encouragement

The Most Formidable Teacher: Experience

by Nursetopia on December 30, 2013

She’s one tough teacher. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can learn from her substitute, which regularly teaches everyone else. At the board – exposed, in front of the class – you won’t ever forget her lessons, though. Oh no. Rarely does she have to re-explain herself, and when she does – lookout; her repeat exams are just downright brutal. There is no curve, and every question matters. If you don’t know the answer, you better find out, and yes, there are such things as “stupid questions.” You’re going to want to commit her suggested revisions to memory. There will be a pop quiz when you least expect it.

[Sigh]

Can school please be over now? What? No winter vacation? Maybe if I just avoid eye contact she won’t call on me.

Oh. Crap.

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Hopes for the Future: A Letter to My 20-Year Nurse Self

by Nursetopia on December 15, 2013

A follow-up to yesterday’s letter

Hey, You!

I hope this finds you and yours well, getting ready to celebrate another holiday season. My heart cries a little when I think of ten years into the future – how long you and your Love have celebrated one another now as well as how old the littles are at the moment you’re reading this. Well, even if you are, actually, reading this. None of us are promised tomorrow, right? And if not, then none of this even matters. You’re exactly where your heart sings. And, if you are reading, then carry on…man, this letter took a weird turn, no? Haaa!

Really, I hope three things for you – continued health, happiness, and Salvation – because I think, even at this point, I’m certain that’s all that really matters. I hope you are holding fast to what matters. If you remember back, it’s the scary thought that remains with you each day at the time I write this – that you keep the priorities the actual priorities. Everything else…well, it’s gravy. 

And speaking of gravy, I fully expect a PhD by now. Oh, heavens, please tell me we actually get over the hump and obtain that elusive sucker! I bet you’re still writing, but I wonder if you’re still blogging. I hope so. I really do. And I hope it’s still happening right here at Nursetopia. 

I hope you’ve realized at least one of the several businesses you’ve been thinking about for so long now. I hope you’ve found the right business partner(s) and have had the chance to skip a lot of heartache in the process.

I hope you’ve been able to give back to the schools and organizations that have spurred you on and that your giving is more than monetary gifts.

I hope you’ve been able to stay true to yourself. In every single way. You might smile while reading this, thinking of some of the wild hopes and dreams that paper cannot contain at this moment – only hidden within my heart. No doubt, much will remain hidden, but I do hope for those secret hopes, too.

I know it’s unreasonable to hope for no heartache over time, so I won’t. I will, however, hope that those tough moments become stepping-stones – rather than roadblocks – for you and that you share those moments with others, to help lighten the load for yourself as well as to help others avoid the same mistakes and worries. I really hope those moments don’t make you cynical and calloused but rather, even more kind-hearted and determined to make the work of healthcare better.

I hope. I hope.

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Joni Watson, MSN, MBA, RN, OCN®

 

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Hey, You.

Congratulations on finishing your BSN! I completely know the excitement and pride you feel at this moment. It makes me smile when I think about it – about you – your hope to be a great nurse, your desire to work in women’s health, your pressing toward graduate school. It’s all so exciting. And that’s amazing.

Stay encouraged. You are, indeed, embarking on an incredible journey. In transparency, it’s going to be more than you ever imagined, but it’s also going to get bad – really bad – before it gets good. It may sound difficult to believe, but you’ll actually want to quit nursing, and you’ll think about it quite seriously. How? Why? Well, unfortunately, you have to live it and learn it for yourself. As painful as it may be, it will shape you for the better, and you will know when it happens. You will feel the paradigm shift. Remember when you thought saying “never” would come back to bite you? It does. Go with the flow. Things and areas of nursing work you thought you’d never do – well, they actually become your passions in many ways.

Stay focused. The thoughts of graduate school that are rolling in your head now…keep feeding them. Again – difficult times but incredible results. You’ll wonder how you’ll ever make it amidst everything else that life brings. But you’ll make it. And then some. Remember what’s important. Always.

Stay open. Remember why you went into nursing. That reason will keep you going long after everything else fades. What you think is permanent is just a flash, a temporary moment. Always be open to new experiences, new friends, new lessons, new opportunities. You’re going to do things and experience moments that, if I told you now, you really wouldn’t believe. It’s quite amazing, and you’ll have to experience it yourself to understand and fully appreciate it. Just. Wait!

Stay you. Above all, “to thine own self be true.” Some around you will want to conform you to the cookie-cutter expectations. Some will help you break the mold and continue to help you find and enhance who you really are. Let go of the conformist-generators and hold fast to the enhancers. Some people will naturally leave you, and others you will have to cut out and really work to stay away from. It’s worth every painful moment. I promise.

That pin…that piece of paper…those credentials – congratulations of everything they represent. You’ve earned it. Enjoy it. Now, go pack for your move to a new city, a new home, and a new job. And try to squeeze in some NCLEX studying as well as some rest. Yes, take a nap every single day. Considering you have yet to meet the amazing little people God gives you, sleep as much as you can. One day you will wonder what you did with all your free time.

I am so proud of you. Take care of you.

With Much Anticipation,

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Joni Watson, MBA, MSN, RN, OCN®

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Have A Great Day [Free, Printable Card]

by Nursetopia on October 28, 2013

HaveAGreatDay

I hope you have one fabulous day today!

Download and print this card to give to someone around you. It just might change the tone of his or her day.

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Live the Dream

by Nursetopia on October 24, 2013

Have you dreamed of being a nurse, a physician, a pharmacy tech, a chaplain, a social worker, a [insert invaluable healthcare team member here]? Have you worked and worked and worked to have your role in health care?

Are you on your way to that dream? Are you there right now? Are you living the dream – your dream? Make sure your face and attitude know it.

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When Something Has To Give – Give, Give Away

by Nursetopia on October 21, 2013

I have the current privilege of helping open a brand new cancer center. My family and I have relocated to a new city. Over the course of one weekend, I got a new job with new responsibilities and new colleagues, my husband’s business changed, our home physically changed, my children got a new school with new teachers and friends, and we started attending a different church. Whew! It has been really, really great. Even good stress – eustress – is still distressing and exhausting.

Writing has been my self-care literally since age 10. I haven’t been able to write recently like I’m accustomed to, like I’d really like to do so. There just hasn’t been enough time. And that’s okay. Something had to give, and that something was writing. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up writing or blogging by any means. I simply needed to focus on the most vital of life pieces, which for me, will always be my family.

Life in recent weeks has been full of work, yes. But, my restoration and renewal has come at the hands of tiny people, high-pitched squeals, lamp-lit nighttime childhood reading, cuddled television-watching sessions, spontaneous date nights with My Love, and quick trips to visit parents and siblings.

It has been divine. And exactly what I needed. At first I guilted myself into writing an article here and there, but then I forgave myself and gave up the masochistic emotions and self-inflicted stress.

My writing is starting to return as the everyday stress of learning a new role, new people, new roads, and new environments dissipates.

Daily stress seems to be increasing in every healthcare role. Something has to give. And when it does, give, give away, Friends.

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Every Day Excellence

by Nursetopia on September 27, 2013

I have had the privilege of interacting with many, many, many disciplines and departments recently. Each time, I have walked away thinking, “Man, what a great team!” 

One person doesn’t make a team; numerous people do. Everyone has a skill, a part to contribute. And, excellence happens every single day – right in front of our eyes. Yet we choose not to see it because we aren’t really looking for it. Excellence has become the expectation, the norm; I assure you, it is not always the norm.

Point out the everyday excellence that is happening around you. Many people think they’re “just doing [their] jobs,” but recognize someone who does the excellent work every single day. And keep knocking your own work out of the park even if no one else sees it. It’ll come back around to you. It will.

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Change the Environment

by Nursetopia on September 25, 2013

ChangeTheEnvironment

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Happy First Day

by Nursetopia on September 13, 2013

FirstDayEach day is a new, first day. Some first days are more significant than others to each of us for very different reasons. Some people are beginning nursing school. Some people are starting their first nursing jobs. Some people are moving into new positions. Some people are pushing start again after a long pause.

Today is a first day for me, a turning of a page, the beginning of a new chapter within my life and career. It’s also the first day for many of my friends – new adventures, new learning opportunities.

Happy first day, All. I am thinking of you. Rock the newness. Celebrate this moment.

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What Makes A Leader

by Nursetopia on August 29, 2013

I just repainted several areas of my home. After seeing the finished product, I thought, “Wow, no one would ever know there’s a deep, rich gray underneath that new color.” My mind drifted to an art exhibit that showed, through some kind of imaging machine, how artists painted over their draft work to develop today’s masterpieces. “Huh…I never would have known that was under there…or even thought to look!” The very next day I had a conversation with a leader, and I learned a lot about her – some of her “shaping” and “refining” experiences (read: “painful”). I walked away thinking the same thing…”Huh, I would have never known that was under there.”

All leaders are amalgams of their past experiences. What’s incredibly interesting, though, is that all great leaders have some really painful experiences – moments that have defined their work as well as shifted their focuses – making them who they are and why they lead the way they do. It’s unfortunate that too few people really get to know their leaders and learn about those experiences. The great leaders are willing to share them. I assure you; they don’t want you to relive their past horror.

I hope you have the opportunity to have some of these discussions with the leaders around you. And, I hope you’re brave enough to share your leadership experiences with others in the process.

Leaders aren’t born. They’re made. Sometimes painfully.

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