Nursing Community: Insights With Cara Lunsford

Cara Lunsford, RN, Vice President of Community at Relias and founder of HOLLIBLU, created a community-building social app as an all-in-one resource for nurses to support, collaborate, connect, network, and guide each other.

Cara Lunsford, RN

Coming from a place where she saw many missing elements that were so desperately needed in the nursing profession, she sought to create a channel where nurses can grow in their careers and their community.

With the announcement of’s acquisition of HOLLIBLU, this Q&A highlights Lunsford’s passion for building the nursing community, her experiences in the nursing profession, and goals for the future.

Q: What motivated you to create this app?

A: Initially, I would say that the inspiration to create a supportive nursing community came when I was at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I had created a committee with some of my colleagues called the Supportive Care Committee.

It was really aimed at trying to help nurses through the everyday struggles — the traumas that we face, the grief that we deal with. All those things and how they weigh on you can affect your day-to-day life.

It was a successful committee. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could do this in a much bigger way? If we could reach more people?

I then went into administration, and I was a director of nursing. I was dealing with staffing issues — trying to find nurses. I used to joke and say, “Where’s the watering hole for nurses? They must be congregating somewhere.”

So that’s where it initially came from. It came out of a need.

Q: What were your initial goals or visions for nurses who joined?

A: Before you can really address any other issues in healthcare, you have to address what is happening with the nurses. What do they need?

That was something really, really important to me. I wanted to make sure that when they came to this place, they felt like it was built for them — that it was truly built by a nurse and for nurses.

The goal or the dream was that it would be the one-stop shop. They would come there for everything they could need throughout their professional careers. If they need peer support, they need mentoring, they need education, they need career advancement, they need career opportunities — that it would all be there in this one place.

Q: What topics do you see posted most often on the app? Are there any limits to what nurses can share?

A: When new people come onto the app, I oftentimes find that that people will say something like, “Hey, I’m having this struggle, or I’m worried about this,” or “I just took my NCLEX, and I had one hundred and eight questions. Is that good or is that bad?” They’re wanting feedback from their community.

A lot of it really does seem to be around support or looking for opportunities — unconventional opportunities like, “I’m tired of the bedside. What’s available in nursing that can still allow me to be a …read more

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