Archive for April, 2011

Being Heard…..

April 23rd, 2011 | General Nursing | 0 Comments

Recently in the break room at work, the discussion changed to the upcoming federal election. To my utmost SHOCK, probably at least half of the nurses in the room said they could care less about politics and are not planning to vote. “It doesn’t matter who is in power, no one listens to anything anyway” was a quote from one nurse. As a young nurse, I was dismayed at these revelations. How can you properly advocate for your patients if you do not vote? How can you be a nurse if you do not vote? If you feel like no one listens, do SOMETHING about it! Run in an election yourself! I grew up counting down the days until I turned 18 and could vote and have my voice heard in elections. If you do not vote, you have not earned the right to complain about anything in our country. In my opinion, it is completely apathetic to not vote and exercise this right of freedom that so many people fought for in our past. There are countries in this world where their citizens are not allowed to choose who the leader of their country will be.

There is an interesting trend currently happening in our country where youth are not voting. The following articles highlight this occurrence: http://elections.ca/res/eim/article_search/article.asp?id=49&lang=e&frmPageSize=5 and http://www2.parl.gc.ca/sites/lop/infoparl/english/issue.asp?param=198&art=1383. This is quite concerning!!!  Having mock votes (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/04/05/cv-election-student-vote.html ) can assist youth in learning how the political system works and the importance of voting. As nurses, we are the largest body of health care professionals in Canada. According to CNA, there over 350, 000 nurses who are eligible to vote in the upcoming election (www.cna-aiic.ca). Imagine the impact that this many people could have!

We pay enough in taxes to care about to whom that money will be paid. Our elected officials represent our regional voice on a national level.  As nurses, health care is always at the forefront of our minds. A recent poll has suggested the health care is one of the primary campaign issues for all Canadians right now (http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20110330/healthcare-remains-important-issue-110330/20110330?s_name=election2011).  An interesting online tool that can assist people in deciding which party meets their particular values is the Vote Compass questionnaire that can be found on the CBC website. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/votecompass/

Both the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union (http://www.nursesunions.ca/federal-election-2011) and the Canadian Nurses’ Association (http://23072.vws.magma.ca/election/index.html)  are encouraging nurses to follow the federal campaign, become informed and get out to VOTE on May 2, 2011.

So, fellow nurses, there is NO EXCUSE to be uninformed or to not vote. Do not sit back and allow other people to decide what happens. Step up to the plate and be heard!!


When You’re NOT the Nurse

April 11th, 2011 | General Nursing | 0 Comments

It’s a well-accepted reality that the first year of transition is littered with stress and confusion – yes, successes, as well; but in my own transition experience I’ve found that the changing role identities in my first year out of school sometimes overwhelm the triumphs.

During transition, I’ve been so focused on becoming “the nurse”, that I’ve been absolutely caught off guard in those moments when I’m not.

Signing my credit card slips “Angela Espejo, RN” and answering “Stage 1″ when people ask how I am is awkward enough… but the greatest challenge I can identify so far is being a PATIENT, instead of a nurse. Can you really be both?

Five months into my transition, I took a medical leave, which I am currently still on (8 months and counting). At first, I was embarrassed, ashamed, guilty… somehow I felt responsible for being sick – was I not STRONG enough? Was I being PUNISHED? And I isolated myself from the nursing community. I didn’t tell my nursing friends that I had moved home. I didn’t tell them I was sick. I didn’t know how to relate to them in my new, un-anticipated role as a care-receiver. I internalized the stigma of being unwell. I “othered” myself.

Therapy was particularly difficult at first. Having been trained formally to be on the other side of the professional relationship, and having embodied my role as a nurse so fully – becoming involved in numerous extra-curricular and professional activities – I simply DIDN’T know what to do. In a support group I actually tried to act as the facilitator, because it felt more comfortable.

My role identity changed (student to professional), and then I felt as thought I had lost it, because I had focused so much on being “the nurse”, and when I became “the patient”, I felt such disconnect.

Although not every New Grad will get sick or take some other extended leave, most of us will have moments when we’re NOT “the nurse”.

Advice for getting through these moments:

  • First and foremost: the world values you for YOU, and changes to your roles can’t make the world value you less.
  • You deserve your love and attention as much as anyone else does; and you wouldn’t tell a patient that he or she is inadequate if they were having a “moment”!
  • Your inner nurse is fabulous, but remember to spend time on your other interests – your inner gardener, inner singer-songwriter, inner runner, etc.
  • Take time to be with friends and family.
  • Balance the different areas of your life. Investing myself so much in my professional role rather than developing my personal responsibilities at the same time was akin to putting all my eggs in one basket.

Does anyone have any more pointers on how to handle not being “the nurse”? Or have an experience to share?

Thanks!
Angela