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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Keynote Session: 8:00 - 9:15 am

northeast regional nurse practitioner conference

KEYNOTE SESSION

CONNECTED HEALTH: HUMAN CARING AS A FRAMEWORK FOR RESILIENCE AND RESTORED JOY IN PRACTICE

Stephanie Ahmed, DNP, FNP-BC 

Photo of Richard A Parker

Looking ahead at the future of health reform (initiatives, consumer demand and a national physician shortage) it is clear that the reliance on nurse practitioners to meet future healthcare needs of patients will continue to increase. This is especially true in Massachusetts where universal healthcare coverage has been assured through state legislation. With increased demand and working in conditions that can be both physically and emotionally challenging, reports of job dissatisfaction amongst healthcare professionals has risen (Peckham, 2015). Long work hours, administrative burdens and a generalized concern for income insufficiency were cited as major drivers of burnout. Described by Maslach and Leiter (year) as work related emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of realizing personal competence or achievement, burnout has a direct impact on patients; suboptimal care and a deterioration of the provider-patient relationship (Anagastropolous, 2012). During challenging times, some providers may be at risk to migrate away from healthcare all together. Methods which increase personal resilience and connectedness are essential to strengthening engagement and retention. Internationally renowned nurse theorist, Jean Watson, invites us to move away from the concept of burnout, shifting instead toward an awakening of the human spirit through Human Caring Theory (HCT). Founded in a practice of loving-kindess and equanimity, Watson shows us a way of “being”, where patient and nurse connect in the context of a transpersonal caring relationship – one in which the nurse becomes an extension of the caring-healing environment. Operationalized through the 10 Caritas Processes ™, HCT guides heart-centered caring practices which develop clarity in thinking, equanimity and an open-heartedness that sets the stage for reconnecting nurses with our passion and our compassion (Watson, 2008).