Diversity has many faces

How does your organization measure the success of the system’s diversity and inclusion efforts?  Do you look at the percentages of employees from ethnic groups?  Do you look at your patient base and the communities you serve?

Today, diversity has many faces!  The measure of success is determined by the health of the community the system serves. How prevalent are chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma and more?  Are the morality and morbidity rates associated with those conditions greater within minority populations.

Diversity is about more than the color of one’s skin. According to Mike Supple, executive vice president of B.E. Smith, consider the following:

  • Racial/Ethnic including a plan to increase the ethnic, cultural and racial diversity of the senior leadership team
  • Gender – although 80% of the healthcare workforce is female, women remain underrepresented in the boardroom and C-suite
  • Generational – according to the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, millennial see diversity in terms of demographics/equal opportunity; their older colleagues define diversity as a mix of experiences, identities and ideas
  • Experiential – a diverse workforce comprised of professionals with different skills sets, including those without healthcare backgrounds, could add great value to an organization
  • Cognitive – requires innovation and collaboration

As healthcare professionals, our goal is to make a difference. We entered the healthcare space to make a difference in the lives of others.  “Others” is a global term, encompassing everyone, everywhere.  Make diversity a part of your strategic plan; walk the talk and avoid symbolic team members. Be authentic in your approach!  Yes, diversity has many faces; it is time to diversify!

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Do you have happy feet?

Do you have happy feet?  Do they thank you at the end of a long day for taking care of them, or do they hate you for squeezing them into tight shoes, putting in too many steps, or wearing stilettos?

Summer is here, and it is high time to get off on the right foot – with your feet that is! 

There are so many things that you can do to keep your feet happy this summer and beyond.  Start with the following steps:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for at least 10 minutes. To enhance pampering, add Epsom salt, herbal soaks or oils.
  • Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove calluses around heels, balls and sides of feet.
  • Eliminate dry, flaky skin using a gentle exfoliant on the soles, sides and tops of feet.
  • Hydrate skin and increase circulation by massaging a generous amount of emollient-enriched lotion all over your feet.
  • Consider using essential oils or aloe crème.
  • To minimize the risk of ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across to just above the top of each toe.
  • Lightly wrap feet in plastic wrap before bed to lock in moisture.
  • If circulation is an issue, consider a pair of magnetic insoles for sleeping (tucked into your socks).
  • Hydrate – the toxins need to be released from the body.
  • Allow regular intervals without nail polish to let the nail bed breathe.
  • Consider toxin-free nail polishes.
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • See a healthcare professional (podiatrist) in the event of any change in the condition of skin or toenails.
  • Inspect your footwear from previous seasons and discard any shoes that show excessive wear.
  • Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Happy feet will last a lifetime…keep yours in good shape!

Beginnings…your time and mine

Have you ever thought that your life and your time were not your own? I have! And, it was true in so many ways. My life is simplified now, compared to the years between 1992 and 2004, when I worked about 100 hours per week and traveled monthly to countries in Eastern Europe. At that time, I directed the office of international affairs for a large hospital alliance, and 50% of my time was subcontracted to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). My role was to foster international partnerships between U.S. hospitals and their foreign counterparts. I loved the work, I loved the people with whom I interacted, and I loved my job. The hours were extreme, and I found myself in a constant state of catching up that left me always tired. Now, with a self-imposed work week of 40 hours, I feel I have dramatically simplified my life. I have time to work, write, teach, be with family, and give back to society. I have simplified my life by keeping up with less, not more.

I’ve taken lessons learned in less developed countries to heart as I have simplified my life. In my travels, I witnessed firsthand how simple life can be. Immediately following the earthquake in Yerevan, Armenia, on December 7, 1988, the only decent housing was in a former government hotel. Although the hotel offered neither heat nor hot water, I had a roof over my head and a clean bed. When there was no food in the hospital, our hosts offered bread. We ate it with an appreciation for what we had. With neither heat nor hot water, we made do. Our colleagues lacked so much, but their refinement of spirit and passion for their work were unsurpassed. They lived a simple life and yet a life of gratitude.

Now, as I visit that same part of the world and see the progress that has been made, I am sometimes saddened by the fact that my friends are now living more complex lives, just as I once did. They too are burning the candle at both ends; they too are dealing with carpools, school-aged kids, aging parents, and work/life balance. Call it progress…I do not!

Career Coaching for Nurses

Reinventing yourself…becoming more of YOU

Career building is a life-long endeavor, and having a nurse/coach is the first step toward creating your future.  Has your path led you to a forked road where “straight ahead” is no longer an option?   Perhaps this is a personal choice or because the organization has changed and your skills no longer fit the new business focus. Or, are you merely at a crossroads where you can continue on your present course, but want to consider the options those other directions offer?  Regardless of what brought you to your present place, it may be time to step back, take a deep breath, and reflect on a new vision of what a career might mean for you.

Forward or reverse…

Realizing you need change to get out of your rut is the first step. Once you’re there, spend some time thinking about which direction you want to go. Do you want to change into a new career? Stay in the same career but move forward into a promotion? Stay in the same career but move backward into a prior job that you enjoyed, was more meaningful, and that was less stressful? Segue into an “unjob” (contract, freelance, or self-employment work) or put your career on hold (sabbatical or leave of absence) while you explore those things you always wanted to do that offer zero or minimal financial compensation. This could mean honing an art like pottery or painting or even exploring missionary work.  Take the time to reflect on how your life purpose and your dreams should direct your career choices.  And yes, it could mean redefining yourself as a nursing professional.

As a holistic nurse coach and one who has redefined myself, I look first at your employment history, your passions, and your purpose.  What would your optimal nursing career look and feel like?  How will you know that it is right for you?

How Do I Know When Enough is Enough

Take a moment to reflect on your own career.  If you were to lose your job today, how would that affect you?  If you needed a professional recommendation, who would you contact to provide it?  How would that recommendation look and feel?  Do others think of you as a resource, as a go-to person?  You may love your work, and dislike those with whom you work.  Work satisfaction studies reveal that job frustration is the #1 problem that people express.  We have all experienced the typical ‘bad day at the office’ – so when is enough just that – enough?  I recommend listening to your body; it is a great indicator.  If your job makes you ill, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Can you fix what is not working about your job?  Can you change units, or move your desk to another location?  Sometimes, even changing the position of your desk helps.  Is there an opportunity for professional growth and can you learn from this position and use that knowledge to advance your career?

What kind of work and work setting excite you?  What would give you great joy in the workplace?  Do you prefer to work alone, or as a part of a team?  What steps have you taken thus far to change your situation and what is your timeline for a change?  Put yourself in a position in which resignation is a good choice, rather than a desperate one.

As your nurse coach, I will help you to:

  • Plan the trajectory of your nursing career and a SWOT analysis
  • Identify potentially useful resources
  • Explore your motivations and desires
  • Fine-tune your resume and CV
  • Improve your cover letters and thank you letters
  • Prepare you for interviews
  • Recover from difficult passages in your career that held you back
  • Explore new career alternatives, especially more non-traditional nursing roles
  • Brainstorm entrepreneurial and business ideas
  • Review and enhance your Linked In profile and coach you on how to best utilize this platform

Nursing is a wonderful career and an honorable profession; new opportunities offer a new alternative for you as a nursing professional.  Visit http://smwgroupllc.com to learn more.

 

Caught in the middle…and finding a path!

We know that we can aspire to, and reach greatness, if only we could reinvent ourselves and find that path.  Is it time for you to reinvent yourself?  I have done it several times.  Growing up with parents who told me to learn to type because I would never amount to anything, I believed them.  As the middle of 5 kids, I did not have the ‘middle child syndrome’, but I did have the ‘caught in the middle syndrome.’  And, I did not allow fear to get in my way. So, I started at an early age to identify ways in which I could better myself, learn and do more, achieve great heights, and then start all over again.

So, I started at an early age to identify ways in which I could better myself, learn and do more, achieve great heights, and then start all over again. Are you caught in the middle? Perhaps it is not in a family, but it might be in your career. Are you are a crossroad, and are you considering your next steps? It is not a secret that nurses in many healthcare settings are somewhat disenchanted with their careers.  Yes, they love the profession and want to remain in nursing and in balance.

As a young nurse, I, too, began my career with the option that would generate the highest salary, working nights, multiple shifts, and 7-10 day stretches at a time – for income, for excitement, and to fulfill my aspirations of what nursing was and could become.  Each of us has felt the same way at one time or another…idealistic, eager to offer service to mankind, eager to reach personal and professional fulfillment. I never lost sight of my why – why nursing!

I did not re-enter that ‘caught in the middle’ phase. Instead, I reinvented myself using my nursing knowledge, skills, and abilities. I use my nursing platform to educate, engage and empower others to get out of the middle and to get a life.

As a nursing professional, I have been fortunate to have worked in many modalities within nursing…from acute care and infusion therapy, to home care, outpatient, practice plan management, clinic management, education, and international work.  I have been blessed to have touched the lives of many people in many ways…but at no time in my own nursing career has that been truer than now.  I am out of the middle, as a Certified Speaking Professional, author, facilitator, and coach and a path that will allow me to be more, do more, and yes, speak more! How about you?

 

 

 

Stress Management…what does it look like?

From an unrealistic workload due to inadequate staffing and excessive paperwork; fluctuating schedules associated with changing shifts; mandatory overtime; floating without appropriate orientation; and moral and ethical dilemmas, nurses, first responders, police officers, and pilots see and feel it all.  Who is the picture of stress management? The answer is Sharon Weinstein, author of B is for Balance, 2nd edition…12 steps to creating balance at home and at work.

Additionally, being single, rearing young families, and/or caring for aging parents are common life circumstances with unique psychosocial and logistical challenges. Many professionals have sought flexible, virtual arrangements in pursuit of balanced personal lives. We all have personal and career goals. By visualizing those goals, we empower ourselves to achieve them. Taking small action steps toward our goals puts them within our reach.  How do you manage your stress? What small action steps have you taken?

Why is Sharon the ‘look’ of stress management? It’s simple – she put the B into Balance, and she works at it every single day!  Do you?

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Yes or No…setting boundaries!

Women are Earth personalities.  What does that mean?  According to Ancient Chinese Medicine and the Theory of the Five Elements, women do for others before they do for themselves.  The lunches are made, the laundry is done, the lawn is mowed, the homework is checked, the refrigerator is stocked, the trash is emptied, and the dog’s walked.  A simple checklist of everything for everybody, except oneself…and that is why a woman is ‘earthy.’  In nursing, it is clear. The nurse cares for others before caring for him/herself.  The nurse always says, ‘Yes’ to the extra shift, overtime, assisting peers.  The nurse probably also says, ‘Yes’ to the relative in need of a place to stay, some money to tide him over, a friend in need of a ride, or a child in need of a hug.

Everybody knows someone who has asked, and to whom we just cannot say, ‘No.’  In B is for Balance, I address why it is okay to say, ‘No’ and the fact that ‘No is a complete sentence.’  It does not require justification, excuses, reasons, or supporting documentation.  It is simply a ‘No.’

It is essential to set boundaries in your personal and professional life.  imagesHow does one begin?

  • Identify your limits (know what makes you stressed and uncomfortable
  • Pay attention to your feelings
  • Give yourself permission
  • Consider your environment

Like you, I probably said, ‘Yes’ much too often.  I was the one I just described.  I worked the extra hours.  I took home the assignment that was due the next day.  I stayed late to help my peers.  I went out at 11pm to Walmart in search of a lunchbox for a visiting grandchild.  I returned the books to the library, completed the website revisions, led the project team, and…I was known as the ‘finisher.’  My former boss often referred to me in that way to describe the fact that I left nothing undone, and I could be counted on to get the job done…no matter what it might take in terms of time, money, energy, spirit.

And what did I get in return?  I had great satisfaction in the fact that my work was complete, required little change, was timely, and that I could be counted on.  I loved that feeling, and I loved helping others.  But, one day I realized that I could no longer work 100-hour weeks and that I could no longer be the only one on a project team completing the project.  I realized that I had no time for myself, for my family, and for the life that I wanted to live. I needed to set boundaries!donotcross

Now, I regret the times when I failed to say no just because of peer pressure. Let’s learn to face the music here: saying yes to everyone is stressful. It’s selfish. And it’s definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health!

My friend, it’s time you start saying no. No to people you don’t like, no to parties you don’t even fancy and certainly no to activities that don’t make you a better person.

How does one escape a trap that one has built?  How does one shift the mindset to learn to say, ‘No.’   Go ahead and say no, because:

You don’t owe anybody anything.

  1. You can never control everybody’s opinion of you.
  2. You’re the only one who can really identify your priorities in life.
  3. You’re your number one citizen.
  4. Life moves on.

The Disease to Please

Millions of people suffer from what author/psychologist Harriet Braiker describes in her book of the same name.  These ‘people-pleasers’ think that they are making others happy, when they are actually making themselves miserable.  Saying ‘No’ is a generous thing to do…it frees us from making a shallow commitment and ensures that when we do say ‘Yes’ – our heart is in it!

So where do we begin?  I suggest the following:

– Declare a “no phone zone.” Whether it’s your bedroom or the dinner table, just say no.  That goes for your kids as well; let them keep their technology away from the dinner table and enjoy family time.

– Carve out four hours for a time-out each weekend!  Enjoy family, friends, the news, or a show  – and be truly offline.

–  Schedule time with friends – just to catch up or just to chat!   Yes, pick up that phone, and not to text or email, but simply to place a call.  Schedule a coffee meeting, or lunch out.  Revisit the schedule and get to know one another again.

Now that you know how – will you implement these simple steps?  Will you treasure that Earth Personality that allows you to do all for others – but take it a step beyond and do something for yourself.

About Sharon…

Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, RN, CRNI, FACW, FAAN, CSP 

Sharon is an energetic, motivating and highly skilled professional speaker and author specializing in work/life balance.  After all, she wrote the book.   She is the founder of SharonMWeinstein, an LLC and two not-for-profits. 

She holds the coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned international recognition for professional speakers. This makes her one of only 12% of all speakers to hold this designation and one of only 21 nurses in the world with this credential.

She uses her nursing platform to educate others about the need for work/life balance, fatigue and stress management, and gratitude.  A past president of the Infusion Nurses Society and past chair of the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation, she is best known as the author of Plumer’s Principles and Practice of Infusion Therapy and B is for Balance.  She is Vice President of NSA-DC and Dean of the Speaker’s Academy.

She rode a camel in Cairo, was a delegate to the Women’s Conference in Beijing, designed the foreign patient department at the Kremlin Hospital in Moscow, and played with the penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park, Australia.