It is no secret that nurses in many healthcare settings are working longer hours, and seeking more pay! They are also seeking well-being, or they should be!
As a young nurse, I, too, began my career with the option that would generate the highest salary, working nights, multiple shifts, and 7-10 day stretches at a time – for income, for excitement, and to fulfill my aspirations of what nursing was and could become. Each of us has felt the same way at one time or another…idealistic, eager to offer service to mankind, eager to reach personal and professional fulfillment.
Along the way, we may have lost sight of our original reasons for entering the chosen profession. Perhaps staffing patterns affected us. Perhaps patient safety issues became an overpowering concern. Perhaps family life interfered with our ability to be all things to all people! Perhaps, we forgot about our own needs.
As a nurse, educator, consultant, and author, I truly believed that the Western healthcare model had all of the answers. As a seasoned professional, I have discovered that the blending of Eastern wisdom and Western technology can produce a system that meets the current and ongoing needs of the patient populations for whom we care, regardless of the setting in which care is provided.
In today’s healthcare environment, hospitals are downsizing, closing, partnering or merging with other institutions. Many hospitals have developed departments of complementary and alternative medicine to capture the revenue stream from a group of services demanded by patient populations. In North America today, an increasing number of people request alternatives to western care. They are computer-literate, educated in online searches, and they seek the information they need and want before seeking options. When they meet with their physicians, even within very limited timeframes, they can intelligently discuss the options available to them, and they make known their wishes.
At first, I was hesitant to embrace something that seemed foreign, that lacked scientific evidence that I could easily locate, and that might draw criticism from my peers. My method of dealing with it was to create the Integrative Health Forum, an alliance of healthcare professionals who could learn from one another and help to create the evidence base for wellness practice.
What are you doing for your own well-being? Are you a nurse wishing, and doing what is needed for a healthier tomorrow?