Heyyy Fam! 

My latest contract has come to an end and I’m truly grateful for the experience. DC has been the inception of my travel career and I’m so blessed for the knowledge, associates, and networking I’ve gained there. Since, I’ve been home, I have been reflecting on the different parts of me that make me, SHON. My career choice has defintely added to my life in so many ways. Keep reading to see how!

My past assignment has been very unique. Before, I dive into the delicate nature of this assignment…I don’t think I’ve given you details of my actual specialty. I’m an oncology nurse. Yes, a nurse who specializes in the care and treatment of cancer patients. This requires caring for people at some of their weakest moments. Moments of discovering the cancer, hearing it came back, being in remission, or going through the motion of treating it. It’s a whirlpool of emotions. Up, down, down, up.  Honestly, I have no special story or reason for choosing this speciality fresh out of nursing school. I browsed some floors that were hiring locally and the peer- interview felt like a match unlike some interviews I had done. Before I could even get settled in after the interview, the manager called and offered me the job. I was sold!

My first big girl job. My first work family. My first time experiencing death so close. Who would have thought I would be thrown into something so serious fresh out of school?!! This is what makes my experiences in the field so unique. Some healthcare workers  go their entire careers without witnessing a death. While on the latter end, an oncology nurse may experience multiple in a month, week, or day. It’s one of those moments that is never the same no matter how many times you’ve seen someone take their last breath. Each time, it’s never easy for me. It’s my Apple Watch constantly telling me to breathe, the knots in my stomach, my constant wondering of what this precious life was like before the cancer.

My latest assignment, I did not want to accept because it was oncology. I needed a break after providing care for some of the weakest patients for almost 2 years in Charleston. The manager was so sweet and accommodating in the interview, I just couldn’t resist. What a sucker right?! Prior to this assignment, my aunt was also diagnosed with cancer. It was like I couldn’t catch a break of the conversation. Cancer at work. Cancer at home. It was sooooo overwhelming watching patients so ill and constantly think about my aunt back home. 

The very last month of my assignment was very taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every week, I had a precious soul leave their physical realm. I would just pray and cross my fingers that it would happen on the next shift and not on mine. It was like a waiting game. Stomach in knots. Covid also restricted visitation so, sometimes family members would not be allowed visitation until those final moments were near. The hospital staff is the family in this case. Doing the best we can to make sure the patients are comfortable through all the pain and stress. In some cases, the family could not make it in time for the final moments. I remember calling a son, informing him that his mother’s vitals were slowly trending downward and the “time” could come at any moment. The family was aware the patient was dying prior to the call and were awaiting transport to bring her home in the morning. The son handled the call so well and I remember asking him if he wanted to say anything to his mom on speaker while she was still breathing. He said his farewells and gave her permission to go. No less than 30 minutes after the call, her suffering was over. She took her last breath in front of me and all I could do was cry. Tears of mixed emotions. She would no longer get to enjoy the simple pleasures of her world but she would no longer suffer by the hands of cancer. Can you imagine being with a stranger while they take their last breath? 

These moments…I will never forget. I always feel them. Who do healthcare  workers talk to about these things? Do we overwhelm our family and friends with this heavy shit? Do we call each other up at home and relive these moments? Therapy? Well, I’ve done a combination. It helps let me get my feelings out so I’m not desensitized by it all. This speciality has indeed molded me into the person I am today. I grant people with more grace and forgiveness than before. I’m always thinking about moments where I probably won’t get to say how I feel. So, I try to express how I feel when I feel it. I’m very tactful with how I express myself sometimes because I never know what others are going through.

To anyone who has experienced death of a loved one, in your profession, or in any capacity…I send you love today. I challenge you to take a deep, full breath and release the tension you may be carrying around. I challenge you to think about happier times to get you through.

Thank you all for joining in on the blog today! Much love xoxo

Traveling Pants

Traveling Pants

Hey love bugs! It’s been a while and I miss interacting with you all. Before I get deep into my first travel assignment journey. I just want to say – live selflessly! ALWAYS do what’s best for you and pour into yourself unapologetically. For those who have been following this ride, you know that I am currently in Washington D.C. Although Covid has weakened a lot of functionalities of city-life, my family and friends have been 
here every step of the way enjoying what we can together! Making memories OKAYYY! 

Let’s jump into my experiences on my first travel assignment. My orientation was only 2 days. The practice modules to learn the charting system were broken. Soooooooo….basically I was thrown onto the floor not knowing too much of the charting system or where any of the supplies were. I was challenged! You have to move quickly in the travel world to adapt. It was an adrenaline rush for me! I love learning new systems and seeing different ways to do things. It took me about 2 weeks to really get a gist of where everything was and proper protocol channels. Student Shon reporting for class headass LOLLLLLL!!!

So, babygirl got real hip to the lack of southern hospitality here! I will add, my recruiter prepared me before I accepted this assignment that I was stepping into the lion’s den. I appreciate her realness because not everyone knew what they were stepping into and left within a few days. The location and the pay were pretty decent though! So I took my chances. The staff and patients were a tad aggressive and REALLY upfront. The attitude and cattiness hits you at the front door. This was a hospital with a large population of homeless and drug abuser patients. 180 change from my facility South Carolina. I knew which battles to pick and which to let ride out with employees and patients. I never got involved with “house” politics or argued back with patients. I did my damndest to be invisible. This meant no extra comments getting involved with floor and management beef. I would always decline being in a leadership position because of the stress and lack of resources that came with it. I’m here for the MOO-LAAH! DASSIT BABY! It was so many instances that I would be like Lord what did I get myself into?! However, that pay every week motivated me to keep going LOOLLL. I even extended my contract for a few more weeks. Now that I’ve completed my first assignment in the trenches…I can succeed anywhere baby!!!

I’m not going to lie, there were days I missed my old facility and coworkers. I’m a social person at core so taking breaks alone were kinda weird at first. However, with how crazy things were at that hospital…I appreciated my alone time. I didn’t miss the pay back home though. As a staff nurse in South Carolina, I was so overworked and underpaid it was a shame. Being young, single and without kids..I just felt it was the 
perfect time for me. To those with all that you still can travel and even consider traveling locally around your state. Most agencies just require your home address be at least 50 miles away from the facility. 

To all my staff nurses considering travel nursing in future here’s the steps I took to get me over the ledge to leave my staff position:

-Do you have enough experience? Most assignments take 2 years of experience. However some will take you with less if they are in dire need of help. 
(make sure you research the facility so you know what you are facing!)  

-Decide what’s your reasoning for travel. Is it for location or money. What matters the most to you? This will assist you in picking the right assignment for you! 

-Join facebook travel nurse groups to see current rate trends for different areas, what current travelers (gypsies) are experiencing, reviews on facilities, reviews on travel agencies & recruiters.

-Become familiar with terminology pertaining to your contract
I.E. (overtime rate, taxable hourly rate, holiday rate, per diem,  on-call rate, call-in rate, blended rate)

-Look at housing options in area –  best practice is make  sure you can afford your rent with less than 1 weekly paycheck 

-Create profiles with multiple agencies to compare different rates and price match

 -Get all certifications you get can from your staff job for FREE before leaving 

-Check out independent health insurance, life insurance, 401K plans – you will have to purchase these on your own or go through your agency just be mindful that your coverage will end when you leave that agency after a certain time frame

– If accepting a COVID assignment – will the agency compensate you for quarantine time if you contract the virus? does the facility have adequate PPE?

-TALK to current travelers! Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Scared money don’t make money beloved!

My personal motives: -A location where a friend or family is (I love my support system and wanted a smooth transition into this new world without breaking my neck looking for housing) -No assignment with less than 2K take home weekly -No crazy ratios …1:6 aint for me! -Facility had adequate PPE -8 week assignment – Just incase I did not like the placement -A compact state or area that I did not have to apply for a license -reputable agency/recruiter.

Feel free to reach out to me if I didn’t answer some questions you had. 


Nurse Lifeeeeeeee

Nurse Lifeeeeeeee

Hey Loves! If you’ve been following my IG (@simply_shon), you know I’ve been celebrating Nurses’ Week. This is a week dedicated to all the brave & selfless  individuals that have or currently take of patients in any capacity. This year Nurses’ Week hits a little different. There are thousands of nurses that are currently battling COVID-19 in hospitals with increasing anxiety, stress, and uncertainty as cities open up nationwide. Let’s not forget the nurses that have died on the frontlines as well. Thank a nurse today!

Nurse Shon 

Now on to me! I currently work at a Level 1 Trauma & Magnet hospital as a Medical-Surgical Oncology nurse. My unit specializes in care for ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) and Gynecological cancer patients. On any given day we can also have general medicine patients, such as, traumas, drug overdoses, falls, hyperglycemia, etc. 

I’m approaching my 2nd year as a nurse and I feel like I’ve seen and experienced sooooo much! It blows my mind how much I’ve grown as a nurse. When applying for units after nursing school, I had no idea where I wanted to be. However, I was very keen on asking my interviewers questions and observing vibes/energies . I did 4 interviews and whewww chileeeee some of the unprofessional behavior I experienced was mind-blowing! My current home unit offered me a position within 30 minutes post interview! I was soooo freaakin’ hyped! 

I had no idea what I was getting into the first day I stepped foot on my floor. My preceptors, Bev & Michelle, were such a high-speed nurses. I learned so much from the both of them. They always made me feel comfortable and I appreciate them for that! Everyone on my floor made me feel so welcomed and I’m grateful to have had this type of experience because not all of my nursing friends have. 

My first year as a new nurse, I struggled with: 

  • delegating
  • advocating 
  • setting boundaries with patients/family members
  • asking for help 

To all my new nurses…these come with time! Find a mentor on your unit and be a sponge! Since then I have become certified nationally to administer chemotherapy and even taken some preceptees under my wing. *dusts shoulders* I’m so ready to expand more!

Day To Day

Being an oncology nurse is something that is difficult for me to describe. Right now I’ll use the words stressful and rewarding. You get attached to your routine cancer patients. Those patients that are confined to the hospital for weeks on end. Those patients that fighting for hope, treatment after treatment. Those patients you see at the most vulnerable points of their life. Some treatments and operations lead to success. While others just grant a little more time here with us. I wasn’t prepared to see death as often as it occurs on my floor. I’m not sure how I could have been prepared anyways. There’s something life-changing about seeing a person you’ve spent weeks-months caring for take their last breaths. Not only are we dealing with critically ill patients but their families as well. Some families that have accepted the outcome and just want the patient to be comfortable. Then you have others that want to keep fighting and won’t take “no” as an answer. Being an empath, these situations can be extremely emotional for me. I remember praying with one of my patients as he was fighting so hard for his life. He always wrote “god bless” on his whiteboard (tracheostomy patient)  when I worked with him and it was all I could do at the moment as he struggled. It’s moments like these that remind of why I do what I do. Sending love to anyone dealing with cancer or sickness in any capacity. 

Some things I learned working with cancer patients:

  • be extremely patient with patient & family members
  • respect patients’ decisions no matter what I feel is personally best
  • explain all options so patients can make educated decisions
  • DO NOT get involved in family drama
  • support patient and family in whatever capacity I can
  • advocate to doctoral team for patients’ wishes
  • take time to breathe alone on emotional shifts
  • be alert of any subtle & major changes in patient’s status
  • death can be beautiful and peaceful experience

I cannot imagine myself in any other profession. I gain a sense of empowerment from helping others in any way I can. Especially during this season of COVID-19. These patients have been without family due to visitor restrictions and we have been their families plus more. 

Currently, I do not have any special tips or tricks on how I decompress besides telling my friends about my nights. Blogging has been very therapeutic for me, but I need something new. Something fresh! Send suggestions plz!

Talk to me! Hit me with your day to day vibes at work! What stressors do you experience? What fulfillment do you get from your profession? How do you decompress? Have any questions about nursing? Holla atcha girl! Below is a Youtube video on my first year of nursing & some flicks of me and my cool ass coworkers!