Thrive in Nursing: 6 Tips for Happiness in the Workplace

THRIVE in Nursing: 6 Tips for Happiness in the Workplace


Healthcare is ever-changing. There are policies to review, electronic systems to learn and patients to keep up with. Add to this fast pace of nursing, the diverse personalities we find ourselves working with, a nurse’s job can be challenging (to say the least).

As a nurse practitioner, you work with a wide array of professions and interact with individuals on many levels of the career spectrum. A difficult co-worker, disgruntled family member or even an irate patient can muddle up the work day. So what can we do about it?


Here’s My Top Six Tips for Happiness in the Workplace:

  • Thanksgiving Counts. No, not the holiday, my friend. Though time-off on holidays can make us smile. What we’re referring to here is focusing on gratitude. Sure, there are things about the workplace that get you down. Yet can you re-frame your perspective? When faced with an obstacle, what can you learn from it? Being focused on gratitude helps you find more people, situations and reasons to feel good.
  • Humor Works. Find ways to play. Laugh at jokes; smile at colleagues. We’re not suggesting you make light of your patients or your work, but humor goes a long way and can provide healing. Is there something fun you can do with your work group, like share what cartoon character you identify with? Be gentle with yourself and release the need for such a serious focus.
  • Reach Out for Guidance. This is one that we as nurses struggle with. Think about it- a co-worker comes up to you and asks if you need anything. What’s the most typical response here? ‘No, I’m fine. I don’t need anything.’ Even if your day is spiraling out of control- ‘No, I’m fine‘. It’s important to reach out for and accept support. It will impact your happiness in the workplace.
  • Interact Intelligently. Hmm.. sounds tricky. This tip refers to the people you surround yourself with. One way to improve your mood in the workplace is to interact with others who are upbeat, positive and happy. Your colleagues can lift you up or bring you down. Who will you choose to interact with?
  • Value Your Strengths. Sometimes, as nurses, we outgrow our work. We feel bored or disengaged, wanting something new. When you embark on a new nursing career or even simply shake things up in the one you’ve got- utilize your personal attributes. Do what you’re good at- it will come so much easier. Engage in what ?Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s calls ‘Flow’ and find your most enjoyable workplace.
  • Enjoy Yourself. My favorite tip. If it isn’t fun it most likely won’t get done. To thrive in a happy and healthy workplace, you gotta love it. So enjoying yourself first is the most important thing to focus on for success.

Do you currently use any of these ideas in your work? Do you have different career resiliency tips that help you? Be sure to tweet me @ElizabethScala on Twitter to tell me how you thrive.

Elizabeth Scala

Keynote speaker and bestselling author, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week ‘Art of Nursing’ program, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.