Here at the NurseManifest project, we have tended to emphasize grass roots, “on the street” kinds of activism to bring our deepest nursing values into everyday experience. But manifesting nursing values needs to happen everywhere, and one of the spheres where this is vitally important is in the Board Rooms, large and small. Lisa Sundean, who is one of our NurseManifest bloggers, is embarking on her dissertation project to explore nurses on Boards, and in the interest of sharing her work wide and far, she has established website and blog – SundeanRN.org! Her first blog post is now available, explaining why this is vitally important! I highly recommend that you read her post: What do Boards Have to do with Nursing? And if you have never considered serving in this capacity, think about it now! We need to be manifesting nursing everywhere – at the bedside, the chairside, the curbside, and yes, the board side!
On January 24th in the early morning hours my husband Brian woke me up because he said his left arm was hurting and he was nauseated. After I gave him two aspirin we rushed to the ED of our regional hospital….He had a myocardial infarction in process. The cardiac cath team was called, and an amazing interventional cardiologist performed a balloon angioplasty to open up the blocked artery. After Brian was stabilized in the CVICU he was transferred to the CV Step Down unit to wait for surgery. On January 29th the cardiothoracic surgeon performed a CABG x 4 and Brian was discharged on February 3rd. It was quite an ordeal. There are always lessons we learn when we are the recipients of health care.
As you can imagine this has been a life-altering event for both of us. During this critical time every person that we encountered and every circumstance that occurred, big and small, mattered to us. I can honestly say that Brian and I experienced the most excellent care that I could ever imagine, and this made a significant difference in his healing and my experience as a family member.
The nursing staff at this hospital were wonderful. We know that nurses are the heart and soul of any hospital. Every single nurse that we encountered was knowledgeable, skilled, attentive and compassionate. They were truly person and family-centered. Every one of them asked how she/he could be helpful to us. Watching the nurse caring for Brian immediately after surgery in the CVICU was amazing to me. It was like watching the conductor of a symphony. Her technological competence was incredible…she monitored everything moment by moment, while continuing to focus on Brian as a person experiencing this critical event, and on me as a wife fearful of what was happening. When I was waiting for news of Brian’s condition during surgery, several of the staff stopped in to encourage me and to give me updates if they could. This was so meaningful to me. When Brian was recovering, the CVICU staff pushed and encouraged him and did anything they could to make me comfortable. All the staff on the step-down unit exquisitely cared for Brian, supported us and made us feel “at home”. I’m so grateful to the nursing staff for creating the healing environment where this level of care happens.
We often hear about the horrors of poor nursing care, so I wanted to share this story of hope and encouragement with everyone. I am so proud to be a nurse because of the profound difference we make in the lives of people in the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Yes, our cardiologist and surgeon saved Brian’s life, but the nurses were equally biogenic (life-giving) to both of us. They preserved our dignity, prevented complications, prepared us for discharge, facilitated a smooth transition, allayed our anxieties, relieved our pain, provided comfort, lifted our spirits with laughter, gave us critical information, challenged him to do more than he thought possible, instilled hope for the future, involved us in choices, and took the time to listen to our fears and rants.
P.S. Brian is in cardiac rehab now and is recovering.
Never ever ever underestimate the power of nursing. We transform lives by healing through caring.
You are invited to comment, collaborate, and co-create a global NurseManifest research project, to be carried out later this year.
For 2016 I propose we explore the topic of excellence in nursing care, from the perspective of patients and caregivers, using Appreciative Inquiry.
With a blog readership of over 7,500 people, we now have the capacity to carry out the international study envisioned by the NurseManifest Project founders over a decade ago, and make a global impact through our collective action.
Some critical questions we might ask include:
- What is like to be the recipient of excellent nursing care?
- What specifically about your nursing care experience made it excellent?
- How would healthcare be different if every nursing interaction was excellent?
- What would it take to create a healthcare system where excellent nursing care is the norm?
Some opportunities to participate include:
- Host a conversation group with patients and family members who have received care from a single health care organization or network of providers.
- Host a conversation group with patients and family members who have received care related to a specific condition or life event.
- Host a conversation with a community group, with co-workers, or even with your own family.
Some ideas for dissemination:
- Present at national and international conferences in 2017
- Develop a series of manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals
- Turn the findings into a book
- Use the findings to inform a public service campaign about nursing and policies impacting nurses
Please add your ideas in the comments section below this blog entry or write to Olga Jarrín at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 1, 2016 – in time to have a shared protocol and IRB approval in place for interviews and focus groups to begin in September, 2016.
For more information about Appreciative Inquiry see the website: Appreciative Inquiry Commons. Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management. April 18, 2016. *Note: This repository of information Includes Appreciative Inquiry resource materials in 22 languages. https://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu
I remember when I became a new nurse 21 years ago, and a friend asked me what I did at the hospital when I worked those long 12 hour night shifts. His thoughts were that the patients were asleep, so it was probably a job where you hung out and drank coffee, occasionally checking in on a patient. I remember walking him through what I usually did on a 12 hour 7pm- 7 am night shift, including most of the tasks and requirements of the job from receiving report at the start of the shift to giving report at the end of the shift. I made sure to include that if- when I got a break, it was usually around 2am or 3am when I was finally “caught up enough” to take some 20-30 minutes to nourish and hydrate myself.
As I thought of this telling of what nurses do some 20 years later, I wondered if I included what nurses are really charged with doing, which is supporting the healing of those we care for. Did I focus on all of the tasks and duties I would complete during that 12 hour shift, or did I also include the time spent rubbing backs, holding hands, saying prayers, educating, and supporting patients and their loved ones? Did I include the story about the time I had to call a deaf woman and tell her husband had passed after she left for the evening? Or the time when the family asked me to increase the morphine drip rate because “the doctor said she would be dead before the morning and we are ready for her to be gone”? What about the man with ALS being kept alive on a ventilator and feeding tube who lay lonely in his bed, unable to verbally communicate, and went for weeks at a time without a single visitor?
I believe that as nurses we need to educate the public not just on all of the technical skills we do each day to support patients’ receiving good medical care, but also on the healing aspects of our unique work as nurses: on how we were likely “called” to be a nurse because we want to make a difference, the skills we have developed that support us in creating caring-healing environments for patients, and the rewards of being able to support others through their healing process. I think we should be making it clear to the public as well that we are committed to our own health and healing, knowing that we can’t support others through health challenges if we are not also dealing with these challenges ourselves. And as nurses, we need to support one another in our own healing process, role-modeling what self-care and stress management look like in action.
A recent study research from www.mountainmiraclesmidwifery.com/, showed that supporting nursing and creating “good nursing environments”, with adequate nurse staffing, leads to better long term patient outcomes, with fewer deaths one-month post surgery (http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0UZ2XL). It pays for hospitals to invest in having enough nurses, in treating those nurses well, and supporting nurses in what we have been called to do: create healing environments that support patients toward their greatest health potential. Healthcare facilities need to be moved to support nurses in managing their stress and enacting self-care in order to potentiate the healing of the patients these facilities serve. Good staffing is just the beginning of creating “good nursing environments”: nurses should be empowered to begin dialog with their employers regarding what a healthy and good work environment for nurses looks like in consideration of the healing work that nurses do.
This blog posting will be a bit different from others I have written, but I believe the NurseManifest page is a place where we can open our hearts and souls to the essence of nursing, which is healing, caring, love, and compassion. In a world seemingly torn asunder from fear, violence, and anger, nurses are called forth to support healing on a local and global level. The call comes from something beyond ourselves, and if you stop and listen closely, I believe you will hear that calling. You are a nurse and there is a reason you were drawn to nursing: to support healing through loving kindness and caring.
A few nights before the recent violence spread around the world, from Beruit to Paris, I lay in bed cuddling my 7 year old daughter close. Every night I am blessed to be able to spend some time reading to my daughters and cuddling as they drift off to dreamland. For a few moments that evening, I found myself floating in a space where I felt like the mother of the universe was whispering to me, not in words, but through a deep felt intuitive process. I knew the goodness, the light, and the powerful strength of peace as they came through clearly to me, carrying with them the message that the mother of all, the earth as a complex system, will heal itself. After the moment of certainty passed, I was left with the usual feelings of uncertainty: how will the good and the light prevail in these times of darkness? Who will help make this happen? What is my role in this process?
Then tragedy struck, and violence and war continue to grow. The feelings of uncertainty have not dissipated, so I sit with those, but I also do remain strongly rooted in the belief that as nurses, we can support global peace and healing through our own efforts of creating local peace and healing. And that local peace starts at the place closest to us all, right from our hearts.
As we practice our own healing, creating our own peace and loving-healing processes, we can begin to spread that healing, peace, and love to others. A practice I try and do daily is called loving kindness meditation. I feel on many levels this practice is about my own healing and self-care so that I can be a better nurse, wife, and mother… and it is also about bringing that healing into the world.
I start with focusing on myself, in my heart space, and intending for myself healing through the following words:
May I know peace, joy, love, and ease. May my heart be full. May I be safe, healthy, and happy.
I than send this intention to the loved ones in my life, wishing them all love, peace, ease, happiness, health, and safety: family, friends, pets, students, and colleagues. As the circle of intention spreads outward, I send the intention and feelings of love and peace out to my “enemies” and challengers, and I end with the whole planet, with every being being sent the intention of peace, love, and healing. The process takes 5-10 minutes.
As nurses supporting healing, we can think and act both locally and globally. Imagine if every nurse sent out an intention, a prayer, a positive thought for healing and peace for the entire mother earth and all of the beings living here. Consciousness studies show that our thoughts and intentions impact our environment and reality. I think of Jean Watson’s call for us to practice loving kindness and Martha Rogers’ concept of Unitary Beings. We can reflect the patterns before us, we can create shifts in consciousness to support healing.
Despite the medical system’s over-emphasis on technology-cure-illness management, I still believe that nurses are truly called toward the healing that all beings are capable of experiencing. If you have been called to be a nurse, can you return to that calling, can you spare a few moments to consider the global situation, and what you can do as a nurse to support healing from the truly local level (yourself) and on to the global level?
I would love to hear from nurses and how they are supporting peace and healing around the globe. The call has been made, how will you answer?
h call has been made… how will you respond?