Today is Part 3 of the Series, What Does Being A Leader of Caring Look Like?
Part 3 – Your Caring Language is Your Signature Caring Intervention
What You Bring to Nurses – Here are some things for you as a nurse leader to OWN deep within your psyche:
- Caring language lives in you
- You already have an acute level of caring awareness in your thoughts, knowledge, experiences and emotions that are the foundation of your caring consciousness and language
- Your desire to care for others in their time of need is what brought us to nursing
- Growing your caring consciousness into a language gives you a way to express your caring self and open pathways for others to connect with you
- The uniqueness of this path is that it taps into what is already within you and evolves into your signature caring intervention
Where Caring Language Comes From:
- What is important to the patient?
- What matters to the patient right now in the moment, or a time frame?
- What is the patients (life) story? family, hobbies, life work, … ?
- How is the family doing? What is unique? What helped?
- What did the nurse experience when caring for this patient?
- recognizing their caring moments?
- what felt really good to the patent ? to the nurse?
- what was upsetting?
- how did the nurse handle it? how does the nurse feel now? acknowledging the caring practice instead of the negative.
- what responses did this trigger in you? did you share it?
Example of My Internal Caring Practice Evolution
While rounding ….
- Situation arises – Nurse standing in hallway with a puzzled look
- My First contact – “good morning”, …. how is your day? ….
- My internal talk – I know he is busy, … he doesn’t need a distraction ….
- My Next statement – “is there something you are questioning about this patient, or …?”
- The nurse spills forth with the needs or demands from the patient …. and all the other things he has to do ….
- My caring leader self response (ever evolving) – I ask a few caring questions about the patient; ask how the nurse ‘sees’ the patient; coach the nurse to identify what can realistically be done in his shift that will make a difference to the patient; recognize how the nurses’ caring intentions are coming through to me; mention how it feels for me when I can do just one special thing that makes a difference for another
Why This Is A Leader’s Signature Caring Intervention –
This type of exchange provides an opportunities for nurses to become familiar with caring language, and to “see” our authentic selves ….
My history in trying to use caring language has many layers. To be honest, over the years I had supported steps to integrate caring language elements on our white boards in the patients’ rooms, or in developing care planning elements for our EMR. And deep down, I knew that these were not actualized intentions. I knew that nurses would perceive these as “another step”, “another thing to think about”, “the next flavor of the month”, and even something to do to look good for The Joint Commission. That’s how I came to learn the importance of these momentary caring conversations in real time with nurses.
Another benefit is that these conversations using caring language give legs to the caring theory and science education nurses may be getting in classes. These momentary caring conversations, set in nurses’ work spaces, literally bring the education to the bedside … where real learning happens. Too often this classroom education is provided in a vacuum.
The impact of leaders demonstrating our caring language carries high value in the eyes of nurses in 2 ways: 1. It gives them access into our caring consciousness, 2. these conversations make caring real, realistic, doable … one conversation at a time, one action at a time.
Each real, authentic exchange sends ripples around and through nurses.
Authentic caring energy is contagious when nurses recognize it within themselves.
Earlier in my career, I didn’t realize that it was within my reach to make caring language real for nurses … by expressing my thoughts and feelings, and by prompting nurses to express their caring thoughts and see what it means to them.