Chandler is a New Graduate RN and has recently started her first job on a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit – the same type of unit she was once a patient on. She’s documented her way through nursing school, becoming a source of truth for nursing students alike. She graduated top of her class from the University of San Francisco where she studied both Nursing and Neuroscience. Being one of three kids raised by a single mom has shaped her into who she is today.
Seeing what my mom could handle solo made me realize how much is possible with love and passion. I have this deep rooted love and passion for nursing and my patients, partly because I once was a patient. Having been a chronically ill child, I know how scary it is to be in the hospital. This has fueled my schooling and drive to be the best nurse I can be.
She began The Traveling Nurse to share her travel and nursing adventures with the world. She believes that being a nurse doesn’t mean that you are only a nurse. For Chandler, she is a part-time traveler and full-time New Grad RN.
I can’t wait to go through this transition from nursing student to New Graduate RN with you all by my side!
What was your first experience with nursing? What influence did this have on your decision to become a nurse?
When I was little, I used to spend every summer in Santa Barbara with my grandparents. At the time, my Grandpa was the lead General Surgeon at Cottage Hospital. He would bring me to the hospital and take pictures of my gallbladder with an ultra sound machine. You can say this sparked my interest in medicine. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized for my entire Senior year of high school that I gained clarity on my future. Nursing was what I was destined to do. Experiencing the patient side of things will only make me a better nurse. I am so grateful that I went through that period to figure out my true calling.
What was your favorite clinical rotation? Did this influence your decision in your specialty?
Hands down Pediatric Heme/Onc. Before starting nursing school, I knew this was the specialty for me. In the hospital, I met a dear friend at hospital school. She was battling Leukemia at the time. I spent a lot of time with her on the Heme/Onc floor and it holds a special place in my heart. I ended up doing my Peds Heme/Onc rotation at the same hospital I was hospitalized at. Coming full circle solidified everything for me. I was destined to be a nurse. More specifically, I was destined to be a Pediatric Heme/Onc nurse.
What has helped you in your professional and personal development while in school?
Taking time for myself. This is easier said than done. Everyday this “time” would vary from watching a trashy TV show, to going on a run, or taking a Vespa ride. Moral of the story is that I tried to dedicate time outside of school for myself in someway. I also began taking yoga at Grace Cathedral in SF. This helped center me and promoted relaxation…which is hard to come by as a nursing student.
What made you decide to create a blog? What has been your favorite part about blogging?
Throughout nursing school I was the person people came to with their questions. And shockingly enough, I knew the answers from my own research or trials and errors. There is so much people don’t tell you before, during, and after nursing school. I want to provide answers, guidance, and ease during these tough career shaping years. Yes, I am still going through this time myself, but I am willing to share with my readers so they can learn from me!
We’ve recently talked a lot about building a personal and professional brand as a nursing profession, what’s your take on this? How do you do this yourself?
The beauty of my brand is that I am still developing it. And my readers will watch me and help me develop this brand. For now I am the newbie. Getting my feet on the floor, resonating with so many other new nurses out there…giving them hope that it is doable! But being a new graduate nurse does not define me….Nothing will stop my drive to explore, locally or globally!
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What gives you energy?
I am a morning person. The thought of coffee gets me out of bed. Subsequently, coffee also gives me energy 🙂
What do you most enjoy about nursing?
I love the connections formed with the families. Working in a chronic care peds setting, you bond with the children but also the parents. You learn what they do, how many kids they have, etc. They trust you implicitly. This bond is irreplaceable.
What are you most excited about to start working as New Grad? Most nervous about?
I am most excited about the learning curve. That was not a typo. I LOVE learning and being pushed to be my best nursing self. I have a lot to learn. But being in my dream setting with the resources and support to learn excites me. I am most nervous about working night-shifts. I am a morning person…period. The second the sun comes up, so do I! This is going to be a tough change for me but I feel like it is a right of passage for a New Grad RN!
What’s the #1 advice you would give New Grads or soon-to-be New Grads?
Don’t lose momentum after school ends. It is easy to take a break for the first time in years, but there is still much to be done. Actively look up new grad dates, apply for your NCLEX and take it ASAP, and perfect your resume and cover letter. Figure out ways to make yourself stand out amongst a sea of deserving candidates. Stay on top of your dates whether it be a paper planner or Iphone calendar.
What do you think is the most difficult part of being a nurse?
You fall into nursing because you are called to take care of others. It is really hard to remember that you need to be taken care of too.
Do you think it’s important to identify with other aspects of life in addition to “nurse” or “nursing?
MOST DEFINITELY. During nursing school I was breaking even financially. I was stressed and exhausted, yet I still prioritized traveling. This is how I take care of myself! I will continue to identify with the traveler inside of me even as a New Grad RN.
What do you wish the world knew about nursing?
Nurses are at the front-line. For the most part, we are the first ones to see if something goes wrong. This means, we need to have a DEEP knowledge base to decipher and escalate the problem. Nurses do more than give meds and clean bed pans. We are crucial to the success of patient care and are at the core of the healthcare system. Nurses are educated, prepared, soothing, caring, timely, efficient, and so much more.
What do you think is in store for the future of nursing? What about for your nursing career? What are your plans for after you complete your degree?
I think the scope of a nurse is going to continue to broaden and more higher-educated nurse roles will develop. I believe NPs and MDs are going to work even closer than they do now, with little to no difference between the two titles. I also anticipate that nurses will all need to be masters level prepared in the near future. I plan on getting my Masters in Nursing. In what? I don’t know…Where? I don’t know. All I know is that I am not done with my education yet.
Healthiest habit for work days: Eat the food that I prepared. Don’t touch the endless sweets and treats in the break room.
My work mornings usually start with…Coffee while I check my emails and set aside some me-time.
Go-to meal that I pack for work: RX bars!!!!
Favorite thing to do on a day-off: Take Orange Theory.
Favorite app: Instagram. I love to share my travel and nursing stories with the world!
Clogs or sneakers? Sneakers while in nursing school. Clogs for my 12 hour shifts.
If I wasn’t a nurse, I would probably be.. a doctor
Compression stockings, compression socks, or neither? Compression socks…EVERY SHIFT, EVERY PLANE RIDE.
Puke, poop, sputum, IV starts in babies, we’ve all got our aversion, what’s yours? Belly buttons YUCKKKKKK
Go-to choice of caffeine? Pressed Juicery Vanilla Coffee Protein Shake