Courage, Compassion and Community, was the theme of the Metta Institute’s Alumni Retreat last monthLink http://mettainstitute.org/. It was a nourishing experience–and below are 7 useful points for nurses to contemplate since healing, survival, and growth occur in community. It is followed with 3 action steps with rationales for you to use. Finally there are 2 opportunities for community that I am currently offering. Please check them out.
Dr. Rachael Naomi Remen planted seeds for the retreat in the opening presentation– exploring, contrasting and weaving 7 aspects of institutional healthcare teams and community.
- Usually membership in the health care team is by invitation, acquired deliberately based upon competencies of the practitioner who is quite replaceable. (Sometimes there is a sense of community on the team.)
- Teams and communities relate to risk differently– In a community when one succeeds, there is a sense that the whole community succeeds. This is often not the case on healthcare teams. They tend to be risk adverse.
- In a community there is a sense of belonging to a shared purpose. Purpose is different from goals and tasks. The members of the community may become experts as they move towards their shared purpose by addressing goals with tasks.
- People are often in community for different reasons than they are on a team. Members of the healthcare team, an assembly of chosen experts, may not embody the same purpose.
- Community does not end after the task is completed or goal met because goals and tasks are not what makes it a community. What matters to one, matter to everyone in the community.
- Teams produce something, and though a community may produce something it embodies something bigger. The purpose of the community is not finite.
- In community there is greater resistance to compassion fatigue, as people support each other differently than they do on a team.
In summary: The contrast between differing values around inclusivity is significant in that on a team your first contribution is your expertise and then yourself; in community your first contribution as a community member is yourself and then your expertise.
Nursing is about creating internal and external environments for healing and thriving. Generally we do it in community for ourselves and others. Sometimes the felt sense of community happens on the job, and if not what are you doing about your meeting your need for connection and community?
First you need to identify what you are looking for. Next set an intention to focus on it. Then take small steps to get there.
- Are your needs for community among nurses being met? Where and how? Take a moment to consider your interests and needs as a nurse. Of course there are the national organizations such as the ANA and AHNA, your state nursing organization, and of course there are the specialty organizations which can be helpful. They may however, feel too large.
- The experience of being in community meets a basic need for belonging. The key is finding your peeps, where and who is your community? There are lots of nursing communities available to support us thanks to social media.
- Create your own community by connecting to others on the web with your interests. For example, I discovered a community of nurse entrepreneurs offering all sorts of support to their colleagues through blogs and course offerings through virtual nursing chapters- Nurse Entrepreneurs, End of Life Care chapters on the AHNA website. With some searching you will other nurses also on the journey for community.
I have set the intention to create community opportunities for nurses locally and virtually.
- The Virtual Circles, that meet monthly, on-line, as part of the Vitality In Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses provide the caring supportive community during the 12-week program.
- The weekly community phone call on Wednesday nights, from 6:30-7;00 (712)432-3066 (PIN 177444) is another opportunity for your support from a community of nurses.
- I collaborate with my local AHNA Holistic Nurses Chapter.
Please share with us how you meet your needs for personal and professional community. Does it happen at work, on your job? Where and when do you get support for the beautiful work and service you offer? Looking forward to hearing from you~
Sending you blessings of delight and community with the changing seasons and in the next month.
With love, Padma