For the past month during the COVID crisis, I have been convening groups of nurses to offer them a safe haven – for at least a moment. These communities of valiant leaders came from many settings throughout the country; they came as bedside nurses, nursing managers and leaders, academic faculty, doctoral students and retirees who called themselves back into service.
Here are the themes that emerged:
- Every participant was contributing to crisis support and solutions, in large and small ways.
- Every participant was impacted by the crisis in very significant ways. Most said they still had the same roles they had before COVID, but the scope of that role had expanded significantly for everyone.
- Every participant had found ways to sustain their energy and spirit. While it took some longer to find those practices, each person said they were doing something to take care of themselves. Just a few examples were walking, consciously practicing their spiritual traditions, staying connected with family and friends, etc.
- Every participant was experiencing challenges of some type: living alone and not being hugged by anyone, balancing so much with small children, work, the need to “home-school”, etc.
- Every participant was adapting.
- Everyone allowed themselves and each other to be vulnerable in some way during the conversations.
- Several people talked about the guilt they feel because they are serving as managers and leaders rather than providing direct care at the bedside.
- A few people mentioned experiencing sacred moments during the crisis – whether it be in their jobs, in their families or within themselves. Or all three.
These nurses have shown incredible resilience and heroism, while remaining human. And in my view, they are the very definition of leading with mastery and heart. ️