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

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

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Nurse Keith's 4-1-20 COVID-19 Roundup

In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like the world is upside down and inside out. We are all reeling from the overwhelming disruption of most every aspect of human life: economics, work, and career; education across the lifespan, from preschool to post-doctoral research; faith communities; migrant workers; the undocumented; the frail, elderly, and vulnerable; transportation; small business; and the actual details of survival, including food, clothing companionship, and shelter.

Other than those still living who experienced World War II, the Holocaust, or even the 1918 so-called "Spanish Flu", none of us have a memory of such a devastating worldwide event. The AIDS epidemic at its awful zenith in the 1980s is the closest we've come since the Second World War, and that was enough to strike fear into the hearts of many and cause massive loss throughout the 80s and 90s until we got a handle on the virus and rendered it mostly a chronic illness that can be survived for decades by most infected individuals.

Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID-19, Nurses, and Staying Informed in Trying Times

Greetings from Nurse Keith Nation HQ here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I'm spending the majority of my waking hours monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely in order to inform myself and my online tribe of nurses and healthcare professionals. Like many others, I'm doing my best to stay up-to-date and use my various platforms (as well as good old-fashioned emails and phone calls) to educate and inform as many people as I can about the latest developments regarding this very real pandemic sweeping the globe.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

Monday, March 02, 2020

Letting Your Nursing Career Magic Out of the Hat

Nurses, do you need some magic to get your nursing career back on track? Career development for nurses isn't rocket science, but manifesting some magic and joy for the betterment of your career is certainly possible if you want it. Is it time to let the rabbit out of the hat?

Career Magic

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Seven Traits of Effective Nurse Leaders


Please enjoy this guest post from Samantha Boone of Aspen University:

Rejoice in your work; never lose sight of the nursing leader you are now and the nursing leader you will become.” – Sue Fitzsimons

Leadership shapes innovation and change, and as more and more baby boomers retire, the baton is being passed down to new generations of nurse leaders. “Senior leaders look to surround themselves with creative and talented individuals to accomplish not only organizational goals but also a shared vision,” says Dr. Marcos Gayol, Assistant Dean of Nursing at Aspen University. “In doing so, they also provide these same individuals with opportunities for growth, involvement, and fellowship with career advancement goals in mind.”


Monday, February 24, 2020

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, February 03, 2020

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, January 13, 2020

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!


Monday, January 06, 2020

Who's Driving The Bus of Your Nursing Career?

Plenty of people probably have opinions about what your nursing career should look like. However, the person behind the wheel of your nursing career should be you. Are you truly driving the bus of your nursing career?

Who's driving the bus of your nursing career?