague point of this story is that no matter how successful a man he is, he never forgets how he got there and how he continues to be there. If the environmental service team doesn’t excel at their job, he cannot excel at his.
He wrapped up the story by asking a simple question. Do you know your environmental services / house keeping personnel’s names? Why not?
Do you know the names of these awesome people where you work? Why not?
It takes the concerted and focused efforts of all members of your team to deliver high quality care. Everyone from the physician, the nurse, the aides, the secretary, ancillary staff, transporters, and volunteers play an integral part in the success of your career (no matter where it may take you).
Let’s put it in more simple terms, have you ever had to do their job? ‘Nuff said.
It truly takes a village to raise a nurse. To think anything less is robbing you of some of the greatest moments as a nurse.