Updated: Feb 15, 2020
I struggle with saying "no". I am THAT nurse! The one that will see another patient after I have already seen 5, or work the weekend shifts, or stay late or sit at the bedside with the family until the last breaths are taken. I have a hard time leaving a family when I know someone only has a short time left. BUT! I have finally come to realize that I cannot do my job the way I want to, I cannot be the nurse I want to be AND I cannot give completely to a patient or their family if I have burnt my candles at both ends.
Hospice nursing/end of life care requires you to be fully present for someone else at one of the most difficult times of their lives. How can you possibly commit to that if you are not balancing work and life? What does that mean exactly? It means finding balance between your work and your private life but most importantly, HAVING A PRIVATE LIFE. Setting boundaries, taking breaks, and knowing when to turn off the job is key. I am still working on that. If I have a patient who is actively dying, I will check the after hours reports to see if they have passed. I try not to, but I cannot just shut them off. I didn't realize just how badly I needed to practice this until my candle became a puddle of wax and I was exhausted.
I am learning to say "no"; to slow down and take my time with each patient and to make sure that I take care of me in the process. I am not good at it, this will be a daily practice for me and I am a constant work in process. BUT! I am allowing the fear of losing my love for this work to be my guide. I don't want my sparkle to dull, I don't want to carry anger or frustration into my patient's home. I want to take time to breathe, to meditate, to stretch and practice the self care I mention in many of my blog postings. I want to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready to provide the very best care to my patients and their families. I want to always find sparkle in what I do, and the best way is to find balance between work and play.
You don't wear a cape, you are not a super human. I am NOT a super human. I am just a human who truly loves what I do... with a desire to do it as long as I am able. So I will say this now... for all of you to hear... from this moment forward, I will find balance between work and my personal life. I will shut my phone off. I will stop reading all the emails when I am off the clock. I will sleep in, I will visit with family and friends, I will laugh and I will dance and I will play. All of this I will do because I want to be fully present for our patient's, I want to give them the very best version of me. xo