The Four Steps to Self; Repeat

I had lunch with a couple of nurse leaders recently. And as always, the conversation fell to productivity, the budget, nurse assignments, and then ….

how to help nurses feel better about themselves?


How do we unlock the riddle of:

Nurses need self-care, self-awareness to help themselves feel better about themselves and their practice… but they don’t have the time or are too tired to feel their self-respect/self-love enough to stop and allow themselves to do the self-care.

So the cycle continues at a slow burn …


Or escalates to a fire level …

As we all stand by and watch….

There are different lifelines that are thrown, made available….

But the nurse has to reach out and grab it.

Each of us nurses have been in the slow burn, or in the fire …. and did not reach out for the lifeline that was there, at one point or another in our lives and careers.


Here’s a clear path to ourselves offered by Jean Watson:

“… our choices each moment are love and fear. We know this consciously or unconsciously; it is the choice between being undefended or defended, of being connected, or separate and disconnected.

The choice for Love is to let our core essence shine forth.

Barbara Brennan suggests that if we can not make the choice for love in the moment, then the next choice for love is to accept our human condition as it is and work through another life lesson to gain more self-awareness (1993, p. 317).”  Watson, 2005, p 79-80.



 Here are the steps:

  1. If I can’t feel the love at this moment
  2. Then accept the situation as it is
  3. And ask myself, what life lesson is before me?
  4. Seek more self-awareness to solve it




Brennan B. Light Emerging. New York: Bantam Books; 1993.
Watson J. Caring Science as Sacred Science. Philadelphia: FA Davis Company; 2005.

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