Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The transition between careers, whether you’re new to the job market or not, is difficult for anyone. Further, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to actually get your foot in the door if you’re not familiar with influencers in your industry. So, how can you land the job of your dreams if you’re feeling a little helpless? How about volunteering within your industry?
Just like interning, volunteering gives you the opportunity to gain experience while building up your resume. However, volunteering differs from interning since many people work for organizations that deal with charitable causes. Further, volunteering is great between projects not just for its humanitarian aspects, but also for its professional brand benefits.
But, can volunteering actually land you a job? Yes. Here’s how:
Network. If you were working in an organization day after day, making powerful connections and leads, you’d find it beneficial, right? Further, you’d probably do as much as you can to show off your skills in order to promote your professional brand. Guess what? That’s networking. As with any other activity, networking while volunteering can help you connect with people internally and externally, which may land you a link to a potential career. Think about making a real effort to get to know the people you’ll be volunteering with.
Additionally, you should probably try to help others with their own agendas as well since networking works both ways. Regardless though, the more people that know about your job search the better, so try to network as much as possible.
Move up within the organization. More times than not, people move up within an organization because of their attachment to it, like who they know or how long they’ve been there. If you have volunteered at a particular organization for an extended period of time and you’ve impressed high-ranking individuals, it may be easier to actually land a job within the company.
So, if you are aware of a job opening, you may want to express your interest, while at the same time showing that you can actually do it well. How? Think about helping the organization reach its goals to the best of your ability, even if you are a volunteer. Your drive, as well as your passion for the cause, will probably impress management, making it easier to land a job within the company.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Internships in this tough job market are essential to your future success in your field. They allow you to gain relevant experience and network with individuals in your industry. Many employers also think of internships as extended job interviews—so if you impress them as an intern, you may have the chance to be hired on as a paid employee afterward.
How can you wow your employer as an intern? What are some ways to stand out from the other interns at the company?
If you need clarification on an assignment, ask your superior or co-workers. Always make sure that you know when your deadlines are and what needs to be done by the deadline.
With each task or project, make sure to meet your deadlines to show you are capable of taking on more responsibility in the future. If you are unable to meet a deadline, communicate with your boss about it.
Becoming an intern may involve doing things you don’t necessarily enjoy or hope to do as a career. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and allow yourself to learn new skills. Finish your projects accurately and efficiently instead of waiting for the deadline to draw near. Your manager will notice and may even give you additional responsibilities.
Offer to take on new projects
When your boss asks for volunteers for a project or task, offer to help. You can build new skills and earn trust with co-workers by volunteering your time to a new initiative.
Don’t be afraid to offer expertise
Perhaps you’re really good with social media or building websites—but that’s not exactly your role as an intern. Politely offer your expertise if you see the company is struggling with something that you can help with. Although they may not take you up on it, there’s also the possibility that you could become the go-to person for help in that area.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
After all the hard work, goal setting and focus you didn’t get the promotion you thought would be coming your way. Now you’re sitting there wondering what your next move is and whether or not any move would make a difference. This has rocked your world and has left you with more questions than answers.
There are some things for you to do immediately and other things best left to later in the week or next week.
Things to do now:
1- Stay cool. The worst thing you could do is stomp into the boss’s office and throw what feels like a well-deserved fit. Even if their decision was biased and unfair a rampage from you won’t make your case. It could even be career limiting. If you need to vent, pick someone outside your company who will just let you be however you need to be.
2- Don’t make any big decision. When we’ve been hit with a big, negative event our brain isn’t functioning too well. Simply dig back into your work and let that be your focus for the next week. If you move into action too quickly, it might not be well thought out which could result in regret. Pick a day for reentering into the decision and action space. You need time to pull yourself together.
3- Don’t vent to your peers. While venting does have its merits, right now you shouldn’t vent to anyone at work. It seems that those conversations have a nasty way of making their way to the boss regardless of how close a work peer they might be.
Things to do later – like a week from now:
1- Clarify the message. Chances are good that your brain shut off the listening function when you heard the message you didn’t get the promotion. The boss did probably give you some important information for you to use. Circle back around to any notes or even the boss for a quick, clarifying conversation. No debate just gather information.
2- Move into problem solving. You have a problem. You had expectations of a promotion and you didn’t get it. This means one of the following:
Expectations of you/the promotion changed and you didn’t know it.
You weren’t communicating well with the boss on what it takes and how well you were doing.
The decision was arbitrary.
3- You can’t solve a problem you don’t fully understand. You also may not be objective enough to completely assess the problem. If you have a work mentor, now is the time to get with them. You need to make sure that whatever action you take will truly address the underlying problem. If you executed the previous step you should have some good information that will shed light on the problem you need to fix.
4- Get the right attitude. You aren’t “owed” a promotion. You need to take the approach that you will make adjustments that will put you on the right track. Don’t over compensate, simply resolve that this is a problem to solve. It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of a promotion so don’t act like a whipped dog.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
When an employer is interviewing you for a job, the question they usually don’t ask, but want you to answer most is… “Why should I hire YOU?”
If you can’t answer that question to their satisfaction… you simply won’t get the job. Think about what the employer likely has running through their mind during the interview, and address those concerns for them, whether the questions get answered directly, or not!
They may be thinking things like…
We posted the job description and got over 400 applicants.
We picked 8 that appear to have experience that prepares them well to do this job.
There are sharp people in this group. As one of those 8, would this person be the best hire?
Can they do the job better than the others?
Do they bring something the others don’t?
Do they add skills that we don’t currently have?
How well would they fit in with the team?
Would they help raise the team’s productivity, morale, and effectiveness… or bring it down?
How well can they represent us to other areas of the company, or to our customers?
In 6 months, will I be glad I hired this person, or regret a mistake?
Would my boss congratulate me on a great hire, or question why I would hire this person?
Would I enjoy working with this person each day?
Can I trust them?
Answering these non-verbal questions are your most important task in the job interview!
Here are some things to do that may help…
Know yourself! Know your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and interests
Present yourself professionally. It builds confidence and trust
Be prepared. Solid, concise answers express competence
Smile, and be warm and friendly! No one enjoys working with a grouch
Succinctly give examples of your successes
Succinctly give examples of your teamwork
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Want to demand the hiring manager’s attention from the start? Instead of utilizing a generic or jack of all trades (and master of none) resume, we should be using (and with great success) a brand-driven, focused, and customized resume. In fact, if you have expertise in more than one area, then you should be broadcasting more than one resume.
After working recently with a client who had an extremely unfocused, all-over-the-place resume, I was prompted to sit down and write about how important a focused, customized, and branded resume really is. This particular client had his resume nicely written, and to tell the truth, it wasn’t half bad. It contained great wording, had an appealing format, and even included some great accomplishments. The problem was that this resume had multiple personalities—ten different job titles and no clear direction. It was no wonder the client hadn’t even received one call back. Hiring managers were probably reviewing the resume and thinking, “I have no idea where to put this person or what he really wants to do.”
If you have experience and expertise in several different areas it certainly is not a negative, but blasting everything you have ever done all over your resume—where it looks like job titles and keywords just threw up all over it—is not going to get you an interview … or a call back for that matter. Here are three points you should consider in order to clean up your resume, communicate your brand, and customize it:
1. Clear focus and intent. Pick one position, one role, one industry. Then convey your achievements, contributions, experience, expertise, talent, passion, and vision for that one key role. This does not mean you can only apply to that one position; this is where the technique of employing multiple resumes which are focused in different areas comes in to play.
2. Brand-driven is the best. Create your personal branding statement, and then tie in all of the other elements of your resume to support that statement. If you are an amazing sales manager in the XYZ industry, then what makes you so great? How do your talent, passion, and vision play into that?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A NICU nurse is a medical professional with specialized skills in caring for newborn infants who are either premature or born with congenital deformities and life-threatening illnesses.
NICU nurses work within a specialty area and are part of a multi-disciplinary team. In the US, the first neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was established at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1960. Since then, NICU nurses have gradually formed a specialized field that cares for infants who are in the first 28 days of life.
NICU Nurse: Job Description
Today, the terms “NICU nurse” and “neonatal nurse” are used interchangeably. A NICU nurse cares for the needs of newborn infants who require strict medical attention while neonatal nurses are RNs trained to care for neonates regardless of their condition.
NICU nurses are registered nurses who have earned a diploma, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree. Most NICU nurses work under the supervision of a physician. On the other hand, advanced practice nurses like neonatal clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) often act as consultants, educators, administrators, or researchers.
NICU nurses are trained to provide round-the-clock Nursing care to premature infants or babies with serious birth defects, delivery complications, or other life-threatening conditions. They provide basic as well as advanced infant care such as changing of dressings/diapers, administration of intravenous (IV) fluids, giving of specialized feedings, and management of ventilators among others.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Prior to discussing my opinion of what the attributes of a great nurse are, it is important to first understand what nursing truly is and how we evolved into the most honored and trusted profession in the world. The reasons are simple; nursing is a profession steeped in rich values based on the work of Florence Nightingale, which has not degraded over time due to the character of the individuals that commit to the calling. Nursing, in my opinion, is a much higher spiritual calling than merely a profession. Our fundamental tenets have not changed over time, either. Those are described as:
•Nursing is founded on specific human values.
•Nursing is a scientific knowledge.
•Nursing is a technical skill.
These tenets are based on specific nursing values that have been studied in literature and remain pretty consistent globally. These include:
•Sense of accomplishment
•Prevention of suffering
In my opinion, a great nurse lives these values and clearly understands themselves and their role in this fine profession. In an attempt to translate the values into behaviors, I would identify the actions as follows:
1.A great nurse is compassionate. Compassionate is defined as the feeling of concern and sympathy for others. We need to remember that our patients, apart from cosmetic work or delivering babies, are generally not in the healthcare setting because they want to be. They are fearful and at risk of losing their health, possibly their lives, and concurrently, those visitors with them may be at risk of losing precious loved ones. They are not in control and are frightened, and they need us for support. This also means that we are consummate advocates for the patient and willing to speak up when we do not feel the environment is as safe as it can be.
2.A great nurse is empathetic. Empathetic is defined as the ability and willingness to share in the feelings of others. It does not mean that we agree with the patient or completely understand what they are going through. It simply means that we are willing to make a concerted effort to listen to them, to put ourselves in their place and to attempt to understand their challenges. This needs to be done without judgment and with the understanding that everyone has their own set of values and their own life experiences that have brought them to this point.
3.A great nurse is selfless. Selfless is defined as the ability to give to others at the expense of themselves. I have countless stories of nurses over the years that illustrate this ability to give to others. This could be as simple as missing lunch to hold a patient’s hand or to do something extraordinary for someone else. I had one trauma nurse I will never forget who was caring for a homeless man hit by a car. When the patient was being discharged back to the street, the nurse realized that his shoes were not removed during the trauma because he did not own any. His foot size was the same as the patient’s, so he gave him his shoes and wore shoe covers for the rest of the day. I felt that this was a tremendous example of selflessness. We recognized him as an everyday hero. The stories go on and on and we need to celebrate them when they happen.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
This month I focus on “awareness.” What a task! Awareness in and of itself is often interchanged with numerous terms: consciousness, mindfulness and/or presence. Even as I sat down to write about what these terms mean, I realize there is so much to say, more so than I can write in just this one article. One thing I need ask to come out compose myself: How can awareness help nurses?
I have read several books on these concepts, a lot of great information. Jon Kabat-Zinn is often seen as the founder of the “mindfulness” terminology. Anthony DeMello and Michael A. Singer are two other great authors in terms of these concepts. These concepts could actually be a lifelong process of study and reading and experiencing.
Watching the Present Moment
This brings me to a concept I read in DeMello’s book, “Awareness.” He doesn’t ever really lay out one definition of awareness, but, rather, dedicates his entire book to the subject. From reading it and from my understanding of the concepts, I share with you some of the ideas about this term: awareness.
To me, awareness means observing, self-observation without judgment or interference. Just simply observing and noticing. It is not labeling or thinking or remembering or any of that. It is not bringing in what we have already experienced or know. It is simply watching the present moment. DeMello writes:
“Self-observation means to watch everything in you and around you as far as possible and watch it as if it were happening to someone else. It means that you do not personalize what is happening to you. It means that you look at things as if you have no connection with them whatsoever.”
So what we want to do is passively observe our thoughts. We are not to interfere. We are not to “fix.” We are just to watch and observe. Instead of trying to “fix” everything; understand things. Understand by observing. Understand them and they will change.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Nurses have distinct intellectual qualities that they use to adapt to patient needs. Nurses are bright, critical thinkers and assertive decision makers. Yet, there is a quality that launches a good nurse into a great one. It is a quality that is sometimes hard to put a finger on. It is called Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability, capacity and skill to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, of others and of groups. This quality plays an important role in nursing success whether they are working in management or at the bed side.
There are several different EI models and some disagreement on a specific definition, but the overall concepts and applications to nursing are the same.
Although a nurse may be born with general EI and related personality traits, Daniel Goleman (author of the book “Working with Emotional Intelligence”) and other researchers agree that the ability to develop, learn and improve EI is possible.
As nurses, we must be open to developing our EI skills in order to meet the needs of our patients, just as we would if we were learning a new clinical technique.
Goleman’s model outlines four main EI constructs:
The ability to read our own emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
This concept is not new to nurses and tightly follows the Peplau nursing theory. We have to “know ourselves” and our reactions before we can help manage others appropriately.
The ability to control our own emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances.
Once we, as nurses, have identified where our strengths and weaknesses lie, we must look for opportunities to improve those skills. My favorite skill is modeling. Find people you respect who use a particular skill well (i.e. listening to angry families or managing an intense meeting) and then “mimic” them until you get the hang of it.
Other ideas include reading articles and self-help books, attending Webinars and learning everything you can on leadership, conflict resolution and communication in nursing.
The ability to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social awareness as a nurse.
Now comes the difficult part. We have to look for opportunities to use our new skills so that they become a part of who we are. In a hospital, opportunities abound. Every minute we have the opportunity to show openness, gratefulness or compassion towards patients or coworkers.
My favorite personal quote is “everyone deserves a little grace.” I use this to remind myself to keep my emotions in check. I then proceed to implement newly learned EI skills.
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Making nursing career decisions can be a daunting task. Whether a teen looking at your future or an adult looking to make a career change, there are many factors to consider. These include the length of the schooling, financial requirements, academic interests, and existing skills.
Thankfully, the field of healthcare offers a wide range of options. Let’s look at a few.
Medical Assistant (MA)
At this level, healthcare providers perform many of the administrative duties required in an office setting. They can also provide basic patient care and clinical tasks we need in similar environments. These courses are often found at community colleges.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
They provide invaluable assistance to nursing staff. They are able to assist with daily living skills such as bathing, feeding, dressing, and walking. They report to professional staff about what they have been assigned to do.
Employment opportunities might be found in hospitals, extended care facilities, and nursing homes. These courses are also offered through community colleges, often with a joint effort provided by local healthcare institutions. At some colleges and universities, it is valuable to have a CNA certificate when applying to enter their nursing program.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
The skills these healthcare workers perform will depend on the scope of practice allowed by the state board of nursing. While these may vary depending on where you plan to practice, they might include performing medical procedures, administration of some medications, and providing wound care.
If you would like to work in an office, in a hospital, a nursing home, or other long term care facility, this might be your choice. LPNs work under the supervision of an RN or physician and are often regarded as completing an interim portion of an RN program. Students will be allowed to take their LPN boards and then work in that capacity until their RN course/clinical requirements are fulfilled.
Registered Nurse (RN)
RNs are trained to assess patients, plan and implement care, and then evaluate the outcome. There are two types of RN degrees offered throughout the country. First is the associate degree (ADN), which is normally a 2-year program at a community college. The other is a bachelor’s degree (BSN), which is a 4-year degree at a college or university. These programs may have more coursework compared to other options, but they teach you about why you see and do specific things, on top of the specific skills you need.
RNs can be found in offices, at schools, and in hospitals. They can work in flight programs or act as preceptors for students. They can be even hired by pharmaceutical or medical equipment companies.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)
Nurses who decide they would like to go on with their formal education are able to obtain a variety of advanced degrees. These might include master’s level degrees, clinical specialist degrees in the specialty of their choice, and an endless variety of both skills and academic achievements. If you want to be a midwife, a nurse anesthetist, a researcher, a published writer, a professor, or administrator, this is the path you should choose.