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The Power of Gratitude in Nursing

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

You’re on the second shift out of three days in a row, there were two sick calls, and it’s been crazy busy. As you wait to give report, you find out the nurse you are signing off to is going to be late. You haven’t had much of a break, and everyone around you seems to be complaining about their oncoming patient assignment. While you wait, you’re also beginning to feel annoyed, a negative attitude begins to develop, and you are ready to chime in with all the complaining. After all, what else can you do? Well…before you pile on, you might want to think about the effects a negative attitude can have upon you and your nursing colleagues.

What is gratitude? Gratitude is the ability to focus on the goodness in our lives and have appreciation for all things we may receive. When you create a conscious habit of thinking about and expressing appreciation on a regular basis, even the most difficult day can seem a bit more bearable. Research has shown that individuals with a consistent practice of gratitude have greater happiness, stronger relationships, better health, and more positive emotions. And when we have gratitude in the workplace, it leads to greater satisfaction with life, higher resilience to stress, more job satisfaction, increased self-care and better health. Let’s look at some strategies that can help you develop an “attitude of gratitude”.

Work Strategies to Cultivate Gratitude

  • Shift Your Mindset Be more mindful when someone has done something nice for you. Each day try to tell one person at work how grateful you are for them.

  • Change the Narrative Make an effort to avoid negative talk and gossip. Creating a positive feedback loop impacts you and all those around you!

  • Express Your Thanks When your co-worker helps you, reach out and explain what they did for you, and admire the effort it required. Then share how much it really helped you.

  • Foster Gratitude in the Break Room Set up a nursing unit “gratitude jar” or “jar of joy” with notepads and pens. Staff can add inspiring quotes or positive thoughts for the day. The only rule is that if you take one note out, you must add one back to the jar!

  • Create a Monthly Happiness Calendar It can be used as a day-by-day guide to gratitude and well-being. Place a suggested thought for each day, such as, “make time for small talk before your staff meeting”, or “ask your co-worker about their holiday”.

  • There’s an App for That! Gratitude apps can help you focus, reflect, and acknowledge your feelings and achievements. Here are two of many apps to choose from:The Gratitude App – This free app aims to help anyone experiencing depression and anxiety. It includes inspirational quotes, affirmations, and daily reminders. 365 Gratitude – This app will help you stay focused on all the good in your life. It provides inspirational prompts that will help reduce anxiety and foster positivity in your life.

This Thanksgiving season can be the start of a more grateful, happier, and healthier life. TAP Wellness Coaching focuses on similar strategies and so much more. It includes a focus on food, sleep, movement, resilience, and self-care. The season presents an opportunity for you to express gratitude towards yourself, prioritize your needs, lift your spirits, and re-energize your body and mind.

Sending Thanksgiving wishes to you and yours! xo

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