When I first got out of nursing school, I envisioned myself always working in a hospital emergency room. That was my passion and my plan. I did just that for several years until I moved to a new geographic location and was unable to find a suitable ER job. So I began exploring my options in nursing.
I eventually landed a position as a head nurse in a medical weight control center. Within the first year I was promoted to Center Manager. It was here that I started to become aware of all the transferable skills I had as a nurse and all the ways and places I could make a difference. I also began to learn about the vast opportunities that existed in the world for nurses who were willing to look, and step, outside of the box.
In subsequent years I worked as an insurance nurse, then for a company that did medical exams for insurance companies, and later as a test-prep organization that helped new nurses pass NCLEX. I was also the Director of DRG Services, Quality Improvement, and Utilization Management in a hospital. My mind, and my skill base, along with my ability to impact a larger part of the population, were expanding in rapid ways.
21 years ago I decided to bring everything together to launch an education business teaching nurses about the vast array of opportunities available to them with my seminar: Career Alternatives for Nurses®. That eventually led to keynote speaking at nursing events, writing articles and nursing books, becoming a columnist for the largest circulation nursing magazine in the U.S., and blogging for DrOz.com. I was now using writing and speaking to have a positive impact on the health of the planet.
When I set out to write my latest book, Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to be Falling Apart, I once again had to stretch myself and was expanding my reach. This book is a self-help memoir and written for the masses, not just for nurses. It was scary to step out of my comfort zone, tell my own personal stories of challenge, and reveal things about my past that I had never previously spoken about. But the process, in the end, was exhilarating. I am hopeful that the lessons I learned along the way will help others with their own journey. It is a book about healing, moving from victim to victor, waking from a trance of fear, and finding opportunities for growth even in our darkest moments.
Am I still a nurse in the work I do? Absolutely. Today I heal with words and the world needs a lot of healing. There is no limit to the things we can do. Nursing will take you anywhere you want to go.