For a few days in June, three Rhode Island nurses took a break from patient care to enjoy a glamorous week in Los Angeles. Ashley Ianni, winner of our Nurses Take LA giveaway, invited her friends and nursing school classmates Hannah Rigney and Laura Patota for the all-expenses paid trip.
In addition to a makeover and Infinity scrubs photo shoot, they enjoyed a Malibu city tour and dinner with the Cherokee Uniforms CEO and others who Laura referred to as “the Cherokee family.” The nurses were also interviewed on video by Cherokee spokesperson Kelley Johnson, the nurse famous for wearing a “not-a-doctor’s” stethoscope in the 2016 Miss America talent competition.
Scrubs Magazine also got a chance to sit down with these nurses to hear their stories about the nursing life.
Ashley Ianni, RN – “I am a nurse. It’s who I am and how I identify.”
As a new graduate, Ashley considered her first job in the ED “a dream come true.”
She always set her sights on emergency nursing, and was thrilled at receiving an offer about a month after passing her NCLEX in June, 2017. “I was ecstatic, and that was the best summer of my life. It was such a high, that feeling of accomplishment and achievement.”
“I always loved a fast-paced environment,” Ashley continues. “I’m not one to typically sit still and do the same routine over and over. I like that ‘go go go’ … and that things are different all the time.” Ashley’s first clinical was at a nursing home, which wasn’t her speed at all, so she was happy to find her fit in the ED.
At the same time, the job was an adjustment. The fast pace initially intimidated her, as did the deaths. “We see all these movies where people are saved, and they come back to baseline. That’s not the real world, and it was kind of a shock to me. There were a lot of things I was naïve to.” She credits the support of her fellow nurses with helping her become comfortable in her role. “Having that team behind me really made the difference.’
Ashley feels she could be a nurse forever. “Nursing school is not easy. But the reward is amazing. Your graduation will be the best day of your life.”
“You can do absolutely anything you want in your nursing career,” she adds. “The possibilities are endless.”
Laura Patota, RN – In tune with the rhythms of the night shift
Before she became a nurse, Laura kept typical hours. But after graduating from nursing school in 2017, she found a niche at Attleboro, MA’s Sturdy Memorial Hospital, and the night shift. “I work the 7am to 7pm life and I love it!” she says.
Maintaining a work-life balance took some getting used to, but the role made it worth it. “I always enjoyed cardiac, and helping monitor the rhythms. I love the hands-on aspect of it.” Laura works on a telemetry/medsurg unit “that’s almost like a PCU” in a small community hospital, and is currently in the RN to BSN program at Southern New Hampshire University.
She credits lavender oil and “a great sleep mask” for helping her manage her schedule. When she gets home, she feeds her dog, a Great Dane, American Bulldog and lab mix named after TV detective Elliot Stabler. Then she sleeps for a “solid couple hours” and gets back up.
“I give like moms and people with families so much credit, she says. “When I get home at 7am, I just want to go to bed.”
About the night shift, Laura feels she’s starting to master it, with a little help from her loved ones. “My family and friends have been super supportive, so I can’t complain too much.”
Hannah Rigney, RN, BSN – From wildlife biologist to critical care nurse
Though Hannah always wanted to be in the medical field, her path to nursing was not a direct one. “I originally went to school for wildlife biology, and was working at a wildlife clinic when my grandfather got really ill.”
“Seeing him in the ICU, I remember thinking I would love to be that person taking care of him. (The nurses) were so great, not only him but to my family and anyone involved.”
Her high school guidance counselor suggested nursing, but Hannah didn’t think it was for her. “You see nurses portrayed in movies and TV as completely different. Here’s this great ER nurse, but she’s got a drug problem. These (TV) nurses all have issues.”
“When I actually started looking into it, I was like, ‘this is exactly what I want to do.” She went to nursing school and was hired at Kent Hospital in Warwick, RI. Hannah started on a med-surg floor and eventually transferred to the ICU, where she always wanted to work.
Though some doctors had questioned her decisions, she found that she had also gained respect. “Sometimes you have to yell at a doctor to get something your patient really needs and that’s you know, but I like that part. I like that aspect of advocating for a patient.”