Nurses have a reputation of being kind, considerate, selfless, and knowledgeable. We work long hours (often 8-12hr shifts) 3-5 days a week. These shifts can be filled with fast-paced decision making, flexibility, and us going above and beyond for others. The amount of energy expended during our workdays can be draining both mentally and physically. Therefore, when it comes to our personal lives, support and understanding from our love ones is invaluable.
Naturally, some of the wonderful characteristics used to describe nurses in the clinical setting often cross over into our personal relationships as well. For example, our critical thinking ability to rapidly and practically solve problems can be useful when navigating business, finances, and family conflicts. Nurse mothers have the capability to balance the mental and physical exertion that comes with the job, and apply the same at home for their children and partners. Unfortunately, just like any complicated profession, trying to manage children and partners can be tiresome when they don’t realize that their loved one is running on empty. While their superhero tries to make everything look easy, they really need those extra boosts of what I like to call “The triple A’s”: Appreciation, Affirmation, and Accommodation.
Appreciation goes a long way when it comes to showing your nurse how much you care about them. Often times, many nurses go above and beyond for their patients and family without little recognition. Working complicated shifts while still attending important events, date nights, PTA meetings, and household duties afterwards can make anyone feel overwhelmed. Therefore, a simple “Thank You” note or random gift can make a huge difference in making your nurse feel appreciated for what they do.
Affirmations can be the fuel us nurses need to keep on going. We can repeat them to ourselves every morning before we start our day or we can hear them from those we serve both personally and professionally. Affirmation phrases like “You are amazing” and “You are enough” can help assure a person that what they’re doing is noticed and appreciated.
Accommodations are selfless acts that allow us nurses to do what we do a lot easier. Considerate tasks such as performing household chores and providing quiet times for us to rest on our off days are some great examples of helpful accommodations. You’d be surprised how far a home-cooked dinner or peaceful house after a long shift can do.
Whether you are a friend, spouse, offspring, or patient of a nurse, don’t forget to express how much they mean to you through not only your words, but your actions as well. The complexities of our job can sometimes impede on our efforts to balance our personal lives. This imbalance can affect our mental and physical health, and ultimately impact the ones we love. Therefore, whenever you meet a nurse, be sure to try expressing one of the triple A’s listed above and see how you can positively impact their lives that day.
“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”—Randy Pausch