The Single Best Financial Advice For Nurses

The Single Best Financial Advice For Nurses

Nurses work hard for the money. But they need to be saving more of it.  Unquestionably, this is the best financial advice for nurses today.

During my first few tumultuous weeks as a new grad nurse, a mentor with over 20 years of nursing experience gave me some invaluable advice,  “Save your money now,” she said.  “Pay off your school loans and automate your savings so you don’t even see it. “As a second career nurse I already had a decent 401k from a prior career selling medical equipment, but it was great advice that I needed to be reminded of now that I was beginning my new career as an RN. 

Over the years I have found that nurses are very good at worrying about the health and well-being of others, before their own.  Our financial health needs to be given as much attention as we devote to our patients.

Everything in nursing is evidence-based.  Are nurses ignoring the evidence that compounding interest is the secret to growing wealth slowly and ensuring their financial health into their golden years.

Piggy Bank sitting on pile of cash

The best financial advice for nurses is to start start saving more money for retirement at a younger age. 

Are nurses making what they are worth?

Many nurses choose the profession because they are passionate about patient care and they want to make a positive impact in the world – not because they are trying to become millionaires.  But nurses still deserve to make a decent living and have the ability to afford a decent retirement savings by the time 70 rolls around. Unfortunately, many nurses are deferring retirement because they simply cannot afford it.

Recently, someone said to me that they thought nurses made too much money.  My jaw practically hit the floor.  “Too much?”  I must have heard that wrong.  Is it possible that what he actually meant was “too little?”  Nope. I heard it right the first time.

So I asked “how much is your life worth?”  As an emergency room nurse I work with the most kick-ass, life-saving nurses out there.  In fact, all the nurses at my hospital are breaking their backs to help people.  Yet despite our sacrifices we are increasingly underappreciated for the hard work we do.  (By the way, he never told me how much he thought his life was worth.  He just kept insisting that we are so overpaid for the work we do).

What is the future of nursing going to look like?

I live in California where we still are fortunate enough to have this thing called “safe patient ratios.”  And we still have a nursing union, so I consider myself luckier than many nurses.  I hear the nursing conditions in some states are deplorable.  (Although due to a recent vote in the Supreme Court, both our union and safe patient ratios may be in jeopardy of going away here some day as well).

In light of this and other new developments, I foresee a few changes within my workplace and the nursing field that may negatively effect my working conditions.  Healthcare is a business in the United States.  Nurses are in the business of saving human lives while our hospitals are in the business of saving money.  What profession do you think will be the first to take a pay cut?

Is the wear-and-tear of nursing worth it?

Not to keep harping on the bad, but while I’m at it there’s this: I worry about how long I can physically be a hospital nurse before I hurt myself.  I have been a nurse for 7 years and I am already experiencing chronic back pain. 

Many hospitals are failing to protect nursing staff from becoming patientsAnd studies are showing that proper technique when moving patients still exposes nurses spines to dangerous forces.  In light of these concerns, I am exploring other ways I can continue to practice nursing outside of the hospital setting.

Nurse, save your money now.

I am saving and investing as much money as I can with each paycheck.  It is the wise thing to do and, frankly, who knows how long I will be able to work.  Besides, there will always be employers out there who want to pay nurses less than we deserve.  We cant just keep taking care of everybody else’s needs at the detriment of our own financial well-being.

If you are not already, save as much as you can now and make your savings automatic.  This is singularly the best financial advice for nurses. Your future self will thank you for it.  

Please leave a comment below.  We love hearing from our readers!

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Before You Start A Blog Read This!

Before You Start A Blog Read This!

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read my disclosure policy here.

Starting a blog can be overwhelming, especially when you already work full time, are a parent to small children and have a to-do list that never seems to end.  To make matters worse there is almost too much information on the internet about how to start a blog.

Where do I start?  Who should I trust?  How do I prevent myself from becoming overwhelmed with information?

And most importantly, how do I even find the time to start a blog when my schedule is already crazy busy?

The thing about blogging is that it is a marathon, NOT a sprint. It is also not a get rich fast (or maybe ever) scheme.   It is a TON of work.  So, if you are not considering it as a long term project then quite frankly I would strongly consider whether you want to start a blog in the first place.

But you are still reading this so I’m going to assume you really do want to start a blog .  And I’m so glad.  Because I love blogging and I love talking about blogging even more!

laptop computer for a blogger

Here are a 5 important things to consider BEFORE starting a blog:

1.  Find your niche

For me, this one was easy.  I am very passionate about two things:  nursing and motherhood.  (And, well, my husband & other loved ones too, but for the sake of having a blog, you need to find YOUR specific niche that you can passionately write about).

Someone once told me this:  “Before you start a blog you must find your niche.  Then, take your niche and niche it down even more.”  In essence, you need to get really super specific.

For example, if I just called myself a “nurse blogger” that doesn’t say very much about who I am or what my niche is about (except, of course, that I am one of 2.2 million other nurses in the US).  It also doesn’t tell you anything about how I might be able to add any value to a reader.  It’s just too vague.

Instead I am a “nurse mom lifestyle blogger who helps other nurses take better care of themselves with an emphasis on self-care.”  I like to think of myself as a nurse advocate.  That sounds a little better, doesn’t it?

It seems counter-intuitive that niche-ing down helps bloggers perform better but it really does.  It increases your engagement with a very specific group and you have the opportunity to be an expert in a small area.  You just can’t be everything to everyone, and you can’t be an expert at everything.

2.  What will your name be?

Many bloggers want their name to reflect their niche.  I’ll use myself as an example again:  my blog name is Mother Nurse Love and my niche is nurse moms and self love.  Pretty self explanatory.

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you don’t want it to.  Your name can be anything you want it to be (although it might be a little more interesting if you are able to have a little story behind it!).

It is, however, important to put a lot of consideration into your name for the following reasons:

  • Your blog name is going to be with you for a long time.  You will be known for it.
  • It is difficult (but not impossible) to change it later on down the line.
  • Bloggers generally use their blog names for their social media handles as well.  Again, this just makes it harder for you to re-brand in the future (so start with the right name!)

Just make sure your name is not offensive or is sending a message that does not reflect you well.

(In the book The Nurses Guide To Blogging, co-author Kati Klieber, talks about how when she first started out her blogging name was Nurse Eye Roll.  While many RN’s can relate to Nurse Eye Roll as a funny title, when she started getting more popular in the blogging world she became concerned that her blog name was sending the wrong message to brands and followers.  She ultimately had to do a complete re-brand and changed her name to FreshRN.  She is now more popular than ever the nurse blogging community, but I’m sure it was a huge pain in the butt at the time.)

A word of advice:  I strongly suggest that you figure out what your blog name will be BEFORE setting up a WordPress blog with Bluehost.

3.  What is your end goal with your blog?

Do you want a hobby blog?  Or are you trying to start a side hustle/business?  You don’t have to make this decision right away, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you are planning on growing an email list and monetizing your blog at some point.

First things first though.  You need to starting writing blog posts.  A lot of them.  And they need to be good.

By now you have probably heard the phrase “content is king.”  Well, frankly, it is.  And if your end goal is to have a growing, thriving blog, then your writing and your voice need to be honed in nicely.

After you have a functioning website up and running then it might be a good time to start expanding your reach.

If your end goal is lots of website traffic you need to start with Pinterest AND focus on Search Engine Optimization

Pinterest will get you page views faster – but great SEO will rank you higher in Google searches and is great for the long haul.  Right now I focus on both to grow my website traffic.

You may not know this, but Pinterest is NOT a social media platform.  Its a visual search engine.  It has changed tremendously over the last year and continues to have algorithm updates almost weekly (or so it seems!)  Mastering Pinterest takes a lot of work and if you want more traffic sooner then you need to invest in a course.

Here is a great resource for you understand and better utilize Pinterest:  a blogger colleague of mine, Megan Johnson, created Pinterest Ninja to help people increase their blog pages views by the thousands.  I did the course when I was on maternity leave and have been able to increase my page views from 0 to 500-1000/day within a few months. Seriously, read some of her reviews.

Know this- if your goal IS to monetize your blog you will need to invest in a few courses to help move you forward.  Otherwise, blogging is a lonely, frustrating island.)

4.  How much time will you be able to dedicate?

Most adults have a full time job and/or kids that they need to manage before they can put work time into blogging.  So as much as we intend to dive right into writing 7 posts a week, for many of us that is just not realistic.

I am a mother of 2 very small children, a nurse working 12 hour shifts, a wife and a homemaker.  So, like most other working women bloggers, I’m super freaking busy 99% of the time.  However, through practicing hyper-vigilant time management and forgoing a little shut eye at night I am managing to squeeze 5-10 hours into my blog every week.  And I am still able to produce some decent and valuable content on a fairly consistent basis.

Eventually, my children with be in school and at that time I will be able to dedicate more time to content creation and website management.  But for now I am still making an impact and earning a little money every day.

Try making a tentative blogging schedule for yourself and stick to it.  Like I mentioned before, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint and it takes time to grow.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying or trying to sell you something.

5.  Are you OK with being vulnerable?

When I first started blogging it took me a week to write my first posts.  The reason it took me so long was that I kept going back and censoring my post from its original content.  Mostly I was afraid of offending someone.  I kept thinking “what if they leave a negative comment on my site?

It took me a few months to stop being so hard on myself.  After all, this is my blog, I own it, and therefore I am allowed to talk about whatever I want.  If someone has something negative to say, so what?  Besides, aren’t I trying to start a dialog for nurse moms?

(A blogging collage once shared some encouraging words:  she said “you’ll know when your really doing well with your blog when you get a nasty comment on your site.  That’s when the trolls start to find you.”  Wise words.)

Vulnerability can be powerful for a new blogger.  Once you decide that you are going to be authentic with your writing you actually gain momentum with your messaging.  You allow your writing to be more creative and natural.  It’s an inspired feeling and your readers will appreciate getting to know you better.

(A few final thoughts to mention before hitting publish:  Are you hurting anyone or belittling a person or community?  Words are powerful so use them to create positivity and to help find solutions to problems.  Create value.  Spread the love.)

Here are a few more posts you may be interested in reading!

Recommended blogging courses and resources for new bloggers:

You need to know by now – if your goal IS to monetize your blog you must invest in a few courses to help move you forward.  Otherwise, blogging is a lonely, frustrating island.

  • Nurse Blogging 101: Healthcare Media Academy –  If you are a nurse or other healthcare blogger, I highly recommend starting with this one.  Creators Brittany Wilson and Kati Kleber are both published, award-winning authors who are also considered the Godmothers in nurse blogging.  They are especially great because they go into more detail about patient privacy concerns and other considerations that healthcare bloggers need to be aware of.
  • Pinterest Ninja:  If you want to understand how Pinterest can grow blog traffic you need this Pinterest Ninja Course.  A blogger colleague of mine, Megan Johnson, created Pinterest Ninja to help people increase their blog pages views by the thousands.  I did the course when I was on maternity leave and I was able to increase my blog traffic exponentially in just over one month.    Seriously, read some of her reviews.  Her course is invaluable.
Nurses Nurturing Nurses Interview With Jessica Smith, RN

Nurses Nurturing Nurses Interview With Jessica Smith, RN

In case you missed it, last week I was interviewed by the amazing Nurse Coach Jessica Smith and we talked about bouncing back from burnout.

Well, guess what?  I got ANOTHER chance to talk with Jessica this week about a topic that is near and dear to my heart:  nurses nurturing nurses!  (I had so much fun the first time, what can I say?!)

Our ‘Nurses Nurturing Nurses‘YouTube interview can be found HERE!

During the interview, we discussed:

  • Strategies you can use to attain a work-life balance with a busy nursing schedule;
  • How you can design your life around how you want to feel;
  • How doing simple things each day can make a BIG impact on your overall health and well-being;

I’d love for you to listen in – and even better – leave a comment!

Again, the link to listen in can be found here!

Take care,

Sarah

Additional Recommended Reading:
7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout
Nurse Burnout:  How Administration Can Help
How To Achieve A Work-Life Balance As A Nurse
Nurse Health:  Self- Care For 12 Hours Shifts

Bouncing Back From Burnout Interview With Jessica Smith, RN

Bouncing Back From Burnout Interview With Jessica Smith, RN

Nurse burnout sucks.  I’ve totally been there. 

So, it may seem odd at first to hear that I also LOVE talking about nurse burnout. In fact, I think every nurse experiences burnout at some point in their career (if you haven’t please email me back and let me know your secret!). 

Here’s the kicker.  Once you admit you have an issue with nursing burnout you open yourself to the idea of potential solutions.  But if you just pull your hoodie over your eyes and continue to suffer in silence then nothing ever changes.  And your burnout gets even worse.

So, let’s talk about solutions for nurse burnout!  (Solving problems is always better than complaining anyway). 

Bouncing back from nurse burnout
Last week I had an amazing opportunity to interview with nurse coach and fellow ER nurse, Jessica Smith about bouncing back from burnout!

Our Bouncing Back From Burnout YouTube interview can be found here

During the interview, we discussed:

  • How you can find a work-life balance with a busy nursing schedule;
  • Why nurses need to make their own health a #1 priority;
  • How getting to the “why” in your burnout can help you find patterns that contribute to your burnout;
  • And why you should always surround yourself with positive support!

I’d love for you to listen in – and even better – leave a comment or share it with your fellow nurse friends!  

Again, the link to listen in can be found here!

I can’t wait for you to check it out!

P.S.  If you are a nurse struggling with finding ways to take better care of yourself, here is a FREE E-BOOK .  It’s called Nurse, Take Care Of Yourself First.  Because nurses work really, really hard.  And we need to be taking better care of ourselves.  It includes tips for nurses on how to stay healthy during 12 hour shifts, ideas for better self care at home and suggestions for finding a better work-life balance.  

Additional Recommended Reading:

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout
Nurse Burnout:  How Administration Can Help
How To Achieve A Work-Life Balance As A Nurse
Nurse Health:  Self- Care For 12 Hours Shift

Nurse Burnout: How Hospital Administration Can Help

Nurse Burnout: How Hospital Administration Can Help

Nurse burnout is common.

As a second career RN with 7 years of experience as a med/surg, telemetry, emergency room and resource nurse I have struggled tremendously with nurse burnout.  In fact, I often wonder how long I can continue working as a nurse when I often feel so spent.  The caregiver burden is real.

Nurse burnout is often described as the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion of nurses.  Causes for nurse burnout include working arduous 12 hour shifts, working in high stress environments, dealing with sickness and death and constantly having to put the needs of others before one’s own.

Like most nurses, I am very passionate about my profession. It is a privilege and an honor to advocate for and serve my patients during some of the most difficult points of their lives.  But there has to be a better way to help nurses find a better balance between patient care and self-care.

The nurse burnout problem is not going away.

Left unchecked, nurse burnout can lead to exhaustion, physical injuries, and even depression. Furthermore, disengagement caused by nurse burnout can negatively impact patient care, increase the risk of medical errors and lower overall patient satisfaction.

In addition, nurse health must be taken more seriously.  Too many nurses are on their way to becoming patients themselves due to overwork.

Nursing burnout: How administration can help

Nursing burnout: administration can help.

Hospital administration can help.

Here are a few ideas that hospitals should consider to help nurses create more balance and achieve some self care during work hours.

1.  Create a meditative space for nurses away from patients and visitors

Caregiver burden is an issue for nurses.  It is not uncommon for hospitals to have a space for spiritual prayer or meditation for patients and their families.  However, nurses should also be offered a meditative space to clear their heads, and have a quiet moment to themselves.  This would help nurses return to their work environments with renewed energy and focus to give better patient care.

2. Offer yoga and meditation classes

Offering yoga and meditation classes during the nurse’s lunch breaks would be beneficial.  Studies show that yoga and meditation can greatly improve quality of life for nurses by reducing stress levels.  In turn, nurses are able to give better patient care.

study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only 8 weeks of yoga the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better focus coping strategies and reduced mental stress.

Yoga at work could also help many nurses manage the chronic back pain they have developed as a result of nursing.  An evidenced based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%.  A 30 minute gentle yoga class during a nurse’s lunch break could help nurses manage this issue.  Yoga stretching not only increases flexibility, but also increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain.

3.  Make sure nurses get adequate breaks

Working for 6, 8 or even 12 hours without eating or sitting would make anyone become resentful after a while.  Patient loads can often feel so overwhelming that sometimes nurses will work right through a break without even realizing it.  Exhaustion from not eating or drinking enough water and being on your feet for grueling 12 hour shifts will eventually lead to nursing burnout.

4. Recognize nurses for their hard work

This should be a given, but for some reason it isn’t in many facilities.  A “thank you” goes a long way. It is very much appreciated by nurses who work extraordinarily hard to keep patients healthy and safe.

Too many hospitals put little to no effort into helping nurses celebrate for nurses week every year.  This sends a very strong message to nurses that management does not care about the hard work and dedication they put into caring for their patients.

5. Involve management in nurse bullying and cliques

Unfortunately, too many facilities allow bullying in their workplace.  According to a 2017 survey by RN network, 45% of nurses have been verbally harassed or bullied by other nurses at work.  Some forms of nurse bullying are obvious.  However, many times the bullying is much more subtle, such as a nurse talking down to another nurse in front of a patient.

Building a supportive working environment is important to the health and well-being of nurses.  Bullying should never be considered acceptable behavior and hospital management should be more involved in helping to prevent it.

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