Purpose? Mission? Value? Ask

It’s back to school time.

Parents are racing around, dropping their kids off to school.  You can see on parents’ faces that they are focused on getting to work on time, deadlines, conversations they need to have, etc.

I’ve been reading, writing, reading, writing …. about nursing and nurses and happiness.

Fall is a transitionary season. A time to reset. It is much like the energy of the new year. The energy of letting go and planning for the future.

Remember this. 

Everybody has to have a feeling of purpose.

A purpose one believes in deeply; one that mobilizes us to act; one that gets us up in the morning …. and gets us going to drive the kids to school … and to get on with the day….  {and to get out of the way of cars dropping off the kids (that’s me!)}.

Ask nurses around you

Ask nurses about their life purpose and listen… Do it often and routinely

A nurse’s purpose and mission is personal; Just like yours is to you.

Know this …, nurses are not motivated by  healthcare organizations’ missions.  Nurses are motivated by their own purpose and mission.

Ask about their personal purpose in their work and caring.

This is the space of real connection between humans, between nurses, between a leader and a nurse.

Just jump in

Don’t do a  big set-up …. Create space for spontaneous authenticity in your busy days.  Nurses do it with their patients at the bedside all the time.

Authentic space is momentary and episodic, in-between patients and meetings.

It happens in hallways when rounding, in classrooms when teaching, and in conference rooms when meeting.

Asking nurses about their authentic caring creates fresh crisp air.

Nurses won’t be annoyed by the inward, thoughtful question in the middle of their busy work demands. They navigate different consciousness levels often.

It will be refreshing to hear it from you.  Nurses will lean in.

The first step is to ask about their caring practices, and then to listen and appreciate.

This is a new narrative of mutual authenticity and caring consciousness in real time.

You will hear their views and intentionality around their caring practices.

There will be microsecond pauses that will let you know if the nurse can shift into your moment or if they need to stay focused on the clinical.

Nurses will intuitively know that this was not just face time, or the next flavor of the month.

Most will honor them as human exchanges, not boss–worker exchanges.

Several nurses will be immediately forthcoming with ease and efficiency.

Others may look bewildered, as if they haven’t considered their thoughts about caring for some time.

And others might pass on the opportunity.

Some nurses, who refrain initially, will share the next time you come around.

The more often you ask about real caring, the more often nurses will participate.

There will be awkward times. It’s one experimental casual conversation at a time.

You will see that even though nurses are busy, the nature of the topic will draw nurses in.

Nurses from all specialties long to converse about their caring thoughts and experiences.

It’s our job to invite them to share. And be there to say, “WOW”.

Knowing how to invite nurses into casual, meaningful conversations about caring is leader specific.

Every conversation will look different. Authentic caring is personal and requires some thought.

This is not an initiative rollout; there are no endgames or measurements here.

The “script” lives in you.

It comes from your caring consciousness and is the reason you are a nurse leader—to impact nurses’ work and lives for the better.

And this is what the nurse will think about when at the traffic light driving home.


Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash

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