How Can There Be Joy in Nursing?

It’s likely that you came into nursing with the intention to help people and to care for people.

And often, the work is not exactly what we expected.

There are many ways we respond to this realization.images-1

Let’s talk about our Life/Soul Purpose.

For some, Life Purpose is the same as Soul Purpose.  For me, it’s my Life’s Soul Purpose (yes, a little cheesy, but true).

First of all, there is NOT another profession in the world where its intention and purpose is mightier and more universal than for nurses!

Nurses’ life intention and purpose weigh heavy within most nurses.

Yes, there are other reasons to go into nursing.  The jobs are flexible, stimulating, active and the money is OK.

But what brought most of us here is the original intention to help and care for people. This is why we are nurses.images-7

At the same time, the reality shock that comes with nursing practice is monumental and unique.

Maybe it’s because we come with more idealism than in other professions.  Maybe it’s because of the suffering we see.   And for sure, it’s because we are working in the most complex industry there is, with all of its high science, technology, risk and urgency.

But here we are… With many nurses’ souls crushed or struggling.

Here is the Lesson.  This is what I know…

If your nurse soul is crushed or you are struggling,   you have to get back to your basic Life/Soul intention and purpose.  

Once you find that path again, YOU can rediscover your Life/Soul purpose.   That path looks and feels different for each of us. That’s why it requires an inner, customized process, designed by you.

Here is one tool that I have learned to love and appreciate, but it is double-edged. It is JOY.

3 Points About Joy for Nurses:images-4

  1. JOY is your personal GPS.   How do you know when you are on purpose?   Answer:  When you feel joy.  You know that what you are doing is aligned with your purpose, when you feel joy.
  2. Joy requires the ability to be vulnerable.   Note- A sign of health is the ability to allow oneself to feel vulnerable.   And we are at our most vulnerable when we are experiencing joy.   Joy and vulnerability go hand in hand, can’t have one without the other.   (Whoa ! This wakes me up every time I acknowledge it.)
  3. Joy in nursing?   How can there be joy in nursing if we protect ourselves from being vulnerable?   What does this mean for us nurses who are constantly struggling with reality shock, and are masters at protecting ourselves from suffering and vulnerability?

How do we search and find our joy?

For those suffering, how do we know that nursing is NOT our life purpose if we cannot feel the joy in what we do and in what we bring to others?

images-4Where do we begin?



Canfield J. The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. 10th anniversary edition. New York: Harper Collins Publishers; 2015.

Brown B. Daring Greatly. London: Penguin;2012

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