For those of you nurses too young to remember, “Drinking the Kool Aid” is an expression dating back to the late 1970s when followers of Reverend Jim Jones blindly and naively drank Kool Aid laced with cyanide, a collective action that resulted in many deaths and great trauma.

So, although nurses’ experience in no way compares to what happened in Jonestown in 1978, the notion of drinking poison from a particular collective well certainly sounds familiar to me. Having said that, what Kool Aid do nurses drink?

have a drink

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash.com

In this episode of The Nurse Keith Show, we talk about drinking the nursing Kool-Aid of:

Pessimism: Group think can hypnotize us and cut us off from our intuition, stranding us in the desert of pessimism. Is that where we want to live?

…and……

Bullying and aberrant behavior: When we accept something like bullying as the norm, aren’t we, in essence, drinking the Kool Aid that has poisoned us against righteous action? Isn’t our silence then complicity? We may say to ourselves, “Oh, it’s always been like that and I can’t change it“, but what kind of cowardice is that?

We also discuss walking in your nurse’s shoes, as well as the shoes of others who need your compassion:

When that needful patient is beseeching you for support, this is the golden moment when you look into your heart, take a deep breath, and metaphorically don that patient’s shoes, sinking into her frightened reality.

That moment—when the nurse is able and willing to be fully present in empathetic presence—is the moment when the patient’s shoes are on your feet, and you yourself feel the squeeze and discomfort of her pain and confusion.

The wearing of the other’s shoes can be the moment where the seed of compassion in action is sown, and it’s a seed worthy of watering, whether it be watered with your tears or the simple art of listening.

This is a somewhat esoteric episode focusing on compassion, empathy, and your own inner journey — we need to dig deeper into ourselves to create the career and work experience we really desire.


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The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGroup.com, and social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

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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 NurseKeith.com.

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