My entire life, I have been a person who has worked hard to achieve balance. However, my instinct is to do everything to excess, so each day can be a struggle. A few months ago, I wrote this little blip:

I work to excess, to play to excess,

I exercise to excess, to eat to excess,

I love to excess, to feel to excess,

I write to excess, to relieve to excess,

I wake to excess, to sleep to excess,

But then, I become ex-cessed,

And I become excessively immobilized,

So, I use excess to vacate my mind,

Then, I quit my excess,

Because it’s excess,

I start, I quit, I start, I quit,

Which, you see, are both to excess,

So now, I comprehend, that my battle within,

Is not with excess, it is with moderation.

I think most people can relate to this to an extent, especially nurses. We are excessively hard workers, feelers, and lovers. We kill ourselves at our job to help others and are the heart of medical care. However, if we don’t sleep it off, recover, and care for ourselves, we become ex-cessed (i.e. burned out).

So, after contemplating this idea, I wondered how the hospital would operate without nurses. If you rid the body of a heart, what happens? The blood ceases to pump, oxygen isn’t delivered to vital organs, which are interconnected, and one by one, they die. When nurses are ex-cessed, and can’t operate at full capacity, their ability to provide optimal patient care diminishes. But, frequently administrators forget this.

Back to the idea of balance–I’m not sure balance actually exists. I think some people are givers and some people are takers; in the end, there is more of one than another. The reason hospitals survive is because of the givers, the nurses, who sway the ratio of givers to takers ten fold. When administration continuously takes from the nurses, they take the love away. Patient care fails. Then, I question how much taking they will do before they recognize the importance of giving.

Therefore, I believe the way to achieve “balance” per se, is to embrace the gifts we all have to offer. Nurses will always be extensive givers, it is inevitably part of the job description, but someone must take care of the nurses. There is research indicating the more nurses involved in committees and management positions within hospital administration, the more satisfied they are with their employment. Additional research indicates, lower nurse to patient ratios create better patient care. Therefore, having people who “get us” in management positions is very important. Every team member is ex-cessed in one way or another, thus gaining perspective of every team member is important to provide the best patient care–this is balance.

As always, we get each other.