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NURSE BOSS- A BLOG SERIES DEDICATED TO NURSES
A selection of blogs, videos and goodness to help you grow.
Joy is a natural state of being, but one that is not very familiar to most of us. In fact, I would venture to say that a more familiar experience for most of us is a state of struggle, not joy. Most of us may even admit that we are not naturally, “joyful” and may only notice or experience true joy when we acquire or get something that is external in nature. For example: a new purse, a new job, a new relationship, or a a great vacation.
Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with this, but living like this can create a lot of stress if the only way we can experience true joy is to get or acquire something. In addition, if we are relying on external sources for experiencing joy, that is not sustainable over time.
I share this from my own experience. I spent many years seeking approval and joy from external sources. One habit in particular involved the purchase of a certain type of very expensive handbag. I am talking upwards of three and four hundred dollars. I would often ask for these as birthday or Christmas gifts and occasionally I would purchase them for myself. The joy and excitement would last about a week or so and then fade off into the wild blue yonder.
Fast forward five years and the thought of spending that much money on a bag makes me feel like wow, that was an interesting phase of my life! I am in a different place totally. I no longer seek validation from others and I know now how to create joy from within. If I had continued down the path of using expensive bags to fulfill me and bring joy into my life, I would be broke and certainly unhealthy by now.
When we learn to create joy as a familiar state of being within ourselves, we can release the old familiar pattern of struggle and all kinds of positive shifts start to show up in our lives. Where we once experienced struggle we see opportunity and growth. Where we once saw limitation we see abundance. That is where the magic lies and you start to become the creator that you were designed to be.
We are each designed to be creators.
So, I invite you to join me for 21 days to JOY in the #smilefest to create your own joy from within.
It takes 21 days to create a habit.
The simple act of turning the corner of your lips up into the shape of a smile changes your body chemistry.
It also shifts your energy and has the power to shift your mood from stress and struggle to joy and ease.
When I smile, it literally feels like my heart is lighting up. It is hard for me to feel negative or stressed when I am smiling.
The benefits of joining 21 Days to JOY:
- it’s FREE
- it’s FUN
- it helps you feel FABULOUS
Check out my Facebook Page and join our community.
Peace and smiles,
Please share your experiences below about how you create joy within.
Laughter is the best medicine. It reduces stress, transports you to the present moment, and helps strengthen your abs. Laughter is inherent in the daily experience of children and seems to lessen with age and responsibility.
This is a picture of me as a young girl laughing away as I often did when being entertained by others.
I love the benefits that I receive when I enjoy a good belly laugh and I love the way I feel mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually during and after I practice yoga.
When you combine the two, what happens is nothing short of majestic. Laughter + Yoga= BIG F-U-N.
Here are my favorite reasons to practice laughter yoga and yoga:
- it boosts your “feel good” endorphins
- it’s free
- it feels good
- it increases your vibration, which equates to better health
- it relieves stress, tension, anxiety, and reduces blood pressure
I want to invite you into my Nurse Healing Lounge for a hilarious dose of laughter yoga. It will only take about twelve minutes and the payoff is huge, if you participate.
Go ahead, go all in, what have you got to lose?
In this episode, Giggle with us here Sarah Routman, of Serious Giggles guides us through some simple, yet profound laughter yoga exercises to help my friend Liz and me get our giggle on.
Please enjoy, share, and repeat.
Please share your favorite part about this exercise. I personally love the smile “push ups”!
What can you do now to start laughing more often?
For more laughter yoga, check out Sarah’s amazing work at: Sarah’s website
In laughter and gratitude,
Needing to reclaim your inner Superhero?
I believe all nurses are superheroes.
As I nurse, my superpower is healing. I have this super power of helping others heal themselves with what they’ve already got. All you ever need is what you already have.
I am biased because I am a nurse. But you don’t have to be a nurse to claim your own superpowers or superhero status.
If you need to up your mojo, or get in touch with your superhero, check out my free guide, “7 Secrets to Reclaim your Inner Superhero“:
Please share your super power here?
Until then, Be Super
Welcome to the 16th installment of Nurse Boss. A blog series dedicated to nurses.
I was guided to create this series after a spark of creativity within my soul felt that it would help thousands of nurses.
My hope is that these interviews will ignite a spark in you or stir your inner landscape in a way that propels you to dream big and go after what it is that you desire in life and career.
A Nurse Boss is a nurse who has created a lifestyle that aligns their passion with their natural gifts and energy style in a way that helps others while also honoring their own body, mind, and soul. A nurse boss walks their talk and they are open to receive the abundance that is theirs.
I was attracted to today’s Nurse Boss from the minute we connected on social media. His energy and optimism are magnetic. He has a heart of gold, a quick wit and a wildly adventurous spirit. Allow me to introduce Robb Hillman, actor turned registered nurse and life coach. Chances are, he will prompt you to think differently about how you view your life.
1. What are you doing now?
I am an RN and a Certified Life Coach. I help nurses who want to feel better. Who are tired of feeling frustrated and undervalued at the end of their shift, and instead want to deliberately empower themselves so that they can feel confident and satisfied instead.
2. Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?
Heh, well, let’s just say I haven’t led a “conventional” kind of life. I was living in New York City as a theater actor, and then 9/11 happened, and like a lot of people in NY I changed the way I was thinking about my life. I hung on just long enough to do a Broadway show (directed by Baz Luhrmann of “Moulin Rouge” fame), but then headed back to school and became a nurse.
I’ve always been an intuitive person, but working in psych really gave me a great window into how coaching principles – deliberately trying to be happy, for example – really made a difference for my patients. And once I started using the ideas on myself, and saw how tiny perspective shifts could totally change my entire life – I was hooked.
3. Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own lifestyle doing what they love?
I think nursing really prepares us to handle anything. We are the best problems solvers this side of MacGyver. No matter how ridiculous our patient load is, no matter how many family members are giving us grief, no matter how sick our patients get – we are there to pick up the pieces and make sure that things get done. And we do it, day after day after day. This is great practice to then go on to do anything – change specialties, create our own job on our own terms, or to just figure out how to be happy.
4. What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?
A nurse boss has a superpower, and that superpower is optimism. I think all nurses are optimists at heart. Now there are plenty of people who would try to mock me for saying that. They would say that optimism is naive, and that nurses are just too gritty and “realistic” to be a Pollyanna. But anyone who thinks optimism is weak and silly completely misunderstands optimism.
Being an optimist doesn’t mean ignoring the “real world”, it means refusing to let the external world dictate how you have to live, and what you have to feel. A true optimist is a badass who is stronger than the world.
Most of us became nurses because we wanted to help people. To help them as they heal, and sometimes to help them as they die. The optimist knows they can help, regardless of the outcome. Otherwise, why would you want to be a nurse?
Also, google “optimism + health”, you might be surprised to see the wealth of evidence- based research out there that shows pretty clearly how optimism is good for your health. In my quest to have a totally awesome life, I’m certainly not leaving such a useful superpower off the table.
5. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it?
As a new nurse, I was definitely tempted to use cynicism and “venting” as relief mechanisms against the seemingly unending stress and frustration I was feeling. What I eventually realized though was that while they provided temporary relief, they never actually helped me feel better, they distracted me but never charged up my batteries. Once I accepted that my natural optimism was a gift and not a curse, and that I could find much better ways of taking care of myself other than complaining (which was just training my brain to constantly look for the negative so I’d have something to talk about), I started enjoying my job a whole lot more.
6. What does your current job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?
The thing I’ve always wanted, more than anything else, was freedom. When I was an actor I was free to explore my artistry without having a typical full-time 9-5 job. As a nurse I was free to not worry about money as I got out of debt and started building a retirement. As a coach I do all of my work by phone/online, so I am literally free to be anywhere in the world. I sold all my belongings and have been traveling the world full time for almost two years so far. A few months ago I was down in Uruguay celebrating hitting country #40. The traveling is excellent self-care, while still allowing me to work with clients and help nurses feel better and get the results they want. I’m free.
7. For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo?
The inertia of the status quo is immense.
So many of us trick ourselves into thinking that there is a benefit to tolerating “the devil we know”. I call shenanigans on that line of thinking. Staying put is great if you love what you’re doing. But that is very different from tolerating what you’re doing.
A deceptively simple exercise I give my clients is to make a list of the things that you want. Most really struggle to come up with more than a few things. But if you don’t know where you are headed, how are you going to get there? Some people like creating elaborate vision boards, some like a simple paper list, do whatever motivates you the most. But write things down. Don’t hold back, or play small, but be honest. Do you want to save as many lives as possible? Do you want to retire early? Do you want to change specialties? Do you want to find a job you like and stay there for 35 years? Do you want to get married, or to be an entrepreneur, or to move someplace warmer? Having goals can be hugely empowering.
And then, go for a walk. There is nothing like some physical activity to clear your brain and get you out of your head. I walk 10K steps a day at the bare minimum, and I usually have my best ideas either while or just after I’ve been walking.
8. What resources can you share for nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?
Find a community! I very much believe the adage that you are the average of the five people you hang out with most. If you want to go for an advanced degree, you are going to ask people who have already done it. If you want to change specialties you are going to talk to people in that specialty. If you want to be an entrepreneur, talk to some entrepreneurs! There are many different directions a nurse entrepreneur can go – legal nursing, opening a staffing company, direct sales, teaching skills such as CPR, coaching, to name just a few – so find the people who are doing what you want to be doing and get to know them.
The thing to remember is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If other people are doing it, so can you. And having friends is only going to help you. Some people complain that wealthy people talk about money only because they have it. I say, they have money because they talk about it. Whatever it is that you want to do, find your people and start talking about it.
Now for fun:
9. What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. My inner nurse and coach both are absolutely fascinated with how our brains work and why we develop the habits (both good and bad) that we do.
10. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Khao soi, which I discovered while spending a month in northern Thailand. It is a curry made from coconut milk and is so delicious I basically stopped eating all other Thai food, which is pretty high praise because I love Thai food. Now I’m hungry.
11. How can we get in touch with you?
Please do, I’m a people person and I love to connect!
Nurses are some of the most solution-oriented people on the planet. However, most nurses do not view themselves as creators or designers. I believe nurses need to hone that gift and start to honor it as well.
As a nurse who craves solution oriented thinking matched with creativity, discovering MakerNurse was music to my soul.
Check out what they are all about here: MakerNurse
Have you crafted an invention or solution on the job to make your work easier and to enhance the quality of care for your patients? You did it because that’s what nurses do. We create, improvise, and whip solutions together on the fly without so much as a thought.
Imagine if nurses had access to the resources and funding to develop and build solutions for our everyday tasks that met our patients’ needs and also made our work easier. Win-Win in my book.
Are you a nurse inventor? Please share your story here.
Until next time, keep rocking your inner inventor and owning your awesome.
Top Ten Tips to Thrive in Nursing School is based off of a lecture I gave last February to the nursing students at Anoka Ramsey Community College. I wished I had some of these insights while I was going through nursing school myself, it would have made my experience a lot smoother. My intent is that you can find the space to receive the information and better yet, start to implement some of the steps listed here to make your life and time in school more enjoyable. As in most learning, laying a good foundation is an essential first step. For nurses, self-care is good care.
Be compassionate to yourself.
Do not compare yourself to others under any circumstances.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Recite an affirmation daily that helps you, for example, “I am learning exactly what I need to learn in exactly the right timing and the perfect opportunities are showing up for me.”
Beef up your support system.
Connect with people whom adore you and will support you, but also help you stretch when you need a swift push into your fullest potential.
- Get an accountability partner who is in school with you so you can study and offer support to one another.
- Ask your loved ones if they are willing to offer you extra support during this time and if they agree, suggest ways they can help you, such as babysit your kids, do your grocery shopping, help you clean your house.
Practice grounding techniques at least once a day.
This will keep you grounded in your physical body so that you are more in tune with what it is that your body/emotions/spirit needs, which makes coping with stress easier.
- Practice mindfulness meditation-setting the intention to try this and sitting quietly for even five minutes to observe whatever comes up for you without placing any judgement on those things-emotions-physical sensations-thoughts. Practicing mindfulness will reduce your tendency to react and will improve your general awareness which can reduce stress.
- Start a yoga practice-yoga is simple and can be practiced anywhere that you can find a chair or a space large enough to roll out a yoga mat. Start with the basics and build from there.
- Breath Work-shift your focus inward and notice your breath. Just doing this causes you to relax a bit. After a few minutes of noticing your breath pattern, take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this ten times very slowly. We tend to use a shallow breathing pattern in our day to day activities. When you take deep belly breaths it actually helps you relax by sending a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system that it is ok to relax. This is very helpful when you are running on a chronic stress pattern in the body.
- Get out in nature and reconnect to the planet. It is even better if you are able remove your shoes and feel the earth, dirt, water, and sand on your feet. The feet have a lot of information to share with us about our health and wellness. Just connecting with nature can remove the level of overwhelm we feel at times. It is a reminder that the universe is always supporting us and that everything is probably going to be okay.
Move every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes.
Exercise is a great way to decompress and manage tension, stress, and anxiety.
- Get up and stretch in the morning.
- Park your car farther away than usual.
- Always take the stairs when you can.
- Dance with you kids or your partner.
- Do little micromovements with your body while you are driving.
- If you are sitting all day, get up at least every hour and pretend you are jumping rope or do some stretching.
Eat one meal a day for your immune system.
Imagine a meal that incorporates all the colors of the rainbow-the bright colors represent phytonutrients-the parts of food that help us stay well and fight disease.
- Make smoothies a few times a week. (Save time by placing all the ingredients in a ziploc and store in the freezer until you are ready to make the smoothie, then just toss what’s in the ziploc in the blender and you are ready to go.
- Eat all veggies for a meal.
- Buy and prepare (wash and chop) raw veggies so they are ready to grab and go from the fridge. It is easier to make healthier choices when you have already done the work and are short on sleep and high on stress. When you provide your body the right fuel, you are less vulnerable to getting sick and your energy level with be higher.
Be a master at time management.
Chances are, there are pockets of time in your day that you are unaware of. When we don’t have awareness or boundaries around how we spend our time, things like surfing social media or netflix binge watching can easily eat up an hour or more.
- Take the time to go through the process of charting how you spend your time now. Literally document what you do for an entire day and for how long. If you can afford it, document a typical week this way. Then create your schedule in a way that works for your style and include everything you need to do from attending class to studying to working out.
- Get in a routine and you will become very efficient and you will be surprised when you are diligent how much you can get done.
- When you are doing something give it your full attention. Distractions are rampant and just because you are good at something, like multi-tasking, doesn’t mean you should.
- Cluster like activities together and schedule them that way. Grocery store/ meal plan/prepping, laundry/cleaning, phone calls/emails. Color code your activities if you are more visual.
Covet your “you time.”
At least once a week make a date with yourself on your calendar to nurture your creative nature.
- Try Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages’ book that recommends journaling for fifteen minutes first thing in the morning when you wake up.
- Take a detox bath with relaxing essential oils like lavender and use epsom salts.
- Dance in your living room or at a class.
- Go see a movie.
- Check out a local museum.
- Go to an art exhibit.
- Take a pottery class.
- Pick up your old paint brushes.
If you get stuck, reflect on the things that brought you complete joy as a child and do that. Use this time to nurture your creative side that tends to get lost as we enter into young adolescence and adulthood.
When we fill our cups on a regular basis we are essentially filling our tanks, just like placing our own oxygen masks before placing it on another. If we are expected to be role models we must be able to walk the talk, I believe that means nurturing our emotional, physical, and spiritual selves and committing to taking the time to do so. Exhibiting to the world that we are worth it. It also gives others permission to do the same and it’s healthy.
Honor your body’s sleep requirement daily.
Getting adequate sleep is paramount to overall health. Adequate sleep refers to sleeping long enough to engage in rapid eye movement, the cycle of sleep that offers deep rest and the opportunity for the brain to assimilate all the information that it has processed during the waking hours. Without this sleep, the brain gets backed up and can cause premature aging and an overall feeling of forgetfulness. People who do not get adequate sleep can also have dysregulated hormonal regulation of leptin and ghrelin. These are the hormones responsible for appetite and satiety (satisfaction). This means if you don’t sleep enough, you will probably wake up hungry and no matter what you ingest, you will never be satisfied.
- Develop healthy sleep hygiene habits that signals to your body that it is time to start unwinding and preparing for sleep.
- Restore the body and mind before hopping in the bed with things like a cup of warm sleepy time tea.
- Do some gentle stretching or yoga.
- Shut off the technological devices at least two hours prior to sleep.
- Meditate or pray.
- Enjoy a good book that is not too stimulating. A famous neurologist once said, “we have to learn to put the brakes on before we get into the garage.”
Keep close tabs on your energy balance.
Energy imbalances cause illness. Your energy includes everything from your “subtle” energy which includes your thoughts and feelings all the way down to your physical energy. Abstain from relationships and people who pollute your life with their toxic and unhealthy ways. Pay attention to how your nutrition affects your mood and your health.
- Set really strong boundaries and do not let negative people seep their toxic energy into your energy field.
- Be respectful of others and demand respect of yourself from others as well. If others cross that boundary, be sure to address it in a respectful way, but let them know you will not engage with others that do not respect you.
- Nutrition is a great way to maintain good energy balance. Be aware of how much caffeine/sugar/processed food you are eating and how it makes you feel.
- Drink plenty of clean water and avoid using plastic bottles. Use glass if possible or BPA free options.
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables when possible and avoid foods that are processed and full of genetically modified organisms.
- Practice dry body brushing once a week. Buy a body brush from your local drug store and run the brush over your arms, legs, torso, chest, and back in a motion that is working towards your heart on dry skin just before you take a shower. Dry brushing removes dead skin cells and invigorates the lymphatic and circulatory system.
- Get rid of any bath/home/beauty products that contain harmful ingredients like parabens or phthalates. Check out environmental working group’s website for all the latest safety info on food, skin, and home products. www.ewg.org.
Saving the best for last. If you don’t take away anything from our time together, remember this:
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ask if you are ever unsure about anything.
Chances are, ten other people have the same question but are too scared to ask. There is never a dumb question.
- Asking questions is courageous and the right thing to do; especially when it comes to caring for another person’s health. You will be faced with numerous situations as a new nurse, that will be scary and if you ever don’t know the answer or how to do something, it’s always safer to ask than to just assume you know how to do something if you aren’t 100% sure.
- You must give yourself permission to put yourself first. Your health and vitality is a choice. Choose wisely now, because your choice will affect you today, tomorrow, and in the next ten years. You are worth it to take care of yourself.
I can help you do that. Head over to my About page on my site and complete the contact form. Knowing how to care for yourself is an art form, and not one that is always taught in nursing school.
Nursing is soul work and to do soul work, you must practice effective self-care techniques that provide you the space and nourishment you deserve that will keep you well as you take care of others.
Nursing is not only soul work, but it is superhero work and it certainly isn’t for sissies. If you have made the commitment to attend, complete, and pay for nursing school, you can’t give up now.
This is where the rubber meets the road. It is your time to shine.
Please share other tips that you feel have helped you thrive in nursing school or in your career.
Wellness at Work is a big trend these days. It’s a no brainer for employers. If you want to reduce sick and disability pay and retain your employees for longer than six months, it’s a must. For employers who need to tighten the belt on nurse retention this is a big deal. Creating work environments that promote health and wellness not just for patients, but employees is a must to be competitive in the marketplace.
If you are a nurse working in a hospital have you ever stopped to consider the physical environment? I am talking about the air quality, the noise, the furnishings, the access to nature. Imagine if hospitals started designing our work spaces with our health in mind…….
I worked at a hospital that had beautiful landscaping and access to nature. It was so refreshing to step outside and escape in the natural surroundings just for a few minutes. I always returned refreshed and less stressed. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that can make the biggest impact.
Some facilities provide activities and outlets for their nurses to renew and relax, like this massage chair at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, IL. It is the brainchild of Jillianne Shriver, RN, BSN, HN-BC, a team lead for the inpatient medical oncology unit who thought of it after attending a training on holistic nursing. She literally used an old storage closet and filled the room with a massage chair and other items for relaxation, such as: tools for aromatherapy, journaling, a yoga mat, Tibetan singing bowls, and a small water feature. Check it out here: Nurse Renewal
Nurses need a place to unwind and debrief while on the job. It just makes good sense. All parties win. Employer, nurse, and patient. I love seeing nurses creating simple solutions that make staying well on the job easier and it is refreshing to see collaboration from employers seeking this input.
I love creativity, innovation, sustainability, pushing the edge (in a healthy way), and non-toxic everything. So, when I stumbled across Natalie Nixon’s article, 8 Ways to Design Health Care, I was very interested. The article is so chock-full of awesome, but I only want to talk about the first point she makes. Read it in its entirety here: Health Care Design
The first point she makes is about “modular health” and how physical structures and indoor environments impact our health. At Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota they have something called the Well Living Lab which is a research facility dedicated to studying how our physical environments impact our health and finding ways to create healthier indoor spaces. Check it out here: Well Living Lab
This design is the brainchild of Delos, a company that focuses on seven categories relevant to indoor health: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Delos is the pioneer of Wellness Real Estate™, a business that places health and wellness at the center of design and construction.
These are all things I can support. What about you? What cool things is your hospital or work environment doing to promote your wellness as a nurse?
Keep innovating and expecting great things,
You create your experience.
What can you place in your living space that reminds you of your awesome & fills you with joy?✳
➡ I am a word nerd and love inspiring quotes.
➡ I am a metaphor lover as well. I love animals for this reason. 🐘 🐼
➡ Elephants remind me to stay grounded & they have such wisdom & are extremely communal. All things I aspire to be✨
➡ Fashion is my religion, so anywhere I can insert sparkle ✨is a GO!
➡ My Buddha statue reminds me that I AM safe, I AM love💜, and that the universe 🌎and angels 😇👼are always working behind the scenes on my behalf.✨
➡ It also reminds me that when I take the time to love myself by practicing mindfulness & yoga, I stay more dialed in to my own well-being & can be of service from a more balanced and loving place. 🕉#walkthetalk ✳
➡ Music 🎤🎸is a must in my life✅it makes me feel alive & dancing usually ensues….which usually leads to laughter…the best medicine 💊ever!
☯ We all have ups & downs. But having anchors in our lives that keep us grounded are very powerful in creating a life of high vibes & JOY!
I hope you find a small nugget of hope in this post & will start to explore creating a life of JOY that makes your soul smile.
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I have been a nurse for 18 years and my profession and the life lessons I have learned along the way have paved the path for who I am today.
Being a nurse should not preclude you from living the life you have always wanted. In fact, being a nurse should be the reason you can design a life you have always wanted.
I love nurses and I am passionate about transforming our profession for the good of ourselves and the people we serve.
It is not our role to fix people, rather it is our job to show people what is possible when you live in alignment with what sets your mind, body, and soul on fire.
I help nurses who are stuck in transition design a life that they love with what they already have.
You deserve it and I can show you how.