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!

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.

Nurses Supporting Nurses

Nurses Supporting Nurses:

Guidance, Support, Community.

In the challenging world of healthcare, finding a supportive community can make all the difference. That’s where Nurses Supporting Nurses comes in. This community is a haven for nurses, nursing students, advanced practice nurses, and CNAs from all specialties. It’s a place to find support, community, and inspiration, with a focus on self-care, mental health, and education.

To Join Visit Nurses Supporting Nurses

Why Join Nurses Supporting Nurses?

The healthcare field can be emotionally taxing and stressful. Nurses Supporting Nurses offers a safe and healing space where you can share your experiences, process the trauma of working in healthcare, and find solace in the company of those who understand your journey.

The community offers online support groups facilitated by experienced professionals who hold space for you and your peers. These one-hour sessions, held weekly on Google Meet, provide an opportunity to share your story and hear from others in the nursing community.

But that’s not all. Nurses Supporting Nurses also offers free learning resources, blog posts, and more to help you on your professional and personal journey. Plus, you can tune into the NSN Shift Support Podcast, which publishes three episodes each week discussing self-care, mental health, nursing, healthcare, and more.

Ready to Join?

If you’re ready to join a community that supports, uplifts, and understands you, then Nurses Supporting Nurses is the place to be. Click the button below to explore the community and see how it can help you in your journey.

Go to Site


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!


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.

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!

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.

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.


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.