True satisfaction comes from your Nursing career when you feel in control: you’ve advocated for your value, you’ve created healthy boundaries and your work schedule allows you to live life freely outside of it. It’s when you feel at the mercy of your workplace that you feel the burn!
My last role was as a School Nurse at a high school for girls. I loved it. I had autonomy to set up the space physically and energetically. I adored creating safe containers with the young women over a cup of tea as they connected in with their body to see why they were receiving messages of pain or suffering. Together we discovered root causes to what they were experiencing and made attempts to address them. I empowered and advocated for them so that they could understand and celebrate their body and mind. They were their own best healers and I gave them the space and permission to do so. Most often with some nurturing, mindset and energetic support they were quickly back to learning. Sometimes the root cause was returning back to the place of learning. My heart ached the times I recombobulated them and then encouraged them straight back into the fire.
My experience with the institutions was they much preferred the young people follow rules, adhere to the school bells, give the right answers to the teacher standing in front of them and prioritise academia over everything else. Add in the effects of a global pandemic and other significant events that took place in the community, this proved to be very challenging as a sole clinician to provide a safe space of whole health with very little support available.
I attempted to access outside services for support with little response. I accessed specialists in youth support and was given the response from the leadership team that it was 'too cheesy'. I wrote to the Government and when they finally responded they appeased me by giving me information irrelevant to my concerns. There was no wellbeing budget. The pastoral care teams were rarely available and weren't familiar with the students I was expressing concern about. Crisis teams were never accessed. Communication to families was limited and censored. I was struggling.
The mental fitness of the students took a deep dive which was being experienced throughout all schools in NZ. The Wellness Room was increasingly visited by staff with their own wellbeing concerns and parents were coming in to collect their children sharing their own significant curve balls in life. It felt like everyone was languishing. There was no opportunity to install boundaries as the door continuously swung open with increasing levels of crisis'. There were no windows to the outside world and I was being compensated for my efforts with $33k pa. There was no duty of care for us Carers.
Sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow that a certain job or place that you saw being your 'forever' isn't. People and places change. I chose the life saving decision to step out of the frontline for me, not against others. I didn't mourn the loss of a job that was amazing and suited me, I did mourn the loss of what I thought it was. Over time I was grateful the true colours were shown and I had the choice to be free to be who I am and make decisions that are healthy and right for my life.
I wanted to make good of the experiences I'd had many times in my nursing career and have put all my energy into my new role as Whole Health Nurse Coach in my own business, Heart Place with Nurse Jacqui. I empower and advocate for Carers and future Carers to understand and celebrate their mind to create unstoppable inner-confidence, self-belief and their own self-worth. I do this through 1:1 Coaching/Mentoring, group Coaching, workshops, speaking engagements, podcasts, writing, activism and continued learning with Lissa Rankin MD, Whole Health Medicine Institute.
This is more than about self-care, nice things and happy thoughts - they're not enough for me. It's about learning to advocate for ourselves, set boundaries, negotiate our worth and craft a life that works for us.
The world so desperately needs fiercely empowered Carers and future Carers. It's time to choose Whole Health over the saturated wellbeing tick box.