Ep42: Setting Boundaries as Humans and Nurses- Emily Jacobs, DNP, RN, APRN, CCNS, NC-BC

About Emily S. Jacobs

EmilyEmily S. Jacobs, DNP, RN, APRN, CCNS, NC-BC


Emily Jacobs is an author, speaker, and board-certified doctorate prepared nurse and corporate healthcare leader turned Integrative Nurse Coach, who resides in Beverly Hills, Michigan with her husband and two vibrant daughters.


With over 20 years of experience as a critical care nurse, she is a clinical expert dedicated to personal and professional development, holistic nursing, and mentorship. She held a variety of positions in the hospital setting and completed that chapter as the Director of Corporate Nursing Education at a major hospital system in southeast Michigan. Unfortunately, she experienced working environments turning more toxic, geared towards sick care not healthcare. It was time for a BOLD change.


As a board-certified nurse coach, Emily started her private practice working with many leaders across the country in designing and implementing wellness programs to support their teams and up-level their leadership. She consults with many hospitals as an advocate to provide free coaching services to health-care professionals.


She is a highly requested speaker advocating for employee wellness presenting on topics such as balancing burnout, setting boundaries, and building resiliency. She is a clinical faculty member of the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy training the future nurse coaches of the world.



What she learned the most from her private practice was that self-doubt and fear prevent us from believing in ourselves that we are worthy of creating an amazing life. Specifically, mothers who reported fatigue, burnout, guilt, and lack of boundaries. Emily saw an immediate need to create support. Remember, the phrase, it takes a village? We are not meant to do motherhood alone.


Emily created a company to provide a safe space for women to overcome their biggest fears, move past self-doubt, and elevate their dreams because passion and perseverance is available for everyone.


Emily helps guide you through balance, boundaries, and recognizing toxicity. She challenge’s you to say goodbye to that stuck version of yourself in order to recognize that you are enough, you are loved, and you have control of your choices. She offers you the strength and clarity needed to knock down your barriers, heal your heart and find your way forwar



Setting Boundaries as Humans and Nurses- Emily Jacobs, DNP, RN, APRN, CCNS, NC-BC Highlights


  • Setting boundaries is one way to align with your vision of what is best for you and is imperative to thrive in any environment
  • Toxic work environments can be the impetus to make a change that better aligns with your spirit and your best interests
  • Change can be difficult and It is ok to change positions and do something else that aligns with your values and heart
  • Creating space allows new ideas, new possibilities
  • Organizations are using Nurses as health coaches to offer health coaching to their employees
  • Nurses make connections with people, and Nurses turn the patient’s hardest days into manageable and even good days
  • Ask yourself… what happens if everything does work out?  What would that look and feel like?
  • Trust… everything will work out
  • Each of us needs and will benefit from coaching
  • Invest in yourself… amazing and beautiful things will happen for you!

Resources and Links

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast episodes

Integrative Nurse Coach Academy Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program

Burning Soul Collective

Dr Emily Jacobs

Live Your Life for You Facebook Group

Live Your Life for You Book

Setting Boundaries as Humans and Nurses- Emily Jacobs, DNP, RN, APRN, CCNS, NC-BC Transcript

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 we are inviting Emily Jacobs, who lives in Beverly Hills, Michigan.

She is a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. She’s also a mom, a wife, an author, speaker, and doctorate prepared Nurse leader turned Integrative Nurse Coach. She’s also the founder of Live Your Life For You. And I am so excited that our paths are crossing once again, Emily, to bring you on to the podcast today. So, welcome.

Emily Jacobs  00:47

Thank you. Thank you, Nicole. I’m so happy to be here.

Nicole Vienneau  00:50

Awesome. So, let’s start because we always go back in time, always ask the question: what drew you into Nursing?

Emily Jacobs  01:00

Absolutely. So, well, I’ll start with one obvious answer is my dad is a retired internal medicine doctor. And my mom was a Nurse. So I feel like somewhere down the line, maybe they secretly planted a seed. However, they weren’t wrong. I am… I think I kind of knew it in my soul when I was a young kid. I was just very caring, always taking care of things, always like the peacemaker type of person.

When I was a kid, I said I was going to be a Nurse, a mom— I’m trying to think of all the things— a dancer, and a teacher. And I’ve pretty much done almost all… I mean, I’ve done all of those. So yeah, that’s kind of where it all started. I think also, I think when I was about 10 years old, I was in the hospital for something minor, like appendicitis or… not appendicitis, but something minor with my stomach.

And I just met the most beautiful and vibrant Nurse I think I’d ever… I thought all Nurses were going to be her. And she was literally the nicest human on the planet. And I just remember admiring her and thinking I want to do that someday, I want to do this for someone else someday. So it just, I think, it was maybe a natural thing. Also, like I said, the seeds planted and then maybe an experience of my own. But yeah, I kind of knew and never really wavered from that since I was a kid.

Nicole Vienneau  02:21

I love these stories of all the Nurses who have been on this podcast, so distinctly different. And I imagine you as a little girl saying, “Yes, I want to be a Nurse, I want to be a mom, I want to be a teacher, I want to be a dancer.” And today you are all of those things. So good! And yes, you had the influence of your parents, of course, but I also imagine you as a young girl being a peacemaker.

Emily Jacobs  02:47

Yeah, something I’m reflecting on in my 40s now, as I’m reflecting back, is to like, I wonder if I’ve always known this, like these characteristics and these traits of myself. And I think so. I mean, I was the empathy girl, I was the one that my friends would come and talk to you about anything. I was the one that would listen.

I don’t know that my husband would say that today, but my clients do. He’s like: where’s this person you’re talking about? Well, it’s a little different when you’re running a house. So yeah, I just really think back and I thought— kind of jumping to like the Nurse Coaching for just a second— but I start thinking to myself, this was the part that I loved the most about being with my patients.

And this was the part that felt the most natural to me, was to like: “Well tell me more about your family.” As I’m changing their IVs, or just getting to know them, get their mind off of maybe what they were doing. So anyway, just it’s all kind of coming full circle where I’m like, yeah, no, it just felt right. Like I think everything about it just felt right.

Nicole Vienneau  03:51

What a wonderful place to be when you know it feels right. And it actually does feel right. So now tell us a little bit about how you discovered Nurse Coaching.

Emily Jacobs  04:05

Well, this is actually a funny story. Okay, so throughout my life too, I’d always kind of thought, you know, maybe I should dabble into counseling, and maybe I should, you know, go into psych Nursing, and I never did. I did ICU Nursing and other things like that. But again, it was just kind of always in the back of my mind.

So I moved across the country back to my hometown, and the hospital I was working for had wellness Coaches. So I’m like, well, it can’t help, I’m in a major life transition, I have a one year old, moved across the country, moving back to my hometown after 13 years, only been married a couple years, just in a brand new job again. I’m like, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna need some help.

And I had done, you know, counseling and stuff in the past, but I just… something about me was like, I’m gonna try this, you know, find a Coach. And it just so happened that I got assigned to a Nurse Coach, which I know you know. So, Denise is my buddy now. But I get paired up with this woman and, first of all, which is so ironic because we’re sitting in person, and I’m like, “Do I know you from somewhere?”

Well, she had been a travel Nurse, 10 years prior, at the hospital that I was at. And what’s funny is, I think she’s had some transformations, so what we remembered of each other was different than what we were showing up that day. But it was funny, because we’re just like, “Yeah, I think I know you. Did you used to work here?” So it was quite an interesting first Nurse Coaching experience.

But the irony of that story, too, is that at the end of her… what she did for me in that one hour session, with the connections and the listening and the non-judgmental and the just helping me breathe, really, like after all this craziness was happening in my life. She’s like, you know, what are your key takeaways from our first session? And I, without hesitation, said, “I want you to help me get your job.”

She almost fell over in her chair. She’s like, “I don’t know if I can help you anymore right now.” Which I know is not like the right Coaching thing to say, but I think she kind of like… we also remembered each other like acquaintances. And I was like, “No, no, no, not like today. I’m not gonna go start that today.” I said, “But like, you know, two to three year plan.”

And she’s like, “Okay, okay, two to three year plan. Fine.” But I think she just… I think that just… she was totally caught off guard with that. But yeah, I mean, it was funny because I think at exactly two years, in connecting with her since then, I’m like, “Okay, what’s that program you were in, Denise? How do I get started? Who do I call?”

Yeah, I think she might have known shortly after that, that I wasn’t going to stop at working towards that. Because, like I said, what she did for me was just the most beautiful experience, that I thought to myself, that’s the thing I love doing with people. That’s what I love doing with patients. And I’m like, you can make a job out of this? I just didn’t know. And so anyway, that’s kind of how it all started.

Nicole Vienneau  06:58

I love that story. And yes, I do know Denise Mann very well. And I think she has told me the story, too. But what a compliment, though, as well, for you two sharing that sacred time together, and then you then pursuing because of that interaction, that very special interaction that you had. Then you pursuing something that you really wanted to do for yourself in the future.

Emily Jacobs  07:31

Yeah. And like I said, it’s, you know, you hear the word imposter syndrome these days where you just feel like you’re not… which I have other thoughts about that, that are different than what I’m going to say. But like, I think now looking back in hindsight, when I was a critical care Nurse, and I’m just gonna get a little vulnerable, but like, I really think I was trying to prove something.

Because I don’t think— and I’m just gonna full on admit— I think I was a really good Nurse, but I don’t think I was as good as I should have been. Meaning I just didn’t feel as comfortable as like… in certain situations, yes, but it just always felt like it took me a lot longer to learn the meds and a lot longer to learn the calculations and everything. And I just felt like it wasn’t the right place for me.

And I kept pursuing, like, higher in those fields where I think, I was telling you before, I really connected with getting to know the patients. I would love getting report when the Nurse would say— I would love and hate it— but love the report that says: oh, this patient was crazy last night. Right? They just complain all the time. They’re super this, they’re, you know, this and that. And all these complaints.

I’m like, kind of like, get to the point, you know, just tell me about the facts, and then I’ll go in there. Because I always took that as a challenge. I’m like, okay, so that was her opinion or his opinion. So I’d come in and I’m like, alright— in my brain— I’m like, alright, buddy, we got 12 hours together, how are we going to do this? And I would try to dissect his brain, like, tell me about your night.

“They didn’t tell you? It was crappy.” And I was like, “Oh, no, they told me, but I want to hear your side.” And something about that— they would just be like, “Well, you want to hear my side?” I’m like, “Yeah! I’m your Nurse for 12 hours, man. Let’s have a good time here. What are we going to do? How do we make this better?”

And, I mean, sometimes it was the most simple thing, Nicole. It would be like, “I just wanted someone to call my wife” or “I just wanted someone to check on my dog.” And even if I couldn’t check on their dog, I’m like, well, could I find a phone? I mean, it’s just like, sometimes it’s just this simple thing where do you think if I offered you a hot cup of coffee, we could just talk about your night?

I don’t know. And I know I’m gonna jump to another story, but I feel that it’s hard these days. I can only imagine that Nurses don’t have that time and space to connect. But at least for me, that was my… that was where I felt that I was using gifts that I had that then other people were finding value in.

Nicole Vienneau  10:00

Yeah. I like the story about hearing report. You know, and some Nurses want to put their own story onto the report, right? Make it your story. But instead, you took it to a whole other level, and said, no, I want to take this as a challenge, and I’ll create my own story with this patient. Yeah, and then taking time to listen, which really doesn’t take that much extra time.

Emily Jacobs  10:31

And I really… like when I was… so I was an educator, you know, in the critical care world for a while, too, and I would always train the new Nurses. I said, “You know, those first, that first minute, that first minute or two can make a difference for your entire day.”

And so obviously, we know, like in the ICU, and in critical care areas, or in, you know, high risk areas, you’re fast paced, you’re moving, you know, you don’t really feel like you might have that time.

But remember, the first impression can make the biggest difference. So if at least in that first introduction, you could say it slow, you can take a deep breath and say, “Hi, I’m your Nurse, and I’m here for you today.” Even if like, you know, a minute later, you’re like, you know, running all over the place.

It’s like, at least just take the “Hi, I see you, Mr. So and So, how are you?” You know, if you can. Obviously, if your patient can’t talk, then maybe it’s the family member— connect with them. But I just think that that can just set the mood for, you know, your shift.

Nicole Vienneau  11:30

Yep, and taking just a few seconds to see the person. That’s what I just heard you say.

Emily Jacobs  11:37

Yeah, and I think kind of an old school way of thinking, too, is like, imagine if that was your loved one, your grandparents, your parents. And that’s something… you know, because these people are somebody’s loved one, parent. They have people that love them, that are worried about them.

And you know, I think, too, it’s just their mindset is that— I don’t want to say the words like they’re worse off than me— but like, they’re the ones in the hospital bed. I’m not. Right? I’m not sick. I’m not this. And so I think that’s the… that’s just the mindset of like, how do I make this as best experience as I can for them, knowing that I can’t control everything.

And sometimes there’s negotiations involved with, you know, I can get you this but I need you to help get yourself out of bed or, you know, those things. So, I think that that’s the… kind of circling back to like, you know, how I got into Coaching, I just knew that those were the elements that I— when I really think back to what I love the most about Nursing— for me, it was that.

It was making those connections with people and seeing how I could bring value or light or something that they desired. I had my to-do list of 1 million things, right? But is there one thing I can help, that they want, that I can help them get there?

Nicole Vienneau  12:49

Yes. I love this. Okay. So, now we know how you discovered Nurse Coaching. We know that you love to create a mutual loving relationship and love to listen and make the person you’re with feel seen and heard and acknowledged and cared for. And so now let’s take it a step further and say what is it that you’re doing with your Nurse Coaching skills these days?

Emily Jacobs  13:21

Sure. Yeah. So I… what am I doing with my Nurse Coaching skills? So, I ended up resigning from, you know, about 20 years in the hospital system, primarily just due to toxicity. We can go into some examples later, but basically just due to kind of, in a nutshell, toxic work environments, toxic leaderships. And I just, I’ve realized that that’s not for me.

Now’s the time that I need to create what I love, I need to do the things I love. I need to use the gifts that I was given in an environment that aligns best with me. And it turned out that that was going to be starting my own company, which was brutally scary. This was not an easy decision.

But at the same time, I was a spokesperson at this facility for wellness, and they knew that. And I was very close with their wellness department, I talked to them all the time. I would have rather created programs for them than doing my job. So when I resigned, they called to verify that I resigned, and I said, “Yes, I did. Did you have any other questions?”

And they said, “Do you want to consult for us for Coaching?” So now this facility was already… they have Coaches on board that they offer free services to their employees. So that was the… I took the chance to resign and say I’m going to do something that better aligns with me, I will make something work.

And then I feel like when I took that very scary risk, even though I don’t recommend it, I had backup plans in the back of my head. I mean, right? Like it’s just, you can’t go from one financial income to another without some sort of backup plan of like, okay, but just in case it doesn’t work.

And so what I ask people sometimes, too, is that just in case it doesn’t work, I started doing what I Coached people on was, what if it did work? Like, what would it feel like? What would it look like? And so I just knew that when I resigned, and it was hard, I just said, whatever it is, like, I felt like I was already living in my worst case scenario. So like, worst case scenario, I’d go back to a toxic work environment.

Oh, I’m already here now, so I mean, I already know what that’s like. So maybe I’ll just go do something different with it. So then I thought, but like, what if it does work? And the crazy thing is, I just started trusting. I’m like, I’m going to trust— this is something I never did before. Like I had backup plans to my backup plans.

And I’m like, I’m just going to trust that everything will work out if I just put my heart into it. I gave myself breathing space, I gave myself like… I think I resigned in the end of October, I’m like, if I don’t get my act together, if I don’t get things moving by January, I will maybe start thinking of another plan. But the next day that I resigned, I get the phone call: do you want to come and consult for us?

And I just thought to myself, that’s it? All I had to do was something scary and open this door, and then I get the phone call. So, that’s one piece of what I’m doing with my life, is Coaching for, actually, two companies that provide free services to healthcare providers, which I think is just an amazing thing for lots of reasons. Second part of that… do you want me to go into all of it?

Nicole Vienneau  16:36

Yeah! Keep on going. You’re on a roll, girl.

Emily Jacobs  16:38

Alright. So, part two of that is I do have a private practice, which I am working on growing right now. But I had these plans in my mind of what I wanted it to look like, and then I realized it’s not about me and my plans. And I never thought about that before, because I’m like, oh yeah, I’ve got these workgroups I was going to work with, like working moms, and we’re going to start this group Coaching.

And they’re in my brain and I might… I’m probably going to do them, but I thought to myself, well, do I even know what the people that follow me, and the people that, you know, are working with me, do I even know what they would really want?

I mean, I Coach individuals, so I’m in my investigative stage right now, but I do have a private practice. It’s called… well, my company is called Live Your Life For You, but my website is Dr. Emily Jacobs. So just dremilyjacobs.com. So, that’s where you can find information on one-on-one Coaching. Or my third thing that I’m working on… If it’s alright, I’ll just dive into it.

Nicole Vienneau  17:34


Emily Jacobs  17:34

And this is kind of why the private practice is just for one-on-one Coaching now, but I would love to grow it into groups and a community— my heart says community— but my heart also says wait and see what your community needs first, for me, for right now. So in the meantime, I also decided— about seven years ago, a thought started, meaning I would tell stories in conversation and people would say, are you going to write a book someday?

And this was seven years ago. And I’m like, no, I’m not a writer. I’m not writing a book. You guys are crazy. I honestly was like, maybe I’ll do stand up comedy, but like, I don’t know about a book. And then it happened a few times. And it happened a few times again. And I’m like, am I supposed to write a book?

So, I started listening spiritually to whoever was going to talk back to me, and they were like, yeah, probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. You only have like 10 journals of all of the lessons you’ve learned and all of your life experiences.

But most of it came around— and this is kind of getting into kind of what I’ve been currently working on the most— is I had a really challenging mother daughter relationship, and what I’ve realized, through a lot of Coaching in this last year, is that a lot of people on Coaching have some challenges with their parental relationships.

And not in a, like, a blaming type of— like I said before, like I went into Nursing, you know, because of my mom and my dad— it’s not because they said I had to, but I’m wondering if they kept saying how good I would be, and I listened. And again, not a bad thing. That part I’m not, you know, mad about, of course, because I think they were right. That’s what our parents do. They nurture and grow us and, you know, those types of things.

But it was really challenging in an overly critical way. And it made me a person— as a child, not knowing how to, you know, work around this— but it made me a perfectionist and a people pleaser, and not know how to set boundaries and not know how to say no. It kind of, I think, by having an overcritical parent, just really made me try to prove myself to my parent, to my mom.

And realizing that it was never going to work. Like it was never going to be “good enough.” Yet, I will be totally truthful— my mom said she loved me all the time, and said she was really proud of me, but the criticism far surpassed all of that. So it’d be like 90% criticism, and then at the end, she’d be like, “Well, you know I love you.”

And I’m like, it’s kind of hard to tell, mom. I mean, every last inch of my body, you would like: “Well, why are you going to do that with your hair?” And “oh, are you breaking out again?” Or, you know, “what are you going to wear that for? Why do you always wear that color?” And like every… it’s like, you couldn’t breathe. And so I just spent a lot of years learning how to work with that relationship.

I wrote a book about it. Why it came out when it is coming out, which is going to be in January of 2023, is I now have two daughters of my own, which is a challenge. And I see some of the same behaviors, and the same words and the same things that my mom did. And I’m doing them to my daughters.

And I always check in with my brothers, like, “Am I turning into mom?” And they’re like, “You can’t because you’re already asking the question. You’re not.” And what I mean by that is like the not so great sides, you know, the sides that you don’t love and you don’t like. And so, you know, the whole point around the book is one: just rediscovering, like, how do I take the things I’ve learned and recreate it for myself?

Maybe break a cycle that I didn’t like. And then also just learn the things I already know. Like, this dates way back when I was a kid. I know what I didn’t like. You know, my mom never admitted faults and never… everything would have been too weak. She never admitted emotions, that was too weak. Like, all those things. I just knew there was something different for me.

And I was not going to be like that. And even if I do— like, I’m going to say a bad behavior, I’m going to judge it just because if I told you what it was, you’d be like, yeah, that probably wasn’t the nicest things to say to your children— I do almost always circle back and say, “You know, mommy was frustrated. I get mad sometimes, too, and I say things I don’t mean, and I am sorry.” And I kind of just leave it at that.

Because that’s something she never did, and I think to myself, if at least I could come back around and recognize that, so that they don’t think it was their fault. You know, as children, I think sometimes we are, like I said, trying to feel good enough and feel love no matter what. And many of us really were loved no matter what, but the criticisms were so deep that it almost like made a scar tissue as adults.

And if we don’t learn to kind of maneuver and deal and find the tools, it can be more challenging. And so I’ve just heard this as patterns throughout, you know, a lot of women especially that I’ve been Coaching, and some men, is that some of these are scars that even though they were working on these wellness goals, we kind of have to go back to working on some of that. So, that’s the huge big nutshell as to what Emily Jacobs has been up to in 2022.

Nicole Vienneau  22:52

So many exciting things! I love it. Yay! So, I do have to ask for our listeners, and of course for me, too— so when you decide, okay, I’m gonna write a book, like, how did that even begin?

Emily Jacobs  23:11

Okay, so I told you about seven years ago, the thought came to me when people said you should do it. And I’m like, write a book? Like, who was going to read that book? I don’t write. But so, I was like, maybe I should, right? It’s that nudge, that like, I don’t know, maybe I should.

So, I took a couple notes, and I’m like, well, what would it be? And what would I call it? And I’m talking, when I say a couple of notes, I’m talking about maybe a one page. I had this one page of notes for about seven years. Maybe two. By seven years there was like two pages of like, “Ooh, yeah, I’ll do a chapter on this and a chapter on boundaries and a chapter on people pleasing.”

And then yeah, I think it was just this year of, you know, self discovery and personal development. I joined a business mentorship and I met a lady who started a company two years ago— Burning Soul Collective. She’s amazing. I’m surprised she hasn’t gone… maybe she’s gone through a Coaching program, but she Coaches in a group Coaching setting.

She Coaches writers, like, how to write, you know, get their book published. So she goes through everything. So I joined a mentorship basically, but it’s a mentorship on writing your book. And then there’s… she set up every information you would need for editing, self-publishing, promoting. Anything you’d need to know is in her programs.

So, it just… I’m like, it’s time. It’s time for Emily, the Emily who’s so scared to spend money on herself and do nice things for herself and all that. This is what made it worth it for me. I said I’m going to invest in myself. And by doing that, I know that beautiful things will happen, which was I knew the book would come out. And I was honestly really just writing it for me and my daughters and a handful of people.

And the more I was realizing that, I’m like, it’s not really… it’s my story with my mom, like it’s not really a memoir, but kind of, with like a self help-ish, you know, feel. But I actually thought like, well, if anything, this is an apology letter to my daughters for their future. And for anyone else that just needed to learn that they can learn tools to kind of… learn tools to move forward, kind of in a Coaching book setting, in a way. But yes, that’s how it got started— that company.

Nicole Vienneau  25:25

Nice. Well, I just really appreciate that, you know, seven years ago, you thought… you had this little inkling, this little… And then you wrote a couple of notes. And it sounds like you’re a journal-er, you know, ten books full of journals, you know, so all of those threads, but then coming to this realization that you needed time for yourself.

And you made this crazy vulnerable change in your life by resigning from a job that was comfortable, that was paying bills, but was also depleting you spiritually, likely, emotionally, all of those things, toxicity you mentioned. And creating that space, and saying no, putting boundaries down, opened up all of these new opportunities for you.

Emily Jacobs  26:18

Yeah. I think you kind of hit the nail. And I want to circle back to, just with, you know, leaving a workforce. Here’s the thing— I think for me, when it’s time for me to grow, and I don’t take it, right, and I don’t listen to it, I become stagnant. And then I become depressed, or I become like, you know, just going through the motions, robotic, that type of thing.

And that’s happened a few times in my Nursing career where it’s like, it’s time to grow, and it’s time to grow. And I didn’t mention this about— was it two years before this? So, I graduated from the Nurse Coaching program, the INCA program, in 2020, but right now, 2022, I haven’t done anything really yet. Because that was scary, too.

I decided, oh, I’ll take a leadership role. Because that, sure, yeah, that’ll be great. And I think that was the… I was supposed to take that role. And I knew two weeks into that job, I don’t think this is going to align with me. I could feel it. I could sense it. And I did, though, I did everything, I did the what will people think? And immediately, I thought to myself, I can’t worry about that right now.

Because the anxiety was setting in. I mean, even my husband was just like, “You were so excited about taking this.” I said, “Who wouldn’t be?” This was a great opportunity. But something just didn’t feel right. And my gut and my heart were totally right. I knew, two weeks in, I would maybe last six months. And I did, I resigned six months later. And I did what I needed to do, and I did a great job.

I reported things that needed to get reported. And I still was just like, you know, at the end of the day, I have to take care of myself, my family. And it just, you know, just recognizing that like, my gut was telling me something, and I was not going to sit and stay somewhere for years anymore. So I am surprised, even my husband, at that point, was surprised I lasted six months.

And I said, “Well, I mean, it’s not going to kill me. And it is only six months, and it would give them time to find somebody,” you know, and that type of thing. I wanted to do the right thing, right? But yeah, so I really think in Nursing that, you know, when you’re feeling that kind of stagnant, like, your body might be ready for growth, and it might not be exactly where you’re at.

And it also might be where you’re at. Maybe it’s a charge Nurse role, maybe it’s a preceptor role, maybe it’s an educator role, maybe it’s something working on a special project, maybe it’s just something else, but your body might be ready for some growth. And I think that it can be really important to just be in tune to that and start asking, like, well, what? What am I supposed to do?

And usually, when I’m working with people, too, is I just say, “Well, what do you love? And how do you bring more of that into where you’re at, and see if they’re going to value that?” Right? And just kind of, not like play around with that, but then just see if that works. And then just kind of see and play around with it too, right?

Like, can I grow where I am? Or do I need to move to a different environment? And, you know, as an educator, I used to always get a little worried when people felt really stuck in their positions and in their jobs because I thought to myself, man, there was… I mean, even back when I was at the bedside, there was just so many options for Nurses, so many different paths.

It does not have to be in a specific setting. There’s lots of different things. And it’s okay to change those settings. People would always say like, “Well, what if it’s worse on the other side?” Or what if this? And I said, “Well, if it is, you’ll recognize that and you’ll move to another setting.”

You know, it just won’t… I feel that it’s more important to listen to our hearts and listen to kind of what aligns with us most versus what other people will think, or what will my resume look like if I do that, or what will this look like? I think we’re kind of beyond that these days. I really do.

Nicole Vienneau  30:05

Yeah, I agree with that. And there are so many opportunities for Nurses. And it does not… those opportunities don’t necessarily need to be in a hospital. There are way too many things for us to do. And when you become stagnant, that is reflected in the work that you do, as well.

So, you may feel that you’re really truly caring, and likely you are a caring person, but is that really coming across in the work that you are doing with the people that you’re touching on a daily basis, if you’re stagnant, and if you’re stuck, and if you are in a toxic environment that you don’t say no to.

Emily Jacobs  30:45

I imagine it trickles down. I mean, I remember feeling it even when I was having a difficult time in my personal life. I can only imagine what it was doing for the people around me, the energy I was bringing into the workplace. And I mean, so I really try to check in, like, what is this trying to tell me in my leadership job? Like, what is this anxiety trying to tell me?

And honestly, I think I knew and I didn’t want to admit it, because that was hard. I mean, I had a promotion, like I had a pay increase, like this was all great stuff. We just bought a new house. Like, I “needed it”, but it was not serving me, and I was not… the value wasn’t… like the value wasn’t there where I could show my gifts. Right?

It would be valuable for somebody else who had gifts exactly… like gifts more in that area, versus me. What I wanted to do with my staff and my team, there wouldn’t be time for that. It wasn’t… there wasn’t space for that, there wasn’t allowance for that. And I think I came in thinking that I could do these things. So maybe I had a preconceived agenda for being a leader, but that’s okay.

I think, you know… I still at the end of the day was staying true to myself and the needs of myself and my family at the same time. I was not showing up for my family at all, in the way that I wanted to, or myself or the community. I mean, I was like the stressed out, crazy, frazzled mom running around in a, you know, 50-hour a week corporate job, which that might not seem like a lot hours, but it was to me.

And especially having kids in the pandemic, that kind of stuff, like, you know, they have a runny nose, you gotta pick them up from school. So I would get talked to by my boss, “Well, Emily, it doesn’t look good that you leave to go take care of your kids.” I’m like, I can’t worry if it looks good. I will still get the job done, I guarantee you that.

I will get it done maybe at 10 o’clock at night, versus taking the three hours off to pick up my kid and be with them or whatever. And just on that note, too, even a couple of days I took off while she was off of her daycare, and I formally asked for the days off, and I was told that I failed… that I didn’t roll out a major project, even though I provided all the resources, and they had changed the date on me. Right?

So then I come back into work, and I hear: “Well, that was a fail, and it went up to the executive level. And you’re gonna need to correct this.” And I just… I just did it. I said the thing. I did the thing that I thought I would never be strong enough to do and I said, “Did I fail because I took a vacation day?”

And of course she had to say, “Well… well, no. But you needed to have gotten this done before you left.” And I said, “Well, how would I have known that?” I did. I started questioning. I never thought I had the strength to do that. It just felt like, if this is the way it’s going to be, there is no way I will survive, let alone thrive, in this environment.

And if this is the way she treats the leaders, well then I’m only imagining that those leaders will then treat their staff that way. And then I started questioning why is there a revolving door at this facility? Because why are people leaving so fast? I could only imagine that at some point, just like what you’re saying, Nicole, too, like how it just trickles down with your patients, it trickles down. I mean, when you’re getting beaten down for, you know, just some simple things, it affects you at all angles.

Nicole Vienneau  34:06

Yeah. So what advice would you give, just advice, at this moment, would you give to a Nurse who is feeling some of these pressures that we just discussed? Or feeling like they are stagnant or burned out or living every day in a toxic environment— what advice would you give them?

Emily Jacobs  34:28

I think I would just ask them to do some reflection, whether it’s journaling, meditating, something where they… I like, obviously, journaling and writing, but I like to be able to see what I wrote, and I like to date it. Because what’s funny is that I’ll go back and read it, and sometimes it’s the exact same thing, and it could be like a year later. And I’m like, oh, it was still… I wanted to do that a year ago and I didn’t do it.

But what I would say to them, at whatever stage you are in Nursing— day one, day 100, day 1000— is what do you feel like in this environment? What do you love the most about it? What gifts do you think you have? What do you love doing and what are your gifts? And where could you get more of that? And it could be— like I said— it could be in your environment, and could you have conversations?

Are there people that you could have conversations with, like managers? “Hey, I really love planning the parties for the unit.” Right? Like, “I’m a party planning Nurse. I love doing that. And I would love to do birthdays.” You know, whatever, like, could it be something creative that then brings more joy, that’s bringing something that you love to work? Do you love mentoring? And maybe being a preceptor is in your cards.

You could talk to your colleagues and manager like, “Do you think I’m ready for that?” Or if it’s like, I just don’t really like where I’m working, is it a certain patient population that you’re not considering that maybe you would really be excited about serving? So kind of like getting a little deep with yourself and just saying, what do you really love the most?

And where could you find a little more of that? Where do you need to ask for something? And I know sometimes people have a hard time asking. So, for example, where do you feel that like, I might just need to ask my manager for something, right? Maybe it’s a mental health day, maybe it’s a day off, maybe it’s for me.

When I had kids, it was can I work for 10 hour shifts as an educator? I’m having a lot of hard times with childcare. And I’m telling you, like, it would be so hard for me to ask these questions, you know, so hard. And I remember asking my manager, and I’m like, Emily, the answer is no, unless I even try, right?

The answer is always no, unless you just. So, is there a way where you could… and if you were ever going to just do an ask— ask for a favor, ask for something— if you make it sound temporary, like this is just a pilot until we get back on our feet with childcare. This is a pilot for just, you know, I’m thinking eight weeks. Be very kinda like specific with your ask. This would really help our family out a lot.

I promise I’ll do a great job. And if I’m not, just tell me. Like, you know, or whatever it may be— could I work one day a week from home? If you’re in that facility that you could do that. Because what if, same thing as before, like, what if it does work out? What if they do say yes? Or what if they say something other than no? Which is, “Well I can’t say yes to that, but I could do this.”

You would probably take it. So recognize that sometimes it’s just your fear that’s in the way, and just acknowledge, like, is this just my fear? “Oh, my boss would never say yes to that. They’d never say yes.” Well, just remember, if you think they’ll never say yes, and you don’t ask, of course they’ll never say yes.

So where could you be a resolution for your own challenges? Those are kind of my big pieces of advice. This just kind of, you know, thinking about… and both of these kind of align with creating something more in the alignment of what you think you’re going to love. And then also not being scared that like… also not being scared when your body’s ready for growth, even if it’s just a few years later, right?

Even if it’s you thought you wanted something, and then you didn’t. Your body is just giving you feedback. And that’s what I say to people— it’s not failing. I did not fail at my leadership job, I did not fail when I quit. That was feedback that this was not okay with me. My anxiety at night, my not sleeping, my dealing with bullying and dealing with… I mean, I was that person.

I pulled up that code of conduct and I highlighted where it was out of alignment, because I just thought, I can’t work for a company that is out of alignment with their own words, right? So, where is something that you’re doing out of alignment with you, that you need to be honest with? Even if it’s scary, and even if it means change.

And just being, like, it doesn’t have to be black and white right away. As Nicole and I have talked about in our own career paths, like it’s sometimes… my Coaching decision took a couple of years before I really trusted that this was where I was meant to serve. I wanted it to happen sooner. I watched other people doing it sooner, and I’m like, “I could do that.” I didn’t believe in myself then. Right? It took a little bit longer for me to get there.

Nicole Vienneau  38:57

Everything comes in its own time. Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve changed my path when I did not think it was aligning with me, and it wasn’t. And then something else came along that did align. And maybe it only happened for a short time. But I sure did learn so much from those chances that I took. And now we are where we are today. And still growing.

Emily Jacobs  39:29

And here’s the thing too— so I look at myself, so it’s what, end of 2022, I am starting to write down where do I want to be at the end of 2023? Whether that’s mentally, whether it’s in my business, whatever it may be, what is the end of 2023 going to look like for me now? And if I could start visualizing that for my whole next year, I will be one step closer.

If I take action steps, I will be closer to that version. And I’m only thinking it’s going to be a small version. I don’t think I really want to grow too much in another year. It’s been a big year for me. So I’d be fine staying here. But I still, even though I’m fine staying right where I’m at, there has to be some growth. I have to grow somehow in a year, like, I mean, you know, there’s got to be something that I’m working towards for myself is how I look at it.

Nicole Vienneau  40:18

Yeah. Yeah. And I was imagining, as you were saying that, that some people, you know, we put a lot of energy into our lives, no matter what we’re doing. It could be energy in something that we don’t like at all, but we still are putting our time, our energy, our thoughts, our dreams into that one thing. And I imagine that energy is just like jumping up and down in one spot.

You’re just jumping up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down. There’s so much energy there. And if only we could just pivot a little bit, and we could see something a little bit different. And then that is like a trajectory to maybe go in a different direction.

And your thoughts on just asking, because you’re right, we could just stay in exactly the same spot by not asking. And if we just ask the question, in whatever way that we can, you know, develop that however way we can ask that question, there could be an opening for something that can help us shift and change. Ah, so good.

Emily Jacobs  41:27

Yes, and there’s no failing. No failing. It’s all… I always remind all my clients, it’s just feedback, right? If you set a goal, and you didn’t achieve, or you cheated on a day, and I said, and I’m right here, pretty much at the two week mark, if I set a 30 day goal, I know at the two week mark, I’m probably going to cheat.

So then I think to myself, okay, like, how bad am I going to cheat at the school? And then what does that mean? What does it mean for me? So I just take all this as feedback. And I know myself and so now I know that that is now one of my barriers— two weeks is my barrier. So now I’m like, maybe I should just only set two week goals.

And then, you know, do whatever and then set another two weeks. So it’s like, you learn. So it’s like, for me it’s feedback. 30 days is a great goal. But it’s hard for me with things that I’m working on. So, you know, just receiving things as feedback, feedback is good, even if it’s… well, even if it’s from your mom, and it’s critical. Well, that feedback led me to write a book about it. So that was good.

And I do… I thank her, to this day, for that, because— not that I would wish that on anybody— but by learning to set boundaries, by learning toxicity in a very close relationship, by learning behaviors that did not align with me, made it easier for me to deal with the real… with the rest of the world. Right?

It made me… I’m like, well, if my boss talks to me like that way, you know, I already dealt with my mom. And mind you, we did end on a great relationship. She passed away a few years ago, and we…  her final year, just to come full circle, the child in me just decided to accept her for who she was, which was very hard to do, as an adult needing my mom to be someone different and wanting something different.

In my— I didn’t know it was her final year on Earth, it was not a planned passing— but I just was like, you know, she’s almost 70, I’m not sure she’s going back to the way we were, you know, when we were kids, when I was a kid or whatever.

So, I think just that acceptance with that, kind of allowed for just some natural forgiveness and just kind of like… not like it is what it is, but we, you know, the lessons that we learned, and the lessons that I’m sharing in my book, is just more of a trying to create hope and possibility that someone needed to hear. Well, if this person did it with their own mom, you know, maybe there’s a chance, maybe I can have this conversation with my own mom or maybe with a friend.

Because some of my stories are about my mom, but you could insert friend or boss in a lot of them because I also had those, too. So I dealt with some toxic friends— very easily kind of recognize these things. And then toxic bosses, I was telling you about, and employees. So, it’s just recognizing these things, right? Recognizing, learning, and learning more about yourself in the process.

Nicole Vienneau  44:28

Yes. Emily, I have to ask, what is your mom’s name?

Emily Jacobs  44:32

Mom’s name is Mary.

Nicole Vienneau  44:34


Emily Jacobs  44:35


Nicole Vienneau  44:36

Cheers to Mary for all this content.

Emily Jacobs  44:38

On a spiritual note— so, no, I could not have published this if she was alive. It would not have worked for our relationship. She didn’t understand it the way I was expressing things to her. Mind you, I think I was Coaching her my whole life, Nicole, and the listeners. Like, I was just like, “But mom, if you could have just said it like this, I wouldn’t have taken it personally.”

And she’s like, “Well, that’s just not me. I mean, I’m not a feelings person. So what do you want me to say?” Like, you know, just these things, and I’m like, “Well, if you maybe could just ask me how my day was, but not be critical.” She was like… she would be like, you’re asking me to change a tomato into an apple, right? But I, as a kid, was like, why can’t you do this for me?

So now as an adult— I guess I’m getting on my own little tangent here— but in a spiritual way, now, I ask her all the time. And I asked her as I was writing the book, and I’m like, oh, here comes that story, mom, when we went wedding dress shopping, and that was one of my… that was one of your worst moments, mom. And I look up to the sky, and I’m like, are you gonna burn my house down?

And no, you know what would happen? Like a butterfly or a bird would come and sit on my windowsill. And I’m like… I would literally be looking with my eyes, like, what? Really? We’re good? Mom, we’re okay? You’re okay with this? And you know what I hear now from her, is that it’s okay.

Like, it’s, Emily, people need to hear this, or people need it… It’s almost as if she’s saying it’s our story, but it’s not about us. It’s anybody’s story. And I think she now sees the big picture. And I only feel that love now. I could tell you some of those stories, and I wrote about them, but I really only feel that she really did the best she could with the tools that she had.

And that’s what I’m trying to give people, is some new tools, is just some new tools to move forward. These are some of the things that I learned. And she does have… I have her blessing for this book. And my father— he’s still alive, and he said, “Yep, I have no hesitation with you publishing this.” And I think she’d be okay with it now, right? She’d be okay with it now. She sees the bigger picture, she sees that it’s coming from love.

And I think that’s what I was hoping to achieve with my daughters, and with any other daughter or son, or anyone out there that just needed to kind of, you know, see that even if we’re not repairing some cycles, moving forward into our lives in any relationship, whether you’re a parent or not, you can break some of those habits, you can break through some scar tissue, you can write a different story for yourself.

Nicole Vienneau  47:15

That’s all coming from love. And speaking of love, our time is almost up. But I also love to ask the question, what is on your heart that you would love to tell Nurse Coaches out there?

Emily Jacobs  47:33

What I would love to tell you is, you will probably learn more about yourself in this process than you ever thought possible. There will be a lot of growth and a lot of personal growth in this process. And it is almost equally imperative to the work you do, is to continue this personal growth.

As soon as I start feeling, you know, my little doubts and my little anxieties and all my little, you know, insecurities that do come back… those triggers— just because I’ve worked on them and healed them, they don’t go away, they just… I make it easier. I trust myself, you know, I trust myself and I trust the process. And I trust when I need to take a season.

Or… I don’t take a season off. Like a day or an hour. Or like, just to look at my week and say, “You know what, I did it again, I overbooked or I overdid something. Where can I fit it in the next week? You know, maybe not much I can do this week, because I don’t like to cancel on people, but where could I take some space or find some space the next week? And really, it’s that.

That’s what I would tell them, is that I feel like you’re going to learn a lot about yourself in this process. And trust your gut, trust your heart, and serve the gifts that you find valuable for yourself because people out there need them. And people out there need your gifts. And I am excited for all of you. I’m excited for the Coaching industry. I’m excited for the Nursing industry.

I’m excited for Nurses creating possibilities for themselves. Even if it’s at the bedside. There’s so many opportunities at the bedside, too, where you can bring this in. So just listen to your heart. Listen to what’s aligned best with you. When something doesn’t feel right, there’s a reason it doesn’t feel right. And I wish you all the best. I was so jazzed that there was a Coaching program for Nurses. It just warms my heart. It’s a beautiful service.

Nicole Vienneau  49:28

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing what’s on your heart. Beautiful words. So Emily, where can people find you?

Emily Jacobs  49:38

Yeah, so right now I have a Facebook group page called Live Your Life For You. And then I’m also on Instagram at @dremilyjacobs. No period, just all straight through. Or my website is the www.dremilyjacobs.com.

And if anyone wants to get on my email list for book updates, exclusive book information, my email will be the first place I put the book cover. It’ll be the first place I announce when the release date will be, which will be sometime in January. So if you want to get on that, you can sign up through that through my website or on… I believe it’s on the website. On the website, yep.

Nicole Vienneau  50:19

Awesome. We’ll share all your links. So we’ll pop them into the show notes so people can just find that information there and can connect with you and share in your excitement of launching your first book of many.

Emily Jacobs  50:37

That’s what my Coach said.

Nicole Vienneau  50:39

That’s right! Good. Thank you so much for joining us, Emily. We really appreciate the time and energy that you’ve brought us here today.

Emily Jacobs  50:49

Thank you, Nicole, and thank you to all of the listeners.

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