One Year & Going Strong

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Has it really been one year?!!  A year ago I never imagined that my little blog would give me the opportunity to do something I have always love.  I thought my only supporters would be my parents.  In just the last six months, Neonurse has opened many doors for me.  I can’t thank all my friends, family, and, supporters enough!!!

That’s me 13 years ago after my nursing graduation and pinning ceremony.  Who would have known I would end up traveling the world in search of inspiring people, stories.  Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!  So humbled ❤

February Nurse Feature

DSC_0002I am super excited to start featuring an amazing group of nurses from around the world.  I have always loved to travel and explore.  In my own travels, I have met some truly inspiring people.  For any adventure seeking nurses out there, this is a post for you.  Today’s feature is a nurse that has made her way around the U.S. and is now living and working in the U.K.  She proves that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.  If you’re contemplating working as a traveler, here is your inspiration.Meet Tonya.  She is a neonatal nurse originally from the U.S.  She started working as a travel nurse,making her way from Florida to California, and has been since somewhat rooted in London, England.  Her next adventure leads her to Belgium.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Florida.  I did my training in Gainesville at Santa Fe College and my first job was at Shand’s Hospital at the University of Florida.

In what area of nursing do you work? 

I’m currently working in Neonatal ICU, but have previously worked in PICU (Pediatric ICU) and PCICU (Pediatric Cardiac ICU).

How long have you been a nurse? 

14 years

What inspired you to become a nurse?

When I was in high school, my grandmother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I visited her in the hospital and saw the nurses caring for her.  I was inspired by their compassionate and caring nature.

What advice would you give a new nurse? 

#1  And most important!

Take time to renew and recharge yourself. Our jobs are stressful and heart breaking and no one really prepares you for life as a nurse. Have nursing friends (because they will always understand and be able to commiserate), but have non nursing friends too (because they will keep you sane and stop you from talking about work so much).

#2  

Don’t let old tired nurses get you down or pick on you, tell them where to shove it! We eat our young in this profession and I don’t know why. Find experienced nurses that you trust and feel comfortable asking for advice and guidance.  They are there in your unit and are more than happy to pass on their knowledge.  And just ignore the grumpy bitches that are always complaining.

#3  

Drink Wine!!

What advice would you give a tired nurse?

Take a break because you’re not doing anyone any good by hanging around and possibly making mistakes.  Back to my advice for new nurses, take time to renew and recharge.  Patient safety is always our priority and we make mistakes when we are tired and run down.

How did you end up in London?

So England happened by chance. I met my friend Kate in Boston. She had done her registration for Australia and I had been looking into going to the UK. I kind of talked her into traveling over with me. So we did all the paperwork to get registered in the UK and found the travel company to sponsor us, and the rest is history.

What are some big differences between working in the U.S. and England?

I can’t really remember the differences, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked in the US.  As far as NICU is concerned I think taking care of the babies is the same. The nurse responsibilities and doctors responsibilities are different.  The doctors draw blood and start all the IVs and Picc/Long lines. It’s a different kind of work load. They do weird things like hourly feeds and nurses are responsible for cleaning. It is just all a little different from home.  It’s the equipment and processes that are different. The most annoying thing is working within a public system. At home we are used to efficiency and organization.  It just seems to take so much time to get anything done here.  I do have to say that the follow up care here is excellent. Our unit has an outreach team that follows the babies home which sometimes allows them to go home earlier.  There are also Health Visitors that follow a newborn from birth to 5 years old, so the hospital system is frustrating but the community services are great.

Where to Next?

My next move is to Belgium, for my fiancé’s new job.  I have to learn the language first, but may eventually look into working there.

 

 

Thank you so much, Tonya, for contributing!!  Looking forward to sharing our next feature, a nurse on a mission in the Philippines.  Thanks for taking the time to read!!  Now for some wine ❤

Wellness on the Road

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Happy weekend, friends!  I am super excited to announce that I am starting to write a regular post for The Gypsy Nurse that I like to call “Wellness on the Road.”  It combines my love for wellness and life as a nurse.  The Gypsy Nurse is a great resource for any healthcare professional that travels or is considering traveling.  Below is my first entry.  Hope you like!!

Wellness on the Road ❤

 

 

Remembering Edith

 

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It feels like ages since I last wrote. Have missed you all ❤ Between shock, loss, grief, more loss, jet lag, and trying to get back to some kind of a routine, I have slacked off a bit. At the same time, it also requires some outside inspiration to write. Today that inspiration is Edith.

When I visited The Florence Nightingale Museum in London last June, I had the pleasure of learning about Edith Cavell-yet another inspiring and amazing nurse that went above and beyond. She gave her life protecting her patients, allied soldiers in WWI.

Wow, she gave her life protecting her patients! It is said that “during WWI, she treated all soldiers regardless of nationality.” According to Edith, “each man is a father, husband or son” and that “the profession of nursing knows no frontiers.” Before she was executed, she managed to help over 200 soldiers escape an otherwise ill fate.

Thank you for your service, Edith. Thank you for putting others before yourself. Thank you for being so brave. It kind of makes me rethink complaining the next time I miss my dinner break at work because we were understaffed and overworked.

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Tools for Surviving Night Shift

Most nurses are creatures of habit. We develop routines before going to work, have routines while at work, and have routines when we get home. How many can relate to this?? This week was my first week back on the job. I’m a night shift nurse by heart.  I like the pace, people, and pay.

I reluctantly started night shift on my first travel assignment in 2006. It was not by choice, but after a week of nausea and confusion, I was hooked! There isn’t the constant buzz and whir that one experiences on day shift in a hospital. Nights are great for those of us who become easily distracted, as long as you can stay awake.

Working nights is no joke when it comes to the effects it has on the body.  More and more research is finding a connection between shift work and increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity, and insomnia.  That’s why it’s so important to try to make sleeping well, eating well, and exercising a part of life.  Don’t get me wrong, I eat chips and drink soda sometimes, but it’s all about balance.  I try (keyword try) to limit the junk to one day a week.

I thought I’d share some of my routines for surviving night shift. It’s a process that is years in the making, thus time tested.

Stay hydrated

I usually have one or two cups of tea before work.  It gives a little pick me up and has the added advantage of antioxidants.  I might have a cup of tea on my first break at work too as well, but I have a rule of no caffeine too late for fear of interfering with my sleep.  I also pre hydrate with water before work in case it’s so crazy busy I don’t have time initially to drink.   Every chance I get, I drink a glass of water.

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Sleep

It’s so essential to sleep and sleep well. Whatever it takes. I know that my bedroom has to be as dark as possible and cool. If the temperature is off even by a degree or two I can sense it. I use an eye pillow filled with flax seed and lavender (highly recommend). Eye pillows block all light, can relieve headaches and eye tension, and allow for a deep state of relaxation. The weight of the flax seed in the eye pillow is said to add needed acupressure points around the eyes. The added benefit of lavender has a further calming effect.

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My homemade lavender eye pillow with flax seed. Highly recommend!!

Eat

I eat healthiest actually on the nights I work. I know my body needs the best fuel possible to stay alert. I eat dinner at home before going in. Baked salmon with a garlic yogurt sauce is my favorite. Both are high in protein and hold me almost the entire night. I bring fruit, nuts, and sometimes yogurt as well to snack on all night. The nuts and yogurt give the energy I need and hold me for a while, plus it is easy to eat quickly if needed.

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My favorite dish!!! Organic Norwegian Salmon with Couscous and a garlic yogurt sauce. Yum!!!

Exercise

I practice yoga nearly every day, sometimes it is only fifteen minutes with my legs up the wall with my eye pillow and deep breaths, sometimes it is a full invigorating practice that challenges my strength and endurance. It depends on how I am feeling that particular day.

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Viparita Karani, my favorite yoga pose. Perfect for stress relief, headache relief, and to ease into sleep. Should be a daily routine in the life of a nurse. Contraindicated for those with high blood pressure, glaucoma, or severe neck/back injury. Use your own discretion. Try for 5-15 minutes and let me know what you think!!

Stay busy

As we all know, this is usually not a problem. We are often faced with an admission or a decline in our patient’s status when we are most tired (right around 5 am). I usually have a routine of cleaning everything around my patient early in the shift. As I get more tired, if I have nothing patient related to do, I clean and stock.

What are your routines???  Would love to hear!!