The complexities and distractions of the healthcare system impact caring.
No doubt, caring from all providers is impacted.
Yet, there are two aspects of caring that are unique to nurses:
- “On stage” is where nurses spend most of their time
- Authentic caring is an inward process
“On Stage” –
Healthcare picked up the notion of working “on stage” and “off stage” from Disney years ago.
Working “on stage” is a perfect metaphor for working at the bedside.
Nurses spend more time ‘on stage’ than other clinicians.
Being on stage requires a consistent level of focus and attention. Most of nurses’ time thinking and doing is at the bedside, which challenges nurses’ ability to maintain focus on being and caring.
Authentic Caring –
Another unique aspect of nurses’ caring is their authentic caring.
Authentic caring requires added insight and awareness.
Authentic caring is characterized by a deep, momentary caring connection between a nurse and patient. Here nurses are authentically present through their caring consciousness. These moments exhibit the nurses’ understanding of the meaning of the illness or event to the patient. Each patient feels acceptance, trust and no judgment.
Development of authentic caring for nurses is an inward process. This inward process spawns authentic caring.
For most nurses, the original desire to be a nurse came from an internal desire to care for others.
The problem, though, is that the inner processes, which are required to nurture and sustain the source of authentic caring, are not clearly understood or developed by nurses individually or collectively.
This propels TWO energetic dynamics, one negative and one positive:
Nurses desire to authentically care is greater than their inner resources, leaving many nurses depleted and burned out.
“Burnout doesn’t happen because we care too much, it’s because we wall ourselves off from love and nourishment and human connectedness.” (Jean Watson presentation, 2016. Caring Science, Mindful Practice class, online Canvas Network.)
Authentic Caring is untapped –
Nursing and nurses have an underdeveloped and untapped energy source for caring, within each nurse.
This resource has the power to nourish nurses’ caring and to sustain their careers in nursing.
Beyond the benefits for each nurse, this has obvious benefits for patients, healthcare and society.