Nursing school grads left and right are completing their NCLEX exams and gaining their Registered Nurse, R.N., credentials. Today’s free, printable card was inspired by my cousin, Shelley, who just obtained her RN license yesterday. I remember exactly what that felt like…absolutely incredible. I welcome her and the rest of my new colleagues to our amazing profession! Guard those credentials fiercely. State them proudly. Hold true to everything they represent.

This card is available to anyone and everyone, free of charge. Simply download, print (on card stock is best), write your personal sentiments on the reverse, and give, give away. Enjoy!


You can also download the red version.





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NursetopiaMashupCroppedHere’s a little of what I’ve been reading recently:

What has taken your attention lately?

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It’s May 13th (or later depending on when you’re reading this!), and that means one thing…You missed Nurses Week! Gasp! If there’s a nurse in your life that you need to honor, have no fear; two free Nursetopia cards are here to save the day. Simply download, print on card stock or another high-quality paper, and write your message on the back. If you want to download the cards separately, you can grab them here and here to resize and use.

You’re welcome. 

Belated Nurses Week - Things That Stink_Crafted By Nursetopia

Belated Nurses Week - Happy Nurses Year_Crafted By Nursetopia

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Love on the Certified Nurses Near You

by Nursetopia on March 18, 2014

Tomorrow – March, 19, 2014, is Certified Nurses Day. Hooray!! 

CertifiedNursesDayNew readers, consider this your orientation to Certified Nurses Day, but all the Nursetopia faithfuls should know this date (March 19th) by now. It’s time to cel-uhhh-braaa-aate! Why? Because this day highlights nurses who’ve gone above and beyond to obtain certification in addition to all of their education and licenses, indicating quality patient care and nursing professionalism.

Now, if this quick-evening-before post is any indication of how prepared you think I am to celebrate the certified nurses around me, you’re wrong. Okay, not completely wrong. Okay, so I’m preparing the night before, yes, but don’t think I haven’t thought about this special day for several weeks. Because I totally have. 

I chose to purchase a gift for the nurses around me rather than make one like previously. And, I didn’t even make my own card this year because the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) did such an awesome job of developing all the materials for me. Seriously, kudos, ANCC, ’cause it’s all super cute. They’re feminine, for sure, so I’m not sure how our guy colleagues will receive them, but they work for my all-lady certified nurse team. I’m plastering their work areas with the posters, adding my sentimental thanks to the letterhead and cards, and emailing the pre-crafted design to my team and executive leaders, highlighting the certified nurses.

It’s. Going. To. Be. Awesome. Because certified nurses are awesome. 


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Administering A Dose of Gratitude

by Nursetopia on March 4, 2014

It’s easy to point out the wrong in health care. It’s all around us. Despite the brokeness, there are dozens hundreds of processes and moments that do work well.

Praise is limited for the on-time surgery with appropriate and accurate “time-outs;” reconciled instrument counts; providers utilizing the just-in-time stocked supplies that took months to pare down without impacting patient outcomes and negotiating sustainable contracts; post-operative nurses who self-scheduled to improve their own satisfaction while curbing rising staffing costs; pharmacy technicians who verify drug counts remain consistent from shift to shift and unit to unit; health information management teams who adequately code and bill for procedures as they weed through  hundreds of thousands of data points; lab team members that quickly, efficiently, and safely process pathology specimens as dozens of  additional patient body fluids and tissues whiz through the system; leaders who make time for people despite the tug of tasks; and on and on.



Everyday health care has its awful moments. In no way am I trying to minimize healthcare errors; they’re catastrophic – even fatal – in our industry. Yet, for every one of those you-didn’t-do-this-right notifications, there are myriad more wow-that-worked-awesomely instances.



Gratitude is potent no matter the route. What’s important is that it’s actually administered.




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Dangerous Day-Dreaming People

by Nursetopia on February 10, 2014


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In Dire Need of Creative Extremists

by Nursetopia on January 20, 2014



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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.


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.






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,






Joni Watson, MBA, MSN, RN, OCN®

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