Professional Nursing Tips Part 3: How to Make Nursing a Life Long Career

We are proud to share the third and final installment of valuable tips for nursing success from Jerome Stone RN, MA.

#4 Re-Connect With Compassion

Regardless of how long you've been in nursing, one of the most important tips for staying vital and alive within your profession is to remember why you became a nurse in the first place. Nurture that impulse. Bring yourself back to the root of why you chose this profession.

Many of us burn out because we've lost touch with the initial spark of compassion that made us go into nursing. At this point, your career can seem like 'just a job' and you may fail to remember the magic that arises from bringing basic compassion to the bedside.

Don't let yourself fall into the trap of believing that because you don't care as much as you did when you first entered this field, that you're done as a nurse. Re-inspire yourself! Take a look at each patient you care for and ask yourself, "If I were in that position, what is the one thing that I'd need above everything else to feel more at ease and safe with what's going on with me?" Chances are, you'll find that compassionate caring is on the top of the list. A key to maintaining your happiness over the long haul in nursing is to apply that compassion to both your patients and yourself.

# 5 Take a Break...Maybe Even a Long One!

I haven't spent my entire career working as a nurse. In fact, there are blank spots on my resume when I took time to nurture myself; away from the bedside and away from work. If you find yourself falling into a rut, feeling unmotivated to care for your patients or becoming dissatisfied with your career, I suggest you do the same.

You may say, "But I've got a family, a mortgage, a marriage, etc…I can't just take off work." I get it. I also have a family, a mortgage and all the rest. But I don't let that prevent me from remembering that I've only got this one life to live and this one chance to enjoy this precious world that we live in.

So, maybe you can't afford to take an extended break from nursing. Maybe you only have a short vacation or even just a long weekend. Maybe the best you can do is to say no to the next shift you're asked to cover. Whatever length of time you've got, make it work for you. Take a period of time to revitalize yourself and to care for yourself. You are doing the hard work, but it's hard to keep that up without a break every now and again.

#6 Care For Yourself As You Would Care For Others

Part of caring for others, perhaps the most important part of caring for others, is learning how to care for yourself. How can you possibly counsel others to slow down and care for themselves in order to stay healthy if you don't do it yourself? How can you instruct others to eat in a healthy manner, if you can't do so yourself? What use is trying to teach others about healthy living if you are running on four hours of sleep and fast food meals every day?

Nurture yourself to stay in the game; whether that means taking a break, or making an effort to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. You owe it to yourself. Show yourself the same kindness and encouragement that you show to your patients. You're no different than they are, simply because they're the patient and you're the nurse. We all deserve health and caring, and nurses are notorious for neglecting these essential needs within ourselves. You can break this cycle by caring for yourself as you do your patients.

There's an expression that goes something like this; all of us want to be happy and wish for the causes of happiness, none of us wishes to suffer, and we all wish to be free from the causes of suffering. Being compassionate, kind, caring, and gentle with yourself in the same way that you'd express those qualities to those who are suffering will fuel your own health and wellness.

Whether you are just starting out as a nurse, or if you have charted decades of service within this profession, these tips can help you maintain your satisfaction over the long haul. Feel free to share these tips with other nurses, and share your own strategies for long term success in the nursing profession below.