Donna Cardillo Profile

Known as “The Inspirational Nurse,” RN, Donna Cardillo travels the world helping women and health care professionals gain the respect and recognition they deserve while reaching their full potential and happiness. Donna has dedicated over 20 years advocating for nurses as business owners and educating the public in the indispensable role that they play in today’s world, not only as primary caregivers in hospitals, but also as wellness coaches, care managers, wound care specialists, owners of adult and child service centers, assisted living facilities, and more.

With a combined career of more than 25 years of clinical, managerial, business, and even professional singing experience, Donna holds a diploma in nursing, a BS in Health Care Management, an MA in Corporate and Public Communication, and clinical experience in emergency and psychiatric nursing. Recently appointed to the Business Advisory Board of The National Nurses in Business Association, she is a daily contributor to with her advice column “Dear Donna.” She is also the recipient of various business and leadership awards, author of three books, with a fourth on the way, and has been featured in various media including The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, and The Los Angeles Times.

Donna has served as a keynote speaker for the US Military, state governments, healthcare and pharmaceutical corporations, media companies, hospitals, universities, and various trade associations.

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    Donna Cardillo, RN, is The Inspiration Guru. She travels the world helping women and healthcare professionals to be happy in their lives and careers and to reach their full potential. She does that as a keynote speaker, columnist, author, and cut-up. Her accomplished career combines over 25 years of clinical, managerial and business experience, not to mention her stint as a professional singer. Donna’s clinical experience includes emergency and psychiatric nursing. Donna holds a diploma in nursing, a BS in Health Care Management and an MA in Corporate and Public Communication. Known as “Dear Donna”, she gives daily online career advice at She was formerly the “Healthcare Careers Expert” at

    Donna has twice been named Business Woman of the Year in New Jersey and has also received the coveted Athena Award, a national leadership award for women. Donna was designated a Diva in Nursing by the Institute for Nursing in NJ for outstanding achievements and excellence in practice. She has also been named one of 50 Best Women in Business by NJBIZ. Donna appears regularly on television and radio, is frequently quoted in newspapers and magazines and has published numerous articles. Donna has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and the Today Show show and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times on several occasions.

    Donna is author of the books, Your First Year as a Nurse—Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional, The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses—Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career, and A Day Book for Beginning Nurses.

    Donna is a founding member and past president of the New Jersey chapters of both the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

    Donna is a volunteer lecturer and facilitator for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. When she is at her home base in Sea Girt, NJ, she serves as a local spokesperson for family caregivers.


      • National Speakers Association
      • National Association of Women Business Owners and its International affiliates
      • American Nurses Association
      • New Jersey State Nurses Association
      • New Jersey League for Nursing
      • Sigma Theta Tau International

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Donna Cardillo's Speech Descriptions

No matter what stage of life you’re at, Donna Cardillo can help you face life’s challenges fearlessly and turn changes into opportunities to grow. With almost three decades of experience in healthcare and business, Donna has seen both fields evolve, but has always remained at the top of her game, re-inventing herself to continue excelling in her professional and personal life.

Donna is the perfect person to teach you how to adjust to an ever-changing world, manage unexpected transitions, and maintain your own health and happiness while flourishing in one of the most challenging but vital careers today.

While Donna’s programs are an excellent fit for anyone associated with the healthcare industry, any audience can benefit from her presentations on life transitions and self-care.

The Power of Transformation
This transformational program confronts the inevitability of change in our lives and careers, understanding why we resist change, strategies to embrace change and stay relevant, and how in the end, change will help us to create a vibrant future for ourselves and our profession. Without change there is no growth and if you’re not growing you’re stagnating!

Participants will learn:

    • How to overcome their fear of change

    • Specific ways to build ‘change stamina’
    • How to maintain inner calm in the midst of outer chaos
    • Strategies for personal and career transformation
    • The importance of avoiding obsolescence

Becoming Fearless in Career and Life
If you’re a member of the human race, you’ve experienced more than one obstacle, set-back, or otherwise dark time in your life. Perhaps you’ve had a major life event (illness, divorce, job loss, aging) that has left you feeling disoriented and afraid. Maybe your current circumstances don’t stimulate you and you are desperate for a change but don’t know what direction to move in. Possibly there’s something you really want to do but fear has you frozen in place. This uplifting program will teach you how to develop the energy and the courage to move beyond fear and leave you feeling inspired, empowered and ready for action.

Participants will learn how to:

    • Move from fear to freedom
    • Create positive momentum in their life and work
    • Discover how to use current and past challenges as a springboard for success
    • Triumph over self-doubt, disappointment and heartache
    • Live fully and authentically

Life Transitions: Where Do I Go From Here?
Different phases of life bring new challenges and rewards for women. Some life events are anticipated, some unexpected. One thing that remains constant is change. And as the nature of life, family, health and work evolves for each of us, it is vital that we reexamine our goals, our happiness quotient, and even our heart’s deepest desires…at any stage of life. Spend a fun-filled session creating a life plan (including a back-up plan) that will keep you energized, engaged, and excited…possibly in a whole new way!

Participants will learn how to:

    • Reinvent themselves on a regular basis
    • Stay relevant at any age
    • Explore what to do “when they grow up”
    • Create a new roadmap for life
    • Redefine ‘retirement’

You Can't Change the Wind But You Can Adjust Your Sails
This transformational program confronts the inevitability of change in our lives and careers, understanding why we resist change, strategies to embrace change and stay relevant, and how in the end, change will help us to create a vibrant future for ourselves and our profession. Without change there is no growth and if you're not growing you're stagnating!

Participants will learn:

    • How to overcome their fear of change
    • Specific ways to build 'change stamina'
    • How to maintain inner calm in the midst of outer chaos
    • Strategies for personal and career transformation
    • The importance of avoiding obsolescence

Taking Care of You, Inc.—The Business of Self-Care
n the hectic, fast-paced, and high-pressure world we live and work in, it's not enough to manage our time; we also have to manage our energy. Energy reserves, depleted by increasing demands, must regularly be replenished. Neglecting this need results in negativity, poor focus, reduced productivity, and ultimately burnout.

Join Donna in a refreshing and upbeat program about the whys and hows of renewal, rejuvenation, and energy management guaranteed to make you happier, healthier, more focused, and yes, even more productive!

This upbeat program offers practical strategies for:

    • Keeping a fresh perspective year after year
    • Creating, innovating and inspiring when those around you are wilting
    • Staying energized and focused in the midst of chaos
    • The power of disengagement—what it is and how to do it
    • Formulating a dynamic for future success

Nurse Power!
Harnessing the power, the passion, and the pride of nursing

This uplifting program is designed to remind nurses of their own greatness and empower them for future success. It’s guaranteed to make nurses feel good and proud about who they are, what they do, and how they contribute to healthcare. Get ready to be pumped up, turned on, and super-charged with Nurse Power!

Participants will learn:

    • What they already have going for them
    • How nurses have already changed the face of healthcare
    • How to be a nursing advocate
    • Techniques for assertive behavior/communication
    • Strategies for elevating the profession to new heights

Nursing—The Future is Ours!
Nursing and healthcare stand at the precipice of radical change. As such, a unique opportunity presents itself for us to take on a larger and more pivotal role in healthcare beyond anything that most of us could have ever imagined. As this new role takes shape, nurses will need to change their way of seeing themselves, their profession, and their capabilities. It's time to stop whining and start owning our power!

Participants will learn:

    • What's in store for the healthcare delivery system over the next 20 years
    • Why nursing must reinvent itself
    • How nursing will evolve into a 'superpower' in healthcare
    • Which behaviors, mindsets, and patterns no longer serve us
    • How to get in shape to meet the challenges—and opportunities—of the future

Passionate Leadership: Soaring to New Heights
Today's nursing leaders are challenged like never before. At the same time they are in a unique position to have greater impact on the future of nursing and of healthcare. So how can you stay inspired and continue to grow and evolve as a leader when chaos reigns, morale is low and change is a constant? Spend a high-content, high-fun hour (or longer) with's Dear Donna and get primed, pumped-up and supercharged for the coming decade!

Participants will learn how to:

    • Identify and avoid the perils and pitfalls of being an experienced leader
    • Become stronger by softening yourself
    • Create physical and emotional accessibility
    • Stay relevant and inspired year after year
    • Self-management strategies to support your success

What People are Saying about Seeing Donna Speak

Rating Entries

“Thank you for a magnificent presentation. Your seminar was just what we needed: engaging, encouraging, and packed full with vital information that was timely and specific. You did all this in a style that was dynamic and of good humor. You immediately built trust and everyone felt your genuine friendship.”
    Eleanore Sudbrock, Director of Recruitment/Retention, Catholic Medical Center

“I heard from many of the convention attendees how impressed they were with your personable character and how approachable you were. Even our exhibitors commented on how you took the time to meet them. “
    Jessica Samela, President, Connecticut Student Nurses Association

“You are a very talented and gifted speaker. You even inspired me!”
    Cliff Wood, EdD, VP of Academic Affairs, County College of Morris

“Donna is a dynamic speaker who rejuvenates her audience with well-organized, informative presentations.”
    Robert Hess, PhD, RN Director of Continuing Education, Nursing Spectrum Magazine

“You are such an informative and dynamic speaker. Your commitment to motivating health care professionals is clearly noted throughout your presentation. You are a very warm, caring, and exceptional person. We applaud you and thank you.”
    Joseph A. Fiorentino, RN, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Administrator, Human Resources, Parkway Hospital

“The enthusiasm and motivation Donna projected made me feel like I can conquer the world.”
    Susanne Batesko, Red Bank, NJ,Seminar Attendee

“D. Cardillo is the most motivational, dynamic speaker I’ve heard in recent memory.”
    Theresa Mackin, Red Bank, NJ,Seminar Attendee

“I just wanted to stand up and applaud. Enjoyed Donna’s great sense of humor and passion for what she says.”
    Robert Girotti, Stamford, CT,Seminar Attendee

“Ms. Cardillo was beyond excellent. Best speaker yet. Thank you!”
    Nursing Spectrum Extravaganza, Philadelphia, PA

“Inspirational, motivating experience being here, not only for the information, but your style was stimulating.”
    Alicia Corlew, Melville, NY,Seminar Attendee

“Donna is extremely professional, upbeat and reality based. Her enthusiasm is contagious!”
    Christine Decker,Coopers & Lybrand

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Books by Donna Cardillo:

Your 1st Year As a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional
Survive and Thrive As a Nurse from Day One!

Welcome to the compassionate and caring world of nursing! You are entering a profession that offers great rewards and endless opportunities. But you must prepare for the challenges ahead and do everything you can to ensure that you experience the best that nursing has to offer. This invaluable book will get you started!

Written by an experienced R.N., Your First Year As a Nurse provides practical, real-world solutions to the profession’s most common and difficult issues. Inside, you’ll find out what you really need to know, who you need to know, how to avoid missteps, and where you can go for help when you need it. Gritty, witty, and full of invaluable tips and advice from first year nurses, this book is your personal mentor for your new career.

Ensure a healthy first year by knowing how to:

    • Acquire the job that’s perfect for you
    • Create your own patient-centered style of nursing
    • Develop positive relationships with doctors, patients, and other nurses
    • Stay positive, deal with conflict and adversity, and avoid burnout
    • Network, enhance your education and career, and become a leader

    “Combines common sense with the wisdom of a seasoned professional. A valuable resource for new graduates as they begin practice.”
        Lucille A. Joel, R.N., Ed.D., FAAN, professor, Rutgers College of Nursing, and former president, American Nurses Association

    “A must-read for all nurses, not just new graduates!”
        Joan Orseck, R.N., president, National Association for Health Care Recruitment


    A Daybook for Beginning Nurses
    Novice and well-seasoned nurses share their insight and wisdom in this new inspirational book for beginning nurses. This perpetual daybook offers 365 motivating tips and quotes from bestselling author and speaker Donna Cardillo. Thought-provoking essays exploring themes significant to the new nurse, begin each monthly chapter. Each month s topic is reinforced through daily suggestions and advice to help the beginning nurse thrive in the workplace. Journal space following each entry encourages readers to record their reflections, allowing them to document their life-changing journey into nursing.

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