Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook: “Psychologists say go with the choice that scares you the most because that’s the one that will help you grow.”

OK, well, I guess most of the time. Unless what you’re thinking of is that time when you wanted to bless out that ex-boss of yours for being such a donkey butt! Then that just gets you fired. (And, no, I never did that — I just thought of it a dozen or so times a couple decades ago).

But there is a lot of truth in stepping outside of our comfort zones. Stepping outside of your comfort zone helps you to deal with change, which is constant in our field (can anyone say COVID?). Life in our field is all about change leading to transitions. Each time you transition, you move to another level of professionalism and strengths and these life transitions transform you.

According to what I have read, getting out of your comfort zone from time to time creates just enough good stress to bump up your focus, creativity, pace and drive — and it helps you respond to life stress when unexpected things happen. Think about who in your communities were the best adaptors to the changes COVID brought us and who ran screaming out the door? Who were your early adopters of PPE and infection prevention and control policies and procedures, and who not only fussed about it but were the ones you keep catching with the dreaded “nose exposure”? Who accepted vaccines and who held tightly to all the myths that defy logic? 

So, if you have people whose fear is doing what scares them (I know, that is a bit of an oxymoron), help them get out of their comfort zone. Number one, help them become aware of what it is that’s outside of the comfort zone. Two, be clear about what it is you are aiming to overcome (like fear of a vaccine). Three, let someone know it takes a bit of time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable; take baby steps. 

Four, let someone know that we can learn from our failures. Five, find a mentor for that person who is a risk-taker. Five, identify how stepping out will benefit them. Six, tell them to be honest with themselves when they are trying to make excuses. 

It may seem scary at first to get out of your comfort zone. But as you slowly push past your comfort zone, you’ll feel more and more at ease about embracing the new things which seemed so dangerous to you in the beginning.

Take the first step and the next one will be easier. But no blessing out the boss! That’s a career limiting move … just saying!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.