It starts in nursing school and rolls over into our daily career work. Being a nurse is tough, it’s demanding and exhausting. We give our all to our job and to our patients, unfortunately sometimes we don’t have anything left to ‘give’ at home with our loved ones.
Our relationships are strained because our significant other may not understand that just because our shifts end at a certain time doesn’t actually mean we’ll be leaving at that time. We are equally as guilty when we don’t have the patience when our loved ones just ‘don’t get it.’
In the end, your job and your career are not where you hang your heart. Your home, your family and all those who matter to you deserve the same dedication that you give your job. The crazy thing is, if we started to handle and treat our loved ones the same way we treat our job and our patients, the so-called ‘strain’ would disappear.
Here are a few tips for keeping your relationships ‘healthy’ by treating those you love like you treat your patients.
- You were born with two ears and one mouth
You should listen twice as much as you speak. I think we all learned this in Nursing 101 – therapeutic communication (sound familiar?). Listen to what your loved one has to say before you decide to interject with your opinion. You’d be surprised what they have to say.
- Speak on their level. Equality is stronger than brutality
We sometimes call this speaking in laymen’s terms when communicating with our patients. Not everyone is in health care, not everyone is a nurse, and not everyone will understand your words and their definitions. It’s not about who is better, who is right, or who is wrong. It’s about where WE are going. Take the time to properly explain yourself, and your side as well as communicate your interpretation of their side. Be aware and be sure you are both on the same page, otherwise things will get lost in translation.
- Put the shovel away
Yeah, that means quit digging up dirt (and you know what I mean!). Let the past be the past, and let the present be the gift it is meant to be. The shovel and the digging only accomplish one thing – it makes you feel better. This isn’t just about you. Do you hound on those ‘repeat offenders’ when they return to the hospital? No. You remain professional and steadfast, taking every chance you got to right the wrongs, and improve their situation. Do the same for your loved ones.
- Be patient
This is always a tough one when you feel passionate about a subject or thing. Good things DO come to those who wait. Do you ever rush a patient through educational instruction? I.e. did they understand, comprehend and absorb what was needed? Take your time. When you do, you both will reap the rewards.
- Be kind
Above all else, no matter how grim the situation or time. Always, always, always be kind. Anger and all the ‘ugly’ emotions that go along with that devilish attitude never accomplish anything. In most cases anger and negativity only prolong the suffering of both parties. Do you think your patients would appreciate your job and your care if you weren’t kind? Did being mean and angry every get things done at work? Being kind involves using your body as a communication tool – a smile, a soft touch, and a shoulder to lean on. There is nothing negative or energy-draining about being kind.
Nurses already have the tools to strengthen and maintain a health relationship with the ones you love – just remember why it is you do what you do, and why you love being a nurse.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.