Since I work 12-13 hour shifts beginning at around 6:45 AM, I generally am driving to work around 6 AM. But, I am SO NOT a morning person: never have been and I am convinced I never will be. I want to be one who could wake up early, workout, shower, and get the day started, but it has never been in the cards for me. Needless to say, a drive to work at 6 AM, in Nashville traffic, to a demanding 13 hour shift is not often a drive to get excited about. To prevent my negative energy overtaking the start of my day during this drive, I try to be intentional about saying a prayer, with specific items I pray for, on the way to work to keep me from being an Eeyore all day.
I have found that during this drive, I am easily drawn to the negatives. I am discouraged with thoughts that we will most likely be understaffed, my patients will be critical, the day will probably be busy, etc. My prayers must intercede. When I feel burdened by these thoughts, I try to remind myself to look up or bow down and pray. While praying to the One of ultimate strength, the obstacles that seek to overcome me begin to fade away. The seemingly dreary day becomes more alive as I ask the Lord to intervene, and as I ask Him to remind me that He has planned my day, the patients I will see and care for, and the day continues. The 13 hour shift happens, and I find the Lord placing people in my path that I would not have impacted positively if I stayed an Eeyore.
So at 6 AM in the dawn of the day, I am tempted to be negative, but I have a routine of praying for three things on the drive that keep me from the negative thinking pattern. The day moves on, and God works to place others before me, and at the end of day, I have joy because “there is joy in the execution of responsibility.”
Here are the things I pray for that set the tone for my day:
- I pray that the patients I care for and encounter are getting better rather than worse.
- I pray that if my patients do decline or worsen, I recognize and have the resources (doctors, medicines, transfer orders) to get them in a place whether they do get better.
- I pray to perform my very best as a nurse: that I exercise patience, that I care to the best of my ability, and that my presence unburdens my patients and coworkers.
These prayer requests encompass a general prep for a good shift. I seem to become uplifted and ready to tackle the day. Of course, if I have a specific prayer for a patient or something from a previous shift, I throw that in my prayers as well. I focus on God and call on His strength to help me to get through the long shifts, knowing I could not do it without Him. My shift will still have some difficulties, but I draw upon His unlimited source of strength. Just beginning the day with ‘LORD I NEED YOU TODAY’ is the greatest first step to turn the day around.
I pray for everyone’s work weeks, and I pray that you will start each day calling on the Lord to help prepare you for your days of work!