The energy was electric at the Magnet/Pathway to Excellence conference last fall where 11,000 nurses from around the world celebrated, networked, and learned. Maybe you were there and felt the surge of relief that recovery of our mojo was finally happening. Aren't we all looking for sustained light at the end of the long, dark pandemic tunnel? We're at a crossroads in healthcare and in nursing, and this isn't the time to be hesitant about involvement. It's high time we all reengage as leaders in moving forward with commitment and transformative purpose.
Losing your mojo means losing confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. Focusing on survival certainly distracts from all three: a place we've been and from which we're now emerging. The latest research from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses on the health of the work environment was sobering, with declines in every domain. I believe this is temporary, and it's up to us to push forward with a focus on post-traumatic growth. There are so many extraordinary success stories at individual, unit, and organizational levels. As the authors of the study said, it's time for bold efforts.
One of the incredible stories I heard at the conference was about scores of Ukrainian children with cancer who were evacuated into Poland when the hospitals were bombed, and they couldn't get care. From Poland, these children were evacuated to many different countries, including the US. The role of nurses from beginning to end was remarkable and emotional. These efforts turned tragedy into love. On an even larger scale, that's what we're doing now—overcoming pandemic tragedy and turning it into accomplishment and advances for our profession.
I did a Google search on turning tragedy into triumph, hoping to find leadership pearls, and found individual stories and faith-based sermons. That wasn't my intention; I'm imagining more of a collective triumph in the next few years. We're not talking about toxic positivity here or simply reframing a situation. We're talking about actively doing, and making positive change. Maybe the word tragedy is too strong, but is it? It has been tragic, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Inspiration is everywhere.
Nursing is a community of caregivers, pivotal to global health; and nurse leaders are a subset who also care for staff. Sharon Pappas and Jeannette Ives Erickson, nursing icons, recently wrote that it's time to regroup and focus on well-being, the new environment of care, social justice, and the workforce. That's certainly purpose for reengagement, aligned with the mojo and vibe of our profession.
Nine years ago, my first Nursing Management editorial was titled “Pushing the envelope.” I focused on the importance of inspiration to get the needed positive energy to lead. It's as true as ever today. There was plenty of inspiration from those 11,000 nurses who had made positive change in their organizations, although I realize that isn't everyone's reality. The end of that first editorial presaged current times: “We have work to do that exceeds what we're doing now. Pushing the envelope is a leadership imperative.”
If we're going to get our mojo back, every one of us must reengage and push the figurative envelope. Wallowing doesn't make it better. As we set intentions for the new year, let's commit to believing in ourselves, our staff, and the profession, and making positive change, at every level.