Nurses of Instagram: Saving Lives, Empowering Women And Running Business.
By Angelina Gibson
The real nurses of Instagram show women that the #glowup is real and that degrees and big dreams change lives. While they might debunk that picture perfect image of who a nurse “should” be, they absolutely prove to women everywhere that no matter your circumstances - you have the power change your life and a nursing degree will help.
Not only are these women rockstar nurses, but they also use their platforms to empower others and advocate for causes they are passionate about. Many of them are business owners, entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, vloggers and more!
If you’re looking to fill your Instagram feed with some of the internet’s most uplifting and inspirational nurses, read on.
Or jump directly to favorite Instagram nurse:
Sonja Schwartzbach, BSN, RN, CCRN - Critical Care
Caring and talented! Yes, she’s a nurse but, get this, she’s also a published writer, recipient of multiple awards and author of the best selling book, “Oh Sht, I Almost Killed You! A Little Book of Big Things Nursing School Forgot to Teach You.”
Advice: The number one piece of advice I can offer is to remember why you entered this profession. If you remind yourself why you chose the nursing domain – or, in some instances – why it picked you – it will help you recalibrate. Your struggles and successes; your future plans and goals; your ability to live in this very moment can all be shaped by having that open sense of self-awareness. You cannot do this alone: nobody can – not clinically, physically, mentally, or emotionally – but at the end of the day, the responsibility falls on your shoulders.
Only you can dictate what you will stand for and what needs change; only you can be responsible for your choices and actions; and only you know what will truly keep you happy, fulfilled, and passionate in your work. Oh, and to never wear white pants without suffering the consequences on a particularly messy shift!
Oh Sht I Almost Killed You!(available thenursesonja.com)
A little more about me: I am a critical care nurse and blogger for the Huffington Post. I graduated in January 2012 with my BSN as well as a BA in English Literature in May 2008, both from Rutgers University. Nursing is my second career, and I believe that every peak and valley in my life has brought me to where I am today.
From a writing perspective, I’ve produced content for numerous professional nursing outlets (the AACN; Nurse.com; Scrubs Magazine), and am a contributing author for Thrive Global, the Youshare Project, and my own blog/website. One of my most memorable professional honors was receiving the Nurse.com GEM Award as the Rising Star in Nursing for the Northeast Region in 2016.
I have also had the privilege of working with Dr. Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio in support of legislation for national nurse-patient ratios. My first book, “Oh Sht, I Almost Killed You! A Little Book of Big Things Nursing School Forgot to Teach You” was published on April 1st, 2017. Thanks to word of mouth through my incredible network on social media, the book has recently sold out for its fourth time in three months.
I could write a book about being a nurse – in fact, I sort of did! My book is something of how-to guide for newer members of the profession: it’s not academic by any means, but it’s anecdotal and contains some pearls from my own experiences as a new nurse, both on a telemetry unit and in intensive care.
It’s a lot of humor with some serious lessons thrown in: in nursing, we often laugh to keep from crying! “Oh Sht, I Almost Killed You” is a collection of things nursing school doesn’t teach you – many of which I only could have dreamed to understand five years ago! That being said, I have new nurses and nursing students reach out to me daily on social media, via email, and through my website.
Yaya Genfi RN, BSN - Pediatric and PICU Travel Nurse
She’s dedicated to saving the lives of kiddos and moves somewhere new 13-weeks at a time - documenting and sharing her experiences on YouTube. Yaya’s kindness can be felt through her videos and her smile is contagious!
Advice: One piece of advice I can offer is to take advantage of as many hands-on experiences as possible while in nursing school. Nursing processes make so much more sense when you have tried or completed them yourself!
A little more about me: I’m Yaya Genfi RN, BSN, a Pediatric and PICU Travel Nurse from NYC!
My motivation and what keeps me going is knowing I am greater than my circumstances. I worked 4 jobs through nursing school to get to this point and I am grateful for every experience that led me to this point.
Today, I enjoy every day of my travel nurse life and I appreciate the journey. I graduated nursing school 6 years ago and I still LOVE my job. My message to you is to appreciate the journey, cause the destination is well worth it! <3
- Instagram Followers: 7,196
Changing specialties in the middle of your career isn’t easy but, Mindy went from Emergency to PACU! Now a traveling nurse, she’s enjoying California. We love her body positivity posts and following her journey from an NPC Bikini Champion to wellness advocate.
Advice: If there’s one bit of advice I can impart on any potential RNs, it’s to stick with it! The world of healthcare is so vast and so specialized. I truly believe there is a right fit for all of us, sometimes it just takes trial and error before we find our “homes.”
A little more about me: I never planned to be a nurse. Throughout high school, all my extracurriculars were aimed at preparing me to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. However, exactly one month before college began I experienced a profound moment of crisis; I could not see myself attending school for another 12 years.
A trusted mentor at the time made a passing comment that I would make a great nurse, and without further thought or research on my part, I enrolled in my university’s nursing program.
To say I disliked nursing school is an understatement.
Those four years of my life were far from joyful and even resulted in major depression. Looking back, I truly don’t know how I survived emotionally or even did so well academically, and I’ve heard similar experiences from other nurses during my 13-year career. I had planned to finish out my BSN and then find another path that would suit me better. That was until the final semester of my senior year.
I had gotten a small taste of the Emergency Department while interviewing and shadowing a trauma RN for a research paper. That experience gave me a glimmer of hope that I could potentially find joy and success in nursing.
My university had a pretty rigorous placement program for our senior practicums. We had to interview with the nursing department heads, and then they decided where we would be conducting our final clinical experiences. We were allowed to advocate for our preferences, and with fingers crossed, I asked to be placed in the emergency department and was granted my request. From that point on, my whole perspective on nursing drastically changed.
I thrived on the autonomy, fast pace, and unpredictability in the emergency department. By the end of my senior year, I was convinced the ER would be my great love. I was fortunate enough to be hired on by this same emergency department as a new grad, and spent the first year and a half of my nursing career working weekend nights in Boise, ID–I had just turned 21 years old. This period was probably the most exciting, eye-opening, and terrifying of my career. My love affair with the emergency department lasted 9 years and carried me to 4 different hospitals across the US. I worked in Level 1 Trauma Centers with all the resources, to a rural ER where we had to transfer a majority of critical patients out, and then ended in an emergency department specializing in pediatrics.
Unfortunately, injuries and subsequent surgeries took me away from the bedside for some time. I ended up doing billing for my hospital’s emergency and trauma services during my recovery periods and then came the point where I had to really reevaluate my next move in nursing.
As much as I loved my time in the ER, I was ready for a new home. I considered the OR and was fortunate enough to have their management offer me a shadow day before committing to the extra training required. After following an OR nurse around for one morning, I knew it wasn’t for me, but it opened up my eyes to another specialty: PACU!
I took the initiative and set up a meeting with the PACU manager, and brought in my resume so we could discuss options. There weren’t any open positions in the PACU at the time, but the management allowed me to cross train and pick up extra shifts to get my foot in the door. Once a nurse retired, I was in!!
I’ve spent the last 4 years as a PACU RN, and gained experience in all types of surgeries and with all age groups. I recently finished up my first, 3-month contract as a travel RN in California. This too was a remarkable experience, and I look forward to where my next contract will take me!
Holding strong throughout nursing school was one of the hardest and most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. If there’s one bit of advice I can impart on any potential RNs, it’s to stick with it! The world of healthcare is so vast and so specialized. I truly believe there is a right fit for all of us, sometimes it just takes trial and error before we find our “homes.”
Patricia Charitable MSN, RN - Nursing Leadership and Adjunct Nursing Instructor
Quite the inspiration - she’s grown a massive YouTube following while documenting her journey through nursing school, travel nursing, graduate school, nursing leadership and everything in between. Patricia is super motivational, entrepreneurial and inspiring!
Advice: Seize every opportunity to learn and grow. Your story is unique. Don’t be afraid to create your own path.
A little more about me: As an NYC based Digital Influencer, Nurse Educator, and Coach, I love inspiring others in everything that I do. I’ve blended my passion for personal growth, health, videography, and lifestyle into an authentic mission that attracts viewers and brands alike. I’m currently working in nursing leadership and as an adjunct nursing instructor.
My sister and I own a medical apparel line and we also offer coaching/tutoring services at Graceful MedBoutique.
A new grad, Alexis shared her struggles, tips, and advice for making it into and through nursing school on her popular nursing YouTube channel. She just started her first nursing job, if you follow her Instagram story, you know all about it. Congrats Alexis!
Advice: Being new to nursing is scary, and being a new nursing student is even scarier. Looking back, if I could tell myself one thing before starting this journey it would be to not sweat the small stuff. Being the ultimate self-critique that I am, it took a lot for me to not want to beat myself up sometimes for making silly mistakes in clinical.
It’s going to happen, you’re going to fumble, you’re going to forget what some meds are for and feel incompetent when your instructor asks you what medication classification the medication falls under. It is okay!
I made small mistakes plenty of times, felt embarrassed and immediately questioned my abilities as a nurse. It is okay to make mistakes when you are still learning. At the end of the day if you made a few mistakes, but your patients are taken care of, at least you know you learned something!
When you are still a student, remember to use your instructor as a safety net and ask a ton of questions. The best time to mess up is when you’re still in school and not when you’re practicing under your own license. So take a deep breath, clear your mind, and keep on pushing.
Beauty and brains! Kristin is a beauty vlogger on YouTube, Registered Nurse and also pursuing her Master’s Degree in Nursing. A true example of combining your career with passion!
Advice: My advice to new nurses and new nursing students is to never give up on your dream. Nursing is the most rewarding career in the world, but it is also an extremely challenging career. It challenges you physically and mentally each day.
You will have patients that will challenge you and make you question if this is the right path for you. There will be days where you think you can’t do it anymore and those are the days where you need to just push through. I can tell you that nursing won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. It will make you the strongest version of yourself.
A little more about me: Since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to work in healthcare. Originally I wanted to go to medical school to be a doctor. The moment I knew that I wanted to be a nurse was when I watched the birth of my youngest niece. I watched them as they took care of her during her first moments of life. I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do. I started out wanting to be a labor and delivery nurse.
I attended East Tennessee State University for my Bachelor’s degree and throughout that time I fell in love with emergency nursing. After graduation, I was unable to obtain an ER position and found myself working in the cardiac specialty. Cardiac was something that was very complex and intimidating to me as a student. I grew to love the complexity of it and stayed in cardiac. I recently decided to pursue my MSN degree.
Being a nurse has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I have taken care of people at all different stages of their lives - on the best and worst days of their lives. Being a nurse has been the best learning experience I could ever ask for and has shaped me into the person that I am today.
An award-winning author and blogger, international keynote speaker, and influential social media personality in the nursing, technology, and healthcare IT communities. Brittany is charismatic, funny and extremely helpful!
Her two books include The Nerdy Nurse’s Guide to Technology and The Nurse’s Guide to Blogging. Recently, she has partnered with nurse blogger Kati Kleber, of FreshRN, to start Health Media Academy to help nurses move the profession forward through blogging and social media.
Advice: If I could go back in time and tell myself something before nursing school, it would be to start studying for the NCLEX from day one. What I mean by that is learn the test-taking strategies needed to pass the NCLEX. It would have made all my other nursing school tests so much easier. I would have also told myself that there is more than one way to be a nurse. Bedside nursing and the path to hospital CNO or CEO are not the only way to evolve in your career as an RN. There are so many different ways to practice nursing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
A little more about me: I’m am BSN prepared and an informatics nurse. In addition to running a successful nurse blog, I work as a Product Manager developing software for healthcare professionals.
Jannel Gooden, BSN, RN Traveling Pediatric Critical Care RN
A “quarter-life” crisis led her to nursing and she hasn’t looked back. In fact, she’s on her way to creating an empire! We love Jannel’s positivity and motivation, seriously, if you’re feeling down go check out her Instagram!
Advice: Find your voice. Your whole career is dependent on you finding it. Find your voice so you can advocate for yourself but more importantly so you can advocate for your patients.
As a new nurse, you may shy away from most moments that bring attention to you. I remember never wanting to update the physicians on my patient’s status. I never felt I could find the right words to concisely describe what was happening but one day I found my voice and spoke up. You will, too. Embrace it.
A little more about me: Becoming a nurse wasn’t my original career choice but, once my “quarter-life” crisis hit, I decided that nursing was for me. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science Degree in 2012 from The College of New Rochelle.
I often say, “it’s not why I started nursing but, why I continue nursing everyday.”
Our website helps new nurses learn to confidently navigate this complex profession. You can now sign up for our weekly newsletters at NoviceistheNewNurse.com
For videos with tips and advice for new nurses, follow us on Instagram & Facebook. We also have a new YouTube channel for nurses where we share about our new travel nurse adventures, new adventures as global citizens and our day-to-day chaos.
- Instagram Followers: 17.7K
Alex Falco - Nurse Apprentice and Nursing Student
Not even teen pregnancy or thyroid cancer could limit her dreams. She overcame every obstacle placed in the way of success. Her story is one of struggle, strength, and perseverance. We don’t know how she does it all but, she’s doing it!
A little more about me: I hope my story will speak to someone who is facing similar circumstances. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today and faced many hardships along the way.
I was raised by my single mother and had my first child at age 18. By that age, I had already graduated high school a full year early with an honors diploma and a 4.0 GPA. I was in the middle of my cosmetology program and was working part time - my future was all planned out. The birth of my son led me down a unique path to nursing.
While still pregnant with Johnny, I enrolled in the University of Nevada - Las Vegas and graduated Cum Laude in 2014 with a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Forensic Science.
It wasn’t until I started working an internship at the Clark County Coroner’s Office in medico-legal death investigations that I noticed my interest in the human body. When I started helping with autopsies my interest in medicine couldn’t be ignored. Two weeks after I started the internship I decided to re-enroll in the university to pursue my nursing degree. Now, 3 years later, I am just 2 months away from graduating with my BSN!
While in nursing school I battled Thyroid Cancer. I underwent a complete thyroidectomy, radical neck dissection and reconstruction on my recurrent laryngeal nerve. I am dedicated to spreading awareness of thyroid cancer because it is on the rise - even in younger people. Multiple doctors told me I was too young to have thyroid cancer, they tried to diagnose me with anxiety and it was almost a year until one doctor listened to me and ordered a blood test to test for thyroid cancer. I advise adding TSH, T3 & T4 levels into your yearly blood work and if you notice your neck is slightly enlarged, go to your primary care physician and ask them to order an ultrasound.
On top of all of this, I helped raise my 4 younger siblings - my mom was fighting stage 2 tonsil cancer.
In the end, I hope to positively impact others and leave a lasting impression on those I care for. I currently work in a pediatric emergency room as a nurse apprentice. I love working with my pediatric patients - being able to turn the worst day ever into something more desirable for them. Whether it’s blowing bubbles, singing Frozen, or simply giving them a hug and cuddling with them. I do what needs to be done to make sure they’re happy. Each working day brings joy to my life and reminds me why I have chosen nursing as my career. To me, nursing is far more than a career, it’s a way of life.
Once you’re a nurse, you’re a nurse in every aspect of your life and I am so very grateful for that.
With just 4 months left before graduation, my goal is to stay working in the pediatric emergency room and continue to learn from all my amazing colleagues. Whatever life may have in store for me, I am fully armed and ready to take on the future as a new nurse and cannot wait to see what’s next. The best is yet to come.
Critical care and pursuing Family/Adult-Gerontological Acute Care DNP
If you’re part of Nacole’s massive YouTube following you’ve witnessed her journey from new nurse to Doctoral student and everything in between. Charisma could be her middle name! She should wear a superwoman cape because she does it all with a smile on her face. She’s funny, talented and driven - watch her shine!
Advice: My best advice is to focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has a different starting point and their own unique journey. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or what route you take to get there, as long as you reach your goals, nothing else matters. Others might seem smarter and more interesting but you never really know what folks are going through. Focus on your choices and decisions, and just embrace the learning process. Don’t dwell on others - it will drive you mad.
A little more about me: I’ve been a nurse for 5+ years and have spent most of my time in critical care. I’ve been married to my best friend for over a decade and we have a son, Rocco, who is autistic - he’s one awesome little dude! You can usually find us with our puppy, Max, at parks throughout
You can usually find us with our puppy, Max, at parks throughout Orlando, just begin goofy and enjoying the weather. As seen on my Instagram Stories my family and I are pretty silly and really enjoy life. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Healthcare has been a big part of our lives, from my husband’s heart attack with subsequent heart surgery to my gastric bypass surgery and emergency c-section, we have our share of stories. Nurses have always been there for us. I’m honored to be in this profession - my goal as a healthcare provider is to show that passion each and every shift.
Check out my YouTube, Nurse Nacole - I focus on helping new nurses survive those first years as new graduates or those who are transitioning into new specialties and roles. I’m no expert, I’m just a nurse who wants to help the world, one tip at a time.
For awesome nursing apparel and school resources visit my Etsy store.
Julia is the founder of The Nurse Link Nurse Expo and has a long list of accomplishments. She’s making moves within the nursing community and is a true inspiration to women everywhere!
An Atlanta based Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse, Julia currently works in the field of Functional Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing from Georgia State University and honed her skills as a Registered Nurse at Emory University Hospital for over 5 years in the field of Hematology/Leukemia.
Julia also holds a Masters of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) from Mercer University. For her work in nursing, she has been recognized by the Daisy Foundation (Excellence In Nursing Award), Atlanta JoJournal-Constitution Nursing Excellence Award Nominee), and the International Nurse Association Inductee). Julia serves her community through many other local organizations and their mission. She also served as the National Sponsor Chair for Susan G. Komen for The Cure several years in a row.
Julia is the Founder of The Nurse Link, Co., a non-profit organization that connects current, future and aspiring nurses through interactive events and expos. These events allow mentorship and networking amongst nurses at various stages of the profession. She recently hosted the Miami Nurse Expo 2017 and has more events planned for other cities within the coming year! Julia has succeeded in creating the first nursing event that incorporates state-level nursing organizations, specialty ambassadors, nurse-centered brand vendors, and social media influencers by state.
In January 2017, The Nurse Link hosted the Atlanta Nurse Expo which brought out nearly 400 attendees, 37 vendors, and 15 nurse leaders from around the country to speak and mentor Atlanta’s nurses. Her organization also awarded a $1,000 Scholarship to one Georgia State University student in need. Click here for a recap of this Atlanta Nurse Expo 2017.
Julia currently uses her Instagram @thenursejulia and online blog TheNurseJulia.com as an online healthcare resource for the purpose of referencing evidence-based education and general health and fitness information. Through videos and other content, she answers her predominately minority audience’s wide variety of health care questions and concerns.
In addition, she is a brand ambassador for a national scrub brand, media healthcare specialist for a local satellite radio station and writer/contributor for a few online publications.
Danielle LeVeck, BSN, BA, RN, CCRN - Cardiac Surgical ICU
A self-proclaimed “palliative care warrior”, she has dedicated her doctoral project to focusing on obtaining palliative care consultations for end-stage heart failure patients. Oh, and she’s extremely funny! If you want to laugh and learn a lot, go check out her Instagram!
Advice: There are several things I wish I would have known prior to beginning my career. For one, do not underestimate your talents or your importance. Nurses are the closest person to the patient. What this means is, nurses understand their patient’s “normal.” Any slight deviation from “normal” might mean a change in condition and the nurse is the person who will see it first.
Next, people will be mean. Other nurses will be mean, doctors will be mean, and patients will be mean. Do not let the actions of others manipulate the same bitterness, insecurity, and hate from you.
Finally, bring food. Bringing bagels in the morning or baking a treat for your colleagues will get you far. Nursing is a club and one you want to be in. Bringing food is an icebreaker and your fellow nurses will be thankful and open up to you. The nurse who ate the cookies you made for her 1400 pick-me-up, will be the same one to help you clean up poop when no one else is around. Oh, and, welcome to the best career you could have ever chosen.
A little more about me: My overall goal is to inspire and encourage nurses to value their talents and advocate for their undeniably imperative roles in healthcare. The profession of nursing has changed my life and provided me with a fulfilling career in humanities. Nursing has also given me the opportunity to work alongside the most fundamentally, good people, which has, in turn, made me better. I am very thankful for all of these opportunities and hope to give back to nursing over the course of my career.
I graduated with my first Bachelor’s degree and shortly thereafter, decided to attend an accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing program. I graduated in 2011 and started my first nursing job at a university hospital in the cardiac medical ICU. Soon after, I transitioned to the cardiac surgical ICU.
I will be commencing the final year of my Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree at the end of August and will be graduating with dual certifications as an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
I also have a deep passion for my doctoral project, which focuses on obtaining palliative care consultations for end-stage heart failure patients. On the side, I currently work part-time in a general ICU and am a part-time research assistant for studies focusing on the nursing care of memory-impaired patients. Although I wish I had time to write more, I do my best to maintain my blog and social media accounts. Finally, I have an inherent love for cardiac nursing and hope to work as a Nurse Practitioner in a cardiovascular medical or surgical ICU after I graduate.
Read my blog at www.nurseabnormalities.com
- Instagram Followers: 27.5K
Nouha Hassan BSN, RN
Nursing was not her first career choice. In fact, she has used Instagram to document her journey through nursing school and on the job as a Medical Assistant.
Advice: First and foremost, ENJOY the journey! It goes by so quick. I know I may sound crazy but really stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the moments of growth and learning - cherish the time you spend in clinicals.
Second, remember to find time to make friends. The people you meet in nursing school will form a bond like no other. Non-nursing friends are still important but, I promise you, they won’t be able to relate to nursing school stuff. That’s why nursing buddies are so important - to talk about those things no one else will understand.
Third, find a study technique that works for you. What works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for you.
Fourth, take every opportunity to learn and grow. Never stop growing, the medical world evolves so quickly - always stay up to date on the world around you.
Fifth, get a planner! You absolutely need to stay organized. Work schedules, exams, assignment due dates, clinicals, etc. you can’t risk falling behind and organization is key!
Lastly, be empathetic. Don’t be that nurse that just doesn’t care. Love what you do and do what you love.
A little more about me: My official title is, “Jack Of All Trades!” - my educational track did not start with nursing. In fact, I received my first Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Throughout nursing school, I worked full time in a medical facility as a medical assistant and was surrounded by surgeons, physicians, x-ray/radiology technicians, medical billers and patient care facilitators. I learned from all of them. Every day is a learning experience and every moment has contributed to my nursing education.
Look up “resilient” in the dictionary and you might find a picture of nurse Mo! She pays no mind to the naysayers and is on her way to building an empire. Mo has a way of empowering all women, not just nurses, and we love her for it. She’s changing the face of healthcare!
Success did not come easy to Nurse Mo, she’s overcome some tough obstacles to get to where she is today. A Hampton University graduate, she now uses her social media to spread positivity and speak on the power of resilience.
Speaking of resilience, Mo has tapped into entrepreneurship and created the brand, The Resilient Nurse. More than a product brand, this informative website provides advice, inspiration, and support for future and current nurses.
Side note, we’ve personally purchased the candle - it smells amazing, is non-toxic, lasts for hours and doubles as a body oil! The future is female…the present is also female! Here’s a sneak peak at some awesome products.
I AM RESILIENT - LUXE CANDLE/BODY OIL (available: theresilientnurse.com)
WHO RUN THE WORLD TANK (available at theresilientnurse.com)
As a travel nurse, Mo has had the opportunity to work in various aspects of critical care at top institutions throughout the country.
Rona Dadayan, BSN, RN-Stepdown/DOU
She faced multiple obstacles throughout nursing school including failing the NCLEX the first time and having her new grad program shut down. She persevered and now uses her experiences to empower other nurses through YouTube. Did we mention she has over 35K subscribers?!
Advice: I have 3 tips for nursing students and new grad nurses:
Be patient and kind to yourself. The master at anything was once a beginner.
Trust your instincts! If you feel like something doesn’t add up with a new admission that just rolled in or you just have an ‘inkling feeling’ that something is wrong—TRUST IT! Because chances are, you are right and it WILL save your patient’s life.
Don’t be afraid to grow! If it scares you—its a good thing!
A little more about me: I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University with my Associate Degree in Nursing. Shortly after I got my first job as an RN, I went back to the same University for my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Talk about a lot of sleepless nights and extra cups of coffee haha! I started out my career on a Medsurg/Telemetry floor and soon after worked my way up to Pre-Op/PACU. Today I am working at a Trauma Hospital on their Stepdown/DOU Unit. I will be cross-training into the Intensive Care Unit in just a few months, and soon after, Trauma ICU!
There are moments when I am at work and I see nursing students in their all-white uniforms walk into our unit, bright and early, to get a head start on the patient they will care for. As exhausted as I am from my overnight shift, I always love talking to students or cracking a joke with them to ease their anxiety on the floor. Some will recognize me from my YouTube channel and give me a hug, which I’m always up for at 6am! Haha! But I look back and think, wow I have come a long way. I made it. It’s a proud moment that I don’t take for granted. Instead, I look at my journey and think of ways that I can make it easier and less fearful for students and new grad nurses.
It is no secret that I did not pass my NCLEX the first time around. I was also part of a new grad program that fell apart; many of the senior nurses all left, which meant, staffing shortages, no preceptor, and a full load of patients.
I wanted to quit. I can recall many moments where I would sit in the parking lot in tears before my shift began. I remember calling my brother one morning and telling him, “I can’t do this anymore.” It was so hard to push my feet out the car, wipe tears on my scrubs, grab my lunch box and walk into the hospital. I would smile at the security guard when I walked in and just prayed to God for strength as I went into the elevator. Without my family’s support, I would not be the upbeat nurse that I am today. I am that much stronger because of what I went through as a new nurse.