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Nurse Keith

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Nurse Keith has 23 years experience.

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  1. For savvy nurses, LinkedIn is the premier platform for meeting like-minded colleagues and creating a robust online presence for your personal brand. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile and mastering the platform can really boost your nursing career, and there's no time like the present to stake your claim in the LinkedIn universe. The Profile is King (or Queen) Back in the day, LinkedIn was generally seen as an online resume. To this day, you can easily create a chronological list of your employment and educational history on LinkedIn. However, beyond these basic "resume" components, there's much more to making your profile sing. Those who understand how to use LinkedIn create a written summary that's positioned at the top of their profile just below the header areas that contains headshot, name and title, and other demographics. The summary is a love letter to those visiting your profile, and it's recommended that it be in the 1st person so that the reader can connect with you on a personal level. Remember, it's all about you and who you are. Your profile can include uploaded PDF versions of your resume, papers you've published, videos or photos of you in action, or perhaps e-posters or other documents you're proud of. There's also a section for skills you'd like to be endorsed for, organizations you follow, and recommendations you've given and received. Personal testimonials and endorsements for your top skills are LinkedIn gold, so request and give written testimonials and endorsements on a regular basis -- this provides you with "social proof", web-based confirmation by others of how awesome you really are. Making your profile shine means that you pepper your profile with keywords that will help you get found. Recruiters hang out on LinkedIn seeking candidates for available positions that are often not posted elsewhere; in fact, in your profile settings you can flag your profile as fair game for recruiters. The Magic of Connection Creating a solid community of connections is definitely one of LinkedIn's main benefits. Your network can consist of former colleagues, as well as new acquaintances encountered on the platform. For previous or current colleagues, consider exchanging recommendations as a way of helping each other elevate the quality of your profiles. You never know what will come of a new professional relationship: someone may be a valuable resource for finding a job, receiving a recommendation, or crucial career advice when you need it most. If you're planning to move to a new city, LinkedIn is a powerful research tool. Using the advanced search function, you can find nurses living in the city where you'd like to move and seek out their advice. You can also find those who work for a particular employer and request a moment of their time to communicate your specific questions via phone or email. From my own experience, the serendipity of new connections can lead to surprising outcomes, so keeping an open mind is key. A Treasure Trove LinkedIn is a veritable treasure trove of support for your nursing career. Members' posts can include links to interesting articles and research, random thoughts, and industry news. Thousands of LinkedIn groups offer you another way to connect with fellow professionals - nurse entrepreneurs, med-surg nurses, students, and others use groups to keep in touch, discuss salient topics, and build relationships. Finally, you can use LinkedIn as a proving ground for your own skills as a writer. The LinkedIn publishing format allows you to write and share original articles, which is a powerful way to take a stand, share your opinions, and positions yourself as a nurse influencer. For more reasons than this article can contain, quality time spent on LinkedIn is indeed time well spent. If you need support optimizing your profile, find the help you need - the positive effort you invest in your LinkedIn presence will pay for itself in a broad array of satisfying dividends throughout your nursing career.
  2. My Story in a Nutshell When I became a nurse in 1996, I was coming from a challenging entrepreneurial path as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Being just over 30 and struggling to make ends meet with only a high school diploma, a small child at home, and a wife in college herself, nursing was an excellent career choice, especially since I'd already cut my teeth as a personal care attendant and private duty home health aide. I also had several nurses in my extended family, an added impetus to give nursing a try. Since I've always been a rebel, those who knew me well weren't at all surprised when I chose to not pursue a med/surg or acute care position after graduation. Even though I was told this unfortunate choice was "career suicide", I forged ahead and created a nursing career wholly focused on ambulatory care. These past two decades saw me working in federally qualified inner-city community health centers, home health, hospice, public health, and intensive case management. Prior to becoming fully self-employed, my last clinical position was serving as Chief Nursing Officer/Director of Nursing of a small home health agency in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This article is featured in the Fall 2018 issue of our allnurses Magazine... Download allnurses Magazine The Entrepreneurial Journey Based on my previous failures as an entrepreneur, it may have seemed illogical to pursue self-employment on the heels of 22 successful years as a nurse, but the desire to be my own boss never left me. After navigating the politics and challenges of mainstream healthcare, that desire only grew stronger. In essence, I wanted to be self-employed, set my own hours, work from home, and have more control over my life. I knew that self-employment would be difficult, but I also knew that increased personal freedom was something I was willing to work very hard to achieve. Being financially risk averse, I took the safest possible route towards entrepreneurship, which meant incrementally starting a nursing blog, beginning a practice as a career coach for nurses, working as a freelance writer, and later launching a podcast and an arm of my business as a motivational/keynote speaker and consultant. My personal "runway" from being a nurse with a few money-making side hustles to quitting my job and being 100 percent self-employed was approximately seven years. This slow burn allowed me to build my business without the weight of total uncertainty. It was only when things were humming along that I chose to resign my last position and put a stake in the ground as a fully self-employed nurse entrepreneur. Lessons Learned Entrepreneurship is filled with difficult lessons. We can start the journey bursting with enthusiasm and idealism, only to have it squashed by harsh realities. Launching a business takes a lot more than putting together a website and a social media feed. People actually need to find you, and that's where hard work is necessary. Search engine optimization, content marketing, networking, social media strategy, business formation documents and incorporation, business bank accounts and credit cards - it's all part and parcel of this path. One hard lesson I learned is that one person just can't do everything. It's great to learn new skills, but sometimes the learning of a complex skill (like building a Wordpress website) isn't necessarily a good use of your time when you need to focus on producing income. I had to learn that hiring others is smart business - it allows me to do the things I'm good at and let others do the rest. Once I had some cash flow, I began to use expert freelancers to push me along. These experts included someone to produce my podcast, a social media manager, business coaches, graphic artists, and web designers. Along the way, I've picked up some skills, but I continue to rely on others who know more than I do. A successful business can be difficult to build, but it's very satisfying to do it well. Rome wasn't built in a day - patience, creativity, and persistence are indeed my best companions. The greatest lesson I've learned is to have multiple streams of income so that one "arm" of my business can be slow while another picks up steam -- this allows for the natural ebb and flow without causing undue worry about money. It's a delicate balance. And Now for Something Completely Different For nurses feeling tired of the same old grind, the potential for a new lifestyle and workstyle is possible. For some, a simple side hustle earning a little extra money is enough: blogging, consulting, or coaching can be done during your off hours from traditional nursing. For some, working from home or starting up a business can be a full-time gig. And for others, a combination of side gigs and part-time or per diem nursing is just right. The caveat here is that we all have varying needs for lifestyle stability and cash flow. One person's entrepreneurial dream can be another's nightmare, thus marching to your own drum in this regard is essential. If you explore the entrepreneurial path and realize it's not for you, there are plenty of other out-of-the-box paths to choose from. Talking with those ahead of you on the journey is essential - do your due diligence, weigh your options, network like crazy, assess the potential for success, and connect with the people who can support you in realizing your dream.
  3. This article is featured in the July 2018 edition of our allnurses Magazine... Download allnurses Magazine 1. Be a curious lifelong learner As a nurse, learning doesn't stop when you pass the NCLEX and get hired for your first job -- in fact, learning should never really stop at all. Your nurse's brain should be a sponge that continues to soak up experience, skills, and knowledge. The engine that can drive this particular bus is curiosity. Checking off your required CEUs to maintain your nursing license and certifications is great, but learning can be so much more. Being a curious and inquisitive nurse who asks meaningful questions and digs deep for answers will serve you well. Use your innate curiosity about human behavior, science, and medicine to keep your mind flexible and ready to embrace new information and experiences. 2. Get personal Workaholism is rampant in many industrialized cultures, and we can easily allow ourselves to be led down the road of identifying ourselves solely by the work we do. Nothing will reduce your career to a monotonous grind more quickly than not paying attention to your life outside of work. "I'm a nurse", "I'm a plumber", or "I'm an insurance salesman" is a fine thing to say when meeting someone for the first time, but we mustn't lose sight of the fact that we may also be a mother, a watercolor painter, or a long-distance runner. Only identifying as a nurse puts an inordinate amount of pressure on that identity to deliver the lion's share of your fulfillment. Widen the net by maintaining active awareness of the other things that light your fire. Acknowledging and feeding your personal life and interests will inform your career trajectory and your work as a nurse. 3. Connect with your inner "multitudes" Building on the idea of the importance of your personal life, it's also crucial to be a well-rounded human being with diverse interests. As mentioned above, there may be things you do outside of work that put a fire in your belly and a smile on your face. Whether your interests are intellectual (e.g.: studying art history); physical (e.g.: running marathons); or otherwise (e.g.: reading poetry), these pursuits remind you that you're more than "just" a nurse - as Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass, "I am large; I contain multitudes". 4. Reach out and say hello Networking is key to career fulfillment. When we stay inside our little nursing boxes and maintain a narrowly focused web of acquaintances and colleagues, we limit our exposure to novel ways of thinking, working, and living. A robust professional network keeps fresh ideas and people circulating in your heart and mind, pushing you outside of your comfort zone. Having connections with people in other disciplines, geographic areas, and walks of life keeps you flexible, curious, and ready for anything. Whether you use LinkedIn, AllNurses.com, or in-person networking to build your tribe, it's essential to do so. When you cast a wide net in terms of people in your personal orbit, this is where the magic happens. From finding a mentor and making great friends to meeting thought leaders or finding job leads, networking is a powerful way to enrich your life on every level. 5. Nurse, know thyself Being aware of your own desires, needs, and goals is ultimately very important for having a satisfying personal and professional life. Self-knowledge stretches your sense of self, your worldview, and your professional/personal identity. Self-knowledge is powerful in relation to your career direction and professional goals, and also in relation to your place in the world, your gender identity, your political stance, or even the financial decisions you make in the interest of your future. You can deepen your self-knowledge by reading and studying about personal growth, attending workshops and seminars, or even in counseling or psychotherapy. The more you understand yourself and your own motivations and perceptions, the more you can approach your nursing career from a centered and mindful place. It's Up to You In the end, your nursing career satisfaction comes down to you. Who are you? What do you want? Where have you been? Where are you going? These are questions to continually ask, and you can dig as deep as you want for the answers.

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