Recently an article I submitted to AllNurses.com was rejected and my membership was revoked. They kicked me off for what they called advertising. The article was about the surreal experience I had of being laid-off from my nursing job. In the article, I admitted that I was happy about being laid off. As far as I saw it, it was a gift of time.
I published the article on my own website because, dammit, I can. I wrote the article because I know there are other nurses out there who have been laid off or who are struggling with unemployment. So if that’s you, please know that you’re not alone.
CONTROVERSY, BLASPHEMY AND HATERS…OH MY!
At first, right after the article rejection, I felt sad and embarrassed and even a little bit ashamed. And then I realized that one of the reasons it may have been rejected was because what I have to say on certain nursing topics may be controversial. I mean…I admitted to being happy about being laid off for gosh sakes! Isn’t that blasphemy? And then it became kind of exciting to me! I had broken the rules (so they said?), was rejected for it and it didn’t kill me?! This was a big moment! Not everyone is going to like me, or more accurately, like what I’m communicating. I accept that. I may not meet everyone’s needs or be able to follow their rules. And that’s fine! I am not interested in communicating with everyone. I’m interested in communicating with people who get what I’m talking about. The good news is that relatively quickly, I was able to joke about the whole thing with my husband by saying, “Honey, guess what?! I’ve survived my first official hater. Isn’t it exciting?!” (And just so everyone knows, it took me a lot of good work to get to this attitude AND…well…I’m here!!!)
Because here’s the deal, whenever you’re not pushing around the same old rhetoric about important topics and you’re introducing new ideas into the mix, you’re gonna have “haters” (to use a 2013 term). There are going to be people who cannot accept what you have to say. And that’s perfectly fine! They have that right. And you and I, thank God, have rights too.
NURSING BURN OUT IS AN OLD SUBJECT
I decided to use my stirred up anger energy to focus on helping my fellow nurses to take a new look at an old subject. So I did a little research on the subject of nursing burn out. Within seconds, I found these real comments from real nursing articles and forums on the subject of “Nursing Burn Out.” (Believe me, if you’re an RN, you’ve read comments like these before!)
Comment on 1/30/12 – “I cried during nursing school and I’m still crying…Never found the right shift, unit, or hospital. I recently quit after 4 years…Same stress, same complaining patients, same chicken bosses…I feel nurses are the fall guys…Hope to become a small business owner.”
Comment on 1/22/12 – “I have been a nurse for 18 years and have tried almost every area…except surgery. I hate all of it! NOT ENOUGH HELP, always short, and never a break…All of my coworkers are either getting a divorce, adding new medications or miserable. I wish I had the courage to quit…but I keep hoping that it will change. I am so tired of being a nurse!”
Comment on 12/14/11 – “I have not worked as an RN in over a year. I have been an RN for 10 years. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I have worked every shift you can think of and none of it is reasonable. I will never work another 14 hour shift as long as I live. The last hospital I worked at was terrible. Nurses were looking for jobs in between seeing patients.”
Although nursing burn out is a huge topic on the internet, I didn’t spend too much time researching it because frankly it doesn’t feel good. Besides, most of us have lived it so I don’t need to re-hash the obvious. One thing I did notice was that MOST nursing forums are sponsored by various nursing schools and nursing product companies (stethoscopes, scrubs, etc). And these forums always seem to have articles posted nearby such as “8 Ways to Prevent Nursing Burn out,” etc. And I found myself saying, “If I see one more article about ways to prevent nursing burn out, I am GOING TO SCREAM!!!”
A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD SUBJECT
From what I can tell based on the hostility spewing forth on those nursing forums, the usual suggestion for nurses to PREVENT nursing burn out just doesn’t seem to be cutting it. It seems that those articles are really asking nurses to SUPPRESS their nursing burn out. And that doesn’t work. What you resist persists. Just ask your body.
So if you don’t suppress your anger, what do you do with it? Well, have you ever heard of the famous quote by Gandhi, “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind?” To me, what he is talking about is that if I spend all my time angry, pissed off and frazzled at someone else, I’m in danger of losing MY OWN VISION. I’m in danger of going blind to the vision I have for myself, for my life, for my goals and for my dreams. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that feeling angry is the problem. Our feelings are not the problem. Ideally though, the energy we get from anger could be used in our own lives and not focused outward onto people or institutions who we perceive have done us wrong. The potential downside of toxic anger energy is poison circulating in our own bodies and the kind of “blindness” that Gandhi spoke about. The potential upside of useful anger energy is healthy boundaries and renewed focus and vision on our own lives. It’s a choice.
The temptation to spend my time ruminating on how I was rejected by AllNurses.com or on the problem of nursing burn out is definitely alluring. It hurt to be rejected. And there’s tons of documentation on the internet about nursing burn out. There’s plenty of fuel for a fire so to speak. However, out of love for my body, I’m going to focus on what I want instead. I’m going to harness my wonderful anger energy and let it enhance my focus (and not make me go blind)!
HAVE SOME FUN!
And what I want is to communicate the following message to the nurses who happen to be reading this article…
*Take some time in your life to RE-learn how to trust your body. We were all born with this wonderful ability. For many reasons, we seem to lose touch with our ability to trust our body and intuition to guide us. Work with a coach who specifically knows how to help you do this, either myself or my coach colleagues are happy to help. Read a good book on the subject. My mentor, Martha Beck, has written extensively on the subject of trusting your body. Her book, Following Your Own North Star, is truly a treat.
*Learn a little about the Law of Attraction. Principle #1 of the Law of Attraction: That Which Is Like Unto Itself Is Drawn…You attract into your life that which you think about and feel on a regular basis. If you are spending all your nursing shifts and all your days off thinking about how you hate your job and your patients and your co-workers ((and believe me, I’VE BEEN THERE!)), you are simmering in a soup of feelings that go along with those thoughts…so guess what you’ll get more of? Right! You’ll get more frustration soup! Happily, if you focus on how it would feel to attain your desires, you’ll get more of those! In fact, you will be amazed at the good that comes your way.
*Connect with others who don’t just push around the same old rhetoric…Join our Facebook group called Nursing the Nurse. It’s a closed group, so just ask to join and I’ll add you in. It’s unlike any other nursing forum out there. It’s real. I started the group because it felt good to my spirit. We are all real RN’s and whether we talk about nursing or just post fun pictures and thoughts about life, Nursing the Nurse is a refreshing FB group to be a part of. Advertising your original business or website there is allowed and welcomed. And rest assured, you won’t see any ads for stethoscopes or nursing schools!
Question for you: What feels better to your body?
Focusing on frustration or Remembering how it feels to feel good?
With love and gratitude,
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