I read the news that Gallup released their annual poll of the most trusted and respected professions. Nurses have come in first for twenty-one years straight. The one year we came in second to firefighters was after 9/11. I did not feel the same sense of pride and enthusiasm as I have felt in the past when the poll was published. I actually felt numb. Reading the news on the heels of years of pandemic school nursing and the resulting mistreatment brought a sense of cognitive dissonance front and center.
Nursing has been under siege for years. We, as a collective body, have been understaffed, silenced into submission, and treated as pawns in large hospital systems, especially during the pandemic. Nurses have been victimized, irreparably harmed, and pitted against each other in the underbelly of healthcare mismanagement. But we still go on, come back the next day, and fight through the barriers to providing the best care to our patients, or in our case, students. How does a nation once again elevate the profession of nursing as the most respected and ethical profession but treat us so poorly?
We can’t make this make sense, and so many of us have quit, understandably so. We cannot continue to function in dysfunctional healthcare settings or educational settings. It wears us down to the point of leaving our chosen profession, further burdening an already overburdened workforce. The vacancies are mounting and taking an even greater toll on nursing.
I came across a Connect Nurse and their inspiring #unResignationLetter movement. Their message reaches out to those nurses who have resigned and encouraged them to return to nursing again, with parameters.
Here is the unResignation Letter, you can sign it and join the movement:
Are you one of those school nurses who chose to resign or are contemplating leaving but would stay if conditions would support a healthy work environment? I have not quit, but respect those who made that difficult choice. This letter caught my attention because it calls nurses back to practice with conditions that create a sustainable and human-centered workplace. We must include our own needs in defining a healthy work environment.
One of the things about cognitive dissonance is that with recognition, it can create movement in a positive direction.
Perhaps, this is one of those pivotal moments in nursing where we can embrace the national recognition of once again being the most trusted and ethical profession and simultaneously, stand up for what we need to sustain our well-being at work. The New York City nurses who just ended their strike are one example of how standing up for the greater good can lead to sustainable change. We do not have to tolerate intolerable work conditions, even if it means a significant job action. I want to celebrate nursing, especially school nursing. I don’t want to feel numb anymore. I hope you will join me in writing an unResignation Letter for school nurses. If am looking to write one based on feedback from our Relentless School Nurse community. What should we include? Email me at: email@example.com and I will include your contributions in an upcoming blog post.