Tell Us a Nurse Story…

What was your proudest day as a nurse?

In the nursing field, we all have bad days and good day. One of my worst days is also one of my proudest moments in my career.

I was in the operating room, circulating, and the day was fast approaching to be just miserable. It seemed as though all the equipment in the room decided it was not going to work for me. One thing after another something needed my attention. Meanwhile, I had a surgeon making rather rude comments about everything I was doing because they could. Next thing I knew anesthesia alarms went off and the room chatter stopped. The patient was becoming unstable and we needed to end the surgery pronto but we had the patient’s abdomen wide open. The surgeon and anesthesia started calling out orders. I was trying to help both of them while helping my scrub tech. When the surgery was over and the patient was stable, the surgeon looked at me and said “Thank you…” and apologized (in their own way). It was one of the proudest moments as a nurse helping save my patient’s life.

—Tabatha Dybzinski


7 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

A good night’s sleep is crucial to everyday success, and no one knows this better than busy healthcare professionals. Poor sleep can take a toll on your work performance and your overall health. That’s why it’s important to catch the right amount of zzz’s!

If you find yourself staring wide-eyed at the ceiling instead of sleeping, check out these 7 tips for falling asleep faster!

1. Keep a journal – Going to bed with a busy mind is never a good idea. Let go of daily stressors by writing in a journal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Or you can jot down what’s bothering you in a notepad, on your computer or even on a random scrap of paper. By the time you go to bed, your mind should no longer be racing.

2. Cool your room – Keep your room on the cooler side for sleep-friendly conditions. We recommend setting the thermostat to around 65 degrees or lower. A cooler room will induce sleepiness and prevent night sweats. If you tend to get cold throughout the night, sleep in layers or place a blanket within reach.

3. Hide your clock – When you’re constantly checking the time, you’re only stressing yourself out more. So you’re not glancing at it every five minutes, turn the clock towards the wall or cover it with a towel. If you have to use your phone as an alarm, keep it in a drawer or under the bed so you’re not tempted to pick it up.

4. Tune out – Tune out your spouse’s snoring and other distracting noises with some calming music or sounds. Research shows that soft, relaxing music not only helps you fall asleep, but it also contributes to longer, deeper sleep. You could listen to Pandora’s classical music station, white noise or the sound of waves crashing on the beach; it all depends on what works for you.

5. Drink a warm beverage – Steer clear of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages close to bedtime, and drink a mug of herbal tea or warm milk instead. These soothing beverages will help you wind down and fall asleep easier.

6. Wear comfortable clothing – Wearing tight, uncomfortable pajamas leads to restless nights. Instead, wear light, loose-fitting, breathable pajamas for better sleep. If you’re not a fan of pajama sets, wear a t-shirt in a larger size for an extra comfy fit.

7. Dim the lights – Exposure to bright lights right before bedtime can hinder sleep and disrupt healthy circadian rhythms. Before you get ready for bed, dim the lights or switch to a soft bedside lamp. Then, once you go to sleep, make sure that all lights are fully off for restful sleep.


Tell Us a Nurse Story…

What was your proudest day as a nurse?

As a young nurse, I worked in a local emergency department. One afternoon, I assisted with a cardiac arrest, and actually defibrillating a patient back to life. This was prior to AED’s. Weeks went by and I recall a gentlemen coming back to the Emergency Dept asking,”Who was the nurse who lit up My life”? He wanted to thank me for saving his life and handed me a huge bouquet of flowers. It was the most rewarding as well as unbelievable feeling that has been with me for a long time.

I do reflect back often on that occurrence, and realize how thankful I am to still practice as an efficient nurse. I am sure this gentlemen will never forget me during his lifetime. It was an uplifting experience for me and glad I can share it with others.

—Maria Mangin


Top 10 Healthy Foods for Boosting Energy

Does this sound like you? You’re working a long work shift, energy levels plummeting, practically guzzling mug after mug of coffee just to stay awake. If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. We may just have the thing to eliminate that ever-present drowsiness.

Your diet can have a huge impact on your energy throughout the day. Replacing heavy, greasy foods with nutritious, healthy snacks can replenish depleting energy reserves. Fight off fatigue in the workplace by consuming these energy-boosting foods.

eggs1. Eggs – Rich in vitamins B and D, eggs are an amazing source of long-lasting energy. Plus, eggs are filled with high-quality proteins, leading to a significant energy boost.


almonds2. Almonds – Just a small serving of almonds can do wonders for your energy levels. This healthy snack contains magnesium and B vitamins that help produce energy. For the perfect serving size, stick to 1 ounce or about 23 nuts.


peanut-butter3. Peanut Butter – Although peanut butter is high in calories, a small serving can offer sustained and steady energy. Loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber, peanut butter curbs cravings, stabilizes blood sugar levels and aids in the production of energy. So, instead of eating buttered toast in the morning, spread some all-natural peanut butter on your bread. Try to steer clear of products with added sugars and keep to a 2-tablespoon serving size.

bananas4. Bananas – Bananas are just about the easiest snack you can find. All you have to do is throw one in your lunch bag or purse and go! Filled with fiber, B vitamins and potassium, this portable snack fuels energy and promotes muscle function.


kale5. Kale – Forget iceberg lettuce and add nutrient-rich kale to your salad instead. High in vitamins and minerals, kale helps improve your mood, stave off hunger and prevent fatigue. Prepare it as a side dish, add it to soup or pair it with whole-wheat pasta.


oatmeal6. Oatmeal – It’s no secret that oatmeal is a healthy breakfast or snack option. Rich in fiber, oatmeal will provide energy with staying power. If you’re in a hurry, prepare overnight oats ahead of time and store them in mason jars. Then, you can just grab one on your way out the door!


pistachios7. Pistachios – Pistachios are high in protein, fiber and heart-healthy monosaturated fats to give you sustainable energy throughout your work shift. Keep calories in check by sticking to a small serving size.


hummus8. Hummus – If you’re a fan of hummus, here’s some great news: this Mediterranean dip is a wonderful pick-me-up snack! Hummus is an excellent source of fiber and protein and can give you the burst of energy you need. You can use it as dip for nutrient-rich veggies like red peppers or carrot sticks, or you spread it on bread for a healthy sandwich spread.

ginger-tea9. Ginger Tea – Coffee lovers may scoff at this suggestion, but why not replace that afternoon coffee with a cup of ginger tea? Ginger tea is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients for an afternoon pick-me-up without the undesirable side effects of caffeine.


whole-wheat-crackers10. Whole-wheat Snacks – The beneficial properties of whole-wheat snacks are indisputable. Whole grains, and whole wheat especially, are loaded with essential nutrients for the production of energy, including fiber, magnesium, iron, protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins. Combine whole grains with protein for an optimal energy boost. You could try whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cottage cheese or whole-wheat toast with sugar-free nut butter.

Try any of these high energy foods to stay alert all work shift long!


Tell Us a Nurse Story…

What was your proudest day as a nurse?

While working as a Public Health Nurse in the 1980’s, I had an Asian patient that spoke and understood very little English. He needed to follow a 1500 calorie ADA diet in order to control the blood glucose levels. He needed to reduce carbohydrates (rice) in his native diet. English language didn’t work, so I used food models and pictures to show him how much rice he could eat daily (two cups).

At the next appointment, the doctor was very surprised by his glucose readings so she called me during his appointment to see what made him change his diet so drastically (two cups of rice daily). I explained the use of food models and pictures to help him. He did exactly what he needed to do once he understood, that is why this is my proudest moment as a nurse. I used just basic nursing skills, simple illustrations, nothing fancy, and no interpreter needed to help this patient understand what he needed to do in order to take care of himself and prevent complications due to diabetes mellitus.

—Frances Bell Banks


5 Ways to Stay Happy During a Long Shift

Nurses are obligated to work long shifts. But when you’re on your feet for 12-hour durations taking care of patients, your own well-being could be put on the backburner. As a healthcare professional, your happiness is critical for your physical and mental health, as well as for your work performance and bedside mannerisms. Here are five ways to stay happy during a long shift, even if you’re dealing with impatient patients and have sore feet.

Stay Healthy

Keeping up with your physical health plays an important role when it comes to your mental and emotional welfare. Regular exercise boosts energy, keeping you awake and alert. Not to mention, exercise increases serotonin, your body’s natural happiness drug (but we’re sure you knew that already). On your time off, be sure to hit the gym (or the pavement) two to three times per week. Consider joining a 24-hour gym so you can exercise when it’s convenient for you.

Keep an abundant supply of healthy snacks on hand to ward off fatigue. Nuts, dried fruit, and granola can all be easily stored in your tote bag or in a drawer at the nurse’s station for easy access and consumption. Additionally, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle close by to sip on when you’re thirsty.

Wear Comfy Shoes

All nurses can appreciate a pair of supportive and comfortable shoes. When you’re constantly on the move, having the proper footwear is essential. Opt for nurse clogs or convenient slip-ons. With a plethora of color and style options to choose from, footwear for nurses is the perfect blend of functionality and fashion.

Have a Solid Support System

When you work long shifts, it’s important to have folks in your life who understand that your work schedule doesn’t sync with their own. Your friends and family should be understanding of your job.

Be sure to schedule time to hang out with your tribe. Whether it’s a night out on the town or a laid back lunch date, hanging out with people who care about you boosts happiness.

Find Joy in the Little Things

It can be tough to take pleasure in your job when you’ve been running around for 10 hours straight. But it’s critical to find joy in mundane tasks or moments. Whether it’s a smiling patient or encouraging words from your boss, basking in little achievements can keep you motivated and happy.

Treat Yourself

Having something to look forward to at the end of a long shift can keep you going. Schedule a little TLC time for yourself by drawing a nice, warm bath or treat yourself to a fashionable t-shirt for nurses, or pretty jewelry item.

Working long hours can be rocky, but there are many ways that you can maintain your happiness during your long shift.


Tell Us a Nurse Story…

What was your proudest day as a nurse?

I was working as a nurse on a med-surg floor. The charge nurse said there was an orientee that had to be oriented. When our group saw her she was an older nurse (60″s) that hadn’t worked in many years. NO ONE wanted that gigantic task. I thought that as a nurse we work to help others, even if they aren’t a patient. I oriented her and found her to be a delightful woman and though it took time, she tried so hard. I didn’t know where she would be working in the hospital.

Many years later, I got into a crowded elevator with people holding balloons, They were talking and I heard a voice say “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here now”. It went silent and I turned around and there was my former orientee. She had become a charge nurse and was finally retiring. Everyone thanked me and hugged me. We all need to support our fellow nurses. I have seen where that doesn’t happen many times. I also learned that good deeds can come back to you in some way.

—Julie Natho


From Civil Servant to Classy Surgeon: The Evolution of Nurse Uniforms

The next time you find yourself complaining about wrinkles in your fashionable Cherokee scrub top, take a quick moment to reflect on the fact that nurses’ attire wasn’t always so comfy – or convenient. The evolution of the standard nurse uniform has changed drastically over the last 200 years, as well as the public’s perception of what nurses are all about.

The Beginning

During the early 1800’s, nurses were held in lower standards than servants. The care of the sick was a responsibility relegated to nuns or seedy individuals, such as prostitutes, and little training or skill was required. When Florence Nightingale entered the scene during the Crimean War and demanded training for nurses, as well as a clean and safe environment for patients, a new profession was born.

One of Nightingale’s students designed the first recognizable nurse’s uniform, which included full gowns in black or prints with large white aprons and caps. Nursing students would wear pink, blue, or other pastel colored ribbon bands, while senior nurses and nursing teachers would don black ribbon bands to indicate seniority.


By the early 1900’s, nurses started wanting accessibility in their uniforms, and pockets in aprons grew in popularity. The top now boasted a pointy collar covered by a bib, cinched at the waist, and gathered around the skirt. The well-tailored uniform utilized a solid fabric. This uniform helped to distinguish a nurse from a servant, protected them against illness, and was also considered an expression of feminine virtue.

A large white hat and veil completed the look. Mimicking a nun’s habit, this bolstered respect for the industry and made it easy for nurses to be called upon by churches to assist in times of epidemic illness. Folk were beginning to realize that the role of nurses in the medical field was very important.

During World War II in the 1930’s and ’40’s, nurses were heavily utilized on all sides of the conflicts. Design aspects and distinction took a backseat to functionality. Nurses had to be fast in order to provide quick care for many injured troops. The uniforms evolved once again, from long gowns to a shorter, more manageable skirt length. This was also due to clothing material shortage during the war. Sleeves were rolled for easier movement. A cape, or tippet, was worn to signify rankings. The dresses were less form fitting and easy to wash, iron, and wear. Paper hats and simple folded hats replaced the elaborate caps with the veil.

Now, the uniform became a combo of functionality and femininity.

Pants for All

The reexamination of gender roles in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s brought more men into the nursing field. Pantsuits became in vogue, as they were in other mainly female professions. The use of surgical scrubs solved the problem of what to wear to work for male nurses. Scrubs were versatile, comfortable, and made it hard to transfer infection from patient to patient.

The uniform was originally referred to as “surgical greens,” due to it color. The term “scrubs” came about because these outfits were worn in a “scrubbed” environment. In operating rooms, it was forbidden to wear any exposed clothing, such as t-shirts.

During this time, there were developments in fabric technology, including wash and wear cotton, Dracon, and cotton fabrics mix. Some companies experimented on different materials for nursing uniforms. Barco came up with warp knits, which is a fabric that enabled a comfy feel and easy laundry care in every Barco uniform.

Today’s Uniform

Today’s scrubs offer both comfort and convenience. Brands such as Barco, Dickies, and Cherokee make it effortless for nurses to look and feel good during a long shift. Healthcare facilities sometimes require different colors or patterns for the scrubs worn by nurses and doctors.

The evolution of the nurse uniform has reflected society’s view of the industry, as well as the increased roles and responsibilities nurses have in the medical world.


Tell Us a Nurse Story…

What was your proudest day as a nurse?

After working in a state-funded psychiatric Hospital. We don’t get to see the positive results of when a patient is discharged. We often see them only when they come in sick and in Bad self-care. I was at a baseball game with my family in the next town over when a young man came over to introduce himself.

He had spent his 20th and 21st birthday on my unit very strung out and unwilling at the time to try and heal his body. He had an incident where he ended up in restraints and I was sitting with him. I talked to him the whole time he laid there and he cried. I held his hand and talked to him from the mother side of my nursing badge.

The day he saw me at the ballgame he had been sober and clean for 24 months. He had a wife and a baby on the way. He said it was the conversation we had that day that made him rethink his life. He thanked me for taking the time to talk to him and he said “You never gave up on me”.

That made my heart sing.

—Angela Brooks

How to have Healthy Relationships as a Healthcare Professional

As a dedicated healthcare professional, you give your all to your patients and sometimes, you might not have anything left to give at home to your loved ones. Between a demanding career with long shifts, daily obligations, and a bustling social life, your most sacred relationships can get strained in the process. Whether you’re late again for your kid’s dance recital due to last minute patient demands or totally forgot about your best friend’s birthday because of a stressful work week, you need to know that in the end, your career is not where you hang your heart.

Family and friends deserve the same commitment and attention that you give your job. Here are a couple of ways healthcare professionals can keep their relationships “healthy.”

Two Ears vs. One Mouth

You should try to listen twice as much as you speak. Listening carefully to what your loved ones have to say and being fully engaged in the conversation makes them feel, if only for the moment, like the center of your attention. Don’t interject with your opinion and practice mindfulness. Really absorb what they’re telling you without planning what your next line is going to be.

Don’t be a Flake

Nothing is more disrespectful or annoying than somebody that cancels plans at the last minute. If an unexpected emergency comes up at work and you absolutely must break an engagement, tell them immediately. Don’t leave them hanging. If you have dinner plans and you want to bail because you’re just feeling tired after a long day, force yourself to go. You’ll probably have a great time and be glad you did.

Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Healthcare professionals often call this speaking in laymen’s terms when communicating with patients. Remember not everyone understands words and terminology that healthcare workers use. Take the time to thoroughly explain yourself and your side as well as to communicate your interpretation of their side. Ensure that you are both on the same page before moving forward.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Nothing is worse than stirring a slumbering canine from its sleep other than digging up old grudges. Let the past be the past and remember that the present is a gift. Do you get short with those “repeat offenders” at the hospital? No. you remain professional and calm, trying your best to improve the situation. Do the same for your loved ones.

Patience is a Virtue

As you always would with your patients, be patient with your friends and family. Never jump to conclusions without hearing them out and be understanding of their feelings. When you take your time, you both will reap the rewards.

—ADVANCE staff