Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Attitude of Gratitude

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Our society as a whole is so focused on things that go wrong rather than appreciating all the things that go right.

When I was practicing nursing, I worked agency and would work at any hospital or unit where there was a need. Immediately, when I walked on to the unit, I could sense their culture. On some units, the nurses were so grateful that I was there to help that they took me under their wing and showed me the ropes and what was expected of me. On other units, I would walk in to a group of nurses complaining how short staffed they were, the high acuity of the patients, and about other nurses.   I would be given my assignment and allowed to sink or swim.

If there is any truth to the statement that our thoughts create your world, wouldn’t you rather live in a world where you are grateful rather than frustrated? If you are frustrated or complaining or work on a unit where the nurses are frustrated and complain, that negativity is contagious. In our culture, sometimes we do not even recognize this negativity because it is so ingrained. Just watch TV. For those of you who were Seinfeld fans, they sat around Jerry’s apartment and complained all day about other people.

The good news is that the culture of a unit can change. Speak up in a positive way. But more importantly, you do not need to participate in it. One technique I used was to put a rubber band around my wrist to remind me not to complain. Other people will snap the band when they complain as a negative reinforcement not to complain. However, I am not into self-inflicted pain. Give yourself a challenge. See if you can go 7 days without complaining. It’s hard. I tried it on vacation and it was surprising difficult, but I am going to continue to practice!

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