Your Nursing Career Mitochondria, The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 94

We all know that mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses within each cell of our bodies, synthesizing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for us around the clock. In terms of your nursing career, what are the mitochondria that power your engine? What impetus, desires, goals, or motivations drive you forward? If you need to stoke the fire of your nursing career, the spark cannot be created in a vacuum.

your nursing career mitochondria

In a recent post on Digital Doorway, I explored the notion of digging deep inside yourself with radical honesty in order to identify how your original motivations for your nursing career may be very different than what motivates you now. I wrote:

Some of your nursing career mitochondria may originate from the place from which you first decided to become a nurse. You may have been inspired by a family member (I had three nurses on my father’s side of the family), or perhaps by a friend who was a nurse. I can’t tell you, dear Reader, how many nurses have told me over the years that they were thunderstruck by the compassionate nursing care that they witnessed being provided to a loved one, and this was the impetus for pursuing this particular career path.

If you no longer resonate with your nursing career or feel as if you’ve lost your nurse mojo, this may necessitate revisiting the original driving force behind your becoming a nurse in the first place. If your original motivations for entering the profession no longer hold true for you in the present, some soul searching may reveal where you need to look next for inspiration. That soul searching may reveal that you’re ready to leave nursing and pursue something new, and that’s perfectly fine if it’s your reality; however, if you have simply moved into another stage of your career and need to find a new fuel for your nursing engine, that can be done.

If you need to dig deep to get at the root of what can still motivate you and whether or not you’re still on the right path, these questions from that blog post can help you in that process:

  1. Are my original motivations for becoming a nurse still equally powerful for me now? 
  2. In terms of my nursing mojo, is it still there? Have I lost my mojo, or is it just a little blunted? 
  3. When I first became a nurse, my greatest satisfaction came from _____________. At this point in my career, my greatest satisfaction comes from __________________. 
  4. If I feel I need something new to reinvigorate my career mitochondria, do I believe that this new thing will still have something to do with nursing? 
  5. If I realize that my new career mitochondria can most readily be found outside of nursing, am I willing to reconcile myself with that fact and pursue that path? 
  6. On a scale of 1-10 (since nurses love 1-10 scales), my career satisfaction is currently a ____. 
  7. Based on my current level of satisfaction, am I willing to do whatever it takes to get that number up to an 8 or 9, even if it means taking radical and courageous action?

Check the post to read more. Meanwhile, listen to this episode for my reflections on my own career trajectory, and why radical self-assessment, honesty, and personal reflection are called for consistently at every stage of your career.


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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 and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

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

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 has written for,, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.

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.

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