At #RCNNQN and #RCNStudents, we decided to start the #SmallActionsBigChanges campaign to counteract a lot of the recent negativity that has been happening on Twitter and social media. A lot of this has come from certain individuals, many of whom I used to respect. We aim to show that life is not all doom and gloom. Collegiate debate should always be encouraged; of course, it should. But we should never be nasty to one another. We are professionals. And I have never witnessed a profession tear themselves apart quite as much as nurses. Why do we do this? We should be empowering one another, no?
However, I am not going to lie. When I found out that we were doing this campaign and series of blogs, I was filled with trepidation. Now, this is not because I do not think I perform small actions every day (time and staff limiting), which make big changes to both the patients and families who are under my care and to my team. Because I do, or at least I always try to. After all, this is the reason I got into nursing. But that is my job. I am paid to do this (not well enough, but that’s another story!) And anyone who knows me, or follows me on social media, knows I live and breathe nursing, but that is not always healthy. And at times, I do struggle to switch off and leave my job behind me when I get home. I think 2020 and beginning as a newly registered nurse, particularly in a coronavirus hub during a global pandemic has intensified this.
But what I have noticed, and the reason for my blog title is I know that I am not always the best at performing small actions that make big changes to those in my personal life. Because our job as nurses is stressful; being a newly registered nurse is stressful. So is commencing a part-time, distance-learning Master of Public Health in my first year, as well as launching a nursing podcast with one of my best friends, in addition to continuing the voluntary roles I perform for the Royal College of Nursing. Together, all of these leave me feeling spent: physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
What this means, is I do not always have the capacity left to appreciate the people who matter to me most: my wonderful fiancé, my beautiful, supportive family, my friends, and even my gorgeous little Frenchie, Dobby. I can be grumpy, short-tempered, and at times, downright unappreciative and rude to them. And that is just not on. These people do so much for me without having to be asked. And I genuinely feel like I do not deserve them. I have tears in my eyes writing this because I have realised just how much I have let them down. I must try harder. Collectively, these people are amazing; they are selfless, giving, and do so much for me. And I need to appreciate the small actions they make, which make big changes to improve my life. What upsets me most is how much I have missed my gorgeous niece Elliott growing up this year (she’s 22 months old) and seeing my two grans, both of whom are not in great health, but I do realise 2020 has had a lot to do with this. But I could have called them more, FaceTimed or Skyped. And I will.
Saying that, I do not want this blog to be negative, tearing myself to pieces is not going to make me feel any better. And that is not the point of this blog series. But what I do want to highlight, is be the change. You can make a difference! And that is what I plan to do. I will still keep being the nurse that I know I am, but I will leave myself the reserve to be the fiancé, son, brother, uncle, grandson, and friend my loved ones deserve.
I want to leave you on a funny note; there was one small change that made a big action this week. I was so tired on the bus, heading to my third long day of four, and was sitting with my legs crossed, so got pins and needles. I thought, if I stamp my feet as I walk off the bus surely the feeling will come back. But, alas, no. I quite literally fell off the bus and face-planted onto the ground. I was okay, don’t worry. But the generosity of the strangers who came rushing over to make sure I was not hurt was genuinely touching.
So, if I can teach you one thing; and let’s be honest, who I am I to teach you anything, is keep being the nurse you are but make more effort to make small actions that will lead to big changes. In fact, after I finish typing this, I am going to pick up the phone and call my grans and my best friend who is expecting twins. How exciting!
P.s my New Year’s resolution is definitely to say no more, which is hard when you are a natural people pleaser.