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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

The futility of trying

Work can be tough even when staffing numbers are good, when you have a great team, and when you find the work meaningful. Being a nurse isn’t easy; it takes grit and stamina, compassion and intelligence. It’s normal to get worn down, even when you love using your brain, your problem solving skills, and your heart.

And then there are those days that none of those things really seem to be in place. Everything is annoying and overwhelming. You may even find yourself saying, “I don’t know how much longer I can even do this.”

The worst part of both scenarios is how they can seem completely out of our control.

Problems can seem so big, so pervasive that it doesn’t occur to us to try and change what we have come to accept as normal, as “part of the job”.

The only way you can see to feel better is to remove yourself from the situation all together. 


But then again…

you have worked so hard to become a nurse, put in so much time and energy, that the idea of leaving nursing doesn’t actually give you comfort either.

What if one little shift can make all the difference? What if you explored the possibility that you could keep doing the work AND feel better, even on the days when everything goes wrong? 

What if you can show up to the same job AND feel better?

What if you could still come home tired AND feel better?

What if you could deal with the same patient difficulties AND feel better?

It may sound silly to point this out, but ask yourself, 

do you think that you can feel better at work if nothing changes but you?

Most people would say no.  If you said no, don’t panic, read on.

This is where the problem lies. We don’t entertain the idea that feeling better at work (or in our work) is a possibility so we make no plan, we take no action.

Why would we take action if the outcome was not within reach? Why waste energy on something futile?

It is in reach. Many nurses have turned their whole experience of work around just by adopting the belief that change is possible.

You don’t even necessarily need to know HOW to change it initially (this is the second place where people get stuck). If the problem is a big systemic problem, what steps can I even take to change it?

Just try anything. 

Make a plan. Try something new. See how it works. Rinse and repeat.

Try getting up earlier and taking some time for yourself in the morning. If this doesn’t work after a week or so then try getting up later and getting some extra rest.

Try making a point of chatting with your coworkers for a few minutes, even if it means you get home a few minutes later. See if the connection restores you. OR try staying really focused for the last 2 hours of your shift so you get out earlier. 

Maybe you join a committee focused on quality improvement. Maybe you say no to a committee and you decide to really focus on 1:1 patient interactions.

Maybe you try a gratitude list, or breathing, or meditation Maybe you try just getting out for a walk every day after work. Maybe you try packing your food so you can nourish that body that is taking a beating. Maybe you just reflect on your day and the impact you had on patient’s lives.

Maybe you just start paying attention to how you feel throughout the day, what your emotions are, what your thoughts are and how they are impacting your feelings.  

The point is, there isn’t just one way to feel better. If one thing helps, add another on top. If something doesn’t work you still have gained information. It’s not that different from looking at differential diagnosis, figuring out what approach to pursue next.

Get your brain looking for possibilities (it won’t look if you don’t first direct it to the idea that this IS SOLVABLE.) 

Otherwise you may end up moving through life without really knowing what you can achieve.


Sometimes believing in yourself and your ability to make meaningful change feels completely out of reach. Without this, taking any step can seem incredibly hard, or worse yet, pointless.

But you also know that where you are now is not where you want to be for the rest of your life.  This is one of the benefits of a coaching consult call. I hold the belief for you. I know this works. And then from that place, we evaluate what exact problems are keeping you stuck and identify specific strategies that can help you move forward. Even if we aren’t a good match to work together, that hour call is not wasted. You can come away with a new belief, the first step to actually feeling better. Click here to schedule a time today.

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