The ART of Reaffirming Purpose

Over the years I noted that many nurses were struggling to remain in nursing, while suffering with significant compassion fatigue and sometimes burnout. I have been there myself, so it is easily recognized. A lot of these nurses return to school and it was while I was teaching classes on dying and death, and bioethics, where I have always felt especially compelled to address the need to care for ourselves, that I began to conceptualize a way to help nurses renew themselves and reaffirm purpose in their practice. Eventually three steps came together in my thinking to help enhance professional quality of life, which combined I named the “ART” model.

More information on the application of the ART model is available in my popular book on compassion fatigue and burnout.

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ART is an acronym for…

Acknowledge a wound or feeling. This is done through self-reflection and mindful awareness.

Recognize choices and with intention choose those actions that will help you to reaffirm your purpose.

Turn outward towards self and other-it is through reconnection that you help yourself (as well as others). It is our sense of connectedness to the people we are caring for, and also to our coworkers and loved ones, that contributes to our joy and contentment in life and at work. That assertion has led me to conceptualize what I call the “Reconnect Contention.” To bring the meaning home I always fall back on the poet W. H Auden’s words: “We must love one another or die.”