Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Globetrotting Nurse Janine Do

Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Globetrotting Nurse Janine Do

Janine Do* is a globetrotter, and nursing is a career that meshes perfectly with her wanderlust. With a BA in Psych and an MA Psychology already under her belt, Janine decided to go for first an AA, then a BS in Nursing after working abroad during her summer vacations. Currently an RN working in postpartum for a well-regarded hospital in Southern California, Janine is on her way back out into the world and agreed to talk to us about her unique approach to her career. If you’ve ever thought about taking a nursing career on the road, maybe Janine’s experience will inspire you.

Janine, you worked in orphanages and group homes in Costa Rica the summer after finishing your bachelor’s degree, and you volunteered in Haiti for a month while you were a nursing student. Do you feel like these experiences planted the seed for you to want to work in more developing areas, or is it the other way around?

I have always been drawn to helping professions as I really love helping people. Right before I graduated with my master’s degree, their Costa Rica program was created. I went on the first year as a student and then went back as a teaching assistant to the professor the other two times.

The Costa Rica trip/field study really impacted me, and I just knew that from then on I had to work in developing countries. My professor also greatly shaped my interest in international work.

What was it that pulled you from psych to nursing?

Initially my goal was to get my PhD in psych, but as I was getting my master’s and thought about it more and more, I thought it would be a good combo to cover both mental and physical health. Also, the medical world seemed a bit easier in some ways in terms of being able to work anywhere, not that you can’t with psychology, but there tends to be more cultural complications/interpretations with psychology when going into other countries.

Do you feel like your psych training has affected your approach to nursing?

Definitely! Both the formal schooling and the fieldwork have greatly impacted my nursing. I think I have a wider perspective when interacting with patients and families and am able to think about how mental health can affect physical health and vice versa. The two are so interrelated that it’s hard to separate them.

I think most people trained just in the medical world often only think of the physical problems when mental health is a huge factor. My work with children with developmental delay was mainly conducted in home settings, which allowed me to be comfortable in a wide variety of environments (sometimes crazy ones!).

Now that you’ve been working in SoCal hospitals for three years, what elements of the developing nations opportunity are calling you away from a stable job in a sterile environment?

Good question! This might be hard for me to summarize in words. I just feel drawn to work with people in impoverished situations. Not that I don’t make an impact at the hospital I’m working at now, but I feel like I can make a bigger impact by getting out in the world.

You’re hoping to apply for Doctors Without Borders soon. What was it about this particular organization that attracted you in the first place?

Honestly, initially I just thought it sounded cool before I even knew much about it. I knew they did work in many developing countries, and it seemed like a well-respected humanitarian organization. I have always believed that every human, no matter their background, is deserving of proper medical treatment and care, and MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders in French) was a way I thought I could actively be involved in that. It just sort of became my goal when I decided to switch career paths to the medical world.

I have always enjoyed working with children, and now I am a postpartum RN, which I enjoy because I work with not only babies but also the entire family unit. The majority of MSF’s patients are women and children.

Doctors Without Borders requires three years of nursing experience in a hospital setting before you can apply—is that correct? Was that the only reason you pursued working in a U.S. hospital?

Yes, that’s correct—three years of experience. Initially it was two years of experience, but they recently changed it to three years (not sure exactly when that change occurred), but this wasn’t my only reason for working here. I thought it would be a good idea to get a solid base regardless of what I ended up doing. I also think it’s always a good idea to see both sides of the spectrum—our facilities, training, education, etc. are high quality, so I thought it would create a good foundation before experiencing the medical world in a developing nation.

Based on your schooling and personal research, do you feel like nursing with relief and aid organizations is a career option for nurses that offers a real future? How would you characterize its benefits?

What do you mean in terms of a “real future?” Being able to support oneself? I guess it just depends on what people want out of life. It’s definitely not the area to go into for making a lot of money. It’s sustainable, but it provides for a simple life.

I think the overall benefits are slightly different than working in a typical hospital. You don’t have the monetary factor, and I think that people who are drawn to aid organizations are hoping to make a stronger impact on the world (not that U.S. hospital nurses don’t).

Do you know personally of any resume benefit aid/relief nursing has when applying for more mainstream positions?

I think in any job these days, management likes to see a variety of experiences—and not just a variety, but unique experiences. Being able to work in a very uncontrolled environment with minimal supplies and with a culturally diverse group of people is a nice skill set to have. Being adaptable is also a huge asset!

Interested in knowing more about Doctors Without Borders? Click here to read about their requirements for fieldwork!

*Ms. Do’s name has been changed out of consideration for the fact that she describes career aspirations here beyond her current position.

Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Hospice Nurse Irina Roth

Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Hospice Nurse Irina Roth

Hospice nursing is the kind of career you might not consider until you experience it. Whether that means having hospice in your home as a loved one’s life comes to an end, working in hospice in a hospital environment, or becoming involved with through another channel, it’s a unique position with unique challenges and opportunities.

Today, we have the pleasure of learning a little about hospice nursing from Irina Roth, RN, who works as a case manager for Silverado Orange County Hospice. (Irina was part of the team who cared for my grandmother during her final months, and after working alongside her tending to grandma’s needs, I seriously considered following her into hospice nursing.) I asked Irina to share a little about her personal experience with it, and this is what she had to say:

Irina, what can you tell us about hospice nursing?

Hospice nurses (RNs and LVNs) work with terminally ill patients to provide their comfort and quality of life. We typically work in facilities or in a patient’s home. Hospice care is designed to help anyone with a life expectancy of six months or less who no longer wishes to seek medical treatment. Hospice also provides support to their families.

At Silverado, I work as part of a team to provide care, monitor health conditions, administer medication, use medical equipment, and advise patients and their families on current prognosis. Because we help families at such a sensitive time in their lives, hospice nurses must be caring, kind, and understanding. Our goal is not only to provide comfort to patients, but also to help them celebrate life during their remaining time.

I think most people couldn’t even imagine how many individuals work as part of our hospice team at Silverado to make somebody’s life better. Nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, aids, doctors, office managers, and many others with different education, background, skills, and experience literally work together 24/7 all in an effort to provide quality of life to those we serve.

 How did you choose this field?

I worked as an Emergency Room (ER) nurse, and I liked it. Then I got an opportunity to work as a hospice nurse, and I liked it even more. I developed a passion for my work. It gives me satisfaction to help people at the most difficult time for them. Time of death is hard for everyone – patients, family, friends, caregivers, and also for the hospice team. I feel very fortunate to be with people who need my help, my skills, and my support.

What education and certification(s) were required for you to go into it?

I earned my Registered Nurse (RN) license, and every day I continue to learn, grow, and develop my skills in nursing, management, and in creating relationships with people.

Where did you go to school?

I received my nursing degree from Kislovodsk Medical College in Russia. I also attended the nursing program at Saddleback College.

What are your favorite things about your work?

I really enjoy the interactions with patients as well with their families. It’s my hope those interactions help make their life a little more bearable during such a challenging time.

What advice would you give others considering this field?

Be patient, be flexible, and be understanding.

We’re so grateful to Irina for sharing her story in our Careers in Nursing series of profiles of nurses following different career paths. Do you know someone whose career in nursing belongs in this series? Let us know in the comments!

Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Aesthetic Nurse Ashley Lankford

Careers in Nursing: An Interview with Aesthetic Nurse Ashley Lankford

Choosing a career path in the nursing field is more than just looking at specialty areas and finding a job at the local hospital (although both of those courses of action are terrific choices!). Nursing is a diverse field with a seemingly infinite number of options for where and how to work and who to work with.

Today, we have the pleasure of learning a little about aesthetic nursing from Ashley Lankford, RN, BSN, MSN-C. Ashley works at the Gravity Medical Spa in Orange County, California, a facility offering “the latest skin care and anti-aging procedures.” We asked Ashley to share a little about aesthetic nursing and her personal experience with it, and this is what she said.

Ashley, what is aesthetic nursing?

The common duties of an aesthetic nurse can vary depending on the practice. They often involve, but are not limited to: dermal filler injections, neurotoxin (Botox) injections, laser hair removal, photofacials, microneedling, and non-surgical body contouring (Coolsculpting). Our med spa is equipped with an operating room (OR) so I am also able to assist in the OR as a circulating and recovery nurse as needed.

How did you choose this field?

I worked as a member of an Inpatient Surgical/Trauma/Oncology unit in a hospital setting for over four years. It was a hard transition because I really loved my patients and coworkers, but I knew it was not a permanent fit for me. The high stress environment and emotional roller coaster that comes with working in acute care began to wear me down, and I felt like I needed a positive change in my life. I always felt drawn to aesthetic nursing, but after a couple not-so-great experiences with previous med spa employers I began to think maybe it wasn’t for me. I encountered physicians who wanted to throw me into procedures that I had not been properly trained to perform and cut corners by hiring medical assistants to perform RN duties in order to save money. As much as I wanted to be in aesthetics I could not, in good conscience, risk my license and my patients’ safety by committing to work in those practices. I wanted a safe place to work, not a place that only cared about the bottom line.

Eventually, I was ultimately lucky enough to find my current employer. The physician I currently work for, Dr. Boudreaux, is a sensitive, caring physician who is driven and passionate about her business. I respect that she will turn away a sale in a heartbeat if it’s not in her patient’s best interest. She’s a great mentor, and it was so refreshing to finally meet someone I was excited to learn from. After meeting her and her staff I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

What education and certification(s) were required for you to go into it?

In California, to perform invasive aesthetic procedures such as injections, fillers, and operate lasers, a valid RN license is necessary. I have taken private aesthetic/injectable training courses and undergone one-on-one training with my supervising physician.

Where did you go to school?

I completed my prerequisite courses at Mount San Antonio College and transferred to California State University Long Beach (CSULB) where I received my bachelor’s in nursing. I worked in the hospital setting for two years before I went back for my master’s degree at CSULB. I recently passed my AANP Family Nurse Practitioner state certification exam (woohoo!), and I will be receiving my master’s degree this December.

What are your favorite things about your work?

Aesthetic nursing is quite a unique position. I love that I get to work in an environment that inspires positivity and artistry. It is an ever-changing field that will continue to fuel my passion for learning. It allows me to fulfill my creative side while still using my clinical judgment. It’s a great feeling to build trust with my patients and build long-lasting relationships with them. I absolutely love making my patients feel beautiful and doing whatever I can to help them boost their confidence and achieve their goals.

What advice would you give others considering this field?

I would recommend nurses interested in aesthetics to be tenacious; it can be difficult to get your foot in the door, and even more difficult to get your foot in the “right” door. Nowadays, there are a lot of medical spas that pop up and are eager to hire nurses to basically run the place, but that should be a huge red flag. It’s important to choose a reputable practice and be aware of the legal mandates in your practicing state. In CA, the Good Faith Exam requires a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant to examine the patient before performing certain procedures (e.g. Botox, filler, etc). A nurse performing these treatments without the proper medical clearance by an advanced practice clinician is essentially breaking the law. Unfortunately, there are many medical spas that operate this way and this was one piece of advice I wish I had when I started looking for a job in aesthetics. The bottom line is that it is your license that you worked very hard for, and you do not want to risk losing it.

It took me a while to find the right medical spa to work for, one that would provide the appropriate training with established safe methods of practice – it was definitely worth the wait!

We’re grateful to Ashley for sharing her story in our Careers in Nursing series of profiles of nurses following different career paths. Do you know someone whose career in nursing belongs in this series? Let us know in the comments!

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