Kathleen Bartholomew is back with another excellent blog post. Kathleen is a well known Nurse speaker and the author of “The Dauntless Nurse”. She can be found at her website Kathleen Bartholomew as well I Am Dauntless. You don’t want to miss her other posts on the SMYS Blog How Much Weed is Too Much Weed for Nurses, It all comes back to staffing, and Late to the game:What can China and South Korea teach America?
Just this week a survey of 20,000 adults conducted for the health insurer Cigna found that 50% of adults said they sometimes or always felt alone or left out. That’s a big leap from 1985 when only 10% of our population had no one to confide in about serious matters.
In our Instagram world where we are constantly texting friends and family, the Great Nothing of loneliness has taken up residence in our souls. What gives? It turns out that a “like” is not the same as real human connection where we feel truly seen.
Most nurses know that loneliness is a predictor of functional decline and mortality and is associated with depression, poverty, arthritis, and heart and lung disease. A 2010 study found that being lonely has the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
Let’s recognize outliers and do something about strengthening community before Loneliness turns into yet another billing code and treatable commodity where big pharma can make big money by creating new drugs like “Forlorn-azol”, or immunize us from loneliness with “Dejectacillan”.
Look around. A good place to start is your own unit. Engage in conversation with someone new, initiate genuine conversation instead of always diverting into our own smartphones at breaks, and discover something unique and good to say about a co-worker every day.
We are over 3.6 million nurses. We can reverse this trend.
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