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Changes to Nursetopia “Coming Soon”

You may see Nursetopia evolve over the next few weeks as I prepare to launch an online store. It’s a big step for me and has been a dream for a few years now.

If you routinely visit the site, you may notice it looking different from day-to-day until I find exactly what I am dreaming, but fret not…all the content will remain the same. All of my digital cards will remain downloadable and free to use, and I will continue to publish free, digital cards, as well.

Thanks for all the ways you’ve supported me. Here’s to the future!

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There’s No Glory in the Grind. (Grind Anyway.)

I recently shared news about a significant (to me) achievement – publishing a book* I’ve been working on for a while.

I was stunned at the number of people who congratulated me; it was a lovely surprise. I was also shocked, though, at the number of people who said things like, “I don’t know how you do it all,” “Is there anything you can’t do,” “I’m so impressed with this accomplishment,” and the like.

I don’t mean to downplay the achievement, but really…anyone can do it. Anyone who has enough perseverance and persistence, that is.

Because there were a few days of “glory” – people celebrating the moment with me, which I absolutely love, but there weren’t that many people who were doing the same the 600+ days the project was in the works. Very few people saw the early mornings, late nights, weekends of paper and red pens; the grind of it all wasn’t glorious. It was mundane. And boring. And painful. And stressful.

Yet, it was worth it. Because there is no glory without the grind, and the grind makes the glory-moment pretty spectacular. So much so that it completely took me off-guard with surprise emotions.

There’s no glory in the grind.

Grind, grind anyway.

 

* The book mentioned is Your Guide to Cancer Prevention, which was written by oncology nurses as an extension of care to the general public. 25-50% of all cancers are preventable; see what the evidence says about the strategies and the myths related to modifiable and non-modifiable cancer risk factors. 

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The Organized Life [Part 1]: Reading all the Books You Want to Read with Your Crazy Schedule

In the spirit of transparency, let me first say I have areas of my life that I would never show you. I do not organize people’s lives or homes or workplaces for my living; there are many incredible people (and books) who do that with astounding productivity results (yes, really). This blog series is not about closets or drawers or garages (although I will show you my two types of home medication storage systems in a later post). This series of posts, however, is about the tricks I use to stay on top of my goals and the “little” things that used to drive me crazy that now…well, don’t.

I get asked all the time, “How do you do everything you do?” Well, I have an incredible support system. I’ve also organized several areas of my life. I’ve found systems that work for me, and I use the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People every day. The one I think about the most that I think has helped multiply my efforts in care, work, and life is begin with the end in mind. You can apply it to just about anything to improve the results.

Begin with the end in mind makes you think – really think – about your end results – what you want and how you know you’ll be successful with that one piece. Once you have the ending in mind, you can work backwards to break up the goal into manageable pieces and tasks.

Reading is important to me. And while I’ve been a book lover for a while (more about that in a future post), I have a leader in my life that encourages others often with Charlie “Tremendous” Jones’s quote,

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

 

And, boy, is that true for leaders at all levels. Nurses, I am looking at you, too. The books you read change you. I want to grow each year.

Keep a List

Since we’re responsible for our own personal and professional growth, it is up to us to make it happen, so I keep a running list of books I want to read, and then I either delete them or mark them off my list as I finish them. It sounds easy enough, but I am surprised at how few people actually do this. Ask for recommendations from others and write. them. down.

I previously kept my list electronically – on my phone, but I’ve recently discovered bullet journaling, so I have incorporated pieces of that into my paper calendar. Yes, I am still a paper calendar gal in life (and electronic at work…again, more on that later).

Here’s my 2018 reading list. As I finish a book in this format, I color it in.

 

Yes, it is January 7th, and I’ve already read two books from my list. How?…

Keep A Book Near You

Whether it is hardcopy, electronic, or audio, keep a book near you. It’s amazing how much “down time” you have in your day if you’re mindful of it. Meeting not starting on time? Open your e-book. Commuting to work? Read your hardcopy book on the subway, or listen to your audio book in your car or on the bus. I enjoy running, and I recently learned my audio book app will work simultaneously with my running app! Oh, the joy it brought me to run for 45 minutes while “reading.”

Get a Library Card or Use a Book Subscription Service

Libraries are not antiquated. The possibilities are endless now as most libraries not only have books on-hand but can do interlibrary loans to get books from other libraries. My library also has an e-book and an audio book app. It. Is. Awesome. I don’t have to spend a fortune on books, and I always have reading material on-hand.

There are plenty of book subscription services and apps, as well. Audible, Amazon Kindle Unlimited, and MyBookBox are just a few.

Try Reading Two Books at a Time

If you can keep books straight in your head, have a reading method where you read two books “simultaneously.” Read one as an e-book or audio book in the morning/during the day and another as a hard-copy or e-book in the evenings.

Start as Soon as You Finish 

Because you’ll always have reading content around you, you can pick up a new book as soon as you finish one book. Even if you only read a page or two, go ahead and start the new book.

Don’t Be Afraid to Stop A Book 

Don’t just read to read; read to enjoy and to learn. If a book is not keeping your attention, stop it and start a new book. For those who need a sense of completion, this is easier said than done, so get comfortable with the idea…it’s your reading list, and you can do what you want with it. Don’t waste your time on “bad” books.

 

So, what are you reading that I need to add to my list? (I’m a non-fiction fan.) How do you prioritize reading in your life?

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All Hail the Sky Holders!

Do you ever have those days where everyone around you swears the sky is falling? Maybe it’s you. I’m sure we all know similar people…Every. Thing. Is. A. Major. Issue. And the panic spreads.

There are these amazing people in the world – I have them in my life and I hope they’re in yours, too – that hold up the sky. They may not say it verbally, but they’re likely thinking…No, not today; the sky is not falling today.

They ease the tension. They calm the never-storm. They reset the pace and tone for everyone. It’s beautiful leadership in action. It happens everyday and gets little attention. Next time you see it, honor that sky holder! And yes, Chicken Littles of the world, you can learn this skill.

Who’s your favorite sky holder you want to thank?

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Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking, Oh, we can do that! 

Can is a strong word, but it frequently gets interchanged with could, and that’s an alarm. If you hear the word can, think about how the word is intended.

If it’s meaning determination and will, then you’re probably good-to-go…if you’ve thought through the next piece…

If the meaning remains unchanged when you replace can with could, then you need to train yourself to see red flags and hear blaring alarms because that means the strategy of the work hasn’t formed. And, if there is no strategy, then your work or intervention is aimless.

Great leaders and strong teams can do a lot of things because they are experts and efficient. They can waste their valuable assets – time, people, money – because of that, too, though. Before you figure out the what and the how, determine the why. It will confirm or refute if you should actually do the something.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

 

 

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Have a Happy MOONday

For all my U.S. friends celebrating the wonder of the first solar eclipse visible from the lower 48 since 1979, here’s a special card to share with those around you. Even if you’re at work, how amazing that you get to share this day with those people. Wherever you are in the U.S. today, I hope you either get to watch the eclipse (via safety glasses or NASA’s live-stream), step outside during the magical moment to experience the circadian rhythm of nature shift, or just sit by the window and catch the wonder of it all.

If you want to share this image with others, you can download it here. Share as is or make a card for your coworkers. I chose to add some Moon Pies, Starcrunch treats, and Cosmic Brownies to the break room for my team on this day. Have a happy Moonday!

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[Free, Printable Card] So Glad We Found You, Graduate Nurse

‘Tis the season for hiring graduate nurses. Staying connected to GNs prior to their start dates is vital for some work markets. Even if you’re not in a tight GN market, remaining connected with GNs after you extend an offer to them through the time they actually start, which could be months, really does start the relationship well. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be thought of, and GNs are stoked to be headed into work with newly-minted degrees and forthcoming licenses. Postcards are an easy and cost-effective way to ping GNs to increase anticipation in joining an organization, and you know how much I love postcards! So, here’s one for my GN series, for use by hiring organizations.

Simply download, print front-and-back on cardstock, label, and mail. Enjoy!

 

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DIY Gratitude Station FTW

I’m a stationery gal…notepads, pens, markers, sticky notes, blank notecards and postcards of all kinds…they make me happy. Words of Affirmation is my work love language…big surprise there, huh? Interestingly, the majority of my team highly values words of affirmation, as well, so one day I thought I’d share my love for all things bright and stationery with my team so everyone could easily write words of thanks and encouragement any time the thought crossed their minds.

And the “Gratitude Station” outside my office was born.

It’s an inexpensive foyer table that brings pops of colors and plenty of pens, markers, stickers, and notecards into arms-reach for any passerby. For added enjoyment, I added an essential oil diffuser, which is non-irritating and doesn’t leave any residue; whether it’s lavender or peppermint – or a mixture of the two – the light scent fills the area (and lingers into my office). I love it, and I love that my team can access the station any time for any reason as much as they’d like.

Here’s the breakdown of the Gratitude Station:

 

And here’s a closer view from the top:

 

I’m thinking of doing a mini-station at home, with stamps, return address labels, and more. What do you think?

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When Work Becomes Family

“Family” by Laurel Harvey via Flickr.com

 

I’m enamored with “healthy work environments,” or HWEs…what makes them, how they form, how they disintegrate, how they change people, and how they impact the ultimate service or good and the financial bottom line. A key definition of HWEs is that they feel like a family.

Pop culture often jokes about “work family” or a “work husband” or a “work wife.” It’s true, though; we spend more time with our work families during the week than our biological families, so work should feel like a family…a functional, healthy family.

Part of being a family is living and working through the “mess” of family. Yes, there are great times, but family is rooted in sticking together through the hard times, the grieving times, the penny-pinching time, the frustrating times, the exasperating times, the tired times, the mundane times. It’s in the vulnerable moments of life  – whether inside our outside of the work environment – that we learn to ask for help, to share the load, to uplift those who feel defeated, to be the listening ear when a vent is needed, to pray together when no other words seem to be enough…to be a family. And just like a family, a work team multiplies joys and divides grief.

As a leader, it is easy to run away from these hard times, to silo “work” and “life.” As I’ve grown in my leadership skills, though, I have learned to press into these moments rather than try to find a way out of them. Because it is in these very moments when trust grows and the beauty of living life – and working alongside others – is realized…and a family is strengthened.

Have you ever worked in a place that felt like family? If so, what moments do you think contributed to that growth?

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[Free, Printable Cards] 12 More Healthcare Valentine’s Day Cards to Spread Cheer

I can’t miss a holiday made to love on people without creating and sharing some cards! I’ve added 12 more healthcare Valentine’s Day cards to the mix. Simply download, print (on cardstock is best), and paper your friends and colleagues with some holiday cheer.  There’s a bit of something for everyone – even administrators. And if you need a few more options (that love on lab and OR techs to name a few), you can always use the 2016 V-Day cards, the 2015 “we go together” cards, or maybe the 2013 “For the Love of Nursing” image.

Happy Valentine’s Day, You Amazing Healthcare Professionals. Way to love on the world each and every day!