Monday, May 23, 2022

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, May 16, 2022

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, May 02, 2022

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

Monday, April 25, 2022

A Message to the Nurse's Future Self

So, my nurse friend, 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. Or you've poured your heart and soul into research, healthcare IT, entrepreneurship, or other professional endeavors. What do you remember, and what do your patients and colleagues 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 on in your mind and heart? You can create it now.

The road to your nursing career future

Monday, April 18, 2022

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?

Monday, April 11, 2022

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, April 04, 2022

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Your Nursing Career Legacy

Whether you're a nursing educator, researcher, nurse entrepreneur, or nurse clinician, creating a nursing career legacy is both recommended and essential. No matter your place in the nursing ecosystem, leaving something behind that has meaning for you will suffuse your career with a sense of accomplishment.

Monday, March 21, 2022

When the Career Cookies Crumble

As a seasoned career coach working with nurses and other healthcare professionals, I often hear stories from my clients that are both heartbreaking and maddening. Nurses and nursing students go through so much in their careers, and there can be plenty of pain, struggle, and blood, sweat, and tears along the way. And when things go south and a nurse's career seems endangered, it can be a frightening and worrisome time.

No matter the cause of a nurse's career cookies appearing to crumble, there's almost always a way to get things back to the way they should be. I've seen so many varied scenarios of how a nursing career can take a bad turn, and I've seen many nurses turn it around and get back on top once again.

crumbled cookie

Monday, March 14, 2022

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, March 07, 2022

A Strategic and Thoughtful Approach to Transitions in Life and Career

Life is filled with moments of transition: marriage and divorce, birth and death, graduation, dropping out, health crises, comings and goings, and everything in between. How we approach transitions can be influenced by myriad factors, including, but not limited to, our social supports; our emotional, spiritual, and psychological health; and the nature of the transition itself.

Whether it's a professional/career transition like getting fired or graduating from college, or a personal transition such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one, transitions and how we tackle them matter greatly in the context of our lives, careers, families, personal development, and overall well-being.


Monday, February 28, 2022

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, February 21, 2022

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, February 07, 2022

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

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

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, January 24, 2022

Overcoming Objections During Job Interviews

When you land a nursing job interview, one of your main tasks is to demonstrate that you're the ideal nurse candidate for the position. In the course of the conversation, your interviewer is likely to raise objections to why you may not be the best fit or why they might be hesitant to hire you. This is where the rubber hits the road, and you must do the work of overcoming their objections and convincing them that you're the person they want.

Talk to the hand -- objection!


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Genius is Relative, Nurses!

Are you a nurse who sometimes beats herself up because you've focused so much on your specialty practice area that you've lost touch with other aspects of nursing? Are you highly skilled at reading ECGs but couldn't interpret an ABG (arterial blood gas) if your life depended on it? Are you a nurse business owner completely removed from the clinical world? There are all kinds of nurses out there, and you really can't know everything, even if you're a real life nurse polymath. Genius is relative, and we all have our own unique brilliance and gifts to bring to the table.


Monday, January 03, 2022

The Nurse, the Martyr, and the Oxygen Mask


Over the years, I’ve known a plethora 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, and some suffer unnecessarily more than others. 

oxygen mask

Monday, December 20, 2021

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 13, 2021

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?


Tuesday, December 07, 2021

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, November 22, 2021

Nurses, The Holidays, and Work-Life Balance

There's no doubt about it, nurses; it's the holiday season, and many of us are feeling the pressure in our personal and professional lives. How do the holidays impact you, your mental and emotional health, your spiritual well-being, and your professional responsibilities as a nurse?


Monday, November 15, 2021

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, November 08, 2021

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, November 01, 2021

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?