Do you remember the excitement that you had when you first entered nursing school—and the dream that burned inside of you to become a nurse so that you could make a positive impact on the people for whom you cared? Do you still have that same level of passion and enthusiasm for our profession? I ask that question because of a recent conversation I had with a chief nursing executive of a large healthcare system who told me that approximately 75% of her nursing staff are practicing in a “coma of complacency” and performing their jobs in a very task-oriented manner. Although it saddened me to hear this comment, it did not surprise me as I have heard similar comments from other nurse executives and managers throughout the country. I had the pleasure of speaking to nearly 3,000 student nurses from across the country at the National Student Nurses Association Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in early April. It was so invigorating to see the twinkle in their eyes as they talked to me about all they were planning to accomplish in healthcare. These students were exuberant about becoming a nurse and shared the many dreams they have about their future. It left me very hopeful for the next generation of nurses, but at the same time wondering what has happened to so many in our profession who have lost their passion and fallen into a “coma of complacency.” One of the reasons that we have a tremendous amount of “burn-out” in our profession is because so many dreams of nurses have died, often because of “well-meaning” people around them who are skeptical of new innovative ideas and afraid to take risks. The most successful people in life are those who have the capacity to dream big, take risks and persist until those dreams come to fruition, knowing that success is overcoming one barrier after another with enthusiasm. Findings from an often-quoted study revealed that people do not often regret what they did in life, but they regret what they did not do. In Buckeye Nation, we are dreaming big and taking risks to innovate the future of nursing and healthcare, and implementing our strategic plan with a sense of urgency. We are teaching our students about how to fuel their dreams, innovate and to take risks. In this edition of Transformations, you will read about many of our most recent innovations, including our new forward-thinking centers of research excellence, our cutting-edge graduate programs, our awesome Buckeye Wellness Innovators, and exciting new national initiatives to improve population health. It is not the status quo or “coma of complacency” here. We are excited and passionate about all of the innovations we are bringing to fruition, and believe our future is bright with endless possibilities.
Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN Associate Vice President for Health Promotion University Chief Wellness Officer Dean, College of Nursing