Find Ways to Reward Yourself

Nursing is not a profession where you will have lots of praise and applause, especially not when you seem to need it most. Remember, sick people are not at their best. It may be weeks or months before they recognize the difference you made in their lives, and by then they are long gone from your life.

Once in a while patients will say thank you, but even then sometimes it's for the trivial things and not for the things that were the hardest for you to do. Many times, you will have gone the extra mile for many patients, and none of them will even know what it is that you have done (such as come in on your day off to cover for a sick coworker).

You need to create your own rewards. You need to hear the applause in your head. Pat yourself on the back for finally mastering a skill or technique. Recognize that you have gone the extra mile to make a difference today. And don't be afraid to share your accomplishments and joys with your supervisor and coworkers.

Set goals for learning new techniques and skills and reward yourself with treats or trinkets as you accomplish them. Keep a log of your skills and review it often to remind yourself of how far you've come, and you can use this log for your future marketability.

Keep a journal or make a box to hold little notes to write to yourself about special patients and how you made a difference in their lives. Be mindful of confidentiality issues, but use dates and clues to help you remember who they were. Keep copies of any thank-you notes you receive from patients and families. Don't forget to include any positive comments from your supervisor, doctors, and coworkers. Review these notes often, especially when you've had a particularly bad day or week.

Rewarding yourself with items such as a new uniform, shoes, stethoscope, and even a special pen can bring a renewed sense of excitement about going to work for a while.

Don't forget to reward yourself just for doing a job well. Have a massage or a spa treatment. Buy those tickets to the theater or concert; you're worth it! Take time to read or enjoy a hobby and don't feel guilty about letting the laundry pile up another day. Sleep in on your day off and enjoy a day of leisure once in a while. Take time to truly smell the roses. Surround yourself with the little things you love and that hold meaning and are important to you.

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