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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

The lecture you missed in nursing school

I have a public service announcement.

Nothing is wrong with you.

The work is hard.

The demands are real.

Nurses are not superhumans.

I know that may sound controversial or even diminutive but the ideal of the superhuman nurse doesn’t help any of us.

We are normal humans, trying to do super things.

And sometimes it works out great.

But a lot of the time it doesn’t.

The result is we feel frustrated and inadequate, and this feels awful.

To add insult to injury, this belief that you should be superhuman leads to resisting talking about your frustrations, it has an underlying shame or guilt that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you are.

Failing as a superhuman, the futility of trying to be something you aren’t, ultimately leads to burnout.

But we don’t want to say we are burnt out because we have unintentionally sabotaged ourselves by placing a stigma on not being superhuman.

So I am here today to debunk the fallacy of superhumaness.

Nothing is wrong with you.

It is normal to struggle with the work you are doing. In addition to the inherent difficulties in the work, none of us were trained in the stress of nursing. We didn’t have classes on resilience training, identifying the signs/symptoms, risks and protective factors of burnout or self-awareness tools.

We didn’t get any education in dealing with the most catastrophic comorbidities in nursing, secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

All of those incredibly difficult classes and no one thought to add one in on the basic life skill of BEING a nurse?

Even after our initial training, we still didn’t know about this problem or how to fix it. There is no bootcamp for compassion satisfaction, no clinical ladder for coping and resilience.

So we are left with a grassroots approach (until I can figure out how to impact systemic change).

It starts with letting you know there is nothing wrong with you if you are stressed and overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough or you aren’t meant to be a nurse.

It doesn’t mean anything other than the work is hard and you are still figuring out the best way to navigate it.

From this place, gaining awareness that there are things that can make it better is crucial. And we will get to that, but first you need to change the narrative that something has gone wrong.

There is a problem, but it’s not you. The problem is that we all missed the education we needed to avoid this situation.

The solution is to get the education now.

To believe it can be better.

To believe you CAN be satisfied at work, even if you are exhausted at the end of it.

To believe that getting this education is going to have a real return on investment and not just check some box for license renewal.

It will make you feel good in yourself, as a nurse, again.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Reach out today and let’s get started.

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