Georgina Villarreal, RN-MSN, or Nurse Georgie, is on a mission to empower nurses and active women in everyday life. Her latest venture is teaching nurses how to protect themselves through self-defense. And we’re thrilled to name Villarreal our Nurse of the Week.
Villarreal, from Huntington Beach, California, has worked as a nurse in medical surgery, oncology, telemetry, orthopedics, and, for the past few years, on the COVID floor. While diligent in her nurse duties, she finds time to create her first business: She Can Be Both.
“That was inspired by the fact that a lot of women in healthcare — and nursing specifically — have two roles,” she says. “I love being a nurse. I love being an entrepreneur, so I do both.”
Empowering Nurses Through Self-defense
Villarreal says she a huge fan of wrestling, superficially WWE. So she reached out to three-time WWE champion Eve Torres Gracie about her idea of hosting a self-defense seminar for healthcare professionals.
The first event was held in Torrance, California, with more than 350 healthcare professionals — mostly nurses — participating. The free workshop focused on Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with specific moves if attacked while walking to your car or dealing with a patient in the hospital.
Learning self-defense is important to Villarreal because she, like many nurses, has experienced violence with a patient.
It escalated “so quickly — one minute she was fine, and then the next minute she’s yelling at me, threatening to throw me against the wall,” she says, “and then the doctor comes, and they’re trying to help, and then the doctor gets hurt. And then I’m giving her a shot in the butt on the floor.”
On average, 25% of nurses experience workplace assaults at least once. With violence against healthcare professionals rising — especially during the pandemic — Villarreal is working to help her fellow nurses be prepared.
While the healthcare professional’s seminar was a pilot program, Villarreal says she hopes there will be more in the future. And in the meantime, anyone interested in learning more about self-defense can follow Women Empowered and Gracie University for information about the monthly seminars they host.
Now that she has gone through the training herself, Georgie is a big advocate of nurses seeking to train themselves with hands-on experience.
“It’s just really empowering — I feel safe,” she says. “And that makes me feel more confident as like a woman too.”
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