When I work with nurses via my coaching practice at NurseKeith.com, there are a variety of life aspects upon which we can focus. Whether it's addressing work-life balance or managing a change in the trajectory of their careers, nurses come to coaching for many reasons, but the goal is always centered on what the client truly wants.
This is likely a big one for most of us, especially living in a society where work and career are highly valued, and work can easily become the most consuming segment of one's life. Nurses can tend to give their all to their work, and when we don't balance what we do at work with how we live the rest of our lives, the scales are tipped and our life is out of balance, with work being the primary focus and our personal lives taking a back seat. So, for many nurse clients, we focus on how to bring those scales back into alignment.
Self care can mean something different to each of us, but in my coaching practice self care is centered on how the nurse/client takes care of him- or herself in the bigger picture, as well as in the here and now.
Nurses are very good indeed in taking care of others. In fact, that's what largely defines the role of the nurse, although that role has expanded a great deal over the years. Still, caring is central to the nursing zeitgeist, and I find that many nurses don't really give themselves and their own needs the time and attention that they deserve.
I ask my clients about the quality and the quantity of their sleep, the quality of their nutrition and hydration, the state of their interpersonal relationships, and even the state of their home. Self care can be as much about buying a more comfortable bed as eating well, exercising more or pursuing a creative outlet, and it can also cross into the area of work-life balance. Nursing is hard work, and healthier, happier nurses are just more effective. Period.
Some clients come to me for coaching about their careers. While I'm not a career counselor, I know a thing or two about nursing, finding remunerative and satisfying work, writing resumes, and navigating the stresses of the world of job hunting.
Aside from technical help with resumes and such, I also help my clients to identify what they love about nursing, what doesn't work for them, what their strengths are, and how they would like to grow professionally. Exploring personal and professional fears can also open up the possibilities for ways to expand or morph one's career in a new direction, whether it's clinical nursing, writing, or entrepreneurship.
Sometimes, a nurse needs help figuring out how to address a troublesome relationship with a colleague. Solving these types of interpersonal issues at work can greatly contribute to increased professional satisfaction.
Burnout Prevention or Recovery
Some nurses burn out. I did, and I lived to tell the tale.
The strategies of self care upon which I like to base my practice are equally helpful for both burnout prevention and recovery. Burned out nurses can't function well at work or at home, and my goal is to help nurses turn that burn out around and come out on the other side.
Coaching is a Journey
Coaching is not a panacea, and the coach doesn't automatically hand the client the keys to the kingdom. The coach and client work together to create a working relationship that addresses the client's needs and leverages the coach's skills to the benefit of the client, and the client him- or herself discovers the keys as the coach stands by and allows the client to grow.
Coaching with nurses is my joy, and watching a client's optimal personal and/or professional life take shape---and take flight---is one of the most satisfying journeys I have ever had the pleasure and honor to undertake.