We can be heroes everywhere we go.
Keeping us down is impossible
’Cause we're unstoppable.
~ The Score, "Unstoppable"
I work nights. I usually leave for work a little before 6. I park in the same spot nearly every shift. I take the long walk into the hospital. After clocking in, I glance at the charge nurse board to see what awaits me — while scanning the synergy of the team chosen for the next 12 hours. I listen intently to the charge report. Though it's all routine up to this point, I know nothing else about how the night will be. Despite that, I truly can't wait to be at the bedside with my patients and colleagues.
Jenna started within a month of me. She has unwavering patience. One night she had the ultimate "call-bell warrior" as her patient. It was only 9 o'clock and already the whole unit was commenting on 710's overuse of nursing requests. Walking by her computer, I noticed a small post-it note. It said, simply, "serenity." I asked her about the note. She said, "I truly can't understand the position my patient is in. He's waiting for a new heart. He's scared. The note reminds me to remain calm, peaceful and untroubled when he calls. I am here for him."
Then there's Hisayo, an Army reserve nurse. She never misses a beat. She is always ready-room setup, bed zeroed with sheets you could bounce a quarter off. Her reliability is unmatched.
Or Merlita. She came to us from an international travel program. Her courage is undeniable — along with her ability to be unassuming. Clinically, she is brilliant, and because she's reserved she can give input into a situation without being overbearing.
Then there's Carol — the "sheriff." She's been on nights for years. It's not uncommon for staff to suggest a patient might need some "Carol therapy" if they are challenged with non-compliance or are slightly resistant to a plan of care. She practices with an iron fist … in a velvet glove. Unquestioned, she practices with a disguised firmness many patients need.
And let's not forget Neal. He oriented me to the hospital when I started. He's great. His ability to break down complex things into the simplest solution makes him the go-to person. We all seek him out for his wisdom, his calm demeanor and his unshakeable presence.
That's how ALL nurses work. We're unwavering, undaunted, undeniable, unassuming and unshakeable. And Unstoppable.
Unstoppable is knowing if we get knocked down, we get up again. Unstoppable is using our unique talents to expose inefficiencies and celebrate positive, innovative solutions, no matter how small. Unstoppable is gaining momentum from others — pushing each other to take certification exams, submitting an abstract, precepting another RN or comforting a colleague.
As nurses, we are Unstoppable "from the inside out" when we practice self-care, recognize our limits and stretch ourselves into the unfamiliar. We are Unstoppable "from the outside in" by preventing adverse outcomes, courageously using our voice and pursuing the unthinkable to better ourselves and our profession.
Tell me how you are Unstoppable at Unstoppable@aacn.org.