As a brand new nurse I never understood the dog eat dog mentality my fellow colleagues had. I started my career working on a medical step-down unit with sick, challenging patients that had multiple co-morbidities. I had to learn what they didn't teach you in school: how to navigate and identify manipulative patients that would fake stroke symptoms, how to place IVs in active schizophrenic patients from the state prison while handcuffed to the bed and armed security at the bedside, and that's the tip of the ice berg. I could go on. The point is, I did this alone. I read about the pathophysiology of every disease process I could. With each unfamiliar drug I read about its mode of action, half-life, elimination and side effects. I worked hard to give patient's the best care.
I also remember crying on my way to work almost every shift. I'd get onto the elevator, hit the button for the 4th floor and hear people comment "oh THAT floor, good luck". The nurses that had worked there forever weren't helpful. They were bullies. Waiting and hoping for the newbies to flounder and fail. "You need to be faster at drawing up the dilauded, you won't make it here" one nurse told me on my first day of orientation. "Hey code blue" one charge nurse taunted me with when I came back the next day after my first patient coded. "Is that your organization sheet? Did you make it yoursefl?! You'll never make it as a nurse, you're too type-A", another nurse once told me about how I kept track of all my tasks. This was my support. I counted down my days and left after a year of experience, which was why I chose that job, so I'd be better equipped for my end goal: taking care of ICU patients.
I eventually went on to Anesthesia school and was mostly met with the same mentality during my residency. Every 3 months we would rotate to a different hospital system and at the teaching instututions where they had MDA residents I noticed a completely different environment, one that was created to help them thrive. Shocking concept, I know. I promised myself that no matter what, I would help students and colleagues thrive. No bullying, just suppport and encouragement with a dash of hope when needed. I'd guide them to evidence-based practice and help them better themselves as a practitioner. This is my passion.
I've been lucky enough to find this kind of suppport throuh my CRNA 'besties', my 'ride or die' group of CRNAs that are more like sisters. They're stuck with me but you get to choose. When Morgan, one of my CRNA sisters, ran her vision of EmpowHER by me, I was excited and honored to help her vision come to fruition. I was thrilled to open up our not-so-secret society to everyone and anyone else.