Nurses have to redefine themselves or be doomed to a life of less–- to forever be the Epsilons (or worker bees) in Huxley’s Brave New World. Anyway, that’s how I see it.
I’m not implying that I want us to deny the nurse in ourselves–I’m not asking nurses to become “not” nurses. What I am suggesting is that we acknowledge and honor the “more” of who we are. Then we can incorporate the heart and the soul of a nurse to give us strength on our journey. That change or transformation must take place in order for nurses to realize their potential.
I know I’ve said I believe that nursing is liberal arts for life, a foundation course that can enrich both the heart and the soul of the healer through all of life, but in order to reach the shore of the New World of Healthcare or of any other “new” place, there remains the dangerous matter of crossing the desert and enduring the ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’
Some people call that “burnout,” others “compassion fatigue” but I call it “soul drought.” The experience of soul drought occurs when one hears the call of the Hero, chooses to answer that call, says yes to the journey, only to find him or herself in an ancient myth where Dragons exist, only now they’re wearing suits.
Back to the hero or heroine. Of course there’s no sword big enough to slay such a powerful beast because all the weapons have been bought up by the corporate big wigs.
Now, where in a Hero’s Journey do we find someone wearing a suit?
Where, instead of a castle, does one find enormous sleek corporate headquarters? I swear, it’s enough to make a dreamer’s head spin.
No wonder we need bionic heroes now. Where are the real ones? They’re not in the government, not in the churches, not on the sports fields. So, now, in the tech world, they’re in the video games.
Okay, as long as they keep the same values (the Golden Rule or I am my brother and sister’s keeper) I can go and grow with that.
But when they don’t, and when we all begin to live in an un-storied world, what becomes of the real life heroes? They’re out of a job, that’s what happens.
All of this of course gets us to the place where kind, nurturing caretakers-both women and men– heroes all, find themselves hanging out on a blank page.
In order to save those heroes, in order to save ourselves, it’s time to create new stories. Stories where the healing powers grow from love and caring and are valued and where science is used to help the healers with the magic of touch and truth.
Who will write those new stories? We will.