When I first became a nurse, I couldn’t understand how any nurse could not love working in the profession. I thought it was a slap in the face of nursing to work in a position that calls for a caring, nurturing disposition, yet hate what you do. I began to realize, however, that some of my colleagues had either been working so long as a nurse that, even though they didn't love what they were doing, they didn’t want to change careers, or they had become accustomed to a lifestyle they didn’t want to give up. For them, nursing had become nothing more than a job! I looked at these colleagues and thought, “I could never be like that.” Then it happened to me!
After working nights, full time, for almost 5 1/2 years, I had gotten to the point where I hated my job—the nurse bullying and management manipulation, the favoritism shown by the charge nurse for certain nurse buddies, the feeling that I was just an employee about whom upper management did not care. It was more than I wanted to deal with. I had to get out. Nursing was no longer my passion; it was simply that which provided my paycheck. This was a problem for me. I don’t believe in doing anything I am not passionate about. Quite honestly, I spend far too much time working to have a job I hate. I knew something had to change!
I took a day-shift position, away from the bedside. It was the best move I ever made in my nursing career, not because of the change in duties, but because of what my chief nursing officer said during employee orientation. She observed that she was not a nurse in the nursing profession, but rather a nurse in the ministry of nursing. That one statement completely changed my outlook on my place in the nursing profession.
I was reminded that my desire to become a nurse was what had driven me to college in the first place. Had it not been for that desire, I don’t know that I would have gone to college. Seeing nursing as a ministry with a purpose refueled my passion for the profession; not ministry in the sense of providing spiritual guidance but as a vehicle for helping others achieve their absolute best. In addition to caring for patients, I began to see nursing as a way for me to encourage others to use the opportunities provided by the profession to get out of poverty, obtain a good education, and step into leadership roles.
If you have come to a point in your career where you no longer feel the same passion for nursing you once did, I encourage you to change your view of the profession. Instead of viewing nursing as simply a job, view it as a wonderful opportunity for intellectual growth. Find avenues within the profession that allow you to use the gifts or talents you have. Look into new job opportunities and career advancements. Consider returning to school. Share with others how nursing has provided freedom to travel, meet new people or care for interesting patients. See the profession as a way to leave a legacy in this world. As a nurse, the work you do is not about you. It’s about the people you care for, inspire and encourage. In short, it’s about the ministry of nursing.