Choosing to love your work is a powerful strategy in becoming a champion for compassionate care.

Surveys of health professionals show that many are unhappy at work, they’ve lost job satisfaction, they’re stressed, and heading towards burnout.

The most powerful way to improve your work experience, to build your wellbeing, happiness and resilience is to CHOOSE TO LOVE YOUR WORK.

Make a deliberate choice about where you focus your attention. Every single day, healthcare offers opportunities for deep satisfaction and meaning in the connection with patients and families. Take pleasure in the smallest things. Be mindful of the attitude you bring to each patient encounter.

The latest research from the growing field of positive psychology shows that gratitude and appreciation are two of the most important practices for enhancing positivity, happiness and wellbeing. Appreciation is a habit to be developed, not an inborn personality trait.

Expressing appreciation to others strongly enhances social bonds. When you bring this attitude to our care of patients, you will find that patients respond much more positive, you’ll enjoy your work more, and suffer fewer complaints. Teamwork will be enhanced.

Here are some of the things you can appreciate every day

  • The extraordinary privilege of relating to patients and their families in their most intimate and life-changing events.
  • The resilience and courage of patients in dealing with illness, injury and loss.
  • The wicked humour of patients.
  • The amazing dedication and kindness of fellow health professionals.
  • Little acts of kindness done by others to help your work.
  • The miracle of healing.
  • The gratitude of patients and families.
  • A loving touch.
  • The mystery and awe of life’s purpose.
  • Relief of pain and suffering.
  • When you choose to love your work, you enhance the health both of your patients and yourself.

    Some takeaway ideas to pocket

    1.  Choose your thoughts on your way to work.

    2.  Difficult people are people going through difficulties.

    3. Turn necessary tasks into meaningful experiences, for example, transform the time spent hand washing into a ritual of giving thanks for the ability and privilege to care for each person. The handwashing task can become a time to reflect on the closure and completion of human caring experience between patient encounters.

    4.  Choose a “ritual” at the end of your work that will symbolically remove your nursing role from your psyche (e.g. mindfully removing your badge/ lanyard/ uniform and take on the role of a daughter/wife/mum) so that you don’t carry with you the stresses of work 24/7.

    “Healthcare’s focus on physical disease and bio-medicine is unbalanced. We need to pay much more attention to emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing and the huge importance of healthy relationships” DR ROBIN YOUNGSON