Anyone who knows me personally or professionally, will tell you that I thrive best when I am seeking out new experiences; that I am easily bored when confined to the same nursing job for years, and that I am always in search of neoteric jobs, both laterally and upwardly. On average, I stay at the same job for approximately three or four years, although some have been shorter and some longer. At that point, I start to explore other opportunities.
My new pursuit is writing. Putting pen to paper excites me.
When I went into nursing, I never imagined that I would be writing for medical journals or blogging on the internet. In fact, I was a college graduate who had no interest in pursuing a degree, let alone a Masters.
I started professionally writing when I was enrolled in a Masters of Nursing Program (yes, I caved and obtained a BScN, and reckoned after I should just keep going). Although writing was obligatory, I loved it. I enjoyed the literature reviews, the annotated bibliographies and the frequent analyses of articles (I know it’s crazy, no one likes this stuff). I found that I could write quickly and with substance, both for professionals and lay-persons.
When writing, I get inside my head, which some would consider a dangerous neighbourhood to be in. Joking aside, writing is definitely for me.
I started to write for nursetogether.com which is a great nursing community and I have written nine blogs for them. Unfortunately, they are deleting their website but I will be forever grateful to them and to their editor who did so much to encourage me.
With some blogging experience now on my resume, I started to research different websites that hire writers, for example About.com, Webmd, and Medscape, just to name a few. Although I didn’t hear back from them when I sent my resume in, I was not to be discouraged. I came across allnurses.com and read an impressive article on writing by Nurse Beth. It is called ‘How Blogging Helped my Nursing Career’. It is a must read for anyone with this calling. Then, I sent in a question “about blogging” to her link “Get Career Advice- Ask Nurse Beth Your Nursing Career Questions” and she answered me right away with kind and encouraging words. She read some of my blogs and told me to continue on my path to become a writer.
That inspired me to keep going. She then urged me to join a closed group on Facebook, called the Healthcare Writer’s Network.
I have found an incredible group of individuals from all over the world, with similar goals and others vastly different. What brings us together however, is our love of freelance writing.
Now, I have joined many groups on Facebook but this group is superior! What the Healthcare Writer’s Network has taught me, is that writing regularly, whether for publication or personal journaling, provides an abundance of benefits. It’s a means of self-exploration and reflection, a clever way to learn and stay current, and surprisingly it turns you into a ‘writer’. Other rewards are:
Personal and professional growth:
- Its therapeutic.
- It leads to mindful living.
- It demands self-discipline and confidence to generate thought-provoking work.
- It’s a valuable tool for reflecting, articulating, and creating.
- Positive reactions from readers leads to gratitude and motivation to write more.
- Constructive feedback incites you to outshine yourself next time.
Enrichment for others:
- Through frank writing, empathy, and disclosure of candid feelings and experiences, one can foster a relationship with readers.
- Powerful writing can impassion, inspire, transform minds and history, open doors and build communities.
Increased learning and productivity:
- The attractiveness of writing is that one can write about anything. Topics are limitless. Learning is boundless.
- Writing is a syntactical discovery of language.
- It improves vocabulary, working memory, communication, critical thinking, empathy, insight and decision making.
New opportunities and extra income:
- Blogging and writing can lead to compensation for product reviews, guest blogging, endorsements, interviews, consultations, conferences and speaking engagements (Nurse Beth, 2016).
Emotional and physical benefits:
- In his article ‘The Psychological Benefits of Writing: Why Richard Branson and Warren Buffett Write Regularly’, Gregory Ciotti maintains that expressive writing has been associated with happiness, contentment and decreased stress for those who absorb themselves in prose frequently.
- Nightly writing can improve sleep, depression, hypertension and other physical ailments according to one ‘Health and Well-Being’ study (Huffington Post, 2013).
Despite obtaining no fame or wealth from my writing (so far), it is something that I enjoy. The subjects I could write about are truly endless. Mostly, I like to write on topics that will help day-to-day nurses strengthen their assessments.
Ultimately, this is helping the patient. Therefore, writing is still nursing.
I performed all the exhilarating things in nursing, the code blues, the defibs, the hand-holding of the dying, the comforting of family, the stumbling upon a symptom that wasn’t there before, and the straightforward task of dispensing medication. I love nursing and all the confidence and prospects it has brought me.
I love writing too. It calms me and excites me at the same time. In nine short months, I have issued two peer-reviewed nursing articles, published multiple blogs and am a volunteer editor on an editorial board.
Its exhilarating to go after your dreams. I have found a few writing jobs that pay too!!
I searched on indeed.com using words such as ‘content writer’, ‘health writer’ and ‘medical writer’. Since then, I have obtained three freelance jobs. Now, I am not giving up my day job yet, but that option is getting closer each time I write.
I am not always good at keeping up with my goals, so I made my writing goal small but achievable. I set up a small office space in my house with a ‘vision board’ and whiteboard calendar where I document my jobs so I don’t lose track.
I bought myself a small portable tablet which I can throw in my purse which allows me to write virtually anywhere.
I promised myself that I would write 30 minutes per day. What happened is I wrote more… sometimes writing an hour… or two… or three. GOAL MET!
I still write for free at this point, or write for a small amount of money, but it adds to my resume and that means gold to me.
If you aren’t afraid to take your time searching for jobs, even in the weirdest places, you can find work. I am currently writing for RMHealthy.com and ourdoctor.ca. They are websites that provide health information on a variety of subjects. Although they guide me when deciding on topics, I am free to write in any form I wish.
Since joining Healthcare Writer’s Network, I have interacted with many people who want to see me succeed.
We all post different things in the group to help each other meet our writing goals. I have to admit, I find myself excitedly rushing home and signing in to Facebook to see who has posted new information in this group. Whether its “How to Make a Podcast” or “How to Pitch Your Article” I am learning a lot and am grateful to this group for all of their assistance.
The advantages of writing are endless. Write about passion. Write about challenges. Write often. Just write.