Sarah Mott started her career as a CNA at a Rehab Hospital in 1998, where she trained to do many nursing duties. As a new Nurse in 2001, she worked in a team-nursing model in which the CNAs, LPNs and RNs worked effectively with the multidisciplinary team to care for the physically demanding patients.
SM: I always felt respected as a nurse in my first job because the Nurse Managers and the Director of Nursing advocated for the staff. In 2006, I decided to explore Oncology nursing at another hospital. I became chemo certified and found Oncology nursing very challenging and rewarding. After four years I developed severe neck pain that forced me to leave.
I gave Home Care Nursing a try but I missed the camaraderie of my co-workers and did not enjoy all the driving and the paperwork! My pain symptoms worsened and I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. I had now considered turning my Lotus Stethoscope Holder project from a fun idea into a “real” product.
After awhile, I returned to a part time position at a Rehab facility because I missed nursing so much. Unfortunately, it was a toxic workplace. Management did nothing to advocate for nurses. Staff bullying, gossiping and writing each other up was routine. The lack of support from administration and the negative environment created a situation in which I started to doubt my abilities. I began to feel very negative and depressed. I resigned this past January, but I still feel the affects of the negative experience.
I now work full-time running Nurse Born Products.
What do you love most about nursing and/or running your business? There is so much that I love about nursing; The busy pace, the burst of adrenaline that goes along with the job, patient teaching and providing caregivers with resources, getting a good seal on a wound vac dressing, holding the hand of patient undergoing a painful or scary procedure, being an advocate, connecting with family and the patient, and comforting a loved one when their family member has passed.
I love my co-workers and the quirky sense of humor that only nurses can understand!
Now, I love running my own business and creating my own schedule. I feel proud when my customers are satisfied with my product. It is gratifying when a nurse contacts me and tells me that I have inspired her/him. I love working with the nurses that sell their products through Nurse Born. I have found that nurse entrepreneurs are extremely supportive of each other. I really enjoy going to trade shows and other events in which I have the opportunity to meet other nurses.
What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?
Being around negativity throws me off balance. I have learned that negativity is infectious and that over time you begin to absorb these feelings. Negativity affects you both physically and emotionally.
What brings you back into balance?
When I am feeling negative, positive self talk and faith helps bring me back into balance. Yoga, exercise and eating healthy allows me to feel strong and gives me the energy to bring things back into balance.
Tell me a bit about what kind of products nurses create.
There are a lot of nurse authors who write books or create websites in which they blog about nursing issues and some nurses provide coaching services.
Gripsors are a pair of scissors with added function, they have teeth for gripping things such as tight stop cocks, and a hook for pulling things open or using as an oxygen key. Sharon Zelinko, RN invented Gripsors at the young age of 79 and she is now 80 something and she continues to travel the country selling her product and when she is not selling she works as a nurse at long-term care facility.
Deborah Tacoma, RN invented the freedom wand a personal hygiene aid.
Joyce Harrell, RN invented a portable tray table that can attach to the bedside, IV poles, wheelchair or walker. Other products include, jewelry, scrub hats, custom badge reels and much more!
What advice would you have for nurses interested in creating a product?
It is a huge commitment that takes a long time before it can become a reality. You must be completely dedicated and willing to make a lot of sacrifices to see it through. Most importantly, if you believe in your product don't let naysayers bring you down. You will have a lot of doors slam in your face before one opens.
Tell me about your most favorite nursing job and why.
The Rehab and Oncology/General Surgery, both had healthy work environments. I loved being part of the team that cared for the entire person. We worked together to bring the patient to their maximum potential and helped improve their quality of life and obtain as much independence possible. We did not just treat the wound or bleed - we treated the whole person. I also loved the positions because management was closely involved with what was happening with the patients on the floor. I felt appreciated by the management and upper administration, the doctors were pleasant and the staff had each other’s back. The CEO of the hospital was a nurse and nurses were highly respected. We received plenty of continuing education opportunities and Doctors who were repeatedly disrespectful or rude to nurses were sent to anger management.
What advice would you give to new grads starting out?
Start your career in a facility that will provide support and advocate for you. Know how to maintain boundaries both with the employer and patients. No one knows it all - don't be afraid to ask. One more thing, you are not above toileting or providing personal hygiene to an incontinent patient.