CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

Believe, Persist, Achieve: The Unstoppable Journey of a Nursing Student

In this heartfelt podcast, Crystal a CNA and nursing student, shares her personal odyssey of self-realization and perseverance on the road to nursing school. Through her inspiring narrative, she delves into the challenges she faced, her unyielding self-belief, and the fierce determination that propelled her towards her dreams. Join her as she explores the profound journey of resilience, dedication, and unwavering faith in oneself that guided her to exactly where she is supposed to be.

@the.nursecrystal
@mdfinstruments

TRANSCRIPT

Crystal
I Think knowing that you're responsible for being an advocate for somebody in a pivotal time in their life; that feels good to know that you're that person's advocate, whether they are in surgery or whether they're recovering from surgery or whether you're working at bedside and you're there when they hear a diagnosis or you're there or when they're really sick or you're there when they're expecting a baby. I mean, it's it really brings you in touch with like the humanity of things to be like right there in the thick of emotion and the thick of just sometimes the ugly part of reality and that okay, you are in a position to to be here for this person and we need people in our in our world to be like that i for whatever we pursue in life being of service to others. That's just something that's just super important to me.

Brooke
Hi, everyone, welcome to MDF instruments crafting wellness Podcast. Today I'm really excited to have the pleasure to introduce you to Crystal.

Crystal
My name is Crystal Gasser I live in Southern Oregon. I'm from Southern Oregon as well. I am a CNA; certified nursing assistant. Right now I am a full time nursing student.

Brooke
Awesome. Okay, so I want to know, how did you find nursing? What is the story behind I feel like every person in healthcare, especially nurses always have a moment or a story or a reason for why they decided that this was for them, do you have something like that?

Crystal
Um, so when I graduated high school in 2010, almost 15 years ago, that's crazy to say, I wanted to be a nurse. But I also had no idea who I was. I'm from a really small rural town. Not a lot going on. I decided I wanted to be a nurse then because I felt like that was just the expectation to just pick a career and then go for it. But life led me away from school for a little bit, I moved to a college town like a university town called Eugene, Oregon. And I just sort of took that time to get to know who I was, I traveled the world, I worked as a waitress, dated, you know, all the things. And it wasn't until about 2018. So kind of my late 20s that I decided that I wanted to be a nurse. And that was my mom, she had a life threatening emergency that ended her up in the hospital. And I had been kind of going through a rough time in my life at that time. And so not only was I feeling stuck in my personal life, but going to the hospital and being there with my mom and around the nurses, seeing how they were there for her and watching them just show up in all the ways that not only did she need but I needed myself, watching my mom go through that. I just had this little thought. And at that point in my life I was so like, not attached anymore to the idea of being a nurse, I was kind of a different person. But I just had this fleeting thought, what if I could do this? And that was sort of the seed. And so that was kind of like my aha moment and ever since I just started pursuing.

Brooke
Yeah, it's funny that you say that because my father was in ICU for a long time. And I had the same sentiment as you I was in awe of the nursing, the nursing staff, everything that they did, the artis the doctors everything or you know, that had to do with healthcare, I was so appreciative and in awe of just all the care, the special care that they gave and the comfort that it also brought me as a family member. But I had the reaction of, of, I can't I don't I couldn't do this, like, I wish I could do this. I have the heart for it, but I I just don't think I could do it. So I do think that there is a special calling for nurses. I think it really takes a special kind of person. And it's just funny that went to hear you talk because I'm like, Yeah, I had the same thoughts. And I was like, No, I couldn't I couldn't do this. Like this is not, not for me. But I still respect and appreciate everything that nurses do. I'd love to hear a little bit about your journey once you decided you wanted to become a nurse. What was that? What did that look like for you? Did you go back to school?

Crystal
So I mean, the first thing I had to do was I had the same thought I had the thought could I see myself doing this? Maybe I can but I also had these thoughts of like I'm not smart enough.This looks really hard.I'm a little bit more of an artist type, like I like writing and, and just the technical skills of nursing really intimidated me.But I was just at a place where I was like ready to challenge that thought process and not believe it and just say, let's figure it out, let's learn. So basically, I committed, I made the commitment. And I knew that when I made the commitment to sort of change my, my journey with school because I originally wanted to be a therapist, I had been an undergrad at the University of Oregon is going to get a bachelor's in psychology. So I just changed my route. And that was a little nerve wracking. But I made the commitment. I started taking biology and chemistry classes that I did not think that I would be good at. And I, I took advantage of the resources on campus I studied, I asked questions, I just basically to distract myself from the hardship that I was going through in or personally, I used my studies as like an anchor to just motivate myself, I started working on the prereqs2020 Hit the pandemic, and I ended up moving from that town back home back to Southern Oregon relocated. And that kind of put a little bit of a pause on things for a bit. So I was like, Well, I don't want to stay stagnant. I worked as a waitress for a little bit. But I was like, I should probably get into being a CNA or a caregiver and just get exposure to the field in some way of caring for others. And so I got my CNA certificate started working in long term care and that was really eye opening. Really, really, really difficult for me, with no previous experien.ce. And and basically, if you don't know what a CNA is, you are a certified nursing assistant. And you are essentially just like the nurses right hand man or woman or whatever. But yeah, so you, you're basically helping patients or residents with their daily care. So feeding dressing, helping them to the bathroom,repositioning them in their beds, if they're bed bound, I mean, it's a really intense job.And that, and that grew me in so many ways that I needed, like I needed to be challenged. And then I applied to the nursing program here. I had a couple classes left, I was able to apply to the nursing program. I was not accepted. But I was waitlisted. So there's that. That was like a tease. I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm so close. It's still possible. But I was prepared for any eventuality. I didn't get in. So then I decided I was going to just apply to the LPN program, the Licensed Practical Nursing program, it was a nine, nine month program, I just didn't want to not work towards a goal. I just wanted to keep doing something I. And so I did. And I got in. And I spent nine months in the LPN program, which was amazing, because when I applied to the RN program, the second time, I did get in, and I went right into the RN program after that, so I've been a student for a while.

Brooke
I think there's really something to the way that you, you said you made a commitment. And it sounds really dedicated you once you made that decision, like this is what I'm gonna go after you found ways to immerse yourself into the field of health care. And all of that knowledge and experience that you gain when you're not in are in school is only going to help you it's the knowledge can never be taken away, the experience can never be taken away. So I think it's really important for people listening that you know, you know, you're gonna get sometimes roadblocks in the way, whether it's in the form of a pandemic, putting a pause on something or not getting in the first time around or the second time around, or however many rounds it could possibly take. But the kind of I think the perseverance, and the dedication and commitment that you showed up for yourself in a way that you were like, You know what, I made this commitment to myself and it's not just something I'm saying I'm actually actively pursuing it even in the midst of a pandemic even in the midst of a you know, a rejection of a saying Not at this time a waitlist. That can really back in that could be enough to knock people off their horse, where they're, you know, like, where they are rethinking things, and I think it's really important.You know, just to showcase that. It doesn't always happen in our timeline. It doesn't alwayshappen the way that we think it's going to happen, but what you're doing by leaving it for an example, in your own life of saying, Hey, I made this commitment to myself, and I'm just going to learn as much as I can, I'm going to be a sponge, and I'm going to take every amount of, of knowledge and experience that I can until I reach that goal of getting back into school and finishing becoming an RN. And then wherever you go from there, even once you become an RN, then there's other places you can go past that the you can keep going and keep educating and keep going into different specialties and, and changing how you as you grow as a person, your career can grow with you.

Crystal
So true. It's so true. It's probably one of the biggest things that I've learned is that it's helping to elevate me for whatever could come next for me. And so yeah.

Brooke
How far along in your in your nursing journey are you? How much longer do you have left?

Crystal
So after this term, which ends in about, I want to say five weeks, I'll have the summer off and then only have nine more months. So not that much long. I graduate June 2025.

Brooke
Okay, so now that you're you're about nine months out of out of nursing school after these five weeks and after summer break? Hmm, kind of the plans after this? Do you have a specialty in mind that you're going to be going towards you want your career to go now that you've also had some experience being a CNA has that kind of helped guide you into knowing more? Okay, this is where I kind of want to see myself as my career.

Crystal
Absolutely. I so I really enjoy the O R. I've shadowed there a couple times. But I'm trying to stay open minded. I think what fascinates me about the O R is I think, because I'm so used to being on a med surg floor. I, I like that it's different. I like that it's a really controlled environment, it's very sterile. I like that you're anticipating, it seems like you're anticipating the needs of the anesthesiologist and the surgeon and it's a little bit more of an intimate experience, I feel like with the with the team in the operating room. So that's just it's just something that seems like a suitable for me, I would be just fine working on a med surg floor. If that is what I needed to do to gather my skills, I know that that's valuable. But I also want to waste no time in doing what feels like my calling. And so I think that that's what the or will be for me, we'll see.

Brooke
So I know that nursing school can be quite daunting. And I know that it can be very time consuming between the studying and the classes. And I don't know if some of its also online. But how do you really find balance between being able to have a personal life and balance school and also, if you have any kind of advice or tips or tricks for students like studying advice, that's helped you along the way, maybe stay a little organized.

Crystal
So I really value self care. I am a yoga instructor. So that's something that has taught me how to really recognize when my body and my mind are feeling a little out of sync. If I'm feeling overwhelmed, or super stressed, I can't ignore it for too long before I'm just like, I have got to go and sit down for 10 minutes. And if that's deep breathe and close my eyes so that I got to do or I need to move my body and get into my joints. That helps me feel reset. It's really the little things showering, taking a nap like saying I could not I can't read another chapter. I need to rest my eyes like It's the simple things when it comes to that. As far as time management, it's, I stay organized. That's my biggest takeaway is just staying organized, anticipating what's to come. I think that we can all tend to procrastinate, I I let myself procrastinate for a certain amount of time before I'm like, hey, no more. I have to just get going. And it helps it helps with the stress if I just don't procrastinate and I just start reading ahead if I can.

Brooke
Yeah, staying organized is something I struggle with and procrastination. I think it's a pretty common thing. Because, you know, it does take so much energy to get through reading and the studying and the learning and the comprehending and one thing that I've noticed and I don't know if this is true for you, but if I have to memorize something I or comprehended on a certain level. There's two things first is I will work on memorizing it. And then I take a nap kind of what you're talking about like a power nap something about memorizing something and then sleeping for a little while. I don't know what it is, but it makes my brain just absorb that so much more. I go to sleep and I'm like, oh well yesterday. I didn't think I knew that that well, but today I No way better than I thought.

Crystal
Exactly. It does help. I think that there's actually a science to that as well. That reminds me. So one of the things that I got going for me is I have a photographic memory, like maybe not the best, but I have a pretty photographic memory. And I'm a big writer, I've always been a writer journaling is important to me. So let's say I'm reading a chapter, the first time I read that chapter, I'm sort of handwriting a lot of the key points, and I'm writing and writing and writing, and then I'm highlighting lots of different colors help kind of have those words pop out. So when I'm sitting with the exam, I know I've reviewed my notes so many times, and I've seen the color and the words, and I've written the words, making that connection with like, hand to paper. And so when I'm taking that exam, I can almost see, you know, see, see it. That's not to say that I don't apply it and I, I can conceptualize what I'm doing this couple of tips and tricks.

Brooke
So I know that you're a mentor, you use some of your social media to kind of like mentor and inspire other people, can you talk about how that came to be? What inspired you to inspire, and a little bit about what you're sharing.

Crystal
So in my life, all of the teachers that I've had, throughout school have been my biggest inspiration, my mentors, because I'm fascinated with people who want to help uplift others. Because it's really made such a huge difference and influenced my life in so many ways. And that to be able to be in a position where you could potentially do that for somebody else. It's just the best feeling in the world, I would say that my teachers have been my mentors, my biggest mentors, and having somebody to believe in you. It took me a long time to even develop self esteem. And so having certain people be like, these pillars in my life really just inspired me to want to do the same for other people. And so my social media is like a creative outlet for me. Because being in nursing school, like takes a lot of those parts of me like the writer and the poet, and the person that wants to paint like, I like to be in front of the camera, a little things like that. So using my social media has been like a little passion project. And I hope that it can just inspire, make someone laugh, whatever content I'm putting out, just want it to be something that can reach another person and hopefully inspire them to just be who they are authentically.

Brooke
I want to touch a little bit on what you said, you kind of touched on a little bit through the podcast, but you know, I think there's there's this quote, it's one of my favorite quotes. It's, it's not who we are, that holds us back. It's who we think we're not. And I think sometimes we can be our own worst enemies, we can kind of knock ourselves down before anyone else has the chance to do it, oh, I'm not good enough for that. I can't do that. It's too hard, whatever, whatever the the negative self talk is. And I think it's, it's nice to remember that, you know, we all do it to each other, but to ourselves, and you should try to love yourself, like you love other people, I try to remind myself that all the time, because I know that we can be so hard on ourselves, especially, you know, when you're pursuing something like nursing, where you have to be really organized and there is you know, a time limit and you have to get you have to not only be able to memorize it, but conceptualize it, like you say, and there's pressure because you have people's lives in your hands. And, you know, it's it's it's definitely not not for the faint of heart. But I think it's really important to remember that we all struggle with, I think, self love and feeling like Oh, I'm not sure it seems like everyone else knows what they're doing except for me. And so, I think with what you're doing with your social media and being so vulnerable, and saying, hey, you know, like, I didn't always have the most self confidence or I didn't always I wasn't always the most assured person, but sometimes just takes another person believing you another person saying, hey, you know what, Crystal, you got this, I believe in you, you can do it. And all we need is someone else to to reflect back to us what we know in our hearts to be true. But sometimes we have the self doubt that will, you know, speak to us so loudly, that it can knock us off of our path and going after our dreams. So I just think it's something really beautiful to remind everyone that, you know, we can all love ourselves a little harder and believe in ourselves a little more. I think what you're doing is really important.

Crystal
Thank you. Yeah, one of that brings me to thinking about the mentoring and like, like, for example, when I'm a CNA, and I'm working and there's a new CNA brand new CNA on the floor. I just the empath in me, I remember how it feels to feel that imposter syndrome. You don't know what you're doing. You've never done something like this before. Maybe you want to be a nurse, but you're this is your first step into the world of health care. And it can be very overwhelming. And I just always want to reach out to those people when they get on to the unit. And I just want them to know, like, you'll get there, it takes time. Keep going, I, I definitely do like to, to be supportive in that way for people.

Brooke
Yeah. And I think when you've gone through it yourself, it's easier to say, hey, you know what I can relate to what they're probably feeling because that was me at some point. And this is how I felt. And it's really nice to remember kind of where you started, where you came from, and be there for other people who are now starting their way up. And I think for this podcast, specifically, I think it's great for people listening who maybe want to, maybe they want to be a CNA, maybe they want to get into nursing school, maybe they didn't get it in the first time. You know, the I think it's just all really great things to talk about, because it makes people feel less alone. And they're not the only ones who are sometimes questioning themselves or doubting themselves and that there are people like you so great advice. And I think just to remember that we're all in this together and not to be afraid to ask questions. I think that's really.

Crystal
yeah, I agree that that's so true. I ask a lot of questions all the time. Sometimes I feel annoying, or, you know, when you ask all these questions, sometimes I'll ask the same question if I have to, if I need that, by forget, or if I just don't feel comfortable enough with something I really just like, I'm going to ask the question, I don't care if it gets on anybody's nerves. It's good to ask questions.

Brooke
Yeah. And I think it's good for the person answering the question, because as they answered back, they're also relearning by explaining something to someone else. You're all you're also kind of relearning, what you're speaking about. So true. Okay, so what would you say are your biggest challenges in being in nursing school right now? Like, what's, what's the thing that kind of is your little hang up some challenge that you have to like, overcome while you're in nursing school?

Crystal
Well, there's the financial one, because I'm so busy in nursing school. So sometimes, I mean, I'm not working as much. So that's a challenge. But I would say because I'm a pretty artistic person who really enjoys like, I love to get out in nature. And I love to write and I, I like to have these little passion projects. I feel like nursing school has kept me in my like, left brain for so long. I'm always critically thinking, I've got assignments do I've got chapters to read, and where I do really enjoy it and love it. A lot of the time, I have weeks where I'm just not as motivated. And I wish I could be doing all the things that really fill my cup and other ways. So I would say that that's the hardest part is sometimes it starts to feel a little monotonous. It starts to feel like my whole life is just clinical this and clinical that and medical terminology, it's just can be just the same thing after a while can get kind of dry.

Brooke
Are you still teaching yoga currently? And are you in? If not? Or if you are, are you also being able to like practice yoga, are you finding time for that while in nursing school?

Crystal
so I am not teaching yoga currently in the LPN program, I felt like I was able to do it part time, and I would teach yoga, like one day a week for a while. And then when I started the RN program, I knew that it would be a little more time intensive. So I stepped away from it.I don't I don't practice as much as I'd like I it's one of those things where I have to kind of like force myself to do it. Because the books will just pull me in. It's like this gravity. I'm just like, kind of stuck to the books I imagine.

Brooke
Unplug a little bit, because sometimes we've got to step away from something when we come back, like I like to run, right. And sometimes I'll run Run, run, run, run, and my time will get really slow. And I'm not doing it really for to be fast. I'm just doing it because I like it. But I'm like, Oh, wow, it's get really slow. And then I'll say I'll take a break. And maybe for like a week, I'm too busy. We can have whatever and I'll come back to and my first run, I'm like, Whoa, I just did that way, way faster. And it's like, well, because they gave my body time to rest and recover. And it got stronger over that time. And I feel like it's summer break can kind of be a similar thing, stepping away from nursing school, being able to really absorb all that knowledge you had. And sometimes taking a break and letting everything kind of soak in you come back and you haven't like a new understanding and it's important to have balance in life too.

Crystal
It really is I I'm going to step away from the books. I would like to actually leisurely read a book. That sounds great. So I might do something like that, too.

Brooke
Yeah, it sounds like they're pulling you now. It's like a magnet. Like I can't get away

Crystal
I don't like I can't but I am so close. I'm so close.

Brooke
So okay, so if you could go back and tell your younger self, something or give advice to yourself the past you; Is there something like something you wish you would know? Or some sort of advice that you would giveyour younger self to? As you have more hindsight now?

Crystal
Mm hmm.Yeah, I feel like,I feel like I would tell her thatthat she has time, like, and I and I gave myself that time, but maybe reassure her that you have time you're doing you're on the right path.I would tell her that it's kind of funny, but the job security is real. It might be important to think about things like retirement and all that stuff. I mean, I, I'm glad that my path ended up this way. And I didn't I get right out of school and start towards my career. But now I recognize I needed some time, but it kind of hit me. I'm like, Okay, I probably should find something that not only am I passionate or fulfilled in, but something that would probably be able to give me a stable life. Because I didn't have that growing up. And so yeah, I just probably tell her to work towards something that might benefit her future and that way.

Brooke
I think that's really great advice. I know, I don't know if it's, I really don't know if men have the same sort of pressure of time, because I ask this question a lot on the podcast. And it's very interesting, because a lot of times people give a similar answer to what you just gave. You know, I think about that, too. And I'm like, it's not really an answer that a lot of men give of like, oh, I have time I have time. And it's, um, it's interesting to me, because I'm like, well, as women, you know, I feel like there's a pressure from the time that we're small to, for throughout our lives of, you know, these, this is kind of the order that you do things, you go to school and get married. You have the kids. Yeah, you know, the order of it. And it's like, oh, by if you haven't done this, by this time, what are you doing? You know, what's the pressure and I am so funny, because I live in California and where I live, it kind of feels like Groundhog's Day, you know, we don't really have seasons, so everyday kind of feels the same. And I lose track of time. I'm like, wait, what year is it? I have no idea where the time went, like, How old am I and I really try hard not to put a time pressure on myself. Because I don't think it serves us too. It's great to have goals. And I always say, a dream without like action is just going to stay a dream. So I appreciate going towards a goal going towards a dream, taking the proper steps like you did making a commitment saying like, I'm gonna get through this. And if it can't be that way, I'm going to go learn over here until it can be that way. But I'm not really talking about that. I'm just saying that, you know, we sometimes put ourselves on these timelines, or maybe the pressure from society. And I think it's really important to talk about the fact that, you know, there is so much time and not to stress yourself out and put this pressure of like, oh, by this age, I need to be doing this because sometimes you don't know who you are, what you want, is going to change bar is going to change. And I like to remind people that the experience that you gather, throughout that time, no matter how long it takes you, you know, you could go be become a nurse at 60. Like seriously, you could I all the life experience is only going to make you better at whatever it is you choose to do, whether it's nursing, whether it's something else, but people can't take experience away from you. And as we grow and age, we are only going to become better people hopefully write better and better at whatever it is we're pursuing to do better students that are learning we're gonna have figured out like how we learn, oh, I don't learn auditory I learn this way I have to write it out. Like all these things that maybe we don't know when we're younger. And in time is just kind of a funny constraint that we put on pressure, we put and I feel like as women, it's it's extra pressure. Maybe others don't face. But it's important to talk about the fact that time there's a lot of it and we don't have to just rush. So much.

Crystal
That's so true. Yeah, I'm grateful that I gave myself that time. And I have days where I sit in class and I and I look around and I'm like, oh gosh, if only I had just figured this out sooner, but then I probably wouldn't have traveled to Thailand or fell in love with that one person who broke my heart and taught me all the lessons I needed to know. You know, just there's so much life experience that I was able to have in my 20s that just were wonderful and my 30s are already wonderful in a different context. I'm just, it's like shedding layers and figuring out who you are and becoming the fullest expression of yourself.

Brooke
And that's, that's one of the great things. I mean, if you want to be traveling more, you can become a travel nurse. You know, there's just there's, I speak to endless. Well, I had one nurse on the podcast, who was a bedside nurse, and then she became an aesthetic nurse, and she does cosmetic cosmetic stuff. And you can really shift gears and go into all different kinds of aspects of your career. And that's what I really appreciate about nursing is really kind of I get excited to find out, okay, what's your specialty? And why and like, what do you love about exactly that, you know? it's, it's really fun to see that you can continue your education, you can change it, for whatever reason, it's not working for you. And that one specialty, there's probably another specialty that's going to speak to you, plus the skills you're learning. I mean, they're invaluable. There are skills you can use in many different facets of your life. So great steps.

Crystal
Yes, it absolutely is.

Brooke
When you get your first stethoscope, it's kind of a rite of passage, you know? Yeah, I'm actually I'm doing this for real like I have my first what is your first stethoscope receiving that having it? What can you tell me what it felt like to you?

Crystal
So that's absolutely true. Everything you just said. My first stethoscope was actually given to me by a friend. And it was when I was first becoming a CNA still with the pursuit of wanting to be a nurse, all of that, but it was this hot pink MDF Instruments stethoscope. And I remember putting it on and taking pictures and I honestly wasn't a pink person. Like I this is like a new persona. I've I love the pink, but putting it on. I mean, it's it reminds me of Elle Woods. I live in the woods is that not obvious yet? Who's just like the archetype for powerful woman who goes and pursues her dreams. But ya know, I remember putting it on and thinking I took a picture in it. And I remember thinking is this funny? Like, I'm, I'm a CNA, I'm not really auscultating lungs or anything yet. But I just felt empowered with it on and it really sort of made the feeling of like the path that I was pursuing more tangible. I was like, Oh my gosh, and so now I when I wear a stethoscope around my neck, and I get to go ascultate, lungs in clinicals or listen to the heart. I don't know. It's just, it's interesting how a tool can be so symbolic and can make you feel just like you're playing in the part. Because you are. You really are.

Brooke
You know, it's so interesting, because obviously, I'm not a nurse or anything, but I play around with our stethoscopes all the time. And my brother, his wife was pregnant to put the stethoscope on and like listen to the baby's heartbeat. And it's a really fun to just kind of be like to be able to gather so much, you know, being able to take blood pressure and things like that, like gather so much information from pretty much a you know, a tool that's been around a very long time.

Crystal
Yeah, they're really, really fascinating. And, yeah, I love my stethoscope.

Brooke
Okay, so I know we kind of touched on this a little bit. So you might not have an answer. But do you kind of you seem like a very organized person? So do you kind of have foresight into where you see yourself in five years? Or kind of where you want to be in five years? Are you one of those people who kind of plans out okay, in about five and five years? This is kind of where I see my life, my life? Or do you think you're still kind of figuring out where you want that to go?

Crystal
Yeah, a little bit of both. I'm definitely a very methodical person. I am someone who likes to have a plan. But I also know that sometimes when you grip something or an idea super tight and something doesn't go the wrong the way you wanted it to you might feel disappointed. So I try to loosen the grip of it. But I would say if I were to guess where I'd be in the next five years the vision that I have is working in the or that's where I really think I want to go if not the or just somewhere that I feel happy and content for sure. And by that time I think that I'll probably have started a family. Alright, hope to and I want to I want to travel a little bit more. I'm not done traveling. That's something that I would just love to do more of.

Brooke
I would love to hear where your favorite place that you've ever traveled to is.

Crystal
That would probably be Italy, Italy, my favorite place. Something about it. Where did you go in Italy? I went all over but one of I went to Napoli Naples, kind of the south of Italy a little kind of crazy and chaotic, but I got to go see Pompeii.I was by myself when I was in that part of Italy, I had originally gone with family with family. And then at one point, they got on a plane and left and I stayed. So just something about being young and adventurous, and in Italy by yourself as scary is that my sound, it was also really empowering. So yeah, I would say the south of Italy was my favorite place.

Brooke
Yeah, that sounds amazing. I want to eat all the pasta and drink all the wine and all that life and a passion. I feel like that just kind of like they're passionate when they speak. And there's passionate when they cook, and they're passionate when they rest now.

Crystal
And they work and rest at the same time. It's great.

Brooke
What is it about nursing that you love most like about what you're potentially going to be doing as a nurse? What is it, that is your favorite thing or something that you kind of just love about what it is that you're doing or about to do?

Crystal
I think knowing that you're responsible, like, for being an advocate for somebody in a pivotal time in their life, that feelsit feels good to know that you're that person's advocate, whether they are in surgery, or whether they're recovering from surgery, or whether you're working at bedside, and you're you're there when they hear a diagnosis or you're there when they're really sick, or you're there when they're expecting a baby. I mean, it's, it really brings you in touch with like the humanity of things to be like right there in the thick of emotion in the thick of just sometimes the ugly part of reality. And, and, and knowing that, okay, you are in a position to to be here for this person. And every person is different. And so you also have to learn what works best for each individual. And kind of let your own biases, go out the door and just do what's best for them. I love that. I love that. I think that that's important. And we need people in our in our world to be like that. I feel like whatever we pursue in life being of service to others, that this is something that's just super important to me. So I would say that. And I also do like the challenge like to be real. I like the challenge. Not always, but for the most part. I like looking back at my life and saying, Oh, wow, I've really grown a lot. And now I can communicate with the team, like better than I did in the past, like talking to doctors can be really scary. I remember speaking to a doctor one time about something when I was doing my LPN clinicals. And I was so nervous, and I started tripping up on my words. And I asked myself later, I was like, that was so embarrassing, like, they're just another human being, and maybe they have a degree that's higher than what I'm going for, but like, what is it about that pressure, and then you know, knowing that with time, I'll probably be able to do it way better and know so little challenges like that.

Brooke
I think that's great. I think it's great to challenge yourself and like overcome the challenge, and also know that you're working. Sometimes you're working through a challenge. You know, sometimes I find myself I'm like, okay, I can tell I'm in a challenge. And you know, am I going to beat the challenge right now? Probably not. But the next time the challenge is going to come, I'm going to be a little bit better at the challenge than I am right now. Because the growth comes sometimes it's small, but it's still growth. And, you know, it's preparing you actually, those little challenges are preparing you for like the really big moment that's probably going to come where you're going to be needed to, to do that. And you're going to do it so well. And you're like all those little challenges that came before when maybe I wish I had done this a little different, or I wish I had said this a little differently is now it kind of all came to a head and prepared me for this moment where I was ready when I needed to be ready. I am curious, being a CNA and an LPN having that experience? Because I know from what I know, is CNAs you know, you you really have a lot of the hard jobs has has seen people in in long term care has has seen people in that kind of chapter in their lives. Has that given you a different perspective on like your own life and your own appreciation for life and has it kind of changed you a little?

Crystal
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I would say that working in long term care really opened my eyes. You could be someone pursuing like, you know, living a healthy lifestyle and, and things can just happen things It's just happen. And I think we get so fixated on trying to control and make sure that I mean, there's definitely things in your life that you can have control over, you can make healthy choices and, and do the best that you can. But there are some things that are out of our control and bad things happen to good people all the time, heartbreaking things that, you know, strokes and heart attacks, and, you know, diabetes, I mean, these things just happen. And I and I see, I see that and it. And some people don't have families, that's really hard, you know, and we're all going to get old if we have the privilege to get old. And just seeing how being a CNA it's like, sometimes you're just the only person these people have the only person to listen, the only person who could possibly care if they brush their teeth at all that day. And yeah, just having that is so important. And yeah, it's changed me, it's made me think about my own life and my own future. My my mother and my father, the people that I love, and it can be crippling with fear at times when I just said, like, oh, my gosh, what if this happens? But it does have me with a deeper understanding of that these things do happen. And to kind of have just like a healthy level of not preparing for it, but just knowing that it could have, you know, just,.

Brooke
Yeah, no, I get that. I think it has to affect, I mean, just having my dad in ICU for a couple months and seeing, just seeing how the decline of the human body and just everything, it really does. I mean, for me, it changed me in a way of like, life is so fleeting and so precious, and like people came into the ICU, or were like 20 years old, because they were on one of those scooters and like, had an accident. And then, you know, like you said, good, you know, bad things happen to good people all the time. And we there's only so much we have control over. And so I think, you know, having appreciation for life and enjoying every moment that you can, and having gratitude and all of that, you know, it's it's such a cliche, and it's so overstated, but I feel like it's overstated for a reason. Because it is it is life is so precious, and like one little thing can change everything. And I just wonder, I know that I can tell by talking to you that you're a really empathetic person. And do you have any, like, preparation or preparedness? Or? I mean, obviously, you've already seen, I'm sure, very difficult things being a CNA LPN is there, is there a way you like, process that for your own, like mental health? Or do you have any advice on how you can, like, carry through in a day like that, and then still carry through in your own life? Because it's going to hit you, it's going to change you a little, but like, how do you still maintain? Being able to be, you know,

Crystal
I, yeah, I let myself feel it. Because it is a reality. And then I, if I kind of start to spiral or really think, because I can get health anxiety, sometimes just when I read a path, when I was taking patho, I would just read something and then start to kind of like self diagnose, I think that happens a lot in nursing students. And then being around a lot of illness, you start to just, it's just all you see. And so I have to remember, there's healthy people do you know, it's kind of like out of sight, out of mind, and I'm really choosing a career where I'm exposed to a lot of that alternative, butI let myself feel it. And when it gets to a point where I might just be like, what's the word really just like steeping in it, and it's not serving me anymore. I try to just do something that I can in my own life, that is a healthy decision.But I think that there's like a really important. I think it's important to really face our own mortality and, and our own the fact that we will age. It's not easy, but I think that that's really important. I think that this career is really pushed me eye to eye with that. So yeah, I I let myself listen to music and feel things and My grandpa actually he passed away last last May and I was able to be there with him during that time and like kind of help him cross over. And that was really intense. For me, I've even considered hospice nursing. That was definitely something that I've considered. So yeah, it's really taught me a lot about accepting things.

Brooke
Yeah, and like,I don't know, there's like, we go back to just like, there's only so much you can control. You know, sometimes when it's people's time, it's their time and, and that's something like I struggled with because I lost my dad. And he, he went to he got to be able to get to hospice, he was in hospice for like, a day, because they couldn't transport him because they, he was too, they just didn't want to lose him and transport. So, um, but he made it out, he made it out to hospice, and then he died the next day. And for me, it's, it's hard. You know, I think anytime you lose someone you love, it's a very difficult thing to process and like being there through all of those those couple months and spending the night in the hospital and like watching it, all the nurses work and everybody it is you have to like come to terms with the fact that there's only so much you can do and there's only so much control you have. And also sometimes when it's people's time, it's their time, like my dad was a he was a pilot as a pilot, through and through loved it, like it was his his whole world. And he passed away on National Aviation Day. And so that's kind of just like little messages where it's like, you know what it's time to, it's time to go. And, you know, that's kind of a real, that was a reassurance to me, and like it was dad's time to go. And as much as I'm selfishly wanting to keep him here, it's, you know, I don't get to control that. And you have to have like, acceptance. And I think as a nurse, as a healthcare worker, it's tough because you get attached, I watched everyone get attached to my dad and attached to the family, you know, how much we loved him. And, you know, they just were so wonderful and wanted to help us. But I know it was difficult for them when we lost him as well. And I just My heart goes out so much to to nurses, especially because you guys really, you're not just there for the patient advocating for the patient, but you're really there for the family to and sometimes you have to be a liaison and explain to the family things that they maybe don't want to hear. You know, and it's it's a really difficult job, but it does not go without the utmost respect for me and appreciation and, and thankfulness that you guys do what you do. So anyone listening, I just hope and crystal, I hope you know, as well, just how much how much love and adoration we all have for for everything that you guys will do and will do in the face of, you know, uncertain times for family members and their loved ones.

Crystal
So thank you, thank you for sharing hear your story that's definitely impactful, for sure. Oh, yeah, it's, it's definitely not easy. And it can feel at times, like the most sacred thing to be a part of, even though it's like, well, this is my job, this is what I signed up to do. And then you find yourself in that room or you're with the patient, you know, and the family and it's, it's just forces you to be present. And that's really important.

Brooke
Because we talked earlier about how you applied to nursing school, and you got waitlisted. And that brings me and that was towards the end, but I wanted to ask it; when you get a roadblock, when you get to know when you get a rejection or a waitlist, what is your advice to other people? Or like how did you overcome that? That no into like not derailing you and just giving up like what was it? Uh, what is it? What is it about you and something in you that was so determined to be like, I'm going to find another avenue.

Crystal
I think maybe all the people that I ever looked up to in my life never got where they wanted to get by, like letting a no stop them. I feel like there's just an endless amount of possibilities in this world. And like, one moment in time, that is a resounding no. That it can feel that way isn't. It's not definitive to me. And I think just knowing that really helped me. I mean, of course, I was a little bummed. But I I also kind of knew it was a possibility that I wouldn't get accepted. But I also knew that I wasn't going to stop. I was going to keep trying. And if that meant take another class, strengthen my application. Let's do the LPN program, stay busy, just keep working towards something like it will happen when it's time for you. And so I don't know I just have I have I feel like I had this knowing that it would happen. And I just needed to not give up. And so yeah, I and I did the LPN forprogram and that helped me feel a part of the part of something involving nursing. I learned a lot. I wanted to state for the record, I am not a LPN. I'm not a licensed practical nurse, I graduated the program, but I never took the NCLEX for the LPN because I went right into the RN program. So I could, but I don't want to, I don't want to take the NCLEX more than I need to. I just just be a nurse when I become an RN, so

Brooke
Yeah, I don't I don't blame you at all. I think the reason why you don't give up and the reason why a lot of people don't give up is because there's something in you, that tells you, you're where you're supposed to be. It's telling you, Hey, I know I'm on the right path. Or I've just decided I'm also on the right path. That can be a thing too, but just knowing a knowingness of this is what I'm going to do. And I'm going to get through it no matter what there's going to be knows there might be obstacles in my way, but I cannot control those outside forces, but I can control how I react to them and what I do, because of them, and how I overstep those, those obstacles in my path. And I think, for me listening to you, it really seems like you have a knowingness and a self assurance of this is what I want to do. And this is what my calling is, and I'm going to go for it. And it's going to happen, it's just a matter of how it happens. I can't control exactly when it happens. I only have so much control over. But I think that it's just this this knowingness of, hey, I feel it. There's like a guttural feeling that I'm on the path that I'm supposed to be on.

Crystal
Absolutely. And a part of making the choice to do this. I like I had said I was at a place in my life where I was really struggling, I was maybe not in the best relationship, I was really, between a rock and a hard place in my life. And I remember having this thought, like, no one is coming to save me. No one, like I, I have to figure this out. AndI was afraid but I was also so tired of my own, like,inability to break a certain cycle. And I was just like, today's the day like, and it looks like nursing, I guess I'm gonna go be a nurse, I guess I guess, all this grit and this pain is going to be for something and I just, it's been my motivation ever since. And it's been quite a few years since that hard time in my life. But I remember how motivated I was to just save myself and get out of it and much better place in my life now and, and that girl is on the sidelines just cheering me on. So I definitely that's another thing I do. I like to envision myself when I get really like exhausted and just burnt out from all of this. I imagined that I'm like running and that there's all these different versions of myself like little girl me that never knew, you know, this would be a thing. Past version of me that was struggling. future version of me maybe future mommy, like just like, keep going. We're all standing here rooting for you.

Brooke
Wow that's so beautiful. I really love that it's very relatable to I think, you know, just just the the tenacity that you have to face sometimes you you're in the middle of the struggle, right? And you're like, well, the struggle can't last forever. And also good for you for being at a point in your life going you know what I've had enough of this, I'm going to take responsibility for my own life. I'm going to be the hero that I was hoping for. I'm going to be all the things that I was hoping someone would show up and be for me I'm going to be it for myself. And I think that that's that's huge and I really I really relate to that because I I've done similar to you and I think there's a strength that comes with that and a confidence that comes with that where you know what you know that whatever happens in your life whatever fallback comes out whatever obstacles things that are going to that you can't control are going to come you know, you know what, I can handle it because I handled all this other stuff before I'm still here I'm still going and try to stop me you know, like go for it. It's a beautiful Yeah.

Crystal
Very powerful.

Brooke
Okay, Crystal, I want you to drop your social media handle like so that all our listeners and people watching can come find you on social media. DM you ask you questions if you're open to it and give you a follow and watch your your journey as you continue on.

Crystal
So my nurse page is @the.nursecrystal I have a personal account to where it's just a little less nurse focus, but it's um, @theearthelement.

Brooke
Well, Crystal, thank you so much for joining our Crafting Wellness Podcast, it's been such a pleasure having you on and discussing all these really important things. We're excited to watch your journey continue and we're here if you need anything.

Crystal
Thank you so much, Brooke. I really appreciate being able to share my story and I hope that it inspires somebody.

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