Fargo Nursing Conference and What's next

Frances McDormand in Fargo (the movie)

Frances McDormand in Fargo (the movie)

I had the opportunity to speak at a Nursing Conference in Fargo, North Dakota for Nurses week. It was quite an adventure for this city girl to see how things are done in the Midwest. While the accents and communication styles may vary, at the end of the day, Nurses are all dealing with the same issues.  You are all quite familiar with them: retention of staff, especially new graduates that leave after the first year of training, greater acuity of patients, safe staffing, toxic workplaces and stressful workplaces, etc. I was the closing speaker addressing how we can meet our stressful work and home lives with new approaches. During Nurses week I was happy to see Nurses speaking out in Washington DC addressing safe patient ratios, an issue that California has been a leading example of for many years.

photo from National Nurses United

photo from National Nurses United

I was inspired by topics presented by other speakers, including my friend Renee Thompson from RT Connections focusing on Nurse as Hero. I was intrigued by the presentations of the updated ANA ethical guidelines, diversity, inclusion and unconscious microaggression that occur in healthcare with marginalized members of society as well as a presentation about drug diversion by a recovering Nurse addict. You will be hearing more on these topics in future blog posts, as I am inspired to share what I learned.

This week I am offering a workshop on a topic we as Nurses so rarely have a place to talk about: Our “Human-ness”. We manage to get through a crazy, busy shift, making most of our patients, family members and colleagues happy. We usually don’t remember those great days when we compare them to the days when things just don’t go as planned. Where do Nurses bring the stories of negative outcomes, unanticipated deaths, medication errors, or situations when everything was done perfectly yet we couldn’t save the life? We often bring the facts to a debrief or route cause analysis which sometimes leaves the healthcare providers wounded with blame. Our families don’t always have the capacity to handle it and some of us want to shelter them from it. So we are left to hold it, brush away the tears and return to work until with self-soothe in unskillful ways. I’m looking forward to this workshop to create a safe space to support Nurses and also be supported myself by like minded Nurses that walk the same path as me, a path with heart that has the capacity to hold all of life’s joy’s as well as all of life’s sorrows.