We are arguably in the midst of the most challenging period in modern history for nurses. Throughout the global pandemic, there have been many lows and few highs. However, many of the nurses we speak to are filled with pride at the difference they are still able to make in their position. This week, we explore 3 reasons to be cheerful for nurses.
Reason to be Cheerful #1: You are Valued
Now more than ever, the country is united in gratitude for the herculean efforts of healthcare workers in the NHS. Although the doorstep applause has died down, it is difficult to walk down any street without seeing a handmade ‘thank you NHS’ sign pinned to a window.
Hopefully, patients, families and society at large will continue to view those in this profession with a renewed sense of appreciation.
Nurses are notorious for undervaluing themselves, with statements like ‘I’m just doing my job.’ Try to take a moment to recognise what a valuable contribution you and your colleagues are making to society.
Reason to be Cheerful #2: The Rewarding Moments
In recent posts, we have discussed mental health and wellbeing in the nursing profession. We recognise the significant strain and pressure that the role can place on nursing staff.
We considered a 2020 survey that reported nearly half of all nursing staff experiencing a 10% increase in work-related stress during the year. 44% reported feeling unwell due to frustration and fatigue at work.
In contrast to this, a recent survey by Jobmedic found that 41% felt they experienced meaningful, touching moments at least once per week. Nearly a third reported experiencing these daily.
We often hear healthcare workers say that their strongest motivations for entering the profession are the desire to help others and make positive impacts in patient’s lives.
Negativity in the Media
In the media, you hear a lot about how difficult it is in nursing – long shifts, staff shortages and a busy workload. This can create quite a negative picture with people working in other sectors. How many of your friends and family have said ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or ‘I could never be a nurse, it sounds so difficult!‘
We hope that these comments will increasingly change to ‘you’re amazing! I’m so proud of the great work you do as a nurse!’ (see reason to be cheerful #1) However, opening yourself up to recognising when these meaningful, touching moments occur can really raise a smile.
Let’s remember that these more negative stories do help to sell papers. It is because of this that negative stories get so much coverage. And of course, many hospitals are facing major challenges. But the newspapers don’t tell the whole picture. Hold on to the reasons you were driven to work in healthcare in the first place – every day you are having a hugely positive impact on your patients and their families.
These meaningful moments could include:
- a patient thanking you for your care and attention
- seeing a family heading home for the first time with their new baby
- a patient smiling after receiving some good news
- knowing that you delivered difficult news to a patient in a caring and clear manner
These are reasons to be cheerful!
If you have a really difficult shift, try jotting down the meaningful moments you have experienced. Keeping a simple journal of these is a really nice way to keep positive. You can revisit them whenever you need to.
Reason to be Cheerful #3: Opportunities for a Break are Coming!
It has been an incredibly tough year, and our wonderful nurses across the country deserve a break. The thought of having a few days off may feel a little unreal at the moment. Visiting friends & family? Heading to an art gallery for an afternoon? Remember those nice things? It’s time to start feeling hopeful and making a few positive plans.
For nurses, booking in annual leave is one of the rare times that having an unpredictable work schedule can really work for you.
Working twelve-hour shifts means you normally work three shifts with a few days off each week. In these cases, you can make several “day off requests”, which are days you can request not to work without using up annual leave.
To get the maximum amount of days off, try using your day off requests alongside some annual leave, which could give you up to eleven days off, whilst only using 7 days of allocated leave.
Your requests may not be accepted in busy periods, but it’s worth a try! You could also try strategically swapping shifts with colleagues to free up more days close to your annual leave time.
Thanks for reading!
We hope that these 3 reasons to be cheerful were able to put a smile on your face. We welcome you to get in touch if you have any comments or additions to the list!
Prospero Health & Social Care are recruiting for a range of nurse vacancies across the UK – pre-register for our nursing jobs here.
If you are interested in discussing your next nursing role, check out our available jobs here.