Words of Wisdom: The Best Nursing Advice Ever Received

by | Apr 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Words of Wisdom: Nursing Career Advice #nursingfromwithinI was contacted by the folks at Fastaff (a travel nursing agency) originally to write a post about a nurse who inspired me as part of their Nurse’s Week give-away. Since I am a nurse who enjoys an uplifting, inspiring and professionally focused Nurse’s Week (see here for more details of how I celebrate Nurse’s Week with my professional colleagues)- the topic struck me. I was happy to participate.

Then I received another email about how the topic had shifted gears some and was provided information with how the focus was now the ‘best nursing advice ever received’. Well, the topic still interested… yet after much reflection I had a harder time with this one.

Clinical Nursing

Those of you who have been reading and following my work for sometime know I never wanted to become a nurse (check out the sample chapter in my bestselling book for the inside scoop on this one). And once I went into nursing, knew that I never was going to become a ‘nurse-y nurse’ (as I affectionately call all of you who do enjoy blood and guts nursing). I worked in inpatient psychiatry for the first five years of my career. So what advice did I receive there…

  • I remember one of my very first days on the unit one of the security officers told me never to allow a patient to come between me and the doorway (that certainly wound up helping as I advanced through charge nurse roles and above);
  • I know that my preceptor told me to never believe anything I heard, to check the mouths for cheeked medication, and to always document every single thing that I could (also very helpful in my time on the unit).

Dual Masters’ Degrees

Did my very best advice come from my academic adviser who constantly questioned what I actually wanted to do with my degrees? I would get on the phone with this person (even while away on vacation) and tell her all of the things I did not want to do as a nurse. Probably so much so that on one phone call she just said to me: ‘Elizabeth, decide what it is you DO want to do and then look for or be open to a role with that. Get clear on what you want to do and go forward towards it.’

That certainly was a helpful bit of words of wisdom since in listening to her, I opened up to my next job which I enjoyed with a passion. I left the psychiatric unit to go work part-time as a RN for an exercise program at a wellness center. I monitored out-of-routine exercisers or those referred by their physician’s orders. It was fun and I took time to actually take better care of myself!

Nurse Entrepreneur

Those of you reading this blog have found me on my very own website… and so it may be clear to you (or not) what I am up to now. These days I work as a nurse entrepreneur who helps other nursing professionals shift their perspectives and mindsets so that they can more greatly enjoy their nursing careers.

Words of Wisdom: Nursing Career Advice #nursingfromwithinWhile this may not be the ‘words of wisdom’ type of advice you were looking for in the ‘best advice received from a nursing colleague’ type of post- I have actually received more than my fair share of feedback in the role I am in now. There are lots of nurses out there doing exactly what I hope to do one day- sustaining their entire careers on their self-employed status. So, for me… these people have truly given me some of the best advice in nursing I have ever received. Here’s a snapshot of what has helped me thus far:

  • It’s all about the hustle.” Kevin Ross, the Innovative Nurse, is no doubt in my mind THE nurse entrepreneur I look up to. From his radio show to his podcast, from the numerous helpful chats to the website help, from his multiple businesses to the six figures+ he brings in… this is the guy I have heard TONS of advice from. Kevin speaks to me often about going out there, doing what I want to be doing, and being proactive about it. He is smart, savvy and truly willing to help others grow. When Kevin talks- I listen.
  • Now the next word of advice I cannot give credit to. In fact, I wrote about this in my upcoming book, ‘Your Next Shift: How to Kick Your Nursing Career into High Gear‘ (coming June 1). The piece of advice either came from Sharon Weinstein or LeAnn Thieman– both are successful nurse speakers and authors. Both have been on my radio show. Both have helped me with numerous projects- too many to count. Both have inspired me with the work that they do. The advice is this: ‘What’s simple, isn’t always easy‘. Again, not sure who told it to me, but I can agree. And while I agree- I can also be inspired by and reminded of this: no one is going to do this for me. If I want something in my career (in my case, full-time self-employment) I am the only one who can do it for me. And I am the only one standing in my way. Pretty eye opening, huh?

Finally, I will say this. There are so many people I’d like to shout out to in this post. I could go on for pages and pages… but then you’d stop reading. Instead, over the next few blog posts, at least once per week- I will write about a nurse colleague who has inspired me, given me great advice, and continues to uplift the profession of nursing in a variety of ways.

And the best piece of advice I can give you out there reading my work? Be the best nurse that you can be. Be yourself. Nursing is tough, challenging work. But we love it, right? The very best way to enjoy your career and live a long, healthy life doing it… is to work as though you are playing. Bring passion and pride to your professional practice. Enjoy yourself; laugh; figure out who you are. Be your unique nurse and the rest will be easy, fun and smooth-sailing along the way.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share a comment below with the best nursing advice you ever received. Thanks for reading!


National Nurses Week is fast approaching, and Fastaff (a travel nursing agency) wants to hear what nursing advice you once received that remains in your toolbox today. For the chance to win a $500 Southwest gift card, share your story here.



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