Keep On Keeping On

Keep On Keeping On

A few months ago I had the privilege of attending a three day gospel festival at the Crystal Grand in WI Dells. One of the talented groups was Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. They shared the song “Keep On Keeping On”. I remember how moved my soul was listening to those lyrics and thinking to myself in that moment that nurses really need to hear this message right now..

Of course, life happens and I became distracted with the business of work and life. I didn’t think about putting my thoughts down about that night until I heard the song again recently. In this month’s blog I will use part of the lyrics to connect with what resonated most for me when I first heard this song. The lyrics will be italicized with quotations marks followed by my commentary. Here we go…

“These, these are some hard times…”

Indeed, we are in the midst of some hard times, really hard times. COVID, divisiveness on numerous levels, high turnover, early retirements, staffing challenges, lack of qualified applicants to fill the holes, team conflict, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical exhaustion. We are doing more with less, dealing with the demands of patients and families, higher acuity/complexity in the patient populations, intense grief, etc.

The list goes on and on. What would you add to the list? As you are well aware, your responsibilities don’t end when you leave work. Added to the list are your home life responsibilities.

“We have had some heartache, more than enough…”

You can say that again. In addition to what has been mentioned already, nurses often deal with life and death situations, unexpected life events, unplanned emergencies, needing to share and support life threatening diagnosis for the people we are caring for, etc. We bear witness to all levels of human suffering and the frailty of life.

Life’s trials and tribulations that we each experience adds more to the heartache of the human condition. We mourn and desire for life to get back to normal. Life as we have known it will never be the same again. Heartache changes us at the core of our being. We know with our heads that we must embrace the new normal. Our hearts tell us that it is unlikely we will be able to do it without feeling the heartache of intense grief as we journey forward.

“It feels like there is no light and fear says give up…”

Some days in healthcare/nursing are harder than others. Some days of just living life are harder than others. For a moment just think about all the fear that we endure just being a part of the human race such as: gun violence, countries at war, abuse within relationships, multiple addictions, human rights discrepancies, religion battles, etc.

Fear keeps us stifled, snuffing out our light sometimes. The challenge is to never give up, to “keep on keeping on” despite whatever external forces attempt to snuff out your light.

To this end, “if all you got left is just one more breath, rise up in faith and take one more step.”

Tap into your strengths and talents. Pull them up and out from the core of your being. Make a commitment to always do your best, because what you do every single day, in every moment of every day REALLY DOES MATTER!

When it feels like too much, “lift up your eyes…” and open up your heart to be refueled spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically by your higher power however you define that in your life.

Take time to refuel your heart every day so that you can inspire others by “keep on keeping on!”  We need you, nursing needs you, our patients and communities, need you, your family needs you! You are a difference maker! Please keep impacting the world in the way that only you can.

Choose to “keep on keeping on!”


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Cella Hartline Cella Janisch-Hartline, RN, BSN, PCC Professional Certified Coach, Nursing Leadership Senior Manager for Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative has been involved in various healthcare industry leadership positions for the past 40 years. The majority of her career has been spent working in an acute care critical access facility for nearly 25 years. Throughout her work experience, she has learned most of her leadership skills and techniques through the school of “hard knocks”. Cella’s passion for teaching leadership tips and techniques earned her the 2018 Outstanding Educator Award through the National Rural Health Association. She is well-known for her humorous, engaging and personable facilitation style.
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