In the multifaceted world of healthcare, nurses face all sorts of people and situations every day. This may be easy to handle for some who are fully equipped physically and psychologically, but others need a way to rest and vent out their thoughts and emotions to prevent burnout and to maintain balance. Writing as an art and craft, a skill learned and a means of expression is a good avenue. Research shows that people who write to express have these benefits to reap:
- better mood/affect
- better linguistic and social behaviour
- lesser depressive symptoms
- improved immune system function
- lower blood pressure
- better liver and lung function
- psychological well-being
These are just a few of the many benefits of expressive writing. To nurses, writing is carved well within the nursing education curricula as well as in all areas of nursing practice. It is a skill that is bound by certain rules of tradition and research – accurate and direct. Thus expressive writing has little or no room. Take these nurse’s notes as examples:
“Patient ambulates freely around ward.”
“Due medication given per orem.”
“Patient complains of pain at right lower quadrant of abdomen.”
“Urinary catheter F16 inserted aseptically and attached to urobag.”
These are just a few examples of how nurses utilize writing. The purpose of which is to record care given to patients for safety and legal purposes.
This usual writing style of nurses however doesn’t mean that the more crafty side of writing is not in the minds of nurses; for with a diverse career as nursing comes many experiences worth sharing. Indeed nowadays, nurse writers are growing. Writing has become a common profession amongst nurses both practicing actively in the clinical or community settings as well as those who are not. And it is not a bad thing; for if we take into consideration the many benefits creative and expressive writing has to the mind, we can say it is good for nurses whose minds need to be always sharp. Expressive writing can sharpen the mind and improve working memory- something very crucial to a nurse. Journaling or blogging are two examples of expressive writing.
Often with writing comes the need for research thus the development of an attitude of curiosity and an eye for continuous learning or education which is beneficial both to themselves and the nursing profession at large, should they choose to make use of the writing skill for scholarly pursuits/research.
Not only that but once developed to a certain degree of mastery, writing can add a bit of income to nurses who in many places like the Philippines are only receiving enough to pay for their mobile phone loads and transportation.
The internet provides a wide variety of writing opportunities for nurses because of their health-related background. Writing platforms such as Odesk, RN Speak and numerous others are just a few of the known sites where nurses are able to share their knowledge and express themselves through the written word.
So, if you have the time, the inkling, the interest and the desire, why not follow it Nurses? It’s good for us.