It’s springtime, and the flowers and trees are coming back to life after drawing within themselves during the cold, dark winter. Do you feel the same, nurses? Just like the trees, do you feel the sap of inspiration bubbling inside of you and feeding the roots of change and growth within your nursing career? Is there a spring in your step? Do you find yourself looking forward to what you might accomplish as the year continues to ripen?
Even if you’re listening to this episode in the middle of summer or in the depths of winter many years after I’ve recorded it, spring can be something that you conjure inside of yourself at any time of year when it comes to the goals and aspirations of your professional life and nursing career.
(NOTE: please scroll to the bottom of the post to listen to the podcast!)
When I think of spring, I imagine germination, fecundity, ripening, and a sense of anticipation. And when I think of your nursing career, I hope to inspire you to feel that same sense of excitement and wonder. Just like the bud on an apricot tree, there’s a bud of inspiration inside of you that needs water, fertilizer, and encouragement; where will that inspiration and food come from?
For some nurses, the status quo feels fine; they’re happy where they are and they feel no need to change anything related to their work. I have no judgment about that, and if you’re satisfied with what you have, I’m thrilled for you. However, most nurses I know sometimes feel restless; it’s a deep-seated feeling that there’s something more they want out of their careers. These are the nurses I want to talk to right now; those who feel restless, as if there are buds waiting to burst through the proverbial soil.
Assess The Need and Desire
An important process in moving forward into the future is understanding and assessing your needs and desires. Do you need more income to support your family? Do you want to have more responsibility, autonomy, or challenge in your career as a nurse? Are you bored and restless? Are you just wanting more knowledge or clinical skills? Or perhaps you work in a toxic environment. Is there bullying and harassment? Is the atmosphere choking you with negativity?
Whatever it is that you’re feeling and experiencing, the next thing to do is determine what it is you want to change. Do you want to work on a new unit, or do you need to find a completely new workplace? And if it’s the accumulation of knowledge and skill that you’re looking for, maybe that means going back to school for another nursing degree or a certificate program.
For many nurses, their career is a lifelong process of learning. I’ve met nurses who have multiple degrees and who’ve accumulated vast clinical knowledge; I also know other nurses who pursue the entrepreneurial path, forging careers as consultants, writers, artists, filmmakers, bloggers, podcasters, or nationally-recognized speakers and experts.
I believe our nursing careers need to bring us joy and fulfillment, not drudgery, staleness, and boredom. Are you feeling deep ennui and lack of forward movement, or are you feeling excitement and deep possibility?
As some of you know, I skipped working in MedSurg and the hospital environment when I graduated from nursing school in 1996; I dived headlong into community nursing, inner-city healthcare, the case management of underserved populations, hospice, home health, and public health. I’ve held many positions over my 20 years as a nurse, and I’ve always held to what Michelle Shocked said in a song many years ago: “the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.” I’ve always moved on when the time was ripe. Have you moved on when it was time, or have you hung on until you’ve felt wrung out like an old dish rag? Episode 44 of The Nurse Keith Show is all about deciding whether you stay or go, and the show notes even have a great song by The Clash to sing along to, as well as the above-mentioned tune by Michelle Shocked.
Spring Into Action
The purpose of this episode of The Nurse Keith Show is to inspire you to spring into action. For you, action might be finally quitting that darn job that’s been like an albatross around your neck for the last five years. For others, it might be finally biting the bullet and pursuing your BSN, MSN, or DNP. Whatever it is, you know that this show is about inspired action, and I want you to take some inspired actions this spring.
What might your inspired action be? Maybe you’ll join the state chapter of the ANA, or finally attend a nursing conference that really floats your boat. Or maybe you’ll pick up the phone and call Nurse Keith and ask for 30 minutes of my time to toss around some ideas. Maybe you’ll visit the American Sentinel website and ask about their online programs, or pay a visit to your local university. It could be as simple as forming a journal club with a few nurse colleagues, or maybe making the commitment to listen to this podcast for inspiration every week.
Here’s your homework:
Choose one inspired action that you will take this week and the following week, no matter how large or small. Journal about the process of preparing to take that action, taking the action, and how it was to have done it; follow up by writing about the outcomes you feel may manifest, or that already did. Once you’ve done that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you did and how it was going through this process.
Anyway, inspired actions can be small, grandiose, incremental, or monumental. What action(s) would you like to take? What kind of change do you need? What areas of your life are begging for the most attention? Write down what you decide to do, then do it and tell me all about it!
Here’s to taking action and feeling a spring in your step!
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is sponsored by the good folks at American Sentinel University. As a fully accredited online university, American Sentinel offers a variety of courses related to healthcare and nursing, including RN to BSN, and five MSN programs: Informatics, Case Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Management, and Infection Prevention and Control. They offer an RN to BSN/MSN, a program, as well as two tracks for those wishing to pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. American Sentinel also offers a certificate in Prevention and Control that assists clinicians in acquiring the knowledge they need to develop best practices for infection prevention and control. Please visit AmericanSentinel.edu/NurseKeith for more information.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews New Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.