Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Positive psychologists have been studying happiness for about 30 years. And guess what, nurses? You can control your own happiness!
Here are 5 concrete things you can do to boost your happiness score:
Hang out with happy people. It rubs off.
Cultivate an attitude of appreciation. Begin to notice the positive moments and events of your day. Write down three to five positive events/experiences each evening. Even fleeting moments of joy count here! Keep the list daily for at least two weeks and you are likely to notice a change in your happiness. Then continue on - gratitude and appreciation are proven paths to happiness.
Live in the moment. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is tomorrow. You only have right now. Enjoy the “now.”
Decide to be happy and act that way. Do it again tomorrow. Over time you will build new pathways in your brain and it will be easier to control your mood. What are you waiting for?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Going to work is kind of necessary for most of us. Unless you are independently wealthy, have a sugar daddy, are still in school, or just make a lot of sacrifices and frugal choices to stay at home, you probably work. Usually it’s around 40 hours a week, some more, some less. That’s a huge chunk of time, so it makes sense that how you feel while at work is going to have a big impact on your overall happiness.
I’d say the best way to stay happy at work is to love what you do. I’m a registered nurse, and I’m really glad I can say that I do love it. I work in outpatient oncology, and the bulk of what I do is administer chemo, blood products, and other IV medications. It’s different every day so I don’t get bored, challenges me mentally, and best of all allows me to meet people and affect them positively in the midst of tough circumstances. I’ve started making it my mission to give them a good experience in our clinic and hopefully begin or continue a positive relationship with them. When my patients are happy, it’s easy for me to be happy too.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
You may feel pressured to be more outgoing and extroverted, especially during your job search. Don’t despair: Introverts possess many strengths, many of which are even admired by employers.
If you haven’t already admitted you’re an introvert, you may need to recognize the characteristics of one. They prefer to think before they act. They regain energy by being alone. They need time to formulate ideas in their heads before talking about them. They prefer depth over breadth; this is true of relationships and information. An introvert prefers fewer deep and meaningful relationships over hundreds of contacts. Introverts also tend to dive deep into topics they’re interested in. Creativity, strategizing and remaining calm under pressure are several other strengths not to overlook. Self-awareness is the first step to appreciating the desirable qualities and overcoming those that limit your career and job search.
Meet people one-on-one. The thought of networking in a big crowd is scary, repulsive, intimidating and many other less-than-positive descriptors to an introvert. It isn’t as though they can’t network—they can—they’re just more comfortable meeting individuals one at a time. And because introverts are good listeners, they come across as likable. The secret to maximizing your listening skills is not to worry about what you will say next. Conduct research on the person you will be meeting with and construct a list of questions you want to ask. Feel free to write these questions down and refer to them if you need to. Introverts sometimes become sidetracked in their own thoughts. A list of questions will help you feel more confident.
You are not shy. Introverts tend to dislike small talk and this often leads to the perception that they’re shy or unfriendly. Shoot down this misconception by developing a repertoire of questions you can use to make small talk. When you use these questions, you won’t feel the pressure of not knowing what to say and you can move on to building rapport. This is particularly important when you’re meeting someone for the first time. A little sleuthing on social media might also provide some details that make it easier to engage in small talk.
Share your ideas. Introverts are strong at ideation, that is, the creative process of generating, developing and communicating new ideas. They just need time to think. In an interview situation, you may not have as much time to process your ideas and answers and formulate a confident response. With a little planning, an introvert can anticipate likely scenarios he or she can prepare for in advance. It is alright to ask for time to respond during an interview. You may even want to explain that you need a moment to formulate your answer before you speak.
Avoid back-to-back scheduling. When possible, build time into your day to recharge. That means scheduling an interview or meeting and allowing yourself time after the event to be alone and recharge. Be sure you ask how much time to allocate for an interview. It will help you gauge how much energy you will need to store up.
Think on your feet. There will be times when you are asked an unexpected question or put in an unanticipated situation. The more practice and experience you have interviewing and networking, the more comfortable you will be in crafting your response. You can and should roll play interview scenarios and craft accomplishment stories to answer questions.
The phone is your friend. Introverts prefer to text or email rather than speak on the phone. But you can take advantage of the fact that you’re masked behind the phone. You can have your notes, script and research in front of you to reference without notice. Remember to smile while you talk and add more inflection to your voice than you may normally do in person. You want to make sure the caller can hear your interest and enthusiasm. If caught off guard by a phone call, be sure to ask for a minute so you can gather your materials.
Friday, May 10, 2013
When you’re competing against so many other talented job seekers, it’s hard to have the confidence that helps you get the job. And while plenty of other candidates will spend as much time as you carefully crafting their application letters and resumes, others will sloppily send them out to every job that interests them. With a little extra attention to detail, you can better position yourself to move to the call-back list.
1. Use words from the job description. When you write your application letter, carefully reread the job description and pull out points you can make in your letter that relate to what the company is looking for. Do the same for your résumé. Hiring managers may not even notice if you use similar verbiage as the job description, but they’ll like your application better if the language is familiar. For example, if the description asks for someone with extensive experience managing teams, mention that and highlight your experience to show this off on your résumé.
2. Keep your ear to the ground. Don’t let the job description from a company be your only knowledge of the brand. See what the company is saying on social media and search for news online. This will give you a bigger picture of what’s happening at a company where you want to apply to work. That knowledge can help you look sharp in an interview.
3. Tweak your online brand. Since you know employers will Google you to see what you’ve got going on online, it’s in your best interest to make sure what’s out there puts you in a positive light. Keep a steady stream of content on your personal/professional blog to show you’re tapped into your industry, and keep your social updates professional enough to not turn off a hiring manager.
4. Get out there. Meeting people at networking events can work wonders. Start by connecting with people on LinkedIn, then see what types of events they attend. Find a way to introduce yourself, then start building the relationship.
5. Volunteer. Not every company is hiring much this year, so one way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer or intern with the company or an organization with which it’s associated. For example, if you know a company has strong ties to the local Humane Society, helping out there might be a way to meet people you need to know.
6. Stay on top of job listings. Yes, looking at job boards every day makes your eyes cross. But you never know when “the one” will pop up. Keep up with which jobs you’ve already applied for so you can easily see which ones are new and worth exploring. Use the email subscription features to be alerted for new posts in your area of interest.
7. Make friends with recruiters. Recruiters often know about jobs you won’t see online, so keep your information updated with those that work in your industry. Let them know you’re actively looking so they can keep you on their short list.
8. Be patient in the follow-up. Whether you’re anxious to find out if the human resources manager has reviewed your résumé, or you’re waiting to hear if you got the job post-interview, it’s tempting to call too soon to follow up. Follow up to thank everyone for their time and reiterate your interest and then let the company come back to you. If you got the job, they’ll let you know. It’s very important to show your interest, but bugging them every day for a decision won’t make anything speed up.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Why in-person communication is still vital in the digital era
Asking for help. Saying goodbye. Requesting feedback. They’re all basic communication skills, yet employees often fail miserably when it comes to using them, says communications expert Jodi Glickman.
First a Peace Corps volunteer, then an investment banker, Glickman today becomes an author with the release of her first book, Great on the Job. The story of what to say and how to say it, the book is full of tips for communicating in the workplace, strategies Glickman teaches to business students around the country.
U.S. News asked Glickman to share some of that advice with our readers. Excerpts:
Why write a book about personal communication when online networking is all the rage?
Even though online networking is all the rage, business still is and always will be a personal thing. I wrote this book because I believe that more than ever, face-to-face, one-on-one conversation is the key to success at work. You will never close a deal via email. You will never hire someone via video or email.
I think of technical proficiency in whatever your job is as your baseline of competency. Then, in order to be a star performer, you need to be able to talk to people. You need to be able to sell your ideas, you need to be able to build consensus, you need to build rapport and trust with people. And all of that happens from one-on-one personal dialogue.
What are the most common mistakes you see people make when it comes to communicating at work?
Junior people [are often] afraid to ask for or get the help they need … If you’re working on something and you either can’t finish it because of time constraints or because you don’t have the appropriate resources or know-how, you need to fix that problem … Say to your manager, “Look, I’m really excited about this project, I’m new at working on it, I want to produce a stellar product for you. Here’s what I need to get the job done well” ... Those conversations don’t happen as often as they need to.
You write about the importance of mastering the hello and goodbye. Are you saying a simple “Good morning” doesn’t cut it?
It may, in certain situations … When you start a phone conversation with someone, the way you start the call is your introduction, your purpose for the call, and the key question. And the key question is, “Do you have a minute to speak?” I’m sure you’ve received a call from someone when they started talking and you weren’t expecting their call or ready for their call, you maybe didn’t want to speak to them, and all of the sudden you’re thinking, Oh my gosh, how do I get off the phone?
Being generous when you begin a conversation with someone is giving them an out. [Ask], “Is this a good time to speak?” [Or] “Do you have a few minutes?” If they don’t, [say,] “When is a good time for us to catch up?”
And on the goodbye, the goodbye is not an ending. It’s a beginning. It’s all about keeping that door open for future conversation … [When] you finish a conversation, you say, thank you, [and] you normally thank them for their help. If they haven’t been helpful … you thank them for their time, no matter what.
How do you keep the door open?
Keeping the door open is [saying], “Thanks so much, it was great speaking with you. I look forward to keeping in touch. Would it be okay if I shot you my contact details?” [Or] “Please let me know if you have any additional questions for me” or “I may reach out to you and have some follow-up questions” … It’s all about, what’s the next step?
Friday, May 10, 2013
If you recently graduated, you’re probably aware that you’re going to have to do something different to stand out from all the other job candidates you’ll compete against. What you lack in experience you’ll have to make up for in innovation.
Prezi is a presentation tool that has changed the way we view and create presentations. Peter Arvai, CEO and co-founder, offers the following tips for how new grads may use Prezi to get the attention of hiring managers:
1. Seek an alternative to the traditional résumé. Job seekers and human resources managers alike are over-saturated with the standard Microsoft Word template résumé. With more easy-to-use tech and design tools accessible to professionals, we’re starting to see more interesting alternatives to the paper résumé.
Prezi, which was originally adopted by people sick of PowerPoint presentations, is now adopted by job seekers using it to create “prezumés.” Part presentation, part social profile, these visual and interactive résumés are getting the attention of employers.
When Michael Dwyer was invited for an interview for a teaching position at Arcadia University, a small private university located outside Philadelphia, he used Prezi to present his job history. Now, he’s the assistant professor of media and communications at the school.
Prezi can be used for more than just résumés: After Nicole Plati had an interview with the public relations firm Borders + Gratehouse, she used the site to send a thank-you note and reiterate her interest in the company. The note helped her receive an offer with the firm.
2. Don’t just tell your job history. We’ve been trained to focus on where we’ve worked and what we’ve done in our résumés and LinkedIn profiles, but another way to stand out is to tell your unique story. Who you are is as important to employers as what you’ve done, especially if you have little job experience. After all, if you’re hired, you’ll need to mesh with the company culture.
The prezumés, as well as tools like About.me, provide you the opportunity to share more of your personality than you could with a standard résumé. Charity Temple is a multimedia producer and freelancer designer. In addition to providing all the expected info about her job history in her prezumé, Temple also included a few images and details about what she does in her spare time. Making paper models and traveling might not relate to the job she wants, but it gives employers a better sense of her personality, making her more affable and appealing as a job candidate.
3. Be active on Twitter. If you’ve used Twitter for fun, now is the time to take a more professional approach. Arvai says: “A professional and well-rounded social media presence gives potential employers greater insights into your personality and interests outside of the workplace.”
Find companies you admire or would love to work for, and follow and retweet what they’re sharing on Twitter. Also follow companies in your industry so that you stay well-informed on your field. Be aware of what you’re posting, and keep it professional. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Once again it is National Nurses Day and the start of National Nurses Week, which always begins on May 6 and goes through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This is the week set aside to recognize the contributions and commitments nurses make, a time to educate the public about the significant work they do, and a time for showing appreciation to all the nurses.
There are many types of activities planned throughout this week which include banquets, recognition dinners, and lunches. Nurses are honored with gifts, receptions, cards, and flowers by friends and family members, and even co-workers. Some hospitals stagger activities throughout the day and night so that all shifts can participate in the celebration.
While it is nice to be recognized during Nurses Week, some of the most memorable gifts of appreciation come from patients......not just during Nurses Week, but throughout the year. Sometimes these expressions of gratitude come at unexpected but opportune times. They come after long working hours, when nurses are tired and wondering if they are in the right profession........when some are questioning themselves whether they are making any difference.
Nurses work long and hard hours in many different settings, during many different shifts. Their job is not an easy one. Many nursing jobs involve physical demands. While the physical side of the job is tiring, the mental aspect is so much more draining. Many times, it is after a crisis that we realize the impact we have had......either in saving a life or helping someone slip into a peaceful death.
Nurses must possess many qualities. They must have compassion and endurance to meet the needs of the patient, whether it be in the middle of the night or at shift change. Nurses must have patience and courage as they talk with physicians. Above all else, nurses must always advocate for the patient, using their knowledge, skills, and professionalism to insure the quality of care the patient needs and deserves from the healthcare system.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
1. You wash your hands before you use the bathroom.
Isn’t microbiology a wonderful thing? My microbiology class scared the be-jeezus outta me. After that class I never looked at another public bathroom, restaurant, or salad bar the same. Things I notice about the ‘cleanliness’ of society leaves me speechless sometimes. If they only knew what they were really touching.
2. You know the smell of different diarrhea to identify it.
Can you say C-diff? And on that note you can also differentiate different disease processes or infections simply by their smell. Ever smelled GI bleed? How about pseudomonas?
3. You check the caller ID on your day off to see if anyone from the hospital is trying to call and ask you to work.
You’re lying if you’ve never done this.
4. Discussing bodily fluids over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you.
I’m married to a nurse, so we speak freely all the time during our conversations. We have to ‘check’ ourselves – or be told to ‘check’ our topic of conversations when we have family gatherings. It’s not pretty.
5. Every time someone asks you for a pen you can find at least 4 of them on you.
Nurses and their pens. You know very well you hoard and protect your ‘good’ pen, or your ‘favorite’ pen like it’s your stethoscope. I know I’ve scolded a few secretaries, doctors and fellow nurses for havin’ some sticky fingers.
6. Your bladder can expand to the size of a Winnebago’s water tank.
Peeing? What’s that? Bathroom break? What’s that?
7. You find yourself checking out other customer’s veins in grocery waiting lines.
This may only apply to those of us in the critical care world – but you know you do it. You see someone with ‘pipe cleaners’ for veins and all you can think is ‘MAN- I could get a 16 in there’. Besides it’s a rare occasion you start an IV on ANYONE who isn’t in their 90′s and dehydrated!
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Alright new grads, I am a straight shooter and a bit of a cynic (I like to call myself a realist, personally) – but that is possibly why I scored myself an RN job with a residency, before I graduated, on the floor that I wanted and chose. This is geared for people that know how to get down and dirty, will be great new graduates, and know that a little hard work can go a long way, and aren’t scared to put some effort into the job search. Not for those of you that are halfway through nursing school and still “hate” giving bed baths (buck up!)…
1st – Come to terms with reality and what you have to work with. My boyfriend of three years lives in SF, and I went to school here in the Midwest because it was much more economical; I simply couldn’t afford to live the CA lifestyle while in school. Therefore, I of course set my sights only on getting to the Bay Area while in nursing school. And then…my sights started getting set on anything in California…and towards the end of school (and after a few close nabs at a CA residency spot, dangit!), I realized if I wanted employment right out of school, it would mean having to stay here in the Midwest to get some experience. And I have to, because I don’t have a pot to **** in or a roof over my head if I don’t have an income, I was living off loans through school. No rich mommy and daddy to hand me things here. Note though, that I am in a pretty big urban city that is still quite competitive – so this article is definitely applicable, I wasn’t handed a job in some Kansas farmtown. Anyways, this is sort of a new grad analogy to the first step in AA…come to terms with what you have and things will start to be more realistic! It is 100x easier to get a job where you are going to school.
2nd – Be flexible, but have some goal ideas as well. Just like a diet or exercise plan, it’s a lot easier to gets things accomplished when you have specific goals. I started to realize during clinicals that I was flexible, but really didn’t have interest in OB or Peds (which is great, since these are so ******* popular…not sure why, hehe). I really liked working with older populations, I liked more acute and sick populations, and I liked roles where there was a lot of teaching involved (I like to get up on my soapbox and preach about diet, nutrition, and mind-body health…yay, Medicine floors!). From here, I picked a few specific floors and went from there.
3rd – Stalking time! No, not really. If you’re going to only read one part of the article, read this. But this is where new grads dip out and no one steps up to the plate. Like, out of 50 classmates, I was the only one that did this. I have no idea why because managers for the most part were very receptive of it. So how to do this? If you are lucky enough to do any kind of clinical work, even for a day on the floor, introduce yourself to the nurse manager. Ask your nurse if the manager is there, and have them introduce you, or if you are courageous like me – walk right in the office! Put on a big smile, extend your hand, and start telling them how great your experience is on this floor and that you would really like to work here in the future. There are definitely weirdos and crappy management out there, but for the most part, nurse managers are going to love this. It’s a win – win really. If you have the personality and showed them, you’re putting yourself ahead, AND you’re making a future hire easier on them. They don’t have to sort through 50 applications of new grads when they know that you are genuinely interested and you have the great personality, open attitude, and readiness-to-learn that you have showed them, face to face.
Don’t have a clinical? Start using Google. If you don’t know how to, you’re SOL on this one, no internet tutorials here folks. But, yes, Google! Start with the specific floor and then also enter “nurse manager”. This doesn’t work ALL the time, but usually you can find some linked website, LinkedIn profile, or something else that will show the nurse manager’s name, and if you’re lucky, their e-mail address. My advice is to e-mail them a few months before you can formally apply for the position. Tell them you are specifically interested in their floor, and just use this as your shot to voice out. Don’t make it too long (like this article) – they don’t want your life story. Be charming and honest! Convince them why you’d be a great investment.
How I got my job, in a paragraph: introduced myself first day of clinical to manager of a floor I knew I was interested in. Confirmed interest over 7 week clinical. Re-introduced myself to manager last day of my clinical and asked for a business card and said very directly “I love this floor. I would really to like to work here when I graduate. Can I shoot you an e-mail when I apply, so I’m not just in the giant HR pile?” Nurse manager thought I was funny and said “please do”. E-mailed her midway during school to tell her that I was getting great experience on other units but I still just loved hers, how it ran, complemented her staff, etc. It was true, and she appreciated. It was my way of holding onto her as a contact. E-mailed her again when I applied months later, referring her back to our e-mail chain so she was reminded who I was. HR called me out of over 500 new grad applications and I got an interview the next week. Then scored the job. It was a bit too easy. But why? Cause I stepped my game up. Oh, and sent a hand-written thank you card after your interview! Duh.
Monday, May 06, 2013
There’s a myth out there that most nurses work in hospitals. While it’s true that more than half of all nurses are employed by hospitals, nurses also provide healthcare in some unexpected locations, from homeless shelters and prisons to football arenas and camps. Often described as both an art and a science, nursing is a profession that reflects the varied passions and interests of its dedicated workers. As the largest component of the healthcare professions, nurses serve with a strong commitment to patient safety even as they work in roles that range from airlift nurse to professor, from telemetry specialist to hospice supervisor.
“Nursing is in our genes,” explain mother-daughter nurses Terry Fulmer and her daughter Holly, 26, a Boston College graduate student who is studying to be an adult nurse practitioner. The special bond that exists between these two nurses is part of “the intimacy and privilege of the professional role,” says Terry, “and can only be understood by those who are nurses.”
While Terry, 59, is dean of Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University, she continues to be inspired by her daughter, who works 12-hour shifts on a gynecology-oncology floor, where many of her patients are devastatingly ill. “She loves her patients, and they love her. She makes me proud to be her mother every day,” says Terry.
Holly is grateful that her mother understands the intense devotion that nursing requires. “Nursing is sometimes very emotional. Certainly, nurses can have tough days taking care of individuals who are very sick and whose prognosis is dim. You want to make a difference, even when that is the case. Nurses have the opportunity to be there, to comfort and communicate with patients,” says Holly, who plans to be an adult gerontology nurse practitioner with a focus in palliative care.
Numerous studies have shown that patients fare worse when there is inadequate nurse staffing on a care unit. Problems can include more complications, poorer health outcomes, less satisfaction, and greater chance of death. A recent study on nurse staffing links inadequate personnel with increased patient mortality.
Even though more job growth is projected in nursing than in any other occupation through 2018, the gap between the supply of nurses and the rising demand for healthcare services continues to widen. A growing number of hospitals are competing for a small pool of skilled critical care nurses as an aging population of nurses leaves the workforce. Recruiters are enticing candidates with signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, scholarships, student-loan repayments, and even finder’s fees to employees who bring in new nurses.
Erin Tansey, a senior nurse recruiter at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says that the nursing profession has adapted to become more worker-friendly, encouraging career growth and adjusting hours to fit lifestyles. “This flexibility of full-time, part-time, or per diem hours gives RNs the opportunity to attend school, raise a family, or pursue other interests while working,” says Tansey.