The Secret of a Good Professional Curriculum Vitae and other fallacies

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Curriculum Vitae

Was toying with how to describe this summer’s project in my CV, and the spectrum of descriptors extends to the horizon in both directions….. it can be anything from “Visiting Professor, Lalitpur Nursing Campus” to “Principal, “Kathmandu Critical Care Nursing Project 2011.” Those sound ever so erudite. Legitimate.


Going down the list of alternatives, I think I could still justify “part-time Missionary,” even though I never claimed to be one during the three trips to Tansen. The call-from-God part would require listing God as one of the people on the “Is it okay to call your present Employer” list, which is a hitch; I don’t have God’s current Business Address.

Field Observer? First-Order Source of Raw Data?

Another frame might focus on the blog, which is not simply a diary; it is a chronicle, a first-source commentary on Nursing in South Asia. One of my readers wishes to do scholarly work on the subject of “Teaching Styles to Accommodate Cultural Assumptions of Nepali Nurses” or something like that.

It happens that I myself am not generating the blog itself from the perspective of scholarly work, but I did try to find info on this very thing, to inform my own work from a cultural perspective, and there is not much out there….. The only option is that my stories and anecdotes can serve as the basis for somebody else’s further academic work, much as the private letters of some historical figure. (I don’t claim to be Pepys or Boswell).

I am not the only person to do what I do, but I am one of only ones who writes about it in this way. In that case, I am happy to hand off the work and see what kind of sense somebody else can make of it. Please be sure to spell my last name properly in the bibliography when you quote me as a primary source.


Hmmmm…. Maybe the blog qualifies me to list “Pundit” as a job title. In USA most pundits are windbags. This tells me I have cleared the first hurdle.

Pundit Pundit Pundit….. Whoa.

Quick google check of definition yields:

     a person who has or professes to have great learning;  actual or self-professed authority
     Origin: Hindi paṇḍit < Sans paṇḍita, a learned person, orig., learned

Gleaning the other definitions, a pundit also uses mass media. Perhaps windy at times. If the chappal fits……

And of course – the word has a Sanskrit origin. Love it. Reading that, I realize that what I have described as a series of college bull sessions all summer, was actually “panditry” – the discourse of learned individuals. Try this one on and look in the mirror and see whether it accentuates the right qualities – yup, that’s me. These are clothes I could wear.

People seeking the solution when they are still not quite sure of the problem – a higher order of magnitude on the complexity scale. To the uninitiated this resembles chaos, fermentation or something equally messy. Yeah, if this is panditry it goes hand in hand with my life the past ten weeks…….

Then there’s “Itinerant South Asian Guru;” or maybe “teacher, showman and blogger;” or maybe just a simple “vagabond”.

With a little freelance consulting thrown in.

The Bottom Line of CVs after thirtythree years

What is there on the CV doesn’t matter, the same event/job title/accomplishment will still be subject to “spin” no matter what.

In two weeks, when school starts, I will teach an “Overload” – my usual clinical and lab with neophytes but also a class with soon-to-be-graduated sixth semester students, and one of the subjects is always the Resume or CV.

From me they will learn that “Accuracy and verifiability are valued attributes for a professional document such as a CV.”

These nascent professionals will assemble the skeleton of their first CV, and in the nursing field, it’s as if everything you did before nursing gets re-formatted into 8-point font, a footnote to the Big Events that begin when all you have is “BS in Nursing, University of ________ (year: _____)”

That sense of future promise is no longer available to me in the same way. Here after a thirty-odd year career, the truth is my resume reflects an  arc or trajectory, the known parabola of a cannonball.

CV as sophisticated Palmistry

Yes, despite the weighing of alternative descriptors, the strictest adherence to facts allows summer 2011 to be parsed like every previous entry in the CV. A meaning can be assigned even if only implied and not stated overtly, as in getting your palm read. A CV is a subtle tool in the hands of a fortune teller. What is past is prologue.

In that sense, some of the descriptors for things I already did, are code words for other unwritten or implied attitudes and beliefs.

“Author of______” is already on there. It’s non-scholarly, so any Tenure Committee has already poo -poo’ed this. Likewise the H.R. Department doesn’t know what to make of it. On the one hand the fact of a book implies that a) I am a dreamer but b) even though I am tilting at a major windmill, I can stick with it long enough to hit the target.

(Tilting at windmills makes me think of Dulcinea…. Let’s reserve Dulcinea for a future blog……)

“Leader of _______” seems to appear a lot on my CV, I tend to think it’s a good thing but let’s face it, it’s a also red flag for many H.R. persons who might screen this document. (To those H.R. Persons I would say, I am not a worker bee in the conventional sense. So don’t assume that I should be judged by that standard. There are H.R. people who look for conformity of all employees, no matter where they land in an organization. I am the person you hire when things need fixing, not the one to carry out somebody else’s plan, though I am able to …).

“Out of the Box Thinker” was recently applied to me, when I was offered a Keynote Speaker” gig. That was kind.

For others, the action verbs that go with the phases of my career constitute a code word for “General S**t Disturber.” Which is what a bunch of my jobs have been anyway, as far back as 1980.  I can look at stuff in a fresh way. This latest addition to the CV may reflect that every now and agin, I can also contribute. If the moon, stars and planets line up.

So I have not finalized how the CV will frame this latest adventure. It was a blip between semester twelve and semester thirteen at UH.
All these thoughts will still swirl for a bit. I will let you know the winning phrase. I am accepting suggestions.

Saying good bye to Old Kathmandu

On a different track, I have begun packing. Went to Old Kathmandu to find a suitable duffel bag for The Wonders of the Orient, got one for 900 rupees that will do the job. At the airport I will get it plastic-wrapped as well, which will insulate me from the thieves in Delhi.

It was my last trip to Old Kathmandu, had a delightful time there, it’s one of things where I got to share my “Last time for now” with somebody who’d not explored it before. Six hours of gleeful fun. Let it unfold, resist the urge to be a know-it-all, just enjoy the idea of seeing how others react to the sights sunds and smells, you can learn a lot about a travelling companion that way. Think of Old Kathmandu as if the location itself were somebody you were going on a blind date with. What would you wear?

There are Seven World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, but if a person had only one day here, I would advise them to go to Ason Tole, first and foremost. This has never been a travelogue, so I won’t try to get too directive as to what exactly to do. Just take it in and enjoy.

Today or tomorrow I will take my last walk to LNC. Drop off the last little bag of ACLS materials. They will await my return to Nepal.

Whenever that may be.



About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

These blogs, and my books, and videos are written on the principle that any person embarking on something similar to what I do will gain more preparation than I first had, by reading them. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add to it fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011.
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One Response to The Secret of a Good Professional Curriculum Vitae and other fallacies

  1. Pingback: Tips on writing a cover letter for a nursing job « Honolulu 2011-2012

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