Meet Linda Scruggs - Unboxing Her Nursing Career
Linda Scruggs RN, BSN has specialized for over 12 years in reproductive medicine and women's health as a registered nurse. She is a mom of two young children and her work can be seen on her family health/parenting blog, as a contributor for The Huffington Post and other online publications, and in one of the top fertility centers in the country.
What inspired you to start Unboxedmom.com?
Throughout my nursing career, my passion has always been to provide support and patient empowerment through education.
I had the encouragement of patients over the years telling me to reach out beyond the traditional clinical setting to offer clinical knowledge in a way that is relatable. With a prior corporate background and a desire to expand my reach, creating an online space was a natural road for me to take.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
There are two moments that really stand out as the reasons why I became a nurse.
The first was when my grandmother came to live with my family when I was a teenager. She was legally blind due to macular degeneration and deaf without two hearing aids. I helped take care of her as her condition declined and it had a huge impact on me. I learned what holistic care really meant without realizing it at the time.
The second occurred from the tragic events on September 11th, 2001, I felt so helpless. I decided to leave behind the corporate world in Manhattan to pursue a nursing career.
Who/What are your biggest influences in your career? And why?
I attended Belmont University in Nashville for nursing school and had truly supportive nursing professors. They encouraged me to focus on my strengths and helped me work on my weaknesses. I have often said that without their guidance, I probably wouldn't have made it through nursing school and certainly wouldn't have graduated with honors. They were such a positive influence in my nursing career and the type of nurse I strive to be.
The other big influence for me was a nursing preceptor who has become one of my closest friends. As a preceptor, she was positive, giving, and had an incredible amount of patience with me!
What is the most memorable moment for you as a nurse and how has it impacted you?
There have been so many moments, but one that had the biggest impact on me was a little boy I met while working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatric oncology right after graduating from nursing school.
I will never forget his name or his family. He invited me into the final weeks of his life with an open heart and taught me so much. Despite his pain, he just wanted to be a kid and play with a firetruck in his bed. His bravery was inspiring and I learned that sometimes being a good nurse means just being able to listen and provide comfort.
From being a consultant, freelancer, blogger, and a full time mom-- how do you manage your time and maintain work life balance?
I feel like so many of us are trying to figure this one out.
Finding that balance is a constantly evolving situation as the needs of my kids change and as my work expands into different areas. I'm beginning to understand as I get older that prioritizing my tasks is key and staying organized makes me feel better.
I've learned what works for me and how to stay focused. I make tons of lists to stay on track.
How has Unboxedmom.com shaped your career?
It has not only opened up new opportunities -- it has also opened my mind. A nursing career is far more pliable than I originally realized. A nurse can morph into various roles in unique settings, and I think I'm proof of that.
I've successfully created a way to work as a nurse consultant, patient educator, clinical content creator, and freelance writer, because I truly enjoy what I do and I'm constantly learning. I work a lot but I'm grateful for it.
What do you enjoy about being a nurse? And what are some challenges?
I enjoy being in a position where I can directly make a positive impact on a patient's experience. I appreciate a challenge and nursing is definitely full of them.
The healthcare field needs to evolve. I find it frustrating when a medical office still tries to rely on a fax machine for medical records or does not accept email. How is that even possible in 2017? I constantly look ahead to create efficiencies and improve the patient experience. I think it starts with being more transparent, accessible, and collaborative with our patients.
How has your experience as a nurse impacted your style of parenting?
Being a nurse serves the role of being a mom and vice versa. I feel like I manage parenthood the same way I do any nursing problem -- I come up with interventions, do a lot of research, and hope for the best outcome.
What advice do you have for young nurses just starting out?
Ask questions and ask for help. There is a tendency to hide our uncertainties, but nursing has a way of keeping us honest. Put yourself out there for any learning opportunity and keep searching until you find the right specialty that fits your specific strengths.
I also think finding yourself in a supportive team environment can be priceless early on in a nursing career.
What advice do you have for nurses becoming parents for the first time?
It can be exhausting to navigate parenthood.
As nurses, we can be tough and have the ability to work those 12+ hour shifts, but we often neglect ourselves in the process. It is our nature to take care of other people, but it can be so helpful to seek out supportive friends that will listen but will not judge. My mantra is worry less and enjoy it more.
Follow Linda on Instagram @UnboxedMom, Twitter @MOMtility, and on her website at Unboxedmom.com