Karen Beck Wade, PhD, RN-BCOn episode 270 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing career podcast, Keith interviews Dr. Karen Beck Wade, PhD, RN-BC, an organizational psychologist and registered nurse whose new book is titled, “Should I Leave Nursing? 7 Steps to Career Clarity“.

Dr. Karen Wade is an organizational psychologist and registered nurse, certified in psychiatric mental health nursing. She writes, speaks and coaches in the areas of career clarity, servant leadership, and positive culture. Her new book “Should I Leave Nursing? 7 Steps to Career Clarity” hit bestseller status on the day it launched in the categories “Nursing Issues” and “Occupational/Organizational Psychology”. The book takes nurses who are disillusioned or burning out through a process that sets them free from the thought loop that runs unresolved in their minds and drains their energy. The result is feeling clear in mind and happy in heart about their next career step, to continue in nursing or to branch out.

Karen graduated from an ADN program in 1976 and afterward embarked on a cultural and career journey in Mexico. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for thirteen years as an RN in various clinical settings. She taught nurses in continuing education and in university programs. She directed an innovative health services project in Ecuador through the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was later the project director for the launching of a child abuse prevention research center in Los Angeles. Upon completing her PhD at Claremont Graduate University in 2000, Karen worked as an organizational development consultant for ten years, including executive coaching while at RHR International, a global firm of management psychologists.

In 2011, Karen’s son, Andrew, lost his battle with bipolar disorder, dying by suicide at age twenty-four. This was a life-changing event that created an intense interest in mental health care, leading Karen to return to nursing, specializing in psychiatric nursing. Karen also reacquainted herself with the empowering field of positive psychology, receiving a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania’s online program. Karen lives in Ventura, California, a cozy beach town. She enjoys water sports, hiking above the ocean views, dancing, cultural events, visiting the whales in Baja California each winter, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Address these statements on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not at all agree” and 10 being “completely agree.”

  • I feel satisfied with the job I have now
  • I feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing with my life
  • I enjoy the experience of working with my co-workers
  • I feel supported by my co-workers
  • Being a nurse gives me sense of purpose and meaning
  • I get to be fully my best self at work
  • In general I have more positive moments than stressful moments at work
  • I am taking good care of myself physically
  • I am taking good care of myself emotionally
  • I am taking good care of myself spiritually
  • I have a sense of accomplishment that comes to me from work

“Important Definitions and Concepts from the book, “Should I Leave Nursing?”

  • Character: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual
  • Strength: a strong attribute or inherent asset
  • Virtue: behavior showing high moral standards
  • Values: a stable set of principles, standards of behavior, and judgments about what is important in life
  • What values form the foundation of your nursing practice?
  • What values form the foundation of your family life (or relationship with significant others)?
  • What values form your commitment to your health?
  • From the list presented in this chapter, what character strengths would you guess are your top two or three?
  • How do your character strengths show up in your nursing practice? With your family? In managing your health?

Connect with Karen: 

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Nurse KeithIn 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. 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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