Monday, January 04, 2021

A Pandemic "Marshall Plan"​?

When World War II ended, a massive global recovery plan was initiated, and we enjoy the positive reverberations of that plan to this day. The dawning of 2021 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic call for nothing less than a similar worldwide initiative. Are we truly ready to collectively embrace this humanitarian call to arms?



Sunday, January 03, 2021

The Gallup Poll: Nurses Remain at the Top and Still Need Support

As 2020 comes to a close, nurses have done it again: they find themselves at the top of the Gallup Poll for the 19th consecutive year. With 89% of respondents rating them high or very high for honesty and ethical standards — a 4% gain from one year ago — nurses stand tall as the most trusted professionals in the country.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hope, Fear, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

As I write these words, shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine based on breakthrough mRNA technology have been arriving to hospitals for several days, with the first shots already having been administered. Simultaneously, we've now surpassed an awful milestone of 300,000 Americans lost to the virus, which is akin to the entire population of Pittsburgh being wiped out. With frequently more than 3,000 dead on any given day (the comparison being that we lost approximately 3,000 people on September 11th, 2001), the expected post-Thanksgiving surge is upon us, just as experts forewarned (and the public ignored).

With Christmas and the New Year ahead of us, now is not the time for the doffing of masks and giving up on social distancing and other recommended measures. In fact, it's time for us to double down and work together in order to move us into 2021 with hope for seeing this pandemic in the rearview mirror.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

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

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Feeding Your Nursing Career

Your nursing career is a lot like your body; it needs to be fed, watered, exercised, and well-rested in order to function optimally. What kinds of nutrition does your career need? What nutritional deficits does your nursing career demonstrate? Are you willing to feed your career as well as you feed your own body?


Monday, November 30, 2020

Hey Nurse; Got Resistance?

Have you ever found yourself resisting change? Has your nursing career stalled because you're afraid of taking a risk or doing something different? Change is indeed the only constant in the universe (aside from death and taxes), so it's something that we simply need to get comfortable with, over and over again.

What if we don't change at all...and something magical just happens?

Monday, November 16, 2020

COVID-19: Misaligned Priorities and Missed Opportunities

(Note: this blog post was originally published on LinkedIn.) 

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, information and misinformation travel like wildfire. Meanwhile, as we individually and collectively struggle with aligning our priorities and making good choices, things get overlooked and left in the dust, including people.

Missteps have been the hallmark of the pandemic here in the United States, especially when it comes to the Trump administration's lackluster and criminally misguided response, denial of reality, rejection of science, and the consistent undermining of expertise.

No matter the administration in power, mistakes and missed opportunities will continue to be made, just not as purposefully and cynically as that of the Trump White House and its spineless Republican lackeys.

                                                                                                Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash.com

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Banishing the Organizational Shadow in Healthcare

Carl Jung once identified the shadow (or shadow archteype) as the unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious mind and ego don't especially care to recognize as an aspect of the self. Some may refer to the shadow as the entirety of the unconscious mind. In this light, can we also deduce that organizations themselves also have a shadow? 


Thursday, October 22, 2020

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, September 28, 2020

Nursing Career Change and the Soul

When a nurse needs a career change, the reasons can be myriad and multifaceted. However, when we only reach for the money or for career "advancement", we may miss a golden opportunity for a different kind of personal and professional blossoming to take place.

The road to your optimal career

Monday, September 21, 2020

Your Nursing Career Mitochondria

We all know that mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses within each cell of our bodies, synthesizing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for us around the clock. In terms of your nursing career, what are the mitochondria that power your engine? What impetus, desires, goals, or motivations drive you forward? If you need to stoke the fire of your nursing career, the spark cannot be created in a vacuum.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Thinking Innovatively About Your Nursing Career Development

Your nursing career is yours to create, and every nurse’s path can be unique, innovative, and idiosyncratic with proper care. At the same time, your many obligations and  responsibilities can steer you away from your uniqueness and leave you in a rut of choosing the path of least resistance. There are many strategies for choosing a career journey that fits your vision of who you want to be as a healthcare professional, and it’s worth exploring those strategies for the ones that can most readily move you forward. 


Monday, September 07, 2020

Nurse, What's Your Personal or Professional "Everest"?

Speaking with a nurse colleague the other day, she was referring to something she’s attempting to do in her life outside of nursing as her “Personal Everest”. These types of endeavors can be scary, and they can cause you to question yourself along the way. Is there something you want to conquer or master, either personally or professionally? Is there something in your sights that you just can’t let go of until you do it? 

When George Mallory was asked why he was going to attempt to summit Everest, he allegedly said, “Because it’s there”. Whatever it is you want to do, I bet you have a better reason that that. Can you find it?

climbing a mountain
Photo by Jackson Hendry on Unsplash

Monday, August 17, 2020

5 Ways to Build Your Network of Nursing Career Allies

In the course of your nursing career, you need allies who can help you elevate and advance your journey as a professional nurse. Allies are easier to come by than you think, but so many nurses don't think strategically about this important aspect of nursing career development.

Since such a large number of nurses seem averse to consciously and purposefully building a professional network, here are five ways to build your network of nursing career allies.


Monday, August 03, 2020

Defining Nursing Career Success on Your Own Terms

Every nurse and healthcare professional has the opportunity to define success in their own way. However, how many of us allow our nursing careers to be defined by someone else. How can we seize control of our careers and define success on our own terms?

How do you define nursing career success?
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Monday, July 27, 2020

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, July 20, 2020

The Five Rights Of A Healthy Work Environment

Several years ago, I gave a presentation at a northern California nursing conference on the subject of healthy work environments for nurses. During my preparations, I spent a great deal of time pondering aloud about the scourge of nurse bullying and lateral violence, as well as why healthcare workplaces lend themselves so readily to unhealthy work conditions.

There are many reasons that bullying and unhealthy workplaces have become so common, and I’m sure that you, dear Reader, can rattle off a few without even thinking for more than a nanosecond.


Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Universal Impact of Racial Disparities and Systemic Racism: It's Everyone's Responsibility

(Author's note: this article was originally published on LinkedIn on June 30, 2020)

In these days of the globally devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the powerfully burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement, two crucial moments in human history are coalescing on the world stage in a striking overlapping pattern that seems unprecedented in scope.

Racial disparities and the pandemic are hardly mutually exclusive, and the coexisting pandemic of police brutality against communities of color is not at all separate from the socioeconomic inequalities that are, to a large extent, exacerbated and informed by the egregious systemic targeting of non-white people on multiple levels in societies around the world over the course of countless generations.

                                                                                             Photo by Alex Paganelli on Unsplash.com

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Mindset is Everything in Your Nursing Career and Beyond

In my work as a holistic career coach for nurses, there's one thing I've noticed more than anything else: mindset matters to your nursing and healthcare career. From putting together a resume and writing a cover letter to sitting for an interview or reaching out to potential connections on LinkedIn, your mindset and its attendant attitude make all the difference. 

Photo by Olivier Rule on Unsplash.com
Photo by Olivier Rule on Unsplash.com

Monday, June 08, 2020

Nurses, George Floyd, Racial Disparities, and the World We'd Like to See

At this unsettling time in the United States and around the world, racism is being confronted head-on by citizens who've simply had enough of the status quo. The knowledge of deep racial disparities in healthcare are nothing new, and the understanding that people of color are treated more poorly within the American healthcare system is also an old story that never seems to change.

But now, amidst the  COVID-19 pandemic and rampant global fear, economic insecurity, and a population tired of lip service to diversity and inclusion, millions are saying, "No more to endemic racism and police brutality against people of color!"

We nurses are part of the conversation because we're citizens, voters, and those who deliver care, conduct research, and perform myriad other tasks related to public health, acute care, hospice, home health, and beyond. Is our profession up to the task of confronting racism and other societal ills more boldly than ever before? 

Stop the war on black people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Monday, June 01, 2020

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, May 18, 2020

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, May 11, 2020

The Profound Meaning of Nurses' Week During a Pandemic: Nurses Show Up

Nurses' Week is upon us, and May 12th, 2020 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Florence Nightingale, the veritable progenitor of the modern profession of nursing. Meanwhile, we also find ourselves in the middle of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife as declared late in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the healthcare arm of the United Nations. Add to this the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have a recipe for a very profound moment when it comes to nurses and the nursing profession in this global context.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.com

Friday, May 01, 2020

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, April 13, 2020

A Message to the Nurse's Future Self

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to keep our futures as nurses and human beings in mind, as well as our goals and aspirations. Please enjoy this re-published blog post from 2018. Stay safe and healthy!

So nurse, it's twenty years in the future, and you have two more decades of nursing under your belt. You've cared for thousands of patients, held thousands of hands, and looked into thousands of pairs of eyes. What do you remember, and what do your patients recall? What stands out for you? How does your career compare to your expectations, dreams and aspirations? How would you like that 20 years to live in your mind and heart? You can create it now.

The road to your nursing career future