From Nurse to Nurse Influencer
Many years ago, I graduated as an RN and fell in love with my job on an Ortho unit. From there I worked MedSurg, ICU, and Tele before becoming a nurse manager. Now I work in Staff Development, and have still never lost my love for acute care. I enjoy working with new grads at my hospital and helping them grow. But I’ve had other dreams, and one of them was to write.
From Hobby to a Side Job
My writing career as a nurse started 4 years ago when I was home recuperating on the couch from an injury. A friend of mine on Twitter asked me "Beth, you have so many opinions about nursing. When are you going to start a blog?" I had always wanted to write, and that day when my husband came home for lunch and asked if I needed anything, I replied, "Yes, honey, I'd like a MacBook air laptop from Best Buy". Wonderful guy that he is, by that evening I had my Mac and was busily writing. Within a matter of days, I had started my blog, nursecode.com.
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Soon I was writing for not only my blog but also for clients. I wrote nursing related topics and "how-tos" such as "How to Become a Cosmetology Nurse" and "How to Respond to a Written Warning at Work". Over the years, I've written hundreds of articles on numerous topics. At the same time, I was a member on allnurses and was given a chance to have a column of my own titled "Ask Nurse Beth" to give , which was yet another dream.
I enjoy writing editorial type pieces and how-tos that offer value but I also enjoy research and being a subject matter expert. I started accepting side jobs as a subject matter expert and consultant for companies such as Versant, Healthstream and Lippincott. All of these companies from time to time look for nurses to help write test questions, revise CE modules, and update procedures. I contributed and co-authored books, as well as authoring and publishing my own book, "Your Last Nursing Class....How to Land Your First Nursing Job...and your next!" (one of my dreams).
Invitations came to speak for professional nursing organizations and for graduating nursing classes. By two years in, I realized I had a side business and monetized my blog. Opportunities were coming fast and sometimes I was overloaded and overwhelmed by deadlines and deliverables. I never anticipated that I would have to take a step back, take stock and make some choices. What did I really want to do? Did I want to pursue speaking, or writing? Did I want to return to school to get my doctorate (also a dream) or continue to grow my business?
In the end, I decided to continue to grow my writing with an eye towards developing working relationships that will carry me into retirement in a few years. I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I've had to make my dreams come true, and I look back and now see some key things that helped.
Getting my Masters degree was a turning point. My first instructor said "You won't believe the doors that will open for you". She was right. Having an advanced degree garners a credibility that helps land jobs. I am all for higher education, and I am a lifelong learner, whether it is formal or informal learning. I simply love learning.
Belief in Myself
I've always believed that I could learn and do anything if I just put my mind to it. And so I learned everything from the Kreb Cycle to organic chemistry to organizational politics to learning how to use Word Press.
I remember as a new nurse looking at my nurse manager on Ortho and thinking "I could do that. I could learn that job. If she could do it, so could I." A few months later, I applied for the newly vacant nurse manager role. I stopped by the DON's office to let her know I had applied and she looked up from her paperwork, pushed her glasses up, and laughed. "You?" she said. "You're still green."
"I know", I replied. But I'm just letting you know of my future interest so you will see me in that role when the time is right."
A few years later, I was asked to manage a large Telemetry unit at that same hospital. The large unit became two units plus a GI Lab. After about ten years, I realized that being a manager was part of my journey, but not my destination. I appreciated all the skills I had learned, and was ready to try something else.
I believe when there's a will there's a way. Sometimes you have to step out on faith not knowing exactly how it will all work out, but believing it will. This is what people do when they decide to become parents, or buy their first home, right? I often tell new nurses that I already know two things about them. I know they are smart, but beyond that, I know they are determined. It's impossible to get through nursing school without being determined. It's one characteristic nurses share.
I believe that with determination you can do anything.
Being passionate about nursing gives me a lot to write about and a voice as a nurse advocate. In every job I've had, I've spoken up for nurses and working conditions. I very much enjoy writing about my passions and contributing to discussions. I could never really get passionate about but am definitely passionate about nurse-patient ratios and transition of new grad novice nurses to proficient and expert nurses, for example. I have always considered myself a "nurse's nurse" and a spokesperson for clinical bedside nurses.
And finally, all along the way, I've had a wonderful husband who believes in me. I'm not sure I could have pursued my dreams without his support. He helps me with the business end of things, and cooks gourmet meals for us while I write. I count myself a lucky nurse.Last edit by Nurse Beth on Oct 9
About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN
Beth Hawkes (Nurse Beth) is an accomplished nurse working in Acute Care as a Staff Development Professional Specialist. She is also an accomplished author, blogger, speaker, and columnist. As Nurse Beth, she regularly answers career-related questions at allnurses.com Check out her book, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Job" Nurse Beth blogs at nursecode.com
Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,514; Likes: 4,481Oct 13Joined: May '16; Posts: 760; Likes: 1,133Thank you for giving us your story. It is inspiring and commendable.Oct 13From: US ; Joined: Jul '17; Posts: 6; Likes: 7I still remember when you threw it out on Twitter if you should start a blog - it was a resounding yes and we are so glad that you did! Have loved following you and your adventures as an awesome nurse influencer!Oct 13From: DC, US ; Joined: Jun '13; Posts: 265; Likes: 278Oh My Goodness, the Krebs Cycle...my husband and I were just talking about having to learn that nightmare. Everyone please let me know if you have EVER used it or thought about it since.
Good article, enjoyed it.
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