Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Are you a resilient nurse? Do you know a resilient nurse with Lupus or another disability?


Pamela Delis, RN, BS, MSN 
Pam Delis wrote a chapter entitled "Sick and tired  of Being Sick and Tired: Nursing with Lupus" in the book, "The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities".


Being a nurse with lupus can be a blessing. Why? Because you know what it is like to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. You know what it is like to have chronic joint pain, overwhelming fatigue, occasional cognitive lapses, and regularly scheduled laboratory tests. You have probably had people question your pain or illness because you don’t look sick. You have experienced both the nurse and the patient role in the nurse-patient relationship. In other words, because of lupus you possess a better appreciation for what it is like to travel through the lonely, frightening, overwhelming roads of our healthcare system. It is said that what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. I agree.


Pam also wrote an insightful introduction to the book which speaks to the power of being resilient.

            The term “resiliency” inspires thoughts of positive attitude, perseverance, the ability to draw on support in overcoming difficulties, and the capacity to bounce back after a negative occurrence.  Resilience allows a person to cope through every day challenges, and through life altering events.  It suggests an inner strength of being, a desire to keep moving forward despite the odds. 


Nurses and other health professional display resiliency every day as they negotiate the demands and stressors of the healthcare environment.  In this book, you will read the stories presented by nurses and nursing students who have faced or are facing healthcare challenges, and who, in spite of or because of these challenges, have proven they have the perseverance and inner strength to overcome the odds.  One nurse shares her journey back to work following a leg amputation. Another nurse recounts his challenges with a learning disability while in nursing school. The issues that confront nurses who work through natural disasters are shared through the voice of a nurse who worked through Hurricane Hugo. Additional stories shed light on the remarkable journeys of nurses with hearing and vision loss, chronic pain, diabetes and lupus. The challenges of working with vocational rehabilitation and realities of disclosure and asking employers for accommodations are highlighted as well.


What resonates through the stories is not only the resiliency and inner drive to survive the challenges presented, but to thrive.  Through reading and reflecting on the stories, you will learn how facing challenges in oneself allows a person to become a more empathetic nurse and a stronger person.
      


Pamela Delis, RN, BSN, MSN is currently undertaking a PhD program in nursing with a focus on health promotion at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell.  She is a full-time faculty member for the school of nursing at Salem State University, and works part-time as an RN with children with developmental disabilities. 


Read more about resilience and about being a nurse with Lupus in “The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities”.