We could quite conceivably continue working all of our lives without ever thinking about why we do what we do – and what difference we made. And if this is the case then at one point we will look back and wonder what difference we made.
I asked a room of over 50 nurse managers whether they had chosen to become a nurse or whether they would have done something else if they had another choice. Almost all said they had wanted to become a nurse. I asked why and again almost all said because they wanted to make a difference to other people’s lives – they wanted to care for them and make them feel better. The y believed that they could make this difference.
The sad thing is that almost all of them also said that they struggled to do this in reality. They were so caught up in the day to day job of getting tasks done that they had lost the point of care – the very thing that drove them to nursing in the first place.
They are in fact perfectly designed and motivated to deliver on their organisation’s mission of high quality care and yet something in the organisation is getting in their way. And the more this happens, the less engaged nurses became, the less they care and the more likely bad things happen. The evidence is very clear on this.
We know that one of the 3 greatest motivators for skilled people doing complex work – such as nurses is purpose. You come to nursing to make a difference to people’s lives and so do your staff. Unless they are tapping into this purpose every single day and are allowed to fulfill this purpose, then they will just come to work to pay the bills.
Unless you are clear in everything you do that the point of what you are doing is more than just the tasks, you will get caught up in the tasks that just don’t make a difference – you will feel over whelmed and have no way of sorting the important from the unimportant.
By the way , the other 2 motivators are autonomy and mastery – and we will touch on these again later when we discuss delegation.
What we value is written in our diaries. Where we spend our time tells us how we value our time, so check out your diary. Fulfilled lives are a result of living purposefully – achieving the things you believe are your purpose in a way that is purposeful. This is the ultimate value of life in my view.
- What difference do you want to make – why are you even in nursing and in this role in particular? Please share your reflection with us in the comments below.
- Download the worksheet and take some time to think about the difference you want to make in this life.
- Create a vision for yourself – what would if be like if everything went according to plan – how would you know you had achieved your vision?
- Check out your diary and ask yourself, am I living a purposeful or pointless life? Whose life am I living?
- How can you engage your team in tapping into their purpose? Share your ideas in the comments below.