Monday, December 02, 2019

Jump Aboard the Nurse Wellness Express

Once upon a time, I was talking on the phone with a colleague who is not a nurse himself but who interacts with nurses on a regular basis in his professional life. His comments about nurses and their self-care (or lack thereof) were extremely thought-provoking.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Nurse Be Nimble, Nurse Be Quick

The notion of pivoting in your nursing career isn't a new one, and that readiness to pivot can emerge from a nimbleness of mind and a willingness to read the tea leaves of your career. Nurse, are you nimble?

Nurse Be Nimble, Nurse Be Quick

Monday, November 18, 2019

For Nurses, "Just" is a Four-Letter Word

If you're a nurse, when was the last time you said, "Oh, I'm just a nurse" or "I'm not really an expert--I'm just a nurse"? If you stop to think about it, what are you really saying when you deny your expertise? Words are powerful, and the words we use to describe ourselves can have far-reaching effects -- for others, and within our own psyches.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Don't Let Your Nursing Career Go Dry

Like desert soil devoid of rain, a nursing career without direction or purpose can dry up, crack, wither on the vine, and leave you feeling barren, lost, and lacking direction. Do you want that to happen to your career? Of course not!

Don't Let Your Nursing Career Go Dry

Monday, October 28, 2019

Can You Return to Nursing After a Hiatus?

Many nurses come to me for advice and career coaching when they're ready to return to the nursing workforce after a hiatus. For some, it's just been a year or two, and for others it might have been 15 or more years of staying home to do the noble work of raising children. The question is, how do you break back into the nursing and healthcare universe after being gone so long? It's indeed possible, and there's a lot to do to get there. On the other hand, I will also share ideas of how to keep your hand in the game even if you're not fully employed.

back to work

Monday, October 21, 2019

Nurses Leaning Into Uncertainty

Throughout history, nurses have provided care to those in need despite the cultural circumstances or political scenarios at hand. Nursing care, like medicine, is a necessary service that simply needs to be provided in a society at all times. No matter that bullets are flying or elections are being disputed, nurses are there with their patients even as uncertainty rules the day.

Monday, October 07, 2019

What Is Your Nursing "North Star"?

Many nurses often refer to the profession of nursing as a "calling". Being a nurse can become and intrinsic part of our personal identity, and reporting for work can end up meaning much more to us than just a paycheck.

There are also nurses who approach their work like any other employed person, with no acknowledgment that there is anything more to be gained than a means to a financial end by fulfilling the tasks required of our position. There is no judgment of this approach to professional nursing, but this apparent dichotomy is worthy of our exploration.

your north star

Monday, September 23, 2019

Is The Nurse's Glass Half Full?

It's no secret that there's a multitude of unhappy nurses out there in the world. From mandatory overtime to unhealthy nurse-patient ratios, I admit there are very valid reasons for this seeming epidemic of discontent. So, is the nursing glass half-full or half-empty? I guess it depends on who you're drinking with (and perhaps what you're drinking). 

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Nurse, the Martyr, and the Oxygen Mask


Over the years, I’ve known a lot of different nurses. I’ve known new nurses, seasoned nurses, frightened nurses, burned-out nurses, and nurses who were so jaded they couldn’t even see their patients if they were right in front of their noses. I’ve known nurses who clocked out at the end of their shift and never looked back, and I’ve known others who consistently clocked out two hours late and then were up all night hoping their patients were OK. It takes all kinds.

oxygen mask

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Quixotic Nurse

As a nurse writer and blogger, I often use metaphor as a way to express deeper ideas about nursing and healthcare. In the past, I've explored the myths of Sisyphus and Hercules as they relate to nurses and the nursing profession, and my nature continues to point me towards metaphor as a tool for understanding.

I've recently been considering the figure of Don Quixote as another metaphor related to our often beleaguered profession; although much has been written about Quixote and the author Miguel Cervantes, I don't believe anything has been written about the potentially quixotic nature of nurses. So, my friends, I give you the notion of "The Quixotic Nurse".

(Note: this post is much longer than my usual 500-600 words. Please bear with me and consider this long-form post as a necessary means to my desired literary end.)


Monday, August 05, 2019

Your Nursing Career and a Latte?

Just the other day, I was drinking a latte (decaf---I'm an unapologetic caffeine lightweight), and I realized that there's a very appropriate metaphor related to nurses, nursing, and a perfectly brewed latte. It may sound silly, but it may be more apt than you imagine at first.


Monday, July 29, 2019

Be Your Very Own Nursing Career Detective

If you're an older nurse, you might remember TV shows and movies with a private eye or detective carrying a magnifying glass as he or she doggedly searched for clues to solve a perplexing case. You might remember Columbo, The Rockford Files, or any number of shows or movies. If you're a younger nurse, you might be more likely to think of Sherlock with actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

When it comes to your nursing career, you need to be your very own private eye or detective because good ol' Sherlock or Columbo won't be able to help you with this particular case.


Monday, July 08, 2019

The Three R's of Nursing

There are some very basic things that nurses look for -- and deserve -- in the course of their nursing careers. It's clear that this list could probably be expanded to include many other ideas as well. I posit  that there are "Three R's" of nursing, and I identify them as respect, remuneration, and recognition.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Elevate Your Nursing Job Interview Skills

Job interviews are a source of stress for many job-seekers, and nurses are no exception. Nursing can feel like a rough and tumble profession when it comes to the high-stakes interview process, and for those nurses who are unsure how to articulate their value, the interview can seem like an insurmountable hurdle.

Monday, June 03, 2019

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.


Monday, May 27, 2019

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, May 06, 2019

Nurses Week: Giving Thanks

Well, this is it, folks. This is the week that's set aside for nurses to be praised, thanked and stroked. Gratitude goes a long way in this world, so this is a week when clear and heartfelt gratitude for nurses can be found in many places, both expected and unexpected.

happy nurses week

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Five Rights Of A Healthy Work Environment

I recently 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 too hard.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Lions, Gazelles, and Nurses

Nursing has a hierarchy of power and experience just like any other profession; in fact, it also has a hierarchy that sometimes feels akin to the laws of survival on the savanna or in the jungle.

Have you ever observed that the less experienced and more vulnerable nurses frequently get left on the outside, often falling prey to bullies and "predators"? This is the herd mentality at its worst, and many novice nurses are taken down by bullies and power-hungry colleagues who eat them alive when they're demonstrating the slightest weakness.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Your Nursing Career Report Card

Remember the days when you'd run home with your report card to show your parents how you did in school? Or were you the kid who hid it at the bottom of your bag so they wouldn't see it? Well, your nursing career deserves a report card, too. How've you been doing and what grade do you think you deserve?

report card A+

Monday, April 08, 2019

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, March 25, 2019

The Continuum of Nurse Career Growth

The growth of your career as a nurse can be consciously self-generated, or simply a result of happenstance and a laissez-faire attitude towards professional development. Neither of these options are necessarily bad in and of themselves, but a thoughtfully sculpted career is definitely fodder for a much richer, satisfying, and rewarding trajectory.


Monday, March 18, 2019

The 10,000-Foot View of Your Nursing Career

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a career coaching client, and we were discussing how scary it can be to make a big change. In talking about the minutiae as well as the big picture, I encouraged her to always come back to the 10,000-foot view. "However," I said, "while the 10,000-foot view is a great thing to keep in mind, it can also give you vertigo."
 
Clouds, thousands of feet over Santa Fe, NM


Monday, March 11, 2019

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?