Hospice: The Gentle Goodbye A Post by Phyllis

Angel Wings 2
Pair of angel wings on heavenly blue background

Just after dawn on December 11, 2007, my mother went to God. There was a beautiful peacefulness that fell over that bright, winter morning that seemed perfect. Mom had battled several chronic, debilitating diseases that slowly robbed her of her energy and physical function. Her mind was always clear and her determination to live to see her grandchildren grow and to be with her husband of 59 years was intact. Unfortunately, her body had betraying her. Mom and I were very different. Our life’s journey together could best be described as rocky but the journeys end was her last gift to me.

It began one Thursday evening when I went to visit my parents. Mom had just come home from yet another unavoidable hospitalization. She was out of immediate danger but the likelihood of a relapse and perhaps a challenging surgery was weighing heavy on her mind. She looked tired, frail and was having difficulty speaking. I could sense she was in pain although she characteristically denied it. As I sat down next to her, she looked me right in the eye and in a clear voice said, “I’m too weak to live and too strong to die. I want to go to God.” She went on to explain that she was done taking her medications, had seen her last doctor, and had been to the hospital for the last time. If those declarations weren’t enough she asked me, “What are you going to do?” I knew immediately what she meant. She wanted me to take control of this out-of-control situation. She was entrusting me to help her live her last days in comfort and dignity. She wanted me to ensure that her transition from this life would be as gentle on her husband, children, grandchildren, and family as possible. The best solution was to arrange for hospice services.

I was the nurse in the family and I tried my best to collaborate with mom’s private doctor. We spoke so often that we were on a first name basis for many years. Dr. Bob had grown very fond of my parents and their relation. Our common goal was to keep mom comfortable and out of the hospital. Once my mom’s wishes were clear, my role was then to ensure that those wishes were carried out. First, I helped my dad understand and accept her decision. Next, I call Dr. Bob and explained her request. He was very supportive. We both knew that the only treatment he could offer her was palliative. Clearly, in his medical opinion, mom had less than six months to live. He made all the arrangements from his office. Finally, it was now time to call my sister.  The inevitability of losing our mom to death was here. Thankfully, as in all things pertaining to our parents, we would do this together.

The next twelve days were exceptional. Mom was peaceful with her decision. She enjoyed her days with dad, her visits with her grandchildren, and her messages from family and friends. Although she refused to take any more medication, she did allow the hospice nurse to obtain an order for pain meds so she could be truly comfortable. The hospice team arranged for a priest to come to the house. She received the sacraments of Holy Communion and the Anointing of the Sick. Mom prayed her rosary daily and in a few days slipped into a coma.

For twelve days the angels from hospice supported my family through the process of letting go. They immediately responded to phone calls and answered endless questions. Nurses came daily with supplies, understanding, and support. Their presence and professionalism allowed me the opportunity to be a daughter and not a nurse. On the day that mom died, it was the hospice nurse that we called first. She came right away, pronounced her and walked us through the next step.

The Value of Choice

I have been a nurse for 30 years now. For the majority of my career I practiced in critical care and emergency trauma units. I fought death constantly with knowledge, skill, medications, and technology. I had limited success. During the last 10 years however, my focus has shifted from the length of one’s life to a profound appreciation for the quality of one’s life. High tech healthcare has its place when lives need to be saved. However, death does come to us all.

Hospice services allow for the care of loved ones to take place in safe, familiar surroundings with those they love close by. It empowers the patient through their last days, offers them the respect of honoring their choices and the dignity of privacy. Hospice care assists the family during horrific moments of anger, regret, and grief that under less supportive circumstances could seriously challenge the family’s unity.

It’s important to understand that hospice is a philosophy of care rather than a specific place. It is an option for people whose life expectancy is six months or less. Treatment outcomes are based on pain and symptom relief rather than pursuing curative measures. This approach enables the person to live his/her last days with dignity, grace and support. Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care focuses on all aspects of physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. There is no age restriction. Anyone in the last stages of life is eligible.

Hospice Care Services

  1. The Interdisciplinary Team: Team members include doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers who offer support based on their areas of specialty. The team provides a comprehensive palliative plan of care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.
  2. Pain Management and Control of Symptoms: The goal of these services is to help the patient to achieve comfort while allowing them to remain alert enough to make important decisions and remain in control.
  3. Spiritual Care: Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is individualized and never forced.
  4. Home Care and In-patient Care: Hospice care is typically centered in the home. However, it may be necessary to admit the patient to a hospital, extended-care facility, or a hospice in-patient facility. The hospice team can then facilitate this transfer and stay involved in the patient’s treatment. The team can also facilitate resuming in-home care when appropriate.
  5. Family Conferences: These conferences are facilitated by the hospice nurse or social worker. They serve to help family members stay informed about the patient’s condition and what to expect. Family conferences also provide an opportunity and safe forum to share fears, feelings, talk about expectations, and learn about the process of dying.
  6. Bereavement Care: Bereavement is the time of mourning following a loss. The hospice team works with surviving family members to help them through the grieving process. The team can refer family members and friends to other professional services if necessary. Bereavement follow-up services are provided for at least a year after the loved one’s death.

Hospice Care Settings

Approximately 80 to 90 percent of hospice services are provided in the home. But, it is important to know that if the patient’s lives in a nursing home, hospice services can be offered there as well. Hospitals that treat seriously ill patients often have a hospice program too. Some hospitals have a dedicated hospice unit, while others have hospice teams who visit patients in any unit. Lastly, many communities have independently owned hospice centers that feature in-patient care as well as home care hospice services. Independent hospice center can benefit individuals who do not have family caregivers.

Who is eligible for Hospice Care?

  1. You are eligible for hospice care if your doctor has certified your prognosis as not longer than six months. This applies to anyone of any age. Should you be blessed with improved health and no longer need hospice care, you will remain eligible to reapply for hospice care if it is necessary in the future.
  2. While the majority of hospice referrals are cancer related, hospice is not exclusively for cancer patients. People with terminal neuromuscular diseases or any end stage disease can also benefit greatly from the services. It is not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s to be referred to hospice when they are in the final stages of the illness.

Are Hospice Services Expensive?

Hospice care customarily costs less than conventional care in a hospital or nursing home. This is because with home hospice, you pay only for the specific care that you need. In addition, volunteers may often provide many services at little or no cost, such as telephone support, meal preparation and running errands. Most private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid cover the services.

While patients usually pay out-of-pocket for any services not covered by insurance, hospice services can be provided without charge if you have limited funds. If you are unable to pay, most hospices will try to provide care using funds raised from community donations and charitable foundations.

Closing Thoughts

Hospice care truly provides for the gentlest of goodbyes. It allowed me the space and time to be able to cherish my last moments with my mom. I look back on those days in peace not pain and I will always be grateful for the last gift my mom gave me, her trust.


National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services

National Association for Home Care & Hospice

March 20th: Happy International Day of Happiness




Speaking at the High Level Meeting on “Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” convened during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.

The meeting was convened at an initiative of Bhutan, a country which recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281PDF document of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

The United Nations invites Member States, international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

Secretary-General’s Message

This year’s International Day of Happiness is focused on Climate Action for a Happy Planet.

Everyone can be part of our campaign: governments, civic groups, the media and individuals. This year, even cartoon characters have joined in as the United Nations teams up with a group famous for lacking good cheer: the Angry Birds.

These animated ambassadors are helping to raise awareness about the importance of climate action for our common future. You can join them by sharing your own climate actions using the hashtag #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet.

At this time of grave injustices, devastating wars, mass displacement, grinding poverty and other manmade causes of suffering, the International Day of Happiness is a global chance to assert that peace, well-being and joy deserve primacy. It is about more than individual contentment; it is an affirmation that we have a collective responsibility to humanity.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our plan to realize a life of dignity for all people. By advancing progress towards the interlinked Sustainable Development Goals, we can help spread happiness and secure peace.

The best way to celebrate this International Day of Happiness is by taking action to alleviate suffering. In this spirit, let us use this occasion to renew a global spirit of solidarity to create a safer, more prosperous and more sustainable future for all.

Documents and Resources

5 New Year’s Practices for Women to Experience More Presence, Passion & Joy in 2016 A Guest Post by Devaa Haley Mitchell



The holidays can often be an overwhelming time… especially for women.  

However, if we look beyond the frenetic buzz, there’s often a desire to replenish ourselves and create a fresh chapter in the new year.

We have the chance to start anew — with 12 months ahead to create and explore so many opportunities.

Some of us are focused on new work and creative projects while others are focused on family matters. Some are planning adventures to exotic lands while others are volunteering at local organizations. And some of us want to call in a new romantic love or find a new home…

But no matter what the details entail, for most women, merely checking off a glittery list of accomplishments is unsatisfying at some level.

The truth is that women have a unique way of creating that is naturally attuned and in synch with the flow of the universe.

(And I’ll be sharing 5 practices to help you tap back into this below.)

You may have gone down that goal-focused path time and again, and experienced some rewards — but if you’re anything like me, you likely found it to be an exhausting experience…

… sensing that there must be another way to honor our uniquely feminine longings.

That’s because our dreams include both who we want to BE and how we want to FEEL in the new year.

  • We want to find new ways to express our unique talents & make a contribution to the world around us.
  • We want to follow our passions & still be financially abundant.
  • We want to give & receive immense love from our close friends and family.
  • We want to feel fulfilled.
  • And we want a clear pathway for creating that reality, here & now.

While taking this journey year after year, I’ve paid special attention to some of the foundational practices that have served me in creating a deeply fulfilling life.

As I’ve participated in them consistently over time, I have found that my overall satisfaction with life has continued to spiral upwards, leaving me feeling joy-filled and happy (for the most part).

That’s why I’d like to share with you….

5 Practices for Creating More Presence, Purpose & Joy in Your Life

Practice 1: Cultivate a Holistic “Morning Ritual”

The way we spend our first morning hours sets the tone for the entire day ahead. So I encourage you to take a little time mapping out the elements which your ideal morning routine would include, and how long you need to spend on each item.

When I started to focus on my morning routine with the support from business mentor Eben Pagan, he encouraged doing this routine at the exact same time each day. But I found that I personally need a bit more freedom and flow.

My own routine typically takes at least 90 minutes, so I’m now often getting up earlier so I can feel spacious and not rushed. I include at least 30 minutes of meditation, preparing a healthy meal and drinking plenty of water, taking my herbal supplements, a shower, perhaps some yoga, and texting my close friends or family some little “love notes” to start their day. I also answer any quick and time-sensitive requests from my friends, family and team (for example, someone might ask me: Want to get together for a hike this week? If so, when?)

I find the more that I engage with this morning ritual on a regular basis, the more present I can be for all the many activities of my life… and the more I am able to enjoy it all.
Practice 2: Invite Spirit to Co-Create with You

Many of us are interested in collaborating more deeply with Spirit to co-create our lives, but it’s not always clear how to do that in a consistent way. This past year, my colleague and “soul sister,” Miranda MacPherson, suggested that I explore working with four key questions from The Course of Miracles.

Essentially, after you engage in a meditation practice to clear your mind and open your heart, when you are in a very still place, you simply ask Spirit to engage with you in dialogue. And then you drop in each of the following questions, like dropping stones into a still pond. Finally, you take notes on the answers that arise and then act on what you hear.

(Note: You can either ask for more general guidance, or if there’s a specific topic where you are seeking specific guidance, you can focus there.)

Here are the questions:

What wants to be received?

What wants to be known?

What wants to be released?

What wants to be done?

When doing this on your own, you may wonder if the answers you are receiving are truly coming from Spirit or from your mind. My suggestion would be to just do your best to glean clear wisdom. And then offer this prayer (as also suggested by Miranda): “Spirit, if I am moving in the wrong direction here, please interrupt me and make it obvious that I am off course. With grace and ease please!”

To really enhance your co-creative relationship with Spirit, I suggest that at least once a week, you ask these questions after meditation to get inspired guidance on your path.
Practice 3: Get a Sense of Who You Want to BE
& How You Want To FEEL

Most of us begin the new year by creating a long laundry list of intentions and resolutions. And many of us also fall off-track with those intentions within a few months.

But as a starting point this year, I want to encourage you to first focus on the woman you want to BE in the new year. What’s really most important to you? What do you want to be known for? What’s the contribution that you want to make to your family, your community and our planet? When you begin to answer those questions, they can serve as a rudder to steer you in the right direction… without getting overly focused on exactly HOW those things may manifest.

For me personally, I want to be known as a trustworthy friend and an open-hearted leader who sets aside quality time for the people and causes that I care most about. And how you want to FEEL?

For women, how we feel is equally important, if not more important, to what we accomplish. We value the journey itself, and we want it to be as aligned and enjoyable as possible.

So instead of making a certain amount of money, you may want to feel abundant, and that feeling could be manifested from a wide variety of events (both external and internal).

Instead of losing weight, you may want to feel attractive. Instead of setting a certain exercise goal, you may want to focus on feeling vital and amazing in your body. As you focus on the feeling states you want to experience, you allow the Universe to help create those experiences with you, perhaps in ways that you never imagined.

And as you do so, you will feel more and more deeply aligned with your purpose in a uniquely feminine way!

Practice 4: Practice Joy Breathing to Revitalize Your System

There are so many things that can throw us out of balance on any given day. We receive unexpected news, we are faced with a huge traffic jam, we get into a dispute with a loved one or a colleague… the list goes on and on. So it’s important to have at least one practice available that you can use to quickly restore balance to your system and come back to your center.

I personally engage in a practice that I call “Joy Breathing,” which I’ve adapted from some simple heart-centered techniques developed by the Heartmath Institute. I’m happy to share it with you here. If you weave this practice into your morning ritual each morning for next week, you will have it at your fingertips when a challenge arises. This whole process should take no more than 1-2 minutes.

Slow down and create some sacred space for yourself. Start by taking a few, deep breaths. If you are in a safe place, close your eyes or relax your gaze. Tune in with your body and your being. Notice the feeling state that you’re in right now.

If there’s any feeling of stress or anxiety, acknowledge it. Then imagine that as you exhale, you are releasing as much of that energy from your body as possible. If you’re in an open state, a good state, also acknowledge that, and be present with that feeling.

Now, shift your attention to the heart area and imagine that you are breathing directly in and out from your heart. As you’re breathing in, imagine that you are breathing in a state of joy. On the exhale, you can continue to release anything that feels like a lower vibration, a lower frequency than this state of ease or joy.

Ask yourself, “What color would be most helpful to restore me to a space of joy and calm right now?” Allow yourself to intuit that color, allowing it to fill your body and flow into the space around your body.

And next, slowly open your eyes. Come back to your setting where you are in this moment.

As you come out of this brief meditation, notice if there’s been a shift in your inner state of being. Then take a moment to commit to leading the rest of your day from this state of joy as much as possible.
Practice 5:
Express Your Love

Most of us are aware of the benefits of cultivating gratitude on a regular basis, but I want to encourage us to go even farther. I was gifted with a T-shirt recently that bears the slogan, “I LOVE my life!” I often wear this shirt to bed, and when I do, my husband often asks me, “So what are you loving about your life right now?”

There are so many aspects of my life that I really DO love, and I appreciate the opportunity to stop and notice those things and then EXPRESS them. It’s joyful for me to then take it even further and send out little love notes to those people that I am really appreciating a lot (often as part of my morning ritual). I also find value in expressing my LOVE to the Universe and all the abundance and magic that is showered upon me (usually as part of my early meditation).

My colleague Lynne Twist often says, “What you appreciate, APPRECIATES!” So I want to encourage you to place your attention on the bounty you already have in your life, knowing that the more you really love (or at least accept) your current reality, the better it will continue to get… and the more joy and passion you will feel on a daily basis.


Taken together, these 5 rituals can create a very strong foundation for the year ahead. You’ll feel more present in each moment and more available to the experiences unfolding each day. You’ll allow your innate love and passion to flow with this easy practice to restore you back to balance when things go awry.

And you’ll have a deeper sense of your true feminine purpose and what truly matters.

Here’s to a great year ahead!

Learn more about Devaa and her offerings at

12 Things You Need to Really Get Rid of in the Next 12 Month A Guest Post by Lolly Daskal

Hand writing Time to Reinvent Yourself with white chalk on blackboard.
Hand writing Time to Reinvent Yourself with white chalk on blackboard.


In 12 months you can be a more successful, more productive, more effective leader. You just have to get rid of these 12 bad habits

Changing a habit, especially a bad one, is among the most powerful forces you can employ to make your life and business better.

Here are 12 habits many of us repeatedly struggle with. If you recognize yourself in any of these, you really need to get rid of them–and this time next year, you could be free of the consequences they cause.

1. Stop giving up.

Success in life and in business comes when you simply refuse to give up–because failure doesn’t come from falling down, failure comes from giving up.

2.  Stop letting everyone else make decisions for you.

If you want to be successful, never allow anyone to tell you what’s good for you. You’re the one who knows what you need and what works for you. So stick to what you know and do what you know is right.

3.  Stop thinking you’re on your own.

Success is not an individual undertaking. Be smart and brave enough to ask for help when you need it and allow others to help you along the way.

4. Stop chasing after those who don’t want to be caught.

Don’t waste time on people and projects that aren’t going to happen. The right people, the right project, the right venture, the right idea will show up with hard work and patience and when it does you want to be prepared.

5. Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t.

Sometimes we focus on what we aren’t–that we don’t see who we really are. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve the very best. The strongest factor of success is self esteem, believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.

6. Stop focusing on the negative.

Success comes when we stop focusing on what’s against us and we start focusing on  what’s good for us.  Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. Our positive thinking gives a positive attitude. That doesn’t mean always expecting everything great to happen, but accepting whatever happens to us, to make the best of it.

7. Stop being hard on yourself.

Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we have to pay for them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes smart and successful people make bad choices. It doesn’t mean they are not smart, and they can’t be successful; it just means they are human.

8. Stop mulling over the past.

It’s hard to see the future when you’re always looking back. Use the past only as a road map to help guide you toward your future. Practice this every day of every month this year.

9.  Stop running from problems.

Everyone has problems. What’s important is to stop running from them. Own them and deal with them, however overwhelming they may be–because if you don’t face them, they will own you.

10.  Stop expecting life to be easy.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and the most rewarding aspects of life are the things we fight the hardest for.

11.  Stop holding on to things you need to let go.

Many people think that letting go means giving up–but in fact it means accepting that there are things in life that are not working out. When you let go of them, you help clear the road toward success.

12. Stop giving up on who you are meant to be.

If you want to be successful, you have to stop settling. Spend every single minute of every single day working toward who you are meant to be; it will not happen on its own. Start working toward your purpose.


How You Can Make Your Life Exceptional A Guest Post by Mike Rodriguez



Life can seem like an endless void of living an average, basic life at times, making it difficult to be enthusiastic about living. Mike Rodriguez wants to teach you how to change this. He wants you to be able to live an exceptional life, teaching that “you are where you and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Following this line of reasoning, it would be logical to conclude “you can change where you are and you can change what you are by changing what goes into your mind.” Rodriguez believes this is true and here is why.

You can change where you are and you can change what you are by changing what goes into your mind.

It took Rodriguez “up until about a year and a half ago to really understand what that means.” It is easy to read from a list of inspirational quotes and think you understand what is being said, but in order to actively apply inspiration in your life, it is vital to actually understand the reasoning and meaning behind said advice.

Rodriguez explains the meaning behind the idea of changing who you are by changing what goes into your mind by explaining, “Who you become every day is based on what you’re reading, what you’re watching and what you’re thinking about.” This is easy to grasp. Your life is made up of the activities you partake in, day in and day out. The summary of your days becomes your life. Understanding this is vital to understanding how you change your life because “who you think about” and what you think about “is who you start to become.” What actions you take become your life, and while many people have good intentions with their lives… “a thing happens to us… it’s called routine.”

A thing happens to us… it’s called routine.

“Each of us has a routine. You have two routines in your life.” Rodriguez explains the first routine as “those things you do every morning from the time when you wake up and open your eyes.” This is the personal routine, the routine you have inside of your head. What are you telling yourself when you look in the mirror while you brush your teeth? What are you telling yourself as you get dressed or check your iPhone for messages? Rodriguez challenges us to make those sentiments, to make those first ideas and words in the morning something positive. “I’m going to challenge you to wake up every day and say, ‘Thank God, I’m alive and thank God I’m employed.’” He wants us to be thankful. “And if you’re not employed, then it’s thank God I have the opportunity to go and get a job. That I am employable.” Rodriguez wants us to be happy, to be joyful, to be thankful. He wants us to make our life extraordinary by realizing the extraordinary blessing of just being alive.

Then he turns that blessing into something we can use to take action in our own lives. Rodriguez explains, “If you are alive and you’re breathing, then you have a purpose and then you also have a responsibility to figure out what that purpose is and to fill it.” He says that it is the act of living, the act of breathing and thinking and stepping through life that is validation provided by God. It is “validation… that you do have a purpose. That you’re here. That there’s a reason.” He wants us to search for this reason, to find our purpose and to pursue it. To break our routines if we are bored with our lives and reach out to find what we are meant to do. “When you’re following the same routine each day, this is where we all get mixed up” and think we don’t have time to seek out our passion. However, what is really happening is that we are becoming consumed by the day-to-day activities of life and not making time. We always have time, we just need to sort our priorities out to ensure we make time for what matters in life… and if your life is anything but exceptional, that mission is to make time to find your purpose and become exceptional.

“You’ve got to start breaking your routines. You’ve got to start doing something different every morning.” Rodriguez points out that breaking our routines can be as simple as waking up and telling ourselves that “I’m valuable and I’m worthy.” He says maybe it is a simple change from sitting down to have a large breakfast to going for a jog, or hitting an early fitness class. “You make it a priority to start fitting those things that are important into your life.” It starts, as Rodriguez explains, with these small changes. All of the small changes eventually all add up to become large changes in your life.

To change your life, you have to change what you put in your life. Rodriguez believes “it all starts with your belief.” Having “a strong belief in your spirituality, in your faith” means that you have a foundational strength, as this spirituality is a “core foundation of who you are.” Faith is the foundation of which to build your life upon. “In order to become who you want to be, you’ve got to start believing in who you are today already.” You have to believe that you are worthy and able to be successful, that you deserve to take a chance on yourself, your career, your life. You have to believe that you deserve to be amazing in order to succeed because this belief allows “your thoughts [to] start to change.” It is with the changing of thoughts that you turn from disbelief into faith, from not believing you could ever accomplish something to believing that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Why is this the case? Rodriguez says that when “you change your belief system, you change your thoughts” and so “now your attitude changes.” It is your attitude that changes your life. Your attitude will dictate whether or not you take a chance on yourself or stay where you are, whether or not you take a leap of faith or fall back into despair and regret. “You have to believe that you can do it, but then you’ve got to get those legs moving and change that routine to get it happening because if you’re not changing your routine, you’re going to do the same things that you’ve always done.”

“Your belief leads to your thoughts, your thoughts to your actions, your actions based on your attitude, your actions are what is going to get you to where you need to go.” In short, it is your attitude that matters the most. Your attitude will dictate your life – but to change your attitude, you must change the way that you think, and the way you think is rooted in your belief system. “Believe that you are ready, capable and worthy. And remember if you’re not sure of it, each morning when you wake up – that’s your validation. That’s your indicator. The sign that you’re breathing, because He’s the only one that can take that away.”

Rodriguez ends with a challenge. He says he wants to “challenge [us] today… to ask [ourselves] every morning ‘What do I believe in?’ ‘What are my routines?’ and ‘Am I willing to change them, to become who it is that I truly want to be, and that I am worthy of being?’” His final note being to “go forth and make your life exceptional.” So? What are you waiting for? You’re breathing, aren’t you? Good. It’s your validation. You are worthy. Now go change your life and make it exceptional.


7 Personality Traits of a Great Leader A Guest Post by Jim Rohn


If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself.

Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. 

What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here’s how:

1. Learn to be strong but not impolite. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.

2. Learn to be kind but not weak.We must not mistake weakness for kindness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell someone the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

3. Learn to be bold but not a bully.It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble. Like the farmer, if you want any rewards at harvest time, you have got to be bold and face the weeds and the rain and the bugs straight on. You’ve got to seize the moment.

4. Learn to be humble but not timid.You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. But humility is a virtue; timidity is a disease. It’s an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem. Humility is almost a God-like word—a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, an awareness of the human soul and spirit, an understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars.

5. Learn to be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to build your ambitions. It takes pride in your community. It takes pride in a cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is to be proud without being arrogant. Do you know the worst kind of arrogance? Arrogance from ignorance. It’s intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.

6. Learn to develop humor without folly.In leadership, we learn that it’s OK to be witty but not silly; fun but not foolish.

7. Learn to deal in realities.Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony of delusion. Just accept life as it is—the whole drama of life. It’s fascinating.

Life is unique. Leadership is unique. The skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. However, the fundamental skills of leadership can be adopted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community and at home.

Ultra Successful People Know These Two Career Secrets A Guest Post by Dawn Rasmussen


Multiethnic Group of Hands Holding Motivate
Multiethnic Group of Hands Holding Motivate


There are a lot of theories and formulas out there that tell you how to plan and execute a successful career.

But if you talk to the real achievers, those who have dramatically increased their professional standings and earnings, there are two – that is all, exactly two – career secrets that ultra successful people know help them get ahead.

Remember these tips, and think about how you can implement them to advance your own goals:

You Are Solely Responsible for Your Professional Metrics

Only you know, at the micro-level, all of the various ways you have performed against expectations, goals, and organizational needs. Whether you get an annual performance review or not, everyone (yes, EVERYONE) should create their own job performance benchmarks.

Successful people know how important performance metrics are to their career. And they diligently track them. 

So don’t fall into the false thinking that a supervisor is intimately in tune with every single positive contribution that you’ve made. That’s horse manure. The boss has other people and responsibilities to manage that prevent them from knowing all of those details.

Once you have a fair understanding of what your job is all about, draft out a metric template that you can use that shows how you move the needle in contributing to the company. What efficiencies have you helped build? How have you helped the company make money? What money-savings have you captured?

Successful people know that by showing and connecting how their work contributes to a company’s bottom line therefore increases their value to the organization, both internally, but also as a potential “catch” for another business.

You Are Solely Responsible for Your Own Professional Development

You’ve heard the phrase: “Never stop learning.”

These words take on critical importance in your career, because employers hire subject matter experts to make their company immediately more competitive. Yet, far too many times, I hear résumé clients say, “Well, I didn’t take any classes, go to any conferences, or pursue any certifications because my company wouldn’t pay for them.”

That is a huge failure. Not so much on the part of the company, but on the job seeker.

Why are you letting your own marketability rest on whether an employer decides to invest in your professional development? Why aren’t you doing it… for you?

Only you are in charge of your career. No one else. While we may maintain great relationships with our employers, at the end of the day, the bosses ultimately will land on the side of the company which is an organization that needs to stay in business. You are the collateral, and therefore expendable. Or at the very least, the last place where they will invest when money is tight.

Successful people don’t let lack of employer investment in professional development – in your career – like conferences, workshops, seminars, conventions, webinars, classes, and relevant industry certifications hold them back.

Successful people invest in themselves.

Gaining a skill or knowledge set is something you can take with you anywhere you go. It can open doors to your employment opportunities, and remove barriers by addressing skill set liabilities. So don’t take the B.S. route out by saying that because the company won’t pay for you to attend a conference, you didn’t go.

Successful people take a vacation day on their dime, go to the educational session, then slip back into work, while making plans for their next career step, knowing that they are building the best set of qualifications possible.

Want to be one of those successful people in your career?

Take these tips and implement them into your work to achieve your career aspirations.

Because no one else will.






Are you getting caught up in the metrics of your job? If so, you could be focusing too much on the doing and not enough on the being at work, which is not fulfilling for nurses who find true professional joy in making connections with people.

These connections can be varied, whether it’s a strong team of colleagues committed to a common goal of providing the best patient care possible, or a meaningful moment with a patient or their family prior to surgery.

“Focus on commitment, not compliance, in your work interactions and true professional joy will flow freely,” recommends Phyllis Quinlan, PhD, RN-BC, a practicing nurse and professional coach known to the nursing community as Dr. Phyllis. She says professional nurses often feel so depleted because “we try to muscle through our days alone and exist in professional isolation.”

Make the Most of Every Moment

Dr. Phyllis acknowledges the competing factors of work/life balance that can make a nurse feel exhausted and failing before she even starts her day. She cautions nurses to compartmentalize single actions and interactions throughout the day to avoid overlapping unrelated activities—a success goal she learned from the late personal success guru Dale Carnegie.

“Be completely present and fully in the moment as you start your day, interact with your family, and get them ready to head out the door. When they are on their way and you are heading to work, transfer your energy to be fully present in what lies ahead—maybe it’s the patients you are expecting for the day or the projects you will lead,” she explains. She says the key to this is to be present and give all of yourself in each component of your day to avoid the guilt and separation of not giving the people in your life (including you) 100% of yourself.

A commitment to lifelong learning is a critical piece to this giving, Dr. Phyllis adds. She says the thought of being ill-prepared to give a patient their best is frightening for professional caregivers. “By taking the time to refine a skill, learn about a new procedure or even learn how to better resolve conflict, a nurse can fold additional successes into his day, which anchors him on his path.”

Reflect on True Success

By taking the time to reflect on professional and personal relationships in life, a nurse can take stock in what is truly important and look for ways to strengthen those connections, Dr. Phyllis acknowledges.

“As nurses, giving ourselves completely is a big piece of who we are,” she explains. “When the universe put out the call for professional caregivers, we answered the call. Therefore, when we practice our profession we are not simply working, we our living our soul’s mission. Taking time to reflect on relationships, our true measure of success, will keep us feeling fulfilled and remind us what we feel is truly important.”

Judgment must not be a part of this reflection, Dr. Phyllis cautions. “Take away the benchmarks to meet and the regrets of the ‘shoulda woulda couldas’ and reflect on all you have achieved—taking joy in the fact that you have been doing what you were born to do.”

As perioperative nurses reflect on the year behind them and prepare for a new year ahead, Dr. Phyllis encourages a sense of gratitude and faith. “Renew your pledge to do it all again the following year, not necessarily better but to be truly present to see your life as it unfolds.”


Look for more pearls of wisdom from Dr. Phyllis on her YouTube channel.

Don’t miss these exceptional professional development opportunities at AORN Surgical Conference & Expo 2016.

Pre-Conference Certificate Program
Understanding & Addressing Bullying
Saturday, April 2 | 7.0 CH

Free On-Site Workshops on the Subject of Mindfulness
Sunday, April 3  |  7:00-8:30am or 11:00 – 12:30pm
Based on Dr. Phyllis’ new book rediscover the Joy of Being a Nurse: A Holistic Approach to Recovery from Compassion Fatigue.

Free Career Coaching Sessions
4:30-7:00pm | Exhibit Hall
Stop by and ask Dr. Phyllis a career coaching question or any topic related to your career or workplace.


Help your teams build their interpersonal skills at AORN’s 2016 Surgical Conference & Expo in Anaheim, California, April 2–6. Register now»

The Heart and Stethoscope Necklace from Heart a Nurse: Created to Support Nurses Everywhere

Created to Support Nurses Everywhere


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We are excited to bring you our first product, the Heart and Stethoscope necklace. As co-founders of this socially conscious brand, we need your help to make our first product available and launch the charitable aspect of our brand.

The first objective of Heart a Nurse is to increase awareness and support of the nursing profession. We’ve made this clear by exhibiting two things that nurses use most, their heart and their stethoscope. The second intent of our brand is to assist the vulnerable populations that nurses care for world wide. Once launched, future online and retail sales will include a charitable donation with every purchase to support healthcare improvements in areas of need.


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