I’ve been doing a lot of reading and introspection lately about how I can be the support SUN members can turn to during these difficult times. What’s become clear is that none of us can weather a storm that feels as if it’s going to swallow us whole, without hope.

Finding a way to keep hope alive so that we can imagine a brighter future can be daunting when everything around us is in chaos. Being hopeful about the future also stands in seemingly direct opposition to the fact that none of us can ever truly know what lies ahead.

Often “hope” feels like such an intangible concept, like something taken straight out of the latest bestselling self-help book, or TED Talk. But it is essential to our success and survival in all aspects of life.

Hope fuels our motivation to overcome adversity and fight the urge to give up when circumstances feel overwhelming – a feeling many registered nurses are battling these days. The belief that the future will be better, or hope, is the mindset that drives this resilience we all need to endure.

So, if all we have is the here and now, and the “now” is in turmoil, how do we find hope? I know this is a question many registered nurses are struggling with. Being positive about something that is unknowable is hard, but it is possible if we are willing to do the work.

We cannot have hope if we are unable to visualize a better future despite the unknown. If we allow the setbacks of today to shape our view of what is to come, the fight within us begins to wane.

Envisioning a positive future is only the first step to finding hope. To sustain it, we also need to map our personal route to getting there, while acknowledging that everything is unknown to all of us and that our path may change along the journey. There is peace in accepting the unknown and power in acknowledging that obstacles along the way are opportunities for growth rather than reasons to abandon hope.

Here's how we can achieve this as registered nurses:

Visualize a future where you can provide the kind of care you dreamed of. For me, the easiest way to visualize this is to remember why I became a nurse. Then map it out -- what steps can you take to make positive change in your workplace? SUN -- your union and board -- can help you get there when you choose to be engaged. We will always stand should-to-shoulder with you. You'll need your colleagues to support you, and to focus on the positive outcomes you see in your patients every day because of your expert care. Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that there will be setbacks. We are living through a setback right now with our nursing shortage. If we accept this change in our plans as an opportunity to alter our course and use our influential nursing voice to shape a positive future, we can keep hope alive.

For many of us, summer is a time for regeneration. Please try and find a few moments to reflect on how you can renew your hope for a better future. It is possible and it will happen. I truly believe this.

Have a great summer!

In Solidarity, 
Tracy Zambory, RN
SUN President