Creative and critical: Finding the balance for nurses

Friday, July 17, 2020

As a nurse, I never initially thought of myself as creative. However, nurses are naturally creative people, especially in their day to day roles. As a nurse, you often encounter unexpected situations whilst taking care of clients. There is always a need to go beyond the standard nursing routines and acquire creative thinking to make appropriate and knowledgeable decisions, after all, no client's background or health condition is the same, and neither is the care you provide for them.

Creative hobbies are widely recognised as being beneficial to our mental health. They help us manage our emotions by trying new things and utilising our skills. Most nurses I have spoken to don’t recognise themselves as creative in any sense, even if they do have a creative hobby, it sits apart from their nursing identity. But we are selling ourselves short, nursing is the ultimate creative career, and you don’t have to be the next Jane Austin for that creativity to hold immense value and be an integral part of who you are.

As the reference above gives away, my creative outlet is writing and if you are a nurse searching for a creative hobby then look no further than pen and paper.

There are two main reasons I think writing is the perfect creative hobby for nurses: Improving mental health and endless inspiration.


When it comes to working, I am the first to insist that most things don’t bother me. As nurses, we all know that there are certain things that are just part of the job and are completely normal. I never wrote intending to improve my mental health because I didn’t think I needed to. But I was wrong.

I was utterly taken aback the first time I re-read a short story I had written. I realised I had spilt all the concerns I’d been encountering on to paper. I knew it had felt cathartic when writing it, but it helped me to process my emotions, and it really freed up some space in my head.

Writing allows you to work through emotions in a unique way. Exploring your thoughts and feeling through creating stories, journaling, and blogging can give you a unique level of freedom that sometimes doesn’t come when you are trying to process things alone. It doesn’t have to be stories either, many people have found writing down three things they are grateful for each day or making a note of what’s happened in their day and how they’ve felt, has helped them to reflect, process and keep track of their personal progress.

Sometimes it takes just reading an old journal entry or a list of things you wanted to achieve months ago to see the developments you’ve made. Writing allows you to let go of what you are knowingly or unknowingly holding inside. It can have a positive impact on your mental health, and I promise you will see the benefits.


I never set out to explicitly write about nursing (well apart from now, obviously!) and sometimes it is nowhere to be seen. But more often, I find myself drawing on the experiences I have had and the people I have met through nursing as they provide an almost endless supply of inspiration.

One of the biggest privileges in nursing is seeing people up close and personal at their best, but also at their worst. We get to not only see how people react in all sorts of situations but also how to help them. Those personal interactions and the deep understanding of people allows you to write with real authenticity.

Creativity comes in many forms, whether it be painting, puzzles, dancing or writing. In whatever way you welcome creativity into your life, you will notice many benefits to your mental health.

If you don’t have a creative outlet, writing is truly something everyone can do. It’s not expensive, you don’t need loads of equipment or training, just pen and paper.

Nurses can and do everything that is thrown at them and it all requires creativity.


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