Nurses are the foundation of Binto's "why." Nurses carry us through so much of our lives with so little recognition—at every appointment, emergency, vaccine, they are holding our hands. We thank our nurses for their strength, compassion, charisma and sacrifices in taking care of patients. So what better way to honor National Nurses Week than with a daily feature of some of our favorites? Read on.
Laura Gluck, RN, FNP student
What inspired you to become a nurse? Actually, I wanted to be a nurse since I was 6 and spelling it NERSE. I was always into science, enjoyed helping people when they got hurt and loved to ask questions about the human body. My uncle got me "The Atlas of the Human Body" when I was 10 and I'd read it before bed. I was so bent on the profession that I applied to and chose my University based on the nursing programs.
What are some of the most challenging situations you have faced as a nurse and how did you overcome them? Interesting question. I was always drawn to the "bad" clinical situations because I enjoy the challenge and tend to thrive in chaos. I genuinely enjoyed working in a level 1 trauma ICU, the intensity, the critical thinking, and the autonomy. However, it took me years to appreciate that I had absorbed trauma. In therapy, it's called secondary trauma, and I didn't really understand the significance of it until I left the ICU bedside. For me, It wasn't the day-to-day complications, the extensive learning, hard hours, or the lack of breaks - it was the years of absorbed secondary trauma. We don't "take work home" in the classic sense, but we certainly carry our patients with us- both the good and the bad.
Can you share a story about a patient you helped to make a significant improvement in their health? There's always a handful of patients you'll never forget- this is one of them: When I worked as a Trauma ICU nurse I received a 16-year-old girl who had been in a car accident. We had been given a heads-up of the critical nature of this trauma and the likely need for brain death testing, as the patient's condition had rapidly deteriorated on her flight to us. Much to my surprise, she arrived to the Unit completely intact, with not one bruise or scrape on her body. Her mother arrived shortly after the patient and collapsed into my arms while the physicians updated her on the status of her daughter. I spent the next three days with this patient and her family as we navigated the heartbreaking news of her brain death (clinical time of death) and honored the patient's wishes to become an organ donor. I still can't believe this story- the patient's mother told me how her daughter had gotten her driver's license just a few months before the accident and how the day she got her license she made her mother promise that if anything happened to her that she would donate all of her organs, especially her heart. I have chills remembering this conversation. Her mother was determined to hold true to her promise, even through her heartbreak and loss. I had the absolute honor and privilege of caring for that beautiful patient and her family through all of the testing and work-ups needed to match her organs to donors. They were able to successfully find matches and she was able to donate every single organ- saving 8 others' lives. On the day of surgery, her family and I walked the patient to the OR doors to say goodbye, and as I promised to her Mom, I stayed with her daughter in the OR until she was fully prepared for surgery. Many times the most significant thing you can do for a patient or their family is to witness them- in their sorrow, and suffering. To be available to them in these moments- to witness, that's the most significant thing I could do.
How do you balance the emotional demands of nursing with your own well-being and self-care? Oh gosh- coming in with the hard questions!! I think this is a huge challenge for a lot of people, not just nurses. It took me years to understand how to do this, and I still find myself struggling with it some days. Let me simplify this: 1. Get to know yourself, who are you (psst you're not your job), and what makes you tick? What do you need at a foundational level (this will look different for each of us, and in different seasons of life).
1. Prioritize your foundations - (these are non-negotiables, like sleeping 7-8 hrs, exercising, reading, time with loved ones- whatever you choose)
2. Your job isn't your life it's PART of your life.
Boundaries- Say no more. Do it. It is life-changing. You don't owe anyone an extra shift. It's not your job to staff your unit.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a nurse? On paper it's very enticing - 3-day work weeks, good pay, flexible hours, and the possibility of traveling. Those are all true, but like many things, that's an abbreviated version of a huge field. So, know WHY you want to become a nurse first! Programs are competitive and the education is rigorous- but the outcome and lifestyle, in my opinion, are worth it.
What do you love about Binto? I have all of my friends on BINTO!! It's SO easy, it's all the supplements you need and if you follow along on IG you're going to get better women's health education than you ever received in all of your years of school. Top tip from NP school/ women's health: If you are of childbearing age you should be taking folate (found in BINTO's vitamins) - in the US over half of the pregnancies are unplanned, and by the time you find out, the folate need already exists for that baby. Take home- take the vitamins BEFORE you even think you want to get pregnant.