This episode is from the recent #thursdayroundtable #livewithrollis.
Here, we talked about Staffing During Covid.
Feat: Dr. Z who will speak on her experience having taken the covid-19 vaccine.
Dr. Reezena H. Malaska, DNP, MSN, RN, CCRN
Noelle Kohles MSN, RN
Kristina Rolfes, BSN, RN
Welcome to the show, all of you and I'm gonna start off with my top left hand corner which is Miss Kristina Rolfes, doesn't it right.
I always say ralphus. ralphus Thank you, Miss Kristina Rolfes, Welcome to show.
Thank you very much for having me. Awesome. Yeah. Very glad and then we have another familiar face here, which is Noel Coles How are you today. I'm good, how are you fine is frogs here, fine as frogs. Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Yes, very glad to have you bullfrogs here actually. And of course, they brought design up here so I'm very fine. All right, and then we have Dr. Melaska, how are you raising them Alaska, welcome to the show.
I am great I'm great. I'm excited. Thank you for having me. The one thing I do want to let you know is the last time you had me on your show which was a few weeks ago, I was in Houston, Texas and I'm in cold cold Indiana right now. Oh wow, Indiana, I was wondering about where you're related and I remembered. You mentioned something like that. Well, yeah, I drove 11 160 miles from Houston Texas with my kitty cat over two days. Yeah, what's your kitty cats name lucky boy.
Okay, well glad you made it and one of the things we talked about the last time is that you said you were going to take the vaccine you were one of the ones had been chosen. And then we promised we're going to have you back on the show after you take in it. Just to kind of tell us about your experience so we want to start off with that. And it looks like our chats working too which is great, fantastic. Okay, so we were all waiting in anticipation. What was it like, what was it like taking the vaccine.
So the first one, I don't know if I'd spoken to you after taking the first one but the first one was December 16 at 145 in the afternoon. And I wasn't expecting the side effects that I got from that one. It started about five to six hours I started off having chills. And then about at the seven hour mark. I had this intense headache backache general body pain, joint pain. The taste in my mouth was gone. It felt horrible. And it was awful. It was awful. But at the 24 hour mark the headache was gone. You know that I had a i, the backache was kind of gone. I still have the joint pain, you know, and then at the 36 hour mark. It was like nothing happened. I mean, it was just like, That's it. That's it. Wow. But what I did what I did. At that point, right so what I did was I pre medicated myself because I was a little scared because I have three autoimmune disorders. Two of them are a result of latex damage to my body. So I didn't know how I would respond, however, I've never had a bad reaction from the flu vaccine or any other vaccines I've taken so I have some confidence with that. So what I did was what we would do Noelle and Christina with our patients is you premedicate them with Benadryl and Tylenol, I did that the night before. I did the Benadryl in the morning and I did the Tylenol an hour before I went in to get the shot. Once I got there and I had this in houston texas at a Methodist Houston Methodist Hospital. There was a physician there who was one of the first ones to get the vaccine. And he advised us to take 1000 milligrams of Tylenol before we went to bed that night. And lo and behold, he was absolutely right, it worked. Now, since then, I've had the second vaccine yesterday. And I sat there and waited and waited and waited for the side effects to kick in and he didn't until 5am this morning.
Oh, yeah, so I had it at 3:30pm in Munster Indiana, and what I did was I took Tylenol before I went in did not do the Benadryl. And then, I can't, I went shopping for some food just in case today it was horrible. And then I took Tylenol last night. I kept taking it around the clock with Motrin in between. And then at 5am. The side effects started, it was a little headache and general body aches, a little back pain, but no fever, which was odd, because the first one I had a fever, that went away. So, I got up at eight o'clock. And I started having a little bit of the chills and I was like well I boasted to everyone I didn't have the chills and now I did, but it only lasted about half an hour. And then what I've been doing since then is pushing fluids and taking Tylenol and Motrin however at 12 noon today. I was feeling awful and I'm like, how am I going to get through this afternoon. So I thought about it and I said you know what, I'm going to take 1000 milligrams of Tylenol yeah i know i'm going to be like working my liver really hard. Honestly, my pain went from a nine to attend to right now, it's about a two to a three. Boom. Okay. Yes. Yes sir, yes. Oh, okay.
And I can tell you that I do not regret taking it okay if I could do it with my autoimmune disorders, anybody can do it. Right. And I think that's also, you know, a contributing factor to and correct me if I'm wrong and you know compared to the others that have had the vaccine why you probably had more of a sensitive reaction. I have an autoimmune disease too and I would expect that as well. On to have more side effects and maybe perhaps other people, what have you, what have you been hearing for Xena with others.
So what is really interesting is when I was at Methodist we were all comparing ourselves right and all us women, for whatever reason, we were having all these side effects. Interesting autoimmune disorders are not, you know, the guys were like, Oh, I was fine except for a sore arm I'm fine. Well yeah, I forgot about the sore arm you know that the site that you get it, it hurts like like hell. Yeah, so I don't know I'm very curious, you know, because we've been discussing that, why is it the men don't have the effects but us women do
that's interesting that you say that because my colleagues here that are physicians that got the shot we're like, We're fine. And they were all men. Yeah, I have not talked to one healthcare professional here, that was a female that got the shot so now I'm curious too We're gonna do like our own controlled study here. Yes, I know I really want to know what makes that different.
And these were like, these were like, ages across the spectrum right you know young in between older like me you know that sort of stuff. So I thought it was really really interesting you know, it's interesting. It is interesting, one female that has gotten it. Um, and I know a bunch but, um, but as far as somebody that I communicate frequently with and hers was just the, you know, sore arm. So she didn't have any other side effects. But, but I you know now that you mentioned all to check in with my nurse colleagues I really only keep in touch with over Facebook so just saw like the pictures of Justin to find out, do you mind telling us if you got them a journal or their Pfizer oh I got the Pfizer so I was one of the first 1000 nurses to get the Pfizer on December 16, and really you know the hospital invited me early on, you know by email. I'm a traveler so I wasn't expecting them to do that because you know we're like, well you know we're travelers. But they did, and so everybody thought I was crazy to be the first one to sign up. And my roommate she's a traveler too. And she goes, z, I'm going to wait until you get yours and see how you do when I go well she bangs you know she says well if you die, you know, or something bad goes wrong, you know, we'll take care of you but she wasn't even around she went home. Oh, sure the time I got it, but I do recall my cat sitting there looking at me as I was writhing in pain after the first shot. He was sitting there looking at me all upset. And I guess he was looking over me and all I remember was, I keep getting up to take a drink or something, or take Tylenol or Motrin, you know, this time around. He knew that I wasn't feeling good this morning. So he came and nestled up next to me and slept next to me with his body right up against me so if I moved, he moved, you know.
Oh wow, okay, so I want to finally get my opinion. It's so funny because earlier I was like doing like this to see. See, the thing is, when you're looking at zoom and you're not looking at your other screen, it's a total delete. Oh I you know what no i didn't see him I'm so sorry. It's okay.
Okay. Hey look, it's no problem. No problem. I have learned over the years I've learned over the years and, you know, I didn't want you guys had such a great banter between the I just like I can't say something and just disruptive thought because it was flowing so well. But I wanted to just, first of all, thank you for all of you being of service, you know, to the healthcare community, and I wanted to shine a light to thank Dr. resent him Alaska for taking the virus. The virus the vaccines. And, and giving us this feedback, and you went through all that even though you had the autoimmune disease and everything. So I just want to show my appreciation, with this. That's what I wanted to do I want to show my appreciation Thank you, I appreciate that.
And then also we have quite a few that have already kind of jumped in and said hello at least one or two we want to just recognize. So Joe, I know we have a couple at least one or two folks that have said something's All right.
Yes, actually, so it's myself, and Pete Kay Shirley, which I'm not sure if that's her name, are
the good Cheryl. Oh sure, Cheryl, I think. It surely. Is it surely really, it looks like it but we could, we could sort of make this a game right now, respond and let us know how genetically, genetically thinking thank you you read my mind we want to ask her to please phonetically spell your name right. Shirley, and she's a nurse, and she is a nurse, which is awesome. Well thank you glad you're here. Okay, I have a question for all of you. Before we get into some more serious staffing stuff okay, would you would you would you choose to only need two hours of sleep a night, if it meant you would die seven years earlier. Would you trade. sleep four hours off your life. No, no, no, I I don't function.
What if you could function perfectly off for two hours asleep, but it would take seven years off your life, or you can get the normal amount of sleep, and the regular amount regular amount,
and then just die whenever. Yeah. All right, well, cool how I am. Yeah, that's what surprised me. Okay.
All right, so, so if you knew it was gonna cost you seven years off your life, you would not want to deprive yourself of sleep, even though you could perform you know in like in if you really add COVID and nowadays like let's sleep. Most of our life off. There's nothing to do, if there was a lot to do, then perhaps I would, I would be okay off of two hours of sleep, but I can't, I know. Earth a lot longer than than just COVID time.
How do you know you're just shaving off seven years, it doesn't say seven years from tomorrow or seven years from now 20 years from now. Oh, that's true. Okay, what are your thoughts dr z.
I have functioned on two hours of sleep going to work for the night shift and all of the things that I do and I can tell you that it really catches up with you, where, you know, in a week. You just have to go to bed and sleep for 14 to 16 hours, you know, just to catch up. You never really catch up right. It's true, because I'm a Night Nurse, as I've mentioned before. And so being a Night Nurse being of the older generation you know sleep is an issue for me. But I have to tell you that since I finished my night shift last week Wednesday morning. And I've kind of been on the day shift. I've had some phenomenal sleep. Along the way, even, even in the hotel room, even at my new digs you know my rental place yeah and and you know sleep is not overrated guys I have to tell you, I agree with you there.
Yeah, there's a there's a study I read we're asleep can eat the question says this is kind of tongue in cheek but it literally can take years off your life if you're not. Yeah. And they also say well you know because I see I was in a shift my entire bedside careers and a shift nurse to and there is studies out there that say night shift nurses it does shed years off of your life as well, which is fascinating too because the amount of nurses that I've known that were well into their 70s I'm like, not shedding life off of it. But there is a study out there too that shows that sleep doctor sleep deprivation especially working night shifts is equivalent to drinking four glasses of wine driving home in the morning.
Oh yeah. Oh, no, you, you do have the risk of getting pulled over for a DUI and being completely sober.
Can I can I just share with you that I had three hours sleep. On December, 31, and I left the morning of January one, and I had to make four unscheduled stops, because I kept falling asleep at the wheel. Just asleep for 10 minutes. Yeah, at the rest stops. And that might might my dear friends, was a wake up call from me it was horrendous. You know, and I kept praying, I prayed the whole way that I wouldn't get into an accident, you know, Mythbusters actually did a study in their own thing on that of comparing sleep deprivation versus drunk driving and honestly sleep deprivation was worse. They performed worse not that they were condoning, you know, drunk drunk driving but. But just how just prove the point of how bad it is, and I love this Mythbusters man that's fascinating I love that show I wish I would have found that one. Yeah.
So let's talk about that what changes have you seen with the nurse staffing and how, how have those changes evolved since COVID a start up until now, and maybe we can start with you, Christina.
Yeah, so, um, in the beginning it was very different obviously very new to us all. And we didn't know what to expect, obviously we anticipated, a just a really increase in need for nurses and then much to our surprise outside of the hot pocket of New York City and parts of California. There was a, you know, just the need for nurses plummeted. And so that was something that we never anticipated. Because of, no one traveling, you know what decrease in car accidents decrease in ER visits, and then all the elective surgeries being canceled. That's all the staff that are incorporated into that, including med surg nurses because the surgical floors weren't having as many admissions. So, so that was just a real interesting first couple months into it and then, then the, you know, it started to, you know, kind of COVID started to die down a little bit over the summer, and then you know peak come the holidays and now it, you know, just when you think it really, it can't get worse it really does this weekend with the holidays now having passed and starting to really see the results of, you know, people being gathering together uh nurses are, we're seeing more positive cases in nurses not just being quarantined but actually being positive and sick themselves. Whether it's staff or travelers. And then, and then so you're having, you know less nurses and then an increase in emissions across the board and all of our facilities that we staff, and it's, you know, it had been for a little while ICU and med serves that were the biggest needs and respiratory therapists, but now we're seeing the, er, starting to back up because the units are not discharging people so there's just not enough beds, now it's backing up into the ER er er is just, you know, getting it from both sides new people coming in and not getting, you know not discharging patients so it's really putting its toll on you know in the healthcare industry.
Yeah. How about for your in on the front end there. Dark z.
So, you know, when I went to Houston, Texas. A week before I got there the unit that I was hired for became 100% COVID. And I walked into what would be a nightmare. Right. And the nurses there were so exhausted because they had been dealing with it without travelers for since March, so they welcomed us you know we were my company I work for rnnetwork. They furnished the hospital with over 75 nurses and many of them were in the critical care units right. What I saw was things tailed off. In September, the hospital, realize that, you know, the patients that are critically ill the cardiac patients, you know the lung transplant patients the heart transplant patients that open heart patients. They needed services, and these patients were not coming in, they were not coming to their doctors they were scared. So by the time they hit the critical care unit. They were super super sick. So they, they took my unit and made it, not COVID anymore. So, the intensity changed, but the buisiness didn't, you know, because we still had all these critically ill patients. And there were days when we would go to work, you know, I started July sixth, and by the end of August, September, mid September, we would go to work and we would look at each other and go Is there ever going to be an end to this because it just felt like we were in a nightmare. You know, we were having. Even when I left we were having, you know we could have clearly six to 10 codes the night. Right. You know some of those codes like one of my patient quoted like six times on my shift and just imagine you've got two critically ill patients, you know who are COVID. You know what you're left with, and even the non COVID. What we saw, and I have to be careful in saying this. So I'm going to make a blanket statement, what we were seeing is hospitals around the country. They're looking at their finances. And so they made a conscious decision to not keep us on. Okay. But then there are other parts of the country where their staff are leaving, and certainly that was happening in Florida and in Texas, their own staff are leaving in droves to go travel nursing because the dollar signs. Right, so that leaves the unit short. And that is, that is why I'm here in Indiana because they lost a lot of their staff, even on Monday, they lost two more staff were going travel nursing and other parts. So that's what they're dealing with so they've got, they're losing staff on the one hand, they've got the pandemic has shifted again because we have all of the people that didn't follow the guidance for Thanksgiving and Christmas that search happening. By the way, I finished my nightshift on Wednesday morning Wednesday night, my unit was being converted COVID again. You know, so, so that's what we're seeing, you know, but there's many, many more things as a traveler, that you have to consider when you're going traveling nursing, and I will left, I will talk about those later in the show, I will let my colleagues, you know comment on on what they need to. It is not that easy. It is not that simple. There's a lot of other considerations that you have to look into. I've experienced it, and I'm very careful with where I take a contract and why, and I do ask those questions as hard as it may sound, I do ask them.
So, you bring up a great point because before I left my position as the director of nursing and we were looking to bring contracted nursing in that was a big struggle that we were facing was we went back and forth with a few of our nurses and two of them were actual previous employees that wanted to come back and help, but because we were standing our ground and not offering this like ridiculous amount of pay, trying to be in the market with everyone else because you know not every hospital has a lot of money. And, and, you know, and I think generally people don't understand that there are some very rich hospitals and there's some very poor hospitals, and we weren't able to secure those two nurses. What I find fascinating though when you look at the pandemic. And you look at policy government, things that are out there. It was very easy to outside of healthcare to shut things down to change laws to do things the gouging laws should absolutely take place in the healthcare community because they need to do something equally across the board to make revenue, the same when it comes to travel nurses or other nurses coming in because where one may gain. Another one's going to significantly lose and there's, where's the value in that when you look at the life of patients the life of nurses, and to leave your own organization. Again I, this is just my thought, because money is really good elsewhere. I don't know if I would be able to walk away from my own gears and my patients and say See ya, I'm going next door for $4,000 more, I don't know I can't answer that because I'm not in that place.
So Noel, you brought up a good point there and what I'm hearing from my friends across the nation. The ones that just left Florida and hot are leaving Florida. You know, there are some facilities some organizations in Florida, that are blackballing the nurses who have quit to go travel nursing. But when you look at how they're being treated and the lack of pay the lack of compensation. You can't blame them. You know, I say to my friend who is actually on her way to to this assignment here with me we're going to be sharing how she gets here on Friday night, she was in an organization that. That said, No, we're not hiring you back. You're out the door we don't even, and that is a foolish notion because you know what nurses are not a dime a dozen. Right, right. The facility I'm at where I'm at right now. I was shocked at what I was offered, I was offered way more than what I was getting in Houston, Texas. It amazed me. But what this organization looked at was the competition. Right now, I could have gone to Arizona Utah Albuquerque, Maryland, and even, New Jersey, I had offers much higher than where I'm at. But there are many things I looked at. Right. I looked at the intensity. I looked at what am I going to be dealing with. I looked at Can I carry on, you know at this pace. The other thing I looked at and I hate to say this guys, I looked at culture. How am I going to be treated. Because I'm a brown nurse, you know, black and brown people as Rollis knows he's had, you know, he's had higher ups from, you know, from the nursing industry on his show. We do get flack, we do get treated badly. Right, so those things matter to me.
It's hard to look into that like where do you look to know the culture of a hospital.
Right. Well, we have, we have, we have the travel nurse circuit. Part of this, it is part of the secret sauce Hi,
Noel you said that secret society number one number two. Um, you ask certain questions when when I'm interviewed. What is the culture like, what is your organization like to travel nurses do you embrace them. And then my other question would be why are you needing travel nurses, because you know that some organizations can't keep nurses right, yeah, there are several of them in Florida. I have no qualms in saying there are several in Florida, that treat nurses like crap. And they're gonna pay for it, they're gonna pay for it. I've worked in three different systems and I've talked to people who've. I've worked in three different systems as a traveler. I've talked to people who've worked in them, part time full time PRN same stories. Okay, so, you know, and that's very, very important because I've been to assignments where I was treated so badly. My, and you know, the great thing about this is, you also have to know your company and you have to know your recruiter, if they're going to stand by you and support you through the thick and thin and believe in you, yes that matters the most because I did jump from one company to the current one, I'm with because they did not support me when I was bullied so badly after starting day one, and I lasted nine weeks, putting up with that bullying.
Yeah, Christina you could probably speak to that a little bit more to just being with staff staff but I, I've heard that from nurses and I've had traveling nurses bounce back to us for the very same questions and criteria that you, you asked for yourself on Xena to make sure you have your has to be a perfect fit as a traveler and I understand that and. And you're right you've got you've got culture and you also have age, right, and you come into. If either you or I have been a nurse for decades come into an organization and they look at us they're like well how are they going to help us, they there is a stigma out there and I love that you are looking at it from so many different perspectives because those that are watching, especially new travelers. They have no idea what to expect, they don't know what to look for and there's so many questions that they have and I'm going to literally throw this at Christina, that I'm sure that they ask and what are you seeing Christina.
I you know unfortunately I don't have the opportunity to speak to the nurses, themselves, you know, being the MSP which is the main service provider for our facilities. We are just the main point of contact of, you know, getting the facilities, the staff they need so I review all the profiles of the, the nurses that are getting that are interested in our contracts, but it's the unit managers that interview them so I don't get to speak to them personally. But I will say in regards to culture because I do, I am on the quality assurance side for staff staff so I do hear about you know any of the concerns that come through, whether it's our own staff or our travelers our, our partners, our m network, being one of them. They are a great company and. As a side note, they are you know it is very fantastically with a company that supports you and we feel very strongly about that being nurse owned and operated, we you know we advocate for our nurses and we communicate that to that to them, of, you know how important that is to, to have, you know that support from your agency.
Yeah, I had, I had a rash of, you know, like a run of three contracts to in in different parts of Florida, and one in Georgia where I was treated so badly. It was unbelievable. And then I got this contract in in Houston, Texas and I'm going to go out on a limb and say, Houston Methodist rocks, they asked him, that I was in the cicu, and I got floated a lot to the cvicu. They were phenomenal, they never treated us any differently than their own staff. Right. And they respected us they were inclusive. Listen, when you have the group that I worked with, throw me a surprise party my last night there, and then give me speeches, who does that for a travel nurse Nobody does that. And on top of that I got gifts. I got presents. Yeah. So Houston Matthews. Yeah. Yes. And the staff invited me to go back. As a matter of fact, a lot of the staff and, and this is where I'm gonna, I'm gonna say this sorry Rollis I'm gonna say this though. The three people the three organizations that treated me like crap. I never changed how I do business, I never changed my behavior my attitude. I was just me. I go in humble. I go in and do my work. Many, many, many of the staff I've worked with regular staff travelers and whatever they used to think that I'm part of the organization. Why do they think that because the quality of care I give, and how my patients are and the rooms and everything I do. It's like I belong to the organization. Right. But I practice what I preach and what I teach with my students to my students, right. So, that so so my recruiter and I were talking about that yesterday. He says the it's interesting that you know and he believes in me like he really believes in Me and I worked a lot of overtime when I was in Houston, Texas, by the way, he said to me, you know, you never change how you do things and yet you got treated so badly in these organizations. So what does that tell you. You know, so you got to believe in your nurse and you talked about age. A lot of these young ones they would look at me and go z. You put us to shame you run around displace and you move so quickly. We are half your age and we can't even do that. So what is it, it's the mindset that. Yeah, it is the mind over matter nobody knows the pain I go through from the hashimotos disease, because it's the mindset right I love what I do. I love being there and I love influencing.
Yeah. Yeah, you get another one for that one for sure. Let's, let's give you a very spirited one here, like that.
She's like, when you love what you do. Perform everyone around you can see it you know the nurses that are there for the right reasons it was apparent to your patients, most importantly, and to the staff that you were there to support you know I had the same experience when I was working, you know, travel, and med surge, and it, you know, they would always say the same thing, you know like, wait, you know,
are you staff yet no not staff, you know I'm still a traveler, but it's you have to go in as a team player you can't go in, you know, some. Unfortunately there are travelers out there that give travel nursing a bad reputation oh yeah and it's just because they're not, you know, maybe they're just in it for the money and they're not there for you know for the their patients.
Ultimately, and I saw a lot of that I saw and it really was heartbreaking because I'm sitting here thinking, you know I call myself old I'm an old lady and I still have the same passion and the same energy and the same excitement when I go to work, especially when the patients recognize it you know and and and you know why are you doing this, like, you know, we are a dying breed, you know, we really are, it's like, Come on guys you know let's let's do right by our patients and their families, right, you know, but I have to say that Houston Methodist. They restored my faith that there are still organizations out there as big as they are, that can really treat their their staff, and travelers well, because you know I was always conscious that I'm not part of the organization. I'm representing, that's another thing, you know travel nurses don't realize that you are the front of your, of your agency, and you are representing that agency and everything you do falls back to that agency, whether you do it or don't do it, it falls back to the agency. You know that's true.
Yeah. Where does that come from where does that come from Darcy, you've got this. You feel that sense of responsibility. I don't think that that is as common as it should be. Maybe it's common but maybe it's not as common as it should be. where does that come from.
I think that as a child I always wanted to do my very best. And I think that over the years that I've been bullied, I've been a recipient of bullying from since school primary school high school, nursing school. You know, I learned, and as an adult, you know, in this world. And I learned how to manage it, and I learned how to reinvent myself, and I learned how to not let that knock me down. I learned how to deal with it, resiliency, you know, we had that talk on resiliency. I learned my value. And I've embraced my value, like I said to you. One of the things you know I'm like everybody else. You know, December 31 at midnight, I make all these vows and you know I'm gonna do this and this. While I was so tired. The only thing that I said was, you know what, it, it hit home. What I have to do for 2021, was to continue being a travel nurse and to continue doing what I'm doing right now with you wonderful people to influence nursing and healthcare and to change the culture change the behaviors, because I realized that I've got a voice. I realized that people listened to me, I realized that people are influenced by me, just in one year when I look back at what I've been doing, and you know Rollis meeting you, was like a godsend. Every time I think about you I have this big smile on my face. You know I don't even have to see your picture. I just think about you, and you know, you've embraced me. And you've introduced me to all these wonderful ladies Noel you know this is like, what the third time I'm listening to you. And I'm inspired you know Rollis and and, you know, I say to myself, you know what, I'm just gonna continue doing what I do what I love best you know. And by the way, part of that is I quit teaching online when I'm done with this current class I am. I'm because it's it's sucking the life out of me, number one. Number two, I feel like I can do more and better I feel I have a story to tell, I feel those two books that have been waiting in the wings for me to write, you know, now's the time to do it as I have so many people like Noel and some of the other ladies I met you know that want to collaborate with me john Shapley or he messaged me today. He's like, hey, I need your input on yada yada yada. I have so many more things that I find I'm really really enjoying. Now I can tell you that my students are not happy, but I say that, look, you can reach out to me. I'm always a phone call away and by the way, even though we had two weeks of vacation, you know off, academia. I invited them to reach out to me You wouldn't believe how many of them called me texted me, whatever, because I'm a VA I made myself available, because they need that support and I wish you would do a show at some point in time about nurses, going back to school, and how they're affected by the pandemic. And the stress they're feeling.
Well I know somebody who would probably be good at hosting that show. Who else to talk about.
I think we would rock that I want to put a light back on Christina, she's she's new a new kid on the block today. Because. So, Christina what what what inspired you to become a nurse. I want to know that what what inspired you. Yeah, I young I always enjoy the subjects of science and math, and then it was honestly just hard to talk about yourself but. But I have a compassionate heart and I really just deep down and just very nurturing person. And so I've you know from the time I was serious about considering a career in high school, it had always been nursing and never really faltered from that. And, and it's just that nurturing, you know, and compassionate nature that I have and it just pulled me into it and. And that's, you know, that's what you know clearly, Regina has and what so many nurses have what you know we need more of is being drawn to that profession and seeing the profession as a vocation and not a career, I, that's, it's not glorious. You know, every so often you do get recognized and you get a family member or a patient that says thank you but more times than not, you're, you're getting a spat and, but it's the reason why you're in it is what keeps you in it, because you're not there for the glory or not, you know, that's not what draws you to it, you're not there for the money, you're there for to just nurture and take care of patients, whether it's holding your hand as they die or, you know, helping them, you know, just get through the few days, or they're with you and. And so, you know, it was a tough decision to move away from the bedside I've been away from the bedside for three years now working as an internal clinical person with staff staff but this is, you know, been rewarding to be able to support nurses in a different way. On the you know outside of the facilities and, you know, took a couple years honestly to feel to find that purpose on this side versus at the bedside, and I you know it was you know it's not an easy thing you work so hard to get to get there, nursing school is not a, an easy journey but to sort of walk away from it, it felt like I was walking away from it and you know that wasn't an easy decision but it's been just the best decision for for my family and, and finding, you know, new ways to just really give back has been, you know, we're worse. Christina I hear you I am loving being back at the bedside I've been back at the bedside for 17 months, and those that bullied me and blackballed me out of jobs they did me a huge favor because I found ways of continuing to make a difference in the nursing and healthcare world. One of the things that I wanted to share with you all was last year alone in eight months I doubled my connections on LinkedIn. I have over 2200 connections, right now and it grows every day, and I'm, I'm amazed at people reaching out to me, you know, and I keep saying to myself I must be doing something right. You talk about you don't get thank yous, you don't get recognized Noelle can appreciate this as night nurses we don't, you know, and I saw that over the Christmas holidays, you know, the doctors brought in, you know lunches and whatnot for the day staff but the night staff didn't get anything, you know, and we're like, Well what about us, you know, well it's the same thing with the families of children. We always got the leftovers.
Yeah, unless you go to the Nikki every Nikki across the country always has massive fees 24 seven It doesn't matter. But I'm Christina Ross and totally dropping you, um, yeah. I want it I want to touch base on a point though that you that you had made before about going away from the bedside into the career that you're at now that you're at now, in, in really highlight the value, and what you're doing now because what nurses don't have right now at the bedside, is that trust and support person that's not there for them so they can only be there for each other in a, whether it's a critical care setting, Ed, I met Serge so much to where they themselves are all struggling they need that outlet, and that's really one of the reasons, when I stepped away from my role and I went into leadership coaching for leaders was that specific reason I fell apart, and I had severe PTSD anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, and no one knew that, and I'm a mother of four and I'm as strong as one can be but we all fall apart. And when you turn around to look whether you're a leader or a bedside nurse. There was nobody there. And the only thing that people saw was that I was a problem. And because I started showing that I was not okay. Yeah, the emergency room. Yep. And that, in my problem became everybody else's problem. So, your people in your position, and that are on the outside and I do look at a lot of travelers who've got great recruiters and somebody that sticks with them, that really does make or break that nurse because they're that outlet, they're that person that reaches out to them. And so, I love what you're doing and nurses need. You're, you're like the bartender, right, as opposed to the Bard of dang every nurse needs a bartender, the hairdresser,
the hairdresser, hairdresser yes, no, no, we need to do a show on falling apart, and what talked about, I yes I would love to share my story too.
So in other words, what you're saying is we need to have a series
about how about falling apart depression and the whole Yes, ma'am. Right.
You'll have to you'll have to be the. My, what do you call it, producer for that one, like an adult. Nice, nice.
Sounds good. So Joe I know that we may have had one or two comments since then I know you had a couple things can you go ahead and share those.
Yes. Um, so it's actually my comments. Okay. Clara just said yeah i think that the conversation is flowing very well. And then whenever you guys are doctors he was talking about how important it is to get some good sleep and I just, you know, comment and hi like I love my sleep so I actually make sure I get like eight to 10 hours it sounds like a lot but like for me, I cannot function if I don't get at least eight hours of sleep so are you lucky girl night out right.
I just sleep seven I cannot sleep more than seven hours or I will get migraines unless I'm sick I can't do it.
Oh wow, my sweet spot is seven hours it can't be six and a half hours and it can't be like seven and a half like I, and I definitely do not function at all. Nowadays, if it's more than it's less than five hours. Actually I'm functioning pretty well today I've been up since 230.
Yeah. So would you like, I wanna, I want to do a fun question, I was joking. I said something else.
Oh, yeah, I just had another comment about what Dr z said about how like you know the night nurses and I actually have a close friend who is a Night Nurse, and she's in like a Red Bull, she's a respiratory therapist and she works the night shift. And I actually saw her from far away, not like far away but like six feet apart. About a month ago and I was, I hadn't seen her in like two years and We're the same age, and she looked so much older than what I remember me learning, and she's been a night nurse for like four years now.
Definitely. Well, Joe, well Joe what how do you think I look for being a Night Nurse, and having having pain well from COVID, we think you look great. You look amazing. Yes, I did. But I'm Regina that goes back to what you're saying sleep makes the difference you need. I was always very structured at night and I always found night to be better as a mom because you're up all night. You sleep when you can during the daytime and you see your kids when you can, but you have got to be disciplined. If you are not disciplined with your diet. Yep, with hydration with your family. And you may look as old as your prime day job because it's all how it's really all how you take care of yourself.
Okay, I want you to pretend for a second. And I'm thinking about I'm thinking about these offers I'm getting these workers are calling me to go to different places to do travel nursing, but I'm working at a facility I'm reasonably happy where I'm at. What should I be thinking about if I'm considering these other places that are giving me these calls, left and right about going places, what, what advice would you give someone in that in that position.
Who should go first. I think you should go first from your perspective.
Okay, so what I look at is I look at what the unit is like, why are they hiring Is it because of lack of staff or they can't keep staff. Usually when you go through the interview you hear things you know I'm savvy enough to pick up on certain things right. Also, what is the expectations in terms of floating, are you going to float a critical care nurse to med surge. I mean, you know, there was one facility in in Florida that did that to me or was trying to do that to me. They also refuse to give me the proper PP is when they were floating me there and because I refuse to go they terminated my contract, yet they didn't find it hard to give the proper PPS to their own staff. So what makes me expendable and me being put more at risk, you know, so you in COVID times you're going to ask about PPS Do you have enough PPS. You know what is your policy on floating. What is your cancellation policy. I don't typically look at anything over 36 hours, because if I can get guaranteed 36 hours anything else is bonus. I do let them know that I'm open to working overtime. I do let them know that I am open to last minute changes which, you know, in Houston they knew that mandate called me and I would be the first one to switch my shift to to meet the needs of the hospital. I did work once one set where I worked five in a row, it was like, it turned out to be 63 hours. They called me to work a six to one and I couldn't because I was so exhausted. You know, so you have to look at those things you got to look you know I'm divorced, I don't have anybody. I don't have a life other than writing and teaching online, you know, so I can do that with somebody with a family or whatever, it would be a different story. But definitely the floating how are you going to be treated. Oh and and and orientation. How long do you get x height what type of orientation is really really important about, you know, the money. Money is not not not to, you know, I mean you're gonna look at that but that is not my
money. That's interesting.
Yeah, yeah, would you say no. Well, you know, and I would actually echo a lot of your sentiments Rosina with, you know, I interview and I've had multiple travelers come back, and I've brought on travelers that's full time staff for all of those very same reasons that you have mentioned, and I if I find a good traveler I actually have my staff interview that traveler. It threw some people off at first and I said why you're working with them there, they will be a part of us. And you have to treat your travelers, as you would your per diem your part times your full times and employees and employees and employee and they all deserve to be treated the exact same. And that's something too that when I interview travelers they pick up on as well, is you're treated as part of the family. And another thing too that I've noticed travelers ask, is about their assignments. So, when we needed a lot of travelers, I was bringing on new grads I needed travelers to hit the ground running. So my question to Regina would be if you came in tomorrow, can you take a patient crashing on ECMO, because that's what I'm going to need you for, and it would throw them off but I need my corks experienced nurses to be orienting my new grads. And you have to have that diversity and more travelers came back to us because they were actually utilizing their skills, the way they should be.
How about you, Christina, what would you What advice would you give to someone considering this style they are I mean something that Noelle touched on earlier as you know staff leaving their own facility during a time like this like I don't know how I would be if I'd be able to do that either and speak to that that would be difficult. But, you know, it would just, you know, I guess that would tell you, you know the type of culture and environment there and you know if you if it's like it's your family likely you're not going to leave them. Even if it's just for more money but but I it's it. There's. It's just finding the just the pros and cons of going into it and just the reasons and making sure you know as I mentioned before you're, you're going into it for the right reasons. If you're going into travel nursing for the money like it's a tough road, and it's not the money's not going to be enough to take you through it because you know even if you ask all the right questions, there's no telling, you're not going to have a few rough, some rough days of, you know, whether it's just transitioning into the new, a new environment, because you have to, you're expected to hit the ground running European and a lot of money to have you there. You get one two days of orientation and you're expected to know everything you need to know to do your job. Nursing is the same everywhere. So it's not too hard to do that as long as you're, you have enough of a background and in the, you know, electronic charting to be able to just jump into a new one. Everything else kind of comes with it. But, but it's it's just being sure if you're a team player and your, you know whoever you're leaving behind is, you know, is going to be okay as far as your unit and making sure you have someone to come back to when you are out of that travel world, to not you know not burning bridges because it is a nursing is a small world travel nursing is even smaller. And so, you know, and people talk so it's just making sure you're in that for the right reasons just to maintain your own reputation and. And in the end, you know if you're in it to take care of just trying feel like you need to help I mean our healthcare is is in a serious crisis right now and so if you're going to feel like you need to make a difference in helping your fellow staff or helping helping patients in the end, then, then you're going into it for the, for the right reasons and you you know you will succeed because you're not going in with a mindset of I just need to make more money. And so,
so one of the things that I've noticed and I did it myself, is I see a lot of nurses travel nurses, traveling together. And when I got this job. Huge. Yeah, when I got this job here I learned that one girl who actually put me on Rn network she's been with them many years. We met in southern Georgia, more than a year ago. Last year, October would have been a year ago, and I knew she was looking for a decent assignment because she was stuck in this horrible place in Florida, and she's actually driving right now with her boyfriend on the way here. So we're traveling, I got her into this facility because I mentioned her to the director, and him and I hit it off like the first day he interviewed me a 15 minute interview came off turned out to be 15 minutes, and he ended up interviewing her and hiring her. So we're traveling together. She's coming. A week later, you know, finishing a week later, and I'm telling you that that's where we will be supporting each other. Yeah. And she's older as well their resiliency and everything we're on the same place. So I see a lot of that happening Rollis. It's making it easier and more palatable for us.
Yeah. Great point.
To make sure you have the you know the right target, my mind just totally went blank but support system, you know, whether it's a fellow traveler or finding, you know, teaming up with the travelers or even staff of the facility you go to, but you know just finding it making sure you have a support system because, you know, nursing right now is incredibly difficult, and you need to have a safe outlet to take care of yourself, you know you're, you know, mentally, you know, spiritually, outside of sleep and eating. You have to make sure you have that support so. So yeah, that's, that's a really good point.
Well I can tell you that our neck network checks in with me, my recruiter every so often and he'll text me he'll call me or if I call him he's ready to talk to me always returns my call if he's not there and they are such a supportive to me he's awesome. Yeah, they check in on you like not just my recruiter but other people they're like hey z How are you, yeah you know when they learned that I got the first COVID vaccine, I had you know the person that does a credentialing, you know, texting me Are you okay we heard you got it yada yada yada you know i mean it was awesome.
I think to that. What's kind of cool, is the the company that Christina works for because I've met Dave, which who's also a nurse. They're constantly in touch with the facilities, making sure they're there interacting with him making sure things are going smoothly there, then they're partnering with organizations like Rn networks if they have a good partner like Rn network that's taking care of the nurses, and then they're able to have those kind of good conversations with the clients the hospitals. Make sure they're doing the right thing, it makes a nice, a nice it's a win win a good experience.
And I mean, and you said it well rolls, because it just speaks to the fact that like we know staff staff well and how awesome you guys are and with z talking about her travel company, no wonder that you guys are affiliated with each other because it's like it's, you know, the best meets the best so of course like minded organizations and people will stick together. Yeah, I have a very serious question for you. Are you ready.
Yes. What's your favorite breakfast. Oh, yeah. Three often bacon. Just bacon by itself really I'm not a breakfast person. I'm not a breakfast person either but I love my coffee. I got a little plug. I got a Nespresso machine, last year and it is, I've never enjoyed coffee more. Oh, wow, I guess use one at one cup, I thought I allowed myself a little bit stronger and I just thoroughly enjoy that. But, but yes I'm baking, I love, you know, meat and eggs, but early days.
My wife and I went to go look for a new coffee maker and I had the privilege of, of, I wanted to do it, I want I got her, I got her the Nespresso, so she, she loves it. And what's your favorite one so far. Do you have a favorite flavor yet on your next job. I stick with the Mullah I don't know if I'm saying them right but the stormy Oh, and the melot co or might be in the emergency rooms SVT if I had an espresso or any type of caffeinated beverage The coffee is the ones I get coffee I don't do the same way she doesn't call so so I'm not a breakfast person either but when I worked a night shift, if I don't have time to eat at night, I come home and I'm ravenous and from Yes, it is like eggs and eggs and toast or, you know, with it with, with some, you know, sausage or. Yes, you know, or waffles or now, huh, would you put jelly on your toast. Yeah jelly. I like the cherries and strawberries and grapes. Yeah, great for you Rollis do really great. I'll take the grape jelly. If you ask me about my favorite breakfast it's got to be pancakes and eggs and bacon. Yeah, like scrambled eggs put a little cheese in it little hot sauce. And when I'm waking up in the morning sometimes sometimes I don't even want to get up if my wife's cooking baking as well as baking
ultimate favorite breakfast is exactly how I get my husband and children out of bed by cooking bacon at like 7am.
I breakfast sandwiches are always my favorite. I grew up on Long Island, and a long island breakfast sandwiches, like no other so bacon, egg and cheese on a Kaiser roll.
Oh god, that was asked Taylor Taylor ham egg and cheese. See, Joe, Joe says her favorite breakfast is. Go ahead, Joe. I thought you're gonna say it. Um, so my favorite breakfast is I have found these almond flour tortillas at Whole Foods that are amazing. Oh, they're so so good and like I don't say that lightly because I am Mexican so I know what are they, if it's all too far they might be gluten free Can you check in, let me know because that sounds amazing. They are. They're gluten free. Yeah.
Where did you say Whole Foods. Whole Foods, oh I'm gonna have to check that
out otherwise known as whole paycheck. It's worth it. Also, so I also get my choti so from Whole Foods because it is the best and it's not expensive. Oh, so there it's called CFA. That's the company,
oh yeah my wife gets said yeah yes yeah. Yeah. So I. It's just like a traditional Mexican breakfast it's super simple just the chalisa, and the egg scrambled together and you put it on the tortilla and it is.
So you just like totally sold me because not eating a breakfast person, I love Denny's well before COVID. I would go to Denny's over like a five star breakfast restaurant right because they have they have a Santa Fe skillet. And in that has the Teresa with the eggs right like on top of it and that's exactly what I would do. It is so tasty. So tasty.
Okay, well, anybody who's watching put in your favorite breakfast, we'd love to know I'll be watching the comments later, we went way over time but it was so fun. Thank you all three of you ladies you're wonderful and Joe, as well. Thank you for helping us Joe in the background,
always a great time. Rollis always so Noel we have to do this again.
Yes, we're gonna have our own series I'm telling you all, I'll message you after this
yeah message, message me please. Yeah, doesn't help me to the back there so. Okay. Thank you. Christina so very nice to meet you doctors. Thank you for the service as a nursing traveler appreciate it. Of course, Rollis, you should have a three ladies back again.
Yes, we will work on that and this is for all of you, right here. See this is for all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, you guys have been amazing. Everyone in the comments. You've been amazing too Thank you for participating and again please please participate in the replay if you're watching this later which many of you are because I know. Maybe some of you are working when we were had this going on so feel free to look at it later. We appreciate all that you do. And we'll see you soon. Any, any parting words you want to say by everyone.
Well, I just want to say that I'm so grateful that I'm protect I feel protected, you know, having the to COVID vaccines. And, you know, without any negative issues. And so I would just say, you know, encourage everybody go out there and get it okay if you can also. Okay.