National Nurses Week kicks off May 6, and runs through Friday May 12. This year’s theme is “Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit”. We asked our KPMAS nurses to submit their stories about how they find balance and incorporate it into their nursing practice and everyday lives. Check out some of the amazing stories they shared below. Stay tuned for more communications to honor our amazing KPMAS nurses.
“The Largo Center is one of the biggest in the region, and our Urgent Care Center is busy around the clock. As a Lead Nurse in urgent care, there are times that I find myself worrying more about the needs of others than my own. I suffer from severe migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. At times, I was not getting enough water to drink and not eating the most nutritious meals. I used the past tense because about 3 months ago I decided to change my eating habits, eat healthier, drink more water, and essentially take care of myself more, so that I can continue to provide care for others. I downloaded the Nike training app onto my phone and do 15-30 minutes of exercise or yoga every day. I bought a large water bottle that matches my Apple watch and iPhone (it’s rose gold…insert my smile here) that I refill at least 3 times while at work. I downloaded an app that sends alerts to my watch to remind me to take a deep breath, stand, and focus my energy throughout the day. Being stressed has negative effects on the nursing care and leadership I am able to provide in my department.
Largo continues to be busy. However, I am less stressed and happier coming to work each day because I know that I am taking better care of myself. Because of this, I am able to maintain a positive attitude and function well even in high stress situations, making it possible to provide the best leadership and nursing care that I can. I’ve recruited coworkers to join me in keeping a positive attitude throughout our shift and in my daily exercise routine so that we can motivate each other.” – Eboni Jeter, Urgent Care, Largo Medical Center
“I find that exercising every day is truly what helps me keep my mind, body, and spirit healthy. I became a runner in my 40’s and truly love the “high” that running provides. It allows me time to think, plan, meditate, and ultimately have a better day, whether being productive at work or at home. Through almost 35 years of being a practicing nurse, I have honestly come to appreciate my health and the importance of maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Though finding time, every day, to exercise is not always possible, I try very hard to carve out at least 20 minutes a day because I know and appreciate the difference this makes in my life.” – Karen Mills, Employee Health Services, Silver Spring Medical Center
“Keeping a balance of mind, body, and spirit is very important in my personal and professional life. The way I achieve this is by following a healthy diet (as much as I can), working out on a daily basis, keeping my focus on whatever I’m doing, cultivating my relationships, and through prayers. Keeping a positive outlook and attitude is a big part in keeping this balance. I try not to let anything negative interfere with my focus and attitude. When things get hectic and stressful, I take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that everything is going to be all right.” – Amabelle Estreba, Pediatrics, Camp Springs Medical Center
“I am grateful for the exercise equipment in the break room at the Clinical Contact Center. I started slowly by exercising 5 to 10 minutes during my work breaks. This led to more changes, and I started to portion control my eating. With a combination of portion control, using the equipment in the break room, exercise at home, my Kaiser Permanente doctor’s mentoring and support, I was able to control my type 2 diabetes and lose 87 pounds in about 1 year. I am thriving now. I am overweight, but I am no longer obese. I am not on medication to control my diabetes anymore. I continue to use the exercise equipment at work. It is a habit now. Looking back, it was a horrible day when I got the diagnosis of type 2 Diabetes, but it started me back on a path to health.” – Jalene Phelps, Call Center Advice – Appointment Services, Fair Oaks Clinical Contact Center
“I find the balance hard to find at times as a working mom of two and performing in a high demanding position and maintaining a home. However, the items that I love and enjoy that keep my spirit full include: spending time (uninterrupted) with my family, summer vacation at the beach, exercise with spinning (peloton bike), art (both creating and observing) and gardening! It is so very important to find this balance in all that we do – as mentally and physically we can focus on our calling in life – caring for our patients. Nursing is so rewarding to be a part of the lives of so many over time, during what are very important moments in one’s life. I am honored and privileged to be a nurse for KP!” – Michelle Golden, ASC/Day Surgery, Gaithersburg Medical Center
“Since starting a family, my husband and I try to lead by example and I believe this holds true for us as nurses. The best ways to educate and encourage our patients to lead healthier lives are by setting examples and being able to use personal stories. I try to eat healthy and exercise many different ways. I love to row and find it provides a great full body workout and can be so peaceful while on the water. When I am not able to row, I try to engage my kids in activities like biking, running, swimming, etc. Along with engaging in many activities, I make sure to use my vacation time that Kaiser Permanente provides!” – Emily Minor, ASC/Day Surgery, South Baltimore Medical Center
“Graduating out of high school, I was all set for college. So I thought. My parents advised me that they would not be sending me to college, as it was out of their financial budget. I then enrolled in the local community college and worked 2 jobs over the next 10 years to get my nursing degree. Paying one class at a time. During that time I got married and had 4 kids. I graduated pregnant with the 5th. The next few years, I worked on my Bachelor’s and then my Master’s and simply found a way to focus on life, one moment at a time. As my kids are getting older, I am completing my PhD. My mantra has not changed. I still balance my nursing practice and everyday life, one moment at a time. There are only so many hours in a day, and each is taken on minute at a time to fully embrace the people that need me, and the people that are most important to me.” – Heather Walzel, Radiology, Capitol Hill Medical Center
“When you are a nurse, you are never off duty. Family members and friends call you first for advice and support when they have a question about their health. Loved ones look to you for guidance and support when they have been given a diagnosis that is frightening and fills their future with ambiguity. When you need to see a physician for your own health, you are expected to understand everything you hear and cope without any anxiety or fear. You are never off duty and it is exhausting.
We all know what the experts tell us: exercise, eat right, and find time for yourself, but recently I’ve added gratitude to my nursing and life balance. Each day I remind myself I’m fortunate not to be the person in the chair receiving chemotherapy or the person on the stretcher waiting to go into the operating room and that I’m gainfully employed. Some days it’s harder than others to find the gratitude, but I keep looking. Learning to balance mind, body, and spirit as a nurse is an ongoing process. We won’t arrive at any one place or time in our career or life knowing what do to all the time, but hopefully we keep learning and growing day by day bringing us closer.” – Ellie Morrow, Oncology, Tysons Corner Medical Center