work life balance

Motivation to continue

 This is the time of the year when you re-register at university for the coming year. It is also a time when you have to answer curious questions to almost justify why you wish to continue on this journey of being a research student. Some of these probing questions are from people you work with, from acquaintances that you meet along the way and some are even questions that you ask yourself. Why do I want to continue on this research journey? What do I have to offer to the area of research?  Am I up to challenge ahead? Will it really make a difference to the care of patients? The questions are endless. It is important to reflect on these questions and honestly assess whether you have the resilience and motivation that is required to continue. It’s important to remember that working full-time, studying part-time while raising a family is no mean feat and is not for the faint-hearted.

I stand here committed to continue on the journey. Currently, I am refining my research proposal. I am clear that I will be undertaking an observational study of the care experiences of stroke patients of Black Caribbean backgrounds. The rest is being refined and will continue to be refined for a while. Research requires patience! If you were not patient at the beginning of the journey, you soon learn patience. Patience, resilience and commitment are key qualities that you need if you’re considering researching an area.

While, passion comes from within, I am buoyed by the support that I continue to receive from key people in my personal and professional life. These are people who hold me to account, are a shoulder to cry on and are there to say, “go on, we believe in you”. Without them, it would be quite easy to take the easy route and quit. Because of them, I know that quitting is not my option. As I was recently reminded, “a quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” I admit that there are days that you feel distracted and not in the mindset to even think about research. This, I’m assured is a natural part of the research process. These moments are thankfully few and far between. The motivation to continue comes from my daily encounters with patients, relatives and staff. Hearing their experiences, I’m convinced that there are ways that these care experiences could be improved. We can learn from each other and the little things we do like smiling and showing respect really can make long lasting impacts on people’s lives.

I’m motivated to continue to balance work, life and study when people say that I inspire them to be better, feel better and make a difference to their lives. I share Bob Marley’s view that life is only meaningful if you can make a difference to others. As previously stated in my last blog post, self compassion must come first though. It’s important to not aim for perfection, to give yourself a break and to accept that not everyone will ‘get what you’re about’. That’s ok. Do it anyway!

Finally, to stay motivated I recommend keeping a research journal to jot down anything and everything. It really is amazing when you reflect on the journey you’re on. I have come a long way, from the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean to now living in the UK for nearly 20 years. I feel that I have hardly started to make my mark because there is so much left to achieve. I pray for good health and a strong network of ‘lions’ around me. My motivation to continue really is, quite simply, the desire to leave ‘it’ better than I found it. What about you? Legacy!

Thanks for continuing to share with me in so many ways. It is most appreciated!

Follow me on Twitter: or @mcintoshnichole

By Nichole McIntosh FRSA

I am a Jamaican-born British nurse, poet, blogger:, vlogger, podcaster, motivational speaker, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Editorial Advisor of the Royal College of Nursing Institute’s Nursing Management Journal.

I am also the Founder and Director of Maroon Mindset Unlimited Ltd, a consultancy company that works with the NHS and other systems to learn, think and behave differently.

Follow me on Twitter: @McIntoshNichole
Instagram: @tyrese876 or @maroon.mindset
Facebook Page: @NicholeMcIntoshFRSA
LinkedIn: Maroon Mindset

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