Cat Golden created a movement for medical professionals. She discusses Nurses Inspire Nurses and shares her self-care tips.
By Taylor Morris
Cat Golden, known as the “Nurse Whisperer,” never thought she would end up in nursing. Originally from Detroit, Golden moved to Denver in 2007 after visiting a friend and taking a job at Denver Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that helps people who experience homelessness and addiction.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Golden became a nurse after receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Colorado. Although she loved living in Denver, she felt Detroit was calling her home. She moved back just in time for her 31st birthday and accepted a travel nurse position at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
Nearly two years later, she is busy working part time at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and keeping up with her fast-growing business and blog, Nine Lives Health & Mind, as well as her Nurses Inspire Nurses campaign. Golden, 33, of Ferndale, is also a community nurse through the Visiting Nurse Association.
Golden says she created Nine Lives Health & Mind with the model of “leap, land and live.” Leap meaning, “take a chance on yourself.” Land meaning, “land confidently on your own two feet.” And live meaning, “live a life by your own design.”
One of the things Golden helps nurses do is create a schedule that works for them without taking a pay cut. According to a 2011 American Nurses Association survey of over 4,600 nurses, three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overworking as top health concerns. Work schedules and insufficient staffing are among the factors driving many nurses to leave the profession, which is exactly what Golden is trying to prevent.
“What I empower nurses to do is help them make a schedule they love (and) fall in love with nursing again without taking a pay cut,” she says. “…They don’t have to be stressed out, burned out, taking care of everyone else and not taking care of themselves.” Golden created a Nurses Inspire Nurses campaign after realizing many of her colleagues were exhausted and drained, but remarkable people who help take care of each other.
“We can’t wait for the hospital or anybody else to do it,” she says. “We have to be the ones to inspire each other. We have to take the power back. So many times we’re waiting on someone else.”
Golden says Nurses Inspire Nurses is a way for nurses to inspire each other. The campaign may encourage someone to work the last few hours of a shift for a co-worker, or even watch a patient so another nurse can go on a lunch break.
“It’s just the smallest thing (that) truly makes a big difference and helps somebody else out,” she says. “…We’re taught in nursing school that you become a nurse, you work 12-hour shifts in the hospital, you have to work nights, you have to work weekends and it’s all just fear-based … I help them realize that you don’t have to do that. You can take a different path; you can do something you love.”
Golden says it’s important for nurses to realize they don’t have to work holidays and they don’t have to miss time with family. She works individually with nurses to create a schedule that works best for them. She also offers a monthly subscription for nurses, where she mails an item related to a theme. She says every month there’s a new mindset subject or an area that her clients work on to improve.
Megan Sturgis, a 31-year-old registered nurse at Ascension Providence in Rochester, has been using Golden’s program since the beginning. Sturgis says Nurses Inspire Nurses has empowered her, as well as hundreds of other nurses to share their experiences and feelings about their journeys.
“(Golden) continues to really help me take control of my mindset and find the balance of my profession as a nurse and take care of myself — knowing that I can powerfully choose how I want my day to be,” she says.
Since starting Nurses Inspire Nurses, Golden has sold nearly 500 Nurses Inspire Nurses T-shirts to supporters in Michigan, Canada and states as far as California. Nine Lives Health & Mind also has over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
She says Nurses Inspire Nurses has given medical professionals a community, even if it’s over social media, and helps them see they aren’t alone.
Yet her favorite part about nursing is the human connection and that she gets to help people.
“I just like helping people feel better,” she says. “Even if it’s something small, (I love) just making their day.”
Cat Golden’s 4 Self-Care Tips
1. Focus on Being Present Over Being Perfect
When you know you’re in a busy season, or have a stretch of work coming up, do you spend all your time cleaning your house from top to bottom and running errands, making yourself tired before you’ve even started? While these tasks can be important, they aren’t going to fill your soul. Being present for yourself and the ones you love is going to get you through the grind a lot easier than having a clean house. When you’re in the thick of a busy time, your clean house isn’t going to provide comfort and peace like time spent with the people you love doing things that are most important to you.
2. Establish Rituals
If you don’t schedule time for self-care rituals, they won’t happen. We all know life is crazy. I am obsessed with having a morning ritual such as meditation, journaling and saying my gratitudes. I am still working on my nighttime ritual, but this time is sacred for you and provides peace and calm in what can otherwise be a hectic day. It doesn’t have to be long, even 10-15 minutes is enough to ground you. It could be anything that’s meaningful to you.
3. Take Away A Chair
If you leave a chair out, someone will sit in it. So often we are overcommitted and burdened by obligations and commitments that bring us down, but we left the chair out — we didn’t say no. We must only leave chairs out for those important things in our life, or else we will find ourselves trying to be everything to everyone and we all know how that story ends.
4. Don’t Forget the Basics
Sleep, healthy food and movement. The things we know we need to do but often let slide. I always say a good night’s sleep can cure just