Here is the thing about nursing: I recently called it a beautiful disaster of a career. It was just something that came to me, but the more I think about it, the more I believe it to be true. Nurses can get really bogged down with the day to day. From working shifts, to bullying, to mental health issues, there is no shortage of challenges that nurses face just to come to work, let alone deal with the complex health needs of their patients.
But some of the big problems that come up aren’t the result of the work, but of human brokenness. Man, can you see that brokenness in us nurses. And no where is that more evident than in the culture of gossip in nursing. While it can be uncomfortable for us to be introspective and really look at our own shortcomings and sin, we need to be honest with ourselves and weed out this toxic behaviour. If we want to represent Christ, we have to reject those things that go against His glory. We have to be counter cultural, no matter how hard that might be. Alright, let’s go…
Gossip in Nursing – The Road to Dissatisfaction
Gossip in nursing is rampant and it is killing us. Gossip is, in my opinion, the number one cause of job dissatisfaction. You may be screaming “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? NIGHT SHIFTS, MANDATING, INADEQUATE STAFFING! THESE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOSSIP” but A) I can’t hear you, you’re yelling at a screen and B) stick with me here.
Gossip is a huge problem. The moment we start gossiping is the moment we allow our perception of our work to be tainted. We let gossip (like who got what job, who is dating who, which new grad is the worst, etc.) seep into our practice and all of a sudden we start the comparison game. Why did I get that assignment? Why did she get that new job? And when we start comparing ourselves and our jobs to others we can travel down a road that lead to us being deeply unhappy.
The bible is pretty clear about playing the comparison game:
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.Galations 6:4-5 MSG
The LORD intends for you to be exactly where you are at this moment. If we gossip, we open up the door to comparisons and that will lead to dissatisfaction. If God wanted you to be somewhere else, you would know it (hmmm…I’m feeling another post topic coming on…).
Gossip in Nursing – Keeping Clean
There is also biblical justification for not gossiping:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.Ephesians 4:29
Did you catch that? Do you see it? Don’t you think “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” sounds pretty…well…nurse-like?
Christian nurses are representatives of Christ in our work. And when I say that, I don’t just mean when we are interacting with our patients. We also mirror Him when we talk to our colleagues. So we need to be careful about what comes out of our mouths, and what sort of conversations we find ourselves in. This is not easy. In fact, gossip at work is something that I have struggled with for so many years. Even when I’m feeling as though I am growing in my faith, gossip at work can be such a huge temptation that I can dismantle all my efforts.
The Good News for Gossip
Thankfully, we have a redeemer who has already overcome our weaknesses. He has already forgiven our iniquities. We can stand confident that, even when we don’t represent Him as well as we should, He is still faithful. While we might say words that betray Him, He never does the same for us.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.Ephesians 1:7
If you, like me, find yourself struggling trying to stay out of gossip at work, remember that the LORD sent His spirit, the same one that made the heavens and the earth, to us so that we could have power over death (or, insert your favourite sin). Isn’t that incredible? We don’t have to be bound by the culture of our unit. We can be bound by the culture of the redeemed through the spirit of the Living God. And when we surrender ourselves to God and choose to follow Him in all situations, including work, we glorify Him. And when we glorify Him we have the ability to show His goodness to others. And ultimately, that is what we need to do.
When we reject the act of gossiping at work, we have the ability to fill our mouths with wholesome talk that build others up. And when we do that, we won’t contribute to dissatisfaction. In fact, we might even be the encouragement that someone else would need to get through their shift. We have the ability to do as the LORD did: exchanging ashes for beauty. He keeps doing it, guys! He just keeps showing up and showing us His goodness. He redeems all. Even gossip.
Will you join me in making a commitment to bow out of gossip at work (and, like, everywhere)? It won’t be easy, but we can ask for power from the Holy Spirit to do this in the name of Christ Jesus!
Always praying for you, Sarah-Jane