Sharon Weinstein admits to being a late bloomer, but in her prime, she comes full circle as a nurse and businesswoman. She with her husband Steve in Chicago but grew up in Philadelphia as the middle of five children.
Her father once told her to learn to type because “I would not amount to anything” otherwise. “I spent my life attempting to prove him wrong, and I have been successful in doing so,” she said.
Sharon and Steve met on a blind date and helped her develop her self-esteem, for which she said she is eternally grateful to him.
They have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They both enjoy family, golf, reading, writing and networking.
Sharon is an author of nine books, and has a new edition of a book set for publication in 2013.
She had the privilege of traveling around the world to teach various aspects of nursing, including countries like Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Croatia, Armenia, the Philippines, Israel, Egypt, and the People’s Republic of China.
“My international experiences taught me much about myself and about others, and I have grown personally and professionally as a result of this. I was a late bloomer. I learned to swim at 26, play soccer at 35, and play golf at 58 – but I am a dedicated student of whatever I attempt to do,” she beamed.
She believes in achieving a balance in one’s life to become successful. “When I was first introduced to the concept of work/life balance in 2002, I realized that I needed to radically change my own life if I was to walk the talk. I understood that simplification could have a very positive impact on my work, my family, and my health—and I set out on a mission to simplify my own life. For me, this required a huge paradigm shift.”
OSM! had the privilege of interviewing Sharon. Here are the excerpts:
1. How long have you been a nurse and what inspired you to be one? (Not many Americans chose this profession)
I have been a registered nurse for 60 years, and I was inspired to enter the healing profession as a result of my passion for being of service to others. I worked as a volunteer before entering nursing school, a 3 year diploma program, right out of high school. I got married right after nursing school, had 3 kids, and then went back to school for a baccalaureate degree, followed by a master’s degree. I am a student of continuous learning.
2. What is the most challenging part of the job as a nurse? The most rewarding part?
I have been blessed in my nursing career, and it has taken me from hospital nursing, including emergency/triage, infusion therapy, home care and beyond. I worked internationally for 10 years as the director of the office of international affairs for a large hospital alliance. Sub-contracted to a government agency, I oversaw hospital-to-hospital partnerships between US hospitals and their counterparts in the new independent states of the Former Soviet Union and throughout Central and Eastern Europe. I learned so much, and the most important lesson that I learned was that we are all both teachers and students and at all times. We can learn so much from our foreign colleagues and model their behaviors to create good health. The challenge has always been the hours and time away from family. The greatest reward has been the ability to mentor future nurses around the globe. I was deeply honored to be inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
3. The US is experiencing shortage of nurses, and it is relying on immigrant workers, like Filipino nurses, who provide for almost half of the nursing workforce throughout the US. How should the US government address this shortage, considering the economic slowdown?
I believe that nursing is a profession for all nurses, regardless of the country from which they come. At the same time, I do not believe in brain drain. We must ensure that other countries have a sufficient number of qualified nurses to fill existing and future positions. The economy has affected most professions, but the literature tells us that the need for qualified nurses will continue to escalate, especially with an aging population such as ours. The US Government should be sensitive to the needs of the healthcare system, and to the ability to welcome immigrant nurses to fill the gap. I once served on the US Secretary of Labor’s task force on the nursing shortage, so this is not a new issue, it is rather one that is readdressed in cycles.
4. You have become a successful business woman despite this high-paying job. What made you decide to switch to business?
I discovered my entrepreneurial spirit in 1975 when I became actively involved in my nursing professional society, advancing to national president, chair of the certification corporation, and speaker. This helped me to keep an open mind when it came to opportunities. I have done legal nurse consulting, and my nursing career also included start-up homecare agencies for companies like Johnson & Johnson and Hospital Corporation of America. In those situations, I was responsible for the bottom line…and thus a business woman was born. I found business challenging, yet another growth opportunity for professional nurses.
5. And why choose the health care networking business?
I worked in the sick care industry for many years, and about 10 years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of wellness. I realized that we needed to assume responsibility for what we put into our mouths, and that with which we surrounded ourselves. I realized that we had a choice when it came to well-being, and a history of familial chronic disease did not have to be a death warrant. The networking industry has allowed me the time and money freedom that I need to pursue other interests, and to support them. For example, I am the founder of The Global Education Development Institute (www.gedinfp.com), a not-for-profit whose goal is to educate emerging healthcare leaders in developing nations. I am able to contribute a portion of my networking funds to the not-for-profit. It is a win-win situation for all. And, when I was traveling abroad for two weeks of every month for 10 years, I missed time with my husband and family. I was seeking ‘time’ and ‘balance.’ I got it through networking and went on to write, B is for Balance, a guide to creating balance at home at work, to encourage other professionals to take good care of themselves.
6. As a nurse, would you be in a better position to identify which health supplement company is genuine and has greater positive impact on health?
As a nurse who taught intravenous nutrition support for many years, as well as intravenous pharmacology, I am in a better position that most people to identify quality supplements and make recommendations based upon my experience.
7. Could you tell us what products are truly needed for the body and not just those for vanity? Please cite examples.
The body requires a good multivitamin daily; unfortunately, the standards for these products in the US are nominal; thus it is imperative to read labels carefully. Those products that meet and exceed Canadian labeling guidelines are of the highest quality. I personally take a number of whole food supplements, not for vanity, but to maintain good health. I have been able to lower my cholesterol to normal levels with a combination of Niacin and mushroom products. Mushrooms are well known as immune system boosters, cancer fighters, and more – they are a valuable addition to the western diet. And, of course, everyone needs good hydration – 1/2 of the body weight in ounces of water per day just to maintain balance.
8. In the midst of the slow economic recovery of the US, will the networking industry ever have a chance to flourish too?
Regardless of the economic situation, the networking industry is growing exponentially. With a nominal investment, one can be in business for oneself, but not by oneself. The power of the team makes it possible to grow in the industry, help to develop fellow team members, and attain one’s financial goals. Everyone should consider networking as a plan B that might overtake their plan A and afford them time and money freedom, plus the joy in helping others.