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Post Shift

So you have a shift. It can be great or it can be brutal. Or it can just be a shift. What do you do next? 

A proactive and intentional post-shift practice is going to change your life. Have you ever heard of a maladaptive response to stress? In a nutshell, a maladaptive response is a response to something which increases the stress instead of decreasing it. This response can happen without you being aware. Therefore having a proactive approach to your post-shift recovery can be helpful.

At the end of my shifts I always do these tasks:

  • Before I leave the unit I write on a post-it 3 things- something I learnt, something I loved and something I achieved (on a Friday I read them to show me what I have have achieved that week)
  • Listen to a song from my playlist (I use music to start and end a shift)
  • Back when I was burnt out, I would stop outside the ward doors and pause and imagine letting the shift go like you would set down a suitcase. (I don’t do this so much in my new role as it’s not so heavy on my soul)
  • Sit outside (1 min minimum but much longer if I can) and feel the breeze or sun on my face. No phone. Just being. 

At home after my shift, I always ensure I have a moment of true leisure planned. It is easy to get swept up into household tasks or doing things for everyone else. BUT research tells us that shift recovery is severely decreased by completing household chores. Yes, we all need to keep our homes clean and tidy BUT you also NEED to look after yourself first.

 I also journal. Every day. Sometimes free text, sometimes bullet. But every day I unburden my mind of stuff to leave space for the next day. I love journaling and could talk about the benefits of it all day, but I’ll save that for another day. 

What next?

Next week we will look at the actual implementation of pre-shift pump up and post-shift recovery. 

The Phoenix Protocol is a membership for nurses seeking guidance with life skills to cope on shift and off shift. The membership involves monthly masterclass videos, worksheets and much more. 

Click here to join our mailing list for when the doors are opened again.

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Pre Shift

Your alarm goes off. What time – 5? 6? Likely your morning shift starts at 7 am or 7:30 am right? Are you feeling rested? Are you mentally alert to safely handle the changing status of your patients over the day? 

What are you going to do in the next hour or so before your shift? Have you thought about this? 

Same for an afternoon or a night duty (Bless you! I didn’t last long on night duty!) what are your pre-shift behaviours- outside of putting your scrubs on and chucking your phone in your bag?

I want to make the pre-shift hours easier for you. Nurses who feel sufficiently recovered have less near misses and certainly make fewer mistakes at work. Quite literally what you do off shift can make a huge difference to someone’s life. 

A rushed and uninspired pre-shift can create a negative and unproductive shift. No thanks. 

So now with this new knowledge that your pre-shift behaviours can have a huge impact are you going to spend a few minutes assessing what you do? Will you look at including some more intentional and conscious behaviours to your pre-shift party?

I’ll share what is quite truly one of my most important pre-shift behaviours. 

  • On my walk from the car to the hospital, I play an upbeat and vibrant song. Something that lifts the spirit and makes you strut a little. I have a Pre Shift Pump Up playlist on Spotify if you want to peek. Click here. 
  • Write my 3 most pressing tasks for the day
  • Say a mantra in my mind while I get settled i.e. ‘It’s going to be a great day’ (I change the words most days!)

Share with me some of your pre-shift behaviours. Do it here or on my latest insta post. You just may inspire someone. 

What next?

Next week we will look at post shift recovery.

Also The Phoenix Protocol is a membership for nurses seeking guidance with life skills to cope on shift and off shift. The membership involves monthly masterclass videos, worksheets and much more. 

Click here to join our mailing list for when the doors are opened again.

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Shift Recovery

So those two little words seem simple enough, don’t they? But from my experience and from my observations of many nurses this is something that we just aren’t doing. Or if people do have some shift recovery behaviours then they aren’t done properly or with intention. 

I found some research on shift recovery by accident a few years ago. I had set myself a challenge to read 25 articles on nursing burnout/compassion fatigue for 6 months. I wanted to immerse myself in what I was going through and as an evidence-based loving nurse, I turned to the research. When I read this article, I felt something click in my brain. It felt like it was a concept I had been waiting to find and I knew I had a new very fine feather in my cap. However the research is old and sporadic but it is tried and tested by me. Experience and evidence- the perfect combination. 

In a nutshell shift recovery is the actions you take to recover from one shift before starting another. It includes how work-related fatigue and mental loads are managed to prevent maladaptive behaviours on mental and physical health outcomes. 

Do you do anything specific to get yourself mentally ready for a shift? Do you have any intentional post-shift activities to help ‘cleanse’ you of some of the potential burdens from work? 

The keyword here is ‘intentional’. To me, the behaviour needs to be planned and specific to create that mental switch off to allow true recharge to occur.

In the coming weeks, we will look at what pre-shift recovery is, what post-shift recovery is and also how to implement these into your life. 

So I hear you asking; why was it that no attention was paid to how we coped with nursing when we were not nursing? 

This is the question of my nursing career, my friends. I have discovered that many skills (like shift recovery)  just aren’t taught in our education so The Phoenix Protocol works to bridge that gap for nurses.  

The Phoenix Protocol is a membership for nurses seeking guidance with life skills to cope on shift and off shift. The membership involves monthly masterclass videos, worksheets and much more. 

Click here to join our mailing list for when the doors are opened again.

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The one thing to make a difference

I wanted to write this blog to share something I’ve learned with you. This is something I work on daily and I want you to do the same thing. Some time ago I felt trapped and tired in my role. Then I started working daily on this one thing and that is when the magic happened. 

Trying to be a nurse on someone else’s terms gets tiring after a while. It happens to the best of us. I was at the point of leaving nursing or doing something drastic. I had the opportunity to go on some leave so I went for it. On this leave I had a chance encounter with the following quote:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer”  – Albert Camus.

Albert and I had first met when I studied The Outsider in my last year of high school. (If you have not read this then do yourself a favour!!)

Reading this quote when I felt down switched a light on in me. And I realised that it all began and ended with me. That I could change and that I shouldn’t expect everything else to change. 

After that realisation, I felt so refreshed and gained so much clarity on how to love my work again. My life outside work was pretty amazing but I was letting this part of my life, which I wasn’t managing, take over the good parts. 

I realized that there’s this ONE thing that made such a big difference for me when it comes to getting career clarity.  And this one thing isn’t taught in our schools (well it wasn’t when I was at school!) and it certainly wasn’t taught to me when I was at university studying nursing.

Have you guessed it yet?

Yes, it is….

Growth Mindset!

Without a growth mindset you allow yourself to stay small. You don’t allow your space to grow and thrive and learn and grab the best that career and life can offer you. You will see any bad shift as a knock and allow it to take a little piece of you. Growth mindset is about acknowledging how life  sometimes gives you a lemon and then making that into lemonade. I fear for the people who haven’t found this little life gem yet. 

Here are some of the fav ways you can start on your growth mindset journey.

●Embrace imperfections. 

●View a challenge as a learning opportunity not as a negative. Think ‘what can I learn from this’?

●Dissociate lack of improvement from failure. Someone telling you that you can’t do something doesn’t mean you never can. 

Now it’s over to you my Angels. 

Stop what you are doing and head over to my socials and tell me about your experience with growth mindset. Share some tips or tricks you use or which tip you are going to try this week. 

Remember it is not how good you are, it is how good you want to be. 

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How to resign

I do believe there is an art to resigning.

It is never a good idea to leave poorly.

You never know when you may need the person again in the future.

Nor do you know if they have friends at other institutions/hospitals.

Plus you may need them as your referee for a new job.

Keep things professional.

 I recommend following follow some of these suggestions:

  • write a short, professional and polite resignation letter. Include the role you are resigning from and what your last day of work will be. You may want to add a sentence about your reasons for resigning but you do not have to include this. 
  • ask the manager to speak with you in private at their convenience.
  • do not tell other people you are resigning before you meet with your manager. If they hear rumours it is not nice.
  • be discrete with other job interviews prior to resigning.
  • make eye contact during the resignation. Yes, it is uncomfortable but being professional and present for the resignation is the most professional way to manage yourself. 
  • be polite. Highlight some positive experiences you have had on the ward and express your appreciation for the professional opportunities you enjoyed. 
  • if your manager tries to pry out reasons for your resignation try to remain positive. There is no need to get negative unless you feel you can frame things in a way which won’t leave the manager feeling attacked. 
  • close the meeting by confirming the next steps. That is, when your last day will be.
  • work until your last day. It may be easy to start cruising out of the job. But respect your colleagues and your patients and give your all until you leave.
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FAQs we get most weeks

FAQs- I’ve had a few.

So as many of you know I am a clinical trials nurse. I love data, that’s me. For the last year or so I have kept a spreadsheet on the questions I get sent including how many of the same questions. Yes I love spreadsheets. Below is a list of our most frequent FAQ’s and our answers.

And please DM me or email me beth@autonomic.com.au with more questions as I love to help and I love to add them to my spreadsheet.

P.S I will be holding a monthly Q&A session within ‘The Phoenix Protocol’. I’ll be asking my wonderful Angel members to send me their questions (nursing related, mindset related, shift recovery related, ANYTHING related!) and I’ll answer them. Sound like something you are interested in? Check out this page for more info and sign up for our V V special Foundation Member launch price. 

  1. Does completing our course count towards CPD?

This question is obviously for Australian nurses only. I am in contact with AHPRA for a more clear confirmation. If you read the continuing education sheets then it clearly says that personal development can count towards your hours. If you are able to write about how the course work from Love Your Work or our upcoming membership ‘The Phoenix Protocol’ can be related to work, then I would argue that you are within your rights to claim the hours you spend reading as part of your CPD. As always contact AHPRA if you want to confirm. 

  1. I have to register from overseas. What is the process?

I get this one surprisingly often and seem to get DM from nurses that haven’t trained here wanting to register. This really isn’t my area of expertise. My recommendation is to contact AHPRA (web address) to get the info right from the source. What I do know is that it is a rollercoaster and can take a long time. If you are wanting to come and nurse here and if you have trained overseas start the process now. Best of luck Angels. Can’t wait to see you on the wards. 

3 I don’t have experience but want a job which says you need some.

I got this one a lot. So I decided to write a longer response. 

Check it out here.

4 I have a bullying/difficult staff member on my ward

Sadly this is another one which we get too often. A difficult staff member or someone you would call a bully is most certainly someone who is unhappy in their role. They are a person you do not want to copy. It can be incredibly difficult to not take this behaviour personally. But it is not about you. Never has, never will be. 

I cover how to deal with a bullying staff member in our ‘The Autonomic Companion’ in addition to many other stress inducing work situations. If you want to feel on top of things by your next shift, if you want to have exact actions to follow then I suggest you check this out. 

5 I have clinical placement coming up for uni and I’m nervous 

The stress is real. Oh yes the stress is real. 

Here are some of my best tips:

-Focus on what could go right (Do not focus on the opposite of that). Make a list of what you want to achieve and let that be your focus instead of the butterflies.

-Be prepared. Research and learn about the area which you have been placed in. I want you to know some of the main medications used on the ward. I want you to know some of the conditions you may come across on the ward. Nothing calms wired nerves like preparedness. 

-Try some chill, use meditation for 5-10 days before the placements start to really get the heart beating slower and the chill vibes around you. 

-Look after yourself. I mean organise a healthy lunch to take with you. Ensure you are getting enough sleep before placements and also during them. And exercise. Get those feel good endorphins flowing. It will help. 

-Also ease into the nerves. You know they are probably going to be there, so prepare yourself for the big exciting undertaking that’s coming. You got this.

Head over to our website and download ‘The Art of Introductions’ as a great reminder and guide on how to approach all the new people you will meet during your placements. 

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Why you need to join our Masterclass

On the 18th of August, we will be holding a free Masterclass. 

Are you familiar with Masterclass? 

A Masterclass is a special class run by an educator for a group of talented people. 

And guess what? 

You are very talented people and I think you can go far and make a real change to your life and others. 

Also, this Masterclass will give you a little sneak peek of what a month in ‘The Phoenix Protocol’ would be like. 

You know The Phoenix Protocol- our upcoming membership which is going to change lives. 

For those not familiar The Phoenix Protocol is a monthly membership we will be launching in late August. 

The first bundle of goodness will hit your inboxes on the 1st Sept. 

Each month you will receive:

  • a prerecorded masterclass choc-a-block with the info you can implement from your next shift. The aim is to make your work life easier as well as your home life. Topics will include work-based skills, life skills and more.
  • We will provide worksheets to consolidate learning.
  • You will be granted VIP access to our Facebook group for our most engaged nurses all wanting to improve their careers and thrive in life. 
  • Monthly workplace-based challenges to stretch you at work to grow. 

Sign up to our exclusive waitlist for more info on how the Phoenix Protocol can change your life on and off shift. 

P.S. Enjoying work has as much to do with what you do pre and post shifts and on your days off as it does about finding the right job for you. 

We would love for you to join us for our FREE Masterclass which will be released on 18th August. 

The August Masterclass is on our signature formula for how to find your place and love your work again. 

Sign up here for the link to join us. What do you have to lose?

I leave you today with these questions.

If not now then when?

Why won’t you start taking even a small step to live your best life?

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Why every nurse should have a LinkedIn account.

I know. I know that LinkedIn feels a bit business-like. It doesn’t feel like the domain of nurses. But trust me this is something that you should spend 5-10 minutes setting up. 

Linkedin is the biggest online networking site for working professionals like all of us. Creating a profile is a great way to begin to build your nursing and healthcare network outside of only the people you work with. These links and networks may prove to be invaluable for your future career prospects. You can network with people from specific groups/roles only if you want. LinkedIn is what you make it. 

I’ll share my own experiences with my LinkedIn account at the end of this post. Now here is a quick list of inclusions I recommend. It will only take 5-10 mins total to complete.

  1. Profile picture. You can just use one taken on your phone. No professional shots needed just yet. Make sure it has a plain background. Don’t distract from your gorgeous face.
  2. Pop RN (or whatever your title is) next to your photo. This makes it easier for people who are searching. 
  3. Headline. This is your time to shine. Give yourself a headline. Don’t give me an ‘RN at X hospital’. Gimme a ‘Sydney-based RN with cardiology experience with a special interest in infection control’. Sell yourself, don’t be modest!
  4. Professional summary. Write this paragraph in the first person. Write about your strengths, experience and what you would bring to a position. Also, put in what job opportunities you are after or what type of nurses you wish to network with.
  5. Experience. You can just copy and paste this from your CV. But plump each area out a bit. You don’t need to worry about space restrictions on the Link (do people call it ‘The Link’? Let’s start it?)
  6. Endorsements. This isn’t like a referee. This is sort of ‘liking’ people on LinkedIn but related to work skills. Check out LinkedIn to see the example. You could start by endorsing other people you know to build up your recommendations. 

LinkedIn is an essential tool for networking. And while not overly used in nursing, this will change and I implore you to start now. This is something you could quickly set up and leave if you don’t have time for it right now. That way it’s there if someone who may want to hire you can find you. Or an opportunity for expertise is needed by a company. Setting up a profile will only enhance your career. Trust me.

Now my story. I set up my own LinkedIn a few years ago. Just with my basics and a terrible picture. A bit more social than professional. Anyway, I set it and didn’t keep it updated at all. Then I noticed a notification in my email from LinkedIn and decided to check it out. It was a message from a large pharmaceutical company seeking my expertise for a short term education role. I jumped at the challenge. I got invaluable experience working on ‘the other side’. I travelled around Australia and met many nurses and visited many hospitals in Australia. It was a great role and I loved every minute of it. When the education was completed I went back to my hospital role. I returned with a fuller brain and a wider view of the world. 

The lesson here is I never went looking for this role. I would never have applied for it. It would have passed me by. But it didn’t due to my little LinkedIn page. 

Imagine the opportunities if I had set it up properly!

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ACCEPT

Accept? I get this. This could be very annoying BUT it is the key to fostering an intentional, successful and conscious career which will help you to get the best out of life. It can seem wrong and uncomfortable to accept something that isn’t exactly what you want. But perhaps the answer is to look at acceptance rather than complacency, because then you will have developed the ability to have a positive attitude to accepting situations.

Here are a few ways you could do this:

  1. Think of it as a learning process. Your initial reaction might be that it is impossible to accept something but allowing yourself to feel that way you can then relax into it. Acceptance should not be a forced view but a process to go through in stages. 
  2. See things for what they are. Sometimes when people refuse to accept something it is because they refuse to acknowledge that this is what nursing is. Or that the type of nursing they have chosen is really like that. Trying to have a calm and organised workplace in ED isn’t going to happen. So make sure you aren’t expecting something which won’t come true. Don’t lose touch with reality. 
  3. Don’t take things personally. It is easy to be a victim of an experience but some situations aren’t related to you. Remove yourself physically and/or mentally if needed. 
  4. Don’t think acceptance is a statement of your work preference. Accepting something today is not stating to the world that this job, this role, is your preference forever. 
  5. Allow yourself to relax into reality. Think ‘it is not great but it is okay- for now’.
  6. Accept what you can today as this is something you do for yourself. By accepting it today you take away a constant daily stressor which would otherwise bother you. Remind yourself it is not forever to accept it today. 
  7. Recognise what you can learn from acceptance. Find the silver lining.
  8. Practice detachment from your thoughts. Don’t let a thought engulf you about what you are accepting. This doesn’t mean dismissing things as not valid. It is giving them less power if you view them as something separate than you. 

It is not always easy to accept something which isn’t ‘right’. But it is possible to be more relaxed and adjust to it. Especially if you have a plan for what’s next. Always be forward-facing and remember ‘the only constant is change’. 

If you haven’t done it already, register your interest here for the RCA webinar in August. Click here to save your front row seat. Plus get a list of personal values to guide your job choices to find the right fit for you!

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CHANGE

This week we continue to look at:

Operation RCA

My little acronym which will change your life in a big way.

Today we are looking at change.

If I know one thing for certain, aside from the fact you should never say the ‘Q’ word (quiet) on the ward, that change is the only certainty of life. Life will change so you best be ready. You can wait for situations to change which may not work for your schedule nor will it necessarily change the way you want. Or you can make the changes. I recommend the latter.

I recommend approaching change from a needs-based perspective and then a time-based perspective.

Ask yourself:

  • What needs to be changed? (perhaps nothing at the minute. Perhaps you are happy with most things and you don’t need any action now. Good on you!).
  • What doesn’t need changing?

Then move to what you can change at certain times:

  • What can I change today?
  • What can I change this month?
  • What can I change over 6 months?
  • What can I change over a year +?

I recommend trying to write out things that you want to change in a tense which is like they are already true (i.e. If you want a job without weekend work write ‘I work Monday-Friday’.)

Once you have these points decided upon then look at the ‘how’. The ‘how’ is important but don’t get too bogged down in the how while trying to work out your requirements and changes.  When ready and able start to consider the following questions:

  • Who do I need to be to achieve this?
  • What do I need to do to achieve this?
  • What will I do this week to achieve this?
  • What will I do this month to achieve this?

I will be hosting a web-based Masterclass on RCA in August. Register your interest so you can get into the deeper aspects of achieving a successful RCA. Click here to save your front row seat. 

Next week we look at Accept.

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What is it you REALLY require?

Many moons ago I was trying to work out where my nursing career was going. I knew I loved nursing. I loved oncology nursing. But I was tired. I was worn out. I wasn’t giving what I should. My patients and my colleagues deserved more. Over a couple of weeks, I started to develop a method of approaching my work and prospects with a formula to help bring all my thoughts together.

This formula is Requirements, Change and Accept. Which I like to call ‘Operation RCA’.

I have very little doubt that if you apply this formula when approaching your work, then your work enjoyment will increase and therefore your life outside of work will flourish.

Today we look at the first step:

Requirements

This word can take in a few different directions but that is ultimately the beauty of individual requirements. These are going to be incredibly different for each person.

I suggest you start here and go through the following list but make sure you add what is important to you on the list too.

Values

I have put this first as it is the most important. Start here to help pave the path so the rest will flow.

By values, I’m referring to your values. Personal values are important. They are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for and what we represent. Essentially a list of our unique essences. When we live in a way which isn’t congruent with our values we will end up with bad habits and poor outcomes at work and home. Finding out your values  will help you identify what motivates you and from here the magic happens.

For the comprehensive list of personal values click here to get them.

After you have looked at your values you are ready to continue:

Expectations (what do you expect from work)

10 ideas to get you going but you can always add more to your list.

Ø  Hours

Ø  Location

Ø  Pay

Ø  Acuity

Ø  Shifts

Ø  Patient contact

Ø  Education

Ø  Community

Ø  Career opportunities

Ø  Challenges

Sit with this activity. Complete it once. Then put it away and come back to it tomorrow. Read the values list again. Ponder on what you want from work and what you want work to give to you.

Next week we look at:

Change

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No Experience

The old ‘catch-22’ – you need a job to get experience, but you need the experience to get a job! 

You are browsing the job ads, a job you want shows up but you don’t have the experience. Damn. But if I know you, you are brave and bold enough to send in your cover later and your resume anyway. 

BUT, how do you get a job with no work experience? Settle in, I’ll tell you.

All hope is not lost. There are 3 key areas which you can improve on to help cover this issue. Each building on the other to help you get passed each career-based hurdle.

  • Your cover letter
  • Your resume
  • Your interview

Check out the checklists and response options below and make sure you sign up for our video series for additional information to get you primed for your job application.

The importance of cover letters cannot be overstated.

Tick off this checklist when completing your next cover letter to make sure you include it all:

1. Carefully review the job posting and research the company’s website.

2. List your contact information at the top of the document. 

3. Greet the reader and introduce yourself.  

4. Explain your skills and achievements relevant to the position.        

5. Remind them why you’re best for the position. 

6. Ask them for an interview.  

7. Conclude your letter forward-facing. 

8. Proofread for spelling, grammar and clarity issues. 

9. Save the document as a PDF and send it in with your resume, keep reading for how to nail that.

The low down on resumes:

Try this checklist when looking at your resume to make it more appealing for the interview:

1. Include a summary statement

2. Pay attention to the hard skills you do have 

3. Take stock of your achievements and activities

4. Focus on your education and skills

5. Internships, internships, internships

6. Include any extracurricular activities or volunteer work

7. Never include these certain elements: address, DOB. For more details sign up for our online education session. 

8. Keywords, keywords, keywords

9. Add a cover letter

10. Customise your resume for each job you apply for.

The info about interviews: 

Try one of these 2 responses:

· The similar experience response- show how your previous experience can be translated into their desired experience.

· The no experience ‘show your understanding of the experience and what skills would be required and how you meet them’ response. Include that you are a quick learner and are very eager. Discuss what education you have looked into completing to help bring you up to speed quickly. Show your interest.

Also, do this:

The managers and the panel you meet will look for the following (in amongst other things) so prepare an answer for:

· Your elevator pitch (the ‘tell us about yourself’ question)

· How well you understand the realities of a job you have never done

· Relevant skills applied in other contexts that could help you be successful in this job

· Enthusiasm for the work and a willingness to take the rough with the smooth that comes with every job.

Bring everything from your cover letter and resume to the interview. Repeat things used there. Don’t reinvent the wheel for every interview. 

So you have a great starting point here but do you want to go deeper?  

Well, click here for a link to our online education session with a free workbook. The session builds on the information above and takes you that step further. 

While I have you, why not join our Handover email list here so you can be notified of our new releases as they happen. We have some exciting things coming and you don’t want to miss this. Click here to sign up (www.autonomic.com.au

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The REALLY underutilised secret to finding your niche.

The underutilised secret to finding your niche. Drum Roll…..

A nurse mentor!

When done properly a nurse mentor can be life and career-changing. This is especially true of new nurses as a mentor can be invaluable for their education and their preparation as a nurse in the real world (outside uni and pracs).  A nurse mentorship can be formal via your hospital or informal.  

Nurse mentorships aren’t overly common in Australia but they should be.  If there is none offered in your work what then? I am setting you a challenge.  Find someone who you want to be your mentor and ask them!  This shows you are forward-thinking and the person will be incredibly flattered. Yes, it can be nerve-racking BUT is that one moment of nerves not an amazing pay off for the many benefits which can come from a mentor? Yes, it is. 

What is a nurse mentor?

 A nurse mentor is an experienced nurse who volunteers to serve as a role model, advocate and motivator to help new nurses settle into their careers. Mentors serve to provide formal and informal training, support and counselling to new nurses within safe environments, in and out of clinical settings. This relationship can last from months to years depending on how much each party wants from it. 

What does a nurse mentor do?

After completing all your academic work and practical placements, nurses begin their journey into nursing. Once you are in the real-world health care workplace, you may be struck by the pressures and intensity of the nursing profession. This is where nurse mentors are needed to provide guidance and share their clinical experiences to help new nurses gain confidence in their roles.

Who can use a mentor?

Anyone! At any stage of your career really. Mentorships have been found to be a really successful way to achieve professional growth and personal development of new grad nurses but also other nurses who are transitioning into new roles. If you are a nurse you should consider getting yourself a mentor. 

So what makes a good mentor?

Here are 8 key points that help to foster an effective mentorship.

  1. Commitment

Mentoring is an ongoing active process. A mentor needs to be willing to invest time and energy in a one-on-one relationship.

If you make a commitment to do it, you must fully commit to it, please. It is not fair for either party if you start letting it taper off. Think of it as a contribution to advancing the future of nursing. 

If we really want to retain good nurses we need to all be giving back when we can and supporting other nurses. 

It is a real privilege to be a mentor- you get to watch someone new grow in their career and in their personal achievements. Amazing!

  1. Supportive

A mentor’s role is primarily to support and encourage other nurses to manage their own learning in order to develop their skills.

Mentors need to be approachable, reasonable and competent nurses themselves. They need to be committed to helping mentees achieve the success of which they are capable of. A good mentor not only strengthens the mentee as a nurse but also as a person as well.

  1. Role Model

The mentor is the guide, expert and role model who helps develop a new or less experienced mentee. Mentors need to use experience and insights that helped them to help others. The mentor needs to be walking their talk. They should role model the desired behaviours of a successful nurse. 

  1. Realistic expectations

It is vital that mentors and mentees have realistic expectations of their joint goals. Set limits for how often to meet and what needs to happen at each meeting. When I say meeting I mean coffee in the cafeteria, this doesn’t have to be formal and stuffy! Patience, honesty and collaboration with each other will help foster stronger relationships.

  1. The right fit

Mentoring is an ongoing relationship between a mentor and mentee for as long as both find meaning and value in it. It is really important that you click with the person. Trust your gut, don’t pick someone who you know isn’t right for you but think they will help you get where you want. If it’s not working once you start, then cut your losses sooner rather than later. 

  1. Appropriate mentor

It is crucial that the mentor knows what it is like to be in the position of the mentee. They should know the role and therefore be able to guide you with insider info. They can help you by sharing their personal pitfalls and experiences.

  1. Positivity

Ideally, a mentor should be someone who is passionate about their career and passionate about sharing knowledge. You really need someone who is positive and enthusiastic. They should have the right motivation for being a mentor. It shouldn’t be something for their CV only. Look for genuine interest in both parties. 

  1. Know your own limitations

It’s important to be willing to know your limits as a mentor. Admit when you don’t know something and work together to find out the answer. This is great role modelling and shows how to work within your scope of practice.

Action point:

  • Think about if getting a mentor may be the right thing for you. If it is then JUMP IN! Ask someone and let me know it turns out.

Email me at beth@autonomic.com.au if you have any questions or hit me up on the socials. 

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5 ways to stop doubting yourself

So this week I want you to think on the following quote:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

This week we want you to focus on not doing passive but doing passion! 

Being passionate isn’t about being consumed by work alone and losing sight of life outside it. Being passionate isn’t being exhausted by being ‘on’ all the time.  Passion to me is being engaged, intentional and conscious about your work.  It is about knowing your worth and not doubting yourself about what you can do and the type of work you deserve. 

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For too long I lived as a self doubter.  And I do not think I am alone with the self doubt self talk. (I am actually a big fan of Melissa Ambrosini, she has a whole book you can read called ‘Mastering your Mean Girl’ if you want to go deeper on this negative self talk).

The above quote spoke to me when I saw it recently as it took me back to an old internal battle I used to constantly fight.  About how often at uni and then at work AND also in my out of work life I would know the answer, I knew the correct solution, but I was afraid of speaking up.  I constantly second guessed my actions.  It drove me mad.  I had the knowledge and resources to do so many things at work and outside but I listened to a little voice that kept telling me I didn’t know how or I couldn’t do it. Essentially ‘who was I to speak up’. 

Needless to say, this sort of talk holds us back significantly.  When we lack self assurance we hold ourselves back from progressing.  We don’t speak up when we should as a patient advocate.  We don’t action clinical decisions in case they are wrong.  We let people treat us less than they should just in case we actually ARE in the wrong. But more often we aren’t. 

I am sorry to say that the solution is not simple.  There is no clicking of fingers here and suddenly our insecurities go away.  It is a steady progression of improving but one worth investing in. 

Below I have compiled my top 5 ways to stop doubting yourself.

1.Don’t get stuck on planning out every minute of your day.

Don’t get me wrong I love being organised. I love using day planners. However when we get too caught up in our planning we can get a little bit upset when something doesn’t get done on your previously set out schedule. 

You may fall into the mindset of ‘now one thing has gone wrong, everything will go wrong’ and lose the flow of your day. It can be a slippery slope from there!

 Continue to plan. But also make sure you are adaptable to the day and be realistic.  Things happen!  Life happens!  No matter how much we try to control the day, we have to accept the unpredictability of our roles as nurses. 

2. When you catch yourself wasting time overthinking, just start on the tasks.

Have you ever fought with yourself in the corridor about what to do next. Eating up precious time?  This type of overthinking can really turn your brain to mush! And take up space for critical thinking. Just starting something is more effective than thinking about starting something.  It will all happen or you can always hand it over.  The beauty of nursing is that someone else is coming!  Thinking about urgent tasks (think time specific or patient safety tasks first.)

3.Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap.

Stop looking at how other people from your intake are going. Comparing yourself to others will have self doubt creeping up before you know it. 

A better idea is to only compare yourself to yourself. How have you improved from one month ago? Six months ago? One year ago? Then you will really notice how far you have come. 

4.Sharpen your skills.

If you are doubting your ability in a certain skill then I have one piece of advice. Do that thing until you don’t doubt it. 

Remember that song line ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’? Well do it! 

I used to dread running up a certain hill on my runs. For a while I used to run a different track so I didn’t have to do it. But did that help? No. So I started to include the hill in EVERY run and now I own the hill! 

Keep doing it until you feel confident and competent in completing that task.

5.Celebrate each small step forward and wins.

When you feel like you are doubting yourself and your ability it is time to celebrate the small steps and the small wins.

Stop and note on a regular basis what you have achieved that week. Keep them on a list in your phone so when you doubt yourself look at the list and smile and remember how great you are. This will then recharge your motivation and keep you taking action. Your self doubt will be pushed aside so you can keep getting those wins, big or small. 

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10 signs you are not in the right job

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So you may have noticed that something is off. But you can’t put your finger on it. Or maybe you can, but aren’t ready to make a change. You know that your enthusiasm for your job is waning and it has been a while since you felt excited to get up for work. You clock watch and dream of escaping the ward for anywhere else. 

The above are perhaps signs that it is time, to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you are in the right role. Being in a role that isn’t suitable for you is depressing. And it can impact not only your work life but your home life. So why are you staying?

If you’re umming and ahhing every day about whether you should stay or go, here are a few signs that may help you in deciding whether this role is indeed the right role for you.

You feel it brings out the worst in you

Do you feel like an imposter? Are you frayed, stressed and anxious? Do you find yourself getting angry at the slightest things? In short, do you feel all out of whack?

Also, take note of any new habits you may have taken up as a way to cope with this unsuitable role. Excessive drinking, smoking, overeating (or under-eating), or any self-destructive patterns need to be addressed immediately.

If you feel the job is indeed changing you for the worst, it is time you find something that will help to bring out your best.

 Your skills feel under-utilised

All those years of training, experience and skills but you’re not putting any of it to use? This is certainly going to leave you feeling down and discouraged especially about your future. This is also about feeling your contribution to the ward isn’t recognised.

You don’t see the role going anywhere

Are there opportunities for advancement in your area? Feeling that you’re in a stuck job isn’t ideal.  But knowing you are is worse.  With no room to grow or manoeuvre, the role can get old very quickly.  Take this as an early sign to begin looking elsewhere for something that provides you with the opportunity for growth.

Also, think about if you want advancement? It is totally fine if you are happy with the level you are. This point applies to people who wish to move into more senior roles. 

You know your heart is elsewhere

Do you spend most of your daydreaming about your ideal job? The more you think about it, the more you realize how unsuitable your current situation is.

It is great of you to work hard in a role which isn’t ideal for you. You never know what crucial experiences you are getting. But you may find you are dreaming of a role somewhere else. Focus on the current experiences that you are gaining in the meantime. 

Trust yourself to know when it is time to jump. 

You feel obligated to stay

This is common. I stayed in a job which wasn’t suited as several other people had resigned and I felt bad leaving too. What advice would you give to someone else you felt this way? Would you encourage them to look after their own needs? Most likely – so start talking to yourself in a way you would to your best friend.  You may also feel you have spent too long investing in improving your skills for the role you are in. It is probably time to think about moving on. 

Be thankful for the opportunities you had on the ward and thank those you have helped you. 

The people who truly value you and your work will respect your decision. 

You’re constantly underperforming

Is the job stressing you out as you feel behind each shift? Like you are chasing your tail? Are people needing to help you or have you been asked to improve with no help offered? Take a minute to step back and think about why you are underperforming in this role? It could be that it’s not you or your abilities but that the role just doesn’t fit your requirements. 

Lack of excitement

Sometimes when you have been in a job for a while the excitement can just fade. Being more engaged and setting goals can help with this lack of enthusiasm. You may enjoy going into work each day but still feel a rumble of being tired, bored or generally unmotivated. This could all be a sign that it is time to stretch your wings. Consider working towards a regrading, or look at secondments or if there is a different area to try. 

You are constantly criticized.

This may not be from your manager. But it could be from your colleagues or maybe even patients and their families. If you don’t ‘feel’ your job and people pick up on this they may start doubting your abilities. If you feel criticised perhaps it’s time to reflect on why and consider the attitude you bring to work.

You are left emotionally drained.

At the end of your shift, you are exhausted. The trip home is a daze. You don’t even play music. You sit in silence. You don’t remember the drive home. You spend the evening on the couch, unengaged with hobbies or with the people you live with. You dread having to do it all again tomorrow. This is not right. 

Your boundaries are not respected

Your manager asks you to constantly work overtime. You are asked to do work that you don’t feel comfortable undertaking. People interrupt you constantly when you are busy. If you feel you are regularly dismissed by other staff then perhaps you need to work on being more vocal about your boundaries or take your skills to a new role. 

If something here resonates with you then check out our previous blog posts on finding your nursing niche to help direct you in the right way.

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The only skill you need to find your nursing niche

Cardiac, emergency, geriatrics, research, remote nursing, oncology, community, mental health, renal……… 

The list is endless. So how do you decide?

Well you only need one skill really and that skill is…. *drum roll*

Self-assessment and reflection!

I have written a list of some questions which you can use to help you self assess and reflect on. So grab a pen and paper and start your journey of discovery. 

What is your personality type and your interests?

Each nursing speciality comes with its own pace and its environment. My advice? Try to find one that fits your personality and personal working style. This will help you to be comfortable and work at your optimum level. Do you thrive on adrenaline? Then perhaps an emergency department might be your place? Do you like details and following protocols? Then research might be for you. Think about your interests outside of work? Do you love playing with kids? Could you use this passion in paediatrics? There are so many nursing specialties. You will be able to find one that allows you to be you and thrive at work, as well as outside of it!

How much do you like to engage with people?

Some nurses (people in general!) are more introverted than others and might want to pick a nursing role that fosters this tendency. You might not want to be patient-facing the entire time or you may not want to meet new patients every day. THAT IS FINE! 

Possible niches include:

  • Research nurse (like me!),
  • Insurance assessment nurse
  • or Telehealth nurse. 

If you are a bit more extroverted and enjoy a faster pace and meeting new people every day think about:

  • Pediatrics Nurse
  • Emergency Nurse
  • Medical-Surgical/Theatre Nurse
  • Critical Care or Intensive Care Unit Nurse

Consider what you desire your ideal workday to look like.

Do you see yourself as a nurse leader? Then maybe look at nursing management roles. Do you want to be in a high-touch role? Or perhaps you want to be away from the bedside? 

Close your eyes now and be honest about where you would like to be. Picture the day, picture the time you wake up, what you do and where you walk into. Walkthrough your perfect workday in your mind now. No one is watching so be honest!

If you see yourself away from the bedside perhaps consider as examples, education roles, care coordinator or an infection control roles. Or if you want a high contact role consider ward-based roles or clinic work. 

What job setting works best for you?

I’m sure you are aware that nurses work in more places than hospitals.  Nurses can also work in schools, public health departments, correctional facilities, industrial sites, research, doctors offices and cosmetic clinics, just to name a few. 

This isn’t to say that a traditional hospital role isn’t for you. Within a hospital setting, there are many different settings for you to consider also. From ICU to delivery rooms to mental health departments. The pace and environments and the interactions you will complete each day vary greatly. 

Do you thrive under pressure or find it stressful?

This question is essential to get you thinking about how much stress can you manage or would like to manage at work.  Do you want to handle being on call? Do you want to handle fast-moving care needs? Perhaps as a surgical nurse on a transplant team? Could long or irregular hours suit you or add stress to the role? 

As you can see the only real skill that you need to be able to change your nursing niche is the skill of self-assessment.

I firmly believe that a willingness to try a new area is far more important than any nursing skill. You can learn skills, you can get your accreditations. Also, remember that skills change throughout a nursing career. 

If you think you need a little more direction to help you love your work then please click here to access our ‘Love Your Work’ course. A punch-packed short email-based course on loving your work through burnout and compassion fatigue prevention, job selection and self-care.  Click here

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How to discover your nursing niche today.

From the days of Florence Nightingale, we have become nurses straight from school and stayed in that area for years. Well, the future is now and you don’t have to be so passive with your career. You can discover and create your own path.

In my experience, many nurses are simply unhappy at work because they aren’t in an area suited to them or their requirements. Don’t let this be you. It’s not nursing, it’s your current role! 

During June we will be looking at nursing niches. What they are. If you need one. How to identify if it is time to find a new niche. What skills you need and how to move them around niches. And finally how you should be doing passion not passive to find your place. 

Did you know that nursing has over 200 sub-specialities? And this list is ever-growing. So WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

No pressure. But let me tell you a secret. You don’t need to pick it today. It is not easy to decide on a niche to settle in for the long term. And to be honest you don’t really even need to think about the job you will have in 40 years. With your constantly evolving self and also the wild speed of the healthcare landscape. It would be almost silly to think that you will stay in one place for your whole career. 

I am not here to be your career counsellor and give you a list of job options. I am here to teach you how to be your own.

Many people often tell me about what they don’t want. But fewer people can tell me about what they do want. So do yourself a favour and stop right now and have a think about the most important requirements for your ideal job? Close your eyes now and tell me where you picture yourself. I use this little visualisation in my ‘An introduction to finding your nursing niche’ worksheet. Click here to get it straight into your inbox. 

Finding your niche may change your life. You change over your life so why wouldn’t requirements for your job change? I would recommend a yearly (if not more often!) check-in with yourself. Prior to now how have you picked your nursing area?  Tell me do you have a tendency to move towards a goal or away from a problem? Would you say that you are proactive about your career rather than reactive to things that happen to you? 

There are people who are forward-looking, self-motivated and focused on achieving a goal (i.e finding their ideal work environment) and clear about what they want to achieve. They are focused, good at managing their priorities and excited about the future. 

And then there are those who aren’t natural problem solvers. They analyse risks, looking at what should be avoided and what needs to be addressed. They can be distracted from their goal if they have one. 

Have you picked who you are yet?  You may find that you feel a bit column A and a bit column B. Have you decided if one is right or wrong?  

But just hold up and look at the context here. Have a think about a health goal, you may start going to the gym if you don’t like how you look in the mirror, or how you feel in your too-tight jeans. You are problem-solving here. 

While at work your motivation for hard work is that you can learn more and expand your skills to increase your career opportunities. You are forward-looking here. See how there is really no right way to problem solve. Finding the way that suits you to help you find your niche.

If you think you need a little more direction in how to love your work then please click here to access our ‘Love Your Work’ course.  A punch packed short email-based course on loving your work through burnout and compassion fatigue prevention, job selection and self-care.  

Love your work

Beth x