My mission is to help get you where you want to be in nursing…

Here I was, completing my nursing degree from The University of Michigan, en route to graduating from a top 10 nursing school. But what would that mean when I finished? I knew what I wanted to do, but how would I get there? In school, I followed a curriculum and rigorous clinical rotations. Now what? Simultaneously I felt confident and confused, excited and anxious, on my own but feeling very much alone.

Without anyone to help navigate a world of nursing boards, licenses, resumes and applications, I had to take the initiative. I don’t know if all that held me back, but it sure didn’t help me at the time. Although I landed a job as a staff nurse followed by a quick promotion to assistant clinical manager at Detroit’s St. John Hospital, I never forgot how challenging it was to be a new graduate nurse.

I moved on to rewarding and challenging nursing jobs back in Ann Arbor, Michigan at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and an outpatient surgery center before spending 16 years in the University of Michigan Health System. For 23 years, whether in medical/surgical, emergency, outpatient surgery or procedural care, there was one constant: I loved connecting with those I treated, helping them not just as patients but as people…….but as individuals. It’s our passion as nurses.

As proud as I am of those days in clinical positions, I started feeling pulled to something a little different, something tied more to the nurses than the patients. To nursing students, specifically.

In 2016, I became the first Student Success Coordinator at The University of Michigan School of Nursing. This was my chance to start giving back to my profession and alma mater and provide the students with the type of experience I never had. I coordinated programs and initiatives. I planned special events and seminars, career fairs and community-building activities, Kaplan reviews and NCLEX predictor exams. But what I really did was support and guide our student nurses to and through graduation to the start of the rest of their professional lives.

They didn’t know how to apply to different state nursing boards or whether they needed fingerprinting for licensure. They didn’t understand how to put together nursing resumes and cover letters that fit the positions they wanted. They’d never interviewed, so I would show them how to prepare and put them through mock interviews. My job was to help replace their stress with confidence, to cheerlead for and empower them, to build on the passion that brought them to nursing in the first place and not let anything get in their way.

Take Sarah. She was one of those students who stood out to everyone, with an awesome personality and the kindest heart you could find. She went on vacation and suffered a bad skiing accident less than two months before graduation. She needed surgery and called me crying from the hospital and said “How am I going to complete clinicals in a cast and pins?”

If Sarah couldn’t complete clinicals, she would have to repeat the semester and delay graduation. I worked with her any way I could. I looked for creative ways to coordinate with her instructors. If she couldn’t be on the floor with her physical injuries, we found other ways to complete her training. I tried to calm her when she became stressed, encourage her when she needed a lift, and be there for her when she needed me.

On her first day back, she asked me to walk into the classroom with her. Later, when she appeared before a committee choosing the Graduation Day speakers she asked me to come, too. She knocked her speech “out of the park” and was chosen as our speaker. And when she gave her speech in the auditorium on Graduation Day, she brought the crowd of thousands to tears. It was one of the most moving speeches I had ever heard.

Connecting with Sarah meant everything to both of us. I try to do that with everyone who comes to me, understanding fully that individual goals will vary greatly. For example, I recently prepared a student with a mock interview, giving her practice questions, feedback and interview tips. She went into her interview with confidence, was offered the job and was complemented afterward on her strong interviewing skills. Together, we had accomplished her goal of interviewing well and landing her first job!

With Emily, it was about helping her coordinate her head and her heart. She was offered a dream new grad position, at a prestigious hospital, but something about it just didn’t feel right. This was her first big career decision, and I helped coach her through it, seeing what was important to her, helping her look at the situation in ways she hadn’t considered. We talked through the pros and cons. In the end, I helped her listen to her instincts and reassured her that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s OK to turn it down. She did, as hard as it was at the time, but it paid off. She ended up with an amazing job at Johns Hopkins in the ICU.

The student’s commitment, appreciation and authenticity are humbling and powerful. They can be themselves, and so can I, and together we find the answers and success they deserve. Through them, I discovered the road I was meant to walk.

I couldn’t stop there. I left The University of Michigan in 2018 to become a nurse career coach and consultant. Now I can help students all over the country transition smoothly into the nursing profession. I am also able to empower nurses already in the field to lift themselves to the roles they deserve.

Through my training and certification with the prestigious Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), I can show nurses who feel frustrated or stuck on how to turn their careers into more optimal professional lives. This doesn’t involve snake oil or psychobabble, just our working together in ways that are best for each person. If it doesn’t feel authentic, it won’t work. That’s not me, anyway.

Nurses are all about genuinely helping everyone else. Now I can show nurses how to help themselves, too. I can’t wait to help show you! To get started, click below to apply for one of my free Career Clarity Sessions.