Ep46: Letting Go of Critical Care to Find Nurse Coaching: Nicole Vienneau MSN, RN, NC-BC

About Nicole Vienneau

Letting go of critical care to train active aging adultsNicole Vienneau MSN, RN, NC-BC

Nicole combines 20+ years of nursing experience with 30+ years of fitness + health coaching to partner with mid-life women who want to live their life with vitality through the stages of menopause and beyond.  She also partners with Nurses using holistic modalities to mitigate burnout and feel like themselves again!


Nicole has created and hosted many group coaching and group programs over the past few decades as the founder of Blue Monarch Health, PLLC and Restoration Room, PLLC. She’s also the podcast host for Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION!


She is a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach and Author, and holds many fitness certifications like, Menopause Fitness Specialist, Functional Aging Specialist, Brain Health Trainer, Personal Trainer, and a group fitness and yoga instructor. And is also Lecture Faculty for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy.


Nicole is passionate about everything she does, and especially loves creating safe, restorative communities where fellow humans can thrive! She loves exploring nature, finding solace with her cat-babies and traveling with her awesome husband.


Email Nicole at nicole@bluemonarchhealth.com or nicole@restorationroom.org

Nicole’s book:  Letters to a Future Nurse on Amazon

Join Nicole’s Gratitude for Nurse Wellbeing Facebook Group



Ep46: Letting Go of Critical Care to Find Nurse Coaching: Nicole Vienneau MSN, RN, NC-BC Highlights

“I said, “Well, I’m a Holistic Nurse.” And I’ve never said that before. Because I’ve always been a Critical Care Nurse. But through this journey of Nurse Coaching, I have uncovered a deeper way of being a Nurse.” ~Nicole A. Vienneau MSN, RN, NC-BC


  • When Nurses come together, anything can happen
  • Make the ask.  See the no, as a next opportunity.  You are never stuck
  • It’s important to know that stories and their meanings can change over time based on new learnings and understandings
  • When you shift your thought process to what could become, your choices become limitless
  • Nurses can ebb and flow into different specialties based on their needs, desires and interests
  • Symbolism and meaning are important to each person’s story and a Nurse coach can learn more about their clients when they ask open-ended questions and offer silence and deep empathy
  • What can happen when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and open to the possibilities?
  • It’s ok to ask for what you want and what you need

Articles and Other Resources

Battling Burnout with Nurse Coaching Vienneau and Ervin article

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast with Shakira Franklyn

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast with Barbara Dossey- Find Your Nursing Soul Mate

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast with Barbara Dossey Energy of Your Breath

Dr Barbara Dossey website

Blue Monarch Health, PLLC

Restoration Room, PLLC

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation

Letters to a Future Nurse Book collaboration Nicole is the author of chapter 14:  Nurse Friends

Let Go Nurse Coach

Ep46: Letting Go of Critical Care to Find Nurse Coaching: Nicole Vienneau MSN, RN, NC-BC Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome to season three of the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast. I am thrilled to be back with you for another season. Sharing the incredible stories of passion love healing from integrative Nurse Coach is from around the world is a dream of mine. And here we are on our way to season number three.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following along with these stories of inspiration. Thank you also for rating us with five stars and we love reading your supportive comments, so please keep them coming. To kick off season three. I am interviewed by my dear friend and fellow integrative Nurse Coach Holly Kapusinski. There’s no one else who could have created such a safe and loving space for me to share my story. Here we go.

Holly Kapusinski  00:59

What is a holistic Nurse? What differentiates a Nurse who practices holistically and why is becoming a holistic Nurse and integrative Nurse Coach bring healing to individuals, groups, communities and the world?

Today, Nicole Vienneau sheds light on some of the key threads of holistic Nursing and Nurse Coaching. The American Holistic Nurses Association defines holistic Nursing as all Nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal.

Holistic Nursing care is person and relationship centered healing rather than disease and cure oriented, philosophically, holistic Nursing as a worldview, a way of being in the world, not merely the use of modalities and treatments.

I would like to share this wonderful interview with you and ask you whether or not you have ever hidden yourself and who you are. Have you ever tried to make everyone happy or be perfect at what you’re doing? Have you blocked parts of yourself to protect yourself?

And what happens when you shift from surviving to opening your heart to the possibilities? I think all of these questions and the amazing answers can be found in this interview. It is with great pleasure that I offer to you this interview with Nicole Vienneau.

Nicole Vienneau is an entrepreneur, owner of Blue Monarch Health PLLC. She’s been a Nurse for over 20 years, a fitness expert for over 30 years. Her accomplishments include the following but are not limited by them. advanced clinical nutrition training from the Institute of functional medicine, menopause fitness specialist, functional aging expert, brain health specialist.

She is a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach having gone through cohort number four. She is lecturer faculty for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. She’s a yoga instructor recently has become an author of a chapter out of a Nursing book, an educator, she is devoted to wellbeing, to the wellbeing of others, and herself.

She’s an influencer and recently has been selected as a finalist to be mentioned in the healthy Nurse healthy nation. She’s also a phenomenal wife, friend, mom to Moozie and Bumpie, two of my favorite cats and the whole world.

Nicole Vienneau  04:20

So Holly, you created your own bio for me.

Holly Kapusinski  04:24

I did.

Nicole Vienneau  04:29

Thank you. Thank you for creating my own bio. It’s better than what I could ever write.

Holly Kapusinski  04:36

Well, it’s also true.

Nicole Vienneau  04:38

It’s true, most of it, especially the last little bits.

Holly Kapusinski  04:43

Yeah, that’s phenomenal wife and mom and you know friend and mother to two beautiful cats. Yes.

Welcome to the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast, I’m Holly Kapusinksi, I’m a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach, as well as being a pediatric Nurse practitioner. Today, I am honored and privileged to have the time and the ability to interview one of the most influential Nurse Coaches currently. And she is a friend and somebody that I have enjoyed working with over the past five years. And it is, with great joy and pleasure that I welcome Nicole Vienneau.

Nicole Vienneau  05:36

Holly, I am so happy to be here with you. We have been friends for many years. And prior to the call, we were saying, man, we’ve only been friends for five years, how could it be that we’re only friends for five years because it feels like we have been friends for a very, very long time?

And I feel very blessed. I am excited to be on this interview with you and to have you as a dear friend, interview me.

Holly Kapusinski  06:05

Well, it’s pretty much a dream come true, Nicole.  I have been wanting you to be on the podcast for quite some time. And then to have the bonus of being able to be the person to interview you and spend time is truly a dream for me.

So, you know, even though we’ve been friends for five years, and it feels like a lot longer, I really want to spend time today really getting to know you a little bit more about how you’re traveling through Nurse Coaching and this journey. And to be able to share with listeners, all the exciting things that are happening for you and in Nurse Coaching right now.

So, you know you always start this podcast by taking a moment just to be quiet and to get centered. And I would like to just offer that to the listeners just to take those three deep breaths.  One…..two…. three… Let’s get started.

Holly Kapusinski  07:26

So, you always ask everybody who comes to the interview to share a little bit about what has brought them to Nursing. And I know that as people have been listening to the podcast over the last couple of seasons, you have periodically shared little bits and pieces of your story.

But I just wonder if you would just take a little time today just to share. You know really how Nursing has come into your life and how it’s traveled with you. As you’ve gone through the years.

Nicole Vienneau  08:03

Through this podcast, I’ve asked that question 45 times. And there was once a time that I told the story of how I got into Nursing was simply because I was in university, and I thought I wanted to be a biologist.

And what I discovered through taking biology classes, because we were doing so many experiments with fruit flies, I discovered, man, I don’t think I really want to do experiments on creatures and do that kind of work. I think I would rather be with people.

And so my sister at the time she was going through Nursing school, and I thought well, I should be a Nurse too. And that was kind of the story that I was telling.

And then I had the pleasure of interviewing Shakira Franklin. I will definitely put Shakira Franklin’s podcast in the show notes. Because something she said in her explanation of why she became a Nurse had me go deeper into my heart and discover why I ended up becoming a Nurse I ended up becoming a Nurse why I chose to become a Nurse, because it was definitely a choice for me.

When I was a little girl, I played the violin. And I played for many, many years. When I was first learning, I was horrible. You can imagine sounds of cats screeching and learning how to play the violin. And I practiced and practiced and practice because music really spoke to me even as a young girl and it still does today.

I love to play the violin. I learned to pick it up very quickly. I became very connected to my violin, and its expression.  More than a few times, I had family members who are ill. And they ended up in the hospital. And my mom always suggested that I would bring my violin and play it at the bedside.

And I always thought that was weird. You know, ‘Mom, why are you making me play the violin?’ When I was at the bedside and playing violin, too, I can remember my Auntie Rita. She loved that I would share this gift with her. And I would play in empty hallways, right, the hallways were empty, or the hubbub of Nursing was going on, and the patients were hearing me play.

And every time one of the Nurses would come in, and they would say, ‘Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much for bringing your violin and playing’. And I never really connected with that story until I was talking with Shakira and on this podcast, which a podcast has been such a gift for, for me, ….and I’m not sure why I’m crying. Why getting teared up. But it’s okay.

I’ve just really enjoyed doing the podcast and getting to know my fellow Nurse Coaches so much better, and being privileged enough to share this gift with so many people who listen to our podcast. So as a little girl who is playing violin in the hospital, for all of my relatives who ended up being ill having illness, some of them passed, most of them have passed now, it was an eye opening experience for me to now look back and see that I was a holistic Nurse, as a little girl.

And that connection, now moving myself forward, as many years in critical care, and never having connected with that before. Until the past few months. And realizing you know, I never called myself ‘holistic Nurse’.

And I found myself the other day at a at a party when someone asked me what is it that you do? And I said, “Well, I’m a Holistic Nurse.” And I’ve never said that before. Because I’ve always been a critical care Nurse. But through this journey of Nurse Coaching, I have uncovered a deeper way of being a Nurse.

Holly Kapusinski  12:41

I can’t help but reflect on what I heard you say Nicole. And how true it is for so many people who have that disconnection at times within themselves that you’re describing, where you present yourself and list yourself as what you do, not necessarily who you are.

And I think it’s beautiful that you’re sharing that you came into this richness and understanding of who you are through Nurse Coaching, and through what you’ve been doing. I also just see so much light coming from what you’ve been doing to bring you know, you’re always so very aware of the light around people and how you can bring presence to them. And it’s a beautiful gift. I always think that that’s part of why you have a butterfly as your logo, because you know butterflies just represent so much happiness and light and beauty to the world. Can you share with us a little bit about how you came to be an entrepreneur?

Nicole Vienneau  14:03

Sure, I will just touch back on the butterfly for just a minute. The name of my business is Blue Monarch Health PLLC. The butterfly signifies a lot of what you just said. For me a butterfly when we imagine a butterfly, it’s floating through the air. It seems like it’s not purposeful, because it’s just floating.

And yet it has such purpose because it is seeking out the next place to land to pollinate to take from the flower and then bring to the next flower or to deposit somewhere. So, it has that significance for me.

And then in the case of the blue butterfly which is the largest butterfly it’s the Blue Morpho it resides in South America, and the blue Morpho wings when they open up wide, as butterfly wings do to fly, the underside of their wings is blue, bright blue. And then when they stop, and they might sit on a branch, their wings come up, and the butterfly’s wings are brown, so that they blend into the nature around them.

And for me that signifies sometimes we as humans are in a position where we want to be, we maybe need to be, or we have to be bright, and bold and brilliant. And then there are the times when we need to be camouflaged.  We have to come inwards, we need to come into ourselves and be quiet and be unseen. And those are the times for healing, and restoration. And just coming to ourselves. So, for me, the butterfly signifies so many things that that could be, and the possibilities within all of us.

Holly Kapusinski  16:10

I really like how you spoke about that, and about how sometimes we as people and human beings need to come inward, that we need to reflect, and we need to spend some time really just being and allowing whatever it is that’s taking place to happen. And then sometimes we need to shine bright.

And I always admire that you are so courageous, and open to doing things that may be very, very scary to others, or maybe very intimidating. Could you share with us a little bit about some of those experiences?

Nicole Vienneau  16:52

Sure, I mean, you asked me about becoming an entrepreneur, that in itself was a very scary process and continues to be a scary process. Because there’s one thing to be a Nurse who works at a nine to five or works at a 3 12 shift a week where you know that you’re going to be punching in at a certain time and you’re going to be punching out at a certain time. And you know that you will receive a certain income from that.  You do your job; you get your paycheck.

As an entrepreneur that is up in the air. Because you could be working, working, working and you will not get any money from doing some of that work. Because you might be planting seeds, similar to the butterfly- that butterflies floating around and you know, pollinating and doing its thing, but we don’t know what’s going to transpire because of that.

And I think that’s part of what I’m trying to do with what I’m doing as a Nurse Coach, as an entrepreneur, as a Nurse who is an entrepreneur who happens to be so passionate about Nurse Coaching, is this planting of seeds, this planting of ideas, this conceptualization before something comes to fruition.

And that’s how I feel, you know, I got into this Nurse Coaching stuff back in cohort number four, which for some of us, you don’t even know what that is, right? So, I’ve been Nurse Coaching for over 10 years, I’ve renewed my board certification twice. So, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve been doing this before Nurse Coaching was a thing.

And I have seen so many changes and so much growth in the Nurse Coaching field and I am so excited about it. Because there was a point in time where like, oh, talk about butterflies. I’m talking about Crickets. Crickets out there, because nobody knew what Nurse Coaching was or could do or anything.

And I was constantly going out explaining what it is and creating programs. Sometimes nobody showed up. Sometimes, many people showed up, sometimes a handful, sometimes one, and I still am. So, I was so passionate back, you know, 10, eight years ago, so passionate about it, that it didn’t matter how many people showed up because I just felt I needed to do it. It was calling to me, and I had to pursue how I was being called.

And it’s funny because now I look back. You mentioned that I am a fitness expert. And yes, this is true. I started teaching group fitness when I was 16 years old. And I’ve been teaching group fitness and personal training since then. And I used to be what’s called a national presenter for a certain organization and I would go to places, and I would present in ballrooms full of people.

So, we would have hundreds of people, and I would present to those people. And then I decided to retire from that. All along the way, of course, I was doing Nursing, I was absolutely at the bedside in critical care. And I would have a fun job on the weekends, where we’d go and do this fitness thing.

When I decided to retire, and I started to just really dive into more of Nurse Coaching and putting myself out there. When I say, gosh, I had one person show up, you know, that’s a fear. So many of us have, oh, could I create this program? Well, what if no one shows up?

Well, I look back and I see, I had to go through this journey of figuring out going from, you know, hundreds of people in a ballroom to nobody showing up for a program. And I had to really do a lot of soul searching, and reevaluation, not of my program, but about my attitude about that.

And I what I discovered is, and how I how I kind of think about programming now, is that if you know I start a program and 12 people show up fantastic, right? Yeah, yeah, me. If I start a program, and four people show up, I’m like, Yeah, four people. If I start a program, and one person shows up, I’m still like, yeah, that one person, that one person I could really, truly connect with.

And then there’s this other side that says, what happens if nobody shows up? And what I’ve discovered is, if no one shows up, I become the, the one person who showed up in that room-it’s me. And then I can use the time to honor myself and be with myself. And use potentially some of the ideas that I may have had for that program or that workshop for myself, instead of thinking that I suck, or I’ll never do that, again, because nobody showed up.

Or I don’t, you know, I don’t want to put myself out there because it’s humiliating to not have anybody show up? Well, yes, it is. And at the same time, there’s opportunity in that, because you are creating something for yourself potentially, as well. So that’s one story I have. About being entrepreneur.

Holly Kapusinski  22:46

I hear so much growth in what you’re talking about and thinking about some of the people who are just starting out as Nurse Coach is, and they tend to struggle with this idea that it is them, they’re a failure, that what they’re doing doesn’t really matter.

And you are expressing this beauty of really sticking to your why, why am I doing this? Why is this important? How can I benefit from this? What is my real desire here in providing this to other people. And I love just thinking about you being in a ballroom with like hundreds of people. You know, I don’t know if anybody knows that Nicole used to also be a bodybuilder.

And I just love that the variety of things, you know, that have come and moved through your life, it just speaks so much to your openness, to life and to forward movement and, and to learning. I think that like even on your website, you talk a little bit about how you’re like not only a lifelong learner, but like you’re always joyous and being on the journey.

And it’s a different way of being to be on the journey and be moving forward. So can you share a little bit about how do you deal with those disappointments not only in your business, but maybe in like your ideas or like what you’ve tried or, you know, some of those things that you’ve already shared and you do them for yourself, but what are some other things that you’ve learned to do along the way?

Nicole Vienneau  24:32

I’m a rule follower. So ,I like to do things. Protocol, you know, that must be coming from my critical care background. However, I know this far extends back into my youth as well. I was in Army Cadets. When I was a younger girl. I ended up being the commanding officer of my corps.

So, leadership has always been a piece of my journey. I enjoy being a leader. And I also enjoy being a learner. I have been faced with many disappointments in my life. I have been faced with many failures in my life. And I have also faced many losses.

And I feel that that connects me to the humaneness that we all have. Because each of us has experienced those things. I have planned many things have not come to fruition. I have dreamt of many things that have not come to fruition. I have failed to ask for something that I really wanted many times, because I was scared as crap to ask.

And I’m not sure why over the last few years, I would have to really sit with this thought that I have right now. I’m not sure why now, I have decided that I’m not going to stand at the sidelines anymore, and not ask for what it is that I would like. I’m not sure what has happened. But I feel called to stand up for who I am. And what it is that I would like to do. And so I’ve been asking lots of questions lately.

We talk about this. And I’ve written a few blogs about this, you know about letting go about not being the expert, which I have been the expert for many things in my life. And you know what, that’s exhausting. It is exhausting to have to know all-of-the-stuff. It is tiring. And so over the past few years, I have just been crafting what it is that I want to do.

And you know, over the past 10 years, I can tell you I’ve probably changed my business niche like completely changed my business niche. Niche. niche…however you say that, probably about five to seven times. I’m talking redoing a website. I’m talking recrafting my elevator speech. I’m talking redoing a business plan, because it didn’t sit right with me.

I liked what I was doing I did like it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent so much time doing it. However, it was feeling like I was still just at the surface of where I wanted to be. And in this world of Nurse Coaching, we will not thrive if we stay at the surface because we are asking our clients to go deep, and if I am not a role model of also going deep within myself there how in the world can I be authentic in asking my clients to do that? I just can’t. It didn’t sit right with me.

And not that I wasn’t ever authentic. That’s not what I mean, I was just finding that I was peeling back layers, layers of being a perfect little girl, and layers of relearning something, and layers of doing something because somebody thought I should do it. And I didn’t want to do it. And layers of being perfect. Perfectionism is definitely a piece of my life. And just peeling those things back.

Now, I’ll tell you, I am not done peeling. I have barely begun peeling. However, there’s all these little bits of me that I’m like, Oh, I didn’t know that about you. You know, I didn’t know that. And oh, you were doing this because you were trying to please someone else. And it was not pleasing you. And you’re good at that. You were so good at it. Anyways, how is that?

And so over the past few years, I’ve been like really seeking what is it that the hell that I want to do? And I was like, what is that one thing, and you know what I can never decide. Because I don’t think that there’s just one thing that I am supposed to be doing. Because I like to be in it all, and just enjoying the journey and learning as I go.

So that was a very long answer but haven’t really answered. But the realization is that Nurse Coaching was the start of me confronting who I really am. And not just covering myself up to be a critical care Nurse, and take all the toughest patients and be the super Nurse, right?

I had to crash and burn, to start to figure out myself, because I’ve literally crashed and burned from being a critical care Nurse and taking all the sickest patients doing all of the things, doing everything for everybody else, doing those weekend gigs that I thought were super fun, and never addressing my spirituality, and never addressing solace, never coming to terms with a lot of things that I was hiding. And all of us are hiding a little bit.

So, I’m here with you, I’m still hiding in some ways. And at that time, back at the critical care space, I just decided, ‘oh, Nicole, you’re starting to become a very crappy Nurse, you are apathetic, you don’t care about work. You think about work every second, when you’re not at work. You don’t want to go to work. You’re frustrated at work. In fact, you’re a beeotch at work some days’, which is totally not my personality.

I like to be filled with joy; I prefer that. And I chose to quit my job as a critical care Nurse and I took a job at the local YMCA. And I became a health and wellness director. And I thought that was what I wanted to do because I’d had all this fitness stuff in my life. And when I discovered through that was that I couldn’t leave Nursing. That little girl who was playing the violin, who is a healer, in some capacity, could not be at the YMCA.

And so I started just reading online, what could I do? What can I do in Nursing that wouldn’t involve me, potentially being at the bedside so much. Even though I loved it. I did love being at the bedside. And I came across an article written by Dr. Barbie Dossey. And, of course Dr. Barbie Dossey is the co-founder of the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, International Nurse Coach Association, who is a light in Nursing, holistic Nursing, and yet she was a critical care Nurse too.

Nicole Vienneau  34:12

And, of course, we’ve had Dr. Barbara Dossey on this podcast twice, which I will definitely put in the show notes. So you can go back to listen to Barbie Dossey because every moment, every word you will be on the edge of your seat just listening to her wisdom. But Barbie Dossey had written an article about Nurse Coaching.

And I sat at my computer and I cried because it spoke to me so much. That must have been maybe Cohort One at the time. It wasn’t even a thing. It was a thing. It was conceptual. It was the beginning and all I could see was the possibility. So I went to my husband, I’m like Bubbs this is the thing I want to do. It’s gonna cost money, I got to go to New York City, I gotta pay for a hotel, I gotta pay for this course. I don’t know if we can afford it.

And he’s like, you got to do what you got to do, you got to do what you want to do, do it. So off I went, took a flight to New York City, critical care Nurse in my back pocket, show up at the place. And everybody was a little -woo-woo to me, critical care Nurse here. But it was okay. You know, I was like, well, these people are nice. Let’s all sit down, we’re going to start the day.

And we start with a meditation. And friends, I swear, especially to myself, and I just said to myself as we were breathing, what the f is this? I did not effing sign up for this. I came here to learn Nurse Coaching. Teach me that coaching, teach me the coaching. I want to learn the coaching through the whole meditation. And through the rest of the day. That was my attitude.

And I went back to my hotel room that night, and I thought, I’m not going back. I’m not going back tomorrow. I don’t care that I’ve spent all this money. I don’t care that I cried at my computer. I don’t care about the possibilities because I just don’t care. I don’t fit in here. This is not my thing. And all of the story of me blah, blah, blah, okay.

And I woke up in the middle of the night. And I said, ‘what in the world are you doing? You paid all this money. You came here because you thought that you wanted to be a Nurse Coach, you’re gonna go tomorrow, you’re gonna get your money’s worth!’. And of course, I know, you can hear me saying all this in my bed laying there.

So I woke up that morning, I was ready to go! Jump out of bed, I get to the class. And Barbara Dossey says, “Who would like to volunteer to be coached?”  And I was the first person to raise my hand, I am going to get my money’s worth.

So I go to the front of the room. There are probably about 30 people in the class. And I am sitting across from Dr. Barbara Dossey. Barbie Dossey is I’m going to say for lack of a better word, an enigma. She is such a beautiful soul. So open. So, trusting. So, I just cannot even think of the words to say.

She sat across from me. And she saw, she saw me. She listened to me. I’ve never had anybody listen to me like that. I didn’t even know there was anybody else in the room. And she asked me questions that allowed me to open up my heart and be with her. And she was with me.

And that, to me is the beginning of when I started to shift. And just to start to be open to allow myself to be a little vulnerable, like I am right now. And to open my heart and to not always have to have the answer, and to let go, let go of perfectionism and let go of being the expert. And just allowing what is to come to the surface.

Holly Kapusinski  38:56

There’s so many ah-ha’s in that. Nicole, that. I don’t really feel like I need to ask you any questions or, or even just reflect on that. What I think is at the heart of that, though, is just that Aha, that being seen and being heard and being given permission and allowed to be who you are is at the heart of what Nurse Coaches do.

And I would like it if you would just share a little bit about what you’re doing in Tucson right now. In offering that and to other Nurses who are feeling that same way. And they’re not sure where to go.

Nicole Vienneau  39:47

Yes. I am so, excited would not be the right word. Being burned out, feeling burned out and not even knowing I was burned out at the time. I didn’t have a clue. I just know what it feels like. And I started my healing 11 years ago from burnout. And I’ve been practicing so many different things that speak to me. Like mindfulness, gratitude, finding joy in the little things, connecting with others, and restoring myself.

I went to this conference, I was a, I will call myself a secondary keynote speaker, because I wasn’t the official keynote speaker, but I still got to speak to the whole audience. It was here in Tucson, Arizona, it’s called the Tucson Nurses Week Foundation. And what we do every year, I’m on their board this coming year.

What we do every year is we honor 50 Nurses in our community. We honor five LPNs. And we honor one pediatric Nurse and one inspirational mentor. And they’re all in the Nursing community. And we have a conference. And we have this special Gala, which is a whole celebration of those 57 honorees. And it is fabulous. And there. It’s just a wonderful event.

So, at the conference, they invited me to be a speaker that just moved back to the city of Tucson and I was like, Heck, yeah, I want to speak. And I remember Holly, you and I, I was telling you about what I was going to speak about, we had a great conversation about emotional burden.

Emotional burden, is where we hide our emotion. Because we are trying to be professional. Okay, listeners, raise your hands. If you’ve ever done that. Holly’s got her hand up, I’ve got my hand up. Right. Okay, we’re hiding our emotions all the time. I know for myself, and as you listen, you can think for yourself on this. But for myself, I know in Nursing school, I was pretty much told do not share emotion.

And I think back to many situations I’ve had along my career, where it was poo pooed do not share emotion.  Do not show how you feel, you know, turn that frown upside down, we’ve got to have our patient satisfaction scores up yada, yada.

When we hide our emotions, we actually become disconnected to them. Right? We don’t even know how to feel half of the time, because we’re trying to hide it all the time. So if we get angry, we’re not supposed to show that we’re angry. If we are sad, we’re not supposed to show we’re sad. So instead, we’ll just, you know, be flat, or will be or will be, you know, just kind of in the neutral space, I suppose.

And what happens with that? Well, you don’t show any emotion, you become disconnected to it. You also then become disconnected to who you are, because you are in emotional being. And so when you’re disconnected to yourself, you become inauthentic. And then you start questioning yourself. And then you start questioning what you’re doing, and you’ve lost your emotions. And now you don’t have purpose.

And now you go down the rabbit hole of becoming burned out. So that was pretty much my conference topic was how do you get out of that? Right? How do you get out of that? This is what it is? What can we do about it?

So I was at the conference, I was prepared for the speech. And prior to that a few months before that I have a dear friend, she at the time was seventy years old. She called me up to tell me that she had a glioblastoma. It wasn’t looking good.

Tony was a dear friend of mine for a very short time. But she is one of the women in my life who inspired me the most. She was 70 years old. She had never done any kind of exercise in her life. And I met her at a kitty yoga class I was teaching and I invited her to come and take a class with me. And it was for active aging adults. She came, I was so surprised. Oh my gosh, she came to the class! And she loved it so much that she never ever stopped coming. She would come every single time.

And then she discovered yoga with me. She had never been outside of her home in bare feet before. She had always worn heels. And the reason why I’m telling you all this is just so you get a picture of Tony, because anything that I did, she was my cheerleader. She thought it was the most incredible idea and how could she support me? And it was amazing to have somebody on your side like that.

And she was just full of love and light. And I now know she was just grateful for me, and I was grateful for her. So, that being said, she told me that she had the glioblastoma and I just felt called, I had moved across the country, I felt called, I need to go sit with her, I need to be at her bedside. So I did. I sat with her for five days, she was in hospice, she couldn’t talk much anymore. She had left sided hemiparesis, she was bedridden.

And when I talked to her on the phone, it was a few weeks before I even went, she said, ‘Nicole, the only thing I really want you to do is, please help me write thank you notes to every single Nurse that I’ve come into contact with’. She says, ‘I don’t remember their names. And because duh, I have a brain tumor’. She had a great sense of humor. But maybe you could still help me write the notes. And you could send them for me. And I said, Absolutely.

I went out and I got cards that I think she would love, and special pens, and just brought an assortment of goodies. And, and so we wrote thank you notes. She didn’t even know who they were going to be sent to. But through our conversations, I knew kind of where she was. And I remember her saying, I don’t know, this is a long story. But it just gives you how much love I have for this woman.

She said to me before she couldn’t talk anymore. ‘Man, they think I’m a bitch’. Because she was trying to speak her mind and be an advocate for herself. And so, when it came to that hospital, I said, remember, you said that you thought you thought they think you were a biatch? And she’s like, oh, yeah, she gave me the thumbs up. I said, ‘so this is what I think we should write. Thank you for having so much patience with me’. And she would give me a thumbs up.

And so, I’d write the notes. And then I take her hand with the pen. And then I would just squiggle, you know, we’d write her signature at the bottom, I sent them off in the mail in the snail mail.

So now we’re back at the conference, I’m getting ready to go on and talk about emotional burden. And before that the keynote speaker gets on. And he says to the whole audience of 250 people or so, ‘Hey, what are your organization’s doing to support you and your well being? And I was at the front seat because I’m a nerd. I like to learn.

But I just turned around and I was waiting with bated breath. What are the Nurses going to share that their organizations are doing to support them? And I want to know.  And there were crickets Holly, there was nobody, nobody said anything. And then one person said, ‘Oh, my organization is sending out a survey to see what we want’. And I was like, well, that sucks.

You know, here I am in this new city. And they’re not doing anything to help Nurses. So then, I’m ready, almost ready to go on to do my presentation. And I get a phone call. And the phone call is Tony’s daughter, telling me that Tony had transitioned into heaven.

Nicole Vienneau  48:21

So talk about surface, I still had to get up there and do this presentation. I didn’t have to right? I didn’t have to I could have made that choice. I made the choice to say, okay, yes, I’ve made this commitment. I’m going to say, my, I’m going to give my presentation.

And halfway through the presentation, I just had to spill the beans and say, I am doing what I’m talking about right now. This is emotional burden, my dearest friend passed away an hour ago. And here I am up here with this front of being a professional. So, then all of that said and done.

A few months go by and I just can’t get this out of my mind. Why are the organizations not helping Nurses, they are primed to be able to assist and help in some capacity. And maybe Nurses have these resources, but they just can’t see them because they’re in the weeds. Or maybe they’re not the right resources and all of this thoughts and thoughts and thoughts.

What are you going to do about this, Nicole? I am really now, through all of this process of holistic Nursing, finding the small pieces that are joyful, and recognizing and seeing things that are there and never really noticing them like now I see things around me. So everywhere I went, I would see something and one of the posters and I actually bought it because it said, ‘create the things you wish existed’.

I have this I’m going to be bringing it to my new place, because I decided from this all of this journey, that I would be the one to open a brick and mortar, a facility, a space, a place safety for Nurses to come.

So Nurses can come to the Restoration Room, and they can be involved with each other as a community to come together for group coaching, group programming, healing circles, sound healing, Reiki, massage therapy, aromatherapy, healing, from trauma, transformational breathing, somatic therapy, all of these tools that we have, that we can help Nurses unravel the suffering and sorrow that we experience on a daily basis.

And yes, there’s joy there too some days, the sorrow, the suffering, the hurt, the anger, the fear, all of those energies need to be moved out. And we could do that at the Restoration Room, we could do that with each other, this connection with each other coming together and being in a safe space with each other. This is what I have envisioned.

I just got my PLLC, I am doing a professional LLC, because Nurses are professionals. I’ve chosen to go that route as a professional organization. Now I will say how to battle with that in Texas. Right, I had to fight to be a PLLC in the state of Texas as a Nurse because they felt Nurses were not professionals. So I went back to them numerous times to say, yes, we are professionals.

And I want this designation because I want to be seen on the same playing field as a lawyer, as a dentist, as a chiropractor as a doctor, I am on the same level playing field as them as a PLLC. And I obtained that I’m doing that here in the state of Arizona as well.

And so I’m in the not in the beginning stages of Restoration Room, because I’m just, you know, my logo is here, my website is built, you could go to restorationroom.org. To find out a little bit more about what I’m doing there. It’s not open yet, but it is coming to be open. I’m excited about it. And I will be sharing more of that as we go on.

So this is where I think Nurse Coaching comes in, of course to help with all of these pieces. Because within my community of Tucson, I have met 10 Nurse Coaches here who are looking for a place to practice who want to be able to share their skills.

And that is what another piece of Restoration Room is, come share your gifts with our Nurses, whether you’re a Nurse Coach or not, you have gifts to bring to fellow Nurses and how can we showcase those gifts and share them with each other so that we can support each other in the way that we want to be supported.

And when we begin healing, and peel back the layers, we start to show up at work different, we start to show up and show our organizations how we wish to be treated and how we deserve to be treated. Because we’ll learn how to set our boundaries will learn to speak up, we’ll learn to address things in our environments that we can address in a proactive way.

And when we come together as Nurses, we create courage through vulnerability to be able to do that, to stand up for ourselves and to achieve what it is that we want to ask, to make the ask and not be so fearful about the no.

And think of the ‘no’ as the next opportunity sometimes because maybe it is time to move on to something different. Or maybe it’s not, right? And only you will know this, you will know the answer to that. But to think deep and to go deep and be unafraid of being vulnerable be unafraid to ask the questions.

Holly Kapusinski  54:32

like I couldn’t help but think about how you were talking and in your story starting you know with Tony and starting with you how you were creating this environment not only for Tony but for yourself.

You know we talk about Nurse Coaching being a co-creation and sometimes you know we don’t recognize or understand what that looks like. And you were co creating this environment with her mutually sharing yourselves with one another, and your gifts with one another, and walking that road, even though it was the end of her life, here on the earth.

And then she showed up again at another opportune time, to remind you perhaps to be yourself, that you were important just for being you. And then you gave that to all the other people in that room. And now you’re offering that in this beautiful brick and mortar, as you would say, opportunity to be that environment for all the people who may come in contact with it.

Not just the Nurses, but the Nurse coaches, and then that even extends Nicole into the global. Everything that is happening will resonate out into the community, and then they will resonate out into their communities. So, we really do make a difference at so many different levels.

Nicole Vienneau  56:04

We do. I hadn’t thought about that the way you just put that Holly that Tony showed up again, she showed up for me again, at that opportune time. And that, that her energy is part of this too. And the energy of all of us, and the vibration of all of us. And I think of butterfly wings, you know, just that little flip, moves the air just touch. And that vibration just reverberates and gets bigger and bigger.

Holly Kapusinski  56:37

Absolutely right. We never know what small action that we take creates a tidal wave somewhere else? Well, I would like to just ask you what’s on your heart, what’s on your heart after we’ve had this time together, to share with those who may be just wondering where they’re to go next, or how to even get to the next place where they need to be?  How can you offer words to them?

Nicole Vienneau  57:13

Sometimes you have to stop doing and be with yourself in all your messiness, and all of the backtalk that’s going through your brain, in order for you to figure out what is really calling to you. And sometimes that is scary as heck. To just stop doing all the stuff you need to do and have to do.

And we can use the busyness as a, as a way to veer away from ourselves. And I think being with yourself, then connects to your true intention for being and when you can connect to your true intention, your north star, your values, your way that you want to show up…that will drive your purpose.

Because you can’t do anything without connecting to yourself. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel authentic. It doesn’t feel true. It feels plastic. And where I would love everyone to be able to live in every day is to feel real and tangible. And feel love and feel self-love, self-compassion.

Place your hand on your heart and take a few breaths, really a few breaths and be with yourself

Holly Kapusinski  59:12

Yes, being in the unknown, stopping the doing and just be reflecting on you. Setting that intention that genuine intention that comes from your heart.

You are such a wonderful voice for that. Nicole, thank you for sharing your inner wisdom, your struggles, your vulnerabilities, your love that you have for Nursing and for Nurse Coaching. I treasure every moment I get to have with you and I always enjoy our conversation. Thank you so much.

Nicole Vienneau  1:00:02

Thank you so much, Holly. There is no other person I would have wanted to spend time with for this interview. So, I’m so thankful for you. I’m thankful for all our listeners. Thank you for the past two seasons and welcome to the third season. We want to tell Nurse Coaching stories. So please keep in touch, send us some comments, send us some reviews. And if you’d love to be a guest, you can always find me. Thanks so much, Holly.

Holly Kapusinski  1:00:38

Take care Nicole.

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