Life Update- Feburary 2023

Happy New Year, friend! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and your new year is off to a new start! I can’t believe  we are through the month of January already!

I thought we would take a little time to catch up on all the happenings around here. The past couple months have really gotten to me! It’s been busy, but I feel like things are finally on a good path.

Back to the Sunshine State

Bradley and I weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do this fall. We love being in Greenville and close to family and friends, but we also love being in Florida and close to family and friends! It can really be a challenge when your family and friends are far apart. We decided that since we love Florida in the winter and we already had a spot reserved, we would return to our camper in Florida for the winter. It’s been great being able to enjoy warm days, sunshine, and the beach!

New Job

Yep, I am back to the nursing world in a new way. I had a job in Greenville I really enjoyed doing Medicaid Assessments for a non-skilled home health company. Basically, I went and did in home assessments for anyone who was receiving services from our home health aides. I also did orientation for the CNAs which I really enjoyed. The downside was there weren’t always many hours and it really didn’t pay well. I also didn’t use many skills as it mostly was assessing the persons home and basic needs.

I knew I was ready to find a job with more hours and more money, and felt ready to go back to nursing a little more. The move gave me the push I needed to start looking and applying for job. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do. Eventually after a lot of thought, I realized it wasn’t time to go back to the hospital. I need to continue to care for both my physical and mental health. I decided to apply for home health jobs and got 2 interview offers within a day of applying. By the end of the next week, I had two offers.

I took a job with the smaller home health company and so far I’m loving it! The people I work with are really nice. It is a skilled home health company so our patients receive care in their homes- we offer nursing services (wound care, skilled assessments, IV infusions, wound vac management, etc) as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I typically see 4-6 patients a day for a variety of needs. I drive and provide care in their homes. It’s nice to be back to nursing in a less stressful environment but still getting to use my skills! I’ll share more about my job in upcoming post but so far, I’m really enjoying it and happy I chose this route.

Bradley’s Birthday

January 17 we celebrated Bradley’s birthday with sushi in Cocoa Village- a quaint little downtown area here. We had never been to the restaurant before but it was delicious and we look forward to going back! After we went to a new kava bar in Cocoa Beach that I was very impressed with! It was really nice and reminded you of a “regular” bar you would go to for a nice cocktail! If you don’t know what Kava it- it’s a root extract (basically a tea) used in the Pacific Islands. It gives you a bit of a “social” feeling and is used for celebrations typically.

Dry January

Today officially ends my dry January! I really have slowed down on drinking since getting long haul, but when I realized I hadn’t drank since some champagne on NYE around mid January- I decided to keep it going and finish out a dry January. I haven’t drank any this month- but Athletic Brew non-alcoholic beer is one I have tried in the past and it taste pretty dang close to a regular craft beer. Definitely try it out if your looking for a NA alternative. I want to try the ritual proof tequila and some NA wine as well!

Thanks for stopping in for a little life update! I hope you are doing great! What’s new for you? How is your New Year? Any goals, intention, or resolutions? Share below!

Happy NP Week 2022!

Happy Nurse Practitioner Week 2022 to all the amazing NPs out there! I love working with NPs and I appreciate all you do for your patients and those who work with you. Thank you for all you do!!

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner or “NP” is an advance practice registered nurse that has completed a masters or doctoral degree. They have advanced clinical training to perform and interpret diagnostic tests; diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions; prescribe medications; and help patients make healthier lifestyle choices. They provide care in many clinical areas including primary care, acute care, and long term care settings. Studies have shown that NPs provide equivalent care to physicians with higher patient satisfaction rates.

What is NP Week?

National Nurse Practitioner Week is held annually to celebrate the exceptional care that NPs provide and to showcase the importance of removing outdated barriers to practice so NPs can practice to the full extent of their experience and education. Take this week to acknowledge the NPs you know and work with and thank them for the amazing care and collaboration they are a part of!

A Few NP Facts:

  • 81% of full time NPs are seeing Medicare patients, 78% are seeing Medicaid patients.
  • 88.9% of NPs are certified in primary care, and 70.2% are delivering primary care.
  • 96.2% of NPs prescribe medications, and those in full-time practice write an average of 21 prescriptions per day
  • 26 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S.territories have adopted Full Practice Authority, giving patients full and direct access to NPs.

I personally see NPs as my primary care providers and I love them! They always take the time to listen and explain things and for that I am so thankful. NPs are an integral part of the healthcare team and we are doing a disservice to our patients and community by not giving them full practice authority in every state. NPs are filling the gaps in areas like primary care where physicians do not want to work. Creating a new healthcare system that utilizes NPs to their full practice ability who collaborate with physicians and other members of the healthcare team would help increase the quality and accessibility of healthcare in our country immensely.

Thank you for everything you do for your patients and community. Your knowledge, skills, and collaboration are very much appreciated.

Life Lately- November 2022

Hello & Happy Monday, friends! It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week! I feel like this year has gone surprisingly fast and the holidays are really sneaking up on me. I had a weekend balance with work and play. Saturday we went with Bradley’s (my husbands) parents and Aunt to Mexican for dinner (always a favorite for me) and saw Black Panther. It was sooo good. But also sad with the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Highly recommend seeing it (make sure you watch the first one before you go!) Also warning- it’s almost 3 hours long. So come prepared!

Heading Back to the Sunshine State

Bradley and I are packing up and heading back to our camper and the Sunshine State! Leaving is always a bitter sweet feeling because we have family and really good friends here. So it’s hard to leave people that mean so much to us. I also love Greenville and always enjoy the Christmas activities here. However, I am excited to see the beach, see my parents & brother in law/his girlfriend and enjoy the Christmas events in Florida like the boat parade! It’s hard to have home in more than one place and loved ones in more than one place- but I’m thankful we have the flexibility to essentially live in two places.

I am so excited to get back to the camper and our own space. This will be our first December in the camper so I can’t wait to decorate for Christmas and enjoy a tiny space for the holidays.

Time with my sisters

We spent a couple weeks at my sister in laws & future brother in law (they are engaged!) We house sat the first week and then got to spend time with them. I enjoyed getting to have dinners with them, my sister in law and I had a cider and fire night, and movie nights. It’s just so nice to spend time in the mountains and quality time with them!

Wednesday my sister and I had a wine and Taylor Swift night sleep over. We woke up and went to breakfast before I had to go to work. We used to be roomies so anytime we can have a sleep over I always enjoy it . It remind me of the old days, a little nostalgia.

NSN Shift Support Podcast

I have mentioned this a few times but I started a podcast for Nurses Supporting Nurses! You can read more about the podcast here. It is a huge learning curve! I didn’t even know where to record a podcast! My husband bought me a microphone for my birthday so I finally decided it was time to stop being scared and take messy action! I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a lot of articles but I am learning so much! I’m really enjoying it and the first week had over 100 downloads! Which may be small to some, but with NSN being new and me being totally new to podcasting, I was really excited with that number!

Soups & Chili Season

I have been enjoying getting to cook and enjoy some of my favorite fall/winter food- soups and chilis! I love being able to put them in a crockpot and come home to a delicious, comforting meal. I can’t wait to start sharing some of my favorite recipes with you soon! Once I am settled back in our home- I hope to start sharing!

That’s a quick overview of the life happenings over here. I have a busy week ahead of work, packing, and moving! What’s on the horizon for your week? 

Journal Prompts- November 2022

Some benefits of journaling include:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Find inspiration
  • Track progress and growth
  • Make connections between thoughts

The One Line a Day Reflection Journal is a journal I published to help those who are new to journaling or have struggled with consistency in the past. It is a simple one line reflection every day. Weekly, you have a guided reflection. And each week, you get a quote to help encourage and support you. One of my best friends, Katy Sewell, did the cover art. It’s really a beautiful reflection of both of our mental health journeys. The proceeds help to support Nurses Supporting Nurses, an organization I founded that provides free and low cost support groups to nurses and CNAs. If you are interested in joining a support group, visit https://nursessupportingnurses.com

To purchase the One Line a Day journal on Amazon, click here.

NSN Shift Support Podcast

Happy Wednesday! Monday was the official launch day of the NSN Shift Support Podcast! THANK YOU to everyone who has listened and/or subscribed! It means so much to me! The podcast already has over 70 downloads in 3 days- which is way more than I anticipated honestly! If you haven’t listened yet- I would love for you to join our community!

Subscribe/Listen to the Podcast!

The NSN Shift Support Podcast will publish 3 episodes, all 20 minutes or less every Monday to help prepare and support you before each shift. We will discuss healthcare, self care, mental health, and more! This is designed for nurses, CNAs, nursing students & any other healthcare professional that needs a little extra support before each shift!

Thank you so much for your support of the blog & the podcast! Have you listened to the podcast? If so, I’d love to hear any feedback!

Coping with Election Day Anxiety

Since the 2016 presendential election, I now have major surrounding election days. With women rights, LGBTQ rights, and more on the line with this election, no surprise, I’m full of anxiety again. If you need information on how to vote- visit http://vote.gov. But please, please PLEASE- vote. This election is so important and will effect people for generations to come.

Turn off the News, Sign off Social Media

I know this is an obvious one, but it’s an easy one to not do. Watching the preliminary counts and doom scrolling IG or Tik Tok is a sure way to get your anxiety going. Sign off of social, turn off the news, and find another way to spend your Election Day evening. A light hearted show, even if you have seen it before, like Friends, New Girl, or Gilmore Girls- is a great way to put your mind on something other than election results.

If you want to tune in late at night to see the final results, go for it. But honestly, you can’t change anything at 2am anyways. Go to sleep and find out when you wake up in the morning.

Brain Dump

Do a journal entry/brain dump where you put all your anxieties out on paper. Then, realize you have done all you can do. Easier said than done I know, but putting your worries on paper can help with dealing with anxiety.

Go on a Mental Health Walk 

Fresh air, vitamin D (although that’s harder to get with the time change) and movement are all great for stress and anxiety. Turn on a favorite (non political) podcast, music, or just enjoy the silence. Notice the weather, fresh air, & nature as you walk. If you feel like company- bring a furry companion, family member, or friend!

Call a friend or family member

If you need to let out the anxiety, set a time for how long you can talk about it (say, 15 minute) then move on to a new subject. It’s good to talk about your feelings, but it’s also good to talk about something else. Discuss the upcoming holidays, the latest show you have watched, anything but world events and the election.

Cook a comfort meal & Bake a Fall Treat

Food can hold so much comfort. Put your favorite soup or chili in the crock pot or plan to make your favorite meal on election night! The act of cooking or baking is again a great distraction and provides you with a nice treat. If you don’t feel like cooking or baking- order in or stop by your favorite restaurant/store to pick up a treat before heading home.

Deep Breaths

I find guided and deep breathing to be very helpful in calming my heart rate, nausea, and other not so fun physical symptoms that come with anxiety. Close your eyes, try not to think about the current events, and take some slow, intentional deep breaths. YouTube has a ton of great videos to guide you through meditations and deep breathing if you want more guidance.

Please remember this is a very important election, and we will not go down without a fight. You have done everything you can do by voting and educating yourself. You deserve to take a deep breath and relax on Tuesday night.

Creativity is Flowing- Workbook & a Podcast

Hello & Happy Saturday! It is a very rainy and gloomy day here today. We came back down the mountain yesterday after a very revitalizing few weeks in the mountains. I feel like the time away and enjoying the mountain air really helped to get my creativity going again which has been so nice! I think I’ll spending today under a blanket and working on NSN & the blog! Lot’s of exciting things are coming and I can’t wait to share them all with you! Today I’m sharing my two latest projects.

Self Love Mini Workbook

I officially have my first digital download for sale on both Nurses Supporting Nurses Shop and Etsy Shop! This printable mini workbook provides journal prompts, affirmations, a self reflection worksheet and more to help you on your self love & self care journey. This is perfect for anyone looking to do some inner work, as it is not specific to nurses. The profit from this workbook goes to help support Nurses Supporting Nurses to grow and help more members of the nurse community.

NSN Shift Support Podcast

This may be one of the scariest things I’m doing but I’m also so excited for it! I always said I wouldn’t have a podcast- I don’t like the sound of my voice and I just couldn’t imagine putting something like this out into the world. However, through some market research, I have found a lot of people like to consume their information through podcast. I want to help the NSN community in as many ways as I can, so a podcast was the next resource I felt I needed to provide! Every Monday I will publish three, 20 minutes or less episodes for you to listen to on your commute to your next shift. We will discuss self care, health care, mental health, and more! I would so appreciate if you would support the podcast by subscribing and tuning in! Please be kind as I learn something completely new!

Subscribe to the Podcast

That is just a few things coming down the pipeline! I’m excited to continue to grow both the blog and NSN. Thank you so much for all your support, it is appreciated!

Reflections on One Year Away from Bedside Nursing

In the next week I will hit my one year mark away from the bedside. It’s really hard to believe it’s been that long. In some ways, it’s been shorter. In some ways, it’s been longer. I have been a nurse for ten years. During this time- I experienced so many beautiful moments. Moments that I’ll hold close to me forever. There were also hard times. Short staffing, toxic environments, abusive patients, mean nurses, all took it’s toll only my mental and emotional health.

I did two years of travel nursing during the pandemic. My last contract, I began to develop debilitating symptoms of depression and PTSD. I wasn’t getting out of bed, I had trouble showering, I didn’t find job in anything I did. I finally reached out for help and through the support of my husband and family- realized it was time to walk away from the bedside to focus on my own mental health and healing. I deserved time to heal my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

To read more about my choice to step away from the bedside- Stepping Away from Nursing

You deserve to put your mental health first

One thing I really learned in my year away is- you deserve and you should put your mental health first. I was worried about money (which is valid), not doing my part helping during the pandemic, sticking to the career I loved, the list goes on. In the past few years I really started to think I would just stay bedside, at least PRN, for most of my career. I love taking care of patient and families. I love the staff and teamwork of working bedside. The adrenaline. But things change, and it’s okay to adapt to that. You deserve to take care of your health.

You are more than a nurse

I don’t think I realized how much of my self worth I had put in my education and being a nurse. I spent years in nursing school, years working as a nurse. I loved working at the hospital, being a travel nurse, it was something I was really proud of. When I found myself telling people I wasn’t working as a nurse- it was hard. Being a nurse was a huge part of my identity. Through therapy and self growth- I was reminded I am more than a nurse. I am a complete person without working as a nurse.

Nursing can look many different ways

Nursing does not have to be clocking in for a 12 hour shift at the hospital. I knew this, but I was really reminded of it after developing long haul and not being able to return to work. I consider my work with Nurses Supporting Nurses, the organization I founded to provide mental health and wellness resources to nurses, nursing students, and CNAs, to be some of the best use of my nursing skills and experience. I am honored to hold our weekly support group. I now also have a job doing in home medicaid assessments, another new way to be a nurse that I am really enjoying. There is so many opportunities outside the bedside, and if you are needing a break or a change- I highly recommend looking into them.

Chronic Illness is a long and hard journey

I was diagnosed with Covid the beginning of January and after was diagnosed with long haul covid. I have been to the ER, cardiologist, started medication, and had a wide array of symptoms that limited my physical capacity. It’s been a difficult journey, especially when combined with depression and PTSD. But I’m learning to find a new normal and I hope to continue to make improvements in both my physical and mental health.

You are Not Alone

If the support group I have facilitated for the past 7 months has taught me anything, it’s you are not alone. In your worries, stress, struggles- other people are feeling the same things you are. Almost everyone in our support group is actively looking for other jobs or has changed jobs. We all have struggled with the stress of the pandemic, short staffing, and just life in general. If you are a nurse, CNA, or nursing student, we would love to have you join our support group.

Nursing is hard. It’s even harder during a pandemic. Short staff, supply shortage, emotional trauma, the list goes on. And it’s okay to say- I need a break. That may look like cutting hours or changing jobs. Please take care of you. You deserve to feel happy and find peace.

A Drive Down Blue Ridge Parkway

Hello, friend! Happy Halloween! How are you doing? It was a nice low key weekend at my sister in laws after everyone had busy work weeks- just what we needed! Friday we went to a friend’s house for a delicious dinner of baked ziti and salad and carved pumpkins. Sunday we had a movie day, made chicken nachos, and I got a lot of work done on an upcoming project for Nurses Supporting Nurses which I can’t wait to share!

Two weeks ago- when we were dog/house sitting and it was peak leaf season we went on a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and it was gorgeous. It is a gorgeous road that goes through the mountains of NC and VA. Speed limit is 45 mph and there are multiple look outs you can pull over to enjoy the view- and are amazing to see a sunset or sunrise. If you are ever in the area- especially during the fall- I highly recommend a ride down the parkway!

Now, a photo dump of a few parkway pictures.

I hope everyone has a great week and a safe Halloween! It is a rainy and grey day here so I think we will keep it low key with a night at the house watching Halloween movies and hanging out with the dogs! What are your Halloween plans?

Nurse Practitioner, Nurse, & Social Worker Killed While Working

The past week has held a lot of tragedy for the nursing & health care community. Three member of our community- a nurse, a social worker, and a nurses practitioner were all killed while simply doing their jobs. And we aren’t talking about military medics on the front lines of war (which is tragic) but civilian nurses in a hospital and detox center in the U.S. Places staff, patients, and families should be safe. Our country and hospitals are failing nurses and healthcare workers- over and over again.

On Tuesday October 18, June Onkundi, a psychiatric nurse practitioner was stabbed and killed by a patient she was caring for at Freedom House Recovery Center in Durham, NC. The recovery center is a halfway house and detoxification center.

On Saturday October 22, a nurse- Katie Flowers, who went by Annette, and Jacqueline Pokuaa, a social worker were shot and killed at Dallas Methodist on the post partum unit . The alleged killer was shot by a Dallas Methodist police sergeant in the leg. He was stabilized and transferred to a nearby hospital.

Violence Against Health Care Workers

These tragedies are senseless and heartbreaking. Healthcare workers should never fear for their lives when going to work, but especially fear of death by a gunshot. Yet, healthcare workers are five times as likely to experience violence in the work place as other professions. We have enough trauma with the mismanagement of the entire pandemic, short staffing, lack of needed supplies. Violence against healthcare workers has alway been an issue, and now it is on the tragically on the rise. Some other concerning statistics:

  • The rate of injuries from violent attacks against medical professionals grew by 63% from 2011 to 2018
  • In a survey by National Nurses United, 48% of the more than 2,000 responding nurses reported an increase in workplace violence — more than double the percentage from a year earlier.
  • 44% of nurses report experiencing physical violence
  • 68% of nurses report verbal abuse during the pandemic

Poor Response from Dallas Methodist

This message from a employee at Dallas Methodist was shared on The Nurse Erica’s instagram and it is heartbreak that the hospital not only failed to protect the nurse and social worker who passed, but they also failed to care for the mental and emotional health of their staff member. I have since read that crisis councilors were brought in- but why were they not there from day 1? Why were they not working to make the staff feel safe and help them cope. This is, yet again, another moment when healthcare facilities and admin fail to care for the healthcare workers.

SAVE Act

Representatives Madeleine Dean (PA-D) and Larry Dean Bucshon (IN-R) introduced the Safety From Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act. This bill, modeled after current protections for aircraft and airport workers, would provide legal penalties for individuals who knowingly and intentionally assault or intimidate hospital employees. This bill needs to be passed as a first step in protecting healthcare workers.

The bill is endorsed by the American Hospital Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Indiana Hospital Association, and the Indiana Organization for Nursing Leadership.

Support from NSN

If you need a safe place to come and share your thoughts and feelings on these tragedies, your fear for the future of nursing or walking in to work, or whatever it may be- Nurses Supporting Nurses is here for you. We hold a complimentary support group every Wednesday at 8pm EST for nurses, nursing students, and CNAs. Visit the website or reach out if you want more information.

Sending love to the families of the lost healthcare workers. I am truly sorry the system failed your loved on.

References:

https://www.fox4news.com/news/two-nurses-killed-in-dallas-hospital-shooting-identified

https://nurse.org/articles/nurse-stabbed-by-patient/

https://www.aha.org/fact-sheets/2022-06-07-fact-sheet-workplace-violence-and-intimidation-and-need-federal-legislative

https://dean.house.gov/2022/6/reps-dean-and-bucshon-introduce-bill-to-protect-healthcare-employees

https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/threats-against-health-care-workers-are-rising-heres-how-hospitals-are-protecting-their-staffs

https://www.aha.org/lettercomment/2022-03-24-aha-urges-doj-protect-health-care-workers-workplace-violence