In Episode 10 of “The Nurse Keith Show“, holistic career coach Keith Carlson unpacks and explains how that feeling of being “stuck” in your career can be transformed through inspired action and deep introspection regarding your self-worth as a nurse and a human being. Join Nurse Keith on this exploration of the road to getting unstuck and moving your nursing career forward!
I receive many calls and emails from nurses who are feeling stuck. They feel like they don’t know what to do next, and they need some help getting out of that stuck place and into a place of optimism and inspired action.
The nurses who contact me fall into a variety of camps:
- There are the new nurses who are trying to get a leg up in a profession that sometimes feels unwelcoming. Some of these new nurses have been sadly chewed up and spit out, and they’re demoralized.
- There are seasoned nurses who feel that their current area of practice has served them well, but they’re feeling the need for something new and exciting.
- There are the experienced nurses who feel pigeonholed by their narrow experience and want to break into something new, but are uncertain how to do so.
- There are the nurses who’ve been beaten up by the profession, and they’re sliding into burnout, or they’re already there.
- I also receive calls from the unfortunate nurses who’ve made errors that have caused a stain on their license, or nurses who have a checkered work history.
- There are also the nurses who just don’t feel comfortable in their skin, and they need help getting back to center.
- Finally, we have the nurses who’ve been out of the workforce for a while, and now they want to come back into the workforce. How do they make themselves attractive to employers?
These are not all of the nurses who’ve reached out to me, but it gives you a representative taste of the various pain points faced by some nurses.
In the first 9 episodes of The Nurse Keith Show, I’ve covered resumes, Linked In, self-care, consciously creating your career, the forces of change in nursing, the thought viruses that get in our way, and the importance of networking.
For many nurses, those thought viruses are deadly. They tell us that we don’t have too much experience, we have too much experience, we have the wrong type of experience, and that there are certainly no jobs out there at all, so why bother even looking. The thought viruses may be from professors and colleagues, but they can also come from our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, or even from our own minds.
Meanwhile, many nurses feel absolutely stultified by the idea of networking. The skills of networking are sadly not taught in nursing school, and while I think they should indeed be taught in nursing school, we should likely be teaching them in high school, long before our college careers even begin.
What many of the people who call me have in common is that they have a need. They feel a place inside themselves or in their career where they feel stuck, and they call me in search of a metaphorical lubricant that will get them unstuck.
There are several things I’ve discovered in the course of my work as a career coach for nurses:
- Nurses are phenomenally intelligent.
- Nurses are phenomenally versatile.
- Nurses are phenomenally skilled.
Nurses are also phenomenally skilled at getting in their own way. They talk themselves out of their dreams because they’re not sure “how” they can get there. And, my friends, thinking too much about “how” is the first thing that will shut your ambition down with a resounding thud!
The “how” will ruin your high every time. It’s OK to think about it a little, but if the “how” is in the way of inspired action, you’re focusing on it too much. To hear more of my thoughts on getting around the “how”, listen to the broadcast in its entirety.
The other thing that many clients have in common is that they cannot see the forest for the trees. For the nurse who has always worked in the hospital and never even considered non-hospital nursing as “real” nursing, how can she flip a switch and see that the opportunities for nurses outside of the hospital are exploding?
For the nurse who can only see how hard it will be to break into some new aspect of the profession, how can she actually see that she has everything going for her? Can she remind herself that she has ten years of great experience, a solid resume, stellar clinical skills, excellent references, and a work history that many of us would surely envy? She’s blind to her gifts in that moment, and she may not be able to see them due to the blinders that she’s wearing, whether consciously or unconsciously.
In the remainder of the show, I mention the “tools” that you need in your toolbox, but also the ways in which your beliefs shape your career.
You need to belief in yourself, nurses. If you’re going to move your nursing career in a positive direction, you need a deep belief in your worth. The value that you place on yourself and your skills will be reflected in your resume, your Linked In profile, and how you come across when you network or sit in a job interview. So, if you have something in the way of your basic self-esteem and self-worth, I recommend a course of brief counseling or psychotherapy in order to dig into what’s holding you back. After all, if your core beliefs about yourself are flawed, all of the resume tweaking in the world won’t land your dream job.
You also need to take inspired action, forward movement that’s inspired from your desire to improve or expand your current situation. However, inspired action will not be very inspired if you don’t tackle that aforementioned belief in yourself.
We nurses have internalized messages that keep us down. Instead, we need to be lifting ourselves and one another up.
If you’re feeling stuck in your career, it’s not only about your resume and your networking skills, although those are great things to work on and continue to make more and more robust. Truly, your own self-worth will propel you more than anything.
If you’re networking with someone, and that connection is important to you, if your self-worth is high, your energy and personality will shine, and that person will “get” who you are and see you as your brightest, most powerful professional self.
Moving your nursing career forward is about self-worth, and it’s about creating an ecosystem for yourself in which you can thrive.
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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.