We nurses have the best stories, don’t we? Our stories can make you cry so hard you can’t see and laugh so hard you can’t breathe, and can be so risquÃ© that if you tell them out loud, you might cause civilians (non-nurses) to faint. The point is, we have amazing stories. That’s who we are. It’s our history. As humans we have been etching our stories on cave walls, writing them on papyrus and chiseling them into stone for millennia. We need to tell our stories. This need comes from deep within. Nurses are no different.
This is part one of a series of articles about inspiration in nursing. You can look at these articles as ways to get your inspiration back, keep your inspiration going or help prevent you from losing your inspiration—whatever works for you. The idea here is that there’s a lot out there to help improve our “how,” and while nurses certainly need that skill-building information, there isn’t much out there to help us to connect back to our “why.” I believe that when we’re connected to our “why”—our calling, our spirit, our inspiration—we are so much more powerful. I want to help you do that in this series.
In my book Inspired Nurse, I used stories from my own nursing journey as a way to introduce each chapter’s “spiritual stretches,” which are exercises to help you connect to your inspiration, deal with burnout and fill your soul. I believe that our stories are what we are made of. In other words, our stories are our “bricks.” How often do you reflect back on those amazing moments? Those times when you felt most “on purpose”? Those are the moments I want you to think about. They are what “built” you, those amazing stories. Those are your “bricks.”
Your “bricks” are the stories that stir up deep emotions and will cause you to either stay in touch with or get back in touch with your inspiration. Are these the stories that you share in meetings, at the nurse’s station, when you go out with other nurses? Or do you spend time on the mundane? You know, the “he said/she said” nonsense that fills our heads like another mind-numbing episode of a reality TV show that offers nothing but “filler” and does nothing to stir emotion, fill our spirits or move us back to a feeling of purpose? When was the last time you remembered that “best moment ever” as a nurse? When was the last time you spoke the name of that patient who forever touched your heart? If you can’t remember that time, now is the time to do it. I promise you this: Telling your great story is the first stone you must lay on the path to inspiration. So, what’s your story?
Here’s your “work” for this month:
- Think about your story. Take some time to simply sit quietly and think back on what your greatest story was. What was your greatest moment as a nurse? Where were you? Who was there? Close your eyes and “be there.” What does this bring up for you? How does that feel? What made this story so memorable?
- Write your story. Maya Angelou says that to keep an untold story inside of you is agony. We need to tell our stories. Sit down and write this great story. Don’t worry about spelling, don’t worry about how it sounds—just write it. Make it tangible and real for yourself. It will come alive for you as you write. You will be in that moment again.
- Share your story. Your story is a way to inspire not only yourself, but others. Challenge your department or team to share their stories. Combine them all into a notebook that can be shared among the team. You will be amazed. You’ll see each other, and yourself, in a totally different light. Your stories will inspire others, and theirs will inspire you. Make sure these stories, the powerful ones, are what you begin to talk about in meetings and at the nurse’s station. Your stories are truly your “bricks.” They help build a more inspired nurse. The more solid the brick, the stronger the structure.
Don’t hope for things in life to get better so that you can feel more inspired. That’s like hoping it won’t rain as you walk outside so you can avoid getting soaked. Instead of hoping for better weather, get out your raincoat and umbrella and enjoy singing in the rain (dancing through puddles is optional!). Don’t hope it will “all change someday.” Hope, instead that “I can be better.” Own your inspiration. Start with your stories. You are on your way. Be well. Stay inspired.
Click on the book to learn more about Inspired Nurse!