Whether you are an experienced nurse or a nursing student that is looking for insight, watch these 10 TED Talks that may change the way you think about some aspects of your work and life in health care.

As a nurse, you’re an absolute superhero. You’re also human. Balancing a career of caring for others while caring for yourself is tough. Sometimes you could benefit from helpful tips, and sometimes you could use a little work-related inspiration. We’re here to help!

To help spark conversation around factors that affect both you and the industry, we have put together this list of some of the best TED talks regarding nursing and healthcare. A few of the topics covered:

  • the changing roles of nurses
  • strategies for managing the stress of such a demanding job
  • coordinating with other staff members
  • new perspectives
  • ways to make care more accessible and effective

What is TED?
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. This global community welcomes people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.

Each talk is somewhere between seven and 19 minutes, so you can easily watch or just listen to them during work breaks, on your commute, or anytime you have a few minutes with a clear mind. You won’t find professional development more convenient than this!

1. A Tribute To Nurses

Carolyn Jones spent five years interviewing, photographing, and filming nurses across America, traveling to places dealing with some of the nation’s biggest public health issues. She shares personal stories of unwavering dedication in this celebration of the everyday heroes who work on the front lines of health care.


2. What if our health system kept us healthy?


Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? At TEDMED she describes Health Leads, an innovative organization that does just that. She discusses the transformation of the electronic medical record from a repository of diagnostic information to a health promotion tool.


3. How To Make Stress Your Friend


Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.


4. Nurse Innovation: Saving the Future of Healthcare


Ever since Florence Nightingale revolutionized healthcare during the Crimean War by pointing out that infection was killing as many soldiers as bullets, nurses have pushed the envelope of medical practice. But why, asks nurse entrepreneur Rebecca Love, are they rarely involved in the design of healthcare products and workflows? In this passionate talk, she shows why the collective wisdom of nurses, the frontline of medical practice, needs to be incorporated into every stage of healthcare design.


5. How to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving


Caregivers are often so busy caring for others that they tend to neglect their own emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Patricia Smith is the founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project©. In this insightful talk, Patricia suggests the path to wellness begins with awareness, and recommends simple self-care measures such as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, enjoyable social activities, journaling, and restful sleep. With support, insightful information, and authentic self-care, caregivers can begin to understand the complexity of the emotions they’ve been juggling and, most likely, suppressing.


6. Do You Ask Doctors Nursing Questions?


Roles in healthcare have grown increasingly specialized. Clinical professor Carissa Enright discusses how often patients don’t understand the differences between the role of a Nurse and that of a Doctor. This veteran Nurse will empower patients to ask their healthcare providers the right questions through examples in her own story.


7. World-class health care


Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that — with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve — it’s possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.


8. What if You Became a Nurse?


In revealing many of the hidden connections between a liberal arts education and nursing, Sana Goldberg explains why we should think about nursing in a profoundly new way. Sana is a nurse, writer, and founder of the nonprofit Nightingale.


9. The Emergency Room: A Window into Us


Dr. Louis Profeta offers a unique portrait of the emergency room, one that is magical and not just tragic, and one that contains every human emotion and every type of unique interaction. Through a series of short scenes, you will be guided upon an emotional, but entertaining journey that challenges your perspective on the ER.


10. How Grief Can Enable Nurses to Endure


25-33% of critical care nurses show symptoms of severe burnout, including emotional and physical exhaustion and a feeling of personal detachment from their job. Pediatric intensive care nurse Alina Sato discusses her personal struggle. Rather than giving in, she learned to reframe her natural response to pain and suffering, and instead came to embrace the life-giving lessons of grief.


We hope you enjoyed these TED talks!