Best Practices in Healthcare Management Begin With Self

Miki Goodwin, PhD, RN, PHN, NEA-BC; Kim Richards, RN, NC-BC


Nurs Econ. 2017;35(3):152-155. 

In This Article

Lessons Learned and Recommendations

These events can happen to anyone. Know-how and sophistication as nurses are not necessarily good for us. We self-sabotage when we forge walls to protect ourselves instead of being vulnerable and open to receive the care we thirst. Is it because, when we are at our weakest we are expected to cope, be at our strongest, and not acknowledge our feelings? Moreover, how responsible are we for our own care? If cardiac care was mismanaged in a nurse with a PhD and all resources at her fingertips, what about all the other women who may be in a similar situation?

Gawande (2009) warns us failure of ignorance is one thing, failure despite knowledge is negligence. And yet, in both cases nurses allowed a situation to get the better of them. Worse still, being trim and looking well should not work against you when you are evaluated for a serious medical condition! If a patient presents complaining of pain, especially chest pain, why would she be dismissed so easily? Would a man have received different treatment, including the "smile" test?

Often people have a problem shifting their health issues into potentially helpful solutions. They await clarity amid the confusion they feel; they may be skeptical about approaches that prevent further disease, especially if they feel they have already explored all possibilities. The real lesson is how we can be led to improving decisions. Huffington (2014) calls this "course correcting" (p. 137) and describes how reaching rock bottom through sleep deprivation and stress almost cost her life until she took hold and put herself first. We must course correct before we reach rock bottom.

The practice of self-care means engaging in meaningful and nontoxic connections with others who support you, listening to your body when you feel something is awry, and knowing when you are headed toward exhaustion. Learning to self-soothe or calm your physical and emotional distress is also essential to self-care. In other words, we need to "mother" ourselves in mind, body, and spirit.