Category: Inspiring Nurses

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Thank You COVID-19 Healthcare Heroes!

By Sarah Wengert and Jennifer Stewart

Medical Solutions is SO lucky to employ talented, highly skilled, dedicated travel nurses and other healthcare travelers. With our high-quality standards, we hire only the best in our mission of connecting care countrywide. So, of course, we are not at all surprised to see our travelers showing up in incredible ways for patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, COVID-19 healthcare heroes!

To celebrate you, and the thousands more like you on the frontlines, we are highlighting some of your stories.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Erin is an ER nurse in northern California who is steadfast in everything she does. Her recruiter says she is “strong, smart, capable, and confident in a way that still portrays humility. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t hesitate to work hard for it.” Erin was recently recognized at her hospital for fostering a patient’s dog while he sought the care he needed. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Heather is a travel nurse working in South Dakota. She has made a ton of sacrifices to help fight the pandemic, especially being a single mom of twin daughters. Much like most of us, she has to figure out how to juggle homeschooling her kids, staying healthy, and working in an environment that exposes her daily. Healthcare hero by day and supermom by night!

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Bianca is a travel nurse in an observation unit in Arizona. Bianca’s recruiter says she admires Bianca greatly! “She is who I want to be when I grow up,” says her recruiter, Jennifer Stewart. “She is classy, well-spoken, caring, and makes the most of her travel. Her Instagram page is full of amazing adventures and pictures you would see in a travel ad. She truly knows the meaning of work hard/play hard. Bianca has been asked to extend at every hospital I have had her work with me at which speaks to her positive attitude and on-point clinical skills.”

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Tonya is a travel nurse working on a unit designated for caring for COVID-19 patients. In addition to providing patient care, she has been researching the characteristics of COVID, how it affects iron levels, and feels like she has started to be able to predict when someone is on the upswing in their recovery. Tonya’s recruiter says she “takes nursing to a whole new level. She looks at every patient as a whole. She puts so much effort, care, and love into each person she comes across. She never fails to amaze me.”

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Celeste is a travel respiratory therapist helping out in New Hampshire. She is a very easy-going personality who seems to find the silver lining in everything. The start to her travel career had a few pretty big bumps in the road but she persevered, had a successful contract, and was even asked to stay longer than expected.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Lisa’s recruiter says Lisa is one of her favorite people in the world. She is currently working in Los Angeles, California, maintaining her constant focus on other people, her selfless mindset, and her dedication to hard work.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Connie is a long-time employee and a lifelong learner, currently on assignment in Pennsylvania with her next assignment cued up in Arkansas. She first started traveling with us as an LPN and has since worked her way up as an RN who can flourish in just about any unit, including rehab, med-surg, tele, ICU, and more.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Elizabeth is currently working an ER travel job in Nebraska to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s sacrificing time away from her kids and family to help fill in the staffing gaps where she is needed. Liz continually has an attitude of gratitude no matter her circumstances.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Rebecca is currently working in an ER in Newton, Massachusetts. To help herself destress she’s making time for hiking on her days off, re-watching her favorite movies, and indulging in the occasional long nap. Rebecca says she’s been deeply touched by “all the help coming in from the general public — mask donations, face shields, meals sent for the department … The last shift I worked, the day shift charge brought in a whole mess of scrub caps someone from her church had made, and each and every one had a little piece of paper saying ‘Thank you for choosing to be a nurse. Never doubt your patients truly appreciate the care, compassion, and comfort you provide. God bless you and keep you healthy.’ It just about brought me to tears.”

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Christy is an ER travel nurse working in Oregon. Her picture shows the toll a 12-hour shift in PPE can take on a person — but nothing keeps her down! Christy’s recruiter says that Christy is a great nurse, a loving mother and grandmother, and has proven that she’s incredibly adaptable and able to roll with every single punch that’s been thrown her way over her years of traveling.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Charlotte is a travel ICU RN working in Virginia. What we love about Charlotte is her giant heart. Even when she’s facing her own troubles, she always takes the time to ask how others are doing, and she genuinely cares about their answers. Her recruiter says that “she is a great nurse with a ton of ICU experience. I would trust her with my own family any day!”

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Laorence is a travel ER nurse working in the heart of Los Angeles, California. His recruiter says he is probably the busiest man she knows. This husband and father to fur babies works full time, goes to school full time, and does his NP clinicals. His recruiter nicknamed him “Sunshine” because she says that’s the feeling he gives off every time she talks to him. “I’m sure his patients are grateful to have such warmth in this cold and difficult time,” says his recruiter.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Emily is a travel nurse working in Washington. Like many others, she’s faced periods with a shortage of protective personal equipment. Despite the tough circumstances, Emily always finds a way to make light of a situation. Her recruiter says Emily has a talent for always making her laugh. We thank Emily for her hard work, dedication, and ability to laugh no matter what!

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Keydi is an ICU RN working in northern California. This is her first travel contract and she has really had to roll with the punches. Despite recently recovering from the flu, she’s been ready to do whatever it takes for quality patient care. Keydi has a positive attitude at all times and continues to impress everyone with her adaptability and flexibility.

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Sierra is a travel respiratory therapist working in Oklahoma. She has pushed through the challenge of being exposed to COVID-19 positive patients and has kept a positive attitude throughout the process. Some feedback we got from the hospital from her most recent assignment was: “Sierra has been an invaluable asset and is welcome back to work with us anytime.”

Travel nurse fighting COVID-19

Wanda is a travel CNA currently working in Iowa. She gave up a dream vacation to stick around and help the hospital in its time of need. Wanda’s recruiter says that Wanda has gotten an incredibly high amount of praises and extensions on her first travel assignment. Wanda is a wonderful CNA and her recruiter says she’d trust Wanda to care for any one of her own loved ones. “I know that every patient she interacts with feels the warmth she gives,” says her recruiter.

A major, heartfelt THANK YOU goes out to these healthcare heroes and the thousands more out there putting themselves on the line to protect public health and heal their patients. We appreciate all of you, and are especially grateful to those out there representing Medical Solutions so well.

If you’re ready to join Medical Solutions in the fight against COVID-19, apply now and get started!

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Exhausted Nurse in Viral Picture is Celebrated

Caty Nixon 688x1024 - Exhausted Nurse in Viral Picture is Celebrated

Last July, labor and delivery nurse Caty Nixon had an emotional moment after working more than 50 hours in four days — during which she delivered a stillborn baby. She was eating dinner at her twin sister Laura McIntyre’s house when the weight and exhaustion of it all hit her like a ton of bricks.

On October 10, McIntyre posted a photo of that emotional July moment to Facebook with a tribute to her sister’s hard work and selfless nature. The post quickly went viral and to date has been shared more than 133,000 times. In her post McIntyre wrote:

“she’s gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?

caty just wrapped up her fourth shift in a row. that’s around 53+ hours in four days. that’s not including the 1.5 hours she’s in the car each day. she usually doesn’t get a chance to eat lunch or even drink much water. (& she has to dress like a blueberry.. i mean, come on). she is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she’s taking care of her patients.

this pic is from a night back in july where she came to my house after a particularly hard day. she delivered a stillborn. have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees? they see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic & anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called. they see peace when the mom has support from her family – bc not all new moms do. they see teenagers giving birth. they see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing. they see cps come. they see funeral homes come. did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby? i didn’t either.

caty (& all other nurses) – you are SPECIAL. you bless your patients & their families more than you will ever know. thank you for all that you do.” 

Wow, does that speak to the magic and importance of what nurses everywhere do! A lot of nurses saw themselves in this and so did many families whose lives have been deeply impacted by nurse service and excellence.    

“Any kind of fetal loss is hard, especially for the family, but also for the staff,” Nixon told TIME magazine in October 2019. “I think it’s the worst thing that a family could go through.”

However, Nixon was also quick to note that her job is usually quite happy despite the long hours, but that the moment her sister captured was just “after a long, heartbreaking day.”

Nixon and McIntyre were both surprised by the viral reaction that provoked such an outpouring of love and support from fellow nurses and other healthcare professionals, former patients, and even complete strangers. Nixon was even celebrated this week on “Good Morning America” — check out this video where her sister and husband help surprise her:

I feel like this honor is symbolically for every single RN, allied health professional, and long-term care health professional — because all of you work tirelessly with rare bathroom and hydration breaks, among other stresses, to provide incredible patient care.  

In fact, Nixon told TIME that’s she touched by the reaction and hopes her viral moment helps people realize that she’s not alone in her dedication.   

“There are caregivers everywhere. Not just nurses, but firefighters and first responders and parents,” Nixon told TIME. “There are people everywhere that give love.”

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11 Inspiring Quotes About Gratitude

Celebration of Life

Practice an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving season with these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays at Medical Solutions. Not just because it means a license to eat all the yummy food and because gravy is usually involved, but also because we are true believers in the reason for the Thanksgiving season: Gratitude.

In this 11th month of the year, we offer you these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude to encourage you to practice gratitude — throughout November and beyond. What are you grateful for today? What incredible goodness, kind gesture, beautiful sunset, delectable meal, fun road trip, perfect travel contract, roaring laugh with friends, or strategically unanswered prayer that leads you down an even better path will you be thankful for tomorrow?

Enjoy these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude as you ponder all that you have to be thankful for!

“Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” — Rumi

“May the gratitude in my heart kiss all the universe.” — Hafiz

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” — Brene Brown

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” — Alphonse Karr

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson

Colorful Papers Hanging On Clothespin With Text Against Wooden Wall

Thank YOU for everything you do!

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Got Pink? Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Medical Solutions Pink Out

Medical Solutions’ Omaha office recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness month with our annual Pink Out Day!

Last October, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Medical Solutions shared the story of one of our most beloved team members, Amber Barna, BSN, RN, Clinical Director of Nursing at Medical Solutions. Amber is a brave breast cancer survivor, amazing leader, and just generally a wonderfully infectious ray of sunshine within the Medical Solutions family.

Medical Solutions Pink Out

The San Diego office gets their pink on!

This year, Medical Solutions had our annual Pink Out Day recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I’ve shared a few of our Pink Out pics with you in this blog. In honor of Amber’s story, and breast cancer survivors everywhere, I’d also like to share a really cool effort by The Kroger Company to help their employees tell their survivor stories.

At SharingCourage.com, Kroger hosts a collection of “Stories of Courage” from their team members who’ve bravely fought breast cancer. Their stories take them from stunning, scary diagnoses to hard-fought battles to cancer-free status, and each one of them is truly an inspiration! One uniting factor of these stories, much like Amber’s, is that these survivors gain a new appreciation and sense of gratefulness for life.

Here are a few of their quotes:

“Cancer brought me to my knees … then it brought me to my feet.” — Linda

“It’s a beautiful world on the other side of cancer!” — Cindy

“I found a reserve of inner strength that I never thought possible.” — Sharon

“Every day I find another reason to be thankful.” —Tina

“Since breast cancer, I’ve learned not to stress about things in life.” — Carolyn

Medical Solutions Pink Out

The Tupelo team is thinking pink!

Kroger, which has a vast family of stores under different names nationwide, also uses their platform to generate funds for organizations that fight breast cancer. You can enter your current zip code on their site to see how much money they’ve generated for your current local area. Mine was $78,500 in 2015! And all of that money stayed in local organizations that continue to lobby for breast cancer awareness and fight hard for a cure.

As a Traveler, it’s pretty cool to think that you can help make an impact in tons of locations across the nation!

As you recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make sure to check out Amber’s inspirational story as well as those of the survivors featured by Sharing Courage!

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Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month: One Nurse’s Brave Fight Against Breast Cancer

Nurses Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Dynamic Trio: Our in-house team of nurses (from l to r) Ann, Natalie, and Amber rock the pink.

There are many ways to go about recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October. Some dress in pink, donate to breast cancer-fighting organizations, or do their first breast self-exam. Others may share important statistics, like the fact* that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, or that it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and also the second leading cause of death among them.

For the Medical Solutions family — like so many others — the fight against breast cancer is personal, so we’d like to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sharing the story of our very own Amber Barna, BSN, RN, Clinical Director of Nursing at Medical Solutions, and brave breast cancer survivor.

Amber leads an amazing in-house clinical and quality team that acts as a constant resource for our Travelers. She also brings tons of sunshine and fun into our daily lives, and for that we love her tremendously.

Amber was kind enough to share her story — one nurse’s brave fight against breast cancer — in the Q&A below. Thanks so much, Amber, for sharing your story! You are an inspiration to us all.

When and how were you diagnosed with breast cancer?

In September 2009, after my doctor found a lump when I went in for a regular annual exam, I was sent in for an ultrasound. When the radiologist came walking into the room, I knew it probably wasn’t good. He told me that the lump was suspicious for cancer, but advised me to have a mammogram done. With that, I was set up for a mammogram and that radiologist noted a biopsy would be a possible next step. From there, I met with a general surgeon and had a surgical biopsy on a Friday then got a call that Monday that is was Ductal Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer. I was lucky because this is a common type of breast cancer.

I was a stage 2 they thought initially, but then there was micro-metastasis in my lymph node which pushed me to be an early stage 3. I had triple positive breast cancer, so I had to do 16 rounds of chemo to cover the breast cancer and metastasis to my lymph node. I also had to complete a year of an IV medication called Herceptin which combatted an aggressive trait of my breast cancer. Lastly, I am on 10 years of Tamoxifen which is an oral medication to better help me with reduction of reoccurrence.

Nurses Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Like a Boss: Amber’s team decorated her office with pink streamers for Boss’s Day.

Can you take us through your fight against breast cancer? How long was the process, what were some highs and lows, when did you know you were in remission and how did that feel?

For me, the biggest low was the day I was diagnosed, that night, and into the next day. I had no idea truly of what I was dealing with and the unknown was killing me.  Once I found out the specifics after meeting with several doctors, that is where my fight or flight kicked in and I decided it was game on from there.

I had a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection, port-a-cath placement and tissue expenders placed. This was pretty rough because I was sick for a few days after the anesthesia and not able to go home right away. Having two little boys at home, this was the most difficult piece. Also, once I went home, I couldn’t hold my boys and I had drains which the baby would try to pull at, so that was rough.

About a month after surgery, I started my chemotherapy. With chemotherapy came hot flashes. I was only 30 years old, so this was pretty rough as I have never been so hot in my life. I went through 16 rounds of chemo. The first 4 rounds were every other week, then 12 weekly treatments. I started the Herceptin during the last 12 treatments, so once I was done with chemotherapy I had about 10 more months of the Herceptin to complete via my port-a-cath. During some of the chemotherapy treatments, I would have to take shots in my abdomen to help stimulate blood cell production that was falling due to the chemotherapy. My husband learned how to administer this for me because even though I was a nurse and can help others, I could not get myself to actually give the injections.

During the chemo, I would go to my plastic surgeon who would inflate the tissue expanders every couple of weeks to stretch the skin and ready my chest area for the breast implants. I learned very early on not to eat prior to chemo, and after chemo to only eat somewhere that I wouldn’t mind if it made me sick and repulsed me after.  This way I didn’t ruin any of my favorite dining spots.

Once I finished chemotherapy and my blood counts were normalized, I then had surgery to remove the tissue expanders and replace them with breast implants. The good part was it was an outpatient surgery, but this again meant I couldn’t hold my boys, so that was the hardest part of this. A couple more outpatient surgeries followed to put the final touches on the newly constructed breasts. In the upcoming year or so after this, I had a total hysterectomy which was not too bad at all and I only missed a couple days of work so that was good. After some time, I ended up having an implant rupture, so I had to have surgery again to remove the old implants and place new ones. That was pretty rough, but at least I got to go home the same day. During this entire time, I felt pretty good. I would get nausea/vomiting from the chemotherapy and surgeries, but I missed very minimal work time and the days of chemo I had a ton of energy because they would give me steroids before the chemo to decrease the reaction to the chemo.

I am in remission now, and I just recently at five years out got moved to only annual oncologist follow-up appointments. I was told at that appointment that my risk of reoccurrence was the same as the general population — which is awesome! I am “normal” again. I continue taking my Tamoxifen orally daily and have a little under five years left of this medication, but it isn’t too bad.

Nurses Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Workin’ It: Amber walked with fellow breast cancer survivors in 2015’s Omaha Fashion Week. Photo Credit: Sarah Hoffman/Omaha World-Herald

What gave you the strength to fight this disease?

Truly, my family, my kids, my friends and my work family. I had to fight because I couldn’t let them down. I was not going to let them down by letting this disease beat me. It wasn’t an option. I had a 4-year-old and 9-month-old when diagnosed and my brother had recently passed away, so I couldn’t leave my family or cause them more pain.

Do you believe that the process of being diagnosed and fighting breast cancer was any different for you as a nurse — with your clinical knowledge — than it might have been for a non-clinical person? If so, how? 

Yes, I feel like I was more aware of what was going on and what I needed to watch for. At times, I think it almost made it worse because I knew too much of what to expect. They say ignorance can be bliss, and I truly believe that in this case. I also was not the best patient as I overdid it a lot. I much rather prefer being on the side of providing the care and helping others rather than needing help. That is just how I am wired, but I am truly so thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses who saved my life.

What did you learn about life from this experience?

Life is short. Don’t take it for granted. Just be happy.

As a nurse and as a survivor, what advice do you have for someone recently diagnosed and/or fighting breast cancer?

Attitude is everything! Stay positive and there is always a positive to EVERY situation.  There are others who are stage 4 and who would love to have the opportunity to be going through treatment for cancer, so count your blessings and appreciate the opportunity to fight. Also, ask questions — lots of questions!

*Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation

Nurses Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Think Pink: The Omaha office pinks out in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, complete with pink cotton candy!

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Experienced Nurses Needed for Roundup River Ranch Medical Team

Roundup River Ranch LogoTravel Nurses get to experience all kinds of new locations and awesome adventures. But has a job ever given you the opportunity to go back to camp?!

Now’s your chance, because experienced nurses are needed for a wet, hot, rewarding American summer at the Roundup River Ranch in Gypsum, Colorado. ER specialty is particularly needed and pediatric experience is a plus for nurse staff positions, but there are also many volunteer opportunities for nurses in other specialties as well as people in other professions.

Roundup River Ranch, originally envisioned by actor Paul Newman, offers an old-fashioned, camp experience for children suffering from serious illnesses and their families. It gives them an invaluable chance to disconnect from being a patient and to reconnect with being a kid. They also benefit from the important healing power of happiness, laughter, and cultivating new friendships, all while having experiences that may have otherwise seemed off limits to them. Even better, this camp is provided free of charge to the kids and their families.

RRR Joy

While fun is the focus at Roundup River Ranch, the medical needs of the campers must also be met by professional, trained staff.

That’s where amazing summer staff and volunteers come in!

Roundup River Ranch Camper

A happy camper at the Roundup River Ranch!

Besides being a wonderful cause and a great use of your clinical skills, Roundup River Ranch also offers a great time, gorgeous location, and classic summer camp experience for its medical staff. Just imagine your “unit” is located in a gorgeous mountain valley! Click here to read about the medical care and facilities.

Positions at the Roundup River Ranch are not staffed through Medical Solutions. We just think this is a great opportunity for nurses and wanted to share it with you! As a Travel Nurse, it’s one you could easily take advantage of in between contracts without missing a beat.

To learn more, apply to be summer staff, or volunteer, please contact Roundup River Ranch’s Nursing Director, Lauren Andersen, BSN, RN, CEN at lauren@roundupriverranch.org or by calling 970.524.5711.

Visit RoundupRiverRanch.org to learn more about this amazing camp experience.

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Amazing Brave Video!

Brave Video

Thank you, U of M, for representing nursing so well!

Hey everybody, you’ll have to excuse me, I have something in my eye …

I must admit I shed a tear — or 20! — when I watched the University of Minnesota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital viral YouTube video, “Brave.” Nurses, administrators, and other staff join young patients in lip syncing along to Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave” — a catchy, poppy song with the chorus, “I just wanna see you be brave.”

Watching the joy on the faces of these young, strong kids, as well as the dedication and care apparent from the staff members is truly inspirational. With other, sometimes questionable, portrayals of nurses cluttering up headlines this year, it is fantastic to see a video with such substance and understanding of what nurses do become popular.

In the video staff and patients frolic, get silly, and dance. At one point young patients hold up cards that read, “Be brave,” “Be courageous,” and “Be strong.” Staff and nurses hold up cards that read, “Stay fighting,” “Stay positive,” and “Stay courageous.”

One YouTube commenter wrote, “This was absolutely beautiful … I don’t cry often but this truly inspiring video got me going. God bless those kids and god bless the wonderful nurses and doctors who devote your time and care to making these kids have the best life they can while in this tragic circumstance. Thank you.”

Bareilles surprised some of the video’s masterminds in the middle of an interview with HLN, and she told them, “I was sent this video by a friend of a friend who lives in Minnesota, and I watched it late at night and immediately my eyes welled up. It’s moment like this that reminds me of the importance of music, and I can’t think of a more perfect incarnation of this song. It’s exactly the kind of thing that gives the life to this song that we were hoping for.”

The video comes to a close with more nurses and staff holding up the messages: “Supporting the fighters,” “Admiring the survivors,”  “Honoring the taken,” and “Never ever giving up hope.”

At Medical Solutions we never forget that what we do is help our nurses provide just this kind of inspiring, life-changing care. Thanks, U of M, and thanks to all of our awesomely brave Travelers! Check out the original video and Bareilles’ Skype session below.