Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Your Next Shift"...Elizabeth Scala's new book is a must read! Get a copy to keep under your pillow!


      Elizabeth, I found your book so uplifting and inspiring! The information works for nurses at any stage of their career. In my work with the nonprofit group www.ExceptionalNurse.com, I hear from countless nurses with disabilities (multiple sclerosis, stroke survivors, hearing or vision loss, Lupus, Parkinson’s disease, amputees, mental illness) who are struggling to continue to practice in their current positions as well as those in search of new career paths.

DM: Often nurses with disabilities are at a “fork in the road”— struggling with the benefits and risks of disclosing a disability to colleagues and administrators. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations about the benefits and risk of disclosure? Often nurses are “scared silent”…afraid they will lose their job.

ES: Great question. And, one that can be difficult to answer. For me, staying silent is similar to muffling my authentic voice. It’s analogous to not being myself. One of my greatest values in life is showing up as a true and authentic expression of myself. Now that might not be everyone else’s value. To answer your question, Donna, I think that each nurse needs to do an honest assessment of themselves and their core values. If living life in an authentic way is something that is important to them, then disclosing is necessary. Because guess what? If we live our lives in lie we are only harming ourselves. Many of the physical symptoms of illness are simply manifestations of some other mental, emotional, or energetic imbalance. Our body attempts to get our attention in some really nifty ways. I understand that disclosing is difficult. Trust me; I have struggled with my own mental health issues from time-to-time as it runs in my family. If you are working in a place that values you as an individual, then disclosing in a safe way is the best option.

 DM: Nurses with disabilities who have asked for reasonable accommodations under the ADA (reduced hours, amplified telephones, flex-time, lifting restrictions, etc.) often report resentment from other nurses. Do you have any suggestions for improving situations like this? Could some of the issues be about the nurse with the disability and not the accommodations needed? Should the nurse look within? For example…asking him or herself questions like are you a team player, eager to help others when needed? Give as much as you take?

ES: Boy, this is a tough one. I absolutely understand what you are describing and it’s such a shame we judge in this way. However, that being said, we can only be responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. There is no way in the world we can change another adult’s behavior. And further, we’ve got to understand that the way in which people behave is coming from their perception of the world. As unique individuals, we all have our own memories, experiences, attitudes, and worldview. So the advice I’d give here is try not to let another person’s judgement affect you. Let it go and focus on yourself. There will be people everywhere in this world that judge you for one thing or another. Release those negative vibrations and focus on your own self.
DM: For nurses looking to carve out new career paths, would you recommend reaching out to nurses with similar disabilities for career guidance?

ES: Absolutely! I am all about reaching out and receiving support. And who better to ask for help from? Someone who has walked in your shoes and can empathize with your history- that is the best person to find mentorship from.
DM: You speak about the power of affirmations in your book. Would affirmations be helpful for nurses with disabilities searching for new ways to continue to serve?

ES: I think so. Now, if used in the way I describe them in ‘Your Next Shift’. Because, as you saw in reading it, at first affirmations did not work for me. In fact, I didn’t think they worked at all! But it was what I was focusing on and how I was affirming it that was getting in my way. However, to answer your question, yes I completely see affirmations as a way to empower nurses in wonderful ways.
DM: Many nurses with disabilities live with the fear and doubt you discuss in your book.  They ask, “What if my condition gets worse?” What if I can’t do the new job? Do you have suggestions for dealing with this type of fear and self-doubt?

ES: Awesome question, Donna. I am so glad that you asked. And I can take the questions you asked above as an opportunity to teach the readers right here and now. Look at the questions posed above: ‘What if my condition gets worse? What if I can’t get the new job?’ The very wording of the question already sets you up for failure because what we focus on--grows. When we give something energy, either through thought or words, we give it life. So instead of asking those questions, the way to start to shift things and release some of that fear and doubt, is to ask a new set of questions. Try something like: ‘What would it take for my condition to improve? What vibrational energy must I become to get me that new job?’ See how those questions feel more empowering? I encourage your readers to give it a try and then report back to us in the Your Next Shift Facebook group how their experiences went.
DM: Many nurses with disabilities deal with tremendous personal loss….physically, emotionally….and in addition they may have to leave the bedside and direct patient care. Loss is huge! Do you have any suggestions for dealing with loss?

ES: Loss is huge; you’re right about that. I speak more to loss in my first book, ‘Nursing from Within’ in chapter eight when I give the example of my uncle who took his life in 2010. Since that life experience, and some others along the way, I personally choose to view each experience as an opportunity for growth, healing, and change. So, sure there is loss. But the way we frame it makes a really big difference. Instead of looking at a loss as a ‘negative’ how can we frame it in such a way that we learn from it? The very best way to continue forward in life is to learn from every failure, loss, or challenging experience.

 DM: In your book you talk about the law of polarity. How could this law apply to nurses with disabilities? How can nurses with disabilities see their career in a new light?

ES: Thanks for asking. This law is really another opportunity for us, similar to what was described above. The ‘Law of Polarity’ is simply about the fact that everything has an equal and exact opposite. The example I share in the book is one I learned from a business coach. Think of a magic marker. It has the end that you write with and of course, the opposite end- the top. Without the top, there’d be no bottom. So in terms of how this law might apply to nurses with disabilities and how they might view their career is by looking for the exact opposite of every situation they find themselves in. To bring back your question above about those negative colleagues judging the nurse who may need to work less hours- sure there are those people that will judge. But what about the exact opposite? Those colleagues that fully accept you just as you are! This law provides so much room for inspiration and joy.
DM: Could your recommendation on pg. 55 to list likes and dislikes about your job work for a nurse with a disability? For example…a nurse could list abilities and limitations. Identify areas of nursing practice where abilities could grow and flourish (telephone triage, hospice hotline, case management, poison control hotline)

ES: Sure, this exercise can work for ANYONE. Not just nurses, even. To figure out the best position where a nurse could grow and flourish is to go through this exercise and get really, really clear on what your ideal nursing career would look like. Even if you don’t know where that job might be, or how that might happen, that’s all OK. Just holding close that vision of the best role (and the action steps you take along the way) will bring it to fruition.
DM: You talk about WIFT in your new book. How could a nurse with a disability use WIFT in an interview for a new position?

ES: Great question. So the WIFT model is asking yourself, ‘What’s in it for them?’ In terms of the person there in front of you (the person interviewing you for a new job, in this case), instead of answering their questions with all of the ways that you are great- you also want to weave in to your responses how you can serve them. How will hiring you benefit them? What solutions do you bring to the table? How does your unique self potentially provide their team with benefits? Figure out their pain points and how you can solve them and you will hit a homerun!
DM: How could a nurse with a disability use social media to continue to work?

ES: Hmm… interesting question. Social media is such an opportunity for us all. It is a wonderful way to expand our professional networks. It can help us make lasting connections with people we have never even met. Like you, Donna. It is an honor to know you via social media and one day I’d love to meet you in person and give you a great big hug for all of the support you share with me. Social media can be an outlet for inspiration, connection, knowledge and information, and career growth.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Scala for sharing so much of herself and her work with us! Get a copy of her book to keep under your pillow!

Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

 About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. You can find out more about Elizabeth through her most recent book, ‘Your Next Shift’.





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