What Every Nurse Needs to Learn From Cinderella

You’ve heard the story: Once upon a time there were two cruel stepsisters and the unfair servitude enforced by an

Cinderella- Fairfield High School

Cinderella: A Rags to Riches Story That Nurses Need to Learn From

evil stepmother who abused Cinderella in her own home.

She spent her days slaving over her mean spirited stepsisters. She dreamed of a better life.

By the end of the story, Cinderella is a princess. Her name oozes transformation — going from the dirty hearth to ruler of the kingdom.

Much like Cinderella the nursing profession needs transformation.

Think radical change only happens in kiddie stories? Cinderella’s transformation follows a series of steps that can help you transform the nursing profession if you’re willing to take the action.

They don’t even require a glass slipper or a handsome prince (although that would be nice). Simply a change in approach and the tenacity to believe that nursing can be something different beyond our present circumstances.

After all nurses are a critical component in a growing industry that needs educated caregivers, yet we would rather be relegated to the back burner. It’s time we step forward and take the credit for the awesome job we do to make and keep our communities healthy and safe.

First nurses have got to want it

Cinderella’s backstory started out just fine, but her father remarried, and her stepmother decided  her blood relations took top priority.

Cinderella could have remained the victim and resigned herself to her lot, but she didn’t.

When the prince decided to invite all the women of the kingdom to his party, so he could find a wife, Cinderella did everything she could to attend.

It was a long shot. She didn’t have time off, her clothes were a mess, and she was probably having the worst-hair-day ever. How dare she try to attend the ball?

But she had grit. And determination wins the race both in business and in life.

Because change is hard. If you’re going to reinvent yourself, you’ve got to want it enough to put up with the labor pains.

If you’re not getting an embossed invitation to the party yet, do something about it. Don’t just sit there and whine. Come up with a plan.

Then you have to look the part

Her mean stepsisters and mother laughed when Cinderella suggested she’d like to go with them to the ball. She was filthy and dressed in rags.

As soon as they were gone — and with the help of a little abracadabra (after all this is a fairy tale) — Cinderella found herself wearing a spectacular gown.

Here’s the interesting part: as soon as she had the gown on, no one recognized her. Looking and acting the part changed her so completely she became like a different person.

Reality is created by your perceptions. If you don’t represent nursing as a vital profession, or worse yet, you’re invisible- what can you do to dress it up? What can you do to look and act like the esteemed professional you are?

Dressing the part means representing yourself out in the public as a health care visionary. It means writing in to voice your insight to the community. It means claiming your authority and behaving with dignity, instead of the usual whining and griping that goes on behind closed doors.

And it means being bold enough to do something like getting petitions signed, educating the public with editorials, or speaking at town hall meetings about the practicalities of funding more nursing jobs in public health and in schools.

Stand up for yourself

Cinderella made a great impression at the prince’s soiree. Everyone wanted to know who she was and where she’d come from.

But in fairy tales all magic comes with a price, and this story is no exception. At midnight Cinderella’s transformation expired, and she returned to her dirty clothes and former life. As she ran from the castle, she left behind a glass slipper.

The prince set out to look for the owner of the slipper. When he got to Cinderella’s home, her evil stepmother and sisters didn’t even want to let her out of the house.

Cinderella approached the prince anyway and asked to try the slipper on. It fit perfectly, of course.

If she hadn’t stood up for herself, she never would have arrived at her destiny. She spoke up and claimed what was hers. She was her own best advocate, and she became the royal princess.

Sometimes in order to get where you want to be, you have to be willing to defy the people around you who don’t think you can do it. And you have to be willing to tell others what you want and need. At first you will feel unpopular because you aren’t enabling those around you to take all the credit for your hard work. Others may even resent that you’ve changed. But in the end they too will get used to the fact that you are a force that is indispensible to getting the job done!

It starts with believing in yourself and your own dreams. And you may need to reaffirm that belief over and over to get where you want to go.

What’s Your Cinderella story going to be?

Are you ready to grow to professional heights higher than you’ve ever been? Do you want to make more money? Feel fulfilled and regarded in your career? It doesn’t take magic to get there.

In order to make the metamorphosis, you have to want it badly enough to put up with naysayers and haters.

You may need to defy those around you who aren’t supportive. You’ll want to dress the part, act- -as-if, and walk your talk before you’re quite “there” so others can clearly envision you in your wished-for role.

If you do these things, I can’t promise you will marry a prince (or a princess if that’s what you really want- most royalty are much too high maintenance) But our profession will have a bright well-funded legacy for healthier outcomes, and that’s worth working toward, don’t you think?

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