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Nurse Spotlight: Chelsea Williams, BS, BSN, RN

A couple of months ago we had chance to chat with another one of our favorite nurses! She was kind enough to share her story with us and we wanted to share it with you all as we highlight her as a nurse and all of her accomplishments. We would like to introduce Chelsea Williams!

“If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago if I saw myself becoming a nurse I would’ve said heck no! I was honestly very misinformed about nursing and had no idea how many opportunities there were as a nurse.” Chelsea share with us that it wasn’t until she suffered a third degree burn from a grease fire that she found herself. She had to have multiple surgeries including a skin graft, and many follow up visits, which meant many trips to the burn center. She gained a greater appreciation for nurses and honestly felt like she had found her calling. She was on a pharmacy track at first, but decided to graduate with her degree in biology and then go back to school for nursing. 

She is now proud to reintroduce herself as Chelsea Williams, BS, BSN, RN and founder of Living In Scrubs by Chels. She created her brand with intentions of highlighting the nursing profession and being a positive role model for those to come. Nurses and healthcare professionals live in scrubs most days so that is the name she ran with!

She states, “I believe we are not just nurses but we are the chosen ones, we are healers, we are believers, and go-getters. An athlete is an athlete on and off the field, everyday they must train, they must maintain a healthy lifestyle, and put in the work to achieve greatness. The same goes for nurses. I am not just a nurse, but I seek to be an inspiration to others.”

She goes on to say, “Nursing is not always glamorous it is hard work. To all of my nursing students, “Study hard with the end in mind. Know that nothing worth having comes easy. Be prepared for it to rain and to get wet if you want the beautiful flower to grow. Also have confidence in yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

She shared that she believes her journey truly allows her to be more compassionate for others. You really never know who’s watching and a smile can go a long way. Chelsea Williams is definitely Not Just A Nurse but so much more!

XOXO, 

Nurse Chels 

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Becoming a Midwife….

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By: Katrina Rollins

I must warn you the road of midwifery is not an easy one. In fact, you may have to be half mad to desire it. There will be late nights, missed holidays, and time away from loved ones. It will require not only sacrifice through time but heart and soul. It will be harsh, yet beautiful all at once. You will never be bored and the excitement will always be present. It will be unpredictable and a venture into the unknown everyday. You will cry. You will laugh. You will connect with strangers in a way that is out of this world. Burn out is prevalent. However, it is an experience that only a small few have the honor to have. You will believe in miracles again and see just how resilient we are, even from birth. If you just think it’s a great way to make money, PLEASE believe me there are easier ways and run now! If you are intrigued and captivated by the beauty of birth, something so raw and real in our times of advanced technology. If you believe that women are powerful and fearless. If you believe that women deserve to take control of their bodies again, then I invite you to consider the field of midwifery. I will share my path to becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife.

The first step to becoming a Nurse Midwife is to become a nurse. Since you will eventually need to gain an advanced degree to specialize in midwifery, you want to make sure you receive your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. If you start with an Associate degree, you will first have to earn your Bachelor degree before obtaining a Master or Doctorate. However, if you already have an Associate degree or feel it would be more obtainable at this moment, some schools offer bridge programs to go from an Associate to Master degree. I personally attended Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland to pursue my Bachelor degree. This was a second Bachelor degree for me, as I already had a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. It is becoming more common these days for individuals to enter the nursing profession as a career change. Though I never worked in psychology, these principles definitely help me communicate with families during difficult situations. Although Johns Hopkins is on the expensive side of nursing schools, I was afforded opportunities that would not have been available elsewhere. Instead of doing a typical nursing externship during the summer between my first and second year, I received a generous grant to spend 10 weeks in South Africa researching domestic violence and the role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. This experience was priceless and made me realize that nurses have unlimited career paths beyond the bedside or clinical care. Additionally, I was blessed with the opportunity to complete my senior nursing practicum at a hospital in Abu Dhabi. Johns Hopkins had a partnership with this hospital in Abu Dhabi, which made this exchange possible. I am not saying you have to attend a university as expensive to have a worthwhile nursing education. I honestly believe the education is similar to other programs, but I did want to point out benefits I received unique to my program. At the end of the day, choose the school that works well for you, your schedule, and budget.

Once you finish nursing school, sit for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), and apply to be a registered nurse in your state, you can either work as a nurse for a while or go straight to graduate school. I personally went straight through because I knew I wanted to be a Nurse Midwife and didn’t desire to delay the process. However, there is nothing wrong with getting your toes wet first by actually working in the field and determining if a certain specialty is for you. I struggled more in Midwifery school than those who had previous L&D experience, but now that I am actually in practice, I do not see much difference. Again, choose the right decision for you. I attended Emory University in Atlanta to pursue my Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in Midwifery. Since I’m crazy, I also obtained a Master of Public Health with a specialty in Global Health. Emory is also very expensive and honestly did not offer those unique opportunities I had at Johns Hopkins. It really wasn’t worth the money for me, but I was blessed with a scholarship. Almost all the midwives I work with received their education through Frontier Nursing University. It is a reputable online program and is convenient if there are no midwifery schools in your area. However, you do have to find your own preceptor, which can be extremely frustrating. When I graduated, you only needed to complete 40 births, but I strongly recommend doing way more than this.

After you have put in the years and work attaining your degrees, the next step is to take the certification exam through the American Midwifery Certification Board (almost $500!). I literally took the exam two days after graduation and passed because the information was fresh in my mind. Once you are certified, you can then apply to become a registered Nurse Practitioner in your state. If it sounds like a lot, well it’s because it is. However, if this is truly your dream and you have weighed the pros/cons, then the profession needs you, especially if you are a woman of color. Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from childbirth complications than their white counterparts. This is an alarming and disgusting statistic that affects real lives. Sadly, the same racism that prevails in society translates into the labor room. One of the main ways to combat this issue is to train more women of color as midwives and OB/GYNs. If you feel this is your calling, please contact me for additional questions.

xoxo, Global Midwife

https://www.katrinarollins.com

http:// https://www.instagram.com/globalmidwife/

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Nurse Spotlight: Kim Darpoh, BSN, RN

Ever since I was a young girl I just knew that nursing was the right career for me. I’ve always had a kind and nurturing personality, so nursing just always seemed like a good fit, and I turned out to be right. Kim describes her nursing journey as being by no means easy. She had two major life events happen to her while in nursing school. She got married to the love of her life and had a beautiful baby girl. Despite acquiring two new roles, one being a wife and the other a mom Kim still pressed forward. She states, “I would be lying to you if I said it wasn’t challenging.” She goes on to say, “It certainly was, but I had a great support system to help me through it.” When she graduated nursing school she was lead to share her journey with masses of people on Instagram. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, and educate as many people as she could in her lifetime. With each post she puts on Instagram she wants to make sure that she is doing that. Kim genuinely wants people to be the best versions of their selves and do whatever God has called them to do. She officially started her own blog and website to serve as another outlet to reach more people and provide them with advice related to nursing school and life. 

We asked Kim, How do you live the mantra of Not Just Nurses each day? Her response was, “I live this mantra by simply embracing my role as both a wife and mom. For me it’s important to spend time with my family outside of work. I also think its important to do things you love, and for me that includes traveling around the world and inspiring others through my platform.”
We also asked Kim, what is one piece of advice you would give to nursing students or aspiring nurses? She responded, “One piece of advice I would give to nursing students or aspiring nurses is to believe in yourself. You are literally capable of doing anything you put your mind to. Take that to heart and when the going gets rough remember to keep going, and know that YOU CAN DO IT!”

The last thing we asked Kim to share with us was, “How do you use your journey to inspire others and spread love?”
She states, “I use my journey to inspire others by sharing my struggles. We often like to look at the finished product and think that people reached their goals with no struggles along the way. However, that is far from the truth. I think when we share our struggles it humanizes us and inspires others to keep pushing in spite of their obstacles. ” Thank you Kim for allowing us to shine light on you and your story! She is absolutely Not Just A Nurse!!

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Nurse Spotlight: Audrianna Merisma, RN

This young woman is amazing y’all. Audri is a 25 year old cardiac progressive registered nurse. She is also the founder of Nurse Goals ( @rn.goals) on Instagram, which she founded in the summer of 2018. She has been a nurse for a year and a half and has no issue showcasing that she is Not Just A Nurse! Audri shares, “We all know that nursing school has a notorious reputation for being “challenging”, which it is. This reputation intimidates a lot of people and deters them away from our profession, because they may feel “I’m not smart enough” or “I won’t pass.” I have personally mentored and encouraged a lot of potential students and let them know that nursing is a goal you CAN achieve!”

Her vision is to provide an inspirational haven for students and nurses.  While she loves to showcase the joys of our profession, it wouldn’t be real to her if she didn’t expose the woes. Audri, wants future nurses to know about certain issues (bullying, increasing patient ratios, burnout, etc) that they may encounter and how to handle them when they occur. She states, “The more we openly discuss these obstacles, the less “taboo” they become, so I’m excited for Nurse Goals to provide that platform as well!”

When asked these two questions, “How do you live the mantra of Not Just Nurses each day,” and “How do you use your journey to inspire others and spread love? ” Audri replied, ” I live the mantra because not only do I heal the lives of patients as a nurse, but I also love to heal the minds of nursing students and new nurses. This is specifically why I became a preceptor and also why I started Nurse Goals.  She shares that she wants to give back to our nursing community by fostering a “no eating/bullying” environment. She goes on to say that, the future of nursing is in the hand of these individuals and they should be supported and guided every step of the way, not bullied and shot down with toxic energy they experience too often. This is Audrianna’s small way of spreading love and inspiration. We asked Audri for some advice for our nursing students or aspiring nurses and here’s what she had to say! “Wow, I have so much I can say but one that speaks to me right now, is make sure you’re going into nursing with the right intentions. Nursing can be extremely challenging to the mind, body, and soul. You really have to enjoy what you do and nurse from the heart. If your unhappy it WILL show in your practice.”

Audrianna is definitely Not Just A Nurse! You guys can follow her platform on Instagram to stay updated!

Nurse Spotlight: Jannel Gooden, RN

Everyone please meet Jannel Gooden!

 

      This amazing soul is the founder of Novice is the New Nurse, LLC and has a platform that encourages new nurses to trust themselves all while teaching them to be successful in their new roles as a nurse!

When asked the story of how she got to where she is now Jannel replied, “Ahhh! Telling the story of how I got “here” is always tricky because I am not where I want to be, but I constantly have to practice gratitude to remember I am not where I used to be and that’s special enough. If it all stopped here, I would have taken a good stab at breaking generational curses and there is magic in that effort. I believe all things worked together to get me to this very spot. No one single event contributed to these moments, rather the compound effect of each circumstance, each hardship, each win, each lost, every hand of support and every back turned.”

Jannel grew up in a single parenthood with her mother who worked 16 hours a day, 5 days a week most of her childhood. She understood her mother’s sacrifice early on and did not take it lightly. Her junior year of college, after  she accumulated credits towards a nonexistent major, She realized she was not in a place that would allow her to thrive post-graduation. With Loans and no real interest, Jannel had no idea what to do for a career. She states, The ability to dream is a privilege. Some people don’t even understand the luxury in that.” Growing up in the Bronx, she wasn’t always given the luxury of dreams because her reality was too thick to waste time on the “impossible”. She adds, “You are taught very quickly the necessity in securing a decent paying job so you can carry on with the routines of life. In that moment in my dorm room, junior year of college, I made a decision. Not one that my heart bursted in joy over but one out of necessity!” Jannel’s mother had been a Certified Nurse’s Aide since she came to this country, so it was natural for her to land in the role of nursing. So, she did! She applied to the College of New Rochelle’s School of Nursing and started that Fall. Jannel goes on to say, “I was a smart girl. I knew it was going to be doable. I just needed to find the passion in it. I didn’t know the how’s but my faith would not let me just wither into a routine. I wanted extraordinary. I wanted to be great. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to be the one to show everyone that anything was possible. Like the Oprah’s of the world. I still want all those things.”

 

Jannel strongly believes that nursing saved her. Nursing opened her eyes to her talents and her infinite creative nature that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. In 2012, when she graduated nursing and started her career, she started to take inventory of my interests. She immediately considered going back to school but had no idea for what. She knew she wanted to travel more and see the world with her new income and schedule flexibility but she was so stressed by her new journey in nursing. She was forced to put a lot of things gently to the side to unfold at a more appropriate time. Her focus ultimately turned inward.

Being a new nurse for Jannel was hard. She shares that, she started feeling things that nursing school didn’t even make her feel. She states, “I was anxious. I never knew anxiety until the summer of 2012. I was anxious during work. That turned into anxiety after work. I started feeling nauseous at the start of my shifts. It became misery for me. I couldn’t understand why nursing made me feel so wiped out. I turned to journaling. I started writing out my feelings. Those feelings turned into stories. Those stories turned into advice. I started creating for the new nurses I had no idea were coming. I was just honoring my feelings and that blossomed.” “It blossomed into Novice is the New Nurse. A platform created to encourage and empower the new graduate nurse by giving them actionable steps to flourish in their new roles.”

 

Ashley Kennedy, who is the other half of NITNN, was a travel nurse at her staff hospital in NYC. Jannel started reading to her, her passages. She told her that she wanted it to be a book. She wanted, and still wants to, and claims that she will be a NY Times Bestselling author. In that moment, she decided that for the world to buy a book, they needed to know who she was first! They never stopped creating together. The result of that was the birth of their social media presence.

 

Not everyone understood their vision from the beginning. Jannel goes on to say, “I remember when we first created the page, I texted my entire contact list and told them to follow. I got on my FB and announced it. I was relentless! No one initially followed. It was discouraging. I often spent too many days wondering how we would get from that point to anywhere else. It’s so hard to believe it will unfold when you are sitting under the rock of your own self doubt. The most honest part of this journey that no one talks about is how hard it is to remain consistent when you are discouraged. Finding your passion and moving into your purpose becomes such an emotional rollercoaster because everything in you wants it to work out just the way you envision.”

 

When asked the question what does the mission of Not Just Nurses mean to her Jannel replied, “Everything we do daily is a testament to the Not Just Nurses mantra. We are creatives. We honor our gifts both at and away from the bedside. We develop our ideas.” “I am not just a nurse. I am a writer. I am an entrepreneur. I am a public speaker. I am a world traveler. I used my profession to facilitate the infinite possibilities that exist in this lifetime and I am still unlocking more every day.”

Her advice for nursing students is this,

“For every nursing student and aspiring nurse, please remember,

Don’t Rush.

Take your time,

Nursing is not a race.

There is no finish line.

Only the journey.

Everything in its own timing. We are always racing to get it all done that we forget that every task has its own divine timing. Be consistent but don’t feel like you need to be in a hurry.”

 

Jannel leaves us with this statement, “Part of my life’s purpose is to move in love. Part of moving in love is recognizing your gifts and using them to their fullest. So even when its uncomfortable, even when I feel embarrassed, even when it’s not received well, I still keep sharing because if even one person feels blessed by what I shared then I’ve done my best!” Jannel Gooden is NOT JUST A NURSE she is so much more and we are happy to have her be apart of the Not Just Nurses platform!