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The Opt Out Nurse Wants Back in

Back in August this NYT magazine article about the opt out moms wanting back in caught my attention and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Basically, in the earlier part of the millenium, many successful women decided to opt out of their careers in order to raise children. Now that the economy has changed, they want their jobs back. The only problem is that when you leave the workforce for 5 years, it’s hard to get back into it. This scares me.
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Should a Nurse have a Mission Statement?

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately on successful business strategies and the topic of mission statements often comes up.

It got me wondering, can nurses benefit from having a mission statement? Many of you already do, but you don’t even realize it. A mission statement can be derived from your philosophy of nursing. For example, what does being a nurse mean to you? What makes a good nurse? Answer these questions and there is the beginning of your mission statement.

Why Would a Nurse Want a Mission Statement?

Quite simply, because it adds meaning to what you do. This can be a great help, especially to those who are suffering from nurse burnout. If you take a moment to reflect on your mission statement, it could serve as a source of inspiration on those days when you just feel like you are just running around in circles, and not really accomplishing anything.

Here’s an example: As a recovery room nurse I often felt dragged down by all the repetitive, meaningless tasks that I was required to do (charting vitals Q 15 minutes, fetching ginger ale and crackers, removing IVs, etc). What if instead of dwelling on these things, instead I focused on the following mission statement:

For all of my patients, I am going to help them to be in control of their health care process. This would include:

  • Making sure they know when and with whom to schedule a follow-up appointment.
  • Making sure they have the proper educational tools; e.g. if they have a nephrostomy tube placed, do they know how to care for it? If they have a pacemaker placed, are they aware of what the settings are, and what these settings mean?
  • Do they need copies of their lab values for their personal records?
  • Have the doctors answered all of their questions related to the procedure?

Sure, most of these things are part of the job anyway, but if I view them in the context of my mission statement, it might make my job more meaningful, and hence, more satisfying.

If you had to choose a mission statement as a nurse, what would it be?