Once in a while, you attend a lecture that inspires you as a professional and as a member of the human race. Every once in a while, a silly reality TV show can do that, too.
I was watching JP and Ashley's wedding last month on The Bachelorette, and Ashley paraphrased someone saying, "The key to life is to love what you do, find meaning in your life, and have someone you love to share it with." It really did make me stop and take stock of my own life for a few moments. As my husband was sitting on the other end of the couch, eyes barely open as he made it through one more episode of the cheese for me, I knew I had the last of those three items. But what about the first two?
Here's where the real quote and the professional lecture surpass reality TV. I attended the ONS Distinguished Researcher Award talk given by Dr. Susan Beck at ONS Connections 2012. The title of her talk was "A Net of Wonder," and even though she focused on the careers of nurse scientists (the path I am pursuing), her talk had great relevance for all of us in the nursing profession.
She opened with a quote by Jacques Yves Cousteau: "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." The next hour and a half passed effortlessly as she wove her lessons learned from both amateur scuba diving and a life in nursing research. Among them:
- Find good teachers. She had good nursing research mentors and good dive instructors.
- Learn by doing, making mistakes, and reflecting. This was true in her work and her hobby. We all make mistakes, but do we take the time to reflect on them? Do we communicate about them?
- Have dive buddies. Relationships are everything, both in work and in play. Our relationships with other members of a team are key.
- Keep the thing. That means the main thing or focus in nursing and even in scuba diving. Many things can distract you from the main reason you are there. It's so important to keep the goal in mind.
There's no doubt Dr. Beck loves what she does, and she has found so much meaning in both her vocation and her avocation. It also reminds me of the importance of having hobbies that can help us with our analogous thinking and to give our brains time to incubate what we are constantly learning and creating.
Has oncology nursing managed to put its spell on you? Do you see yourself in its net of wonder forever? Do you have any hobbies that help you make meaning of the work you do, in addition to providing their own rewards?