Run With The Discipline Of A Lioness

“The discipline of the lioness comes from having a sense of purpose.”~~Shambhala Teaching

I love watching the Animal Planet, National Geographic and other channels that are enriching to the mind and tend to enlarge the territory when it comes to gaining knowledge and understanding about this awesome world we live in.  The lioness is a beautiful animal to observe.  She reminds me of nurses and the role we play in healthcare.

The lioness is a communal cat, very intuitive, a great provider who knows how to meet challenges, is supportive at home in the pride and in the field where she helps with gathering food.  She is known to be fast, agile, strong, self-controlled, disciplined, a protector, fierce when she needs to be, territorial, self-confident, courageous, and powerful.  All these characteristics and more can also be attributed to a nurse.  Well (for the naysayers out there)…most nurses.

The nursing profession helps us to be involved in something that is far more greater than who we are.  We sacrifice ourselves daily to help keep people alive, families happy, and institutions content.   The weight of healthcare seems to weigh heavy on our shoulders, for when any change takes place in the system, the nurse is mostly at the forefront and the one who carry the burden of whatever the change may be.  With the fierceness of a lioness, she does her task–what is required of  her–and then some.

Nursing is a profession that does not get as much praise as it deserves (okay…this maybe a bit biased) and is not as glamorous as Hollywood portrays it to be but like the lioness (and some lions) that we are, we make things happen, sometimes not even knowing how.  We know that one of the major characteristics of a lioness is that they are excellent runners, and so are nurses.  You thought I was writing a post only on the Panthera kingdom didn’t you?  Well, you are mistaken.  Here at Running Nurse, we are all about running!

It would be good to know how many miles nurses run/walk/pace on the hospital floor in an average 12.5 hour shift preferably in an acute setting like an ICU, SDU, and TELE.  Some nurses who wore pedometer in on a lesser acute care setting reported that they walk an average of 4-6 miles in one shift.  A report done by Spurck, Mohr, Seroka, & Stoner (1995) found that the overall mean distance a nurse walked per shift on a Med-Surg floor was 4.1 miles ( 8,747 steps),  and 0.36 Mph.  There was a slight but significant difference in total miles walked between a day and a night shift nurse (4.20 vs. 3.95 respectively). They also noted nothing significant between working the weekday verses weekend shifts.  It would be nice to know how many miles an ICU nurse run (yes run, ’causes that’s all we seem to do) in an average 12 hour shift.

Running at work under mental, psychological, physical, and administrative (Yeah. the biggest one of them all!) stress and duress can be taxing in the long run on a nurse who’s been trucking hours in the field for more than a decade.  The workload appears to be increasing every time a good nurse blinks her eye!   This may be the primary reason many new nursing grads are quickly looking into other options after they pelt their graduating caps with tassels up in the air.

Certainly not all nurses are made equally just as not all Lionesses are made equally.  I am sure there are a few low energy ones circling the pride trying to find directions and making other lionesses work their tails off.  Despite the small volume of painful souls that may be found in the bunch, for the most part, most nurses are very disciplined and dedicated to their task and to their patients.  Yes.  This is true!

There are many nurses who have taken up the sport of running and have applied their work ethics and level of discipline to the sport.  Running could be strenuous and demanding, especially if you take it seriously for the love of the sport.  The way the system is set up, with nurses working long shift-work and administrations constantly adding new things to the menu, you have to disciple yourself to make time to get the miles in.  This is the challenge I found especially when I was working overtime hours to help my co-workers make it through a shift or to make that extra buck to pay the man.

It may be a challenge to stay disciplined, but the running nurse find a way to make it happen, just like she/he finds a way to pull a rabbit out of a hat to make things run as smoothly as possible at the joint hospital. Like the quote stated above, discipline requires that you have a sense of purpose. Once you define this, you are more likely to stay in the game.  Discipline is applying a system of rule of conduct you’ve set for yourself to reach your goal in any mental or physical training.  Here are a few thing that could help you to stay disciplined:

1.  Recognize why you run and keep this clear vision.  Once this is defined, you have a reason and this helps keep you motivated.  There are many reasons why people may run.  This one is totally up to you.  I run to be free.

2.  Be fully devoted and write you an action plan.  Sketch out which days you are able to run, the amount of miles you desire to run that day, time and place, and stick with it.  Write these on a calendar devoted to running (this is what helps me) and put it in from of the mirror or hang it on the door or refrigerator so to remind you what you would like to accomplish.

3.  Try your best to establish a routine, but keep it interesting and fun.  Many nurses and healthcare professionals have to work the shift that staffing or their manager allotted them.  If this is true for you and your unit has no self-scheduling, do your best to get the schedule in advance, be diligent, and plan your runs around it.  I like to run at least 3-4 days a week and cross-train 2-3 days a week doing other activities such as yoga, salsa, biking, swimming, and the likes.  How I make my runs interesting and fun?  I try not to run the same route all the time.  Mix it up.  If you are as fortunate as I am to have a beach nearby, run there.  I like to visit different parks in the area and also run where there are many runner.

4.  Join a running club.  You will look forward to the social gathering and support.  To observe and be involved with people making time for running could help you stay focused and disciplined.

OYE!  If all else fails, just adopt the simple Nike mantra, “Just Do It!”  Some people hate theorizing and philosophizing and like to keep it simple.  I am a bit of a minimalist.  Think of it this way, you have to brush your teeth and floss to stay healthy and to keep that beautiful smile, right? You find that you wake up in the morning and you do it.  Sometimes I can’t even recall what the word discipline mean and so I open my closet and grab my running gear, which is mostly Nike gear (for the moment) and the swoosh symbol speaks to me.  The thought automatically come to my mind, “Just Do It!”  This is usually enough.

Please let us know how you stay discipline as a CNA, Unit Secretary, Tech, RN or MD.  We want to hear from you.