Danielle Leveck

Danielle LeVeck: The Angel Behind Nurse Abnormalities

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Our guest today: Danielle LeVeck

Danielle LeVeck is a nurse and she’s the master behind her insanely engaging Instagram channel (@nurseabnormalities). On average, each of her post receives more than 100 comments within the first 24 hours.

As a nurse, Danielle started her career in cardiac critical care. She then transitioned to cardiac surgical critical care, ICU travel nursing, and medical-surgical ICU patients.

A few years ago, she decided to share stories about these “nurse abnormalities” because every day, she is “in awe of how brilliant, instrumental, and extraordinary nurses are to healthcare. Becoming a nurse positively transformed my outlook on life and I hope to give back to the profession throughout her career.”

Why did we choose Danielle? 

Danielle’s energy and authenticity are contagious, which I noticed within 30 seconds of recording my conversation with her on Skype. What you see is what you get. Danielle brings her full self to every interaction and situation. There’s no holding back. She’s the type of interviewer we love having on the show. 

Started in 2018, Feisworld began to narrow in on topics that listeners love and request the most. Therefore we decided to cover stories related to transitions and help you navigate through the messes and challenges in life: 

  • Have fun at work
  • Build your tribe
  • Reflections & transitions
  • Idea that spread
  • Live your art
  • Pay forward

As a podcast guest, Danielle scored big time in the first two categories. She loves what she does and she knows precisely how to build a tribe, the right way.

It doesn’t matter what type of brand you are marketing for – a shoe company, a podcast, your own personal channel, Danielle teaches us how to connect with ourselves first before reaching out to others.  

Between the quirky pictures, celebrity videos, funny selfies, laughs with coworkers at the hospitals, no wonder why nurses and others like myself are simply obsesses with her content. 

One of my favorite articles from her is called “To a new nurse – you’ll be OK” which has been shared more than 22,000 times

“You are not a saint, you are not a nun, you are not a sex symbol, you do not work for free, and this may not have been your calling, but there is a reason you are a nurse, conscious or unconscious. This is a club of mostly wounded healers – it takes someone who has experienced brokenness, to know how to heal brokenness. You probably do not come from a seamless background. Maybe your parents are broken, or your relationship is broken, or you have cared for a suffering friend, or been a victim of racism, sexism, or any kind of hate in this world. This is why you know how to interpret, anticipate, and heal pain, because you have experienced it. This is why you know how to love deeper and hope more than the average person. This is why you are so, uniquely, special, and this is why you will be okay.”

Show Notes

  • [06:00] Why did you decide to start writing and posting your stories to the world?
  • [10:00] Where are you located and what brought you there?
  • [11:00] Did you have anyatime in your life where you felt scared, alone or vulnerable? Can you take us back to that time?
  • [16:00] One of your most popular articles on your website is to new nurses. What triggered you to write it?
  • [20:00] You opened yourself a lot writing this post. What were some of the reactions from the audience? How do you choose the tone and voice for articles on your blog?
  • [22:00] Nurses can make a life vs death difference and have a huge impact on the families of the patients. What’s your experience with that?
  • [25:00] Do people read your blog while seeking someone to relate to?

Part 2

  • [30:00] What does your creative process look like? How do you decide what to post and when?
  • [37:00] What are some of the strengths vs. struggles you had when using Instagram?
  • [38:00] You mentioned that you use your evening/night posts as a self-journaling process. At what time do you work on those posts and how?
  • [41:00] Fei and Danielle discussing about brainstorming and the creative process, tools and resources.
  • [44:00] Do you see what you are doing to potentially turn into a business?
  • [51:00] Can you share some thoughts about palliative care?
  • [56:00] How can people connect or reach out to you?

Favorite Quotes

[07:00] Since I became a nurse, I wake up every day, so much more thankful for what I have and living life to the fullest.

[17:00] No matter what kind of nurse you are, at the core, most of us are the same, and we are really good at helping people. We are the same, we’ve been through pain and struggles and that’s how we help heal our patients. But at the same time we have to take care of ourselves. If we are just trying to heal to fill ourselves at the same, it’s not going to help. It’s going to hurt us.

[33:00] I’m very vulnerable. The stuff that I say I think a lot of people would never tell anyone. I think that’s why people talk to me and it’s always been that way.

[42:00] I know nurses really well. I relate all of my content to nurses, and I am also very open. I think that that has something to do with it too. Over the years, I got to know myself much better than I used too. There’s always things to learn but I really am the most comfortable with myself at this point in my life and I think that’s reflective in what I post.

[53:00] In general I like to explain palliative care as a team that comes in and finds out what the patient wants, talks to the family, talks to all of the doctors on the team, and brings everyone together to meet the needs of the patients. And truly find out what the patient wants.

Transcript

Part 1

(Part 1) Danielle LeVeck The Angel Behind Nurse Abnormalities.m4a: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

(Part 1) Danielle LeVeck The Angel Behind Nurse Abnormalities.m4a: this m4a audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Fei Wu:
Hey. Hello. How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after Top 1% of the world. We dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self-made artists.

Danielle Leveck:
Since I became a nurse a couple of years into it, I guess I wake up every day so much more thankful for what I have and living life to the fullest. I believe that no matter what kind of nurse you are, whether you end up working in outpatient dermatology or you end up working in the ICU at the core, we're the same. And we've been through pain and struggles and that's how we help heal our patients. But at the same time, we have to take care of ourselves because if we're just trying to heal, to fill ourselves at the same time, it's not going to work. It's only going to hurt us ones at night where I have like a picture of myself and I write something. Normally those just come to mind and it would be the equivalent of what I would write in my journal at night. So I'm very vulnerable. I mean, the stuff that I say, I think a lot of people would never tell anyone. And I think that's why people talk to me, and I've always been that way. I feel that over the years I know myself very well. I know myself so much better than I used to. I mean, there's always things to learn, but I really am the most comfortable with my self at this point in my life. And I think that that's reflective of what I post.

Fei Wu:
Hey, it's Feisworld party time. Excellent. I literally just watched the entire Wayne's World part one very recently after running the Feisworld Podcast for nearly four years. I had no clue why people were walking around the office telling me world with that tone. Anyway, so I did it. This week I have a very special guest. I'm so excited to introduce Danielle Levesque to all of you, and you'll be surprised to find out that Danielle is actually a nurse. She may be the first nurse we interviewed on the podcast, but along with many other medical professionals that we love having on the show. So a few years ago, Danielle did something rather unexpected. She decided to share her stories about these nurse abnormalities because every day she's in all of how brilliant instrumental and extraordinary nurses are to health care. And becoming a nurse, in her opinion, really transformed her life and her outlook. And she hopes to do so and give back through sharing pictures or everyday life. With a touch of humor on Instagram and Facebook. Danielle started her career in cardiac critical care. She then transitioned to cardiac surgical critical care, ICU, travel, nursing and medical surgical ICU patients. Danielle's story struck me instantly, but after visiting her social media channels, especially Instagram, I knew right away I had to have her on the show. Selfishly, I wanted to know how Danielle curated one of the most engaging social presence I had ever seen. If you're listening to this head over to nurse abnormalities on Instagram and you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Fei Wu:
It doesn't matter what type of brand your marketing for a shoe company or a podcast like mine or your own personal channels. Everybody wants more engagement and comments and exchange with real people. Danielle takes us back to Story 101 and help us excel in our own ability to speak to a community, any community authentically. Her track is real proof. Between the quirky pictures, celebrity videos, her funny selfies and laughs with coworkers at the hospitals. No wonder why nurses and non nurses like myself are simply obsessed with her content. Behind the success of her building a community. Danielle talks about her creative process, which involves getting up very early, going to sleep really late and in between blogging and writing about her life, her community needs her, and that's what drives her forward in pursuing this seemingly unnecessary endeavor of writing on Instagram. One of my favorite articles on her blog is called to a New Nurse You Will Be Okay, which has been shared for more than 22,000 times. Here's a little blurb. You're not a saint. You're not a nun. You're not a sex symbol. You do not work for free. And this may not have been your calling, but there is a reason why you're a nurse, conscious or unconscious. This is a club of mostly wounded healers. It takes someone who has experienced brokenness to know how to heal brokenness. You probably do not come from a seamless background.

Fei Wu:
Maybe your parents are broken or your relationship is broken, or you have care for a suffering friend or been a victim of racism, sexism, or any kind of hate in this world. This is why you know how to interpret, anticipate and heal pain because you have experienced it. This is why you know how to love deeper and hope more than the average person. This is why you are so uniquely special and this is why you will be okay. Please enjoy this show. And remember, sharing is love. Please share this episode with one more person to help us reach more people. We also want to see you again, so please subscribe to Feisworld. I'll see you at the end of the show. I am really excited to talk to you and I can't believe that's actually through Michael Sense, who is part of our mastermind group every Friday. And he joined actually rather recently and he was so excited when he brought up your brand, which is nurse abnormalities. And there were a lot of questions that surfaced immediately without any without my own experience in medicine. But I have to say that even though I have not yet encountered every kind of doctors out there, but we have all I think all of us have encountered nurses at this point, I mean, at an early, much earlier life. So thank you for joining the show. Before I say too much, I'm just really thrilled you're here. You're so sweet.

Danielle Leveck:
Oh, thank you so much for having me. And I'm so glad that we were able to make the connection. And I'm really excited.

Fei Wu:
Yeah. So, Danielle, take us back to, you know, how many years ago did you have this idea to even just write something to kind of put your life like your almost your public life out there and to resonate with other nurses?

Danielle Leveck:
So I can tell you that I've been writing since I was five years old, maybe even four years old. I remember getting my first journal when I was really, really young for Christmas for my parents, and I don't even know what I wrote. I used to take it to class and have my classmates write in it. But I've always been a writer and I used to write letters to the editor growing up in the newspaper and essay contest and stuff like that. I always wanted to talk or be heard. I'm not sure which. I'm not sure which one. So how I fell into nursing was kind of weird. It was never my initial passion to become a nurse, and I actually wanted to be a doctor. Like lots of nurses. Like if you talk to nurses, there are tons of lots of people. Always wanted to be a doctor and then end up going into something else. So I didn't realize at the time why I was so drawn to nursing. I just started going into it for a number of reasons. Life led me down that path and then when I got into it, I absolutely loved it. And it it, you know, I have a very personal connection to it. I feel that nursing saved my life in a number of ways. It's really given me so much gratitude. And since I became a nurse a couple of years into it, I guess I wake up every day so much more thankful for what I have and living life to the fullest.

Danielle Leveck:
But. The way I got into the blog was when I became a nurse. I honestly had no idea what nurses did, and I got into the ICU and I was like, Oh my gosh, these nurses do everything. I mean, the difference between life and death can be a good nurse. And I had no I had no clue. So I felt that I needed to talk about it and I wanted to talk about it from the day I got started. And it was always on my mind whether or not I would start a blog or how I would do this. And then. Eventually I just pulled the trigger and I just did it. It was actually my brother. My brother is a big doer. I like to talk about things for about three or four years before I do them. My brother is just like, Just do it. He's like, you. You have to write it. You just do it. It doesn't matter if it's perfect, just get it out there. So that's what I did. Like if you have an idea, you just have to do it. You can't sit and think about it forever. You'll never get it out there. So.

Fei Wu:
Wow, I couldn't agree more with your brother. And one thing that you touched upon and also related to you, your brother. It's something that I feel like anybody has been on the show especially recently, is couldn't agree more with the fact that once you have an idea, you need to execute and it doesn't have to be perfect. It's incredible. Like how I think about the the approach of the way that we grew up and especially actually where are you based? I don't know where you are physically, right?

Danielle Leveck:
So I'm physically in Baltimore. I've moved around a lot. I grew up in central Illinois, like farm country, basically. Yeah. So I have a really random background and kind of a I really do believe so much has a lot to do with your parents. And my parents came from my graduation a couple of weeks ago and my mom just looked at me and she was like, You have lived a lot of life and you're 33, almost 33 years. And I had never really thought of it, but I really have like I've really taken a lot of risks and I'm not nearly as scared of life as I used to be. And a lot of that is attributed to nursing, a lot attributed to my parents. So yeah, so I've had quite a few experiences that have have worked out.

Fei Wu:
So tell tell me, like, could you recall a time possibly much earlier in your life where you felt scared or alone and it takes take us back there. How old were you? What were you you know, what were you like at the time?

Danielle Leveck:
I can tell you much of when I think about how I was brought up, I used to be upset. Like it used to make me really upset. And, you know, I'll be completely honest. I've been very open about this in my writing, but my parents were very busy career oriented people, and they weren't there. And so we did a lot of things to make up for that. My dad was a touring violinist. He played in the St Louis Symphony and I think he was very accomplished. He's really humble. He doesn't think he was nearly as accomplished as I think he was, but he was gone a lot. My mom was a physician. She was gone a lot and trying to do her own hustle. She was a nurse first, then a physician. And I didn't understand at the time and we had lots of babysitters growing up. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my mom on the weekends when she would see patients. So when I think of those times. There was probably I was okay with it for a while. And then there was a turning point whenever I hit middle school, high school. You know, even the other parents would make comments about how my parents were never there because I was very active in sports and horseback riding and all sorts of things. And so I really resented them. And it wasn't until my after I have another bachelor's degree I finished that. I was actually married, then divorced, then still in nursing.

Danielle Leveck:
So I went to nursing school while I was married and then got a divorce. And I attribute nursing to helping me get through all of that. And so it really wasn't until after that until I got rid of, like, all of this baggage. I was 28 years old that I was able to really reconnect with my parents and talk to them about how they raised us and what their thought process was. And I'm so appreciative of them. They basically, you know, looking back, it was just they just didn't want to coddle us like it was, you know, figure it out on your own. We're here to support you. Go for whatever dream you want to go for, but you have to go for something. You know that there was no option there like it was. You will go to college, you will succeed in something, but you need to figure out what it's going to be. And it was a ton of pressure, but here we are. So it worked and they just wanted us to figure things out on our own, like they loved us deeply. Which of course, you know, that's more than a lot of people can ask for these days. And my brother and I, we were just really independent. We had also, along with the Midwest upbringing, we had jobs when we were 15. We were doing like chores around the house beginning at a very young age. I mean, like mowing the lawn, tackling corn, which is a big Midwest thing, all of this stuff.

Danielle Leveck:
So it was kind of strict in a way, but then a loose household and another way, you know, like with that pick a dream and go for it. I mean, I don't know many parents that would say that, especially with my brother. I mean, he lives in Hollywood and, you know, has been chasing this career for a really long time. And my parents were like, do it. We will help you get there. Do it. We don't care. You know, there was no second thought. And a lot of that came from my dad because he's an artist as well. And he had people who were very influential in his life that were helped him get to where he ended up. So, yeah, so I mean, at the time my childhood, I used to resent it and I really don't anymore. Things changed, you know, and other reasons that I think that I had this period of uncertainty that my brother didn't have one. I didn't come out of the womb knowing what I wanted to do, but two, I truly believe that when I hit middle school and high school, I was like a gangly, weird teenager. That was not one of the pretty girls was like trying to fit in. So I just wanted to be liked so badly. So I think I really like veered off path. But then when I was lucky enough to find myself again.

Fei Wu:
I think that feeling of being in middle school and high school and just feeling so alone is definitely, like you said, it's almost like a universal feeling for women. Hi there. This is Fei Wu and you're listening to the Feisworld podcast. Today on the show, I'm joined by Danielle Levesque, who is a nurse, an amazing one. To find out more about her stories, check out her blog, Nurse Abnormalities, a dot com, and also her incredible Instagram channel at nurse abnormalities. So there's there's one article, for example, that you wrote. I felt like that was kind of that pivotal moment, which is one of the most popular articles on your site called to a New Nurse. You will be okay. Yeah. So, I mean, that one had well over 20,000 shares. And then we're not focusing on numbers for this podcast. But how did it feel like? What triggered you to write that?

Danielle Leveck:
So that is one of two favorite articles that I've ever written and that one just poured out and I can't remember what triggered it. I had I was pretty well into establishing my audience and my on my Instagram account. I think at that time I had like 25,000 followers or something like that. But I have a really highly engaged audience, so I get tons of messages and tons of people asking for advice, and I get so much from new nurses and or so many messages from new nurses and they're always so it's I mean, it's a hard career to go into and there is bullying and it's tough. And I wanted to convey that. As a nurse. You know, some of us aren't called to the profession. We end up in it and then we're like, Oh, we're really good at this. Why are we so good at this? And I believe that what I'm conveying in that post and why when I wrote it, I knew it would be really popular, was that no matter what kind of nurse you are, whether you end up working in outpatient dermatology or you end up working in the ICU, I mean, we're all distinguished a little bit by our places of employment, but at the core, we most of us are the same and we're really good at helping people.

Danielle Leveck:
And there are reasons, I believe, that we're really good at helping people. And I think some of it is our upbringing. We have been through life, you know, we understand life. We're very vulnerable people. And so what I was the message I was trying to get across in that post was that we're the same and we've been through pain and struggles and that's how we help heal our patients. But at the same time, we have to take care of ourselves because if we're just trying to heal, to fill ourselves at the same time, it's not going to work. It's only going to hurt us. So, you know, everything will be okay. But you've got it. You've got to take your take, take care of yourself and recognize the issues in this profession in order to change them. And you're not alone. You're not the one only one who's experiencing this. Everyone's experiencing it. So this was kind of just to start a conversation about these things. And people love that post. It went it went pretty crazy, that's for sure.

Fei Wu:
I mean, I can tell how it pours out of you. I mean, this sounds crazy, but I found myself not so long ago talking to an English teacher who's 88 years old, who has been on the show. And I describe to her how some of my own best writing comes out when it pours out like I have to write, I have to find a piece of paper, record my voice. If I don't have the tools and it has to come out. And that's precisely how I felt when I read this post and when I was describing this feeling. I mean, you drew tears to my eyes and there's a section I, I felt like the way that you wrote about nurses is also true, especially to women in many other careers. So outside of medicine, like advertising consulting. But it is so polarized for nurses because, you know, you said you're not a saint, you're not a nun, you're not a sex symbol, you do not work for free. And I encourage people to read the whole thing. But what I also love, it's instead of saying, you know, you're not this, and then you suggest that things that are so important when you're feeling down, when you're overworked, talk to your manager, have a conversation, stand up for yourself. That is a lot. I mean, I can imagine different people stumbling upon this post or have sort of one opinion or the other. Like in my life, you open yourself up quite a bit here, right? Kind of very vulnerable in a way.

Danielle Leveck:
Yeah, I actually it's so funny. I don't you're drawing these emotions out of me, but I this post, I'm reading it right now as you're talking about it.

Fei Wu:
And I.

Danielle Leveck:
It really does make me so emotional because just like you said at the time I wrote it, I had to write it like this is one draft and maybe went through it for typos or there may still be typos in it. I don't know. But I just felt the need. I felt like I had to get it out. And as I'm reading it again, you are not a saint. You are not a nun. You are not a sex. That that quote is that paragraph is my favorite paragraph of the entire thing. And I feel I feel it every time I read it because I'm just telling I'm just telling the world how I feel. And it's just so hard sometimes, you know, like you want to be all of these things and cater to all of these people and you want to be yourself all at the same time. And it is just so hard and it's and it can be it can be painful. And so I think maybe that's what I was trying to convey in this post, sort of, you know, or in some one way or another, but whatever, that's this is how it came out. So.

Fei Wu:
Yeah, I mean, it's it feels it touches me in a very deep way. I I'm turning 35 next months and within I mean when I was 26 I lost my dad after two years of a really difficult, long felt like really long time of a struggle with cancer. And it was just esophageal cancer. My mom and I, I only stayed. I only stayed at the hospital for about six months with a leave of absence. And my mom basically sacrificed her own health for two years with some help on and off. But nurses played the biggest part in our lives because, as you know, we often, even though we saw. Maybe we saw a doctor once a day at the most, twice a day. But nurses were always there. I mean, I can't tell you how many times my mom said to me, like mentioning them by names, like knowing their lives because we shared so many conversations and reminding me of what a difference I mean, life and death difference they made not only my dad's life, but also in our lives. If you could understand what I'm saying.

Danielle Leveck:
Yeah, I, I to hear that about nurses. I feel the same way. I just, you know, I think everybody who works in health care is extremely important, But I happen to be a nurse and I happen to see what they do all the time. And I just can't. I believe in it so deeply. I just can't stop talking about it. They are the most exceptional people as a whole that I have ever met, and I just feel the need to, you know, stand up for them, advocate them, inspire them, empower them, all of those things because they deserve it and they don't realize that they deserve it.

Fei Wu:
So you probably saved a lot of jobs. You probably saved a lot of nurses. Not probably. Definitely. Because here's the thing, right? Like we all have different skills. Not every nurse necessarily enjoys writing, would prefer or have time to write if they have, you know, many children or other people that have to take care of even after work, whatever it is. I think, you know, you are a nurse and you love writing. I could I could tell how much enjoyment you get out of it. So that's why when I approached you for this episode, I mentioned that you created a shared voice. In some ways I felt that same thing of what I'm trying to do with a podcast, which is unsung heroes and self-made artists. Rather than going after the top 1% of the world financially or whatever that indicator may be. I feel like we as a group have so much more to share that's relatable that actually matters. I personally, I'm sure all the other nurses who are on your email list who, you know, read your blog on a regular basis. I can imagine somebody having a bad day to say, Oh, I'm going to nurse abnormalities dot com right now. You know, like that is incredible that.

Danielle Leveck:
They say they do that I maybe would have quit this thing or not put as much time into it as I do a long time ago if it weren't for all of the nurses email message and it's not just nurses, I mean, like you said, like there are people who follow me that aren't nurses, but they do it for the reasons that you already stated. But yeah, I they keep me going and they keep me hold me accountable to keep me to a higher standard as well. It's easy to stoop low. It's easy to. I don't know, have humor that is not necessarily intelligent, but or productive. That will get you a lot of followers and a lot of attention. But I really think, I don't know, twice, three times, four times about that. It doesn't even really come to my mind anymore to post things like that or write things like that. So I have evolved.

Fei Wu:
Hi there, It's me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you drill what you heard, it will be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Feisworld podcast. It literally takes seconds if you're on your mobile phone. Just search for Feisworld Podcast in the podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.

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Part 2

(Part 2) Danielle LeVeck The Angel Behind Nurse Abnormalities.m4a: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

(Part 2) Danielle LeVeck The Angel Behind Nurse Abnormalities.m4a: this m4a audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Fei Wu:
Hey. Hello. How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after Top 1% of the world. We dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self-made artists. You know, that's something I think especially a lot of the creators who are listening to the show, you know, there are people thinking that I'm trying to find my voice until I find it out. Right. But you just clarify that you have something to say. Say it and you'll find that you'll refine your voice. You groom it better later on. So could you tell us a little bit about your creative process? And for listeners who haven't visited your site, your Instagram, you know, you have close to 70,000 followers on Instagram. It's not just a number, but every single post is very engaging, meaning not just the likes of hearts, but there's so many comments and interactions. Same thing goes for your blog posts. So like, could you tell us about your creative process? Like what goes on the post and what do you think about?

Danielle Leveck:
Sure. So. My my Instagram account. I just graduated, so I will be blogging more. But I had to kind of put my blog to the I wasn't blogging near as much as I wanted to. However, my Instagram account kind of took over as my mini blog. I started showing my face a lot more and it has become my daily journal. So once a day I'll usually post something lighthearted. I have tons of content saved up from the last three years, so sometimes I'll repost if I don't feel like making anything new. I mean, honestly, I go to work for one day and I have content for like a month. Like doesn't even, you know, like work just gives me content where I will say that I have evolved big time and I'm so glad I have. And some day some of my old posts are probably going to come back and bite me. But you know, what am I going to say? I've changed. I've grown. Basically when I first got into this, especially the Instagram account and Facebook account, I. There. There are other nurse accounts and health care accounts, and a lot of them use tactics like. Gross pictures of like medical procedures or negative memes with that make fun of patients or nurses or doctors or something.

Danielle Leveck:
They use some tactic to draw in their audience. And I was never mean per se, but my humor was a little bit edgy when I first started my account. And I don't use that anymore because I realized that people latch on to the smallest like million meter of negativity and they just go to town with it. And it's just so counterproductive for what I'm trying to do in this profession and what message I'm trying to get across. So on the flip side, I've really tried to use positivity instead. And while that won't get you as many followers quite yet as negativity, it's very close to the top. So I really just try and keep things light and funny when it comes to like my my one post for the day and then at night usually I will do a daily like journal, like whatever comes to my mind. I mean, I do those, my funny ones, I have scheduled my ones at night where I have like a picture of myself and I write something. Normally those just come to mind and it would be the equivalent of what I would write in my journal at night. So I'm very vulnerable. I mean, the stuff that I say, I think a lot of people would never tell anyone.

Danielle Leveck:
And I think that's why people talk to me and I've always been that way. So. So my creative process is this I regarding the Instagram account, which is what I keep bringing up, because that's my largest following. And my one funny post before I post anything. I do really think about it these days. I think about what kind of attention I think it's going to draw, what it's going to do for people when they see it. So I've really I've changed that. It's either got to be positive, motivating, inspiring. You know, it's it's there really can't be anything negative in them anymore. So, yeah, so I have that then at night, I don't know, like one thing could happen during the day and I will just write about it and I think about how vulnerable I'm being, particularly in relation to I'm starting a new job in August and it's a very professional position. Not that being a bedside nurse isn't professional, but this is I'll have a lot of like upper management surrounding me. You know, it's a lot of different pressures. I will be an actual I will be a provider that's writing orders on patients, prescribing medications, doing procedures. So I really want to think about what I post.

Danielle Leveck:
But that being said, this is my life and it helps so many people to. Just let them know that somebody is rooting for them, you know? And my experience is so, yeah, I mean, it's really just a nightly journal. I, you know, like my dad one post is about my dad called me one day and, you know, started crying on the phone and telling him how, telling me how proud he was of me. And so I wrote about that. And, you know, there are a lot of people that don't have fathers. And I got messages about that saying, you know, I don't have a dad. My dad left when I was young. You know, this is so inspiring to hear just, you know, and I said that I said, if you don't if you don't have a father, your father was never like this. Like, here's a message from my dad, because that's how my dad is. I mean, he he literally would whole world's father if he could like, you know, he's so lovable. So, yeah. So it's just it's a nightly journal, basically, and that's it. And I try to respond to all of the comments, respond to all of the messages and keep the account really engaged. Wow.

Fei Wu:
So what what a smart way to use Instagram for your own journal. I know you're probably not the only one who's doing this, but for one that, you know, it took me a while. Still, I haven't found the perfect place and the blog feels my own blog feels already very busy with the podcast content. And sometimes I was just literally struggling with this earlier this week thinking about what if I just want to post something short form and doesn't? It's not overproduced, where would that be? And Instagram really seems to be the perfect place for it.

Danielle Leveck:
Yeah, yeah, it's hard and I struggle with it too. I really do. I, I have just mixed long form and short form on my Instagram account, but I really struggle on my blog. Like I'm about ready to go through a big remodel on that. And one thing I have learned about myself is I get very excited and I sometimes have trouble reeling it in. So luckily I have close friend and business partner who knows my personality very well and can be like, okay, Danielle, I see you're getting really excited about all of these ideas and all of these things you want to do, but you know, let's keep it simple. And so I'm really trying to keep just everything simple. You know, I don't I don't like busy things, you know, I think if they're hard to look at, however, the long form, like I guess like the long paragraphs on my Instagram account because that's my journal, I, you know, sometimes those don't get the engagement that my funny or lighthearted post will get, but I just keep writing them anyway because it's a different type of engagement, you know? Yeah.

Fei Wu:
And also you can probably I don't use all the technical words like repurpose. I mean you can post right, post those long forms on the website as well as here. But you, you mentioned that late at night you be writing this. So like what time usually after dinner, nine, 10:00, like before you go to sleep.

Danielle Leveck:
As you know, these accounts take so much time like it's not people think you just sit around and all of a sudden magically got 70,000 followers on Instagram. People have no clue. So I my day consist of no matter what. And I and like I was working two jobs, going to grad school full time up until two weeks ago. And now I'm studying for boards, still working full time, still running this. So like, you get it. Like I would wake up if I was going to the hospital really early, like 5 a.m., 4 a.m., that sort of thing. I would have a post already scheduled for the morning. So I just wake up and and I'd post it and then I come back exhausted from that at night and I'd either repost something or just write a little something about the day that I had and post a picture. And that would be it for days, like 14 hour days. But when I was working my other job or I had class for the day or something like that, I will specifically set my alarm for 30 to 45 minutes earlier than I normally would wake up, respond to all my messages, respond to all of my comments. If I can then get ready in the morning, go to work, come home at night. And like I said, I usually have those lighthearted posts pretty much scheduled. I'll take one day a week and schedule like seven of those.

Danielle Leveck:
So post one of those, then come home at night and I'm just like, my friends get so annoyed with me, but I'll just sit down on my couch and sometimes they can take an hour, sometimes they can take 2 hours. It just depends on how if if the topic is very personal, I want to make sure that I articulate it very well. So it'll take me some time. Sometimes I'll be sitting at dinner. My best friends all know like they're they're fine with it. Sometimes I'll be sitting at dinner and I'll just be like, I have to make a post like. And they're like, okay, you know, And they'll get on their phones or whatever. I still do things, but I devote at. Minimum 2 hours per day, like bare minimum 2 hours per day to this. And then sometimes I can get up to 3 to 5. You know, I get very obsessive with it. I watch what other people are doing. I know my favorite accounts and I try and figure out why they're my favorite accounts, why they speak to me, and I try and relay that message, you know, in mine. Yeah. So it's intense. I mean, it gets really intense. You just you obsess over it. You have to if you want to be good at anything, you have to be obsessive at it.

Fei Wu:
So I'm so motivated right now. Like as soon as I'm done, I literally want to devote so much time to writing. And I mean, first of all, what you said just couldn't be more true. And I want to just again, remind some of the listeners who are have all these great ideas, want to put them out there. I cannot tell you, Danielle, like how many people have put on the show and people like remember most recently this gentleman, I think if you have like half an hour Bobby Parrish from is a you is a cook or a slash chef on YouTube who used to be working in financial services. Also, a gentleman is in his thirties and he talks about how content creation really tests your patience and the idea of an overnight success. It is so convoluted, it's so misleading to anybody who want to accomplish anything because, you know, if you wait for people to come to you without you putting in the work, it just simply not going to work for 99.9% of the people. I too find myself late at night, like 12. I mean, late at night. It's 1231 in the morning after all the recording them preparing for the shows. And I'm writing with one eye open, literally try to write. Think of some really crazy good titles like, Oh, I got a Google, keep this one, I'm going to get to this one day. And then when I have the time to write, I actually look through the titles of blog post I really want to write and just like crank them out.

Danielle Leveck:
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you have to. And you know how I built this following? I just built it on what I know and I know nurses really well, and I can almost predict what they're going to do before they do it. So I relate all of my content to nurses and I just I'm also very open and I think that that has something to do with it, too. I mean, when you I feel that over the years I know myself very well. I know myself so much better than I used to. I mean, there's always things to learn, but I really am the most comfortable with my self at this point in my life. And I think that that's reflective of what I post. What I post, I hope comes across as very authentic. You know, I don't try and sugarcoat things. I am who I am and that's it. And I think that it's caught on somewhat.

Fei Wu:
Hi there. This is Fei Wu and you're listening to the Feisworld podcast. Today on the show, I'm joined by Danielle Levesque, who is a nurse, an amazing one. To find out more about her stories, check out her blog, Nurse Abnormalities, a dot com, and also her incredible Instagram channel at nurse abnormalities. You've done such a great job because you know your avatar. I don't love the term all that all that much. But, you know, in terms of your customer, who is your ideal audience, you know them all, like you said. I mean, you've reached a higher level than honestly, any digital marketing coach can even teach you because you're in it day in and day out. And to be honest, like, I don't have nearly a good of a grasp on my audience as you do because it is quite vast and it's a lot of categories. People are actually a little bit older than what I originally anticipated. And, you know, that was kind of interesting. I had always thought since every job I had, I always coach people who are a little bit younger, sometimes a lot younger. I thought I would be sort of the mentor to them on Instagram, Facebook, but instead, people who end up listening to their show are a little bit older, as in throw and up and people into their forties and fifties, because people know that there's no shortcuts. People, people have lived long enough to realize that you do have to put in the hard work to get something back. So I posted this question to you and I do want to ask for it is something that, you know, do you see what you're doing to potentially turn into a business? You have other services on offerings around it.

Danielle Leveck:
So initially so. Yes. The short answer is yes. I set a goal for myself when I started this. You know, it's evolved. It's finally evolved into what I want it to be. And I set a goal for some reason, my graduation date was just in my head because I knew once I graduated, I would be school would be. That was the most important thing that would be gone. And I wanted to have 50,000 followers by the end of graduation. So I do set goals for myself and it keeps me obsessive over my accounts and keeps me creating new content. So so I did that. I reached my goal and then I told myself after that I would start trying to monetize. But it's very I didn't initially want to do that because. In my soul, I would give everything away for free, you know, until I had nothing. And that's what nurses do in general. That's another very nurse characteristic. And I have already been doing things for free for three years. I have not really charged for anything. Aside from getting some free scrubs from a company that I work with, I don't charge for shout outs. And it got to the point where. One. I'm putting a lot of time into this and. Two, I have student loans to pay back and three I. Think that what I'm doing could inspire and help so many nurses that it could potentially change the whole profession. And that's a lofty dream. And I realize that that is a really lofty dream, but that's my goal.

Danielle Leveck:
And I want to see a profession where nurses get their lunch breaks and they get a paid maternity leave. Being such a female dominated profession and they are treated well and respected, you know, universally, or at least across the United States and then potentially even in other countries, because a lot of them follow the lead of the United States. So so I have very lofty goals. And to do that, at some point, I'm going to have to monetize and I'm going to need people to back me because I, I surely don't have the money to do that. So in my mind, I always keep in the back there that I'm not doing it for myself. There is a part of me that, you know, maybe once the artist thing like you, you want your writing to be read and you want to be helping people, but and you could say there is like an ego aspect to that. But I really as soon as I identify that in myself, I try and shut it down because I don't ever want my ego to take over my prime. Goal is to help people and the profession and whomever. And so I feel like if I keep that in my mind, then I can monetize correctly and tastefully versus, you know, doing it for just making money. That's never come to my mind, ever. I don't I'm not doing this just to make money, but I realize I need it.

Danielle Leveck:
An effort to to reach my larger goal. That being said, too, I am tired of social media influencers being taken advantage of, and particularly nurses because they they do get taken advantage of. And I've got to start setting the standard and the precedent that like if you want me to do anything for you, you have to pay. Like, we work, we work really hard. So that's another thing where that didn't really hit me into. One of my friends was like, you know, you keep doing these things for free, but they're going to expect other people to do it for free too. And you're a leader doing this. You have to set the standard. And so I was like, You know what? You're right. So that's that's to come. I also really want to write a book. And just in the last two weeks, I had a moment of clarity of how I want to phrase and how I want to create that book. And so I feel like I have a starting off point for that. So hopefully within the next year, year and a half, I can really get that going. And I love public speaking. I'm doing some speaking this fall and maybe a commencement address. That's still to be determined. But yeah, so I'm not I'm not exactly sure how everything will be monetized at this point where it will be turned into a business. I just want to be very careful with how I do it and do it thoughtfully.

Fei Wu:
I almost feel like once you've worked as a nurse, you're trained as a nurse. You can go into a lot of careers. Like I think it could even be a trend, especially for I think it's okay for people to want to experience different things. Or like you said, not everybody is cut out to be a nurse and they could, you know, kind of merge into other industries. I say this because based on what you just said, I'm thinking, Oh my God, Like, I've worked as a project manager and digital producer for over a decade and that's literally the most underappreciated job and position. But when it comes down to it, am I a designer? Am I a developer? No, but I could do a lot of those things. And I've been sort of the emergency contact when things fall through. And in between all of that, you are a shrink. Everybody comes to you for problems. You have to kind of block out some of the negativity from the client. So there's so much of that that that so resonated with me. But what you were talking about in terms of ICU, I immediately think about palliative care as well. You know, I know not everybody in and out of ICU will necessarily go into palliative care, but that's one area we didn't get to talk about. I wonder if you could share some of the insights there.

Danielle Leveck:
Sure. I love palliative care. I'm a huge proponent of it. I, throughout my career have realized that a lot of people don't understand it. And so my initial passion, my very first unit that I ever worked on was cardiac medical ICU, which is an extremely high acuity unit. Lots of the patients have cardiac arrest and they have heart failure, very lethal conditions. And so as I was dealing with as and threat caring for all of these patients, I was taxed like as a new nurse trying to figure out what I was doing and finding my way. I was super taxed. Well, we had a great palliative care team and this hospital where I worked like actually a really progressive palliative care team for the for the time we had our own hospice floor in the hospital where if patients were dying, we could transfer the patients to this floor that was quiet and had, you know, like nice places for families and no monitors and like true end of life care. We also had the resources to support the patients and families as far as like, you know, anything advanced directives, paperwork, like all that annoying stuff that you don't want to deal with when things aren't going well in the hospital. We had pretty open conversations about goals of care. I mean, it wasn't perfect, but at least the conversation was there. But what really hit me was like, I'm trying to take care of these patients. As a nurse who's been a nurse for less than six months at this point.

Danielle Leveck:
And I was like, I can't I don't have the emotional energy to devote to every single other person in the room at this point. If I don't want to mess something up with the patient. So I would always ask for a palliative care consult like, can palliative care just come talk to these this family? Because I don't feel like I'm doing a good job and I and I am taxed, you know, like I'm I'm on empty. So, like, I really need help. So if any nurse is listening and wants to know how to get palliative care and to see a patient, you can always go up to a physician and say that. And so that's kind of been my tactic along the way for the last seven years. Like I need this palliative. Care consult for me because I do not have the resources within me anymore. I'm on empty. I can't take care of this patient and family. So that happened. And then I started seeing just how incredible they are and if I could. Voice. One thing if you take one thing from this, a patient does not have to be dying. You're not giving up by ordering palliative care. There's a misconception that palliative care is only hospice care, and that is not the case. I mean, you can still have curative measures alongside palliative care. You hospices. In the end, it's it's under the umbrella of options that palliative care can provide.

Danielle Leveck:
But in general, I like to explain palliative care as a team that comes in and finds out what the patient wants. Talks to the family, talks to all of the doctors on the team like, you know, oncology, surgery, cardiology, like there's so many and brings everyone together to meet the needs of the patient and truly find out what the patient wants. You know, does this patient want to does a patient want to go home and run a marathon eventually, or is maybe like walking to the mailbox every day to get the mail and back enough, you know, like we can reach those goals. And that's what it is. It's not, you know, wishing death upon somebody or withholding care or all of these other terrible stereotypes that happen. It's truly holistic care for the well being of the patient family. And in some instances, people even live longer, you know? So I have seen it work and I have seen the effect that it has on patients. And I believe in that as much as I believe in nursing as a profession. So yeah, so I did my my doctoral work on palliative care consultations for end stage heart failure patients in the cardiac ICU. And it was really hard. It's really tough to change culture, but every little bit counts. And so it was very meaningful to me, even though it probably doesn't look like much on a manuscript. It was really hard. So it meant a lot.

Fei Wu:
Absolutely. If you haven't written a blog article about this, I think this has to go on the list of I think because a lot of the nurses may not even know that that's an option. And granted, I, I did hear that some hospitals don't necessarily have that service ready, but at least it's worth a try. It's a question that they could ask. And then I think, you know, palliative care is definitely on the rise. I happen to be in China like a Tier three city. And I talked to several doctors and they were they have these huge groups on WeChat, which is like a Chinese chat platform, and people are going crazy. I mean, just the amount of engagement, honestly, I didn't even know that they knew what palliative care was. I guess I was the ignorant one. They they're like, we're so into and they're doctors from America, from China. They're having these conferences. So it's all bubbling up everywhere. And I think in partnership with nurses just comes hand in hand.

Danielle Leveck:
I mean. Right. I think I personally think nurses are like the natural creators of palliative care. I think that they, of course, don't take credit for it, but it's like what they do every day. So I if I could go back and do my doctoral project differently, I would have had the palliative care consultations start with the nurse, because I tell nurses, I get messages all the time. How do you get consults on these patients? Like doctors always shut me down like nobody wants to order palliative care on these patients, blah, blah, blah. And and I have to like, talk them through it. But I if a nurse puts his or her mind to something, you can get it done, you know? And they just have to be passionate enough about it just like anything else. And so that's what I tell them. Like I always slide in the tactic of ordering the consult for support for the nurse.

Fei Wu:
Again, like I said, it's so easy to take up your time. But before we wrap up, Danielle, like, if people want to find you, connect with you. What are some of the best ways to do that.

Danielle Leveck:
So you can follow my Instagram account is probably the easiest way to have a summary of everything that I do. And my tag is at Nurse Abnormalities. My blog is w w w dot nurse abnormalities dot com. I am also on nurse abnormalities on Facebook. So at Nurse Abnormality is on Facebook. So you can reach me on there too. And I'm probably going to be branching into LinkedIn soon. That's, that's my new favorite platform. So I'm definitely going to be hitting that hard this summer. But that will be to come and that will be under my name, Danielle Levac. So.

Fei Wu:
Oh, thank you so much, Danielle. I'm so I so enjoy this conversation. Hi there, It's me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you enjoy what you heard, it will be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Feisworld podcast. It literally takes seconds if you're on your mobile phone. Just search for Feisworld Podcast in the podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.

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