Matchwell recently surveyed 500 nurses and one of the questions we asked was, Why do you stay? Despite the publicity of burnout and reports of nurses walking away from the profession, we talked to the ones who are choosing to stay.
It’s April and spring is in the air. I live in the south, so while the grass is turning green and color is blooming all around, there is also a thick haze of yellow everywhere – it’s mostly pine pollen, but some call it southern snow. It’s that thick.. It’s crazy when you think about the duality of a season: colors, new growth, sunshine; and yet, when we step outside to enjoy the elements, many of us are stricken with choking coughs, watery eyes, and headaches. A shower is required after every outside adventure because one’s skin is coated in snow – er, pollen..
The duality of spring reminds me of nursing and other healthcare professions. Despite the negative aspects of healthcare (I know there are many), there are good things, too. Like last Tuesday when my patient hugged me and said thank you. Then she let me snuggle her newborn baby for fifteen minutes. My heart soared. This is why I chose nursing as a profession. I love the greater purpose, the impact I have on a complete stranger, and the fulfillment of being with humans at their worst – or even better, their best.
So I wondered if I’m the only one. And I found out that I’m not: 70% of my peers have the same sentiment.
Telling us the good.
I pulled a few of my favorite quotes from the survey that speak to the greater purpose nurses feel toward their careers. Is this purpose enough to keep the workforce motivated? Maybe not, but for today, let’s focus on the good.
For my patients. I love what I do and as a psych nurse in an acute environment, our patients need us. Helping others makes me feel good.
I love what I do. Even in the stressful times. I won’t quit just because it’s hard. The reward is still there for me, just a lot of extra work to find it.
Patients need help and people to teach them.
I love being a nurse and I want to help people. Abandoning them now when the need is at its highest goes against why I became a nurse.
I love what I do.
Don’t let our commitment to being part of a greater purpose be mistaken for a weakness or naivety. While driven by purpose, we are professionals. Let’s celebrate our purpose in healthcare and the many lives we impact. We will get back to battling healthcare and rebuilding a very broken infrastructure. But for today, in this moment, let’s focus on the colors blooming and the good around us.
What do you think? Please comment on this blog and share on social media. Together we can all help find a better way forward that encourages more nurses to begin to focus on the positive in nursing. Tell us why you choose to stay.
Matchwell’s take? We admit nursing is hard: there is a lot that needs to change to make healthcare a home where nurses and other healthcare professionals flourish. But we also think it’s okay to take a few minutes to look at the positive in nursing because despite all the flaws and cracks and pollen, many of us are choosing to stay. And that in itself makes me breathe a lot easier.