nurse success, professional development, building relationships, networking, Renee Thompson, RTConnections

In October, I’ll be speaking at MedEd, Inc’s Current’s Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. A few days ago, I received an email asking me to answer a few questions about myself so that the participants had an opportunity to get to know me as a human before they got to know me as a speaker.
I’d like to share their questions and my answers with you.
Because successful nurses understand that the key to success is to build relationships with others. 

One way that we build relationships is by asking questions. 
I read a great book recently titled, Brave Questions: Building stronger relationships by asking all the right questions, by Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman. In this book, the author provides the reader with numerous relationship building questions that can help kick-start robust conversations.
How to Apply Questioning into Practice
The next time you attend a networking meeting, conference, or meet someone for the first time, come prepared with a few questions. Asking questions makes the other person feel like you are INTERESTED in him/her, which can then be the start of building a good relationship.
For example, I tend to ask questions about where they’re from; what vacation plans they have (in the summer); favorite foods; where they work and in what role; etc. Each one of these questions can spark continued conversation. 
Caution: Don’t ask questions related to politics, religion, sexual orientation or ask/say anything negative (“Don’t you hate working there…?”
Nurses succeed (get the job, promotion, opportunities) through relationships. Asking questions is the first step to building those relationships.

Interview with MedEd, Inc.
Where are you originally from?  
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh PA. I still live in Pittsburgh and would stay forever if we could just get rid of January and February!
What is your favorite city in the US and why?
San Diego. My family lives there and every time I fly into San Diego, I feel like I’m flying home.
How did you decide to become a nurse?  
Originally, I wanted to be an OB/GYN physician but then life got in the way. I worked as a medical assistant at a women’s clinic and used to spend time with the nurses. One nurse told me, “Girl. You need to be a nurse! Because you’ve got what it takes.” So I become a nurse!
What particularly interests you about Med-Surg Nursing?
I truly believe that every nurse is a medsurg nurse. The only difference is the level of acuity. I think medsurg nurses aren’t recognized for their value so I go out of my way to support them!
What thought you would want to put in a fortune cookie?
You only have one life. Make it count.
If you had a special super power, what would it be?
To spread kindness and respect to others with just one hug.
Tell us about your most memorable patient.
This is hard because I’ve had so many memorial ones. But the patient who touched my heart the most was a woman who I cared for when I was a home care nurse. She was so crippled with rheumatoid arthritis yet every time I visited her; she tried to take care of me by offering my coffee or tea; breakfast or lunch. She always smiled and never complained. She helped me to appreciate that life was a gift and that I should embrace the good, bad and even the ugly – because every day above ground is a good day.
What do you feel separates you from other experts in your field?
What separates me from others is my down-to-earth, in the weeds perspective. Even though I have my own company and travel the globe speaking about clinical and professional topics, I still practice at the bedside. I need to know what nurses are going through if I’m going to be an effective author/educator/consultant.
If you could be anything other than a nurse, what would it be?
A science or math teacher in primary school. I believe our future starts with our youth. 
What is the biggest challenge you face as a nurse?
Watching patients suffer from preventable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. I’m a huge advocate for prevention medicine instead of disease treatment. Many nurses are. However, so many patients are non-compliant. It’s a challenge for nurses to not judge but to guide and influence patients to make positive changes in their lives.

Is there anything else you want to know about me? Just post your question in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!
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About the author: Dr. Renee Thompson is a keynote speaker, author and professional development/anti-bullying thought leader. Renee spends the majority of her time helping healthcare and academic organizations improve the work environment. To find out how you can bring Renee to YOUR organization or nursing event, click here.