This is the second of a three-part series exploring the importance of three critical support system(s) for healthcare professionals. The first support system discussed was friends and family, which can be read here. Today, we address the community-based support system.
Community can be defined in many ways, but when simplified down to its most important element, community is all about connection. Community is not just an entity or a group of people; it’s a feeling. It’s a sense of belonging and connecting with others, being accepted for who you are and feeling supported. Establishing connection can help us feel wanted and loved.
Moving to a new location or starting an assignment at a new healthcare facility can be stressful.Community support can make all the difference in helping build the healthcare professional up during this time of increased pressure and provide them with the psychosocial support and strength to move forward and face new beginnings. Community support demonstrates that these nurses and allied health professionals are not alone and can offer outlets for engagement.
The old cliché, “it takes a village,” is true. Having support outside of family and significant others, through our community, plays a significant role in our satisfaction and general feelings of wellness, providing a feeling of belonging. Community saves us from isolation and alienation that sometimes comes with change. Community is all about finding each other and creating a safe place to call home.
Community support may look different to everyone, depending on the passion and interests of the individual. Areas to find support may include church, local groups (new moms, single groups, widowers’ groups, gyms, cycling, walking), book clubs, volunteer organizations, school-related groups, professional communities (i.e. nursing organizations), and neighborhoods or where we live – just to name a few. Additionally, our workplace and peers are also part of our extended network of support.
It is important to note that community support is a two-way street. To ensure impact and success, everyone must be a participant and remain actively involved in the relationship.