Over my many years of nursing I have observed this developing emphasis on the threat of legal action and having to do things just in case our actions may be scrutinised in a court of law. The threat has become worse than actually going to court. It has us all, as a collective, behaving in ways that do not honour the truth and simplicity of our role. Documenting with the ‘just in case’ mentality has meant we have worked with this huge restriction, not doing this or that, omitting much and not having time for basic care. And in some cases, not even knowing what true care is, instead spending so much of our time documenting and justifying our doing. It has reached a point of madness, so much covering of the truth of why we nurse, what we do and the simplicity of care and nurturing has been lost, just like the needle in the haystack.
Nursing is a wonderful opportunity to be with people and support them in times of great vulnerability, to inspire them to make changes in their life, to heal, to learn to care and take responsibility for their choices and much more…
How can a nurse inspire if she is restricted, stressed, under pressure in a system that has been continuously adding more requirements and tasks onto them, trying to get it right, which ultimately means less time able to be in contact with the patient?
Today I am on leave and realise there is absolutely no point in reacting to the ‘what is’ and instead am taking the opportunity to deepen my own level of self-care, space to rejuvenate, restore so that I can refuel and go back to work with the energy and vitality needed to reflect, inspire, enjoy and to continue being in my role in supporting patients and families. (Nurse and midwife, Australia)
How far we have strayed from why we came to work in health care… I was talking to a colleague yesterday who was bemoaning the staffing crisis and the lack of support from management, a colleague who is so dedicated to her work as a midwife, so super sweet and committed to those in her care and yet here she was caught up in the drama of working conditions and the culture of ‘them and us’. I am often quite t-boned by these kinds of conversations because I can feel the joy in me, and emanating from others, about the opportunity to work in the environments we do, as well as feeling the impost of the systems and everything that interferes with care. It is interesting to consider though why is it we give so much attention to the problems, cementing ourselves in the quagmire of issues, distanced from the love for and magic of our work, rather than staying true to what we feel and caring to the max no matter what?
I adore working as a midwife… it inspires and touches me on a moment-by-moment basis as well as challenging, scaring and provoking me. The former because it is innate in us to care and it feels like coming home to have the opportunity to connect so intimately with people every day. The latter because we are working in a system that does not nurture and support true care, even respect and gentleness are not forerunners, so there is a constant tension as to how we go about fulfilling the natural impulse and potential whilst being persistently undermined.
One of the extraordinary things about working as a midwife is that from one day, one moment to the next we have no say or control about what is going to unfold – on the shop floor and with the dissemination of policies and expected practice. But that does not mean we are not still the masters of our movements and the care we give. We do not need to be cowed or crushed by the chaos around us and that staying true to service and holding steady is great medicine for not only us but all of those around us and the systems themselves. (Midwife, UK)
I have recognised often that we can miss the exquisiteness in the detail of the work we do with people and end up focusing on the stress and/or the outcome. But in the detail of the care we provide is so much that we often take for granted or gloss over. But this is where the gold of nursing care is… the tenderness in the way we approach and touch a patient; the loving way we speak to someone or show concern for a colleague; the purpose we move in everyday… and not to forget the lightness we can be in the darkest of moments. (Nurse, Australia)