Doing a bit of career housekeeping at year end can help clear away mental cobwebs and stagnant behaviors. Once you’ve got a clean slate, it’s much easier to make the new year into whatever you most desire.
Here are four simple steps to getting your work into tip-top shape:
1. Update your resume.
It’s fun to look back over the past year and see what you’ve accomplished and what new skills you’ve added to your bag of tricks. Write a stream-of-consciousness list and let yourself go, not worrying whether an item is deserving of mention, and if people will think you’re bragging by taking credit for achievements.
Once you’ve added, deleted, or revised that rough draft, update your resume so that it you ever decide to go for another position or a promotion, you’ll be ready.
2. Create a LinkedIn profile.
Or update it if you already have one. (There’s a nice feature that lets you import your resume so you don’t have to re-type the whole thing.)
More and more nurses are turning to social media sites, like LinkedIn, to gain the recognition and connections that drive career development. Be one of the digitally savvy folks in the healthcare profession.
3. Set up folders, either online or in a home file cabinet.
For instance, grab some manilla folders and mark them Benefits, Resume, Promotions, Vacation, Education, etc. (You can make them even more distinct by breaking up Benefits into 401K, Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, and so on.)
That way, it’s simple to toss any documents in the proper folder. When it’s time to update your resume, say, you’ll have memory joggers about any special projects you completed or educational seminars you attended.
Be sure to mark one folder Praise, then stuff it with letters of commendation, thanks from patients and their families, and employee recognition program accolades. When you’re down and feeling unappreciated, you can browse through that file as a reminder that what you do as a nurse really does matter.
4. Start working with that Education file now.
Decide what you want to learn in 2014 that will help catapult you into a more satisfying or better-paying position. Check with your nurse supervisor or human resources department to see what courses are available and if your employer will cover the cost.
Even if you don’t want to go so far as to add a degree or specialization, taking a course here and there can keep you up to date. And it can help keep you excited about your career as a nurse.
The topic doesn’t have to be entirely job related, either. Perhaps you want to brush up on your high school Spanish. Or maybe join Toastmasters so you’re more comfortable speaking out at meetings. Learning is growing, so any course is a great investment in your professional future.
How will you decide to organize your way to awesome in the new year?
Jebra Turner is a freelance business and health writer living in Portland, Oregon, but you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.
Holiday alcoholic drinks aren’t usually healthy, in fact they’re often big sugar-, fat-,and calorie-bombs. Don’t get derailed during this celebratory time of year because you think beverages won’t affect your overall healthy food goals. They most definitely do!
Here are some things to consider before you raise a glass this season:
1. Ask yourself if you should be drinking alcohol at all. Some reasons not to: family or personal history of alcohol abuse; prescription meds for high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, etc. that don’t mix with alcohol; ditto for over-the-counter drugs; also, postmenipausal women and ones with a family history of breast cancer should not imbibe.
2. Ask yourself if drinking makes you gain weight. Stay within the recommended limit of a drink a day for women and two drinks for men, and you’ll likely find that alcohol doesn’t impact your healthy eating plan. If you overdo it, though, you may find that it derails your weight goals. One reason why that might be? Moderate drinking decreases stress eating while guzzling drinks loosens inibitions so your good intentions regarding diet go right out the window.
3. As yourself if you’re making wise choices regarding alcoholic beverages. For instance, a 5 ounce glass of wine is only about 125 calories and contains some healthful nutrients. But what if you substitute a holiday drink such as spiked eggnog? That’s quite a different story! An 8 ounce serving of eggnog packs a whopping 321 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 21 grams of sugar. Hot spiked cider? That clocks in at 212 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 27 grams of sugar. An Irish coffee is 193 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 9 grams of sugar.
A once in a while indulgance isn’t the end of the world, but making a habit of drinking these rich caloric drinks during the holiday season can be disasterous. Limit the damage by stopping at one drink. And make sure it’s a small pour (some bartenders, including you, routinely go over 8 ounces). If you can stick to a lighter beverage, such as a champagne spritzer, so much the better.
Here’s to your health. I’ll raise a glass to that!
Jebra Turner is a writer in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.jebra.com.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you doing for the holiday? I’m spending the 30 days around Thanksgiving taking an online course called Gratitude, Grace and a Month of Self-reflection.
It’s based on Naikan, a Japanese psychological system that encourages us to count our blessings. It takes about me about 30 minutes a day to complete the assignments, which are pretty eye-opening.
For instance, traditional daily Naikan practice asks us to examine these three areas of living:
- What have I received?
- What did I give?
- What troubles and difficulties did I cause?
So, here’s an excerpt of what a common list would look like (it’s not mine), but yours will probably be longer.
What I received
A warm house in the morning
Friends to run with
A healthy lunch
A fast computer/web access
A coffee shop to hang out in
What I gave
Money for coffee and a good tip
Started work on my financial plan
Made BLT sandwich
Made babysitter recommendation to neighbor
Gave a ride home to friend whose car is in the shop
Troubles and difficulties I caused
Didn’t send a check to a supplier, even though I said I would
Participated in gossip at lunch about a fellow nurse
Wouldn’t let my youngest child play computer games
Interrupted my wife while she was speaking at dinner
Used time at the clinic for two personal calls
Ignored my dog when he wanted to play after dinner
Wasted half my salad at lunch
Some of these Naikan exercises are serious and some silly, like yesterday when I did Garbage Naikan. I tried to think about what service I got out of everything that I threw away or recycled, like floss and coffee filters and bus tickets …and the list is endless because I’m supported by the whole universe.
As a nurse you have many opportunites to bless the lives of others. Making a difference while making a living is one of the most common reasons for entering the nursing profession. Doing Naikan will remind you of what you give, was well as what you get.
Remember to be specific and look for the details and be specific — the devil is in the details but so are angels 🙂 Write down the answers or type them or sketch them or speak them into a tape recorder and listen later.
Spend three times as long on the third question as the other two because that’s the most difficult one. (We like to think that other people are bothersome but we’re blameless!)
I plan to spend 45 minutes or so tomorrow doing Daily Naikan and answering those three questions. In my family we go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and each person says what they’re grateful for. I’m always stumped but this year I’ll be ready.
Jebra Turner is a writer in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.jebra.com.
As a nurse, you’re always ready to deal with the unexpected. Nurses think quick on their feet, no question about it. They also know how to plan and coordinate their actions with others.
But how about in your personal life? Are you ready for winter’s inclement weather, or other acts of nature that may impact your lights, power, water, or the roof over your head? Learn all about emergency preparedness on FEMA’s website — it’s a wonderful, deep, and detailed resource!
In the meantime, here are 4 simple ways to get ready for whatever Mother Nature may throw your way.
1. Buy emergecny supply kits (they come in many sizes) from online sources, such as the American Red Cross website outlet.
2. Or assemble your own outage kit for winter storms. A few must-have items: a car charger for your mobile phone as cordless phones require electricity.
Learn how to override your electric garage door opener.
Review what to do if the power goes out at your home.
Review safety rules for downed utility lines and portable generators,
if you own one.
Outage kit for when the power goes out
If a power outage occurs, you can be prepared by having a kit together
to meet your basic needs until we’re able to restore power. An outage
kit is also a great first step towards a more comprehensive emergency
kit for use in a crisis or natural disaster.
A basic outage kit should include:
Hand-crank or battery powered flashlight and radio
Extra batteries (change them periodically — even unused batteries lose
power over time)
Manual can opener
Cell-phone car charger if you depend on a cell phone, and/or a corded,
non-electric phone for home
Other handy items to have:
Sanitary water containers (if you rely on electricity to pump water)
Disposable plates and utensils
Extra blankets or sleeping bags
Emergency kits for crises and disasters
In a natural disaster or crisis, basic items we normally take for
granted — like food, water, electricity and sanitation — can become
survival needs. Predicting and planning for your family’s needs ahead
of time can help minimize the effects of emergencies.
Disaster preparedness experts suggest having enough water, food and
other supplies to survive on your own for at least three to ten days.
Since it can be a challenge to build a kit that’s both complete and
portable, consider building two. A small kit can be helpful in the
event of natural disasters and other pressing crises where you may
need to leave your home, and carrying a large kit would be difficult
or dangerous. Larger kits can be helpful for sheltering in place, but
these might not fit in your backpack.
Here are some ideas for stocking an emergency kit, in addition to the
outage kit items:
Water (1 gallon per person per day, include extra for pets)
Non-perishable food (Don’t forget food for your pets)
Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Infant formula and diapers
Sleeping bag and bedding
Copies of insurance information, IDs, bank information, and family
documents in a sealed waterproof container
A change of clothing
Basic first aid kit (Red Cross also has a First Aid app for your smart phone)
Personal hygiene items including bags for waste storage
Matches in a waterproof container
Eating utensils, manual can opener, and/or mess kit
Paper and pencil
Are you or others in your workplace taking part in Movember (“Moustache” plus “November”), a global men’s health event? Males pledge to grow their ‘staches for the month, getting donations from friends, family and co-workers in the process. In effect, they become a walking, talking billboard in order to raise awareness and money to address men’s health issues.
Participants are nicknamed “Mo Bros” and they’re often aided by “Mo Sistas.” Their aim is to shine a spotlight on men’s diseases, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer — the obvious ones — and the not so obvious ones, such as depression and suicide.
Getting “mind share” isn’t easy as there are many other worthy health organizations trying to do the same thing. According to Healthfinder.gov, November is a busy National Health Observance month. Here are just some of the events we’re celebrating this month:Lung Cancer Awareness Month; Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month; American Diabetes Month; National Epilepsy Awareness Month; Great American Smokeout (American Cancer Society); American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month, and so on.
The Aussies who started Movember in 2003 just for fun, then saw the power to do good using humor and the power of brotherhood. The next year they decided to get serious by fundraising for men’s health. The Movember Foundation is now one of the fastest-growing health NGO’s.
This year they’re highlighting gender disparities in health and longevity. Consider these statistics from their website:
*Around the world, on average, men die almost six years earlier than women.
*Globally, a man dies every minute from suicide.
*Recently, the World Health Organization bulletin on men’s health states, “Health outcomes among men and boys continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women, yet this gender-based inequality in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or health-care providers.”
*On the whole, women are outliving men by an average of almost six years.
Nurses have always been huge educators about health and well-being. Getting involved in efforts to reduce these gender disparities would boost everyone’s health.
Jebra Turner is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She works in communications Anthro Corporation and blogs about workplace health at www.anthro.com..