A Nurse Acts and Moves From Silence to Voice

The other day I had the privilege of being interviewed for a podcast by RN Suzie Farthing.  Suzie took the initiative to do her own series of podcasts on healthcare and nursing.  She’s a model for all nurses and those in healthcare who have something to say and decide to say it, and who also act to help others find their voices. She wrote this:

From Silence to Voice to Podcasting

by Suzie Farthing RN

 Nurses need healthy professional relationships with nursing leaders and mentors. Having a mentoring support system is critical for talking out and thinking through the ethical, professional, and other matters that are unique to nurses. I believe that without the benefit and fulfillment of a healthy mentoring relationship with a leader or colleague, any nurse could quite easily stumble into a professional void. I know this from personal experience.

Several years ago, I went through a period where I doubted my contributions as a nurse and the overall importance of the nursing profession. I had lost my perspective. Since I was working on a small post surgical unit where there was primarily one “rock star” mentality surgeon admitting patients and minimal interaction with our nurse leader, I sank into a professional depression. I can remember thinking, “What difference do nurses really make? Anyone can do what we do.”

Thankfully, in 2006, my stupor began to clear, and I once again regained pride and enthusiasm for my beloved profession. A major contributing factor in my professional awakening was the book From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public by authors Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon. This book was integral in regaining an admiration for the value and contribution of the nursing profession in positive patient outcomes. This book also became a mentor and a fire starter in my life. Because of it, I became a much stronger and confident nurse than ever before. With my improved perceptive came an overwhelming sense of burden for the corporate and individual well being of my nursing colleagues.

During this period, concern for the looming shortage was ubiquitous among nurses, and morale seemed to be at an all time low from my perspective. So, I wanted to help combat this by promoting professional camaraderie.  I decided I would do what I could to encourage nursing colleagues by expressing appreciation for the significance of our work through community wide and small group gatherings for nurses. This led to the facilitation of a recruitment and mentoring program for nursing students. Eventually, the nurses in my group organized a medical mission trip to Nicaragua and spent time volunteering together in a local free health care clinic.

These activities led to my interaction with community leaders and my appearance on several television programs and radio shows. The practical advice and tips found in From Silence to Voice for presenting myself as a nursing professional bolstered my confidence and prepared me for public communication.

The desire I have to encourage nurses has remained constant through the years. As is true with life in general, the way in which I express this has transitioned through seasons. The vision I have now for advocating for nurses has moved to global one these days. I want to send messages of encouragement and motivation to any nurse who will listen without geographical limits.

The One Love for Nurses podcast is my platform for doing this. Each podcast episode is an opportunity for nursing and other thought leaders to discuss ideas and issues meant to inspire, educate, and motivate nurses. Suzanne Gordon was even the special guest for episode 26. (http://onelovefornurses.com/26/) The goal is that nurses in turn will step out and let their individual and collective professional voices be heard after listening to each episode.

Now, thanks to podcasting, nurses have an opportunity to let their voices be heard to the world by way of their very own production. Some may wish to podcast about health care issues and others may like to present details of the latest research. Whatever the topic, listeners from around the world can simply download an audio (mp3) file and hear what any nurse has to say.

One love for Nurses has had thousands of listeners over the past year with downloads from most of the states in America, and many areas in the United Kingdom, Canada, and China. I have also been encouraged by the personal contact I have received from nurses as far away as Japan and Africa.

My voice is being heard worldwide. Thanks to the help of From Silence to Voice, I can speak to my audience with increased confidence and clarity, and for that I am immensely grateful. It continues to be a cherished mentor. I hope to put what I have learned from its pages into fuller practice in the months and years to come.

With this thought, I am reminded of the quote by Henry David Thoreau:

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”

Suzie Farthing, RN has over 18 years of nursing experience in critical care, medical-surgical, and emergency nursing. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing Education with future plans of following geriatric care interests. You can find out more about the One Love for Nurses podcast and listen to episodes at http://onelovefornurses.com/

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