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Effective self-marketing is essential to a successful job search

Editor’s note: The following blog post was written and contributed by Michelle Mercurio, National Director of Career Services, Chamberlain College of Nursing.

You read the guides to a successful job search. You put in the time. You paid attention to detail, distributing your pristine resume at career fairs and professional networking events. You even practiced an elevator pitch to highlight your credentials and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

So why haven’t you landed a new job?

If you were diligent about your search, chances are you were following a comprehensive checklist of tactics to find your next position. However, now may be the time to ask yourself if you are just running through the motions and “checking the box” on these steps, or if you are approaching your search like a true marketeer.

What’s a Marketeer?   

We know that marketers use strategies such as product placement, advertising, public relations, brand management and social media promotion to sell goods and services to consumers. Similarly, the word marketeer is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a specialist in promoting or selling a product or service.”

But there’s more to the role than the literal definition; the word marketeer conjures images of a champion marketer who stops at nothing to ensure that the product for sale is seen as a necessity by the consumer. A career marketeer applies those same strategies and promotion principles to ensure that he or she is seen as a necessity to an employer.

Be a Marketeer

Being a marketeer applies to everyone, not solely people in traditional business careers. People in all types of industries, including healthcare and education, should apply these principles to determine the next steps in a job search.

Conduct a self-analysis of all of your promotional channels – including you!

  • Audit your resume, cover letter, social networking profiles, and all personal promotion tools to ensure that they are concise and contain action words and achievements that convey the high energy necessary to drive engagement and interest from others. Clean up any imperfections, misspellings, or irrelevant information – they only serve as distractions and may detract from your credibility.
  • Analyze your job search process and identify opportunities to maximize your time. This is the strategy part of your job search. You want to reexamine those promotional activities that did not yield feedback from hiring managers. Move forward with the actions that are generating a positive response. If none of your efforts are generating a response, check in with your contacts and increase your networking.

Test the market and increase your networking.

  • Ask a few trusted contacts to spend 10 minutes reviewing your resume, cover letter, social media profiles, and in-person interview attire. Then ask them for their candid tips on how to improve your presence online and in-person.
  • Do more than just attend a career fair or networking event. Research industry topics and engage at least three new contacts in relevant discussion. Volunteer to chair an industry-related committee or lead a project. Follow up, and follow through. For example, for a nurse who is seeking a nurse manager position, this may mean volunteering to help with a community health expo in your spare time to show your business and teamwork abilities.
  • Help them help you. Ask your contacts if you can help them with a project – and then do so enthusiastically. You can strengthen your relationship with a new contact and also reinvigorate your job search by applying your skills.

Promote your brand in all interactions – and then align it with the opportunity pipeline.

  • In his 1997 article for Fast CompanyThe Brand Called You,” Tom Peters highlights the necessity of personal branding. The advice contained in this article is still very relevant for job hunters today; reference this article for ways to create and promote your brand.
  • Prepare to “wow” during your next elevator pitch and interview; instead of reciting your abilities and desires, align your communication with the available opportunity. In other words, know your audience and show how your personal brand is important to helping them achieve their goals.
  • Rally people around you by bringing energy to all of your interactions and staying positive. Infusing your interactions with excitement and camaraderie can leave a lasting impression and can increase your chances of being remembered when it comes time to hire.

Most importantly, after you do land your new career position, carry your marketeer perspective into the workplace to ensure a successful start and future growth opportunities!

 


The flu season, and flu shot debate, persists

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that flu activity is decreasing in many parts of the country, 47 states are still reporting widespread geographic influenza activity. The southern and southeastern parts of the country, along with New England and the Midwest, are seeing a decline in the number of flu cases, while populations in the Southwest and Northwest have seen an increase in activity. According to the CDC, more than 130 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed as of January 18, and state that there are sufficient vaccinations for those who have not yet received the flu shot.

Along with the flu, the debate rages on as to whether healthcare workers should be required to receive the vaccination. Last month, eight nurses at an Indiana hospital were fired for refusing the mandatory flu shots, causing both positive and negative reactions from the public and the healthcare community.

In a poll this month at StrategiesforNurseManagers.com, we asked readers whether or not nurses at their organizations are required to receive a flu shot. The results were almost evenly matched, with 58% saying flu shots are mandatory and 42% responding that the flu vaccination is optional.

How do you feel about mandatory flu shots? Do you agree with firing nurses who refuse, or do you feel that it is a right to refuse the vaccine? Weigh in on the issue in our comments section!

To err is human, but what can be forgiven?

Just one week after the news that nurses have once again been ranked as the most ethical and honest profession in the United States, a story has emerged in New Hampshire that has issues of trust and honesty in nursing at its core. Heather Stickney, a nursing student at NHTI in Concord, N.H., made the news recently when she was suspended for taking home scrubs she wore during her rotation at Catholic Medical Center. Her clinical advisor has accused her of stealing the scrubs and lying about it.

At first, it appears that the punishment is extreme for what could be described as a minor offense. After all, Stickney did not harm a patient or steal medications; she borrowed a set of scrubs to observe a procedure and said that she wanted to keep them as a memento. According to Stickney, she asked her clinical adviser whether she could keep the scrubs and was told to return them, but upon asking a man in the linen department the same question she was told she could keep them. The clinical adviser, noticing that the scrubs were still missing, gave Stickney an administrative failure, suspending her from the class and from the nursing program.

The issue raises the question as to whether Stickney’s actions should be interpreted as a “rookie mistake” or as a more significant character flaw, one that could lead to her lying about more serious offenses. Stickney has appealed the suspension and points to her otherwise exceptional record in the NHTI program, while nursing professors and nurse administrators indicate that nurses mist be trusted to tell the truth.

Errors happen in healthcare, and it is often how those errors are handled that makes the difference in the total impact of the incident. Nurse leaders are often told they must create an environment in which nurses feel comfortable coming forward and admitting to errors, rather than trying to hide them and potentially making the situation worse. Stickney made a mistake in disobeying her clinical adviser, but nothing in the news reports indicates that she has admitted to making a mistake or apologized for her actions. It may seem like a lot of fuss over a pair of scrubs, but it does highlight a need to instill values of honesty and ethics in nurses during training to carry over as they move into nursing careers.

Do you feel that Stickney’s suspension is an appropriate punishment for her actions? How would your organization handle a similar infraction? Leave a comment and let us know!

Online breathing technique program helps reduce stress in nurses and patients

Nurses are well aware of the stress that comes with the job. Taking care of numerous patients at varying levels of sickness, and dealing with many competing priorities, is enough to make anyone stressed out. Now, with the help of the BREATHE technique, nurses and patients can lower their blood pressure, heart rate, and experience a decrease in stress.

The BREATHE technique was developed by John M. Kennedy, medical director of preventative cardiology at Marina del Rey Hospital in California. It’s a 15-minute computer program that helps ease the stress of nurses and patients by combining deep breathing with guided imagery.

[more]

Four basic rules for engaging direct-care nurses in quality improvement

To engage direct-care nurses, nurse leaders need to follow four basic rules:

1. Be transparent with your staff at all times

2. Make accountability for improvement at the unit and staff nurse levels

3. Give your staff the tools to succeed

4. Continually reward and recognize improvement

Here is a more in-depth look at each of the four basic rules. [more]

RWJF senior advisor for nursing honors 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death

Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is spending her summer vacation doing something extraordinary. She is not spending her days soaking up the sun, or taking a cruise to Alaska. Instead she is traveling in Europe, learning about the life and work of Florence Nightingale.

Throughout Hassmiller’s journey across Europe, she is blogging about her experience. Her trips marks the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s death. [more]

Preserve the Image of Nursing: New TV series jeopardizes nursing image

For years, nurses have been battling how the nursing profession and nurses are portrayed in the media. Having to go against the nursing stereotypes on display in programs such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House, M.D.” makes the job that much harder, as patients and families are familiar with the popular television shows.

Now, nurses will have to add another television show to the list that puts their image in jeopardy. MysticArt Pictures has issued a casting call for the new “sexy docu-series” called “Cali Nurse.” According to the casting call, the show is looking for “gorgeous” young females (ages 21-30 only) who will experience “comedy, romance, and fun” and are all about “big hearts” and “dates with McDreamy.” [more]

Eight Ways to Drive the Complaining Patient and Family Member Nuts

One of my favorite activities is facilitating patient and family focus groups. What I love about focus groups is that I always learn something!

I’ve consistently found that patients and families are very sensitive to how they are treated when they complain and very articulate about the experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned well it is “What drives the complaining patient and family member nuts?”

Listed here are the highlights. Consider sharing this list with staff throughout your organization so that people avoid some of the pitfalls of dealing with complaints.

1. It drives patients and families nuts when we get defensive. If we take complaints personally and say things like “I only work here” or “It’s not my fault”, we make matters worse. We need to keep calm, stay objective, and avoid judging, acting superior or making excuses.

2. It drives customers nuts when we coldly cite “policy” as our reason why we can’t do what the customer wants. Statements like “I’m sorry, but that’s the way we do things here” or “It’s our policy” infuriate patients and families, because it seems we care more about protecting ourselves than serving their needs. We need to somehow give them at least one option in line with policy or find ways to bend rules when we know we’re acting in the patient’s and organization’s best interest. And when the rule can’t be bent, we can at least listen intently and, with sincere regret and caring, explain how the rule exists for the sake of the patient. Why is there no smoking? Not because “it’s our policy.” Instead, “For the health and safety of all of our patients and staff, there’s no smoking.” [more]

Should nurses be the ones to help patients stop smoking?

Not being a nurse, I’ve never really thought about what happens when patients are admitted to the hospital and they are smokers. However, this is something that nurses and healthcare providers have to deal with all the time, and a recent survey says that many are not offering patients any help with quitting.

The survey, published in the July issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that nurses and healthcare professionals often do not provide information to help patients kick the habit because they feel they lack of training in smoking cessation interventions and that it is not part of their professional responsibilities, among other things. [more]

Nursing reviews change across the country

Everyone has to undergo a performance review, including nurses. At some facilities, it can take place annually, maybe every six months, or even every other year. Nurses may be asked to fill out a 10-page form that helps their managers score qualities such as “leadership” or “respectfulness.” Or maybe the nurses don’t have to fill out a form, but rather have an electronic system tracking every project they do, and if a task is not completed on time, the information is logged into a performance system.

No matter the case, many organizations are changing the way performance reviews are conducted to separate top performers from underachievers. According to Hewitt Associates, 10% of managers and 11% of other employees are now judged solely on the results they achieve, as opposed to a combination of hard figures and additional behavioral characteristics. [more]