A funny thing happened about a week ago.

After my shift was over, I was finishing up my charting for the day and the other nurses started to compliment me on my voice.  I had had an unruly patient that day but one nurse said that my voice was calm while I was talking to the patient.  Even when I was trying to be stern with the patient my voice was still calm and smooth.  Some other nurses jumped in and said the same thing.  They said that if I was on the radio then they would listen just to hear my voice.

This is funny to me because I used to be so self conscious about my voice.  After I went through puberty, my voice got deeper.  I used to ask my friends if I sounded like a guy over the phone.  Some people over the phone would call me sir instead of ma’am.  That made me even more self conscious about my voice.

In high school, a guy gave me his number to call him.  It took me a whole year before I called him because I was so self conscious about my voice over the phone.  My brother had to literally sit on me and dial the number and put the phone up to my ear until the guy answered.  I laugh about that situation now but I was so nervous at that time to call that guy.

When I first started working with my life coach, she complimented my voice.  She also said that I needed to be on the radio.  When she listened to my practice breakthrough session, she complimented my voice.  She said that my voice was warm, steady, calm and I had the right pace.  While I was doing the practice breakthrough session with my friend, I had felt so nervous.  I thought my voice was shaky but she told me that wasn’t the case.

I don’t need to be self conscious about my voice.

Maybe what I used to think of as a flaw (my voice) is actually what makes me unique.  I asked myself a question.

What if I actually loved my voice and my body and didn’t worry about changing them?

When I was in my first year of college, I thought about getting breast implants.  I felt that I needed bigger breasts to help myself love myself more.  I’m now glad that I didn’t have enough money to get breast implants.

About five years ago, I wanted my butt to be bigger.  I tried to exercise for it.  Squats didn’t really help.  I looked into surgery.  It was expensive and I didn’t want every body to know that I had surgery to get a bigger butt.  Even though I was 180 pounds, my butt didn’t poke out like I wanted it to.  As I gained weight, it just got wider.

I recently went shopping with a friend and started to try on skinny jeans.  I never really liked skinny jeans because I think they accentuate the fact that I have a small butt.  I tried them on anyway.  I actually bought 3 pairs of skinny jeans.  I love them.  I just accepted the fact that I have a small butt.  That is not going to change.

Recently I just decided to love my body.  I spent about 30 years thinking of changing my body.  I was going up and down with my weight.  I was looking into surgery.

What did happen when I changed my mind about trying to change my body and just love my body?

I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  I don’t need to have a bigger butt or bigger breasts to love myself.  I’ve come to love my voice.  It’s mine.  Now I don’t have to worry about saving up for surgery.  I can use that money to have adventures.  If someone wants to get surgery to change their bodies that is ok.  Every one has a choice to do what they feel is right for them.  I was letting other people’s opinions influence my decisions about my body.  Some men would tell me that I would be a 10 if I had a bigger butt or bigger breasts.  That is one of the reasons that I thought about surgery.  I stopped listening to those men.  Their opinions will not make me try to change myself any more.  I will do what I feel is right for myself regarding my body.

I love my body just the way it is!  I love my voice just the way it is!  This is the body that I have right now.  I can either love it or spend my life trying to change it.  Like the HGTV show, Love it or List it, I choose to love it.  I accept my body for what it is and love it.  My body is amazing and can do amazing things.

Kung Fu Shavawn

One of my favorite movies is Kung Fu Panda.  I’m watching it right now as I write this.  I love the movie because there are so many life lessons in the movie.

The movie opens with Po (a panda) having a dream.  He is dreaming about being a kung fu warrior.  He loves kung fu.  This first scene is inspiring to me because I have dreams too.

Po is working at a noodle shop with his father, Mr. Ping ( a goose).  His father expects him to take over the noodle shop. When his father was young, he had wanted to work with tofu but decided to follow his father into the noodle business.  His father states that if was just a stupid dream that he had.  The specialty at the shop is a secret ingredient soup.  His father hasn’t told him the secret ingredient yet.

Meanwhile, Master Oogway (a turtle), has a vision that Tai Lung ( a snow leopard) is going to escape from prison and try to take the dragon scroll.  The dragon scroll is said to contain magical powers and whoever looks at it will become the greatest kung fu warrior of all time.  Tai Lung is evil and wants to take the scroll for himself.  Master Shifu raised Tai Lung as his son.  Master Oogway calls to his friend, Master Shifu ( a red panda), to tell him of his vision.  After telling Shifu his vision, Shifu calls for his assistant, Zeng (a goose) to go to the prison and tell them to double their guards so tai lung won’t escape.

Master Oogway states that, “one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”.

That line always makes me laugh because it reminds me of myself.  After I graduated from RN school, I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse.  I had seen in my dreams that I was going to be working on a med/surg/telemetry floor.  I didn’t want to work there.  I spent a whole year just applying to labor and delivery floors and getting no interviews.  I finally started to apply to other jobs.  I applied to med/surg floors and other specialty floors.  I got six interviews.  One was to a new graduate position on a med/surg floor.  The other interviews were to a med/surg/telemetry floor.  Can you guess which floor I ended up on?  I ended up on a med/surg/telemetry floor, just like I had seen in my dreams.  I was trying so hard to avoid it.

When Zeng reaches the prison, he is shown that Tai Lung can’t escape.  Tai Lung ends up escaping because one of Zeng’s feathers drops near him.  If Master Shifu had not sent him to the prison then Tai Lung wouldn’t have been able to escape.  Master Oogway’s vision comes true because Master Shifu was trying to get the prison to double their guards so Tai Lung wouldn’t escape.

That day while Po is working, a poster is put up that Master Oogway is going to be choosing the dragon warrior.  Po excitedly tells every one to go to the Jade Palace to learn who the dragon warrior is.  Po unfortunately doesn’t make it in time to make it into the palace.  He tries multiple times to get into the palace.  He doesn’t give up because he wants to see which student is going to be chosen.  Po looks up to the Furious Five.  The furious five include Master Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Crane, and Viper.  Po ends up tying fireworks to a chair to get into the palace.  His father comes and asks what he is doing.  He finally breaks down and tells his dad that he loves kung fu.  Po ends up being blasted into the sky and falls in front of Master Oogway.  Master Tigress thinks that Master Oogway was about to choose her to be the dragon warrior.  Master Shifu and the furious five are disappointed but Master Oogway’s decision is made.

While Tai Lung is escaping from prison, Master Shifu is trying to teach kung fu to Po.  Master Shifu tries to teach Po just like he taught the Furious Five.  Po fails miserably the first day.  Master Shifu makes a plan to get rid of Po.  He doesn’t believe that Po is or can be the dragon warrior.  He tells Master Oogway that is was an accident that Po fell out of the sky and fell right in front of Master Oogway.  Master Oogway states that there are no accidents.

That line also teaches me that there are no accidents in my life.  When I look back, I can see that every thing was orchestrated by the Universe/God.  I was meant to be a nurse just like my dreams showed me.  I made it through RN school with help from the Universe/God.  In my dreams I saw myself doing yoga, hiking, and being happy with myself.  I am now doing yoga, hiking, and I’m happy with myself.  I am now the woman that I saw in my dreams.  That is no accident or coincidence.

After Po fails the first day of training, Master Shifu is upset.  He doesn’t believe that Po is meant to be the dragon warrior.  The furious five don’t believe that he is going to be the dragon warrior either.

Po goes to find something to eat.  Master Oogway finds him and has a talk with him.  Po starts to compare himself to the furious five.  Po wants to quit because he isn’t any good at kung fu.  Master Oogway tells Po that he is too concerned about what was and what could be.  Master Oogway then say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present”.

This line is something that I have struggled with and still continue to struggle with at times.  I know parts of the future but I don’t know when the dreams are going to come true.  I would love to know when they are going to come true but the Universe/God doesn’t want me to know.  I also used to compare myself to other people.  I’ve learned to stop doing that because success looks different for every person.  There is enough success for every one.  I also used to compare myself to my future husband’s exes.  I’m not like his exes but that may be a good thing. I just need to be the best me that I can be.

The next day, Po wakes up early to try to train and learn kung fu.  The second day of training is no better than the first day.  Po doesn’t quit because he loves kung fu and wants to learn.

Master Shifu is frustrated that Po hasn’t quit yet.  When Master Shifu learns that Tai Lung has escaped he goes to find Master Oogway to tell him.  Master Oogway isn’t scared because he believes that Po will stop Tai Lung.  Master Oogway states, “the panda will never fulfill his destiny nor you yours until you let go of this illusion of control”.

I remember that my life coach has said this to me.  There are some things that you can control but some things you can’t control.

Master Oogway tells Master Shifu that he just needs to believe that Po is the dragon warrior.  Master Shifu promises to believe.

Po gets scared of his destiny because he hasn’t caught on to kung fu.  He starts to doubt that he will ever become good.    He doesn’t want to face Tai Lung in a battle.  He tries to run away but is stopped by Master Shifu.  Po states that he stayed before because he believed that Master Shifu could turn him into the dragon warrior.  Po stated that it hurt every day of his life just being himself and he stayed so that Master Shifu could make him not be himself.  Po understood that he needed help to become the dragon warrior.  The furious five go off and try to fight Tai Lung.

This part of the movie, encourages me.  I used to be afraid to ask for help when I needed it.  I almost failed a class because I didn’t want to get a tutor because I felt that I should be able to get through it on my own.  When I got a tutor I passed the class.  Its a sign of your own strength when you can ask for help from other people.  I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the help of other people.  My family has helped me, my friends have helped me, and my life coach has helped me to become the woman that I am today.  My life coach helped me to become a better version of myself. That is what life coaching is.

The next day, Po is upset and goes to find some thing to eat in the kitchen.  Po eats when he is upset.  ( I used to do the same thing).  Master Shifu hears some one training and goes to find out who it is.  He finds Po in the kitchen doing kung fu moves to get to the food.  Po has broken the wooden doors with his fist and also does a split to get to some cookies.  Po states that it is just an accident that he did a split to get to the cookies.  Master Shifu smiles and takes Po up to a mountain to train him.  Master Shifu realizes that he can’t train Po like he trained the furious five.  He teaches Po kung fu through food.  Po ends up learning kung fu.

The furious five fight Tai Lung and end up being defeated.  Crane flies them back to the jade palace.  Master Shifu decides that it is time for Po to get the dragon scroll so that he can get the power necessary to defeat Tai Lung.  The dragon scroll turns out to be a blank scroll.  Po doesn’t receive any special powers.  Master Shifu decides that he will fight Tai Lung and tells the furious five and Po to evacuate the village.  Po goes back to his father’s noodle shop.  Mr. Ping finally tells Po the secret ingredient to his secret soup.  His father tells him that the secret is nothing.  Mr. Ping states, “to make some thing special you just have to believe that it is special”.  Po then realizes what the dragon scroll is saying.  He is the dragon warrior because he believes that he is the dragon warrior.  There is no secret ingredient or powers.  Po then goes back to the jade palace to confront Tai Lung.

In the fight with Tai Lung, Po uses the lessons that he has learned to defeat Tai Lung.  He uses what other people told him were his weaknesses.  He uses his fat, his love of food, his ability to learn, and of course kung fu.  For most of the movie, other people have called Po a big fat panda.  Even Tai Lung says that he can’t be defeated by Po because he is just a big fat panda.  Po states that he can because he is “The Big Fat Panda”.  When Tai Lung get and looks at the dragon scroll he thinks that he is going to get great power.  He states the it is nothing because it is blank.  Po tells him that here is no secret ingredient, it is just you.  Master Oogway made a great choice in choosing Po for the dragon warrior.  Po is believed to be the last panda.  Po is able to withstand some of Tai Lung’s attacks because he is a panda.

This last part encourages me.  I’ve learned to use what other people consider my weaknesses to my advantage.  I used to be told that I was too nice, I smiled too much, and that I was weird.  My compassion and empathy has made me a great nurse.  I have been told my many people that I have a beautiful smile.  I love to smile and I will share it.

I used to be afraid of some of my dreams.  I thought to myself that I’m not right for the job that the Universe/God has for me.  This movie helps me to realize that there are no accidents and the Universe/God chose me.  I’m just right for my dreams because I was chosen.

If you’re ever afraid of your dreams just remember that the Universe/God doesn’t choose wrong.  You have those dreams for a reason.  You can also turn what other people perceive as your weaknesses into your strength.

Every time I need to remind myself of these lessons I just watch Kung Fu Panda.

Am I Weird?

I’ve recently had some people tell me that I’m weird.  I take it as a compliment.  If some one told me that I was normal, I might be a little hurt.

I was having a conversation with my recruiter for my first nursing agency about the current assignment that I’m on.  I was telling her that I don’t like block scheduling.  Block scheduling is when they put your days together.  I was working 3 days in a row a lot.  I was told in the interview that block scheduling would only be used if the nurse asked for it.  The first month, the hospital had me working block scheduling every week.  When I spoke up and told the manager, she stated that usually travel nurses like block scheduling.  I don’t.  Even my recruiter was telling me that most of her recruits like block scheduling.  She called me weird but again I took it as a compliment.  Because I spoke up, they stopped the block scheduling.  I know that as a travel nurse, I have to be flexible.  I can do block scheduling maybe once a month but I don’t like it.

I had a friend call me when she had a supernatural experience.  She was feeling very uncomfortable about the situation.  I told her that because of the way that I grew up, things like that are just normal for me.  I’m very comfortable having supernatural experiences.  She called me weird.  Just another compliment for me

I was recently telling a patient that there is no normal.  What is normal for me may not be normal for another person.  Medications don’t work on every one the same way.  Some patients may have side effects while another person taking the same medication may not.  Some patients want to know the side effects of their new medication while some others don’t.  One patient told me that they didn’t want me to go over the side effects because then they would have every side effect mentioned.  They would just take the medication information but not read it.  That was that patient’s “normal”.  They believed that looking at the side effects would bring the side effects on.  I didn’t think that was weird.  I understood.  I still had to provide the patient with the information but the patient also has the right not to listen to the information provided.

When patients ask what is the normal schedule for bowel movements, I have to tell them that every one is different.  Some people go after every meal, some go once a day, some go twice a day, some go every other day, and some people go every two days.  I can’t say what the “normal” schedule is.  I then have to ask them what is their normal schedule.  Some people haven’t thought about how much they go and I’m the first person to ask them that question.  I’ve had some patients ask me why I need to know when the last time they had a bowel movement.  One patient said that was a weird question because they didn’t come to the hospital for that issue.  I told that patient, that is was a part of the admission assessment, we as healthcare workers need to know.  We don’t want the patients to become constipated while in the hospital.

Some of the conversations that nurses have would be considered weird by other people.  Nurses talk about bowel movements, wounds, and other things that would make some one else feel uncomfortable.

After graduating RN school, I applied to work at the GI lab where I interned at.  I was excited to work there.  It excited me to see the inside of the stomach and intestines.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the job because they hired another of my classmates that applied earlier than me.  Another of my classmates called me weird for wanting to work there.  I thought it would be interesting.

I don’t consider myself weird, I consider myself a normal Shavawn.  I’m just being myself.  I used to hate when some one told me that I was weird.  I wanted to be normal and fit in.  Now I just want to be myself and if some one thinks that is weird, then I’m okay with that.

I wonder what the world would be like if more and more people embraced their weirdness.  That may be just what the world needs.  The world doesn’t need more people trying to be the same.  The world needs more and more people that are willing to just be themselves and love themselves for it.

Ready or Not?

At work, last week, I had a very uncomfortable conversation with some other co-workers.

I had just clocked out for my lunch break and was looking forward to just sitting down.  When I got to the break room, there was already 4 other people in there having lunch.

As I was getting my lunch from the fridge, I was listening to their conversation.  They were talking about another co-workers weight.  They were talking about having an intervention about her weight.  They were hesitant to do it because they didn’t know her very well.  One of them had been out with her once after work but still didn’t know her well.

I sat down to eat my lunch, just hoping that I wouldn’t get sucked into their conversation.  Unfortunately one of them asked for my opinion.  I told them that it was really up to that woman to decide to lose weight.  Having an intervention won’t make her be ready.  I understand that they are concerned about her health and weight but it may make for an uncomfortable work environment if they did the intervention and she wasn’t ready to lose weight.

I told them about how I lost weight.  I told them that many people had told me over the years that I needed to lose weight.  Some people even told me that I look good with some weight on me.  Ultimately it was still up to me to decide to lose weight.

Becoming the food police wouldn’t help either.

I remember a few years ago, at work, I was at lunch and decided to eat a doughnut.  One of the patient’s family members had brought in some doughnuts to thank the staff for taking care of the patient.  One of my co-workers walked in and sat down.  She said to me that I shouldn’t be eating that doughnut.  “A moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips” is what she then stated.  I didn’t pay attention and kept eating the doughnut.  I remember that hospital because most of the nurses were skinny.  It was only about 3 over weight nurses and I was one of them.  I was uncomfortable every time that I went to work because almost every one that worked on my floor was skinny.

Another incident that I remember was when I was in RN school.  I would change my eating habits when eating with the other nursing students.  I would eat healthy around them.  I didn’t want to expose my eating disorder to them.  One of the other nursing students told me that I should be skinny because of the way that I was eating.  I told her that it was the way that I ate at home that was keeping me over weight and I didn’t exercise.

Even some of my patients commented on my weight.  Some of them would say that I would look so much prettier if I lost 50 pounds.  At the time, I chose to take it as a compliment.  At least they thought I was a little bit pretty.  I didn’t want their comment to ruin my shift so I just smiled and laughed and went on with my day.  I was uncomfortable being at 180 pounds but to myself I was pretty.

Its become acceptable in our society to comment on some else’s weight and not to focus on the real issue.  That person might be going through a rough time in their lives.  Some people deal with their issues by eating.

I call that swallowing your voice.  In the process of eating, you temporarily get away from your feelings.  You don’t want to deal with your issues so you eat so that you can go numb from your problems for a while. 

The problem with swallowing your voice, is that the “high” or numbness goes away when you finish eating.  When you finish eating the guilt comes in because you may have eaten half a dozen doughnuts in one sitting. Then your issues still haven’t gone away.  What I would then do is plan what I was going to have for lunch or dinner.  That would usually evolve half a dozen doughnuts or a whole cake.

I was thinking about those incidents today and remembered something my life coach told me once.  She said that over weight people wear one of their problems in public every day.  When an over weight person goes out into public, almost every one can see that they have an issue with food, self care, depression, or some thing else.  Not every one who looks at a skinny person can tell what their issues are.

My life coach also once told me that people that are over weight are usually over weight for a reason.  That reason is rarely about just the food.  The over eating is usually a symptom of a deeper issue.  For example, my issues were my self esteem, not knowing myself, and not loving myself.  Until I dealt with those issues, I would continue the eating disorder and the up and down roller coaster of my weight.

You can tell someone else about their problems but they don’t have to do anything about it.

It is up to that individual to deal with their problems.  When I was over weight, I didn’t need any one to tell me that I was over weight.  I already knew it.  When some one told me about my weight, it would just make me feel even worse.  I would then reach for food to comfort myself.  It just became a vicious cycle.

When that person is ready to do something about a problem that they are having, then they will deal with it.  I was only able to deal with my issues when I was ready.  I got to a point where I realized that I couldn’t continue the way that I was.  I was stuck.  Like one of my friends told me, “when the person is ready, the teacher will appear”.  When I was ready to deal with my issues, my life coach was doing a special and I hired her and I dealt with my issues.  It wasn’t a coincidence, it was meant to be.  The teacher appeared when I was ready.

Another example is when I see patients coming back to the hospital with the same problems.  Those patients just tell me that their medications need to be adjusted.  I educate them on their diets, exercise habits, and taking care of themselves but they don’t have to listen to me.  The evidence that they don’t listen is when I see them a couple of weeks later back in the hospital.  I have to realize that I can’t “fix” their problems, it is up to the patient to take care of themselves when they go home.  When the patient is in the hospital, the hospital can control some things like their diets and their medications.  Sometimes that works and some times it doesn’t.  If the patient wants to have some one bring them unhealthy food ultimately we can’t stop them.  When that patient goes home, they can change their diets and medications when they want to.

I just told my co-workers that it was up to the other co-worker to lose weight.  We can’t force her to lose weight.  We can’t make her be ready just because we are ready for her to lose weight.  We don’t know what is going on in her life right now.  They said they were uncomfortable even talking to her about it and that is why they wanted to get some one that was close to her to talk to her about it and do an intervention.

Thankfully after I gave my opinion, the conversation turned to hiking and running marathons.

Pleasant Surprises

I was doing my laundry last month and happened to look at myself in the mirror.  I realized something at that moment that was a pleasant surprise.

I have maintained my weight for over a year.

I haven’t maintained my weight since 2001.  Ever since 2001, I have been going up and down with my weight dealing with my eating disorder.

This past year, I haven’t been dieting.  I just found a life style that I love and that I can maintain even when I’m traveling.  I was worried when I became a travel nurse that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my weight.

What I have found that works for me is not to deny myself any thing that I want.  Just last month, I went to the Cheesecake Factory and ordered a cheese cake.  I didn’t feel bad about it either.  I wanted it so I ate it.  I used to feel guilty when I ate certain foods or I was afraid that I would revert to my old habits again.

I finally found a balance.

So what did I do when I realized this pleasant surprise.  I wanted to celebrate.  I had already booked a photography tour of LA.  I was going to turn that into my celebration time.  I’ve learned to celebrate the victories that I have in my life.  I had a great time on the tour and I loved the photos that I brought back.

For me, consistency is the key to maintaining my weight.

I consistently eat vegetables and fruits and exercise.  Before working with my life coach, I consistently ate doughnuts, cakes, and lunchables.  That is why I consistently felt tired, sad, drained, and burnt out.

Consistency is also the way that I achieve my goals.

With the help of my life coach, we broke down my goals into small action steps.  Some times the action steps were easy and some times they were challenging.  Even when they were challenging, I still wanted to do them because the steps would get me closer to my dreams and goals.

I consistently want to feel at my best so I have to consistently take care of myself.  On New Year’s Day, I woke up in a sad mood.  I thought to myself, why do I feel so sad today.  I remembered that I had eaten some muffins the day before.  I realized that almost every time that I eat certain foods, the next day I feel sad.  I had no plans for the day but I decided to make some plans.  I looked up hiking tours in the area and found a sunset tour.  I immediately started to feel better and excited.  I know that being in nature always makes me feel better.  I ended up having a great time on the tour and getting to see an amazing sunset and the full moon.  That was another pleasant surprise.

Now when I talk to my patients about their diets, I tell them that consistency is the key.  I used to try to overhaul my whole diet in one day and that never worked.  I could keep it up for about 3 months and then I would go back to my old habits.  With my new life style, I just added in some foods gradually and let go of some foods gradually and over a year later, I’m maintaining my weight.

Self Full

Self full is a term that I learned from my life coach, Karlee Fain.

Self Full means that you fill your cup up first and give the over flow to your clients.  You take care of yourself first.  In filling your own needs first you have more things to give to other people.  You can give your best self to your clients.

I recently read this article about nurse burnout and it stated that nurses are selfless people.  Nurses put their patients first , are overworked, and have too many patients which is just some of the reasons that lead to nurse burnout.

I used to think that putting my patients first was the way to go.  Many nurses would agree to that and said that in the comments of this article.

In my opinion, I have become a better nurse since I started to put myself first and become self full.  I get more sleep, I have more energy, I have a better attitude, and I’m not burned out anymore.

When I got my first hospital job, I didn’t take a lunch break for about 6 months.  I had been working this job for over a year and I had become the charge nurse.  I still had to take a full patient load and do my charge nurse duties.  To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.  A full patient load was 6 patients and sometimes 7.  I would survive off of some graham crackers and some juice all day.  I didn’t even have the energy to drive an hour home and would have to get a hotel room if I worked more than one day at a time.  I thought I was putting my patients first and being a good nurse.  I was being selfless.  I was fast approaching burn out.  The only time that I took off was when I was sick, which was becoming more and more frequent.  Sometimes I would even go to work sick.  One time the room started to spin and I felt like I was going to pass out but I stayed at work.  I didn’t want the other nurses to suffer because I couldn’t find another nurse to take my place.  I hadn’t taken a vacation in over 6 years at that point.

One time a nurse had to leave early because of a family emergency.  I tried to call another nurse in but no one wanted to come in.  I had to divide the nurse’s assignment and give them to the other nurses.  Since I was charge nurse, I couldn’t take anymore patients because I had the extra charge nurse duties.  One of the nurses was a new grad and had just gotten off of orientation that week.  She refused to take more than the 6 patients that she already had.  She stated that she didn’t feel comfortable taking 7 patients and that she would be putting her license in danger if she took 7 patients.  At the time I was very frustrated with her but looking back now I respect her decision.  As a new grad, I would be very uncomfortable taking 7 patients.  She was setting her boundaries and standing up for herself.  She knew her limits.  I ended up having to take 7 patients and some of the other nurses had to have 8 patients.  Luckily I found a nurse to come in about an hour later.

To be self full, I take care of myself.  I meditate, eat a healthy diet, exercise, get in nature, sit by the beach, sit by a lake, journal, drink water, and relax.  Doing these things keeps my cup full and overflowing so I can give my best self to the world and my patients.  I know that my days off are important so that I can take care of myself.  Even at work, I take my breaks and my lunch break now.  Sometimes that doesn’t always happen but I at least step into the break room and try to eat my lunch.  I want to be the best nurse that I can be and that means taking care of myself before I end up passing out because I haven’t eaten any thing since 5 am.  Some days I just relax at home because that’s what I feel like doing that day.

Most nurses work 5 or 6 days a week.  That is when being self full gets even more important.  On the 1 or 2 days off, the nurse should do something that uplifts the nurse’s spirit.  It could be something as simple as watching your favorite TV show or just sitting in the sun.

Being self full also means setting boundaries for yourself.  I don’t like to work over time unless I want to.  Most nurses tell me that they just assume that travel nurses will work over time.  I tell them that I also want to be able to explore the places that I go to, so I try not to work over time.  Some nurses look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language when I say that.  The hospital brings in the travel nurse because they don’t have enough nurses to work on the floor.  For myself, I know that working too much will lead to me feeling burned out.  Exploring different places and doing different things has made me a more balanced person.  The people that I talk to love to hear the stories of the places that I’ve been as a travel nurse.  They love to hear of the things that I did at those places.  The nurses are also noticing that I’m a much happier person even under stress.  I don’t attribute that to luck.  I attribute that to me being self full and taking care of myself.

Being self full is one way that I’ve learned to combat feeling burned out.

Ask yourself what can you do today that will help you to feel self full?


It Comes Back To You


My cousin posted something on Facebook that made me uncomfortable.

She just asked if people would share something good that they did for someone else and how the good came back to them.  She stated that it isn’t bragging to tell the good that you’ve done for people and how it came back to you.

Even when I was answering the question, I became uncomfortable because it did feel like I was bragging.

I think in my case it’s easier for me to share the things that happen to me instead of the good that I do for other people.

I asked myself why am I uncomfortable telling people some of the good things that I’ve done for other people and how it’s helped me and how the good came back to me.

My answer was that it does feel like bragging when I tell some people about the good that I’ve done.  It feels to me like I’m waving a flag telling the other person that I’m a good person.

Because I’m a nurse, I do good things for people every time that I go to work.  When I do some thing nice for my patients, I end up telling them that I’m just doing my job.  Some patients tell me that no I’m not just doing my job, I’m being a good person.

Then I had another thought after answering that Facebook post.

What if that is what is needed in this world?  What if the world needs more people to talk about the good that they do and how it makes their lives better?

Doing good things makes good things come back to you.

For example, I was grocery shopping and I was checking out.  The guy in front of me was done and he was leaving.  I saw that he had left his wallet on the counter.  I waited a few seconds cause I was waiting for the cashier to say something to the guy.  The cashier didn’t say anything.  I don’t know if the cashier saw the wallet or not.  I picked up the wallet and walked to the guy and gave him back his wallet.  He thanked me and told me that he didn’t live around here and would not have known where he left his wallet.  A few days later, when I was checking out of the hotel before I was going to work, 2 cars parked behind my car in the parking lot.  I was concerned because if I backed out I was going to hit one of the cars.  A guy that was there helped me to get my car out of the parking space without hitting any of the cars.  I thanked the guy after helping me.  The good that I had put out into the Universe came back to me.

The energy that you put out into the world, whether good or bad, comes back to you.

Being a nurse, sometimes I go to work and teach the patients and sometimes the patients teach me things.  I wish I could tell the story of the best patient that I had but its not my story to tell.  This patient had so many things going wrong but the patient had the best attitude.  The patient had a very gracious attitude and aura.  I loved going into this patient’s room and being around the patient.  This patient taught me that no matter what the circumstances are, you can choose to be happy.  I will always remember this patient.  The patient was doing good things by just being gracious and thankful.

Some times just being yourself is doing a good deed.  That is how you change the world.

The world needs more people willing to do good things and share the good things that they do for other people.  Doing good things not only helps the other person but it also helps you too.

In the comments, share some good things that you have done for other people and how it came back to you.  It’s not bragging.




Living My Life on My Terms



I’ve recently had some people in my life tell me that I’m not living my life.  One person even told me that I’m in the exact same place that I was in 10 years ago.

It is their opinion since I’m not dating or in a relationship then I’m missing out on life.  To some people I’m not living because I’ve never been drunk or high.  To some people because I don’t have my own home then I’m not living my life.  To some people because I don’t have any kids then I’m not living my life.

At the end of the day, I don’t have to agree with their opinions or let their opinions change the way that I view or live my life.

I know that I am living my life.  I don’t have to be in a relationship, have kids, or be drunk to know that I’m living my life.  Only I get to choose whether I have any kids or get into a relationship.

I am in love with the life that I have now.

When I was working in the nursing home, the statement that I would hear a lot from the women was: “I was going to do something but then I had kids and life happened and I never got around to doing what I really wanted to do.”  “I wish I could have travelled the world, but…”  “I wish I could have lived on my own.”  “I wish I could have gone after my dreams.”

I always wondered what would have happened if they had not let things get in the way of their dreams.

I don’t want to end up saying any of those things when I get older.  I want to be able to say that I did what I wanted to do.

Every one has their own journey in life.  Every one has different lessons to learn in life.

I recently read an article about Tracee Ellis Ross who is living life on her terms.  She states that she often gets some people telling her that she just hasn’t met the right guy yet and that its never too late to have kids.  All of her accomplishments don’t mean anything to those people because she doesn’t have any kids or a husband to focus on.  She is selfish because she doesn’t want kids right now or she is failing at life because of her status.  She has won a Golden Globe and yet to some people that just isn’t enough.

She goes on the say that she is going to live her life on her own terms and not be controlled by the expectations of others.  She is going to be the brave Tracee.

I can completely understand what she is saying.

I tried to live my life on other people’s terms for 30 years.  I was never happy.  I was told that if I lived my life how other people wanted me to live then I would be happy.  If I got a house, dog, kids, a good career, a husband, or just a boyfriend then I would be happy.  Thankfully the Universe had other plans for my life.

I recently had a friend say that if she had a daughter, she wouldn’t want her daughter to live a life like mine.  I was hurt for a second and then I let it go.  I was tempted in that second to list the things that I have done and the things that I’m doing now.  I was proud of myself for not doing that.  At the end of the day, her opinion of my life will not change my opinion of my life. If I had a daughter and she lived the life that I’m living, then I would be proud of her.

In my opinion, I am a beautiful, strong, badass, and powerful woman.  I dare to live my life on my own terms.  I am in love with the life that I have built.  I dare to go after my dreams and to be myself.  I love myself.  My life has meaning.  Three years ago, I would not have said any of those things about myself.  To some people I live a very blessed life and to some other people I don’t.  Success and happiness are defined differently by different people.

A woman doesn’t have to have kids or have a husband to live her best life.  Oprah Winfrey is the perfect example of this.  She isn’t married to her boyfriend and she has no kids And she is living her best life.

I commit to living life on my own terms.  I commit to being the Brave Shavawn.









Why are we Lying?


One day last week, I worked on the floor without a CNA or a secretary.  I have an appreciation for every body who works in the hospital.

If one part is missing every one feels it.

I was so busy that day, I didn’t get to get a lunch break.  Only 2 of the 4 nurses got a lunch break.  The other nurse that didn’t get a lunch break told me that she wasn’t going to tell the manager that she didn’t get a lunch break.  She said that she learned a long time ago that doing that too often would lead to trouble.

I thought back to my first hospital job.  This was the first job that I got after coming out of RN school.  This hospital didn’t have computer charting.  Most everything was still on paper charting.  I had 6 or 7 patients a day.  Most of the time I didn’t start charting until after my shift was over.  I was leaving work at 9 or 10 pm.  Most of the time I would leave and there would still be another day shift nurse charting.

When I became charge nurse the job got even harder.  I still had to take 6 or 7 patients and then do the charge nurse duties.  Most of the time, I didn’t get a lunch break.  When I clocked out I would say that I didn’t get my lunch break.  After about 5 times of clocking out that I didn’t get a lunch break, I was called into the office.  The manager told me that I needed to work on my time management skills because I should be able to take a lunch break.  Since I didn’t want to be called back into the office, I just stopped clocking out and saying that I didn’t get a lunch break.  I still didn’t take a lunch break but I didn’t let management know.  I felt like I would get into more trouble if I kept telling them I didn’t get a lunch break.

Working in healthcare is already hard and stressful at times.

Making the healthcare workers feel like they have to work 30 minutes for free is not ok.  In the past, I felt bullied to lie and say I got a lunch break when I didn’t because I didn’t want to get into trouble.  I would eat while I was charting at the nurses station.  Now I don’t lie.  I want the management to know that if you don’t supply the floor with a CNA or a secretary or enough nurses then they are making my job harder.  When the schedule was made, management knew that on some of the days there would be no CNA or secretary on the floor.

I understand that sometimes there are call outs.  This day, there were no call outs, there were just not enough workers scheduled for the day.

Now when the management looks at that day, they can say that every nurse except one nurse got a lunch break.  They managed great without enough workers.

That day I felt so busy.  The nurses came together and helped each other out thankfully.

One small step that we as healthcare workers can take is to stop lying to management.  Tell the management when you don’t get to take a lunch break.  Let them know that they might need to hire more workers.

Letting management know is not only helping the workers but it is helping the patients.

I appreciate every body that works in healthcare.  When one part is missing it makes every bodies job harder.


Self Care is not Optional


Ever since I started to practice self care, my perspective on life has changed.

Recently a co-worker asked me why I didn’t work any overtime.  She told me that she thought that all travel nurses worked over time.

I explained to her why I chose to be a travel nurse.  I chose to be a travel nurse so that I could live in different areas.  I want to be able to explore the different areas that I go to.  I love to travel and meet different people.

Even if I wasn’t a travel nurse, I would choose not to work over time.  The reason for that is because I am a better person and a better nurse when I take care of myself.  Part of taking care of myself is not working too much and making time for self care and fun.  Eating right and exercising are also parts of my self care.

On my days off, I can do whatever I want to do.  I can go hiking, just sit in the park, yoga, or just stay at home.  Those self care practices help me to stay centered, creative, and in balance.

When I was just working and not taking care of myself, I wasn’t balanced.  I was frustrated and overwhelmed.   I was stressed and I was burnt out.  My patients could tell too.

Now that self care is a priority, I’m happy and I can maintain it.

Unfortunately, the trend that I’m seeing in nursing is to make self care optional.  Its ok to work 6 or 7 days straight, as long as the nurse is getting paid well.  Its ok for the nurse to be really tired coming into work.  The nurse had 12 hours to sleep in between the shifts.

What some people don’t take into account is that the nurse also has a personal life.  When the nurse goes home, they have to take care of that home.  The nurse also may have children to spend time with.  The nurse may have a significant other to spend time with.  The nurse may have aging parents to take care of.  The nurse may have pets.

I’ve seen and heard of nurses working 6 or 7 days a week for months at a time.  They come in to work and they state that they are so tired.  They state that they wish this day would hurry up and be done with.  I have to attribute that to them just wanting and needing a day off.

Too much work and no fun or self care makes a person very stressed.

I recently read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine titled: “The Stress Solution You Haven’t Thought Of”.  The article talks about taking mental health days off from work and how important it is not only for the company but for the employee as well.  One of the quotes that caught my attention was, “Taking time off lowers the stress hormone cortisol.” – Richard Shuster.  Another quote states, “Days off can improve sleep, boost mood, and lessen risks for heart disease and depression.  And being away from work actually makes you better at work.” – Jessica Goodman.

I can attest to these statements.  When I get 4 days off a week, I come into work less tired and stressed.  When I work 4 days in a week, I feel more tired and stressed.  I love being a nurse but I also love having a thriving personal life.  I love spending time with my family and friends.  I love being able to go hiking when the sun is shining.  I love to sit around the lake and write in my journal.   I can give my best self to my patients when I’m operating at 100%.

I understand some nurses need to work more days in a week for financial or personal reasons.  This is when self care becomes even more important.  When working more hours the need for self care rises.  The nurse needs to be able to have some time to relax and to do the things that help with their stress levels.   Even if its something as simple as taking a bubble bath.

Self care is not optional.  Self care is not selfish.  Self care is necessary and important.