Women In Wellness: Cat Golden of ‘Nurses Inspire Nurses’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
Make Time for Fun — It can be hard as adults to make time for fun. It’s been especially challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I truly believe that it is a necessity. It allows for our creativity and imagination to come alive and to let go of stresses in life. At Nurses Inspire Nurses, the team members have dance parties and such. We’re more productive when we make time for fun during the busy work day. And it doesn’t feel like work.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cat Golden.
Cat Golden, BSN, RN, is founder of Nurses Inspire Nurses, a small business based in the metro Detroit area that offers merchandise through an online shop and advertises events, meet-ups and free resources for nurses nationwide. It’s also a movement on the rise, a community of nurses created to inspire and uplift themselves and each other, helping to make their workplaces and lives better. They believe that each and every nurse is an inspiration and has the power to help another nurse realize the same.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I became a nurse in 2012, after completing my Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at University of Colorado. I worked in pediatrics, first at Children’s Hospital Colorado and then at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. I also conducted wellness and flu clinics, as well as phone assessments with the Michigan Community VNA.
I loved being a nurse and helping people, but I also was tired and burned out. I realized I was not alone. I knew so many nurses, who also knew nurses, who were looking for something externally to change before they felt better, whether it was their shift schedule, a change in nursing unit or was staffing related. I knew if we would support ourselves and each other we could find more purpose and presence in our job.
That’s when the idea for Nurses Inspire Nurses came to be.
In April 2019, I transitioned away from the bedside. Instead of helping patients, I now help nurses full time through Nurses Inspire Nurses.
Today, our community is filled with thousands of nurses who believe that if we support each other, we can make our workplaces and our lives better. This movement is as simple as ensuring a fellow nurse gets lunch, helping with an admission or a bed change or letting someone know that you care.
Nurses Inspire Nurses has experienced tremendous growth and we are now a team of nine women.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Just prior to founding Nurses Inspire Nurses, I decided to host a coffee talk with the purpose of uplifting my coworkers and creating a safe space for nurses to come together outside of work, a chance to share what they’re going through and to find support. Few people understand nursing like nurses. I knew from conversations I was having at the hospital that this was needed, so it never occurred to me that no one would show up to the first one. But that is exactly what happened. No one showed! I sat there for two hours wondering if I was going to give up or keep going. I decided to keep going, and I’m so glad I did. And that’s essentially the biggest lesson I learned, to not give up but just to keep going.
Since June 2018, Nurses Inspire Nurses has hosted monthly coffee talks in person and, during the pandemic, virtually, helping thousands of nurses in need of support, connection and belonging.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started Nurses Inspire Nurses, I tried to do everything simultaneously. I launched a website, an online shop and subscription and planned a retreat. For me, it was too much. I felt scattered and stressed and my confidence waned. I ended up cancelling the retreat and discontinuing the subscription after six months. I felt defeated, but at the time it was the right thing to do.
I don’t think there are any true mistakes in business and in life, it’s about learning lessons. In the book “The One Thing,” the author writes, “If you chase two rabbits you won’t catch either.” Focus is key. And whenever I feel distracted or overwhelmed, I remind myself of that quote.
I also would like to point out that I waited too long to get a Rollo label printer.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I had a life coach/mentor when I started Nurses Inspire Nurses. Originally I hired her to help me with my health coaching business, because I thought that was what I wanted to do. She helped provide clarity and I realized that I truly wasn’t set out for that line of work, but rather that I could help nurses instead. What I wanted to do didn’t exist, and she helped me see that I could create something from the ground up so that it did.
At one of the first events I held — the Nurses Inspire Nurses’ annual Nurse Giveback Night — she told me to sell something. Afterward, I created and launched our first Nurses Inspire Nurses-branded T-shirt, and the rest is history.
Looking back, her faith and confidence in me, in seeing that I had the potential to not just dream big but to make it happen, gave me the confidence boost I needed to move forward. And I’m glad I did. I feel fulfilled and also honored to be in a position of doing good work.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Nurses Inspire Nurses is making an impact in this world by supporting nurses as humans first and nurses second. We provide a centralized community of support to let nurses know they’re not alone and are worthy of receiving the same help they so graciously give others. Approximately 20 percent of nurses leave the profession in the first year. We exist to help nurses take care of themselves so they can stay in the profession longer and live a life they love.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Morning Routine — Having a morning routine and thinking about how I want to feel before I check my phone has changed the course of my life. In the past, I was always five minutes behind everything. I didn’t give myself time just for me and to process the day ahead. It didn’t make for a great start to the day. Now I read, journal and sit for a few moments in silence with my coffee before the day starts. It sets the tone for everything else that happens.
- Move Your Body — Exercise helps our body complete stress cycles and provides so much mental clarity. We can’t resolve stress and anxiety by thinking about it. We must get out of our heads and into our bodies. I exercise four-to-five days a week. I’m currently obsessed with my bike (Peloton).
- Meditation — Meditation is a centuries-old practice and offers a wide range of benefits for many. Meditating has helped me calm my mind and get more in tune with my intuition, so I make it a daily priority. I use an app for guided meditation and highly recommend it to others.
- Take Breaks from Social Media — As much as I love social media for entertainment and business usage, as well as to meaningfully connect and stay in touch with people, I believe it’s also important to take breaks. I try to unplug from social media at least one full day a week to focus on what’s happening in real life and to maintain my mental health.
- Make Time for Fun — It can be hard as adults to make time for fun. It’s been especially challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I truly believe that it is a necessity. It allows for our creativity and imagination to come alive and to let go of stresses in life. At Nurses Inspire Nurses, the team members have dance parties and such. We’re more productive when we make time for fun during the busy work day. And it doesn’t feel like work.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I started it! Nurses Inspire Nurses. I created what I wished existed when I was in the profession. We’ve done a lot of good and supported thousands of nurses nationwide.
We provide resources for nurses, such as self-care recommendations; survival guides to working weekends and coping with grief; ways on how to boost the morale of nursing units, to combat nurse burnout and to let go after a hard shift; and tips for improving mental health.
We host events, such as our popular coffee talks, both in-person and virtually, to bring nurses together to inspire and uplift themselves and each other. We also offer bimonthly classes through the Nurses Inspire Nurses Academy to teach nurses all the things that weren’t taught in nursing school. The collection of classes provides nurses tangible skills and also connects them with other nurses going through similar experiences.
Nursing is something that is very hard to understand for those not in the profession and it is our belief we were not made to do life or nursing alone.
We still haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible. There are approximately 4 million nurses in the U.S.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Take the first step and the next one will be revealed. When I first started, I knew nurses needed a safe place to express themselves and connect with other nurses, but I never sought out to start this business. I just took a step forward doing what I thought nurses like myself needed, and it took off from there.
- There is no failure, only feedback. People are hesitant to try new things for fear of making a mistake. They think a mistake equals failure and that’s not accurate. We launch new products regularly; some are widely received and successful, while others are not. The same applies to Nurses Inspire Nurses events. It’s trial and error. You’ll never know if you’re on the right path or doing the right things until you put it out there and get feedback.
- Don’t beat yourself up for what you don’t know. As the saying goes, once you know better you can do better. And I truly believe this. Nurses Inspire Nurses’ first online store wasn’t built on an e-commerce platform. Once I learned what was needed, I made the switch to the proper platform. This is just one example of how I had to pivot and then adjust the business.
- Embrace every part of the journey. One of my mentors told me, “New level, new devil.” We’re all just figuring it out. I used to bike to the post office to mail orders, and now I have a cargo van. One day, who knows? The company may need a semi.
- People just want to be seen and heard. This definitely applies to my customers and to the community of nurses. I welcome customer feedback and love to hear from our community. All are welcome.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is a cause dear to my heart. While a lot has changed in our world due to the pandemic, our mission and desire to support the nursing community as humans first and nurses second has not changed. Nurses Inspire Nurses was built on the belief that nurses are essential, always have been and always will be.
Many nurses are isolated and suffer in silence. They are helpers who find joy and fulfillment from taking care of others. However, these are the people who often neglect their own needs in the process.
This past year the world recognized just how essential nurses are and how much support they truly need.
That is why I started the Inspire A Nurse campaign. It is a way to connect nurses to individuals and organizations that want to support them and are unsure how to do that. Inspiration Kits can be sent to nurses nationwide. The care packages are not a comprehensive solution for what nurses are currently facing, but to meet the basic human need of belonging, and to recognize nurses’ hard and essential work. When the pandemic began last year, Nurses Inspire Nurses began collecting donations, then assembled and shipped care packages benefitting about 20,000 nurses. This year, Nurses Inspire Nurses hopes to do the exact same with Inspire A Nurse.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Readers also can follow Nurses Inspire Nurses on Instagram @nursesinspirenurses or follow me @catgolden.inspires.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!