Be Your Very Own Nursing Career Detective | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 119

On July 31st, 2017, I published a blog post inspired by my thinking about private eyes and detectives and how that concept can be applied to nursing careers. This episode is a rumination and expansion upon that blog post.

Sherlock Holmes detective

When gathering facts about your nursing career, here’s the list of questions I mentioned on the show:

  • Am I happy in my nursing career?
  • Do I feel well taken care of by my employer and colleagues?
  • Is the culture of my workplace supportive, kind, and collaborative?
  • Does my workstyle interfere with my lifestyle?
  • Is there something I want that I don’t have (in my work or my life)?
  • How could I make my career even more satisfying and fun?
  • Am I bored or engaged in my work and career?
  • Are my contributions seen as valuable?
  • Could I earn more money and receive more respect elsewhere?
  • Is there room for advancement in my current workplace?
  • What are my values?
  • What is my personal mission as a nurse and human being?
  • Does my work reflect my values and personal mission?

Once the assessment is done, this is what I said in the blog post about digging deeper:

Once you’ve gathered your data and assessed the current state of your nursing career, your next step is to dig a little deeper. The detective may remain unflappable and non-emotional, but in this case you actually want to dig into your emotional life as another aspect of the investigation.

The questions about whether you’re happy in your career and if you’re respected and valued at work are important. If the answer is no, then you probably have some feelings about that. If you’ve been thrown under the bus at work, been the target of lateral violence or bullying, or otherwise had a negative experience, this can color the way you look at the world and any other potential opportunities. In such circumstances, you may be wearing lenses that seriously impair your ability to see reality clearly. 

A negative workplace culture can sour your entire professional experience, and if bullying, harassment, or intimidation are a part of the mix, you may have some serious trauma on board. If you’re feeling traumatized, cheated, scorned, or otherwise castigated, how will you be able to show up and shine in job interviews? Clearing your trauma and negativity is essential to clearing the way for your future. 

Working with a psychotherapist, counselor, or psychologist is not an admission of mental illness; rather, it’s an admission that your work experience has taken a bite out of you, and you need to heal that wound and collect your thoughts.

When you’ve ironed out and healed some of the emotional trauma caused by your career, you can then healthily approach the process of creating a newly inspired professional trajectory. This more healed place is where a career coach can help you with the goal-setting and motivational support that will hold you accountable and move your forward in a positive direction.

When I say that you should leave no stone unturned, I mean it. A so-called “geographic cure” may not work on its own, meaning that simply changing jobs can’t always solve the underlying issues. Sometimes we develop knots in our psyche that need to be untangled, otherwise we carry our grudges, resentments, and hurts to the next job, and the next, and the next, until we feel we’ll never be happy in our work again. Healing those painful places is key to embracing your career with renewed trust, healthy boundaries, and a sense of mission and purpose.

For more inspiration, read the original post and listen to this episode!

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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.”

He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for,, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.

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