Fuel nursing career satisfaction
Evidence-based practice can rejuvenate your career or indicate it's time for a change
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive, and founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance. As an editor for Nurse.com, Hess has penned several editorials on career topics. As a presenter at professional conferences, Hess often addresses participants on how to find the right job and steps for building a successful career.
Recently, I visited my postop wife at the hospital, looking like every other family member. When I told a nurse, Linda, that I was a nurse as well, she said to me, “I’m sorry.” What I believe she meant was that she was sorry I was trapped in a lackluster, sad profession, like she was, and Linda was commiserating. This wasn't the first time I heard this reply from a nurse.
As a nurse who is enthused about nursing, I angrily said, “Why would you say that to me?” She told me she had been a nurse for 30 years, doing the same job in the same old way, and she was just tired and probably burnt out. Later that night, I posted this interaction on Facebook. People remotely familiar with me know that I am trying to boost my present number of friends on my personal Facebook page from 1,382 to 5,000 (you're welcome to friend me at Robert G Hess Jr), so I can have a large, interactive audience. In my post, I also suggested that nurses like Linda needed to get counseling, change jobs, go back to school, get resocialized, find a way to participate in positive change, retire or just get out of my profession.

The Linda story sparked 121 reactions, 56 comments and two shares. Interestingly, it also provided an unsought framework and lead for insights about evidence-based practice in an evidence-based career.
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First of all, with a cascade of research spilling from the work of nurse scientists and researchers, no nurse could possibly be doing the same job in the same old way if he or she incorporated new evidence into the practice. The role of evidence in practice is succinctly documented in Nurse.com’s module, Follow the Evidence to Up-To-Date Practice.

Researchers have delved into every nursing specialty, changing the way things are done. Evidence has rightfully raised questions about almost every traditional practice. This is a heady time for the science of nursing, so a nurse who says that he or she is doing a job in the same way isn’t paying attention.

And research-related changes have rejuvenated a lot of us. Constant new evidence disrupts, explores and transforms old practices. It should keep us questioning our practice every day in an intoxicating way. Linda, you’re missing the good stuff. " ...no nurse could possibly be doing the same job in the same old way if he or she incorporated new evidence into the practice."
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By Robert G. Hess, Jr.
PhD, RN, FAAN Executive vice president and chief clinical executive
Tranforming your practice
Knowing when to move on
Second, evidence not only disrupts practice, but it also informs professional nurses’ careers. Organizational research provides indicators for when nurses should consider leaving their current jobs, switching roles within their career or searching for change to invigorate their current situation, such as going back to school, networking or joining a professional organization.

Nurses who say they are burnt out are not just turning a phrase. Burnout is real and has been precisely measured for decades. Instruments such as the Maslach Burnout Inventory- Medical Personnel Form rate healthcare professionals’ responses to statements like “I feel emotionally drained from my work,” “I have accomplished many worthwhile things in this job,” and “I don't really care what happens to some patients.”

Other surveys provide signals of job fatigue with concepts such as intent to leave for when it’s time to change jobs long before we consciously think we’re ready to make a switch.
Measuring satisfaction
Third, survey literature also provides evidence of when things are going well in a career by measuring job satisfaction. Several instruments that look at nurses’ perceptions about their job are available. The Nursing Workplace Satisfaction Questionnaire includes survey items about how much you enjoy your job, doing your job and the people you work with, lending sufficient psychometrically tested reliability and validity to your responses to properly evaluate your work situation. Here are a few simple steps to make sure that evidence guides both your practice and your career:
Join your specialty group’s professional organization and attend events that report the latest practices.
Subscribe to specialty journals and skim them for evidence-based changes in practice and relevant research articles when they arrive — before you put them in that pile.
Recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and those around you. You may or may not be able to help a colleague, but you can do something about yourself.

Feeling overly drained, frustrated, fatigued or just used up on a chronic basis may signal you should evaluate your future in your present position, role or even profession. Nursing has more career options than any other profession; take advantage of that.
Examine your employment situation for indicators of job satisfaction by observing the professionals around you. Do your colleagues seem happy? Do they smile? Do they participate in work group activities, such as shared governance councils or committees, or informal gatherings outside of work?

If the people around you are satisfied in their work environment, chances are, you are too. And if you’re not, maybe your co-workers will influence your everyday satisfaction and help you to become more enthused.
New evidence surges on to clinical areas every day through our professional organizations, literature and educators. Take time to examine and apply it to not only your practice, but also your career as well. It will not only fuel your enthusiasm for your profession and your job, but others around you, like Linda. If it doesn’t help her in her present employment, it may at least open better opportunities.
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Contents
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Be a driving force behind EBP
Learn why evidence is a must when it comes to quality patient care.
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evidence-based practice
Nurses cross into research
Nurses are doing the digging to find answers to their practice questions.
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Get to the root of it
Master the basics of EBP and learn how to start your own project.
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Research feeds good practice
Turn a patient care idea into practice by starting with solid research.
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You hold the power
Bedside nurses have the ability to make significant practice changes.
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Making the grade
Evidence is a moving target. Be ready to adjust EBP policies.
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Protect the children
Pain management is a big deal when it comes to the littlest patients.
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evidence-based practice
Meet a wound care expert
RN Nancy Morgan tells you what really works wound care.
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evidence-based practice
FREE CE: What's new in EBP?
Learn the latest about ICU sedation, CLABSIs, and more.
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EBP blasts make an impact
A nurse successfully expands healthcare access for her patients.
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Fuel career satisfaction
Use new evidence to transform your old practices.
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CE Catalog
Boost your knowledge of EBP with these education modules.
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Follow the evidence
You know EBP is important; now grasp the strategies behind it.
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The journey continues
Driving interest in EBP is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
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An unacceptable risk
Periop nurses are striving to decrease pressure ulcers.
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Training days
Patient-centered care plus team science equals dazzling results.
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Pregame practice
Nursing students are being to appreciate the value of EBP.
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Poor self-care is a safety issue
Nurses who do not address fatigue can jeopardize patients.
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Create a dream team
A children's hospital shows how interdisciplinary care pays off.
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It's all about the team
Learn how the TeamSTEPPS strategy took shape.
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Patient care gets revamped
A cancer center reboots bedside reporting and improves care.
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