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The Salon Last Night:: Dec. 6, 2007 December 7, 2007

Posted by mariemanthey in Nursing Salons.
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There was a large group here last night, several returnees and several first-timers. The mix of newbies and old-timers was energizing, and provided both balance and passion to the discussion. Mid-career nurses brought workplace dysfunctionality experiences to the discussion, while students and new grads expressed concern about being accepted as members of a nursing staff after they graduate and about being able to handle the incredible stresses and workloads required of staff nurses in today’s hospitals. Because we were able to listen to each other intentionally we quickly found common ground to express ways to handle various situations within the workplace and to acknowledge the value of the wide age-distribution that exists in nursing today.

One nurse spoke with deep feeling about a terminally ill seven-year-old whose disfigurement in death was extremely disturbing to this nurse in her second year of practice. Older nurses were able to help this young nurse see this experience from a perspective that was both comforting to her and that allowed her to see the value she brought to this patient by her compassionate presence. It is this kind of support and perspective that is only available from seasoned nurses who have learned these things from their own experience.

It brought to my mind again the importance of using reflective practices to absorb and learn from the often incredible experiences we nurses have in this work of ours. In the old days when student nurses lived in dorms there were usually times and opportunities to talk about the sometimes mind-blowing sights, sounds and smells of nursing, of dealing with life and death and disfigurement. In today’s health care reality, nurses often don’t have time to even talk to colleagues at work, and end up suppressing or stuffing unprocessed feelings. These Salons provide that kind of opportunity and really deserve to be replicated. I would like to help anyone get one started, and I have a written description of the way to do it which I am happy to share with everyone.