Three Ways to Blend the Art & Science of Nursing

Has this (or something similar) ever happened to you?

You walk into the supplies closet, staring at the rows upon rows of shelved stock. “What did I come in here for?” No clue. You’ve got to literally walk back out and retrace your steps, as a means to figure out what the heck you’re looking for. Finally it hits you: “Oh yeah! Those socks Ms. Jones asked me for 45 minutes ago.” Feeling totally overwhelmed, you go back and in and with a smile on your face present the item to the elderly woman down the hall.

Yup. That’s nursing for ya.

Distraction. Overwhelm. Too much on the mind. Fighting fires and feeling as though the day was one big rat race from start to finish.

So what’s happening here? And let’s be honest, all over the professional world of nursing. Why are we so distracted? Better yet, what can we do about it?

It’s the age of information overload.

If it’s not another in-service for new equipment, it’s updating the technology that we use in the workplace. Or maybe it’s all of the the bed alarms, texts, phone calls and pages you get on a daily basis that has your concentration rocked. It’s checking boxes, keeping up with policies and following procedure.

Nursing’s science is thriving in today’s profession.

And while I’m the first person who loves technology (OK, maybe love is a strong word) as it helps me write these articles, share videos and efficiently connect with nurses on an international basis- to me, it’s getting to be a bit much.

Well, the science is here to stay. And thank goodness because it helps us get the job done. But what about the art? Where are the human connections and the healing relationships? Who has the time any more to connect with the person in the bed?

Here are three ways to re-kindle your connection to the spirit of nursing care:

  • Benefit of the Breath: The breath is something we have at our disposal all day long. It doesn’t take much time; it’s not too expensive. I invite you to notice your breath throughout your work day. Where is it hurried? When does it slow? Can you take a moment’s pause and connect to your breath before entering your patients’ rooms? Breathe in what sustains you and let out what you no longer need. In and out. It can guide you all day long.
  • Allow for Appreciation: As we all know, nursing work can be tough. But we love it, right?!? That’s why we continue to do it, no matter how hard it gets. Here’s an idea: instead of focusing on all of the things about your job that are taxing; spend attention and focus on what you love about your role. Where can you show appreciation during your work day? What part of your job is fun? How can you express gratitude in your career? What we focus on gets stronger so let’s grow our nursing joy.
  • Connect with Nature: I know that we are busy, but we can all find at least five minutes to get outside and take in a breath of fresh air. Connecting with nature can relieve stress and calm anxieties. The next time you are at work and you get a break- instead of checking emails or looking at status updates on your phone- head outside for a quick walk. Even in the coldest of days, that brisk air will invigorate you… making for a healthier, happier shift!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this topic? What strategy would you add to the list above? Go ahead and tweet me @ElizabethScala to let me know!

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.