Navigating Change (Guest Post)

July’s guest post is by Briana L. White MSN, RN, CPN. Be sure to check out her bio and blog links at the end of the post!

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“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Change is hard. Change is terrifying.

Change is invigorating. Change is refreshing. Change creates possibilities.

Change is the only thing we have in this life that is constant. Down to our biological core. There are about 50 to 75 trillion cells in your body, and each type of cell has their own cycle. Each day, our cells are replacing themselves, growing, moving… in a continual state of change. So if this is a biological certainty, why do we feel so uncertain in any manifestation of change?

We fear the unknown, and the possibility that the change will be for the worse, despite the promise of it being for the better.

Young nurses often come to reflect that, “I have known each year after the other what I am supposed to do. Work to get good grades, move on to the next grade. Go to high school, go to college. Now I am in my first job, and there’s many years ahead of me without a path laid out”.

New graduate nurses once aboard their first nursing job, come to a point when the storm calms just enough for them to gaze upon the blue abyss of their careers and lives, and they ponder the possibilities and paradoxically think of the opportunities for success and the pathways for stagnation.  

Starving for change, yet seasick at the thought, we find our compass somewhere along the way and ride the waves, while still navigating sometimes turbulent waters. At the typical age that new graduate nurses are moving into the workforce, many are moving to an apartment for the first time on their own, paying rent and other bills, having to cook without causing the smoke detector to go off. Some are getting married, ending or starting new relationships. Throw that all into the sea, with a new job, new environment, new practice area, and it’s a wonder they are able to stay afloat.

Yet, as in old world navigation, they can find their way amongst the constellations. Finding constants in life, helps to anchor you amongst chaos.

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” – Jim Rohn

Over the years, I have found my stars to help me navigate. Not to say that my course has been smooth sailing. In fact, if it had I wouldn’t be the person I have worked to be today. There have been days where I have cried, days when I have questioned my courses chosen, days when I have doubted myself and my abilities. Yet what I have discovered, is to accept the things that are beyond my control. Seasons will change, for that I am grateful as it helps me to appreciate the beauty of change. The wind will blow, and try as I might I cannot change the direction. What I can do is find my values and charge them as my compass in life.

By grounding myself in values, life will flow through me and around me. People will come and go, places will be long past, feelings will fade, but my values will last. I choose to hold respect, integrity, creativity, autonomy, mentorship, and compassion as my North Star, so that no matter the circumstance or the waves of change, as long as I continue to live an authentic life with those values in mind, then I will continue on my course of inner peace and congruency.

My advice, for what it is worth, in the tornado of change, whether that be within your family, your place of work, your community or the world at large… find your North Star. Find the values that you can act in accordance with, to bring you internal peace and perhaps will permeate outward peace for your family your place of work, your community and the world. So let the blustery wind fill your sails, and let the tumultuous waves move you forward as you navigate the waters of change by finding your North Star.


Briana L. White MSN, RN, CPN works at DHMC/CHaD (Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center/Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth) as the Pediatric Clinical Nurse Educator. She graduated from UNH BSN program in 2012 Summa Cum Laude, and graduated from UNH MSN Evidenced-Based Nursing Program, while completing the NH MCH-LEND program (Maternal Child Health – Leadership in Neurodevelopment and other related disabilities) in 2013. She is a member of SPN (Society of Pediatric Nursing), Sigma Theta Tau – Eta Iota Chapter, (ANPD) Association for Nursing Professional Development. She volunteers with NH Make-A-Wish, spends her free time outdoors hiking/walking with her husband and puppy Moose. She has a passion for nursing education, advocacy, mentorship, promoting a positive culture, personal and professional growth. You can follow her blogs: whitecanvas.blog & codewhiteblog.wordpress.com.

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