Monday, February 18, 2019

Metacognition: Thinking About Your Thinking About Your Nursing Career

In the world of nursing and non-nursing education, metacognition is a common pedagogical concept for nurse educators to consider when working with students on the path to becoming licensed healthcare professionals. Metacognition is at its most basic the act of thinking about your thinking. Aside from its commonplace setting of education, metacognition can be also considered in terms of how we approach our nursing careers and professional lives. So let's stop and think about our thinking, shall we?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Six Steps to Being a Better Nurse Communicator

One of the most important non-clinical skills for a nurse to develop is strong powers of communication. Nursing care is built on the foundation of communication -- both patients and colleagues figure largely in a nurse's world, and being able to listen well and speak your truth clearly is absolutely essential both on the job and in your daily life. 


Speak your truth
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash


Monday, January 21, 2019

Is Your Nursing Career on Autopilot?

Nurses, do you ever feel that your nursing career is on autopilot? Are you coasting, resting on your laurels, or otherwise sitting in the back seat of your career? This can work for a while, but it can eventually lead to boredom, ennui, and even burnout and an abandoned career. If you're on autopilot right now, would you like to get back in the pilot's seat?


Are you on autopilot in your career?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Nurses, Parachutes, Stools, and the Career You Truly Want

Being a nurse is a wonderful career and avocation. In the course of attempting to build an amenable lifestyle and workstyle, things can get confusing, but there are plenty of resources for the earnest nursing professional who wants support in taking their career to the next level.

Nurses and parachutes
Photo by Nicolas Tissot on Unsplash

Monday, January 14, 2019

The "Shoulds" and "Coulds" of Your Nursing Career

In the world of nurses and nursing, it can feel like we are told what we “should” do with our careers much more often than what we “could” do. While the difference can seem subtle, it is actually something that can have a serious impact on the career path we choose and the subsequent satisfaction that we derive from our choices.


Monday, January 07, 2019

So You Want to be a Nurse?

Deciding to become a nurse and enter the worlds of nursing, medicine, and healthcare is a courageous act. If you want to be a nurse, doing your due diligence and truly understanding what healthcare and nursing are all about is definitely a smart preliminary strategy. Once you learn more, this momentous career decision may set you on the road to becoming a highly valued nursing professional.

becoming a nurse
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Monday, December 31, 2018

Be Yourself, Nurses -- Everyone Else Is Taken

Owning and stepping into your own genius as a nurse is important; and genius is, of course, relative for all nurses. At times, we can lose heart and feel that we just can't become the person or professional we thought we could be; however, seeking our own individual path is paramount when it comes to creating a career that feels tailor-made just for us, and not just a path someone else said was the best one to follow. 

Whether you feel like an impostor or your career has grown stale, there's nothing you can be other than yourself; and if you're trying terribly hard to be just like someone else (or do what others tell you is right), you may end up missing the mark altogether.


Monday, December 24, 2018

10 Strategies for Feeding the Nurse's Inner Life

In managing their careers and busy lives, nurses can be very focused on the "outer" aspects of life and work: family, chores, shopping, resumes, job-hunting, pursuing education, social media, etc. But how do we keep the nurse's inner life fed and watered? Let's explore 10 strategies for cultivating that inner life and nurturing happiness, wellness, and personal/professional balance as 21st-century nurses with very full lives and careers to grow.

(Note: please see this blog post's companion podcast, episode 186 of The Nurse Keith Show, for further exploration of this topic.)

Nurture your inner self
Photo by Atolu Bamwo on Nappy.co

Monday, December 17, 2018

Is Your Nursing "Check Engine" Light On?

Do you know the check engine light that occasionally (or frequently) makes itself known on your dashboard? That light is generally a warning that something under the hood needs attention (unless it's my truck, and it just comes on whenever it feels like it). So, nurses, how do you know that your personal  check engine light is on and your nursing engine is potentially in danger of overheating?


Monday, December 10, 2018

Nurse Specialist or Nurse Generalist?

Nurse specialists and nurse generalists are both common within the nursing profession and  21st-century healthcare, and both serve important purposes in patient care as well as non-clinical settings. What does it mean to choose to be a specialist or generalist? What are the repercussions for your nursing career? And how can one accomplish both?

Note: please click here to listen to this blog post's companion podcast episode.

nurse and newborn
Photo by wang dongxu on Unsplash.com

Monday, December 03, 2018

Your Nursing Career Database

Throughout your career as a professional nurse and skilled healthcare provider, everything you create, publish, write, communicate, or otherwise put out into the world becomes part of the database of your nursing career. From your LinkedIn profile and resume to your tweets and updates, your personal and professional brand is to a large extent fed and watered by the paper and digital trail of your career. What does your database say about you?

Your nursing career database

Monday, November 26, 2018

5 Actions for Overcoming Nursing Career Attention Deficit Disorder

In the midst of a fast-paced, 21st-century life, it's possible for a hard-working nurse to experience what I call Nursing Career Attention Deficit Disorder (NCADD). In this context, the nurse in question loses sight of her goals and dreams, instead becoming scattered and distracted by life's myriad responsibilities and demands; she's pulled in multiple directions and feels like she's running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Can NCADD be turned around? Can our distracted minds be tamed in the interest of developing a more satisfying nursing career?

speed and attention deficit
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Monday, November 19, 2018

Your Nursing Career: Stagnation or Flow?

As nurses, our careers are fed by movement, not stagnation. Nursing can be a very dynamic career path, and how you approach the trajectory of your professional development can be greatly influenced by many aspects of your life. At this point in time, is your career stagnant or flowing?


Monday, November 12, 2018

What's On Your Nursing Career Runway?

Your nursing career can feel like a busy airport, a marathon, a bus terminal, a rickshaw ride, or a taxi careering the wrong way down a one-way street. If your nursing career is an airport, and you're readying your plane on the runway in order to take flight, what's on your runway and who's behind the controls?

Your nursing career runway
Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash

Monday, November 05, 2018

Nurses, Nursing, and the Nature of Suffering

In the course of many nurses' healthcare careers, witnessing the illness, suffering, and death of others is commonplace. From dialysis and med-surg to home health and the ICU, nurses create therapeutic relationships with patients and their families, providing spiritual and emotional comfort, compassion, and expert skilled care based on many decades of nursing science and evidence-based interventions.

Aside from witnessing the challenges faced by others, nurses are themselves human beings with their own life experiences, victories, and suffering. How a nurse navigates their own personal suffering plays a role in determining how they approach life, work, and the overlapping of the two.

the nature of suffering and nursing
Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Monday, October 29, 2018

Are You Feeling Spooked by Nursing?

Are you feeling spooked by your nursing career? It's Halloween week, and it seems natural to examine our careers for skeletons in the closet, ghosts that haunt us, and old stories that just don't fit anymore. Are you ready to dive in and see what we can see?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Monday, October 22, 2018

10 Steps to Nurse Entrepreneurship

I recently attended the 2018 annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) and I was reminded that many nursing professionals would like to be business owners but aren't sure how to get started. That lack of business acumen is both prevalent and understandable.

While I'm not specifically a business coach for nurses, my career coaching practice and experience as a nurse entrepreneur has taught me a thing or two about getting a business up and running.

nurses in business
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Monday, October 08, 2018

Your Nursing Engine

Whether you're working in oncology, home care, or as a school nurse, fueling your nursing engine is an integral part of making sure that you're not running on empty. So, what does it mean to fuel your nursing engine? This is a metaphor, of course, and we can interpret it in many ways.

your engine
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Monday, October 01, 2018

Nursing Jobs, Cost of Living, & Where to Hang Your Hat

In my work as a career coach for nurses and healthcare professionals, I frequently witness those who work in nursing struggling with decisions related to finding work and the relative cost of living in terms of where they live or where they might move.

Making decisions about your workstyle and lifestyle can be fraught with anxiety and concern about the future -- let's unpack that conundrum.

Where to live next?
Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

Monday, September 24, 2018

Day Shift vs. Night Shift: A Consistent Nursing Dilemma

As a career coach for nurses, I receive a lot of questions and complaints about nursing careers, and one of the most contentious and confusing issues for many nurses is whether to work days or nights. Perhaps you, dear Reader, have experienced such confusion yourself.

Days vs. nights is an old nursing puzzle that so many nurses face: Do I work nights and get the differential while ruining my social life, or do I work days and run my tail off when the residents, surgeons, NPs, and doctors are on hand all day to send me running with new orders and admissions?

When I was decided to go to nursing school, my wife was very supportive but she issued one warning: I could never work nights, and I promised her I never would. So, 22 years later, I've fulfilled my promise to the letter.

In the end, days vs. nights is the nursing conundrum that never gets old.

day and night

Monday, September 17, 2018

Nurse, Throw Your Hat Over the Wall

In your nursing career, have you ever wanted to get something done but never had the gumption to make the commitment and just do it? Well, there's an old Irish proverb that says, "When you come upon a wall, throw your hat over it and then go and get your hat."

In the context of your nursing career, I like to think of this saying in terms of you putting some skin in the game and making a commitment to do what needs to be done, no matter what obstacles may appear to be in your way. What are you avoiding? What are you waiting for? Is there a deep end you just need to dive into?

throw your hat in the air


Monday, September 10, 2018

Are You a Nurse Job Hopper?

Nurses leave jobs for innumerable reasons, and sometimes circumstances cause those of us in healthcare and nursing to only stay at a string of positions for relatively short periods. Job-hopping has generally been frowned upon in human resources circles, but generational changes and new attitudes about work and careers are slowly altering the landscape. However, job-hopping continues to have its ups and downs, and being a nurse job-hopper still comes with significant career liability.

Rabbit in tall grass
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Monday, September 03, 2018

Six Reasons to Love Millennial Nurses

The Millennial generation (those born between approximately 1980 and 2000) are the new majority in the 21st-century workforce (see this Pew research study identifying this cohort as 35% of the overall workforce), and Millennial nurses are on their way to dominating the nursing profession.

As one generation wanes and the other rises, power changes hands, and this is happening at this very moment as Generation X and the Baby Boomers reach retirement age and leave the workforce in droves.

Every generation is disparaged and criticized by the generations that came before, and Millennials are no exception. However, I hypothesize that the Millennial generation is going to positively transform nursing, medicine, and healthcare for the better, not to mention society at large.

(Please note: writing about any generation as a whole is potentially problematic due to the fact that generalizations must be made. My apologies in advance for any statements that don't quite apply to everyone -- this is simply an attempt to capture observations of the power and potential that this enormously influential generation holds in its collective hands.)

Young Millennial woman
Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

Monday, August 27, 2018

Your Nursing Career and The Skill of Writing

When we think of the skills that make a nurse a nurse, writing is not the first one that may come to mind. PICC lines, wound care, ventilators, IVs, and physical assessment are the kinds of things we think of, but the power of the pen, as it were, is definitely not in the running (except, of course, for basic nursing documentation). However, I'll posit that writing is a skill that can serve your nursing career in both mundane and powerful ways throughout the years. What's your level of skill as a writer, and do you want to improve?

writing
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Monday, August 20, 2018

Words as a Barometer of Your Nursing Career

At no matter what point you find yourself in your nursing career, the words you use are powerful. How you talk to your patients and colleagues says a lot about you, and how you talk about your career, your work, and your life says even more. And we also need to consider how you talk to yourself. Are you choosing words that are empowering, positive, and indicative of your passion, expertise, and professionalism? Or are you stuck in a negative and defeatist loop?

We all have bad days, and we also need to be careful when we're at risk of falling into negative language traps that paint us into corners filled with bad feelings, resentment, and negativity -- all of which can contribute to burnout and compassion fatigue.

What words do you choose when it comes to your nursing career and your work as a healthcare professional? Even if things are bad, can you reframe your experience and find ways to see it in a different light?

passion led us here
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash