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CU Nursing Alumna Cat Golden '12


Alumna Builds International Online Community to Combat Burnout and Support Nurses

Cat Golden (BS in Nursing 2012)

Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date July 30, 2020

After graduating from CU Nursing with a BS in 2012, Cat Golden worked at Children’s Hospital Colorado and then Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “I was on the peds path and worked nights,” said Golden.

Within a few years, she noticed many of her colleagues experiencing burnout and dissatisfaction. For Golden, having been a certified nursing assistant before nursing school helped her adjust when she started working. “I knew what the profession required and what to expect. I think experience in the field is key prior to deciding on nursing as a profession,” said Golden. Once out in the real world, “I noticed that nurses often are so focused on caring for others that we forget to take care of ourselves. We’re also not very good at accepting help and won’t ask.”

Burnout is real – especially in nursing. According to the National Nursing Engagement Report, 15.6% of all nurses reported feelings of burnout, with the percentage rising to 41% of “unengaged” nurses. Forty-nine percent of registered nurses under 30 and 40% of registered nurses over 30 experience burnout. With approximately 19% of nurses quitting after their first year on the job, the turnover is high and is likely to become higher with COVID-19 and the pandemic. “I witnessed it firsthand and decided that there was a better way to support each other than just venting at work,” said Golden. “I told myself ‘We don’t have to live this way.’”

Top Coping Tips from Nurses Inspire Nurses
  1. Become mindful of your limitations
  2. Ask for help
  3. Create space for yourself
  4. Shift your perspective from “everything out of your control” to “what you can control”
  5. Take action as it breeds confidence
  6. Not all things considered bad are bad

So in 2018, Golden began hosting coffee talks. “It was kind of billed as ‘Therapy with Cat,’” she recalled. Her first session was a bust. “No one showed. But I continued plugging away because I thought there was a need,” said Golden. When traveling, she would meet up with other nurses and just chat. Surprisingly, the community grew.

Today, Golden’s online community -- Nurses Inspire Nurses -- is home to more than 30,000 nurses worldwide. With seven staff members comprised of nurses, nursing students, a social worker, and an assistant, the organization provides support, resources, and a “safe place to have real discussions.” Even though she is in demand as the founder and leader of the organization, “It was never supposed to be my platform. The point is for nurses to support each other. The goal has always been to empower the community to host conversations on its own and to function without me.”

With a video vault including tutorials, meet-ups, and a high touch mentorship program where members meet weekly for three months, as well as one-off classes, Golden and her team provide a valuable and affordable resource to nurses everywhere. “We also have an online store where inspirational gear is available for purchase,” added Golden.

For the past two years, Golden has juggled a full-time nursing job with getting the business off the ground. “I’ve hustled and worked very, very hard. When I started, I really didn’t envision this as a business,” said Golden. “But it’s obvious that there is a need.” Golden’s background, as well as a business degree with a minor in International & Community Development that she attained before nursing school, helped her see the potential. Today, Golden has been able to quit her nursing job and devote herself 100% to Nurses Inspire Nurses. “I realize that this is what I’m meant to do.”

Join CU Nursing and the CU Anschutz Alumni Association during its monthly Happy & Healthy Happy Hour, December 9, 2020 for a special presentation by Cat Golden on how to cope in this new norm post-COVID-19.