Fueling the passion for nursing

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Excerpt

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a Student Nurse Organization event at my alma mater, the University of Delaware School of Nursing. As one of several invited nursing alumni, I ate dinner with a group of nursing students who indicated an interest in acute care. The nursing students ranged in experience from freshmen to seniors. I was asked to discuss my personal career path, describe professional success strategies, and network with the students.
Our dialogue was rich and filled me with hope for the future of our profession. The students' fresh energy and enthusiasm fueled my desire to impart the best possible advice I could give them in the one short hour we shared.
How can we fuel the passion that students and new nursing colleagues bring to the workplace? The first rule is that we don't consciously dismiss their passion as “naive inexperience with the real world.” Instead, we need to teach them effective coping skills and how to be resilient when they confront the inevitable difficult issues and situations that arise in nursing.
Even more important, we must not allow jaded colleagues to behave in ways that purposely extinguish their passion for nursing. Not only are we hurting them, we're hurting our loved ones and ourselves when we fail to build a strong, competent nursing workforce for the future.
The passage from student to experienced, licensed nurse is a challenging one under the best of circumstances. It's my strong conviction that each of us who has made that journey has a professional imperative to do our best in enabling the success of our newest colleagues as well as those making transitions to new nursing roles. Developmental needs change, but the same key strategies apply to the career continuum: supportive mentoring, constructive guidance, and a commitment to role model excellence. These actions strengthen professional relationships and are the cornerstone of a healthy practice environment. Each of us has a critical part in building that foundation.
As we celebrate Nurses Week, let's tap into the passion we felt as we entered the nursing profession and find new ways to sustain and rekindle the flame.
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