Nurse of the Week: NJ School Nurse Uses School Nursing to Educate and Uplift Students, Families, and the Community

Nurse of the Week: NJ School Nurse Uses School Nursing to Educate and Uplift Students, Families, and the Community

School nursing builds a culture of health and improves health outcomes in their communities. Today’s Nurse of the Week is a school nurse passionate about using the school nursing profession to educate and uplift students, families, and the community.

We honor Dr. Cynthia Samuel, Ph.D., RN, CSN-NJ, school nurse at the University Middle School in Irvington, New Jersey as the Nurse of the Week.

“I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with and serve on various school nursing committees, projects, and events at National, State, and local levels with Dr. Samuel,” says Judith Woop, retired Executive Director and President of the New Jersey State Nurses Association.

Woop says she’s partnered with Dr. Samuel on professional and community agencies such as the National Association of School Nurses, New Jersey Education Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. She says Dr. Samuel’s leadership speaks volumes.

Woop says Dr. Samuel proudly represents the school nursing community by increasing school nurse visibility and advocacy with community stakeholders and presenting nationally on current school health policy and procedures.

“Dr. Cynthia Samuel embodies today’s Certified School Nurse in New Jersey. Her timely mission is to connect underserved/underprivileged students and families pre-post Covid-19 with needed essentials in the community,” says Woop.

She says Dr. Samuel’s years of experience enhance her ability to successfully transfer her nursing skills into a school practice to care for those in the community she represents. In addition, Dr. Samuel is a visible, reliable, and trusted neighborhood advocate, serving as a necessary community liaison and resource person in today’s unprecedented times.

Woop says honoring Dr. Samuel as Nurse of the Week is the perfect recognition for her tireless efforts in serving her students and community. Adding that Dr. Samuel contributes diversity, experience, expertise, and medical insight that lends richness to enhancing New Jersey students’ academic and psycho-social growth and development.

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life and as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

Nurse of the Week: Psychiatric Nurse Helps City of Detroit Address Mental Wellness

Nurse of the Week: Psychiatric Nurse Helps City of Detroit Address Mental Wellness

Pia Love, BSN, RN is an inspiring, historical, and influential nurse in Detroit, Michigan, hosting weekly mental wellness sessions for the city of Detroit and working with other health professionals, organizations, and small groups about the significance of mental health.

Love’s work is so impactful the Detroit Choice Awards Committee nominated her as one of Detroit’s favorite essential workers. She also was highlighted on Superstation 910 AM for helping minority groups, churches, and homeless shelters understand the importance of mental wellness and for her overall contribution to nursing. We’re thrilled to name Love as our Nurse of the Week.

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Pia Love, BSN, RN is helping health professionals, organizations, and small groups in Detroit, Michigan, understand the importance of mental wellness

Besides running PM Education Services, Love works as a psychiatric nurse at Pontiac General Hospital and is a volunteer nurse with the Michigan Nurse Registry. In addition, she made history with Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society as the first African American nurse leader of a local chapter at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Donald Tabron, Love’s colleague at PM Education Services, says he’s grateful for Love’s dedication to mental health. He uses information on her social media sites and business page to learn how to care for those around him who may be suffering from mental illness.

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life and as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Educator Becomes a Nursepreneur to Change the Game for New Nurses

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Educator Becomes a Nursepreneur to Change the Game for New Nurses

“It’s time for a Nursing Revolution!” says nurse educator Farah Laurent, International Nurse Coach, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CPXP, NPD-BC, TCRN, CPEN, CEN. She says nurses need to advocate and speak up for what they want and deserve and feel supported in their transition from nursing school to nursing practice. Laurent is a nurse mentor, educator, speaker, and coach, and we’re proud to honor her as our Nurse of the Week.

Nurse Educator Helps Nurses Level Up Their Careers

Laurent provides career guidance to help nurses level up and land their dream specialty position by standing out from the crowd.

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Nurse Educator Farah Laurent became a nursepreneur to change the game for new nurses

“I find many nurses lack the confidence to go after what they truly want and sometimes just settle,” says Laurent. For example, she says nurses don’t have to start in medical surgical areas if that’s not what they desire.

“I encourage nurses to pursue specialty areas they are most passionate about and are excited to work in. I truly believe if nurses are happy where they are, then they will stay, and that’s a plus for staff retention,” she adds.

Laurent says her mission is to tell nurses they no longer have to settle. As a nurse educator, she’s tired of seeing nurses unhappy, overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated, and she wants nurses to follow their passions and dreams because they deserve it.

“It’s possible to get what you want and land that dream position. However, once you shift your mindset, you will transform your career and life,” Laurent says.

Nurses Must Follow Their Dreams

Laurent’s life is all about pursuing her dreams. After immigrating to Canada when she was nine, she was determined to make her parents proud. As a result, she was the first in her family to graduate with a BSN and Master’s in Nursing Education and is currently in a doctoral program for nursing.

“You will never be an Emergency Nurse,” a clinical instructor told her in nursing school. So Laurent landed a position in an Emergency Department before graduation and taking the nursing licensing exam. And it’s this grit and determination that propelled her to become the nurse educator she is today, inspiring other nurses to become unstoppable.

Tune in to Laurent’s LinkedIn live show and podcast, “The Nursing Dose with Farah,” where she shares educational and inspirational content.

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life and as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

How RN Went From Nursing School, To Rock Bottom, Then Back Again

How RN Went From Nursing School, To Rock Bottom, Then Back Again

Kimberly Van Raay is a U.S. Army Veteran and registered nurse with professional experience. Yet, despite having years of experience as a combat medic training and even more in the specialty area of cardiac stress testing, she never felt prepared to help those who struggled with the cunning and baffling disease of addiction.

At age 40, Van Raay fell victim to the disease of addiction, a process she so aptly describes as “bankrupting my soul.” Today, she serves as the lead RN at Soul Surgery and attributes her professional success to the experience and strength she found through her recovery.

Gaining Compassion, Professional Integrity, Resilience, and Strength

Van Raay’s passion for helping people was her inspiration for attending nursing school. Her nursing education at the Jacobs School of Medicine, one of the nation’s most comprehensive academic health centers, and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo taught her the foundation of becoming a registered nurse emphasizing compassion and professional integrity.

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Kimberly Van Raay is the lead registered nurse at Soul Surgery. Kim attributes her professional success to the experience and strength she found through her own recovery

During her time in the Army, Van Raay learned the importance of resilience, strength, and leadership skills as she endured rigorous combat medic training that tested her will. However, these experiences were not enough. Van Raay did not yet learn what it was like to need a nurse or to be a nurse who could impact the lives of her patients on both the physical and spiritual levels. So, when she hit rock bottom in her 40s, she truly learned the value of life and health.

The Education of Addiction

She turned to alcoholism when she was trapped in a loveless marriage and hit rock bottom when she experienced a seizure while withdrawing from alcohol. Van Raay checked into the hospital under an assumed name and was sent home without any meaningful tools or education on how to stay “recovered.”

Her abusive drinking continued until she ended up involved in an extreme DUI accident in Arizona and almost lost her arm. After that accident, Van Raay found the strength she needed to educate herself about the tools required for a recovered life. Finally, after feeling isolated in her struggles with addiction, she was ready to live a clean and sober life.

Van Raay devoted herself to educating herself about everything addiction-related. Her nursing background served her well as she poured through the academic literature. She joined the team at Soul Surgery, an outpatient clinic in Scottsdale to help people who are in the very same position she once found herself in and now she wakes up each day with one mission – to bring education and some degree of understanding to those struggling with the disease of addiction.

Overcoming Addiction and Living a Recovered Life

If telling her story helps just one person, Van Raay believes that all of her struggles and her education path are worth it.

She works with many coworkers at Soul Surgery, also coming from a background of addiction struggles and living a recovered life. The clinic’s mission aligns with Van Raay’s purpose, to provide evidence-based client care and holistic therapies to treat the body, mind, and spirit. She approaches her practice with an integrated approach to care, relying on evidence-based modalities serving clients throughout their rehabilitation process and even after discharge.

While Van Raay’s nursing school education brought her into healthcare, she says it was ultimately her process of recovering from the depths of despair and addiction that taught her all she knows today. Working as a sober life coach and showing others unconditional love, she is a sought-after recovery advocate and speaker. She recently shared her story on the Escaping Rock Bottom podcast by former journalist Brandon Lee.

Unexpected Kidney Failure Sparks Mother of Two’s Desire to Become a Dialysis Nurse

Unexpected Kidney Failure Sparks Mother of Two’s Desire to Become a Dialysis Nurse

Each nurse’s path to entering the field is unique – no two nurses share the exact string of experiences, influences, or circumstances that first sparked their desire to help patients. For me, an unexpected kidney failure diagnosis as a 25-year-old mother of two quickly determined the career path I would take.

After five years of managing my end-stage renal disease (ESRD) with life-sustaining dialysis treatments, I received a kidney transplant. One year later, I returned to school to become a dialysis nurse to serve others like me who are living with kidney failure.

Long Days and Nights Shape Dialysis Nurse’s Career

I was fortunate to have been accepted to Ohio University’s nursing program in 2014. I remember receiving the tools to immerse myself in all areas of nursing so that students like me had the freedom to find their niche. I was constantly learning and moving forward, and I loved that! But, it wasn’t always easy with anything worth the effort. Many long days and nights – and tears – ultimately shaped my future.

I’ve served as a dialysis nurse for Fresenius Kidney Care for the past four years. I spend my days caring for those who receive home dialysis – from training patients to feel comfortable and confident enough to dialyze on their own or with the help of a trusted caretaker to checking labs and monitoring patients’ vitals three times daily in the clinic.

I recently reached a milestone in my career, leading a local transitional care unit program at my dialysis center. It supports patients with training and education to successfully take their treatment home when they only know the in-center environment. Having the opportunity to combine my passion for nursing and teaching has been an amazing reward.

Favorite Part About Being a Dialysis Nurse

My favorite part of my job is helping patients find ways to make dialysis work.

So often, patients come to the center for the first time because they’re scared or angry at their situation or confused by all the treatment lingo and options. As someone who has experienced their circumstances and emotions firsthand, I am grateful to have dedicated time to sit down with them to discuss their concerns openly and answer their questions.

That also helps me build one-on-one relationships with my patients and gain their trust, which can be a game changer. So many have told me I give them hope, and just hearing that confirms that I chose the right career.

To this day, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Being a nurse is who I am. To those who aspire to have careers in nursing and are still deciding on a specialty: I encourage you to find what sets your soul on fire because once you’ve found that, everything else clicks into place.

Are you interested in becoming a dialysis nurse?  Check out our nursing showcase to explore the latest online and campus-based nursing programs. Browse by state or degree options, and contact schools directly.

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