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New year, so let’s look at the old you

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Experienced nurses could learn a thing or two from their younger selves

A new year invariably brings in a need to do something fresh. Articles, posters and adverts abound proclaiming: “New year, new you!”

How about returning to the old you? Look inward and you may already possess most of what you need to make 2015 your best year ever.

Do you feel demotivated in your role? Have you always felt that way? I would suggest this is unlikely - and I know this because I’ve been there too. Can you remember how you felt when you first qualified as a nurse? Totally motivated and raring to do your best. Even though you didn’t possess all the skills you needed to be an excellent nurse, you had the motivation you needed to acquire them.

Now, fast-forward a few years - you have more skills and experience, but some motivation has been lost. Yet evidence suggests staff who are both skilled and motivated are highly productive. They are 16 times more productive than demotivated and less skilled staff. That’s why I suggest a return to the old you. Take yourself back to your newly qualified self and draw on that early motivation. Using that and the excellent skills you have now could make 2015 your best career year yet.

Ways you can rejuvenate your old self

● Look inward to reconnect with why you became a nurse
● Rekindle your motivation
● Re-awaken your curiosity
● Re-cultivate the wholesome habits you once had
● Manage your time wisely
● Revitalise your passion for caring
● Celebrate your accomplishments

What about your current habits? Are you keeping pace with recent evidence to ensure your practice is up to date?

Or are you just following the mandatory training? When you were learning to be a nurse, you studied hard. Now - even with electronic access to journals - we may feel we have no time to do so. Again, I implore you to go back to the old you. Be as curious as you were when you were finding out what it takes to be a nurse. If you haven’t done so already, adopt a habit of life-long learning. Remain inquisitive and keep looking for solutions to problems.

Are you struggling to manage your time or feel, perhaps, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day? The beauty about time is that we all possess the same amount. We are all going to have 31,536,000 seconds in 2015. How will you spend yours? How are you going to make them count? Again, a return to that old self will help. Think back to what really mattered to you when you qualified or moved into your current role. Make those things important again. Get excited about work and celebrate what you do.

Having looked after many older patients, one thing they wished they could have back was their youth and vigour. Don’t wait until you’ve lost yours! If you have, be quick to rejuvenate your practice by returning to your old self and make all the hours you expend at work count in 2015.


Ruth Oshikanlu is a nurse, midwife and practising health visitor in London. A coach and managing director of Goal Mind, she also works with individuals to uncover and analyse their key motivators, and coach them to perform at their best. She is also a Queen’s Nurse.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Inspiring to a 64 year old nurse,your words have given me new enthusiasm
    Thank you,

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