For Nurses, the "New Normal" Is Really Not All That New
(A Message for Nurses Week)
Nurses Week is May 6-12. It's not going to be a "normal" week this year...but then
again, says Rich Bluni, nurses don't do normal. He offers a few tips—along with
a special video—to help nurses stay inspired during the pandemic.
Pensacola, FL (May 2020)—There's a lot of talk these days about the "new normal." But here's the thing about nurses, says Rich Bluni, RN: We never had an old normal. From the intense days of nursing school to the crazy things we see on those 12-hour shifts, we're used to chaos. The fact that life isn't normal these days doesn't scare us. What does scare us about the pandemic is that we are "not enough" and what that could mean for those around us.
But in honor of Nurses Week (actually, it's Nurses Month this time), Bluni wants us to know that we are enough. In fact, we are more than enough.
"Nurses are used to living with fear—whether we're running down the hall to a Code Blue, or having to give a family member bad news," says Bluni, himself an RN with over 25 years of experience in the ER, Trauma, and ICU and author of best-selling books Inspired Nurse (Huron|Studer Group Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9749986-7-1, $24.95) andInspired Nurse Too (Huron|Studer Group Publishing, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-6221804-6-2, $28.00).
"But for us, the fear doesn't come only from worrying about what will happen to us," he adds. "It comes mostly from the prospect that we might harm someone else."
The fear that you might get sick and expose a patient to the virus can be pretty tough to live with when you're mission-driven by nature. But striving for perfection is an impossible bar to reach.
Bluni says that while we can't be "perfect," maybe today all we can hope for is beingpanderfect—a term he coined that essentially means "pandemic perfect." For Nurses Week, we need to give ourselves the gift of realizing and accepting that.
In fact, Bluni has created a special Nurses Week video on fear, the "new normal," and what we can do to make it through these extraordinary times with our inspiration intact. Click here to view it.
He offers the following tips:
Go easy on yourself. This Nurses Week, give yourself a break from trying to be perfect. Accept that you are doing the best you can.
Consciously reward yourself a little each day. When you're having a tough time, when you get a "moment," pop in your earbuds and listen to your "jam" or FaceTime your family.
Tell others they matter. Find one of your nurse peers, look them straight in the eye, and say, "You know, you really inspire me." Get specific about why: "I really admire the way you managed that family who was so scared."
But don't stop there. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, "You. Are. Inspiring!"Remind yourself of something you did that was great.
Write down your stories. When times get really, really stressful, write down what you did and how it felt. The most challenging times often bring out the best in you. Bluni recalls a time, during a hurricane, when he had to carry pond water to flush the hospital toilets.
"If somebody had told me that would bring out my best, I might have dumped that pond water on their head!" he says. "But looking back, I can see it's true. That's why you need to write it down. You'll forget it later if you don't."
If you're really struggling, talk to a friend or seek professional help. Don't try to endure this by yourself. Help is available, and you owe it to yourself to get it when you need it.
"Being a nurse means being part of one of the most trusted and loved professions," says Bluni. "This has always been true. And it's never been truer than it is at this moment."
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About the Author:
Rich Bluni, RN, is the author of the best-selling books Inspired Nurse, Oh No...Not More of That Fluffy Stuff!, and Inspired Nurse Too. He has an active and popular Facebook page called Inspired Nurse.
Rich has been an RN since 1993. He has worked as a nurse in Adolescent Oncology, Pediatric ICU, and Trauma ICU departments as well as serving as a pediatric flight and transport nurse. He has served as an ED nursing manager as well as a senior director of risk management, quality, and patient safety.
He came to Studer Group in 2007 as a coach working with dozens of healthcare organizations and leaders to drive outstanding results. He is presently a senior director with Huron and a Studer Group national speaker, having traveled across North America to speak in front of hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and leaders in hundreds of healthcare organizations, large healthcare conferences, as well as virtual webinars.
For more information, please visit www.studergroup.com/people/rich-bluni.
About the Books:
Inspired Nurse Too (Huron|Studer Group Publishing, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-6221804-6-2, $28.00) and Inspired Nurse (Huron|Studer Group Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9749986-7-1, $24.95) are available from major online booksellers and the Huron|Studer Group website.