This week marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week dedicated to recognizing the tremendous work nurses countrywide are putting in.
If there was one thing we could wish for this week it would be for nurses to be recognized as the incredible caregivers they are, tirelessly working to make things better for their patients and diligently keeping our hospitals functioning and moving forward.
Nurses Week is organized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and always ends on May 12th – the birthday of Florence Nightingale. The ANA have chosen the theme of “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” for 2015 as it “recognizes the importance of ethics in nursing and acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display in their practice and profession.”
In honor of Nurses Week, here at Soliant we decided to celebrate by sharing with you a small group of nurses who have not only been inspiring their patients, but who have also been inspiring others far and wide through their blogs. Over the course of the next week we will be interviewing our favorite blogging nurses and we hope that you will be inspired by them too.
The first of our most inspiring blogging nurses is Beth Boynton RN, MS, a national speaker, trainer, coach and author specializing in communication and interpersonal skills. She teaches medical improv and her second book, a core text, “Successful Nurse Communication: Safe Care, Health Workplaces & Rewarding Careers” will be published soon. Learn more on her blog “Confident Voices in Healthcare” www.confidentvoices.com.
Tell us a little bit about your background. What led you into nursing and how long have you been a nurse?
I’ve been a nurse for over 25 years and a nurse consultant for about 10. I had a bachelors degree in Biochemistry before becoming a nurse and my Masters is in Organization and Management. I was always interested in healthcare and there were all sorts of opportunities in Nursing that seemed exciting. As a direct care RN, I’ve done lots of home health, occupational health, and long-term care.
What do you find the most satisfying thing about your profession?
For me, it is very gratifying to empower others. Whether teaching patients about managing their health or colleagues about becoming more effective communicators.
And the most frustrating?
The lack of understanding of and respect for the complexity of work nurses do. This shows up in excessive workloads, burnout, and unsafe care.
Is there anything that stands out as the most memorable moment in your career?
I love using an experiential learning process called Medical Improv because people learn such valuable skills in a fun way. Once you learn the principles there are literally hundreds of activities that build communication and interpersonal skills. One activity called ‘Dr. Know-it-All” requires three people to answer open-ended questions by contributing one word at at time. They don’t have to be factual, but they do have to make sense and work together quickly and collaboratively.
In one workshop moment, there was a surgeon sitting in the middle of two nurses while they answered a question ‘Why is the sky blue?’. One of the nurses hesitated to add to the answer and when she did, the surgeon took a breath as he adapted from what he thought the answer was going to be to a different one. It is hard to explain in writing, but in this moment, the nurse learns to speak up, the doctor learns to listen, they build their relationship, collaborate, and have fun. As a teacher, I want to jump up and down!
What inspired you to start blogging?
I enjoy writing and many of my personal and professional experiences in life have helped me to see the links between effective communication and respectful collaboration and troubles we have with workplace violence, medical errors, and burnout.
Blogging allows for free expression so it’s a natural fit. “Confident Voices in Healthcare” has become a platform where healthcare professionals and can speak up honestly and respectfully about concerns or ideas.
Is there one piece of advice you would give to nurses at the start of their nursing career?
Make a commitment to practicing respectful communication. This will include speaking up for patients, themselves and each other, setting limits and honoring those of others, respecting diversity, and collaborating in a variety of teams. It can be much harder than it looks, but will contribute to their ability to provide safe care and sustain long-term rewarding careers.