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Ep229: Falling BACK in Love With Nursing (with Ashley Pofit RN)

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I’ve spoken in the past about compassion fatigue and burnout as nurses. These are two topics that are very important to me because I feel that all of us, regardless of where we are in our careers are susceptible to it.

My guest today is Ashley Pofit RN with NursebyHeart.com.  Ashley is a highly motivated nurse who brings honesty to the profession.  She has worked in various fields and is on a mission to help nurses “fall back in love with nursing”.  I love this mission and I am excited for you to hear her story.

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Podcast Transcription

Hey guys, today we’re doing something just a little bit different. We have my friend Ashley Pofit from nursebyheart.com coming on and doing a solo-cast. I’ve been following Ashley for a while and Ashley talks about something called falling back in love with nursing, or refalling in love with nursing and I really wanted her to come on and talk about that. I’ve talked a lot on the show about burnout and compassion fatigue and those are two topics that are really important to me because I’ve seen really good nurses, and myself included, reach this point of compassion fatigue, where it becomes really hard to keep going or complete burnout where you just want to give up on nursing as a profession.

What Ashley talks about is, is a lot of us are nurses by heart. It’s really hard to explain why we became nurses. It’s just something we always knew we wanted to do but the problem comes when, look this is a really challenging job, and we really just want to give up. We feel burned out, we feel completely exhausted by everything that is nursing and so what Ashley talks about on her blog, nursebyheart.com, and in this episode is how to refall in love with nursing. I really hope you enjoy this episode and I hope you take a minute to go over and check Ashley out on Facebook and Instagram and on her blog, nursebyheart.com.

After you’ve done that guys, make sure you head over to nrsng.com/academy. You can get a $1 trial of our massive suite of NCLEX and nursing education materials. That’s nrsng.com/academy.

Ashley Pofit:                       Hi everyone. My name is Ashley Pofit and I am a registered nurse in Denver, Colorado. I have six years of experience as a nurse in acute care, mostly in cardiology and neurology, and now I’m actually doing home health, which is crazy different. I mean it’s been one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had and I really love it. I’m also studying to get my master’s degree in nursing education right now and I’ve been doing some writing, some blogging and I’m looking into the unknown field of nurse journalism. You can check out some of my writing at www.nursebyheart.com as well as my Facebook page. Just search for Nurse by Heart and on that page I will be giving my followers some updates on a really special project that I’m working on right now that will be released over the summer time and I won’t tell you much more but what I can tell you is that it involves nursing and journalism and reporting and it’s going to be awesome.

The term nurse by heart really came from the fact that I’ve been asked so many times why I became a nurse. I mean, I don’t know, I thought of some really cheesy answers many times. After a while I couldn’t really think of something that really truly explained why I became a nurse so I ended up just saying, “I’m a nurse by heart, which means that I was meant to do this.” There’s no other explanation needed. This is who I am through and through. I’m not really sure exactly when I became interested in nursing but I do know that as a kid I was the one watching the adrenaline rush of watching trauma life in the ER instead of cartoons on a Saturday morning.

I mean my parents were hospital administrators so my dad’s office was in the hospital and I used to run around, run down the hallways following the colored tiles to the ER and back. Stopping abruptly at the authorized personnel only sign wondering what miracle or tragedy was happening behind those closed doors. The smell of Purell and latex and knowing that the cafeteria had it’s own ice cream machine was all I really needed to fall in love with just working in that healthcare setting.

The truth is I didn’t go into nursing to necessarily fix people or even help them. I really went into nursing because I craved to understand human nature and just the connection of ourselves to our bodies and trying to figure out how do you heal? How do you heal from a disease, from an injury, from something that is completely out of your control? How do you get control back in your life? When I started writing about nursing, I realized that I wanted to target the audience of nurses that had at one point really fallen in love with the idea of what a nurse provides. You know, and that’s a passionate love story early on in your nursing career, only to find out that it’s actually a really hard job.

I mean I had no idea how difficult this job would be and I honestly don’t love it all the time. You know you have the workload, the unpredictable chaos. You have to just be okay living in this state of chaos all the time at work. The distractions and interruptions, the evolving door of change and the layers and layers of documentation, not to mention that dreaded feeling of knowing that a patient is waiting for you and you can’t get to them because of all of the said reasons. I’ve had physical strains in my back and knees. I’ve lost endless nights of sleep and I think that at times some of the situations I’ve been in, I’ve had a little bit of PTSD and anxiety as a result of just the situations that I’ve found myself in. You know watching people’s realities play out in front of you and you’re supposed to be the one with the support and the answers. Just trying to think two steps ahead all the time. It’s a really hard job.

Even despite all of that, you know, I really wanted to dive in to understand why do I keep coming back for more? What is it about my career, my profession, that brings me back for more? There’s more truth to the reason why I come back than there is to the reason I should stay away. Like I said I started off on this journey to understand human nature and human connection. I’ve had a window into that and now I realize that I want to build my life around this. To have a nursing license that immediately qualifies me to connect to humans is the best investment that I’ve ever given. When I say that nurses fall out of love with nursing, it’s completely normal as far as we’re always fluctuating on this continuum of energy and burnout.

I don’t mean to deliver this to scare people away. I really just want new nurses to accept the fact that this job is going to take a toll on your body and your mental health. The sooner that you can put a plan in place to keep yourself in check. Remember what I say today and when you’re ever facing a moment of burnout in the future. You know, just check in with yourself. Don’t keep working more overtime. Just check in with yourself and say, “Okay, do I need a couple days to catch up on sleep? Do I need a little bit of time to take a weekend away with my loved one, my kids?” Those things are really important.

I believe right now out there in the world that there are more nurses that are burnout and haven’t done anything about it. Oftentimes it doesn’t take much to get a nurse back in the groove of things, if you know what I mean. I mean it’s usually a couple days of catching up on sleep and boom, they’re back. They’re ready to go. There’s this renewable energy that it so accessible. Nurses need to get in touch with that really early on in their career. For nurses to refall in love with nursing, it requires a certain amount of self-awareness that I’m burnout and I need to reinvest in myself to move forward. Oftentimes that renewable energy comes in the form of sleep. It doesn’t come in the form of alcohol or drugs or overspending your money. Any type of immediate gratification. It doesn’t come in that form.

What it comes in is the form of inquiry and knowledge and finding your voice. That sounds very vague because it’s different for everyone, but nurses that have been doing this for a while, most of them get to a point where they realize that, “Okay, you know, I need to step up my game right now. I’m ready to. I’m ready to do something in a leadership role. I’m ready to create a project or a policy,” and so oftentimes having that opportunity is what will drive nurses. I’m here to reinspire those nurses right now.

I also want to give a shout out to Jon. Thanks dude for having me on the show. This has been awesome. I really want to give a shout out to all the nurses out there. You are an army of really good people and the world would be lost without you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Work hard. Stay hungry for it. If you feel yourself falling out of love with nursing, check back in. Come back to us. If you’re a nurse by heart, go to www.nursebyheart.com. Read a couple articles before you go to bed tonight to help reinspire you to wake up in the morning and be a better nurse.

Date Published - Feb 13, 2017
Date Modified - Feb 6, 2017

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.