I’ve lost my MOJO!
One of the chief complaints I hear from my “The Well Written Nurse” students is : I’m so stressed out with my job … I have no CREATIVE drive! Much like Austin Powers they’ve lost their creative “MOJO!” How does a person lose their creativity?
Most of my students are NURSES. In fact, several of them are nurse practitioners who are writers and public speakers. Before the start of my writing workshops, I ask each student what their goal for the workshop is and the number one answer I get is “Creativity!”
“Nursing is an Art and a Science!”
I still remember the first day of nursing school when my nursing professor stood at the front of the class and uttered these words. If Nursing is an “ART” why do so many nurses loose their creative Mojo?
“I’ve never met another creative nurse like you! The only creative nurses I know make trinkets for hospital name badges!”
-A Male Nurse Poet and Song Writer
From my own personal journey in creativity, I’ve met several closeted creative nurses. For some reason they are afraid to share their creative talent with the world. Many of them don’t know how to mesh their nursing with their creativity. This is interesting since research suggests that “creativity” is crucial to innovation! Nurses literally need to be excellent critical thinkers on the job and with that comes creative innovation!
“In science, we define ‘creativity’ as an idea that is novel, good, and useful. It’s a little broader than the Oxford Dictionary’s definition, where it’s just the ability to create, because that doesn’t really say much. You can create something and it’s not very useful or it just won’t work well.”
“Pooling from this wealth of knowledge we store in our brains and making connections between different ideas, we have to solve a new problem, or create, write a new novel — that’s what science looks at when we study ‘creativity.’ Just to drive home the point, this is very much a function of the brain. There’s no need to invoke all that folklore into this. It’s our brains doing what they do.”
-Michael Grybko, neuroscience research scientist and engineer from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington
If creativity is crucial to nursing and problem solving, what’s going on in our brains to shut it down? Why are nurses keeping their creativity in the closet? What’s shutting off their creative MOJO?
Let’s look at the BRAIN. That structure that is continuously being studied and going through the evolutionary process. The cortex is the structure that is responsible for our evolutionary process. Civilization art, and science all reside here. It’s where our rational thoughts and creative process takes place.
According to Dr. Robert Maurer in his book the Kaizen method he suggests that “ When we experience a creative block, we can blame the midbrain. That’s where the amygdala lives. It’s crucial to our survival and controls our fight or flight response. It’s designed to alert us to dangerous events and ignite us into action.
When we are in fight or flight mode, our rational and creative thinking that could interfere with the physical ability to run or fight is shut down. The brain is designed so that any new challenge or opportunity or desire triggers some degree of fear. The challenge may be a new job, a test, or a relationship. The amygdala alerts the midbrain to prepare for action and our access to the cortex, the thinking part of the brain is restricted.”
Nurses are in constant fight or flight mode. Whether it may be a nurse working in a trauma ICU, a Nurse Practitioner seeing 50 plus patients a day in a busy Urgent Care, or a Nurse working on an intense Medical Surgical floor. Our Nurse brain is constantly on and trying to figure out what’s going to happen before it actually happens.
No wonder a Nurse’s creative drive is shut down!
But what can we do to get our creative MOJO drive back?
- Stop being a NURSE on your days off
-Often times I see nurses having a hard time being a non-nurse in society. Nurses identify with being a nurse so much they incorporate the profession into their daily lives. Constantly diagnosing your friends, family and kids! Just stop and shut your nurse brain off! Yes, yes it’s hard… but you have to try if you want your creative MOJO back!
-Spend time playing. Letting your mind wander. Perhaps do nothing. Grab a pack of crayons and just color. Squash some play dough. Swing on a swing. Lay on the grass and watch the birds. Adults don’t allow themselves to just PLAY, and be free!
- Create Small Goals
-If you want to start something like painting, writing, and or any new creative project Dr. Maurer suggests creating a small goal. For example, instead undertaking the task of writing a novel, start with 200 words. Instead of painting a ‘masterpiece’ start with 2 brush strokes with one color.
Creativity is imperative in our human existence! It’s important for nurses to nurture their creative mojo and STOP being a nurse outside of their work hours! I believe all nurses are creative. In my opinion the number one way to find our ‘mojo’ or creative flow is to let ourselves be like children: be free and play!And of course HAVE FUN!