Yesterday, I was in a space with a group of healthcare workers exploring the topic of “Why I Stay.” I hoped for some inspiration, some rekindling or stoking of a fire that feels in danger of being extinguished. It was a sobering slap of reality to hear more unexpected silence than active engagement in the group, as everyone wrestled deeply with the complicated search for the answer to “why I stay.”
Mom life outside of work (and let’s be honest, the extra exhaustion and required recovery time from recent work shifts) has resulted in limited capacity to write more meaningful posts here as of late. But I will share what I put on Twitter at the end of the day, after aching with sadness all day about the cloud of discouragement that rested over yesterday’s group conversation. I posted these Tweets on my Instagram stories, and so many coworkers are resonating with them.
It feels as though the only way I can find my “why” at work is to recognize that I’ll never be there because a system actually values me, even as a seasoned nurse with a heart.
Somehow then, I have the ability to show up freely, and one day, if the time comes, leave freely too.
Please know, I don’t want to leave or have plans to leave. I love my multidisciplinary colleagues and immediate supervisors and feel loved by them. I love the actual work I get to do. But it’s tragic that nurses’ relationship to the system at this point is so deep in toxicity.
And so I just need to say out loud to the system as a whole, you don’t have a hold on me. I’m here because I choose to be, because I recognize my value to my patients, their families and to my immediate team. Not because I’m any savior but I know I’m a good nurse and team player.
Tonight, I grieve the sad, hard feelings I have about a profession that I honestly love. I grieve the way we are losing our heart in work that once captivated our hearts, and I grieve that the people who ultimately pay the cost are our patients + their families.
Tonight, surface positivity and team rah-rah just doesn’t feel right or true or sufficient. Tonight, it just feels like we need to grieve, and hold a candle to those in healthcare who are holding onto hope and heart by a thread.