Nurses, They’re Making Their Lists. Does Honesty Exclude Influence?

The List by jparadisi 2012

The List by jparadisi 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, editors compile their annual lists for publication: The Top 10 Worse Movies of the Year, The Twenty Most Twittered Tweets, The Single Most Googled Christmas Gift, and so on. I enjoy lists, even making up a few of my own: Things to Do Today, lists of Goals For The Week, Month and Year.

December is a list-lover’s dream: Christmas gift lists, grocery lists of items necessary for making the best holiday meal ever, and of course, the requisite list of who’s been naughty or nice, which I will point out, are not necessarily mutually exclusive characteristics.

Unfortunately, some characteristics do appear mutually exclusive, keeping a group of people on one list, but off of another. I’m talking about The 2012 Gallup Poll results, which list nurses as the most honest and ethical of professionals for yet another year.

I don’t need Gallup to inform me of the public’s trust in nurses. Once, a retailer refused to require my driver’s license as proof of identity when I wrote him a check. “You’re a nurse,” was his explanation. “Nurses never write bad checks.”

While I don’t know if it’s true that nurses never write bad checks, one thing they never do is make it on Time magazine’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in The World. A couple of actors made the list. So did the son of Kim Jong Il. Of course, Stephen Colbert made the list; he’s on all the lists, except the Gallup’s list of the most honest and ethical professionals, which we nurses top. That may create a new list: the only list of 2012  excluding Stephen Colbert.

I digress from my point, however, which is this: why are there no nurses on Time’s The 100 Most Influential People in The World list? Not only of 2012, but ever? Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing by improving the plight of wounded soldiers, was not included on Time’s somewhat tongue in cheek list, The 100 Most Influential People of History.

I do not cast doubt on the ethics or honesty of those listed as Most Influential. In fact, many on the list, including Stephen Colbert, serve by bringing humanitarian needs to the forefront, and deserve recognition.

Perhaps we nurses should focus on raising leaders, imbued with ethics and honesty, towards influential goals. With health care provision in the limelight of national attention, there has never been a better time for nurses to aspire towards positions on both lists.

Learning Curves, Leadership and Empathy

Mac Attack photo: jparadisi 2010

I finally did it.  Readers who are artists and graphic designers prepare for a collective groan at my old, ass backwards ways: JParadisi RN has converted from PC to Mac. The feeling is similar to the moment you find true love after looking for it in all the wrong places. The same as finally enrolling in art school, and marrying the right guy. I wonder what took me so long? This is my first post using the new computer.

Delaying the conversion had a lot to do with the unavoidable learning curve that comes along with new software and programs, I mean apps. It’s difficult to find answers when you have to learn new terminology to ask questions. Imagine what a patient or family member in crisis feels, trying to talk to nurses and doctors about unfamiliar treatments or end of life issues when they don’t know what questions to ask or the terminology, often with little or no time to prepare. This is the obvious metaphor and an easy post to write. This is not the post I am writing.

This is the post I am writing: I am gaining empathy for my coworkers. A series of unanticipated events has hit our department infrastructure with the force of a tsunami, resulting in several colleagues stepping into leadership roles with little preparation.  Meanwhile, changes continue coming at us like a set of ocean waves pounding the shore.  When these nurse leaders come in for their shifts they find new expectations added on to their day, and I admire their commitment. You can argue that they volunteered for the extra responsibility, and that is true, but someone has to oversee the daily continuity or the unit is crippled. Unit leaders have to make immediate decisions in the midst of the controlled chaos that is patient care. There’s a learning curve for them too, especially for those developing new skills in a constantly changing environment.

Empathy for residents and new nurses is necessary too. There is always a learning curve when you begin something new. First do no harm is a guiding personal ethic for all interactions, not only those involving patients. Not all forms of inflicted pain leave a visible mark.

Just now, after twenty minutes of work, I lost a paragraph while trying to cut and paste it into a future post—Frick! Learning how to use Mac and keep up with JParadisi RN’s Blog“s production schedule is simultaneously frustrating and exciting. I am lucky to learn in privacy, away from the critical eyes of coworkers or patients. My colleagues stepping up to the plate in a time of transition do not have the same luxury.