As all health care workers, particularly nurses, face the coronavirus pandemic for weeks to come, we who support you would do well to remember your remarkable character — the traits that sustain you through stressful times.
In my observation those are Compassion, Love, Accuracy, Reliability/Resilience, Ingenuity, Truthfulness and Yes – altogether they form the acronym CLARITY.
As a professional leadership coach in the health care system, I’ve been privileged to know more than 200 nurses and I think of them – and all nurses – now as they face the frontlines and an invisible enemy.
Please, nurses, for the next few minutes, allow me to be your coach.
Let’s start with a post-it note of this acronym CLARITY and post it on the first mirror you see when you wake, so that every day – every day – you “install” this natural, beautiful way of being into your heart (and your head) to help you cope with what will often will be an exhausting, depleting, sorrow-filled day.
You know by now that you can control how you react to situations and how you listen to and direct your mind. You can control your thoughts and how you behave and react. And right now, that may be about all that you can control.
Your 30-second daily practice is to say: “I am CLARITY and I KNOW I am Compassion, Love, Accurate, Reliable and Resilient, Ingenious and Truthful. Yes! Yes! Yes!”
C – COMPASSION: Is not empathy. Compassion is life-giving. It is a direct transfer of love from one to another. As a nurse you care and listen to understand your situation. You then deliver care that helps others.
L-LOVE: Is everywhere. And nurses are everywhere. You are on the phone, at admissions, in the ER, by your patients’ beds when they wake up. Love exists as energy emanated from the heart and usually first shows up as a smile from YOU and you make it feel like it is all going to be ok.
A-ACCURACY: Using science and evidence-based information and knowledge is a core characteristic of a nurse. Pride comes from the intense intellect you possess. You know the right way to do something and combine it with heart so that even if the remedy is unconventional, it will work and cannot be refuted because it is accurate – based on data and facts.
R-RELIABILITY and RESILIENCE: Something is reliable when you get the same answer multiple times – like 100 times. Being reliable builds and sustains trust. We can count on nurses to be there for us, and we can rely on them to be there when they say they will. Resiliency is part of your operating system and it shows up when you go above and beyond and stay late or pick up a shift and remain flexible even if you miss your kid’s play or soccer game. We are seeing this all across the world right now with our health care workers taking on extra shifts while those who are sick need to stay home.
I-INGENIOUS: I am utterly amazed by nurses’ unbridled creativity and ability to solve a problem. You are strong, solid, secure and direct by nature and you will rally to a challenge or problem like a force of nature! Take the nurses at a hospital in Glenwood Springs, CO who were seen sewing home-made masks out of sterile surgical instrument packaging, pipe cleaners and straps sewn on to fit on the ears. They now can mitigate the lack of masks available – at least for a while. Creative problem-solving.
T-TRUTHFUL: Nurses tell it like it is. You are so clear and compassionate and because you can build trust quickly with patients, you can tell the truth. Often I will hear: “Can I share the whole truth with you? Are you okay to receive the truth about your situation?”
Y-YES: I love this can-do spirit so much because it balances the seriousness of the nurse profession. Life, death, hard truths, lack of appreciation from others in the hospital like the doctors and administrators…it’s A LOT to take on – and as a nurse you love to celebrate. You somehow have the energy after giving all day long to remember a colleague’s birthday and bake cookies to surprise them, or say yes when you really want to say no. You have an inherent “yes” attitude and since you are so close to the heartbeat of life you KNOW that life is short and every moment counts.
Remember that you are CLARITY and practice CLARITY every day, it will help you, our shining nurses because you will feel the love and your CLARITY will be what will get through.