As 2019 begins, many nurses will start the year with a New Year's resolution. For a lot of us, this includes professional goals that we want to accomplish over the course of the year. As nurses, we must always seek to improve our professional image and strive for clinical excellence. But what about our self-image? It's sometimes much easier for us to set goals to improve than it is to acknowledge our successes.
Self-image is the topic of one of our continuing-education features this issue. Although the article highlights body dysmorphic disorder, in which an individual is so hyperfocused on perceived flaws in appearance that it affects quality of life, many of us experience a negative self-image from time to time. The yearly Gallup poll of trusted professions consistently shows that nurses are the most honest, ethical, and trusted professionals, surpassing physicians, clergy, and police officers. You may ask, how can nursing exceed these other heroic professions? As nurses, we may be unable to see the hero or heroine that lies within each of us.
Take a moment to recognize, celebrate, and share the success of the positive influence you have on your patients, their family members, and the communities you serve. You're the nurse who holds the hand of a confused older patient. This patient immediately trusts you because you're a nurse and suddenly the world isn't so scary for him anymore. You're the nurse who stays with a young mother in labor because she has no one there to celebrate the birth of her first child.
You're the oncology nurse who sits with a terminally ill cancer patient as she receives the news that all treatments have failed. You're the ED nurse who makes the hospital seem a little less frightening to a 5-year-old child. You're the long-term-care nurse who brings joy each day to a patient who's sometimes forgotten by his family. And you're the critical care nurse who holds the hand of a dying patient's wife.
You're the one who patients will think of as they recall the most joyous days, such as the birth of a child or the rigorous work you performed to save a life. On the most tragic days, you'll be remembered as the kind and compassionate nurse who provided family members with information, support, and strength to survive the challenges they face.
This year, don't forget to pause and remember the powerful impact you have on so many people. See through your patients' eyes and know that you truly make a difference.
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