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Mar 11

So many ways to NOT engage.

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We’ve never had so many ways to connect. We can skype, text, facebook, blog, facetime, Googletalk, tweet, link-in, webchat, and yes email (although some days I think it’s the scourge of the modern world), and probably another 10 ways that I haven’t heard of to talk to each other about things that matter to us. Great, right!? Sure. My question is: do we connect on what matters to us?  What matters to us as registered nurses?  OK, admittedly I am one of the Generation that has taken up a lot of ink:  Boomers. Apparently I and the other members of my demographic cohort (according to the literature) “live to work.” So, clearly, my work as a nurse matters to me.  I absolutely love the opportunity to talk with other nurses–whether it’s to share stories, discuss issues facing the profession, or organize to advocate for/against a position taken that influences nursing. Admittedly, I prefer to do that face to face, but blogging also gives me a great way to talk to you about what matters to me, and hopefully hear about what you are thinking.  How do you connect with other nurses? I remember the heady days of advocating for the baccalaureate degree as entry to practice…nurses across the country spoke up and demanded this change to our educational standards. I remember the celebrations in Alberta when the Nursing Profession Act was proclaimed in 1983…somehow it seems to me that nurses used to be a lot more engaged in their profession, a lot more excited…or are my memories tinted with the nostalgia of youth…were most nurses still pretty disengaged all those years ago? Maybe so. But take heart, the next generation of registered nurses, I am told, are those who are bestowed with an acute and global social conscience–hooray! Maybe the best is yet to come! I hope so.

So it made me a little sad today– I received an email from a very keen undergraduate nursing student. A bright, articulate young woman, she is one of those students who gives me hope for the future of the profession. She is engaged, represents her colleagues  in numerous initiatives, and is an example of professionalism for students and faculty alike. She asked me how I keep my spirits up when I encounter professional apathy in my colleagues–she had just returned from an event she had organized in order to engage her student colleagues in a worthwhile discussion–and no one had shown up. She told me has seen this pattern over and over again with her nursing student colleagues. She cannot understand how someone could choose non-engagement, could choose apathy. She wondered if I had any suggestions. I had a few, but mostly I just encouraged her to keep making the choices she was making; I encouraged her to keep choosing to lead by example. I encouraged her to be clear on what matters to her. How about you–any suggestions? What matters to you about our profession? How do you engage others in what matters? What would you have told this discouraged student? I’d love to hear from you!


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