How to Use the Art of Nursing to Inspire Resilience Among NursesThe Billion Dollar Question

Nurse leaders lie awake at night, worrying about their nursing staff. How will they recruit new graduate nurses? Ones that are up for the challenge of healthcare today? What can be done to engage nursing staff, inspiring them to stay? How can we retain our nurses, especially those that are resilient in the face of hardship?

According to the 2016 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, “The average cost of turnover a nurse ranges from $37,700 to $58,400. Hospitals can lose up to $8.1 million annually. The nurse turnover rate for continues to rise.”

Costs like this create the perception that as the largest workforce in the healthcare system. nurses are more of a liability than they are an asset.

Recruit & Retain

What can nurse leaders do about struggles related to nurse recruitment and retention? While attention certainly needs to be concentrated on recruiting strong new graduate nurses, nursing leadership knows all too well that retaining those nurses that are already employed at their organizations is critical to their staffing success.

Let’s pause on this then, for a moment. How come a nurse does not stay at a job? Why are they lost to nurse turnover?

Nurse burnout continues to be a topic of discussion in the nursing profession. When a nurse experiences burnout, they suffer from several key components.

Here are the three main aspects of burnout:

  • Exhaustion: feeling physically, mentally, or emotionally drained from the work
  • Depersonalization: a sense of disconnect, cynicism, or detachment to work
  • Lack of Accomplishment: questioning the use or point of showing up to work, wondering if any difference is being made

How to Use the Art of Nursing to Inspire Resilience Among NursesResilience Among Nurses

So why bring up nurse burnout then? What does this have to do with resilience in nursing?

Actually, everything!

Christina Maslach and her colleagues were invited over 25 years ago into an organization to study employee engagement. What they found, instead, was actually employee burnout. The exact opposite of engagement is burnout. This is key for nursing leaders to understand as it relates to nursing staff.

If a nursing leader wants to retain nursing staff, they need strategies to engage nurses. Practical ways to keep nursing staff satisfied and engaged. And what does this all point to?

Employing resilient nurses as employees of their organization! YES!!

The Art of Nursing

While there are many strategies that build resilience among nurses, today’s post is going to focus on just one- the art of nursing. I have written several articles on the topics related to resilience in nursing, but for today’s post we are going to concentrate on just one thing that nurse leaders can do.

This is invite back and focus in on the art of nursing practice.

In today’s age of scientific advancement and constant technology, we have lost the art of nursing in our professional practice.

Nurses need to:

  • Monitor and respond to alarms, phones, and computers all day long.
  • Learn and navigate new electronic medical record systems.
  • Participate in research and adapt to mechanical devices.
  • Balance budgets, allocate staffing, and tightly monitor resource allocation.

The list could go on and on. The point being that the nurse is so focused on “doing”, so involved in tasks and checklists, that many have all but lost the art of nursing practice.

The Solution

Well, let us be of some help. Here we go with today’s solution and how you can support your nursing staff.

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I imagine that when we hear the term “art of nursing”, many of us who are nurses have an idea of what this means. We can understand the concept in theory, but can we articulate what this actually means?

A quick search on “what is the art of nursing” led me to a classic article published by Cathleen A. Jenner, MSN, RN in Nursing Forum. Jenner used Rodgers’ evolutionary perspective to examine the meaning of the art of nursing.

Jenner points out, “Through the analysis, a definition emerged suggesting that the art of nursing is the intentional creative use of oneself, based upon skill and expertise, to transmit emotion and meaning to another. It is a process that is subjective and requires interpretation, sensitivity, imagination, and active participation.”

While, as stated above, many of us have our own thoughts, feelings, and ideas related to what the art of nursing truly is or how we define it… I do agree with Jenner’s definition and will use the above as our working definition in this blog going forward.

How the Art Inspires Resilience

To be a resilient nurse, you have to be someone who sticks with the profession of nursing overtime, and despite all hardships. For me, that means being a nurse who not only thrives in relation to the sciences, but also is able to tap into and practice the art of nursing.

Now for the definition of resilience. According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, resilience means:

  1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
  2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

OK, so let’s tie this all together. Because you still may be wondering, “Sounds nice, but how does the art of nursing influence nurse resilience?”

In a previous post, I pointed out 8 ways that resilient nurses show up to their nursing careers each day. Please refer to that post to review how resilient nurses behave in the workplace.

That being said, briefly, a resilient nurse is (to name a few):

  • Focused on strengths
  • Interested in learning… from everything
  • Flexible, patient, and present
  • Comfortable and confident in being themselves

More Resilient Workplaces

The art of nursing is about being present with patients. It describes intentional nursing practice, one where the nurse is connected to self and the patient experience.

Nurses who practice the art of nursing are sensitive, creative, and mindful of their surroundings. Through the use of mindfulness and practicing presence, they are able to not only do great things in nursing but be great as a nurse.

The art of nursing grounds the nurse in intentionality. When they are fully connected to themselves and others, they are able to enjoy the practice of nursing on a greater level, thus making them a resilient nurse. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by change, the art of nursing reminds the resilient nurse to pause and reflect. Rather than reacting to colleagues, the art of nursing inspires the resilient nurse to proactively approach problem-solving activities. The art of nursing can go a long way to inspire resilience among nursing staff.

So here we are… the end of our post. And I would love to hear from you! What ways does the art of nursing inspire resilience in nurses? Can you share an example of this here on the blog so that other nurses reading can hear from your insights and experiences? We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for reading! If you would like to download a PDF copy of this article to share with your nursing staff and colleagues, click here.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, 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 bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, 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 playful pit bull.