Monday, December 19, 2022

The Conscious Creation of Your Nursing Career

As the year comes to an end, it's always a good time to pause, reflect, and take stock of the current state of your nursing career. As I've often said in my writing, podcasts, and keynote addresses, you can always choose to allow your career to happen to you, or you can instead take inspired action and make it happen. Which sounds better to you? 


Monday, December 12, 2022

Nurse Specialist or Nurse Generalist?

Nurse specialists and nurse generalists are both common within the nursing profession and 21st-century healthcare, and both serve important purposes in patient care as well as non-clinical settings. What does it mean to choose to be a specialist or generalist? What are the repercussions for your nursing career? And how can one accomplish both?


nurse and newborn
Photo by wang dongxu on Unsplash.com

Monday, December 05, 2022

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 28, 2022

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 21, 2022

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, November 14, 2022

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, November 07, 2022

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 ten 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.


Nurture your inner self
Photo by Atolu Bamwo on Nappy.co

Tuesday, November 01, 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, October 24, 2022

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, October 17, 2022

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, October 10, 2022

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, October 03, 2022

Your Nursing Job: The Same Old Bed of Nails or a Comfortable Old Shoe?

Some of us have nursing jobs that are feel like a bed of nails, and some of us nurses have jobs that feel like comfortable old shoes. Have you ever fallen into either of these categories in terms of your work experience as a nurse? I posit that either one can be detrimental to your career in the long run.


Monday, September 26, 2022

5 Ways to Build Your Network of Nursing Career Allies

In the course of your nursing career, you need allies who can support you in elevating and advancing your journey as a professional nurse. Allies are easier to come by than you think, but so many nurses don't appear 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 strategies to do just that.


Monday, September 12, 2022

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, September 05, 2022

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, August 29, 2022

Words as a Barometer of Your Nursing Career

At no matter what point you find yourself in your nursing career, the words you use are powerful. How you talk to your patients and colleagues says a lot about you, and how you talk about your career, your work, and your life says even more. And we also need to consider how you talk to yourself. Are you choosing words that are empowering, positive, and indicative of your passion, expertise, and professionalism? Or are you stuck in a negative and defeatist loop?

We all have bad days, and we also need to be careful when we're at risk of falling into negative language traps that paint us into corners filled with bad feelings, resentment, and negativity -- all of which can contribute to burnout and compassion fatigue.

What words do you choose when it comes to your nursing career and your work as a healthcare professional? Even if things are bad, can you reframe your experience and find ways to see it in a different light?

passion led us here
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Nurse as Tireless Patient Advocate

As highly respected healthcare professionals who often go above and beyond the call of duty, nurses are natural patient advocates. The nursing process may begin with assessment, but where the rubber hits the road is when nurses go to bat for their patients to make sure they receive the best possible care when they need it most. 

                                                                           Photo by @sjobjio on Unsplash.com
  

Monday, August 15, 2022

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, August 08, 2022

The Nurse Warrior: Fighting the Good Fight

Nurses, the hard-working lifeblood and connective tissue of the healthcare system, can often feel as if they are doing battle with elemental forces far beyond their control in their efforts to provide optimal patient care and fulfill their personal and professional mission.

While nursing can often feel absolutely quixotic or Sisyphean in nature, nurses battle on. Whether it's the COVID-19 pandemic, a natural disaster, the opioid epidemic, a mass shooting, or the challenges faced by the homeless, nurses the world over continue to fight the good fight no matter the odds. It is here that the archetype of the Nurse Warrior emerges. 


Monday, August 01, 2022

Your Untapped Reservoirs of Brilliance

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a nurse client who came to me for career coaching, and we were discussing a variety of issues pertaining to her nursing career. At some point in the conversation, I used the phrase, "your untapped reservoir of brilliance", and it has stuck with me since. What untapped reservoirs of brilliance are you ready to mine for your highest good?

Brilliance can mean many different things to different people; for me, it conjures a plethora of images and metaphors. Brilliance can manifest at many levels and in every aspect of life, and in terms of your nursing career, your brilliance---and the brilliance of others---can serve you in ways both imagined and unknown.


Monday, July 25, 2022

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, July 18, 2022

In Job Interviews, Look for the Question Behind the Question

 Job interview questions. They can cause a whole host of feelings, including anxiety, stress, consternation, and a big old boatload of worry. What questions can I expect? What scenarios might they ask me to describe? How can I address what they're truly looking for? How will I know what to say?


Monday, July 11, 2022

Doing Your Inner Work as a Nurse

Nurses spend a great deal of time providing care for others, and even in non-clinical roles they carry many psychoemotional weights on their shoulders. Nurses give physical care (including that which is immediately life-saving), compassionate connection, and spiritual succor, often in the form of motivational conversation and nurse-to-patient teaching.

What is a powerful way for us nurses to empower and elevate our understanding of human behavior, the human condition, and the nature of suffering? By assiduously doing our own inner work throughout a long lifetime of giving, loving, and feeling.

a clear mind

Monday, July 04, 2022

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.


Monday, June 27, 2022

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 13, 2022

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

Monday, June 06, 2022

The "Shoulds" and "Coulds" of Your Nursing Career

In the world of nurses and nursing, it can feel like we are told what we “should” do with our careers much more often than what we “could” do. While the difference can seem subtle, it is actually something that can have a serious impact on the career path we choose and the subsequent satisfaction that we derive from our choices.


Monday, May 30, 2022

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?


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!


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