Response to a reader: Uniting the generations of nurses

“Sarah, I do have a question for you, but before I pose the question I’d like to say that the planet of nursing is in a completely different orbit across the river. Whereas in my prior job, the world began and ended on the nurses shoulders and we had to be everything to everybody and answer to every single turn of events, my new job across the river is totally and completely different…How can we as nurses, depower the establishment and empower ourselves? How can we decrease the level of horizontal and vertical abuse, harassment and violence?How do we help our colleagues break free from the silent, but very present, nursing oppression?…How can you and your generation break the chain of outdated and passive nursing behavior who are more concerned with perfect bed corners than the pathophysiology of any clinical event?

You know who I am and I know who you are. I am proud of you and your courage to bring innovation and change to the nursing environment. Make it big, make it clinically intelligent, make it relevant and earth shattering.”


To thoughtful (and intense) reader:

Thank you for your insights. I agree that for a long time nurses have dealt with problems associated with too much red-tape, bureaucracy, and economic challenges. (My, how we have persevered!) It seems nurses are engaged in a continuing battle against not only the healthcare system in general, but with our nursing colleagues for the respect of our profession. Although the urge to want to REBEL AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT may permeate the minds of many nurses, I do not believe that is the answer. Ranks and hierarchies in nursing and healthcare originally were set to help us, not harm us. For the most part, they protect us, and more importantly, our patients. In fact, we need these structures to function. I think the real problem lies in the fact that many of the nurses in jobs further removed from patient care have forgotten what the environment is like in the trenches.

The real question is your second question: “How can you and your generation break the chain of outdated and passive nursing behavior?” Even more so, how can we challenge the system without breaking it? Just as metal molds under intense heat, I think the new generation of nurses has the power to bring just enough heat to revolutionize the system. Together in a united front, new nurses can bring innovative ideas and technology-savvy practices to the front lines of nursing.  While this may be exciting for us, it can also be scary for managers and others higher up in the chain because it challenges past practices in nursing. This is a good thing! I’m ok with this fear because fear demands a response. They can dismiss us (highly unlikely when new technologies are improving patient outcomes and satisfaction), or embrace us as newer, but equally committed colleagues.

This is exciting stuff. Thank you again for your thought provoking questions. Stay tuned for more on uniting the generations in nursing!



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