Career advice

Reconnecting with why you became a nurse

When conditions are tough it’s easy to feel disconnected from the values that led you into nursing. Fortunately, it is possible to find a way back to the things you love about being a nurse.

When conditions are tough it’s easy to feel disconnected from the values that led you into nursing. Fortunately, it is possible to find a way back to the things you love about being a nurse

reconnect
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Most likely it was your caring instinct and a desire to give your best that drew you into the nursing profession. It’s natural that how you feel about your role will change over time.

Yet if you are constantly weighed down by the responsibilities and sheer volume of demands put on you it can be easy to feel distanced from the beliefs and values that laid the foundations for who you are as a nurse.

Unlike professions such as banking or social work, when you tell someone you are a nurse you usually gain their immediate respect. Most people view nursing as ‘good’.

That’s all very nice, and can make for ego-boosting introductions, but what does ‘being a nurse’ mean to you now? If you were asked at an interview tomorrow ‘why are you a nurse’ what would you say?

Purpose and belief

Don’t worry if your mind goes blank at these questions – you aren’t alone. According to author Simon Sinek, we all know what we are doing (such as nursing), some of us know how we are doing it (what model or research your approach is based on) but very few of us know why we are doing what we do.

He says the reason this is so important is that the why is the only part that inspires people: ‘It’s your purpose, your belief, your reason for being.’

As in any aspect of life, it’s horrible to feel ‘stuck’ in a career. But remember you always have choices, and it can be empowering to take responsibility for what you are choosing to do.

If you are choosing to continue nursing the most positive way forward for you and your patients is to find a way back to loving at least some of what you do.

Helpful questions

When you have a quiet moment, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you gain from being a nurse? Once you have identified a couple of things, go a bit deeper by asking ‘what else?’ Are there any surprises here?
  • If you weren’t a nurse what would you do? What would that give you that you aren’t getting now? And what would you not get or miss? What does this tell you?
  • What aspects of nursing are most important to you and why? What would help you to do these more?

Instead of getting bogged down with everything you can’t currently do, sometimes you need to let go of the bigger picture and focus on what you can do, regardless of how small a gesture, in each and every shift, to help you connect with what’s important to you and what makes you keep nursing.


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and health/life coach

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