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New Year's Resolutions - And Other Jokes

I don’t recommend new year’s resolutions; we have enough pressure on us as it is.

So much pressure. I mean that broadly – as members of our profession as well as of our society. Do more. Do it better. Do it faster. Do it for less - or with less. And keep a smile on your face the whole time. (And don’t forget to post about it on social media.) It’s just too much.

I don’t know anyone who made a real, sustained change as a result of a resolution.

In my clinical practice, I work hard to refrain from judging. I don’t shame patients - it’s not constructive. Trying to understand how things came to pass – that’s more my speed. There could be good reasons (or not); having an open mind is the way to find out, and it leads to the path that I have found works to build a reasonable, flexible plan to make change.

After seeing this approach work with my patients, I embraced it for myself – and that includes resolutions. Wouldn’t it be more constructive to look at adjustments that we need to make, instead of punishments? Wouldn’t it be good to not judge ourselves for some perceived shortcoming (which is always in the eye of the beholder, making it impossible to ever achieve any sort of agreement and further invalidating the whole concept), but instead focus on what we WANT?

A few years ago, I made the “resolution” to crack more jokes. Not to laugh more, because that’s too passive; I wanted to be in the driver’s seat. I wanted to make someone laugh, even if it was just me (which it often was, if I’m being honest). I wanted to see the humor in things. And I did. At some point, the “resolution” fell off my radar, and it just became part of my normal day to day.

That’s what worked for me. I’m encouraging you to think about what would work for you in 2023. Or to abandon “resolutions” as a construct entirely. This time of year is an opportunity to assess our needs and make a plan for them – if that is our choice.


In Other News - Nurse Career Satisfaction Survey

Are you sitting down?

Have you seen the results of Medscape’s nurse satisfaction survey? Earlier this year, they surveyed 7500+ nurses to see how things are going out there…and guess what, things aren’t going so great. They even (boldly) titled the report Nurse Career Satisfaction: Contentment Mixed With Abuse And Frustration.

Whoa. If that title doesn’t say it all.

Although they spoke with LPNs, RNs, and APRNs, I think the takeaways are applicable to anyone working in a patient-facing role in 2022. I have couple of highlights below, and I’m so sorry to note that NONE of this is surprising. Or new.

It made me think of a piece that I read this week on (“Working through a pandemic and watching the healthcare system crumble around me”. It’s good, check it out.) It’s another slice of the same thing that so many of us are experiencing; things are bad and getting worse.

What are we going to do?

Most of the solutions to our ailing healthcare system have come from the top down. How has that worked out? Well 50%+ of nurses of all disciplines are moderately to severely burned out, per the survey, so you tell me.

Is it time for some of these solutions to come from US?

When you’re knee deep in the muck, it’s hard to make a plan to get out; it’s all you can do to keep from slipping further down. But maybe if even a small percentage – say 5% - of those in the muck can come up with something that makes the situation a tiny bit better for them, maybe that is where the change we need can come from. Maybe from the ground up is the only way the change we need is going to happen.

I’m open to other ideas. It’s not about one person having the one right idea that is magically going to fix everything. It’s about many of us doing what we can to make our corner a little better. It’s about shifting the way we think about problem solving. It’s about advocating for ourselves like we advocate for our patients.

What can you do - for you?

Take care,

originally published December 30, 2022

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