Cat Golden, RN is a nurse entrepreneur who left the bedside to pursue her passion of giving back and helping nurses form community. As the founder of Nurses Inspire Nurses, Cat creates programming centered around the idea that nurses are human first and nurses second.
Tell us about your journey to nursing.
Cat: I got my business degree first and then I moved out to Colorado for my first job. I’m from the Detroit Metro area originally, which is where I live now. I ended up meeting my best friend, Nicole, and then she had a daughter that was born with spina bifida. We actually both decided to go back to nursing school to help take care of her daughter. I went to the University of Colorado. Since I was a second degree, I just did the two year program and I graduated in 2012. I actually don't love science. I never have. I just went into nursing because I loved helping people. My brother is actually a nurse and got a nursing degree first. I thought if he could make it through nursing school, I most definitely could make it through nursing school.
We love that your best friend's daughter inspired you to go into nursing. Can you tell us more about spina bifida?
Cat: Children are born with an opening in their spinal column. With this birth defect, the spinal cord is exposed and it results in paralysis. It's a very severe medical condition. The severity can depend on where the opening is in the spine. The higher up, the more severe. Her opening was pretty low but she is wheelchair bound. She's going to be 13 this year, which is so crazy.
How was Nurses Inspire Nurses born?
Cat: I was not the traditional nurse. I never joined a committee. I didn't want to become a charge nurse. I was really just obsessed with making our work environment better, making my patients feel better, and I was always taking care of patients as humans first. Same thing I do with nurses now.
Are you away from the bedside now and just focusing on your business?
Cat: Yes, I stepped away from the bedside in April of 2019. We have a team of nine now and we did almost 2 million in sales last year. There was no possible way I could work.
Was there a clear turning point for you when you knew you needed to create Nurses Inspire Nurses?
Cat: It came about through my own personal growth journey. I got married when I lived in Colorado and divorced at 28. It kind of sent me on a different path. I got really into working on myself and my mindset. I spent years really becoming kind of this different version of myself. When I moved back to Michigan and was working in the hospital, everyone was waiting on something else to feel better. Nurses were waiting for the next schedule to come out. People thought “I'll feel better when X, Y, and Z happens”, “I'll feel better when dadada happens” and I didn't want to do that. I knew that I could be happy now and I knew others like me could as well. I am in control of my own happiness. When I started having these conversations with other nurses, it was like a flood gate opened up. It was like a therapy hour with Cat. Everyone was texting me, “Are you working tonight? I need to talk to you.” When I started having these conversations I realized nurses needed support. I didn't know exactly what it would look like, but I started hosting coffee talks and meet-ups. My boyfriend at the time owned a coffee shop so I started hosting coffee talks and meet-ups outside of the hospital just to provide this support. It was really organic how everything happened.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment with this business?
Cat: My biggest accomplishment is speaking my truth and sharing so much of myself and who I am in order to help other people. If my business closed down tomorrow, I would feel like it was wildly successful because I was able to share my truth and inspire other people to be themselves and take care of themselves the same way they do their patients and everyone else. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet every single day.
Can you speak to the impact you saw of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Cat: COVID just exacerbated what nurses already go through. It gave light to what I already knew was happening. I was so glad Nurses Inspire Nurses was already established so we could help nurses. We sent thousands of care packages to units and made some videos of support. Right now we are doing our Inspire A Nurse program to send free gifts, which you guys so graciously donated for. I think it just shed a light on what nurses have been going through for a long time. The pandemic made things much worse, but nurses have been feeling this way for a long time.
What else are you currently working on to help nurses?
Cat: We launched an amazing community platform on April 30th, and it's my goal to bring nurses together. I want to create a safe place for nurses because some days they are going to feel ecstatic, confident, and super excited. Some are going to be tired, exhausted, burnt out, and isolated. But I want to create an environment where wherever you're at is okay. Or anywhere in between. I want nurses to feel safe being 100% authentically themselves, whatever that is. That's a hundred percent always my goal.
What is your go-to self-care or day off routine?
Cat: I'm crazy about “Cat Time”. I actually just did it last Saturday! I schedule time in and I make self-care a priority. For me, it's quality over quantity. I think people think we need all this self-care all the time, but if you're constantly feeling guilty about taking the time, it won’t be effective. Guilt is the lowest vibrating emotion. If you feel guilt, it's not going to be restorative. So I need to feel like it's planned and it's a powerful choice. I love to read and I love working out. Currently, I’m obsessed with making my bath a whole vibe.
I have shows I like to watch and I don't feel guilty about it at all. During the pandemic, I watched Grace and Frankie and I loved Schitt’s Creek. I'm watching Yellowstone right now. I think the energy that we put into something is what we get out. If I need to rest and just like chill, maybe I'm going to read and veg a little bit. If I'm feeling like I need to be hyped up, then I'm going to go work out and be more active. I definitely try to get outside when it's nice enough.
What does Nurses Inspire Nurses do around self-care and mental health?
Cat: Every month we have free meet-up coffee talks. We do a releasing connect community hour every month or every other month, and it's completely free. We bring in meditation, breath work, yoga. We have free resources on our website like journal prompts, meditations, self-care ideas, and all different kinds of things. We really encourage people to figure out what self-care and mental health means for them. In our new community platform, we have a whole discussion and thread topics about self-care. I have a mentorship program as well for nurses that are feeling really burnt out that are ready to invest a little more in themselves. We will also have monthly masterclasses that are only $19 a class. They are all related to different topics around self-care.
What gives you moxie?
Cat: Being able to give! I literally want to be like Oprah! To me, giving is the channel that keeps everything open. I personally believe there's all the abundance in the entire universe and knowledge and everything waiting. Giving is the channel that will keep it open. It's just energy, like what we give to something we'll get back. I want nurses to know they're not alone and I think that we can do that. Our potential is limitless.
What’s one message you'd like to share with our #MoxieNurse community?
Cat: Our motto is “Human first, nurse second”. My advice is to take care of yourself as a human, because at the end of the day, all this other stuff can go away. Instagram could shut down my business, Google could go away. Our career one day will be over and I want to be so obsessed with who I am as Cat apart from anything else. I want that for everyone else, too.