The art of nursing.
Certainly a term most, if not all nurses, are familiar with. Of course, I didn’t come up with it myself… the art of nursing dates back to our professional founder, Florence Nightingale. Yet, you might be thinking, “Why the art of nursing? How come this online program, celebrated during Nurse’s Week is called The Art of Nursing?”
Here we go. About three years ago, I was doing some personal research for my business. Following the directions given to me by my business coach, I was out in the nursing world asking nurses all business owners ask:
What is your biggest challenge with (FILL IN THE BLANK)?
In my case, putting advice given to me by my business coach in action, I asked: “What is your biggest challenge in enjoying your nursing career?”
Over and over again, I heard the same thing: “I don’t have time for my patient.” Maybe not in those exact words, themes began to emerge:
- I feel like I am behind a computer all day. The constant charting makes it hard for me to spend time with my patient.
- I went into nursing to do one thing… I come to my career to find it is very, very different.
- The policies, procedures, and documentation- gosh, I feel disconnected from the patient care.
You get the picture. The science of nursing was growing strong, but the art… I heard that the art, the real reason that many of us went into nursing for in the first place (that human connection), was gone.
So we had clinical nurses, working in a variety of roles (not just at the bedside… in the community, long term care, hospice, etc.), and feeling as though all of the tasks were getting in the way of their connection with the patient.
Nursing Leaders Are Challenged Too
Then there are nurse leaders. Organizational leadership has a hard time showing meaningful appreciation of their nursing staff… on, let’s be honest, a shoestring budget.
I heard from nurse leaders that they didn’t know what to do. While they wanted to celebrate their nurses, they were sick and tired of giving nurses things like water bottles, pens, pizza parties, or nothing at all. Additionally, how could they reach all staff? If the leader brought a nurse speaker in, it typically was during day shift and not all of the staff could attend.
Taking some time to reflect, while continuing to receive support from my business coach, I addressed these concerns in what I thought would be a simple, fun, and cost effective way!
Thus- The Art of Nursing program for Nurse’s Week was born.
Think about it- a program that is completely online. This means that all staff could access it. Since I had years of webinars and conference calls behind me (and I knew the inside scoop, being a nurse myself), I decided to keep the guest interviews short (we all know that nurses do not have a lot of extra time). And that’s right… I said ‘guest interview’.
Nurses have IMMENSE expertise. So instead of me simply talking at a camera all by myself, I decided that the event would consist of nurse expert interviews. Keep them short and engaging- this way staff could actually digest the content. Have nurses who are passionate and excited about their content area educate and inspire other nurses- yes!!!
Ok, I am getting a bit off topic. So excited about the fact that nurses are supporting and encouraging other nurses…
The Art of Nursing Nurse’s Week program was my solution to a few problems:
- Nurses do not have time. We are asking them to do more with less. They are busy. Overworked. Experience competing priorities. Because of all of this- they feel disconnected from their patients. In fact, some nurses even feel as though they cannot even remember the reason they went into the nursing profession in the first place.
- Nurse leaders struggle with what to do about Nurse’s Week. How do we celebrate all of the staff? What can we provide that is educational and uplifting… that a nurse would really want? That really means something to them? That appreciates them in a meaningful way?
- Nurses tend to -forgive my language- ‘beat up’ other nurses. I’m sure we have all heard the term: ‘nurses eat their young’. Instead of putting each other down, why not lift each other up? Why not inspire, educate, and encourage each other?
The Art of Nursing does all of that. I do agree that we need the science. The technology is not going away… and you know what, that is a good thing. We want the best for our patients. We want safe care. Quality outcomes. OK. So the science is here to stay.
And, we can still enjoy the reason we went into nursing in the first place. We can feel excited and passionate about nursing again. We can enjoy the jobs we love so much.
It Truly Is About Each Individual Nurse
I have to tell you, in closing, the thing that I love the most about The Art of Nursing program. It is the individual nurses that go through the program.
They write me emails, call me up, and leave comments in the online forum- telling me how much they enjoy the event. When the nurse contacts me, saying “I have been a nurse for 27 years and I lost my light. I felt beat up and was no longer enjoying my job. This program reminded me of why I went into nursing in the first place. It has re-energized me. I now walk into work, grateful for each professional day.” That- that is the reason that I continue to organize, conduct, and enjoy this program myself year after year.
So I would love to hear from you. First off, what does the ‘art’ of nursing mean to you? How do you bring the art into your scientific nursing practice? Share some ways that you incorporate the two in your professional career in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
About 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.