Opinion: One Nurse shares his "insider" motivational tactics for when he feels like quitting

Rick Martinez RN

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No matter how much experience you have as a nurse, sooner or later, something will go wrong.

I don't mean "wrong" as in the printer jams, or your stethoscope breaks. Rather I mean wrong as in a client cancels a contract. Wrong as in you feel a lack of motivation. Or even wrong, as in you wake up and wonder if you're on the correct path.

Feel me?

Challenges are as much a part of the nursing world as they are being a startup entrepreneur, a stay-at-home parent, or even just having a "normal" high-stress job.

Most challenges or issues can be solved with what you already know and do. Through previous experiences. Maybe even because you've passed through these turbulent waters before in another job or previous vocation.

Some challenges will mess with your head...if you let them.

So how do you overcome them?

Remember why you started nursing

Maybe you started as a means to give back.

Perhaps it was because you were compelled to share a skill.

It's also possible that you just wanted to find a great job after graduation.

Whatever the reason, remember it when the going gets tough.

Nurse for your patients.

No matter who you are or where you're working, someone out there needs you.

Find that person or group of people, and do it for them.

It's your responsibility to remain cool, calm, and level-headed during challenging and stressful times.

Take a moment to reconnect with the power of your mission and purpose and let that pull you back on track.

Focus on the patients (not the money, kudos, or anything else)

Someone needs you to clock in today.

And somewhere deep down, you know that to be true. It may feel like a lonely slog, early days and late nights. Almost like nursing groundhog day, if you will. Often to no praise, thanks, or even a simple pat on the back. But I promise someone needs to hear from you.

Also, don't think of your patients as a diagnosis.

They're humans, not ICD-0 codes or modalities. Treat them the same way you'd want to be treated as a patient looking to heal and grow. When it's time to send them home because of your healing, they'll remember that you were there when they needed you.

So be there for your patients.

Do not let them down.

Take your eye off the money, kudos, or whatever---that is not the goal.

At least not right now.

Identify your crew

What I mean by this are the people in your corner. So ask yourself these simple questions.

Who is cheering for you?

Who is leading you?

Who is mentoring you?

Who are you leaning on?

While you are in this temporary rut, never forget that there is a group of folks in your corner. Don't try to do everything alone. Seek out a mentor or leader. Seek out your friends and cheerleaders.

There are folks who will help you navigate rough times in your nursing career.

And when the situation calls for it, don't forget to reciprocate the same to others.

Refocus your energies

After doing all the above, take that newly charged energy and laser in on your work and passion.

If you've been struggling with nursing and your career choice, this could be the perfect time to sit down and map out a plan. If you're feeling unmotivated, brainstorm a list of things that inspire you. Take some time for yourself and figure out what makes you happy outside of being a caregiver.

Then go and actually do those things.

The goal is to find your center again so that you can move forward with more power and clarity.

The final word

In times of challenges, it is essential to remember why you started nursing in the first place, focus on your patients, and lean on your support system. You can also use this time to refocus your energies and recommit yourself to your work and career.

With these strategies in mind, you will be able to overcome any obstacle that comes your way...and you'll be able to power through them like a boss.

Remember, we all go through challenging times. It's how you react and overcome that makes the difference.

Use these tips to empower yourself and get back on track.

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I'm a freelance writer and a decades-long travel nurse. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare.

San Antonio, TX
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