How long have you been a nurse and what areas of nursing have you work in? I have been a nurse 12 years this July. I started out in Kidney, Liver, and Pancreas transplant. I worked as a super user for several nursing informatics projects, including building out provider and nursing care orders in UCSF’s Epic EHR over the course of the first 10 years. I have moonlighted as a nurse in a women’s outpatient setting where our focus was providing abortion post-operative care, and at an esthetic medicine clinic providing laser hair removal services. Currently I am a clinical nurse educator focused on the professional development of the adult acute and transitional care nurses at UCSF Medical Center/ UCSF Health.
What do you love most about nursing? I love nurses. The work we do is incredible; incredibly hard, incredibly rewarding, and incredibly mind bending. What nurses do for patients is unparalleled and I love seeing nurses work their magic in all the ways that we do. Nurses in the ‘zone’ are just awesome. I also really enjoy the captive audience that many of my patients were – they helped me hone my sense of humor as much as I honed my practice.
Tell me what you consider the biggest challenges or concerns about nursing today.
· Keeping management and support units relevant and clinically competent
· Managing the incredibly tight margins that ACA have presented (more patients, but losing money) and the frenetic pace to keep up with the number of patients seeking care
· Dealing with patients that 5 years ago wouldn’t survive their condition. Futility of care concerns.
What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance? Having many projects that all need to get done and have competing deadlines – a constant in my role. I have to choose between family and personal balance, and feeling happy with my work. But they both require the other to be in a good space. This has been my challenge in the past couple of years. I know because I stop being funny and playful and eat terrible things in great volumes. And I cut corners for myself.
What brings you back into balance? I grew up figure skating and have gotten back into it recently, including taking lessons. So I go to the ice. I have also really enjoyed my fitness community – November Project. A huge friendly group that meets 3-4 days a week for a morning workout, hugs, good vibes, and a good sweat. And it is rain or shine, holiday or not, FREE. It has been a game changer – helped me to meet tons of happy, healthy people who have found balance via adventuring, learning, playing. I am a more playful person because of this community and they have really been a source of balance.
When all else fails, I run off to Tulum Mexico and unplug. It is glorious and works every time.
Tell me about your most favorite nursing job and why. I have really liked all of my ‘gigs’ but the one that I have the most affection for was working at Women’s Options at SFGH (now ZGH) in San Francisco. Helping women of all ages and backgrounds deal with a difficult decision and time, and carrying them through it was so rewarding. I worked with the smartest group of clinicians and support staff – nurses with advanced degrees and PsyD’s, and a provider group that were not only colleagues but our teammates and friends. It was incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding.
What advice would you give to new grads starting out? BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF. People will tell you it takes 6 months, 1 year, 1.5 years. It takes as long as it takes, and it is SO worth the wait. Some will ‘get it’ faster than you, some will not. It is all about you. Focus on that, enjoy the ride, and ask all the questions. We are excited to welcome you to one of the hardest and best jobs ever.