YOU: A Nurse Writer

Published
by M. Lee RN M. Lee RN, BSN (New)

Specializes in Health Content Writer, Pediatric RN, Case manager. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse, you are a writer. No matter what other title you wear during your unrelenting day, when your passion is putting words on a page, you write. Seven tips for getting your words penned, or at least pinning them down.

Finding Time To Write, Despite Your Demanding Nursing Career

YOU: A Nurse Writer

Nurse, you are a writer.

No matter what other title you wear during your unrelenting day, when your passion is putting words on a page, you write.

Finding time to write, despite your nursing career?

How do we squeeze in those sacred hours (minutes) when our imagination and brilliant thoughts shine through? How can we make those nuggets travel from our magnificent brains, all the way through our fingers and onto a screen?

Well, sometimes we don’t. Often, they are lost to time and distraction. So, here are some tips for getting your words penned, or at least pinning them down.

Never let a good idea slip by.

Ever had what you thought was a great idea slip through your fingers? You have implemented a groundbreaking method for calming a screaming newborn, or techniques for managing pain, while standing at the bedside. At three a.m. no doubt. And you need to share those with the world. Guess what? That idea IS precious. Really. Even if it seems somewhat unimportant later on, it is the seed of an even bigger idea to come. Go back to the nurses’ station, snag a piece of discarded rhythm strip (NO PHI), and jot your thoughts down in twenty words or less. Tuck it into one of your many pockets. Preferably not one with the scissors, alcohol wipes, or other paraphernalia that we all carry around. The mere act of putting it in print gives that idea a chance to create a permanent neural path. When you fish it out of your pocket while prepping the next load of laundry, you will have an ‘Oh yeah’ moment that will help you get through all the folding later.

Carry a pen and tiny notebook wherever you go.

Carry a tiny notebook in your pocket wherever you go. Yes, even at the grocery store. Or, drop it in your gym bag. Lose it at the bottom of your purse. You never know when inspiration will strike. Such as, you see a health travesty, which you know, given time, you might help remedy by penning a focused article that rouses discussion? An article for AllNurses? Scramble for that notepad while you wait in line to check out. Mini-composition notebooks come in Easter egg colors (easier to find, wink.) Or, we all know you have a little notepad floating around from the last nursing conference you attended, with some health brand’s logo emblazoned on the front. They won’t care. Use it.

Sitting at your desk flicking through social media?

WHY??? If you are reading AllNurses for inspiration, fine. Updating connections on LinkedIn? Okay. But, set time limits. Take notes if you must, under a permanent column that says: get the heck writing. Shut that down. Research it later when you designate a time, place, and the number of golden moments you are willing to sacrifice. Not before. Then, open a fresh word document and jot your thoughts.

Bedtime blues?

You are exhausted. You didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to today. Yes, this happens to the best nurse, no matter how the day is organized and metered out. It’s inevitable. (Unless you are on a beach with a sweet icy drink in hand, then, what time?)

Consider: What do you have on your nightstand? If you have a journal or a notepad for jotting down your dreams, you are further ahead than many. If you don’t, go snag that piece of scrap paper out of the shredder bin. (Unless it has PHI.) You’ll thank me later. (No, do not dig your handy miniature notebook out of your messenger bag. That is for when you are NOT in bed.

Prioritize time for you, no matter what.

Weighed down with ideas you can’t find time to write? Feeling guilty when you step into the bathroom, close, and lock the door, just to take a few calming breaths before your oncoming shift? Wish you had time to express your thoughts? Well, join the crowd. That is okay. Those thoughts that are clouding your mind, need recognition too. And you very well might write a great article about them later. Just think of all those contributions in AllNurses about nursing exhaustion and anxiety. Yep. Those thoughts and feelings have value, for you, and others too. Clear your mind by jotting them down, quickly, before you step out onto the floor. AND SHARE them. This is key to setting them aside and being the best provider, you can be. Get them out of your head. Then, set a time and day to craft those ideas, and stick to it. No one can do it for you.

Share your idea with a soul you trust, and who also cherishes your ideas.

When we say what we are thinking, out loud to garner feedback, we often have to explain our ideas or thoughts. Especially if your trusted soul is not an RN/LPN or another type of healthcare provider. Discussion gels the idea and begins the creative process of composing. Let those ideas fly. Even if they are just on a text message. Ask for that listening ear, because the more you talk about your idea, the more it has time to stew, releasing parts of your memory bank to mingle and spice up your original thoughts.

Pitch your idea, no matter who is listening.

How often are you sitting in a car, or on a train or bus, wishing you were elsewhere? Somewhere quiet, private, and secure? Well, if you are like many people commuting, or running your progeny to events and school, you probably have a phone. You, lucky soul, may even have a trusty handheld recorder. Pull that puppy out, put your earbuds in, and dictate away. Earbuds aren’t essential, but they might settle concerns about talking to yourself in public. (Those things have to be good for something besides your daily podcast. Which can wait. Honest.) Sell yourself on your inspiration.

YOU are a NURSE WRITER.

Your opinions are valid. And you just may write the inspired article your fellow nurses have been waiting for.

Get writing!

Michelle Lee is a nurse with many years of experience in healthcare. Her greatest passion, outside of nursing, is writing, share ideas, and promote nursing and healthcare.

2 Articles   4 Posts

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8 Comment(s)

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience. 45 Articles; 516 Posts

Spot on M. Lee! Great article! 
My passion outside Nursing has always been writing!

I tend to file away interesting interactions, heart tuggers in my daily work day for a future article!

I sometimes jot down words or phrases used on a tiny paper and stick it in my wallet. Later I have an oh yeah moment! When I write it comes down like a faucet! I go back later to mostly spellcheck or read to see if it makes sense!

Jordan Nacalaban, BSN, RN

Specializes in MS, Tele, Cardiac, Post-Trauma Surgical, Ortho. Has 16 years experience. 4 Articles; 21 Posts

These are fantastic tips for writers! As you said, new ideas/inspirations popped out anytime, anywhere, and whatever we're doing at the moment. So putting or saving those ideas in an easily accessible app or notebook will help us out. 

I need to keep my notebook/app off at bedtime. Sometimes, I'm guilty of getting those out; then it turns into a rabbit hole of reading, writing/outlining sessions when I'm supposed to be sleeping by then. 

Thanks for these reminders and tips! 

Nurse Writing Nook, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU (neonatal). Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 34 Posts

Great article! So many great tips here.

I never saw myself as a writer. I have fallen in love with it though. I'm finding it very therapeutic as well.

Joe V

Specializes in Programming / Strategist for allnurses. Has 26 years experience. 10 Articles; 2,332 Posts

Great article! 👍

The biggest problem I see with new blog writers is the difficulty in writing content that promotes engagement.

What do you (and writers out there) do to promote engagement?

By engagement, I mean getting people to comment, share, print, etc.

How do blog writers measure success?

BeeCarey, MSN, RN

Specializes in Wound Care, Pediatrics, Education. Has 12 years experience. 1 Post

"Sell yourself on your inspiration."

This was my biggest takeaway! Not only are you your biggest advocate, but your biggest adversary. So important you believe in what you are saying/writing/doing. 

 

Thank you for the reminder.

Kristi Van Winkle, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics/Telemetry/Health and Wellness. Has 18 years experience. 4 Articles; 16 Posts

On 2/16/2022 at 11:56 AM, M. Lee RN said:
YOU: A Nurse Writer

Nurse, you are a writer.

No matter what other title you wear during your unrelenting day, when your passion is putting words on a page, you write.

Finding time to write, despite your nursing career?

How do we squeeze in those sacred hours (minutes) when our imagination and brilliant thoughts shine through? How can we make those nuggets travel from our magnificent brains, all the way through our fingers and onto a screen?

Well, sometimes we don’t. Often, they are lost to time and distraction. So, here are some tips for getting your words penned, or at least pinning them down.

Never let a good idea slip by.

Ever had what you thought was a great idea slip through your fingers? You have implemented a groundbreaking method for calming a screaming newborn, or techniques for managing pain, while standing at the bedside. At three a.m. no doubt. And you need to share those with the world. Guess what? That idea IS precious. Really. Even if it seems somewhat unimportant later on, it is the seed of an even bigger idea to come. Go back to the nurses’ station, snag a piece of discarded rhythm strip (NO PHI), and jot your thoughts down in twenty words or less. Tuck it into one of your many pockets. Preferably not one with the scissors, alcohol wipes, or other paraphernalia that we all carry around. The mere act of putting it in print gives that idea a chance to create a permanent neural path. When you fish it out of your pocket while prepping the next load of laundry, you will have an ‘Oh yeah’ moment that will help you get through all the folding later.

Carry a pen and tiny notebook wherever you go.

Carry a tiny notebook in your pocket wherever you go. Yes, even at the grocery store. Or, drop it in your gym bag. Lose it at the bottom of your purse. You never know when inspiration will strike. Such as, you see a health travesty, which you know, given time, you might help remedy by penning a focused article that rouses discussion? An article for AllNurses? Scramble for that notepad while you wait in line to check out. Mini-composition notebooks come in Easter egg colors (easier to find, wink.) Or, we all know you have a little notepad floating around from the last nursing conference you attended, with some health brand’s logo emblazoned on the front. They won’t care. Use it.

Sitting at your desk flicking through social media?

WHY??? If you are reading AllNurses for inspiration, fine. Updating connections on LinkedIn? Okay. But, set time limits. Take notes if you must, under a permanent column that says: get the heck writing. Shut that down. Research it later when you designate a time, place, and the number of golden moments you are willing to sacrifice. Not before. Then, open a fresh word document and jot your thoughts.

Bedtime blues?

You are exhausted. You didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to today. Yes, this happens to the best nurse, no matter how the day is organized and metered out. It’s inevitable. (Unless you are on a beach with a sweet icy drink in hand, then, what time?)

Consider: What do you have on your nightstand? If you have a journal or a notepad for jotting down your dreams, you are further ahead than many. If you don’t, go snag that piece of scrap paper out of the shredder bin. (Unless it has PHI.) You’ll thank me later. (No, do not dig your handy miniature notebook out of your messenger bag. That is for when you are NOT in bed.

Prioritize time for you, no matter what.

Weighed down with ideas you can’t find time to write? Feeling guilty when you step into the bathroom, close, and lock the door, just to take a few calming breaths before your oncoming shift? Wish you had time to express your thoughts? Well, join the crowd. That is okay. Those thoughts that are clouding your mind, need recognition too. And you very well might write a great article about them later. Just think of all those contributions in AllNurses about nursing exhaustion and anxiety. Yep. Those thoughts and feelings have value, for you, and others too. Clear your mind by jotting them down, quickly, before you step out onto the floor. AND SHARE them. This is key to setting them aside and being the best provider, you can be. Get them out of your head. Then, set a time and day to craft those ideas, and stick to it. No one can do it for you.

Share your idea with a soul you trust, and who also cherishes your ideas.

When we say what we are thinking, out loud to garner feedback, we often have to explain our ideas or thoughts. Especially if your trusted soul is not an RN/LPN or another type of healthcare provider. Discussion gels the idea and begins the creative process of composing. Let those ideas fly. Even if they are just on a text message. Ask for that listening ear, because the more you talk about your idea, the more it has time to stew, releasing parts of your memory bank to mingle and spice up your original thoughts.

Pitch your idea, no matter who is listening.

How often are you sitting in a car, or on a train or bus, wishing you were elsewhere? Somewhere quiet, private, and secure? Well, if you are like many people commuting, or running your progeny to events and school, you probably have a phone. You, lucky soul, may even have a trusty handheld recorder. Pull that puppy out, put your earbuds in, and dictate away. Earbuds aren’t essential, but they might settle concerns about talking to yourself in public. (Those things have to be good for something besides your daily podcast. Which can wait. Honest.) Sell yourself on your inspiration.

YOU are a NURSE WRITER.

Your opinions are valid. And you just may write the inspired article your fellow nurses have been waiting for.

Get writing!

Great article! Thanks for publishing this.

Catherine Johnston, BSN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Veterans, Women and Aging. Has 38 years experience. 1 Article; 7 Posts

This article is like a breath of inspiration whispering in my ear. Thanks for that. 

M. Lee RN, BSN

Specializes in Health Content Writer, Pediatric RN, Case manager. Has 30 years experience. 2 Articles; 4 Posts

Thanks to all who have read and commented on this offering. I agree that to engage others in your words and vision, you must have a deep belief in what you are saying. You must be ready to own your words, so to speak. 

This article truly did come from my heart. Part of being a member of a writing community is encouraging others. So yes, truly, get writing. Writing has engaged a long-neglected part of my intellect; creativity. I love the art of nursing, but as some of us go further into our careers as nurses, progressively removed from the bedside, so to speak, the minutia of numbers begins to take over. At least in my experience. This is not a right-brain kind of skill. Using the creative outlook of writing, I have come back to the balance of my potential, versus practice. 

If writing is not your thing, find another way to engage your right brain/creative brain. If that is at the bedside, or in creating education for your fellows, or inventing new methods and products to take care of your charges, DO it. (how many times have you heard the words, I/you should patent that idea. Well?)

Write on!