Condemning Yourself for Aging

I recently had two friends that made gutsy decisions about working again after retiring. They both picked challenging jobs and started to work. Both were doing complex critical thinking and physical skills and were being oriented/trained by younger, less educated staff. They were both overwhelmed and upset because they were struggling with some of the more complex concepts. They both assumed that they were the problem. Never once did they consider that:

  • They were physically unable to do some of the work
  • They were being educated/trained by people that did not understand older workers
  • They could find a job that fit their skills and abilities without being shamed for being older.
  • It was ok to walk away from a bad fit. They were not “quitting.”

There are numerous resources through AARP and other web sites. Before you beat yourself up for not being able to do what you could when you were thirty, realize that you have the HONOR of being older. Some of my friends didn’t live until their 50th birthday. I am honored and blessed to be able to be 65 years old. Remember that as long as you are on the right side of the grass, you are doing just fine!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN


The Most Valuable Thing a Good Leader Can Do

I recently read an article by Glennon Doyle Melton, a highly regarded author and speaker on women’s issues. The discussion involved how parents can create strong and resilient adults. According to the article, the process of struggling is what helps to develop resilience. “It is not about having nothing to overcome. It is overcoming and overcoming and overcoming yet again. Her point was that parents that allow their kids to fail aren’t doing it wrong. And protecting kids from those types of experiences is actually a disservice.

What if that is true for leaders who are mentoring new leaders as well? What if our job is to steer our protégés and mentees toward conflict, difficulties and challenges? Knowing that they will struggle, but also build character, wisdom, integrity and courage makes it the right thing to do.

I am not suggesting we feed new leaders to the wolves. But protecting them from the tough stuff may be doing them more harm than good. When I was in executive operations, I used to have “post mortems” on difficult experiences my subordinates encountered. This allowed us to discuss the situation, find out what went well (and what didn’t!) and figure out how to deal better next time. My only exception to this process was if the employee was in danger of being damaged in his/her process of problem solving. If they were going to be slaughtered for any reason, I got involved and steered them clear.

One of the most significant lessons I learned in my career was to ask folks how they wanted to solve the present problem. When I started out, there were no cell phones, just beepers. I used to ask subordinates to “page me if there was a problem.” Most of the time the folks knew what to do. I just added an extra step for them, and two more phone calls~one to page me and one when I called back. I finally figured out that most of them knew the answer; they were just dealing with a neurotic boss! Instead, I encouraged them to let me know afterwards how they solved the issue. Rarely did they really need my input.

Be prepared to help your subordinates and new leaders experience situations to ensure professional development and growth. It will allow them to grow into mature leaders, and give you someone to fit in a succession plan!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN



Nurse Practitioners Trained for Autonomy

Assembly Bill (AB) 890 is a bill with a difficult path to get to the state Assembly…AGAIN. This is the third or fourth time in California a bill has been attempted to allow Nurse Practitioners (NP) to practice independently. The California Medical Association (CMA) has consistently resisted this logical change, as it has this time. Additional language to address physician concerns has not made the CMA any more supportive. Why is that?! Only 28 states require physician supervision of NPs. This supervision can be by phone only. How does that help a patient? The MD can’t be part of the emergency response of the NP anyway! What’s the real issue behind the MD resistance?

In reality, NPs are educated and capable of working independently with excellent results. In fact, NPs in public agencies often have equal value in the organization, e.g. prison and jails. California is on its way to facing a massive workforce shortage as NPs and physicians retire. In addition, the state is unable to presently meet all the needs of the population.

AB 890 maintains the same care quality currently available by NPs. It serves the population of our state and provides additional care practitioners at a time we need more in the state. Seems to me the docs in our state are more worried about losing control than not taking care of patients!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Looking in from the Outside

Have you ever been in a life situation where you feel like everyone else has special access and you don’t? That you have to “be someone” in order to enter the world they live in? It is important to ask yourself if you created the distance with your communication style or behavior. Evaluate what you may have done to create the sense of distance. If you cannot find a reason based on your own behavior, then you need to look at other reasons.

Sometimes, as they age, people change. Their health, preferences, and priorities change. The meet someone, and everyone else becomes second rate. They get a new job, and that becomes the most important priority in their life. It doesn’t matter why, but rather how it feels. It causes pain and shame to perceive you are on the “outside.” It doesn’t have to be true-it just feels true.

What can you do about it? Remembering that you can only change YOUR behavior, you can realign your perspective, evaluate what you think you are missing and change your expectations. Sometimes you can reach out to those that seem to be excluding you, but they may not respond. What’s important is taking care of your own soul and headspace, which is all you control. It also helps to evaluate your own behavior. Are you leaving people outside of your world? Is someone hurting over your behavior?


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. How to do it? How to even start going in that direction? How to be near someone who has hurt you? Forgiveness has changed as I have aged. It takes more for me to forgive someone who has crushed my spirit. What if it is family you need to forgive? What about betrayal of the behaviors leading to needing to forgive?

Can you be your authentic self without forgiving someone who has hurt you? How do you know when you have actually arrived at forgiveness? Do you feel better? Haunted? Neutral? Angry? Sad? Accepting? Should you even feel different? Why does it matter?

There is much written about forgiveness and lots of discussion about it in the Bible and online. Google the word forgiveness and see what comes up…fascinating! Does failing to forgive someone give you more stress and discomfort or can you move on from the incident easily? Is it enough to end contact with the person who hurt you or can you continue to interact without any issues? Is forgiveness a religious behavior or one based on living authentically?

Do you have to have anything to do or say to the person to forgive them? Does forgiving them mean you share with them how they made you feel? Does the person that did the cruel, unkind behavior need to be part of the process at all? Can you avoid them forever more, and be done forgiving? Can you accept they did the best they can, and does that count as forgiveness?

I have many more questions than answers. Everything I read tells me I will feel better forgiving someone for hurting me. I believe forgiveness will help me deal with the mind-body emotions and physical symptoms that the hurting behaviors caused me. I do not want to associate, even remotely, with those who have hurt me that I need to forgive. Does that mean I am over it or just stuck? What do you think about forgiveness in your life?


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Trauma, Tragedy and Triumph!

I have lived in Thousand Oaks for 40 years. I love it here, and was angry and sad when the Borderline shooting took place, and the Woolsey fire damaged homes and property. The trauma that families faced with the bar shooting was immense. I knew the sheriff who was killed, and my son knew two of the young victims from high school.

Entire families and neighbors experienced the grief from this shooting, and then were forced to deal with fires and evacuations barely 14 hours later. Talk about tragedy! Folks evacuated in the middle of the night, and spent days away from their homes and property, not knowing what happened to it.

As I attend funerals and fundraisers, I am struck by how much the community has pulled together. Hundreds of people lined up to buy T shirts; performance artists turned their concerts into fundraisers, and everyone I know has been affected somehow by the shooting or the fires or both.

It is important to remember how blessed we are here, but gratifying to see folks helping out each other. It gives me faith in humanity. Happy New Year!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

6 Ways to Avoid Accepting a Bad Healthcare Job

By Angela Rose On Dec 5, 2018 for

What makes any particular job a ‘bad’ one? Maybe the pay is too low. Perhaps the hours don’t work with your other commitments. It could be the commute is too long, or the opportunity for advancement is too little. A job might be bad because it has a poor culture, a work environment or mission that doesn’t mesh with your values. Whatever the reason, moving on could be your quickest route to happiness, especially if you’re an in-demand physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. But how do you make sure the next healthcare job you choose is better than the last?

1. Ask about the previous job holder.

“I always tell nurse practitioners to ask why the practice is hiring,” says Renee Dahring, MSN, CNP and founder of NP Career Coach. “In other words, why did the person who held the job previously leave? You may find out it’s a new position. In that case, do you want to be in a newly created NP job? The employer may have misconceptions about what an NP can or cannot do.”

David Wolfe, founder and CEO of NP Now, an NP and PA recruiting firm, agrees. “It’s important for NPs and PAs to ask why the last employee left,” he says. “Why is the group losing people? Sometimes groups overutilize NPs, requiring them to see lots of patients and work overtime without pay. Ask candid questions so that you can identify any red flags.”

2. Request clear expectations.

“You have to be assertive when asking about role specifics,” says Susan Odegaard Turner, founder and CEO of consulting firm Turner Healthcare Associates, Inc. “Ask for a job description and talk about the tasks you’ll be expected to do. Understanding those specifics will drive a lot of your success after you are hired.”

Wolfe agrees that job seekers should make sure they have clear expectations of the position. “Asking questions like ‘What are the productivity benchmarks I need to hit in order to be successful?’ can help,” he says. “That way, you’ll know what the hiring manager expects and whether you can really provide it. If they won’t give you a straight answer about their expectations, that can be a red flag.”

Dahring also encourages healthcare professionals to ask about the specific characteristics needed to be successful within the organization. “That will help you get at the culture,” she explains. “Oftentimes a bad job isn’t due to an issue with clinical skills but with fitting in with the culture of the organization.”

3. Shadow a current provider.

For the clearest picture of an organization’s day-to-day work environment, spend some time shadowing another NP, PA or physician employee.

“An employer can hide dysfunction during an interview or while walking you through the clinic,” notes Dahring. “If you’re feeling at all uncomfortable about the opportunity, ask for a shadow day with a current clinician. Nobody can hide dysfunction for half a day.”

Wolfe agrees. “A good employer will let you interview and shadow the NPs and physicians who work for them,” he says. “If they won’t, it’s usually a bad sign.”

4. Understand how you’ll be compensated.

While you don’t need to bring compensation up in your initial interview, you’ll definitely want detailed information on how you’ll be paid before you accept an employment agreement.

“Are you going to be paid hourly or salary?” asks Wolfe. “How many hours are the current providers actually working? A lot of groups will say they’re offering a 40-hour position on salary but actually expect you to stay until 7 pm every day to do charting. That’s why it’s important to ask the hiring manager and NPs when they actually come in and leave every day.”

5. Research the organization’s history and reputation.

Odegaard Turner suggests an Internet search to find out if the organization was recently sold or downsized as well as to look for any news pertaining to its relationship with unions. “Is it a positive or negative relationship?” she asks. “Kaiser Permanente, for example, has a very positive relationship with the labor unions they deal with. They’re going to provide a different environment than an organization that is fighting for or against unionization.”

“You should also look at Glassdoor and other employee review websites to see what other providers are saying about the company online,” adds Wolfe.

Dahring suggests considering patient reviews as well. “If patients aren’t happy, that could indicate a problem,” she says.

And while you’re at it, Odegaard Turner advises personally evaluating the customer service side of the organization. “You can do that as easily as standing in the emergency room lobby on a Friday night or calling the front desk to see how you’re treated,” she explains. “You can learn a lot about a facility by the way they treat their customers.”

6. Read the fine print.

If you’re eager to get back to work, it can be tempting take the first position you’re offered. However, experts urge a careful review of the contract first.

“Don’t accept a job if they won’t give you an offer in writing or a formal contract,” says Dahring. “That can be a warning sign that things aren’t managed well. Lots of promises may be made, but verbal promises are as good as the paper they are written on.”

If you don’t want to impact your future prospects should the position not work out for you, “look out for a non-compete clause in the employee agreement,” Wolfe adds. “Non-compete clauses aren’t that common, but they’ve been in about a third of the NP employment agreements I’ve seen.”

He says you should also make sure bonuses are mapped out in the contract. “How are the RVU [relative value unit] bonuses calculated?” he asks. “It’s important to understand how many patients you need to see in order to get productivity bonuses, and you should have that outlined in the employment agreement.”


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN