On Being Thankful

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Heart shape hands on the blue sky

As a reforming whiner, I often need reminding to be thankful. Yes, given the choice between appreciating a situation and complaining about it, I will regularly choose the later. That’s why I so appreciate having a holiday every year that focuses on gratitude and thankfulness. What better way to re-center our thoughts on the good in our lives and the contributions of others?

With that in mind, I’d like to offer my Thanksgiving gratitude list (not in any particular order):

  • Correctional Nurses: Frankly, I didn’t know correctional nurses existed 10 years ago. When I discovered this invisible nursing specialty, I know I found a home. It has been a blast getting to know so many nurses who work in difficult environments with often-difficult patients. Our patient population is marginalized and vulnerable, frequently forgotten by society and the traditional healthcare system. I am grateful for your work on behalf of our patients and delighted to have meet so many of you in my travels and through this blog.
  • Blog Readers: Speaking of blogs, Catherine and I are energized by the number of visits and comments on our posts over the years. You are our inspiration and the focus of our efforts.
  • Professional Associations: I am truly thankful for professional associations like National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the American Correctional Health Services Association. These organizations do great work in advancing correctional nursing practice and providing a wonderful venue for networking and communication. I enjoyed meeting many of you at NCCHC and ACHSA conferences this fall.
  • Correctional Officer Colleagues: This Thanksgiving season I have been pondering the great contribution of correctional officers to both public safety and the personal safety of correctional nurses throughout the criminal justice system. Our CO colleagues live with similar social stigma and feelings of invisibility. We are all in this together and need to support each other.
  • Family and Friends: Without the support of my husband, family, and friends I could not do what I do. Those I know who have much family stress and drama have no energy left to create new things. I often forget that I am free to write and speak and learn new things because I have a great support system.
  • A God Who Cares: Having a caring God who made me unique and expects me to use the gifts He gave me is also a cause to be thankful. Even when everything is ‘going wrong’ there is a comfort in knowing there is a plan in play and I don’t necessarily need to know what it is. I do need to do my part, though, by making a difference where I am with what I have been given.

Cultivating Gratitude in the Year Ahead                      

I am inspired to renew my efforts to reduce whining and increase appreciation this coming year. Are you with me on this? Here are two ways I’m going to increase my gratitude and decrease my whining:

  • Count My Blessings: Spend regular time meditating on the simple blessings of life such as a roof over my head and food on the table.
  • Say Thanks: Consciously sharing gratitude for friendship, support, assistance, and information provided by others in day-to-day living.

Will you join me in my efforts to ‘keep on the sunny side’ in the days ahead? Rather than concentrating on what is missing, as Oprah states, we can focus on what we have and end up having more!

Leave your suggestions and encouragement in the comments section of this post.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on CorrectionalNurse.Net

6 thoughts on “On Being Thankful

  1. And Thank you, Great post Lorry. Thank you for speaking at the 2015 CA-NV ACHSA Conference this year, you had great reviews and people said “Bring back Lorry Schoenly!”

    Personally I am grateful for having met you, my Correctional Nursing Heroine, and completely intend to spend more time thankful for what I have.


    • It was fun visiting Sacramento and meeting you in October, Marsha! We have such a mind-meld on so many concerns. You do great work!


  2. Happy Thanksgiving and your dedication to corrections health leadership guides us in the caring direction. Onto the new discoveries of friends, family and our chosen profession.


  3. A very inspiring article that, although the audience is aimed at correctional nursing, I found it could very easily apply to LTC/Subacute and Hospice nursing; A specialty I’ve recently left to pursue correctional nursing. (Including the topic of complaining!)

    As I learn more about this new specialty through study material, (your book (s), Essentials of Correctional Nursing and Patient Safety Handbook , Lorry 😉 ) there’s a common thread; we are nurses to our respective populations who are often not promoted as glamorous , (i.e. Emergency, Trauma, Labor & Delivery, Pediatrics, etc.,). Rather, “we” deliver care to the population(s) largely forgotten by choice or ignorance, and largely unseen. By and large, both populations are deserving of healthcare delivered in a dignified and ethical manner.

    To the layperson, we’re giving care to population(s) who, by society’s standards are no longer contributing members. Both LTC and Correctional environments, I find, are given tasks to to do more with less, while being held accountable to the same standards as those in more lucrative areas of healthcare. The similarities are especially highlighted in the processes of admission vs. intake screening, delivery of medications or treatments, the staff to client or detainee/inmate ratios. Thus, the tendency to complain, feel transparent, or professionally malnourished.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Lorry. It is inspiring and well-received by many who might otherwise walk blindly through the metal detectors and never really appreciate this specialty the way it deserves. *also, thank you for reading*


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