From the Editor

The other day I was talking with Nicola Hawkinson, RN, RNFA, NP, about some articles she’s going to develop for the NIFA Surgical e-News about her specialty, spine surgery.

You’ll be hearing more about Nicola in a future issue, but here’s a brief overview: She graduated from NIFA’s program in 2008, works full time as an Adult Acute Care NP at New York University’s Hospital for Joint Diseases, runs her own company, SpineSearch (, recruiting and education for the spine industry) and has written many articles for the SpineUniverse website. She’s also getting her doctorate in nursing. Oh, and she has three children, ages 9, 7 and 5.

Dazzling productivity always gets my attention, so I asked her if she had any tips.

“The key is organization and setting priorities,” Nicola answered. “And setting realistic deadlines. I write a list of tasks for the day on paper, with a checkbox by each task.

“Also – this is for maintaining your sanity – when you’ve checked off your boxes for the day, you need to STOP. In the past when all of my boxes were checked I would make more boxes and add more tasks. Over the years I have learned to STOP and enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishment, take a break and be mentally rested for the next day of tasks.”

As Nicola signed off, heading out for a snow afternoon with her kids, I found myself thinking about organization and time management.

In my experience, First Assistants tend to be both busier and better organized than many other health professionals. So I’m asking you: What are your tips for keeping your sanity and boosting your productivity when balancing work, studies and home life? We’d love to share them with our readers. Just email me at [email protected]. Thanks!

Julie Lancaster