Self Care During Your Shift

Want to listen to a podcast about self care during your shift? Check out the NSN Shift Support Podcast!

Hey, friends! It’s been a while. I have had a rough end to 2023/start to 2024. I ended up spending Christmas and New Years in bed with Covid. Then, the end of January I had what I thought was a small bug bite that ended up being a brown recluse spider bite that landed me in the hospital for IV antibiotics. Needless to say, it’s been a rough two months. However, I’m hoping things are finally on the upswing! Although, I still have a wound requiring daily care from my spider bite.

The time off had me thinking about self care and how a lot of time we focus on the self care we need to do before and after our shift, but what about taking care of ourselves during our shift? We work in high stress environments, with high emotions, and long shifts. We deserve to care for ourselves during our shifts as well as after. Below I’m share some simple ways to take a moment to care for you during your next shift.

Self care during your shift

Deep Breaths

I am always amazed at the power of breath. Before I go into a room, when I’m in the supply closet- wherever it may be- taking a moment to take a few slow, deep, controlled breaths can have so much power in bringing down anxiety and stress and allowing you to think more clearly.

Pause at the pump

This is something I use to do when I was getting overstimulated or overwhelmed in a room. Maybe the pump keeps beeping, there is a large mess to clean up, the patient is agitated- whatever it may be- taking a moment to “program” the pump was a way I could take a moment to take a deep breath and gather my thoughts. I walk up, put my hands on the pump (silent if it’s beeping) and take a deep breath while deciding what I need to get done and in what order. You also could stand at the computer “looking at the chart” to gain a moment to breath and think. It may seem silly, but it really is helpful when you are overwhelmed in a room! Especially if it’s a precautions room and you don’t want to remove your PPE to step out.

Hydrate/Eat something!

You cannot be a good nurse without hydration and food. Your brain will not function as well. I have gone shifts without eating, I have walked out with a full water bottle. I totally understand how short staffed we are and how sick patients are. However, you deserve to take care of yourself. Scrub Snacks are one of my favorite hacks- a small snack that can fit in a scrub pocket that I can eat on the fly. I know- no food at the nurses station- but if I don’t get a break, I’m grabbing a snack! These are even great to duck in a bathroom, break room, or empty patient room to sneak a bite. Think granola bars, beef jerky sticks, square of chocolate, cheese sticks, mixed nuts..


Repeating positive affirmations has been show to reduce stress and anxiety. Below are a few affirmations you can use to help support you during your next shift!

  • I am strong in times of challenges.
  • My work and care matters.
  • I am knowledgable.


I have a neck and back injury that have caused me pain for years, but even without that, the magic of taking a moment on your break or stepping into the supply room to stretch can help relax your body and ease the pain of a 12 hour shift.

These are just a few ways you can work to take care of yourself during a shift! Nursing and health care are hard. They require so much of us. It is important we care ourselves before, after, and during our shift.

Sending you love for a smooth shift and a great week! What do you during a shift to care for yourself? please share in the comments!

Managing Stress and Anxiety During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week and with that the holiday season will be in full swing! I love seeing everyone post their Christmas decor already. I am 100% team do whatever makes you happy, because well, this life is hard! As much joy as the holiday’s bring, it can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety.

“I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Yep. That’s right. You can say NO. To the extra shift. To working an extra holiday. To switching shifts. To the holiday party, the cookie exchange. If your plate is full, you can say no. You don’t owe anyone time that is going to affect your mental health. There is so much going on this time of year. Choose to give the best of you to the things that will be most fulfilling to you.

Self Care and Self Soothe at the Event

Of course we can’t say no to everything, and we don’t want to say no to everything! As someone who has social anxiety, I can honestly say just because something is uncomfortable or makes you anxious doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. And it doesn’t mean you won’t have fun! Here’s a few ideas for how to take care of yourself while you are at an event that may result in a little overstimulation or anxiety.

Take Breaks

Honestly, hiding in the bathroom or stepping outside is one of my favorite party tricks if I need a moment of silence and solitude. It’s okay to need a moment to yourself!

Practice Calming Techniques

I can’t express the power of a deep breath when you feel the stress coming on. Take a few slow, intentional, deep breaths to regulate your nervous system. Holding a cup can make you feel less awkward when standing around.

Set a Time to Leave and Stick to It

I’m going to be honest, I’m not great at this one. In fact, I kind of suck at it. And my husband is even worse. However, I know the added stress that comes with being at a party past your limit. If you’re going with a partner or friend, have this discussion before hand. If you don’t feel you can’t simply say “It’s time to go!” (which by the way, you TOTALLY can) have a reason you need to leave (check on dogs, wake up early, etc.)

Self care and schedule time for rest

It is so easy to get caught up with the hustle and bustle of the holidays that you end up completely exhausted and burnt out by the new year. Remember the importance of taking care of you! Eat food that makes you feel good (along side all those magical treats), move you body, and schedule time to recharge- whatever that looks like for you. And if that means you have to skip the fourth party of the month to have an evening to yourself- that’s okay too!

What are some of you holiday plans? I am looking forward to having both my husband’s family and my family in Florida in December for Christmas celebrations!

Lessons from Two Years Away from Bedside Nursing

It is really hard to believe I have been out of bedside nursing for two years now. I loved my time at the bedside, and I can’t say I won’t ever go back to it. I think about going back but I know now isn’t the right time. I have been privleadged to care for so many amazing people in the best and worse time of their lives. Support both them and their loved ones. These moments have changed me for the better. Unfortunately, some change you for the worse. The abuse nurses and other healthcare workers experience at the hands of large, rich institutions is painful.

To learn more about my decision to take a (now very long) break from the bedside- check out my post Stepping Away from Nursing

All Nursing Positions are Important and Valid

It’s odd how I could be so adamant and support all areas of nurses. Both bedside and away from bedside. But when it came to my own personal career and journey, I felt so much guilt and “less than” being a nurse away from the bedside. Nurse culture has a way of sharing this toxic belief that the only way to be a “real nurse” is through bedside shift work and that just couldn’t be further from the truth. I have found so much satisfaction and pride working as a home health RN. Being able to care for people in their homes and help them stay in the place that feels most comfortable to them is amazing. The love and appreciation I get from both patients and families is an amazing encouragement.

You Matter. Your health matters.

Oof, the martyr syndrome is alive and well in nursing. So many narrative float around about needed to be self sacrificial to be a good and worthy nurse. I’m so happy to see the newer generation of nurses caring for themselves in ways nurses usually do not. I have learned that my mental and physical health means more than any career- even one that fills me with pride and I have a big passion for.

Talk to Someone

I founded Nurses Supporting Nurses to provide a safe space for nurses, nursing students, and CNAs to go and share their experiences and receive support. I have learned that no one needs to carry the weigh that comes with working in healthcare alone. Community and support is so important in caring for yourself and being able to care for others.

Plans for the Future

For now, I am enjoying my time as a home health nurse. I feel like I have learned a lot and I really enjoy getting to work with people in their homes. I also have had the opportunity to learn a lot more about wound care including wound vacs, something I never had the opportunity to learn in the hospital. I may have more time at bedside at some point in the future, but for now, I am enjoying my time away and learning new things.


Joyce Grayson, Visiting Nurse Killed During Home Visit

Violence against Health Care Workers has been a growing concern, with a 2019 ANA Survey reporting that 1 in 4 nurses report being physically assaulted at work. If you talk to a healthcare worker, they almost always have a story of a physical or verbal assault or threat they have experienced in their career. Most times, multiple stories of these events.

The healthcare community is heartbroken and demanding protection after losing yet another one of our own. Joyce Grayson was a nurse with 26 years experience, the last 10 years working for Elara Caring (Home Care) as a visiting nurse. She was a wife, mother and grandmother. She also was a foster parent for over 20 years, making every child in her care feel like family. She enjoyed trips to Florida in the winter and baking to contribute to local bake sales.

On October 28, 2023 Joyce set out for a normal day of work with her first visit being at 8am. When she missed multiple subsequent visits with her patients through out the day, her family contacted the police. Around 2pm GPS on her phone lead them to her first patient’s home- a transition/half way house. Police found Grayson dead in the basement of that home. Suspect and Grayson’s Patient- 38 year old Michael Reese, fled the area shortly after he was found. Reese is a convicted sex offender and was detained on the scene. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny, and probation violation.  No one has been charged with Grayson’s murder yet, but Reese is a suspect. Details of Grayson’s death have not been released.

Grayson’s family has retained an attorney. Attorney Kelly Reardon released a statement, “They [family] feel strong that there likely were a lot of balls dropped, leading up to the death of their mother and wife.”

State Senator Martha Marx, also a nurse, said “None of us are surprised. I want everyone to realize that. None of us are surprised.” This is a chilling statement, and unfortunately, a true statement. Nurses and other health care workers are heartbroken. Angry. Fearful. But not surprised. Because we all have seen the violence and danger that working in healthcare brings. We have all seen the lack of protocol and care for our safety.

Healthcare workers need protection. Patients need to be responsible and held accountable for their actions. Safeguard and protocol need to be in place. Working as a home care nurse myself, this is a scary reminder that while this is an amazing and rewarding job, it can be dangerous. Many times, we are out all day seeing patients, and the office has no idea where we are and when. This is a painful remind to be mindful to protect ourselves, no matter where we work. If you don’t feel safe with a patient- wherever you work- don’t go in alone. Always have a clear exit path to the door. Be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re out in the field, have someone who can track your location. Please do all you can to stay safe. But as we know, sometimes, even doing all we can, is not enough.

I am sending love and prayers to Joyce Grayson’s family, friends, and coworkers.

Life Update November 2023- Grief and Mental Health

Hey, friends. It’s been so long since I have been in that space. It’s no secret my mental health has been a struggle all my life, but especially in the last few years. Recently, I said good bye to my grandfather, “Pappy.” It’s come with a lot of feelings.

My sister and I recently spoke about how surprised we both were at the amount of grief and pain we had with the passing of Pappy. We knew it would be hard, but we have been very lucky to have gone 30 & 32 years of our life without much loss in our family. I have multiple friends that have lost parents, so I found myself comparing grief and feeling the weight of a grandparent at 32 should be less than a parent. Which in some ways may be true, but we were close to our grandfather, and it’s a great loss that comes with great pain. I find myself being caught off guard with the idea that my grandfather isn’t here anymore. And it hurts, it almost takes my breath away. It doesn’t seem possible to not have my grandfather here with us anymore. And my heart hurts for all who loved him. Especially my grandmother, his wife of 70 years.

There also has been happiness to come with the grief. The loss caused me to reflect on my time with my grandfather. I was blessed with someone who loved his family. Who taught me the value of hard work and dedication. Who was there for me throughout my childhood and my adult years. I’m so thankful to have had such a loving and amazing grandfather. It something I will forever cherish.

Along with grief, my mental health continues to be a struggle. I found myself in another depressive episode. I started to see the signs, sleeping more, showering less (gross but true), fatigue, and just feeling down. Before I knew it, I was back in the darkness of depression. Not as bad as other episodes, but bad nonetheless. Most my energy was spent making it through the work day before coming home to my bed/couch for the night.

However, I’m starting to see the light again and I’m back to feeling like I can take be proactive in caring for my mental health. The other side of grief is once your start to work towards the other side, it’s a great reminder of enjoying the time we have here. I decided to set a few small “November intentions,” something I haven’t wanted to do in a long time. I’m hoping these will help me to continue to care for my mental health and have more good days then bad. I’ll talk more about these intentions in my next post.

Overall, life is good. I have been busy with work. The weather has been beautiful here the past few weeks. Bradley surprised me with a weekend in St. Augustine for my birthday. We went to a wedding in Texas in October that was both fun and stressful (airport delays, crammed pack schedules, and little sleep.) But it was great to see friends we haven’t seen in a while and see one of our best friends get married. I definitely feel the weight of working without many breaks recently and I’m hoping we squeeze in a relaxing vacation soooooon.

How have you been? I would love to know in the comments- I have missed you!




Gift Ideas for your Favorite Nurse- Nurses Week 2023

Nurses Week 2023 starts Saturday May 6-May 12. This is a week to celebrate nurses, but many times leaves nurses feeling less than appreciated. Cold pizza, cheap gifts, or worse- no acknowledgment at all, are all reason this week may not be so great for the nurse, nursing student, or CNA in your life. If you are looking for a way to show love and appreciation this week, this post has some great ideas of gifts nurses will actually love and make them feel appreciated!

Gift Cards

I personally feel you can’t go wrong with a gift card. I love the option to treat myself to something I really want. You’re allowing the person to use the gift when they are mentally and emotionally ready and you know they will be getting something they love!

A few ideas for gift cards include:

  • Favorite Coffee Shop
  • Massage/Facial
  • Pedicure
  • Favorite Restaurant/Bar
  • Ulta/Sephora
  • Book Store

A Comfy, Cozy Robe

I totally underestimated the luxury of a nice robe until I was in my late 20s! There is something so cozy about having a nice robe to put on after a shower or in the morning/night. It also is a great addition to an at home spa gift- add some bath bombs, face mask, etc and you have a lovely and thoughtful gift that encourages your nurse to take care of themselves!

Skin Care/At Home Spa Gifts

Obviously, if this is of no interest to the nurse, maybe skip this one. However, I love skin care and at home spa nights especially after a long stretch of shifts!

A few key items include:

  • Face/Hand/Foot Mask Mask 
  • Bath bomb or epsom salt
  • Quality Lotion

Treat Them to Dinner or Brunch

Quality time is definitely one of my love languages. I know as a nurse, I have missed out on events and times with friends and family. A dinner, brunch, or even a coffee with a friend as a way to celebrate nurses week would be very much appreciated and enjoyed!

Handwritten Thank You Card

If you are a patient looking for a way to thank a nurse, or a friend/family member of a nurse, this is by far one of my best and favorite ways to celebrate nurses week! It’s also a great addition to any of the gifts above. Writing a note to thank them for the work they do, qualities that you admire, and appreciation of the work they do goes a long way!

Thank you to all the amazing nurses, nursing students, and CNAs out there. And thank you to anyone who is looking for a way to appreciate the nurse in their life!


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 2023!

Updated November 13, 2023

Happy Nurse Practitioner Week 2023 to all the amazing NPs out there! I love working with NPs and I appreciate for the care you 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 there is a shortage of physicians. 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

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