Sunday Post-it 7/24/22- Nursing mantra

The gown card reads ‘owning your personal empowerment through personal mantra’.

Because, really, the only person who can empower you is you. And if a personal mantra gets the job done, find a phrase that speaks to what nursing is to you and why should you continue on, despite setbacks and pressure to quit.

Not gonna lie. Sometimes the pressure to quit is internal. Because our brains love to lie to us, to get us to follow the easy path.

When I was running, I decided on a mantra that would keep me going. Because running is hard and is never the easy path. I decided on right foot, left foot. This signified more than just the act of running to me. It is also telling myself to keep going, despite my lungs and my legs and my brain all screaming at me to stop.

As an operating room nurse, this mantra reminds me that there will be an end. It may be the end of the case, the end of the shift, the end of the day, but there is an end. I just have to keep going in a forward manner.

Right foot, left foot.

On toward the next rest.

Right foot, left foot.

There is a famous WWI poem by Wilfred Owen “Dulce et Decorum Est’.

‘Towards our distant rest we began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, but limped on. Drunk with fatigue.’ This poem is about a troop marching in the midst of the carnage. They are battered, they are lame, they are tired but to stop means certain death.

Remind you of a certain healthcare circumstance that we are still in. I’ll wait.

These are selected lines about sleep and going toward rest.

Right foot, left foot.

And my secondary mantra that those words spawned in my head, but with almost the same meaning ‘the only way out is through’. I tell myself this when I am starting a new semester, when I am starting a forever taking case, when I am starting something I’d really rather not do. To get to the goal, the only way out is through. The case, the degree, the never ending shift; the only way out is through. By using the first mantra.

Right foot, left foot.

Mantras can be powerful reminders to keep going. To goad us to continue to work, and do something we’d really not care to. But in healthcare there is a person depending on us. We tell ourselves mantras to keep going in the face of difficulty. Because we’ve got this and the patient who is depending on us.

I have a third mantra that will be explored at another time. It doesn’t really fit into the somber theme of today’s post-it. Or rather, the somber feeling of my personal mantras 1 and 2 that I use to keep going.

And mantra number 3 is ‘Do no harm, take no shit’.

But for now, especially with school starting in 12 days, right foot, left foot.

What is your mantra?

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