She realized it was time to pivot her career to a more Integrative, Holistic and Wellness centered realm and became a board-certified Integrative Nurse Health Coach.
Lisa’s passion is educating people on Menstrual Cycle Health, all while cultivating awareness around their cycle. She guides you to learn to connect each phase to a season or to a phase of the moon.
She is Clinical Faculty at the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. Through this role she is given the opportunity to help Nurses find a new pathway for their Nursing career.
Lisa is also a Yoga Teacher in Olympia, WA. In yoga, her passion as a teacher is to help students bring the tools, the philosophy, and the stories of Yoga, off their mat and into their life.
She intertwines the subtle practices of Yoga with the physical practice of Yoga, in a way that is accessible for all.
“My passion is menstrual cycle health… it’s helping release that stigma around menstruation and that we have to be quiet about it. It’s powerful that women menstruate…and we need to honor it.” ~Lisa Ostler, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host and I’m also a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And today it is my absolute pleasure that I welcome Lisa Ostler. She is a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach.
She’s also a yoga teacher, and she is faculty for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. And before we clicked record, we discovered that we are both Canadians, now living in the United States for many years. And we lived very close together in Ontario, Canada, and our circles kept revolving around each other through the years.
And we discover we are both yoga teachers. We both love Nurse Coaching. We both love being a Nurse. And so it is destiny that we are on this podcast today, Lisa, so we welcome you with open arms.
Lisa Ostler 01:07
Oh, thank you, Nicole. It’s great to be here. It’s great to finally meet you. Thank you.
Nicole Vienneau 01:11
Yes, it’s so fun. We’ve been hearing each other’s names and seeing each other on social media and different Nurse Coaching things. And now we are finally spending time together, and I’m so grateful. So, we’d love to take a little trip down history lane, of course, to discover why you decided to become a Nurse.
Lisa Ostler 01:33
So, I graduated in 2000. So 22 years, I’ve been Nursing. And at that time, I was living in Canada. And that was when I was graduating from high school when a lot of Nurses got laid off in Ontario. And initially I was actually discouraged to get into Nursing. And so that wasn’t my initial plan, but it was what I wanted to do.
And I lasted six months in this other program and then thought: no, I’m gonna go do it. I went and talked to a counselor at the school, at the college that I was at. And she showed me this article about by the time I graduated, it was going to come back around with the need for more Nurses.
And she was 100% correct. Because when I graduated, you could go anywhere and get a job. It was, yeah, a different world. So initially, though, I’ve always been interested in the human body, just how it works, how we can heal ourselves, and so that was my main reason to get into Nursing.
And then I love to travel. And I thought, well, you know, the human body is the same anywhere in the world, it doesn’t matter. Maybe the language and culture and religion will be different, but the human body is the same. So I thought it was going to help me with both. That’s what got me on this path– a lot of different turns.
Nicole Vienneau 02:53
Right, and graduating in 2000– that’s 22 years, you said. Congratulations!
Lisa Ostler 02:59
Thank you! It’s literally half my life. Like I’m 44, so I’ve literally been Nursing half of my life. It’s yeah, it really is part of my identity, which a lot of people, I think a lot of Nurses say that. It does become part of our identity. So, yeah.
Nicole Vienneau 03:17
Right, it’s in every bit of our souls and in our cells.
Lisa Ostler 03:24
Yeah. And so I graduated in Ontario. And then like most Ontario young adults do, I moved to Vancouver, because that was always, you know, move to British Columbia. So I did that and worked on a general surgery unit for a couple years. I think I worked there for three or four years. And then I decided– I’d done some backpacking, and I wasn’t ready to come back.
So at that time, you could post your resume on medhunters.com. I don’t even know if it still exists. And then people would contact you. And my dream was to go to Australia. I had just come back from Thailand, and I was like: I really want to go to Australia. And this lady had called me and was offering me this amazing opportunity, but she wouldn’t tell me where it was.
She was like, you know, you’re gonna get, you know, a crazy amount of vacation days, tax free income, round trip airfare, no cost of living, tax free. And I kept saying where is this wonderful place? And then she told me it was Saudi Arabia, and I was like, it wasn’t even on my radar, like a very outspoken Canadian in Saudi Arabia.
I was just like, I don’t know if that’s gonna be for me. So I said, “Let me call you back.” And then I sat with it for a while and was like: oh, I could pay off my student loan, I could travel the world. Saudi Arabia is in the middle of the world. And so I went, and with the intention of just going for a year and I ended up staying for four.
Then after that, I came to the United States in 2008, and started working in emergency. That’s always been my dream– ER Nursing. So I worked there from 2008, off and on, ’til 2019. In between that I took a job as a flight Nurse. So, as you can see, I was always looking for the adrenaline rush. And then as you can imagine, I burnt out, and started looking for other areas, which brought me to Nurse Coaching.
Nicole Vienneau 05:30
Oh, wow. So I love the story of not knowing where this place was.
Lisa Ostler 05:37
Yeah, and when I told my dad, you know, and at the time I was, you know, I was 24. So I was very naïve, no matter… I didn’t think I was, but I was so naive. And I remember my dad saying, “No, you are not going to Saudi Arabia.” And I was like: but like, yeah, I can, I can do anything.
That’s what you raised me to do. You always said I could do anything. And it was an amazing experience. I did travel the world when I was over there and have made, and still, some of the closest friends. I met my, well now, ex-husband, but I met him over there. It brought me to the US. So there was so much good that came out of it. But it was a shock to this naive Canadian.
Nicole Vienneau 06:23
I have some shocking stories too, being the naïve Canadian. I do have to ask, though. Did you ever make it to Australia?
Lisa Ostler 06:32
I still have not made it to Australia. 20 years later, and I still have not been. I never even thought about that. Yeah, I still, that’s got a… it’s still on the bucket list, but keeps going down and down and down.
Nicole Vienneau 06:47
You still have many more years left, so maybe that’ll be in your future.
Lisa Ostler 06:51
Nicole Vienneau 06:52
Yes. Oh, wonderful. So, you mentioned about being an adrenaline junkie. And then you ended up moving towards the path of burnout. Are there stories that you can share about that, that you’d feel comfortable with?
Lisa Ostler 07:08
Yeah. So, growing up in Canada at that time, a lot of Nurses didn’t become flight Nurses. It was a lot of paramedics, unless I wanted to move to like Nunavut, or something. And so once I moved to the US and thought: oh, this is completely accessible to me. And I loved it. It literally was my dream job.
But there was this physical aspect of, you know, especially in both the ER and the flight Nursing, you’re just always on. And you never realize… I never realized that I never had the opportunity to rest and digest. I was always in that fight or flight. And with the flight Nursing as well, I was on call a lot of the time, I was eating really poorly, because I might be done at two in the morning and there’s not a lot of options.
And, you know, I didn’t go home in those times, so I was on call. With the schedule that I worked, we did two weeks on, two weeks off. And so I ended up physically having this histamine reaction to food. And there was like, probably like a couple of weeks where I was just covered in hives, and I had no idea what was going on. Looking back, I would go to the doctor’s, no one knew what it was.
And it was just my body just being in that fight or flight and not having time to really relax. And in the ER, I always worked nights, and I thought I rocked it, the night shift. I thought I was the type of person that only needed four hours of sleep. And that was great.
You know, once I moved out of the night shift role and started working days, I was like, oh, this is what eight hours of sleep is. And I would run into people in the hallway at the hospital, because I ended up moving to the PACU, and they were like: oh, you look great. And I’m like: yeah, this is sleep. This is what sleep looks.
But it was hard. It was hard on me emotionally, and then not wanting to admit that I couldn’t do it anymore. That was huge. Because that was always my dream, and I didn’t want to seem like a failure. But the ER had also changed. It wasn’t the same as it was when I first started there. I felt like we were failing the community that I live in.
And so there was a lot of things. And one of my dear friend’s mom took the Nurse Coach program, and so she was on me for a couple years– Jane Peterson. And I would be like: what is Nurse Coaching? Like, what are you talking about? And then finally, it was probably, you know, late at night, Googling.
You know, I can’t do this job. I left the hospital, and I was Charge, and we had over 100 people in the ER, and our ER at that time was 40 beds. So, like there were people everywhere, and I’m like: oh, this isn’t safe, I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel like I’m caring for anyone.
I can’t support these new Nurses that need support. Like, this is just… it’s not where I want to be. And I came and finally Googled INCA and reached out to probably Ronnie at that time. And there was a program, I think that year, at Harmony Hill. And I was yep. This is it.
Nicole Vienneau 10:25
This is it. Yes. I know so many Nurses who are, and have gone through, the feelings of burnout. And you mentioned one of the ones of just, you know, not wanting to admit that it was time to try something different or not wanting to admit that those things were going on. And it’s such a difficult decision to make, because it’s something that you loved, and that you had devoted so many years to, as well.
Lisa Ostler 10:58
Oh, many years, so much education, so many certificates, you know, from 2008 to 2019. And it was everything that I wanted to do with Nursing. And so when the emergency department started to change in how we were caring, that was hard. And then also admitting that I was not the same person, that I was changing, and not really knowing what that change was at the time.
Because as an ER Nurse, there’s no… we’re not vulnerable, we’re not supposed to be, right? Like, you just come out of a room, you could have seen the worst thing in your career, you’ve also been with someone that’s having the worst day of their life, and you just have to put it aside and go and care for someone else.
So I became hard, you know, I had this shell that was just getting thicker and thicker and thicker. And it was affecting my relationships, too. Because there was no outlet at that time for me. I did yoga, but at that time, when I was doing yoga, I wasn’t linking the mind body part of it. I was just there to like, I’m gonna get into this headstand.
Because that was my personality. I am a doer, I’m going to succeed in everything that I do. So the thought of stepping back was just really hard for me. And even at the time I took the Nurse Coaching program, I was still in the ER, but it was this program that made me realize… I just, you know, learned a lot about myself. I was actually given the tools, too, to learn about myself.
Nicole Vienneau 12:32
Yes, and in environment that really wanted you to explore yourself and find and discover what is best for you.
Lisa Ostler 12:42
Yeah, it was amazing. That first day at Harmony Hill, and just to be surrounded by other Nurses that were signed up for the program for pretty much the exact same reason we were all there. For just we wanted to be part of healing, you know, we we wanted to be a part of helping clients and patients be successful, and not just being a number in the healthcare system.
So we all had the same mind frame on what Nursing was. It’s just we weren’t given the opportunity. And none of us knew where that was. And that’s where Nurse Coaching came in. But I will admit the first part of it, the foundations part of it, it took me a while because I was like: what? You want me to be vulnerable?
Like I don’t need to talk about my feelings. So it was a shock in that. And thankfully, I was teamed up with some amazing partners for my peer Coaching, that I’m still great friends with, who kind of helped me in that aspect of it. So yeah, never look back on that.
Nicole Vienneau 13:48
I love the stories. So, as you were talking, I just couldn’t help but connect. So, my background is Intensive Care, and I too, was very driven. Do all the things. Take all the sick patients. Yes, I can do that. I worked out all the time physically. I had zero clue that there’s this mind and body environment, that I was more than just a physical being.
And I almost credit my continuous journey and my continuous work– it never stops– from burnout, because I too became burned out, to the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, International Nurse Coach Association, for helping us unravel all of that and give us the tools that you mentioned. The tools. Yeah.
So, okay, so now we know a little bit about how you discovered Nurse Coaching– that you went to Harmony Hill, that you did an in person training. I do have to go back and say Jane Peterson… Jane Peterson and I– she’s gonna be like: oh, Nicole!
We’re connected very, very much from our days in beginning Nurse Coaching. And so it’s just funny to just connect all of these dots with you, Lisa, and realize, oh my gosh, we’re like two peas in a pod over here.
Lisa Ostler 13:52
Yeah, and it’s hilarious because Jane’s daughter, Blythe, I’m really good friends with. And then once Jane and I met, we were just like, oh, we had this connection. And so Jane and I joke like, you know, I’m just friends with everybody. I was invited to their family reunion this past summer, and I’m like: of course I’m going.
Nicole Vienneau 15:42
Of course I’m family. So good. Okay, so tell us a little bit about Nurse Coaching. And before we get to what you’re doing with Nurse Coaching, maybe some of the key points that came up for you, when you actually took the training.
Lisa Ostler 16:00
I think the key points for me was the foundations point of it, and learning my own self-care. Because again, I thought I was caring for myself. I went to yoga, I have a Treeing Walker Coonhound that, like, he has Walker in his name, so we walk and hike all the time. So I thought, like, I’m doing all the things.
I never looked at my heart, you know, how that was. So, the tools that foundation taught me on self-inquiry and self-care. And I’m still not perfect at it. I still fall sometimes headfirst. And, you know, those are the moments that I have to get back up, or there’s someone there to help me get back up.
I’m better now at asking for help when I need it, which was never something I would do. I could always just figure it out on my own. So, those tools have just taken into my personal life that no other Nursing program has given me. So I love the fact that, you know, put your own oxygen mask on before you can help anyone else.
And it’s true. Because as Nurses, all we want to do is help people. We do it at work, and we do it at home and on the streets. It’s innate in us. And we truly forget how to care for ourselves, or don’t take the time to even fathom doing that. So it really opened up that door for me. And then also being part of something new and inspiring.
And something that Nurses, as a whole, could create. Like in schools, we’re taught how to Nurse in the hospital pretty much, that’s where they educate, that’s, you know, our syllabus, really. And so to be part of a group of men and woman that want to create a whole new path for Nurses, it was just really inspiring.
Like Susan Luck and Barbie, you know, just listening to them, Karen Avino, Jan Booth, like all these pioneers, in a sense, that have paved the way. And just to now be able to be on that path with them, it’s really inspiring and exciting, too, because we are the largest group in healthcare, yet we sometimes feel like we’re not being heard.
So this is where we’re like, oh, no, we’re making changes. You know, I can be idealistic, I’m a very idealistic human, and I believe we’re going to change healthcare. It’s a broken system. And I think Nurse Coaching is what is needed to give the power back to clients to find their own way of healing without someone saying: this is what you need to do.
You’re a circle, you have to fit into this square, it doesn’t matter, we’re gonna fit you in there because that’s what the algorithm says. And so I have to… you have to do it, and to give clients the freedom to care for themselves and find their own path to wellness, as well as to give us the freedom to do it, it’s just, yeah. Nurse Coaching.
Nicole Vienneau 19:04
When you were talking about the circle in the square, I was imagining the one size fits all outfit that you see when you go to Ross or TJ Maxx. And it’s like “OS.” One size. And you think, oh, that’s cute. And then you put it on. And I’m 5’3″ and 130 pounds, so I put on that and I think: that’s cute! And then I look at myself in the mirror and I say: that’s not cute!
Lisa Ostler 19:05
Yeah. It’s so funny you brought that up. I was at a store yesterday looking at something and it was one size and I put it on, you know, in the change room, and I’m like: oh yeah, this is cute. And then I got it home and I was like: what was with the mirrors there because this is not cute, but I’ll wear it at home.
Nicole Vienneau 19:37
Well, and it’s interesting how we do that in healthcare. Like here’s your one size thing that can fit you, maybe, and even if it doesn’t, that’s okay. You take that home and you figure out how to do it. Because that’s what I’m… you know, that’s what we do.
Lisa Ostler 20:06
One of my first jobs in the US was working on an Intermediate Care Unit, and we cared for post-CABGs, post-open hearts. And one of the requirements was that every patient had to walk, I forget, it was 180 steps or 360 steps a day, and you would do it in increments. But we were… some of these patients didn’t do that pre-op.
So, you know, but then it became the Nurse’s fault, if they didn’t do it, and it was like, but there’s so much more going on mentally with these patients, too. We’re asking them, not only after very huge surgery, to get out of bed and do, but also to do something they never did before.
And we’re not listening to them. We’re just like, hey, I gotta go check this off. It’s very linear. And Nurse Coaching, I love, because it’s such a circular process. And we live in a very cyclical world– the seasons, the moons. I’m a huge moon and season person. But yet, Nursing and healthcare is very linear.
Nicole Vienneau 21:09
So, I’d love to hear your thoughts, then, on how you feel that Nurse Coaching affects the healthcare system in the hospital setting, say.
Lisa Ostler 21:18
So, my dream– and I’m currently working with one of the managers because I still work a couple of days a week in the hospital. And I’m, right now, focusing on helping Nurses deal with… because it’s a very negative environment at the moment. And it’s being portrayed that it’s negative because of COVID.
But you know, all these problems were there before COVID. It’s just once COVID hit, people were watching and paying more attention. But the, you know, short staffing of Nurses has been going on– it’s an epidemic that’s been going on– forever. And so my dream is to have Nurse Coaches in the hospital for Nurses.
I know there’s a couple of hospitals back in Pennsylvania that are doing it, which I love. And it’s giving Nurses the– so let’s say for the ICU, for example, you finish your preceptorship– now, this is a brand new Nurse– and she gets told: oh, you know, the charge Nurse will answer any of your questions, or Nicole will answer any of your questions.
Well, Nicole has her own assignment, the charge Nurse has her job or his job to do. So that new Nurse really doesn’t have anybody to assist them. So they’re hiring these Nurse Coaches and giving them like an assignment of seven new Nurses. And so they go around, they have a pager or SpectraLink, and are called if the new Nurse is like: hey, I just got a intubated patient, and this is the first time on my own.
Okay, I’ll be right there. And, I just, I think that is going to… I wish more hospitals will get on board with that. There’s so many loopholes to jump through, of course. But I see that, especially for Nurses, and also helping Nurses just see the importance of caring for themselves.
As a faculty member for Nurse Coaches, I have heard from some of my students that they already take the tools that they’re learning into the hospitals, they’re listening more, asking a lot more open ended questions and trying to take the time.
Now of course, unfortunately, we don’t always have the time to give. I know at my hospital, the Nurse to patient ratios are pretty crazy right now because of short staffing. But you know, it’s just those little moments, little moments that hopefully will make a change.
Nicole Vienneau 23:44
So, all of these thoughts are– and real life scenarios– are factual things going on to really help our Nurses. And we know that we’re in a Nursing shortage crisis. We know that many Nurses are retiring or have retired. Many left during COVID. Because you’re right, all of these problems were going on way before COVID ever came along in the world.
And it just exacerbated everything. And I like how you say because people were watching. Yeah, because they’re forced to see. However, now COVID is still around, yes, and people are not seeing anymore. And I feel like we’re going back to the ways that we were. This program in Pennsylvania sounds fantastic.
Lisa Ostler 24:34
Oh my gosh. Yeah. Like, how can I bring that here? Because we forget. You know, I was in on a webinar a few months ago– was actually probably a while ago– and Barbie was speaking on it. And there was this lady who was a director for a hospital system back in Maryland. And I just loved what she said, you know, many hospital systems are doing it wrong and they’re putting profit first.
And she’s like: how we need to be running hospitals is we need to care about our people. So, the Nurses, the techs, the transporters. If we care about our people first, then the people are going to care about the patients and the patients are going to then bring the profit. But we do it backwards: profit first.
Where’s the other two Ps? We don’t want to show up. And you have that quiet quitting going on so much in the hospital where we’re just showing up to do our job. And the heart isn’t in it anymore. And I’m hearing brand new Nurses say I’m leaving.
Like, in all the years you’ve been a Nurse, and myself, I’ve never heard that. Like, I’ve never heard a brand new Nurse say I’m quitting after a year, and quitting Nursing. All that education, all that training. And they’re like: yeah, I’m gone. I’m not doing this. We’re failing them.
Nicole Vienneau 25:57
Yes. And all that money they invested. They wanted to go into the career of Nursing, in the profession of Nursing. You make a great point on the human capital, the human capital, I mean, people are what make a hospital organization run.
And if we’re not caring for the people, it’s very difficult to care for the patient. And the thing is, though, Nurses will do it anyways, in the environments that they’re in. And that does not make it right.
Lisa Ostler 26:31
Right. Yeah. And so you’ll see, you know, this negative, maybe amongst Nurses to Nurses, like there’s just this tension, and it’s just a very different environment. And I hear a lot– I’m part of, you know, committees at work, and I’ll be on the meetings, and I’ll hear the higher up say: well, you know, this is what we’re going to do to find new new Nurses.
And I always speak up and I’m like: but this epidemic of being short staffed, or, you know, short Nurses goes all the way down to the education. We don’t have enough university professors teaching the Nurses. We can’t fix the low graduation rate of Nurses, but what we can do is start caring for the Nurses we have now.
Like, how do we keep them happy? How do we keep them showing up to work, and not hitting that compassion fatigue, that wall? That’s where our focus needs to be.
And then you know what, then people start talking about how amazing their hospital is, and all these healthy things that we’re offering. No Nurse wants a pizza, or candy. Like, I guarantee it. That’s not what we want. But that’s what we keep getting.
Nicole Vienneau 27:39
Yeah. I have a quick story. I invited about 15 different Nurses from the community where I live in. And it was… the topic was burnout, and what they were experiencing, the real life, people working in these hospital organizations, what it felt like, what it was like to work in a day in their shoes, all of that. And the final questions that we– and it was just a very healing space.
It was, of course, done in the Nurse Coaching style, where we’re holding the safe space for confidentiality for people to be able to express from their hearts and their true feelings, where like you mentioned earlier, where we are often squashed.
You know, we have to compartmentalize because we’re seeing so many horrible things on a daily basis, and the only way to survive is to compartmentalize. But we need outlets to get that off of our brain and hearts and guts.
The last question that we asked was: what is it that you would want to help you through burnout and prevent burnout or mitigate burnout? And you know, the answers were simple.
The answers were: I would like to feel respected. I would like for people to say thank you for the work I’m doing. I would like to be acknowledged for the job I’m doing in a positive way. It was so simple, that it floored me, even though I’m the same. I would like that too.
It wasn’t: I want more money. It wasn’t: I want less staffing, which of course we know that’s a huge problem. We actually talked about staffing before then, and we knew, you know, the bottom line is not staffing. For a lot of people it is acknowledging their profession, that they are professionals or we are professionals. And we are not being acknowledged as such.
Lisa Ostler 29:46
Yeah, like we’re remembered for the worst day that we have, right? Like we’re very rarely remembered for the good things that we did. And that trickles down in every profession, you know, and I say it a lot at work. I’ve had this conversation with Ronnie and Karen, like, it’s so unfortunate that that’s what we’re reminded of.
That’s where people will focus, is like, oh, well, Lisa did this. And it’s like, yeah, but what about the other 363 days of the year where I did great things? Why are we not celebrating that? Where’s the appreciation? Because as Nurses, we spend the most amount of time with patients.
We are the ones… we’re the ones… the doctors… as I say, when I worked in the ER, I used to say this to the doctors all the time: I’m the one that makes your dreams come true. You write the orders, I make them happen. But it is us that spends all this time, but yet we have such a minimal voice. And it’s unfortunate, but Nurse Coaching, it’s like giving us this voice back again.
And I just find that very powerful. And the more we come together as Nurse Coaches, I think the more we’re going to see just how powerful we can be. Like Florence Nightingale said, it was going to take, what, 200 years for the Nurse to really show what they’re capable of? And we’re doing it.
Nicole Vienneau 31:13
Ah, so good. Yes, so good. You’re right, Nurse Coaching has given us a framework to be able to share our voices in the way that we feel they should be shared. And creating new ways in which we can express our ways of being a Nurse, showing up in our communities, our workplaces, our lives. And so now we’re shifting towards you and what exactly you are doing with Nurse Coaching.
Lisa Ostler 31:42
So, when I graduated, like many people, I had no idea what… I didn’t have a niche, I had a passion. I wanted to help people live a life of wellness, I knew that. And so for probably four or five years, I just kind of stumbled along in a sense. I was taking a lot of courses, I did my yoga teacher training. And then personally, I started really going through a lot.
My periods were really heavy, and then I was getting this like rage. You know, my PMS was like, I gotta get a hold of this. So I went to my doctor, and I said to her, I was like: hey, something’s got to give, like I am… I don’t even like who I am for one week. And I go to yoga, I walk, I’m doing everything that I should be doing. And I was 40 at the time, and so she wanted to put me on hormones.
And I was like: oh… I…. And so her and I went back and forth. I’m trying to advocate, and not against, some women do, and I think that’s, you know. But for me, I’m 40, I didn’t want to go on a hormone at 40. I didn’t need to be on birth control, either. But I took the prescription, and I remember walking to my car and being like: okay, I need a new doctor, number one, because I wasn’t heard at all.
She did not listen to anything that I was saying. And then so I started doing my own research into menstrual cycle health and realized that there’s not a lot out there. I wasn’t taught a lot. I was taught about what it is growing up, but I wasn’t taught about the different cycles, it’s a cycle. And you know, in traditional Chinese medicine, they break it down into seasons.
And so I just kind of went into my own education, and then I realized, well if I don’t know this, then there’s got to be other people out there. So I started making that my passion. And I remember one of my co-workers asked me, he was like: well what makes you a professional? I was like: well number one, I’m a woman. So that makes me, you know. Number two, I’m a Nurse.
And number three, this is my passion. So I brought that into Nurse Coaching. I’ll still see people that come to me for nutrition or stress, but my passion is menstrual cycle health. And I helped them sign up for sessions with me, and the first month is just them tracking, you know, their cycle, so like a food journal. And starting to see that you can really know, like our cycles are very set, and for me now I don’t even need to track it.
Like just based on how I’m feeling, I’ll be like: oh yeah, it’s fall or autumn. You know, because winter is considered menstruation, spring is when you’ve come out, summer… And so you do, as women, we show up very differently in each of our cycles, and I just love it, and it gave a lot of power too. It really empowered women, as well.
And I think it’s helping release like that stigma around menstruation and that we have to be quiet about it. Like it’s powerful that women menstruate. And I know there’s many stories, you know, origin stories that might say something different, but it’s powerful, and we need to honor it. And just like Mother Nature, you know, we’re coming into winter here in the northern hemisphere.
And so just like, you know, the trees are releasing all their leaves, that’s kind of what we need to do when we’re coming into menstruation. What do we need to let go of so that when I get my period, I can settle in, I can relax because my body needs that.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with saying: actually, no, today’s not a good day, or, like, I would never have signed up to do this podcast with you if I was in my Autumn. Because I know I’m not my best, I don’t have a lot of confidence. But you know, I’m in my spring phase right now, so I’m like, yeah, I got this, what do you want to know? I’m much more open.
And so that’s how I schedule things in my life. Now, not all the time. You know, I can’t call sick all the time, but at least I know how I am.
So what do I need to do for self-care, to ensure that I’m showing up as my true self, that I’m not having to portray someone different, but still honoring where I am? And so it’s been really profound for a lot of the women that I’ve been Coaching.
And then being a yoga teacher, you know, I always bring in yoga poses to help. And so it’s helped kind of create more an integrative healing, and I took that functional medicine course through INCA, and so it added an amazing aspect to my Coaching offerings.
Nicole Vienneau 36:38
I love that you are one: recognizing you are the expert, for the many reasons that you are truly an expert. And that you are also bringing voice to this season, I’m gonna say season because you kept saying season and that’s in my mind. But we go through the cycles every month.
Lisa Ostler 37:01
Yeah, we ebb and flow. And that’s beautiful. It’s great.
Nicole Vienneau 37:05
It is beautiful. And then even when we are in perimenopause, and menopause, we’re still going through– post menopause– we are still having these cycles. And I can’t help but– and you may have already thought about this. That’s okay, too– but I can’t help but think, well, Lisa, you are really focusing on helping Nurses, and guess what?
Nurses are, like, 95% women. And you were speaking of empowerment and self-care and realizing our time of the month, for lack of a better word, but that that affects the way that we show up at work and our relationships at work with our colleagues, with our patients. And it is empowering for women, Nurses, to understand that.
Lisa Ostler 37:55
Yeah, and to know that, you know, where you are, it’s not like you have to announce it, you know, like, hey, I’m in my Autumn. And if you want to, kudos, I love it.
Nicole Vienneau 38:06
And you’d be like: oh, that’s why!
Lisa Ostler 38:08
But it’s knowing, like, you know, when you’re driving to work, and it’s like, okay, I know where I am in my cycle. Because as Nurses, we have to show up as our best self every single day. And it doesn’t matter what we’re going through, but maybe we don’t A: know who our best self is, or don’t feel like we can access her on that day.
So what can we do? And so it’s teaching people the tools. It’s also learning what foods are more beneficial for where you are in your cycle, because of the hormones, the ebb and flow with your hormones. So it was just really empowering for me, and I love offering it.
And I was invited this past summer to speak, because I was like, oh, if someone would have taught me this when I was, you know, pre, before I even got my period. And so I was invited to a girls camp this summer to present and it was just… like it was a dream come true in a sense.
You know, and it was, fair enough, they were young and I was trying to… and I don’t have any experience with children except if they’re sick. So trying… it was a huge learning curve for me on how to make it exciting and interesting.
And next year I’ll be better at it. But it put me outside of my, you know… gave me a great learning curve, which I never would have had that opportunity without Nurse Coaching. It all, to me, comes back to this wonderful program that INCA has created, that Barbie and Susan knew we needed, and there’s so many different avenues that you can offer.
You know, a lot of people… there’s the Heart Math program, yoga teacher, you know, Reiki, there are so many different elements that you can bring into your Coaching to offer your clients. Aromatherapy, functional medicine. It’s amazing.
Once those lovely women pioneered this and opened the door, it just gave us so much more access, and not realizing that, oh, I am a yoga teacher, how do I bring that into my Nursing? I never thought that was possible.
Nicole Vienneau 40:13
We are very blessed. We are very blessed to have discovered Nurse Coaching and so thankful to Dr. Barbara Dossey and Susan Luck, Bonney Schaub, who are pioneers, were the pioneers. And I always love the quote, and I use this every time I’m creating something new, vulnerability, feeling that sensation of oh, should I even do this?
And Barbie once said, when I asked her: how did you even come up with this? You know, how did this all fall into place? And she said, “Oh, Nicole, we didn’t have all the pieces.” She said, Barbara Dossey, “We didn’t have all the pieces, we just knew we needed to begin.
And that showing up as vulnerable, and you called it a learning curve, but there’s also a lot of vulnerability in showing up and being open to being in new spaces. And that’s where the Nurse Coaching has given us the courage to be, and the accessibility to be, vulnerable, which in the past, I would have never been vulnerable. No, gosh, no, don’t show my emotion. Don’t show them.
Lisa Ostler 41:24
And it’s like I say to my yoga classes, if I’ve created a new sequence. I always start it out with like, you know, I planted the seeds of this sequence, but you all are going to help me grow it. Like, we’re going to do this together.
And that’s how I look at, you know, with the pioneers of Nurse Coaching, the seed was planted, but now we’re still growing it, we’re still bringing our own personality, our own passions, our own dreams to it, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger. And it’s, yeah, it’s beautiful and inspiring. And I’m excited to be part of it.
Nicole Vienneau 41:58
Yes, I am excited, too. We are doing it!
Lisa Ostler 42:02
Nicole Vienneau 42:04
Yes, we are. So, in our last moments together, we have a few moments left, but I’m curious to know if you were talking to Nurses, and you wanted to let them know what’s on your heart.
Lisa Ostler 42:18
I would probably tell them to find the balance between effort and ease. You know, many things take effort– our careers, our families, everything takes effort. But it’s always knowing that you need to find some ease, ease with yourself. We’re going to fail, we’re going to trip, or like I said before, land flat on our face, but be easeful with ourselves and be easeful with each other.
We’re all learning, we’re all going to make mistakes. It’s important to offer that space to feel safe and brave to mess up. And know that there’s people there that are going to support you and lift you up. And yeah, and then personally just finding that balance.
You know, I wake up every day, I wear a lot of hats, there’s a lot of things that I’m doing, but I’m still learning how to be easy on myself. I can be very… I’m the hardest… I’m my own harshest critic, and so it’s something that I’m working on on a daily. But yeah, balance between effort and ease.
Nicole Vienneau 43:23
Beautiful words. Balance between effort and ease. So, Lisa, when people are looking for you to maybe have some one-to-one Coaching on menstrual cycles or different things, right, how can they find you?
Lisa Ostler 43:40
They can go to my webpage, which is olympiaintegrativehealing.com. And then they can also find me on Instagram. So it’s @olympia_integrative_healing. And then also my personal Instagram: @letswander2gether. It’s always fun. So, but those are the places they can reach out to me. Also, if they’re local in Washington, they can find me teaching yoga. I teach Tuesday mornings and Tuesday evenings, virtually and in person. So, that will all be on my website, as well.
Nicole Vienneau 44:21
Wonderful. And as we tie things up, what last words would you like to share?
Lisa Ostler 44:26
One of my dearest friends that I met in this program, said to me years ago, that entrepreneurship is very lonely. And it is. This is a new area for Nurses. And for the majority of our career, we’ve been told when we need to work, how much we’re going to get paid, and now we’re in an area where we’re advocating for ourselves.
And so there’s a lot of obstacles. It can be a very bumpy, lonely road, but there’s a lot of us that have done it and are still doing it. So, reach out. It’s a community, and again, be easy with yourself. Get back up. Take a pause, too. It’s not a race.
Nicole Vienneau 45:08
So true. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing this very important and very precious time with me and with our listeners.
Lisa Ostler 45:16
Thank you. Thank you. This was wonderful. It was great to chat about all this. It’s a good reminder to me too, because sometimes when I get in the thick of things, I need that reminder. So, thank you.
Have you ever heard the expression…. “Listen with your heart”? [...]