You know I love any chance to celebrate the people around me. Halloween is just one more day to have a bit of fun and brighten the environment. Here are a few cards to help you love on the healthcare professionals around you – whether they’re clinical, administrative, or supportive. Simply print on card stock, add a hand-written note to the back, and give, give, give away!

Happy Halloween! 

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Download “You Are FaBOOlous” here.

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Download “Nightmare Walk Into A Hospital” here.

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Download “Healthcare Professionals Handle the Scary Stuff” here.

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Download “You’re Scary Amazing” here.

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Download “Scary Hand” here.

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Download “Haldol Spell” here.

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Download “Full Moon” here.

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[Free, Printable Card] B positive: Compatible with Monday

by Nursetopia on September 12, 2016

Have a great Monday!

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You can download this card here and share some Monday love.

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A BSN Pinning Speech: Reflecting on Sacred Work

by Nursetopia on September 5, 2016

In honor of Labor Day, I was reflecting on my work and callings. As tiring as work can be at times, I cannot ever escape the sacredness of my work. A few months ago I was honored to speak at a colleague’s BSN Pinning Ceremony – Texas A&M University – Central Texas’s first RN-BSN pinning. What a humbling moment! Full of tradition, even after more than a decade since my own pinning, these ceremonies still evoke strong feelings and often a few tears. So what did I muster up to say to these already-nurses who had just completed their baccalaureates in nursing? Much of what I continuously reflect upon as “work.”

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Thank you so much. It is my distinct privilege to join you today for this momentous occasion. What an accomplishment. I’ve held by baccalaureate in nursing for 13 years now, and I still remember my pinning like it was yesterday. I remember the joy of upcoming graduation, the relief of completed coursework, the hopefulness of the future of my nursing career, and the anticipation of sleep. Lots of sleep. I do know what you’re feeling right now.

There is a major difference in my pinning 13 years ago, though, and your pinning today. You see, I wasn’t a registered nurse yet when I received my baccalaureate nursing pin. Each of you already hold your nursing license. Unlike me at the time, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into – being a nurse and all. I had no idea, really. When theory and precepted clinical rotations turn into autonomous nursing care and work, well, it’s something our distinguished faculty try their very best to prepare us for, but to fully understand it all, you have to live it.

And you have lived it. And you continue to do so. Some of you likely worked in the last 24 hours or are planning to in the next 24 hours. Because you’re nurses; you’re amazing like that. Multiple times every day, one simple phrase rings among millions of strangers…”I’m your nurse.” It seems simple enough, but those words hold power. Enveloped in three syllables is a promise. Even when it means “I’m the only one who can take this assignment right now,” or “Only eight more hours between me and the weekend,” it’s still a promise. A promise to analyze, problem-solve, prioritize, advocate, listen, encourage, treat, empathize, support, facilitate, and educate. It’s the ultimate confidentiality agreement leading to the beginning of an immediately intimate relationship. Very few statements match its power, and you hold it.

But you have previously held and wielded that phrase, serving as part of the longest-running, most trusted profession – nursing. So what does today change? What does earning you baccalaureate of science in nursing, your BSN degree, mean? What does it mean to your patients, workplace, community, public health, your discipline, to yourself? What does it mean?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. The additional course work enhances the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse for a broader scope of practice, and provides the nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence health care delivery. Throughout the last decade, policymakers and practice leaders have recognized that education makes a difference.” In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a landmark report, The Future of Nursing, in which they detailed the U.S’s need to exponentially increase the number of BSN nurses to rapidly transform healthcare. But why? Because BSN nurses see things differently thanks to our broadened education, and it takes a better view to transform the one we have now of healthcare. With over 3.4 million nurses – by far the largest healthcare workforce in the U.S. – we are everywhere, which is a great thing because everywhere needs you. Whether it’s your neighborhood, church, school, Capitol Hill, the bedside or chairside, the boardroom, Industry, community groups…the nursing process will not fail you. Transform your world. You were prepared for this. Tonight is an indication of that.

I’d like to encourage you in two ways:

First, never stop learning. Now is as good a time as any to add that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing report also indicates the need to double the number of masters- and doctorally-prepared nurses. Relish today, yes, but know this is not the end. This is the beginning of your education. Yes, you can catch up on your sleep a bit first. My favorite nursing theorist is Hildegard Peplau. Yes, I have a favorite nursing theorist; if you don’t have a favorite nursing theorist, you should find one. It will help you realize that you’re in some pretty amazing company within the nursing profession. Peplau was the first nursing theorist to publish after Florence Nightingale, almost 100 years after Nightingale. 100 years! That’s a long time. Peplau was a staunch advocate for mental health care…and for nursing as a profession, with formal education. Her conceptual framework, Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, was finished in 1948, but it wasn’t published until 1952 because it was considered too revolutionary at the time for a nurse to publish without a physician co-author. At the age of 78, she said the following evergreen words that continuously spur me on in my own career: “Somewhere, somehow, at some time in the past, courageous nurses determined these skills, learned them, fought for the right to use them and taught them to other nurses. All nurses have an obligation to remember that part of nursing’s past and to keep their own skills in pace with new opportunities for nursing into the next century.” Never stop learning.

Second, never stop loving people. Yes, I said love. We rarely use that word in healthcare or in leadership; rather, we use words like “compassion.” That’s all over nursing. “Compassion” in its Latin form literally means “to love together with.” It gives rise to other concepts – empathy and altruism – that we also tout throughout nursing. But love of people undergirds it all. Nursing is a service discipline; you will never find a nursing role that does not focus on people. It is the very fiber of who we are.

Now, being nurses already, you know that people-work is hard-work. People! They are the very worst and the very best part of our care and work. They will drive you crazy; challenge your patience; make you cry hot, angry tears; and wish you never went into nursing. They will also trust you implicitly; soften your heart; teach you how to live; thank you for preserving their dignity; make you cry sweet, humble tears; and make you thankful for the care you get to provide every day. And that’s just one day! In all seriousness, loving people is the essence of care, and you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of everyone around you. People always talk about the impact nurses make on them, but we rarely discuss the fingerprints our patients make on us. We’re all shaped by them…incredibly genuine, broken, angry, joyful, amazing people.

Never stop learning. Never stop loving people. The nursing pins you’re receiving tonight are symbols of both – education and people – in many ways. Wear it with pride, and remember your past, ongoing, and future education as well as the people who have and continue to shape you in addition to the people you daily touch.

Never stop learning. Never stop loving people. Congratulations on this momentous milestone. Relish these feelings at this very moment; take note of them; remember them often to spur you on in transformative work. You are the future the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report described. What a bright future you are! Thank you for this privilege; I am proud to call you colleagues!

4042125683_b7f25bbd67_o “Care” by Toshihiro Oimatsu, Flickr.com

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[Book Review] One in a Billion

by Nursetopia on August 18, 2016

OneInABillionOne in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine, authored by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher, is a true story of a boy with a never-before discovered disease after the finished Human Genome Project, leaving cardiac physiologists an opportunity to map the boy’s genome for sequence errors. In the writing vein of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksit reads more like fiction and will keep your attention through the end.

I devoured this book in about six hours. It is masterfully written, includes brilliant views of science and medicine and patient/family perspectives, displays a prime example of Moore’s Law (of economics and rapidly developing technology), and is thought-provoking regarding ethics surrounding entire genome sequencing. It is enthralling at times like a mystery and heart-tugging to read of a mother’s unwavering love and advocacy of her son with the only recorded instance of the disease. I particularly loved how the mom’s Caring Bridge journal entries were woven throughout the story to give patient/family perspective alongside medical discussions.

With the ever-increasing need for nurses and all healthcare professionals to understand genetics and genomics, this is a lovely educational book that is also easy to pack for a weekend beach vacation. It really is that good!

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[Book Review] It’s My Pleasure

by Nursetopia on August 17, 2016

IMG_0906Dee Ann Turner, Chick-Fil-A VP of Corporate Talent, details her organization’s service and wow-culture in It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture. Named for a saying that’s the norm in the food chain that now permeates businesses everywhere, It’s My Pleasure shares lovely stories of the people making Chick-Fil-A a powerhouse business continuing to innovate and wow customers.

Because Chick-Fil-A knows the people doing the work matter, they take great measures to steward their people – hiring the right people and then growing those people into their leaders at every level of the business. It’s refreshing to see often word-only business concepts like “loyalty” in a different way through Turner’s examples of how the company creates raving fans not only in their customer base but within their ranks, as well. And while most of us rarely consider dining in a fast food chain as a great “experience,” Chick-Fil-A works for just that purpose, delivering “second-mile service” rooted in deep faith principles.

Easily read in an afternoon, if you’re curious about culture change and how great organizations practically implement unparalleled service, It’s My Pleasure is the book for you.

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[Book Review] Life to the Max

by Nursetopia on August 16, 2016

LifetotheMaxLife to the Max is a digital sampler of several of author Max Lucado’s books. With six chapters from six different books, you’ll get a flavor of Lucado’s inspirational yet challenging writing. From doubt and fear to servanthood and excellence, it’s pretty amazing how much information these six seemingly-small chapters contain.

You can easily finish Life to the Max in under an hour as the select chapters are brief (but powerful), and if you’ve never read Max Lucado, this easy read will likely lead you to just the right starter-book of his, no doubt aligned to a Life to the Max sample chapter.

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Healthcare Olympians: Experts Make it Look Easy

by Nursetopia on August 16, 2016

2407819953_40e22d8d97_o via nghiem vo, Flickr.com

The Olympics captivate me. I watch the screen in utter amazement as a pole vaulter launches 18+ feet in the air, people run 400 meters (once around the track) in under 50 seconds, seemingly-stationary rowers slice through the water at lightening speed, gymnasts tumble in dizzying patterns of flexibility and speed and power.

These athletes remind me a lot of healthcare professionals. Because they both make their work/care look easy. My specialty is leadership and clinical background is oncology, but I entered into the world of cardiovascular services administration this year. While I may not be a critical care expert, I am still a nurse and can understand some of what’s happening all around me as I keep budgets and processes and teams together. I never grow tired of watching these team members, though, because I am constantly thinking, “They make this look so easy.” It’s true. Watching a STEMI case from the control panel looks like a smooth, well-orchestrated, planned event. That’s because there are rock-star clinicians in the room who have worked their careers for the adrenaline-filled, life-saving moment. Similarly in the clinical area I am most familiar with, seeing nurses hang high-risk cytotoxic drugs all day long while providing unparalleled emotional support is astounding. It’s incredible to watch. Just like the Olympics.

How amazing that we get to call this our profession! We don’t wait four years to see this amazing work. We see it constantly each and every day, and it happens all throughout our nation and world. What heroes we have among us!

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[Book Review] Emotional Intelligence 2.0

by Nursetopia on August 15, 2016

Few things determine success like emotional intelligence (EQ) – being able to recognize personal emotions as well as the IMG_0897emotions of others and manage those emotions within the environment or to attain the goal-at-hand.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is Travis Bradberry’s and Jean Greaves’s first update in several years to their sentinel book. It’s a compact book with many brief chapters (2-4 pages each) separated into the four EQ skill sections of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The book – when purchased new – includes a link to a free EQ test to assess strengths and opportunities for improvement, which can be especially helpful when reading the various sections.

As a leader I’ve seen great people with strong work skills crumble under the inability to recognize their emotions and get lost within them in critical moments or their inability to manage the emotions of others in tense moments, losing the leadership reigns. I have pointed many people to this book, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t helpful personally. Recognizing and managing emotions in self or others is a key skill any leader should possess, and this book can absolutely assist with that in those struggling as well as those looking for reminders and perhaps new, practical skills to continue in successful work.

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A Taste of Excellence

by Nursetopia on August 14, 2016

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[Book Review] Brilliant Mistakes

by Nursetopia on August 14, 2016

Brilliant MistakesBrilliant Mistakes is authored by Paul J.H. Schoemaker and narrated by Dave Courvoisier. With nearly five hours of audio, this book will keep your attention with great stories like finding the Beatles to the development of immunology and discovery of penicillin to Steve Jobs’s happenstance interest in calligraphy that revolutionized computer fonts.

Schoemaker does a lovely job discussing the types of mistakes – tragic, serious, trivial, and brilliant, and there are plenty of quotes that will spur you on when you’ve failed 573,298 times. He purports that companies must speed up deliberate and purposeful mistake-making to accelerate success, and that mistake-making risk must be diversified – just like finances. The more risk averse you are, the more you must diversify and, thus, make more mistakes. It’s counterintuitive because mistakes made together often have a synergistic hedging effect than a single mistake. Organizations that leverage frontline associates to generate and try ideas in work or those with robust R&D departments are the ones that most benefit from this concept as literally hundreds or thousands of ideas spread the risk of “mistakes” across a broad “area.” To be successful in failing frequently, organizations must deliberately hardware mistake-making and learning from them to accelerate the business or mission.

Brilliant Mistakes is chock full of great information. Pick it up or download the audio version for practical ideas and inspiration for “successful failing.”

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