On Episode 47 of The Nurse Keith Show, I focus on self-care, and the notion of your own personal “check engine light”.

Check engine light

(NOTE: please scroll to the bottom of the post to listen to the podcast!)

On March 7th, 2016, I published a blog post entitled, “Is Your Nursing Check Engine Light On?” and hundreds of people have read and reacted to that post. We don’t have a visual check engine light that we can simply look at in order to make sure we’re okay, so we have to check in with ourselves and our own self care. Do you check in?

In the aforementioned post, I wrote:

Do you know the check engine light that occasionally (or frequently) makes itself known on your dashboard? That light is generally a warning that something under the hood needs attention (unless it’s my truck, and it just comes on whenever it feels like it). So, nurses, how do you know that your personal  check engine light is on and your nursing engine is potentially in danger of overheating?

How are you making sure that you’re not just on automatic pilot in your life and work? Do you drive to work and not even know how you got there? How often to do take a break long enough to take a long, deep conscious breath and ground yourself in the moment? I’m raw and honest on this podcast about how I fall down in that regard.

Here’s another passage from that blog post:

When the check engine light comes on in your car, the natural reaction is to wonder if something’s wrong (except, like I mentioned, if you happen to own my truck, and then you ignore it for years on end). We can all acknowledge that the prudent vehicle owner will make an appointment with their mechanic so that the trigger for the light can be assessed; an in most cases, we ignore the light at our peril.

The same goes for your personal check engine light (but noticing that it’s on in the first place is, of course, a slightly more subtle process of self-awareness and honesty).

Yes, we ignore our own check engine light at our peril. Sure, if you ignore the one on your vehicle’s dashboard (as always, excluding my aforementioned recalcitrant truck), the consequences may be costly in some situations.

Why not pay heed to the warning, sit up and take notice, and then take inspired action to reverse a process that’s still within your power to change? Whether you hire a “mechanic” as your guide or assistant is up to you, but the necessity of action is a reality, nonetheless.

So go ahead; check that light, acknowledge that it’s real, spark that inner revolution, and begin the new year with a plan. Take your personal and professional lives to the next level of health, and enjoy the (healthy) fruits of your labors.

Is your check engine light on, folks?

Please head over to Digital Doorway to read the original post, and please let me know how you’re taking inspired action in the interest of your self care, wellness, and work-life balance. You need an inner revolution that will transform your life for the better!

And here’s your homework from this episode:

  1. Write down three things that you’d like to accomplish between now and the end of the current calendar year (or in the next six months if you’re listening to this episode or reading these show notes towards the end of the year in which you find yourself).
  2. Write down three things that are demotivating you and standing in your way of accomplishing those three things.
  3. List three inspired actions that you can take to override those things that are standing in your way.

Thanks for being here as part of the Nurse Keith Nation. Keep in touch and let me know what you’re up to in terms of your career, your wellness, and your life!


The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by James Larson of Prowess Production and Management, and social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!

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 NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

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

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 currently writes for MultiViews New Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

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. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.

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