Your Nursing Career and Bright Shiny Object Syndrome | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 164

Have you ever gone after something new in your nursing career just because you felt like you were “supposed to” do so as a nurse? Have you worked hard for a new specialty nursing certification because it’s the next bright shiny object on your horizon? Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (BSOS) is real, and it can take over your personal life and your nursing career if you’re not too careful!

What’s my bright shiny object? You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out!

Bright shiny object

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on

Personal bright shiny objects:

Personal growth addiction
Love addicts and relationship junkies
Actual addictions: sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sugar
Adrenaline and thrills
Dietary fads

Professional bright shiny objects:


Bright Shiny Object Syndrome can drag us from Nia to Zumba to hot yoga to tango class, and this can leave us disappointed if we don’t spend enough time mastering one thing. It can also cause us to always be on the move from one city, town, or living situation to another in search of what’s “right”.

Running from one version of the iPhone to the next is a very timely example of BSOS.

How can this get in the way of your nursing career?

BSOS can manifest in many ways. Chronic unhappiness, impatience, and lack of fulfillment may be one set of potential symptoms. Other symptoms may include job-hopping, changing from specialty to specialty, and always feeling like nothing is quite right.

In terms of higher education, I’ve seen nurses who are continually in school, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. However, if we continue to go to school in pursuit of more and more degrees just because we heard this program or degree is the next big thing, we may be headed for big disappointment and feelings of emptiness and disgruntlement.

Certifications can present the same pattern of behavior. Having a bunch of nursing certifications is great, but doing them just “because” isn’t a good enough reason. I’m a big fan of spending time, money, and resources on education when it makes sense on every level.

Confusion can result when we go after everything under the sun because we’re afraid to miss out. Like a five-year-old who fighting against sleep because he doesn’t want to miss out on what may happen next.

Nurses who feel they can never find the right fit job-wise may have a touch of BSOS. In nursing school, the more sexy specialties can serve as a our shiny objects: emergency room and ICU generally fit this bill. However, there are also quieter, more unassuming nursing specialties that may call our name if we’re quiet enough to hear.

What’s your bright shiny object? 

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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.

From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast.

As of May of 2018, Keith is the host of Mastering Nursing, an interview-style podcast showcasing inspiring, forward-thinking nurse thought leaders and innovators.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at

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