During these times of incredible change nursing professional development specialists are caught in the middle of what may seem competing priorities. Perhaps it is redundant to comment on the rate of change in health care, yet I am confident accelerated change will continue for the rest of my career in health care. The intensity of change can lead to heightened engagement or disenchantment.
I know that I am responsible for my own professional engagement. I have recently completed a values clarification process as part of my ongoing professional development. I found this process validating. It confirmed my passion for developing others and contributing to our profession. This values clarification process defined what gets me jazzed, and what brings me professional joy. The congruence of personal values and professional contribution is powerful.
There are numerous resources that focus on leadership courage and inspiration. One of the resources I found particularly inspiring is the book The 7 Acts of Courage, by Staub (2002). The author frames professional courage through seven acts including dreaming, seeing current reality, and taking action. Each chapter includes questions to stimulate self reflection. My key take away was the courage to act, with intention, and based on my values. I have also recommended Inspire! What Great Leaders Do by Secretan (2004) and Inspired Nurse by Bluni (2009).
When asked for ideas and suggestions for defining one’s professional passion, I recommend what has been successful for me and others:
1. At least three days a week, as you are leaving work and walking to your car, try this exercise. Identify two ways you have made a difference that day. Two ways you affected others. The world is a better place because of two actions you have taken. This does not mean items you checked off your to do list. Identify the impact you had on others, in large or small ways. Then identify what themes come through over time with the acts you identified. This will help you identify what contributions you especially value.
2. Reflect on and journal regarding your greatest contributions in nursing professional development. What actions, relationships, and effects on others stand out?
3. Identify two individuals who inspire you, and why. How does that resonate for you? What direction does it inspire you to take?
The impact of this self-reflection is powerful. It is easy to focus on tasks and doing. This self-reflection focuses our hearts and minds on being. Being fully present in our professional contributions can inspire us to reignite our professional passion.
Bluni, R. (2009). Inspired nurse. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.
Secretan, L. (2004). Inspired! What great leaders do. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Staub, R.E. (2002). The 7 acts of courage. Greensboro, NC: Staub Leadership Publishing.