On July 30th, 2018, I published a blog post entitled Making the Case For Your Nursing Expertise. That blog post is the basis of this episode of The Nurse Keith Show, and I encourage all nurses to assess how they do or don’t “own” their expertise, professionalism, experience, and awesomeness in the interest of their career growth and forward movement.

Make the case for who you are

Here are the salient points from the original blog post:

When it comes to your personal brand, some aspects include: 

  • Resume, cover letter, and other career-related documents
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Social media and web presence 
  • Networking style
  • Your network/tribe/community
  • Organizations you choose to belong to
  • Community service and volunteerism 
  • Educational background
  • Personality, communication style, etc
  • And so much more

And here are branding questions to ask yourself: 

  • What’s the nature of my personal/professional brand? 
  • How do I identify myself? 
  • What do I say about myself in my resume and LinkedIn summary? 
  • What’s my 30-second elevator pitch about who I am and what makes me tick?
  • How do I want to be perceived as a nursing/healthcare professional?  
  • Why do I think I’m a valuable employee? 

It’s About Sales

The use of the term “branding” may be a difficult one for some to digest in relation to their nursing career, but it’s the best way to describe it. And in the context of personal/professional branding, we can consider the job market and career development processes as being very much akin to the process of sales.

I don’t blame you for saying, “Me? A salesperson? But I’m a nurse, not a seller of used cars!” in response. However, when you apply for a job, submit your resume, write a cover letter, and attend a job interview, you’re essentially selling yourself to that potential employer.

Own Your Value

In order to own your value, you need to:

Identify it: In order to identify what’s superlative about yourself as a nurse and a human being, you need to take a relatively objective look at who you are and how you came to be the person and nurse you are today.

Recognize it: Once you’ve identified, qualified, and quantified your nursing career profile, the next step is to recognize the very fact of your expertise, experience, knowledge, and ultimate marketability. You can have an alphabet soup of letters after your name, but if you don’t see your own worth, those letters serve little purpose. For example, you need to not only acknowledge that you took the CCRN certification course, but you actually passed with flying colors and are a critical care leader in your institution.

Own it: After identifying and recognizing your worth and value, the next giant step is to own it. By saying “own it”, I mean you need to find the presence of mind to internalize and “own” who you are — this means that you choose to develop the ability to speak matter-of-factly about your accomplishments and skills, letting go of any shame, embarrassment, or self-defeating thoughts or beliefs that get in your way.

You’re Worth It

You are indeed the product — the sum total — of your experiences, expertise, knowledge, skills, education, and life experience. You also have intuition, your own feeling nature, and a particular brand of nurse-ness.

When you walk into an interview or otherwise attempt to market yourself for a job or promotion, you need to bring it in terms of tooting that horn of yours. These are not moments to be shy, modest, or withholding.

When the potential next chapter of your life and career are there before your very eyes, it’s time to step into the limelight and wax poetic about just what a great investment you truly are. A little bravado and some bald-faced self-promotion are called for when you’re trying to advance your career — be an assertive communicator who isn’t afraid to stand up and tell it like it is when it comes to what you’re all about. Your future awaits you.


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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.