Betina Austin: ‘Life should not be taken for granted’

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So proud of the amazing work one of our previously featured nurses, Betina, continues to do.  Her courage to help otherwise helpless infants makes her a nurse hero.  Read about her experience working with Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan.  Way to go, Betina!  Keep up the amazing work ❤

Betina Austin: ‘Life should not be taken for granted’


Tips for Self Care During the Winter

cropped-fullsizerender-48.jpgDepending on where in the world you work during winter, the cold and dark days might seem endless.  Having grown up in sunny Florida, moving to Sweden was a huge change, particularly with regard to the climate.  Working long shifts during winter time can really dampen ones affect, especially if you are working as a travel nurse in a cold and unfamiliar climate.  When those sunny days are few and far between, what can you do?

With the help and expertise of Swedish friends and family through the years, I have learned to embrace the short days and make the best of them.  Here are just a few ways that I hope will help you as well.

Get Outside


There is a famous saying in Sweden, “det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder.”  It essentially means there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.  In other words, with the right amount of layers, there is no excuse not to get outside.  Swedes find every opportunity to get outside and walk.  Coming from an automobile rich society, I was reluctant at first to all the walks.  Soon enough I began to understand what every Swede has always known.  Getting outside and walking in nature gives time for relaxation and reflection.  Walking alone releases endorphins and improves mood, sleep, and self-esteem.  It is a perfect way to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Find a nature reserve near you or bundle up and take a stroll along your favorite beach.

Create Coziness


My favorite word is Swedish is called mysig.  It means coziness and is best represented in the dark days of winter.  Create a cozy area in your home.  Indoor plants are a great way to bring life in to an otherwise dormant outside.  Candles are a great and easy way to light up the darkness.  If you have a fireplace, why not use it?  The sounds, smell, and sight of a crackling fire are so relaxing.  My husband and I do not have a fireplace, but sometimes when we are cooking dinner together, we turn on a virtual fireplace on our Apple TV.  It surprisingly has a truly relaxing effect.

Don’t Hibernate


Make plans to get out and meet friends.  Whether it is lunch or coffee, force yourself on your days off to get out of the house.  When I first moved to Sweden, I just wanted to stay inside during the winter.  It was too cold to go outside I thought.  Hibernation is not the key to surviving winter.  It is a quick downward spiral to Seasonal Affective Disorder.  On your days off, get out even just for a bit.

Take Care of Mind & Body


Winter has a drying effect on the skin and body.  Be sure to stay extra hydrated.  Drink plenty of water.  Avoid long hot showers or baths.  Be sure to moisturize after you shower.  Even the lips can become dry and cracked.  Use a  moisturizer on your lips as well.  Exercise, exercise, exercise!!  Whether it’s a walk or a short but daily yoga practice, make a commitment to take care of your mind as well as body.

Eat Well


It is easy in winter to fill up on empty carbs and high calorie foods.  I find my body just craves more calories and junk in winter.  Try to balance these cravings with healthy choices as well.  Pick one day a week where you eat whatever you want or crave.  On the other days, make healthier choices like fruit and nuts for snacks and hearty soups instead of the heavy carbs.

Here is to surviving what’s left of winter!  What are some of your favorite winter survival tips?




Beyond the Bedside: Why Nurses Are Never Truly Off Duty

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You have probably experienced the following multiple times in your career.  A family member or friend asks you to take a look at a growth they are concerned about.  Perhaps a loved one was recently prescribed a new medication?  While it is beyond our scope of practice to diagnose, it is not beyond our scope of practice to suggest that our friend or family member have that growth looked at, what kinds of tests to anticipate, and what kinds of questions to ask the doctor.  It is not beyond our scope of practice to check that family member’s new drug against any other prescribed medications to be sure there is no risk of adverse drug interaction.  Being a nurse follows us far beyond a twelve-hour shift.  Our patients are those we are assigned as well as strangers on the bus, our best friends, our children, or our parents.  The following are just a few reasons why while a nurse may have clocked out, he or she is never truly off duty.


Do you assess every individual you encounter in a public place?  If you are anything like me, you size up every customer in the grocery store or passenger when boarding a plane.  Perhaps you keep a close eye on the slow moving lady on the bus who appears out of breath?  The public counts on us to be its eyes.  How many of you were the first to recognize a stranger in distress?


Our listening skills are honed in many ways from day one in our training.  Nurses listen. We listen to sounds of the body and words of our patients.  Our ears are trained to recognize everything from a heart murmur or wheezing to signs of depression or risk for suicide.  We are looking for any clues in what information we are being given that would indicate further investigation is needed.


As part of our profession, our education is ongoing.  As treatment evolves, so does our skill set and experience.  While our knowledge and experience may belong to a specialty, we are still rooted in the foundation of our training.  We know enough to recommend what kinds of questions a loved one should ask a doctor when being seen.


A nurse is prepared both on and off duty.  We are prepared for the questions.  We are prepared to give advice and references.  We are prepared to administer any life saving care in any situation.  Preparation becomes second nature.

As part of one of the most trusted professions, nurses are a frequent sought out resource for public health information.  As such, friends, family, and complete strangers will confide in us.  It is why we are never truly off duty.  It is part of what makes being a nurse such an honor.


Change is Good

IMG_4614Happy New Year, nurse friends!!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season ❤  2018 has already presented itself with some huge changes.  Mighty Nurse, the online nursing community that I have been writing for over the past couple years, has been absorbed by a much bigger company and as such will no longer be offering an online platform for nurses, nursing students, and other healthcare professionals.

It has been a wonderful experience where I was able to share my experience as a nurse with nearly one million readers every week.  Mighty Nurse gave me a platform and the freedom to write.  I will be forever grateful to Brock and everyone there for giving me the opportunity.

My first thought was what next?  Fear of change and the unknown can be paralyzing to some, but it is just the reality and evolution of life.  The best thing is to mourn it and move on.  Embrace change.  You never know what is just around the corner.

My hope is to continue offering you sound advice and tips for navigating life as a nurse both here and elsewhere.  You will still find me contributing to American Nurse Today, AWHONN, and The Gypsy Nurse.  I am always open to suggestions from any fellow bloggers out there as well.  Anyone know of a good next step in the online nursing community? Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!



Beyond the Bedside: 4 Ways to Spread Compassion this Season

Mighty NurseChristmas is a time when even the stingiest can feel a sense of compassion and good will.  As nurses, the core of our work stems from the word compassion. It is our fuel. For most, our compassion meters run high during the season. However, sometimes we can run low and find ourselves stricken with compassion fatigue.  We give our undivided time to our patients as well as family and friends during this season which can be tiring in the end. So how do we spread compassion this season and remain balanced?  It’s simple. Follow these few steps. 

4 Ways to Spread Compassion this Season

Tips for the Nurse to Ease the Holiday Blues

cropped-img_46591.jpgWith the holidays fast approaching, it is hard not to feel a sense of magic in the air. The lights, the music, and the food give a sense of warmth this time of year. Unfortunately, anyone that works at the bedside full time has an obligatory holiday shift each year. While many become acclimated to this reality, there are those that could use a little cheering up. The following are just a few tips for making it through your holiday shift this year..

Tips for the Nurse to Ease the Holiday Blues

Student Nurse Series: Please Wash Your Hands

nursing-shortageMy previous posts have been advice and encouragement for you, the student. My hope was to inspire you to stay strong through school and see the reward that becoming a nurse can offer. You have many years of stability, security, and integrity ahead of you. The world is your oyster. You have the option to stay in your home town and see your career to retirement or you can travel the world one patient at a time. While we may meet again in future posts, I find no better way to sum up this series of posts with one final and most critical piece of advice. This time, it is more for the sake of your patients. Here goes. Please wash your hands….

Student Nurse Series: Please Wash Your Hands

Student Nurse Series: 4 Reasons to Finish Nursing School


It is only human to question what you are doing with your life. Most of us would like to make some small difference in the world.   Becoming a nurse means making a huge difference in the world one patient at a time. But what happens when the pressure of nursing school feels so heavy that you just want to give up? I was there and would love to share with you what I wish I could say to my student nurse self 15 years ago….

4 Reasons to Finish Nursing School