Who wants to be a Yoga Nurse? Meet the expert: Annette Tersigni

How long have you been a nurse and what areas of nursing did you or do you currently work in? I graduated from nursing late in life at the ripe young age of 51. That translates into thirteen lucky years of practice. I started in the heart transplant unit at a major hospital and transitioned into Cardiac step down progressive care, then into Employee Health and Wellness where I still work on a PRN basis at my local hospital at the beach.

Nursing is a second career for you. What prompted you to go to nursing school?  I believe in destiny. Nursing was a calling. I took a training in Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, in the mid 1990’s with the brilliant Deepak Chopra. At that time I was a full time yoga teacher and Deepak inspired me. I thought “Wow! If I became a nurse as well as being a yoga teacher, I could really make a difference in the quality of people’s lives.”  Once, while I was still in nursing school, teaching a yoga class, one of my students called me the yoga nurse!  That‘s when the Yoga Nurse and the field of Yoga Nursing was officially created.  When I graduated it became crystal clear that there was a natural fit between traditional western based nursing knowledge and the ancient eastern science of yoga. 

What do you love most about nursing? I love making a difference in the quality of people’s lives. Inspiring and uplifting both nurses and their patients to live to their highest potential, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Every day is an opportunity to to relieve stress, anxiety, pain and suffering and create greater health peace and wisdom.

Tell me your biggest pet peeves about nursing.  I was shocked when at the age of 51, I came into the nursing world and was exposed to bullying and nurses eating their young. We cannot change the nursing culture without changing the nursing consciousness. This is the primary goal of the YogaNursing® model of care- to expand consciousness in health care. We do this in gently expanding the mindset of nurses in our trainings.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?  One of my wisdom teachers said to me, “ Your overdoing is your undoing.”I know I’m off when I feel the KNOTS in my solar plexus and I’m not breathing fully because I’m overdoing, or going to fast. Multi-tasking messes me up, as well as sitting too much.

What brings you back into balance?  I lived in an unbalanced pain story of self-pity, self-hatred, guilt and fear for many years. My son was born with extreme autism and cerebral palsy. I was sick and sad. Yoga and personal development trainings transformed my pain body pattern into a body of compassion- from the pain story to a love story.

Deep breathing. Doing a few simple stretches. Getting up from my chair and moving. This I can do at any time while I’m in the workplace or at home. I start every day with a short uplifting reading, gratitude, and dedicating my day to giving sacred service and loving kindness to all whom I am in contact with. 

Tell us about the online training, yoga retreats and certification for nurses interested in teaching yoga. How does your program compare to a traditional yoga teacher-training program?  YogaNursing® is a A New Movement, Theory + Care Plan in Nursing- the union of ancient yoga with the science of modern nursing.  It’s a holistic nursing adjunct therapy for nurses, their patients + workplace wellness. We are now teaching at Nursing Colleges, Hospitals, Nursing Conventions and other wellness venues Internationally. Our programs are approved by ANCC for 10 NCEs.

Our mission and vision is: To create a global army of modern nightingales, Yoga Nurses, to uplift and expand consciousness in health care; relieve SAPS- Stress, Anxiety, Pain and Suffering,and improve quality of life for nurses and their patients worldwide.

We’re different from traditional yoga teacher training in that our trainings are for Nurses, their patients and clients in the workplace BUT getting on the floor is not practical, or getting down on the floor -due to injuries, knee surgery, inflexibility or other challenges is uncomfortable. (NO yoga experience necessary.)

AND for nurses who desire a simple, holistic method to relieve stress, anxiety pain and suffering AND/OR entrepreneurial nurses who yearn to break free from traditional nursing J-O-B frustration.

What advice would you give to second career nurses entering the field of nursing? GO FOR IT! Becoming a nurse late in life was the smartest career move I ever made after becoming a certified yoga teacher. If I hadn’t become a nurse I wouldn’t be part of this interview with you right now. Nursing has an infinite variety of avenues to pursue. If your heart is calling you to nursing: listen to the call.

REMEMBER what ever it is you’re looking for, it’s also looking for you.

To learn more about Annette Tersigni and YogaNursing® visit http://www.yoganurse.com

From Forestry and Carpentry to Nursing: Meet Thaona

How long have you been a nurse and what area of nursing do you currently work in?  Crazy to believe it has been a year already. I have learned and grown so much! I decided to pursue nursing after a variety of other life experiences. Nursing was a career I had contemplated while pursuing my first degree but the college I attended did not offer a nursing program. Instead I received a bachelors in Biology with minors in Environmental Studies and business. That track lead me many different directions including pharmacy tech, ski instructor, fisheries, forest inventory, ski industry marketing, and Carpentry in Antarctica. With time I realized I was ready to become a Nurse. I graduated from nursing school in May of 2014. My first position was with the University of Utah in their Critical Care Internship program. After 6 months of rotating through 6 different Critical care units I was invited to join the Burn Trauma ICU.

What do you love most about nursing?  I love the deep connection that is created with my patients and their families. I enjoy helping others learn the pathophysiology of burn recovery. I am constantly impressed by the body’s ability to heal. I am also impressed at the strength, patience, and resilience that patients find within themselves as they re-learn to stand with erect posture, bend their knees and stretch their skin's limits as they increase their range of motion again.

Tell me your biggest pet peeves about nursing.  The challenges of bedside nursing that are most difficult for me to cope with are at the system level. The hospital bedside nurse is expected to work as hard as they can for 13 hours; deeply caring for patients, ensuring their safety, tending to patients and family’s emotional needs while also ensuring the patients health is progressing in the best direction possible. Meanwhile nurses do not get true breaks through the day or a real lunch. There are very few industries outside of nursing that allow this practice given the acuity of the jobs we do. Many studies have shown the importance of scheduled downtime during the day and its effects on functionality and moral. If units could schedule a person to break individuals for lunch and through the day I believe that we all could provide better care through the day to our patients.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?     I know I am thrown off balance when I do not get exercise or adequate rest at night. I can tell my level of resiliency is low. I wake up and know that there is not enough coffee to pick me back up. My patience wanes, I set expectations that may be unreachable, my introverted side comes out and I become short with myself and those around me.

What brings you back into balance?  When I am off balance I know I need to prioritize my sleep and take some personal time. For me this means a mountain bike ride, a little meditation, yoga, or hike with my dog, Slider . However when it occurs in the midst of a shift, I will take a drink of fresh ice water, grab a health snack, and remind myself to take a deep breath. This gives me the opportunity to calm my mind.  

Tell me your most unusual or interesting story as a nurse.  I recently had the opportunity to take care of a patient who had an amputation of his leg from the hip down due to a spider bite. I helped care for him while intubated and sedated and again when he was alert and conscious. He and his wife had an amazing resilient spirit. They took the situation and truly worked to make the best of it. They would place a teddy bear at the location his former foot would be on the wheel chair or in bed and call it his “bear foot.” They made light of the situation and in return allowed for a greater amount of healing to occur because the loss of a limb could be discussed in an open manner. I was honored to be their nurse and watch him cope with the loss of his leg. I was honored to be able to help him stand for the first time on one leg. The facial emotions he expressed from fear, to determination, then pure joy; helped me see a special aspect of nursing I did not expect.

What advice would you give to new grads starting out? 

Expose yourself to as much as you can. Be willing to push yourself while your have a preceptor.

Ask as many questions as you can about pathophysiology, patient-family interactions etc.

Make sure your understand any intervention you are doing and WHY your are doing it. The more your understand is directly related to the more power you have.

Don't worry about coming across as a bother to other nurses or worrying about not knowing everything you need to know. Ultimately you will earn their respect as a knowledgeable, competent capable nurse that is eager to provide the best care to patients as possible.

As you are taking it all in remember to listen to yourself and the internal gut feeling. Even with minimal experience you need to trust yourself; soon you will be on your own completely. Listening to yourself is powerful. Even if your internal voice is saying you need to take a minute for yourself.