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This site is for student nurses or nurses starting out. Letters to a Young Nurse are blog posts written like letters to help you find your way and make your journey as a nurse less difficult. 


Your Manifesto

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

In the late 1990's there was a TV series, Ally McBeal, about a young lawyer in Boston. She was young and idealistic and was looking for her one and only soulmate. Ally was a little delusional as she had visual and auditory hallucinations, namely a tiny baby who would dance around her apartment. The music played a large part in the episodes. An episode that still hangs out in the attic of my brain was about choosing the soundtrack for your life. What songs would you choose? Would they be sad, slow, love songs or happy and fast disco dancing songs? What I have found to be true for me after 60 years of listening to music is there are moments for each type. But what occupies most of the places is instrumental music without words or a beginning or an end.

I want you to think about not only what your soundtrack would be but if you had to write a manifesto what would it say? I love Brene Brown's Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted. "With skinned knees and bruised hearts: we choose owning our stories of struggle. Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending." It is so easy to "go to sleep" and to "sleepwalk through life". But when we do we miss out on the great moments. When we don't pay attention every day, we bury the stories that need to be told and that leads to compassion fatigue, burnout and stress. A manifesto tells the world who you are and what is vitally important to you.

I took a friend to a doctor's appointment a few days ago. While I was waiting, I happened to pick up a magazine, The Magnolia Journal. The magazine is written by Chip and Joanna Gaines who have a TV show called the Fixer Upper about home renovations. I am not interested in those type of shows, but I had nothing better to do so I picked up the magazine and flipped through it and landed on the back page, at the Magnolia Manifesto. I could not believe how beautiful and thought provoking it is. It talks about family and friends and doing work that you love. The line that caught my eye and punched me right in the chest was, "we believe that failure needn't be a negative thing; rather, we learn from our mistakes and fail smarter next time." That is nursing in a nutshell for me. We fail at knowing the right thing to say when a patient is dying. We fail when we misdiagnosis a condition because we didn't pay attention and did not listen to the verbal and nonverbal cues. We fail when we can't get everything we need to get done in 8 hours and then our family suffers. I fail everyday but I get back up and try harder next time. Every job, every patient encounter, every experience learning from our co-workers helps us to get back up and do better next time.

"A life well loved." Isnt that what we all hope for?

What would your manifesto say? What songs would accompany you on your journey now and in the future? A manifesto is simply your beliefs, intentions and motivations for your life. A manifesto can be a formal statement of policy like The Declaration of Independence. But it can also be a statement of beliefs and values that you hold dear. My manifesto includes doing no harm and believing that deep down everyone is good. It certainly has changed over time as I become more educated and observe more about human nature. I would love to read your manifesto and listen to your soundtrack.

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