Interview With Brittney Wilson of The Nerdy Nurse
Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN, founder of The Nerdy Nurse, is an award-winning author and blogger, international keynote speaker, and an influential social media personality in the nursing, technology, and healthcare IT communities.
From being an author, blogger, keynote speaker, and product manager, you seem like a very busy person. How do you manage your time and maintain work-life balance? What are some of the things you like to do outside of work?
It’s hard, really, but I have the privilege of pulling the Millennial card. Even though I’m part of a generation that often has this label used as a negative, there’s really no shame in wanting to spend time with your family.
I do my best to maintain something that resembles business hours. Pat Flynn, who is a well-known Internet entrepreneur, recommends that you don’t sabotage yourself with email. If you check email on the weekends, it can put a weight on you that will prevent you from enjoying your off time. I try my best to avoid it, if at all possible, and keep boundaries in place.
You are currently working as a product manager for healthcare organizations. What led you to this career? How did you transition from nursing to your current field in healthcare?
My career progression in nursing has stemmed from a desire to make a bigger impact. One of the reasons I picked nursing was because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.
When I worked on the floor, I saw that the technology nurses used was frustrating for them and I wanted to fix that; so I started working in informatics where I could make an even bigger difference by improving the lives of nurses, and through them the patients they serve. I had an opportunity to take it to the next level by joining a company that develops the healthcare workforce and has a presence in around 70% of hospitals. It’s a great fit and allows me to use the skills I’ve learned both in nursing and technology.
What are some of your challenges as a nurse? How about working as a product manager?
When I worked as a nurse on the floor, I experienced some pretty severe bullying; it improved when I changed shifts, but the baggage from it stayed with me. I started blogging as a way to cope and help others deal with the same issues.
I would honestly say the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career as a nurse on the floor and product management is being extremely analytical. I want to explore all data and options before making decisions and it sometimes makes me take longer to do things than would be ideal. On the positive side of things, it yields better results than being impulsive.
As a social media personality and blogger, what do you think attracts readers to your blog? How has your site impacted your readers? Any fun stories to share?
The biggest attraction is that I’m a real person who is relatable; I started a blog to connect with people and share information. Although the content has evolved, the mission stays the same. When I first started I was writing content around resources for lateral violence and I’ve evolved into writing about products and services that nurses need, including study resources for NCLEX questions or a guide on the best nursing shoes.
If you were to only choose one field of work, which one would it be and why?
Everything I’ve done has evolved around nursing and technology; I think this is the right fit for me and allows me to make the biggest and best impact on the most lives.
What do you think is your greatest achievement? And what is something you wished you’d done differently?
Although every parent gives the answer, I truly mean it when I say that my biggest accomplishment is my son. Having him has given me an ability to mold a human being into someone who will impact the world long after I am gone. The weight of that responsibility is huge.
Looking back, I’m not sure if I would have done anything differently. Every experience I’ve had has led me on the path I am on and any change in that might have made things turn out differently. Our experiences shape who we are and I believe things happen the way they are meant to.
What advice would you give to nurses in the industry?
Be kind to each other and make an effort to be more vulnerable with the people you work with. There are so many nurses working on units where they don’t feel appreciated by their leadership or their peers.
While you often hear people say “I don’t need to be friends with the people I work with,” it’s a shame to have this philosophy when you spend so much time with your colleagues. If nurses could be more vulnerable with one another and develop more trusting and meaningful relationships at work, I believe we’d all be a lot happier and more fulfilled.
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