As we move through our nursing career we encounter different people in our path.
During our travels in our specific nursing journey, we remember different colleagues for different reasons.
Some of them have encouraged us to move forward and inspired us, while others are there to teach us a specific lesson in time.
Regardless of where we stand on the ladder of achieving our professional goals, we meet people that in one way or another form part of our professional life.
We assimilate what we consider “good” and try to discard what we consider “not good.”
I have been inspired in many ways throughout my 21 years in nursing. I have met people who had so much to offer and learn from and those are the ones that I remember the most.
Early in our journey we begin to approach this new phase of our lives in a very personal way.
In my opinion we learn from everyone, whether it is what we want to imitate or what we would never want to do.
We incorporate values and ethics that we have learned in our younger years as we absorb new concepts and knowledge that help us become better nurses and team members. We adapt to different settings and different people as we move along our journey.
Encounters with the almighty Yannira
I remember one of my first encounters with Yannira. She was a manager at a facility where I was working.
She had a reputation of being very smart. She was known throughout the facility as “the walking policies and procedures manual.”
I learned soon enough that if I was to disagree with her I better have a good understanding and valid points of whatever it was that I was discussing with her.
On one occasion she had asked me to put together a teaching to be used for spinal cord injury patient care.
Knowing what I knew of her I put great effort in to the assignment. I was really proud of my final product.
I was waiting to wow her with my accomplishment of the task; instead, she read it and said “It’s good, but…”
This was the first time I heard, “It’s good, but…” It certainly wasn’t the last.
At times I would get so frustrated and upset that I would avoid her for days. It’s not that her arguments were not valid, or that her recommendations were not great, it was just the fact that no matter how hard I tried I felt like nothing would ever be good enough for her.
In 2007 I decided to put together a paper presentation for the national ARN (Association of Rehabilitation Nurses) conference in Washington DC. Yannira and another nurse formed my group.
For weeks I worked very hard on the abstract. I read many books on the specific subject we were presenting on. I did tons of research. Finally, it was done!
I presented the abstract to the group and the other nurse loved it, but when Yannira finished reading it once again I got the usual “It’s good, but…”
I’d had enough of that! I was ready to give her a piece of my mind; I was ready to let her know that I too was well educated and a very good nurse.
I had worked very hard and put in countless hours in preparation for this abstract and I did not want to hear but anything. After all if my work was not to her standards then why was she part of this group?
I looked at her with a stern face and told her exactly how I was feeling.
I said “Why is it that nothing I do is ever good enough for you? Why do you always have to find fault in my work? Why do you always step all over my achievements?”
Amazingly, she was not upset. She had a friendly smile as she calmly expressed to me, “Because I know you can do better, because I see what you are capable of doing and achieving, even when you still don’t see it.”
Definitely not what I was expecting to hear.
Our nursing careers take us to different settings, facilities, states or even countries. But our experiences (good or bad), knowledge and memories follow us whereever we go.
Forever a Student
No matter how much knowledge we have (or think we have), we have the capability of learning new things and new ways of doing the old things we know.
Regardless of how long we have been on this path, there are always people that have been there longer or know better and can teach us new or better ways to accomplish our goals. We learn from past experiences and we apply this knowledge to new situations.
We grow stronger as we deal with all the obstacles that we encounter on our paths and learn ways to overcome them. Sometimes, the obstacle is only ourselves or our professional pride.
We can always use a good mentor by our side. Many times I have asked myself, “What would Yannira do?”
I believe every nurse should have a Yannira in their professional life.
Someone to guide, encourage and push us to become better at whatever it is we want to make our career goal. I think sometimes our human nature or personalities get in the way of recognizing this person in our path and we miss out on so much.
Yannira has become my mentor in many ways. She continues to push me to do better at anything that I attempt.
Even when she is not physically there the lessons that she has embedded deep inside my brain remind me that I can always do better. I am happy to inform that I have managed to wow her in a few occasions.
I am so grateful that I found Yannira in my nursing path.
I am grateful for all the things I have learned from her and for all those “It’s good, but...” that pushed me to improve even when I did not know that this was the positive effect that those words had in me.
I truly wish that each of you find your “Yannira” early in your careers.