University of Phoenix’s Connie Houser on Life and Growth in the Nursing Profession


The COVID-19 pandemic displayed the critical work that healthcare employees perform to maintain the safety of their communities locally and globally. As infection rates decline and the world slowly but surely returns to normal, our reliance on these essential services poses questions about what is next for healthcare workers.

In a recent episode of the University of Phoenix “How Tomorrow Works” podcast, host Dan Benjamin spoke with University alumna Connie Houser to discuss the future of healthcare and nursing. Houser, who has worked as a nurse for over 50 years also teaches nursing courses at University of Phoenix. She explored with Benjamin what she anticipates both workers and consumers will see from the healthcare field in the future while also touching on the need to connect with others regardless of your industry.

All About Connie Houser’s Nursing Career

Houser’s 51-year career in nursing spanned experience working across settings and specialties including intensive care units (ICUs), emergency rooms (ERs), labor and delivery and mental health. From working as a nurse for over half a century, Houser learned that “one thing that makes a really good nurse is a person who cares.” In addition to caring for others, she also noticed that “other qualities like being organized, being a lifelong learner, being sensitive [and] being empathetic” empower nurses to perform their jobs well.

When asked by Benjamin what it is like to work in a space “where your whole life is devoted to helping people,” Houser replied that it is not easy to verbalize life as a nurse. She affirmed that “there is such a sense of contribution” as well as “a sense of being dedicated to something bigger than yourself when you become part of the nursing profession.” As a result, her daily difficulties “seem not so important anymore.” In her eyes, committing her career to the health and wellness of others put into perspective what truly mattered in life versus what was trivial. It is that dedication to a profession of selflessness that empowers her not to sweat the small stuff.

Houser believes that nursing has changed over the years because of its instruction. She used open-heart surgery as an example, specifically how robots can perform the procedure instead of humans. She was proud to have witnessed the growth of technology in the profession and to bring her first-hand professional experience to the next generation of healthcare workers and especially nurses.

Tips for Nurses on Achieving a Work-Life Balance

Benjamin explained to Houser that he expects nurses to feel a toll “on an emotional level at the end of the day” because of their impact on patients’ lives. To manage the emotionally taxing nature of the profession, Houser discussed how she began to practice “a technique of reflection.” She practiced the technique on her way home from work as a way to shake off the day’s struggles. Here, she would “deliberately focus on three things” that went well for her during the day. Houser found that the more she focused on what she did well, the more she “tended to repeat those good things” when she returned to work.

By reflecting on her strengths, Connie constantly improved her performance at work. Consequently, she would leave work each day knowing that she did everything she could to improve the health and wellness of her patients. The aspects of the day that did not go as well would manifest as lessons to learn instead of painful regrets.

Feeling secure and confident with her performance also helped her create a boundary between her professional and personal lives. When she came home from work, Houser focused on her role as a “mother and a wife, and the work world stayed at work.” Thanks to her reflection technique, she successfully compartmentalized what she could control versus what she could not.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is a provider of post-secondary education uniquely positioned to empower adult learners. Dr. John Sperling started University of Phoenix to provide adults with more options to achieve higher learning. That mission inspired the University to lead its peers in offering degree programs exclusively online. As a result, students can complete over programs on the terms they choose from the comfort of home or wherever works best for them.

University of Phoenix specifically offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as various certificate programs that align to over 300 different career paths. The diverse array of online learning programs empowers students to continue learning without detriment to pre-existing employment or family commitments.

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