CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

The Heart of Nursing

Join us as we follow the journey of a newly graduated nurse who is beginning her career as an OR nurse. She shares her experiences, challenges, and triumphs as she navigates the world of nursing. Along the way, she also talks about her passion project, The Thumper Project, which aims to spread kindness and positivity in the world. Through her stories, we learn about the importance of empathy, compassion, and being there for others during their scarlet and most difficult days. Tune in for an inspiring and heartwarming look at the world of nursing and the power of nursing.

@chelseamorgensen
@thethumperproject

TRANSCRIPT

Chelsea
That's when I started the Thumper project. So, if you have seen the movie Bambi, the little bunny in the movie, his name is Thumper. And that was kind of the inspiration because his dad always said, if you have nothing nice to say, and don't say anything at all, I go to different schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and different events. And I just talked to whoever it is, that's that's listening about the importance of just being kind to one another.

Brooke Smith
Welcome to MDF instruments crafting wellness podcast.

Chelsea
My name is Chelsea Mortensen. I just graduated nursing school. So I've gotten my associate's degree in nursing. This is graduation week, I just had my pinning and my walk in my graduation tomorrow. So super exciting week, it's very much a transitional week for me, going from studying to pass the exams in school to now studying for my NCLEX. So I'm really excited about this next phase of my life.

Brooke Smith
Oh, yeah, that's a really exciting. Yeah, I know, I saw that you are going to be an O R nurse. And we're gonna definitely gonna dive into that. I want to ask you, you know, everyone seems to have a little bit of an origin story or something that inspired them to get into nursing. Do you? Do you have a story of why you got into nursing? Or how you found it? Or did it find you? Or did you always know? Can you talk a little bit about where this passion came from?

Chelsea
Yes, okay. It's funny, because I laugh and I say, if you would have told me five years ago that I would even be starting nursing school, much less becoming a nurse, I probably would have said, you were crazy. When I finished high school, I started traveling lived in New York, I lived in China, Australia, New Zealand, and California. And I pursued a career in modeling and acting. So that's what I was doing for a while. That's what I thought I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. But after a few years, it just, that career wasn't really fulfilling for me. And it wasn't giving me what I was needing in life. So I came back home, and I didn't really know what I was going to do. And I, that's where the Thumper project came in. And I know we're going to talk about that later. So I kind of started that during my free time, when I was trying to figure out what it was that I wanted out of life. At that time, is when I started dating my now fiance, who is a paramedic, and firefighter. And so he would kind of tell me some of his stories when it came to being on the line. And I found it really interesting. And I have always had a place in my heart for helping others. And so I thought, Okay, well, I don't want to be a firefighter. But maybe let me look into nursing. Let me see what that's like. Because I know that it's an incredible field. And it's something where I would be able to help people every single day of my life. So I went to my local school, our college is one of the best nursing programs, you know, in the country. So I heard that and I thought, You know what, let me check it out. So I went down to the college, I applied for my basics and kind of took it from there. And my anatomy and physiology classes were my favorites from all of my basics. So I thought, okay, maybe maybe there's something here. And so that's kind of how it all started. And one other thing that at the time, it wasn't what kind of turned me on to nursing but something that I think back on and what was kind of what inspired me throughout my journey is I unfortunately lost my grandmother to cancer a few years ago. But watching that journey of hers was one of the hardest things. And there was a difference when she had a nurse that really gave her incredible care versus a nurse that was giving her the bare minimum care. And thinking back to those moments, I can remember that. And that is what inspires me because I want to be the nurse that gave her that incredible care and make that difference for not only the person that is dealing with whatever whatever they're going through, but for their families as well.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I can relate a lot to this. My dad is currently in treatment for cancer. So I totally relate to you on this level, because I can see my dad's his energy mood, his kind of outlook on life, like he had this one nurse that was giving them a hard time but like my dad loved it, like they would tease each other and they have this banter. And so my dad was always like, where's the you know, I can't read I think it was me his name was Mike and and my dad was like, where's nurse? Mike is my nurse Mike and today, you know, and it just it perked my dad up and I think you know, there really is it's so important what you guys do, because I know that, you know, obviously there's the normal level of the care that you have to give but the extra love and support and care and just respect and honoring them and helping them through like their most difficult days is it takes a really special person and that's why I love nurses. Um, I think you guys are amazing. So I can totally relate to what your grandma went through as well. I know, it's it's difficult, but I think in these moments, it's when we can really see what we want to emulate, you know, we see like, oh, wow, I see what that person did for my grandma or did for me, and I want to make someone else feel that way to another fan, and make them feel like their loved one is being taken care of. And that's really

Chelsea
Yeah, yeah, I think that that nurses, I mean, anyone in the hospital, but nurses are the ones that are by our patients sides the most. So it really makes a difference. And I, I believe that in the healing process, attitude is everything. So if you have a nurse that's making you as excited as possible, who's making you smile as much as possible, who's making you laugh, who's, who's making the situation, as positive as it can be, that can change the shift of your healing, and of the process and the mindset and our minds are so strong. So it just one nurse, one person can just make such a difference. And, and that's what I saw. And so that's what I want to be. And I had a preceptor actually at my hospital during my last semester of nursing school. And I never thought I would want to work bedside nursing. And I'm still not right now. But my preceptor made me consider it and made me actually think, okay, if I don't get into the or this is what I want to do, because he was like that for his patients. And you can see the difference in the way that the patients were feeling when he was around. And you know, it to me, it just makes such a big difference. And it's little simple things little, it's the little things in life, rarely that make that difference. And it just takes an extra couple of minutes to do that. But that's to me the most important part of being a nurse,

Brooke Smith
I agree with you. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between basically the bedside nursing what you're talking about, and the or what you are going to be doing? Can you talk a little bit about what, what the days are going to look like what your job is going to be like.

Chelsea
So with bedside nursing, you know, when you're admitted into the hospital, whether it's on the regular floor or on the ICU unit, those shifts, first of all, are 12 hour shifts, either during the day or during the night, and you work about three days a week, and so you're there for that person throughout their stay. To me, what I've kind of seen is, it's a very overwhelming job. And part of the reason why I decided that I didn't want to do it is because right now, the patient to nurse ratios, in my opinion, are not the safest. And it's just, it's a lot and the way that I was talking about wanting to give that extra time to my patients and wanting to provide that, that special and individualized care to them is really difficult to do. And I learned that during my last rotations, because you need to get you know, all the medications given by a certain time, you need to make sure that those interventions are done. And if they have a procedure or something going on, there's so many working parts, and it's really overwhelming. And especially as a baby brand new nurse, to me, I just I, I felt like I wouldn't be able to give my patients the type of care that they deserve. And I feel like a lot of nurses feel that way. And I think that's why we're seeing a lot of nurses leave the bedside and feel burnt out because we do what we need to get done. And we don't necessarily have enough time to do the extra things that we really want to do. And that's hard, I would leave every shift wishing that I could have done more. And that was really sad for me, because I felt how I wish I could have done this for this patient. I wish I could have done that. But there's just not a lot of time, it's a lot to juggle. So I praise those nurses and those CNAs and elegance because it's a lot, it's a lot that they that they have to do within their short shift in the AOR, my shifts are going to be a bit different. So I'll be working Monday through Friday, and it'll be eight hour shifts. And then I will also be on call for some of the evenings into the nights and some of the weekends as well. And so what's different is for me, I'm going to be a circulator nurse, so I'm going to be with my patients in the operating room. And the reason why I decided to do that one was because I'm very organized. And I like to, I guess a little OCD about things. And in surgery, you need to be that way because you need to make sure that everything that started outside of the patient's body stays outside. You need to make sure everything everything goes smoothly, but I'm very outspoken and when I feel strongly about something I'm going to voice that and in the operating room is when our patients are the most vulnerable. You know, they're completely out. So I wanted to be their advocate, I want to be their voice and their eyes when they are under engineering their procedures. So that's why a lot of people were like why Oh, are you're so great with communicating to your patients. And I said yes, but I'm also great at communicating for them when they are unable to do so. And it's, I know that that's hard for some people do. So that's ultimately why I made that decision is because I had a situation during one of my rotations that I didn't necessarily like. And at the time, I was a brand new student, I was in my second semester, it was like one of my first ever rotations. And so I kind of stood there quietly in a corner. But that moment made me made me think to myself, I'm gonna say something one day, if that ever happens again, and I'm going to be that person for my patient. So that's why I chose O R. Plus, it's just really exciting. I think all of the all of the procedures and everything are really cool to watch. But that was the biggest thing was just I can be a voice and a set of ears and a set of eyes for them on when they're unable to be there.

Brooke Smith
You know, I've never really thought about that. And it's very interesting, because yes, you obviously are very empathetic, you're obviously a great communicator, you're obviously well spoken and outgoing, those talents and those assets that you have within you would serve well at bedside. But as you're talking about, I think they serve better, because you're talking about patients who obviously can't speak, they're under, and you're that voice for them. And I think it takes a really strong person, when a person really cares and isn't afraid to stand up and say, Hey, let's let's do this better, or just advocate for them because they can't. That's what I mean. That's the I think going on during the during surgery is probably the scariest thing because you are not caution. I think all of the things that are within you as your character that's going to serve you extremely well in the O R. So at 18. You graduated high school, and then you went to go travel. So you didn't go to college right away, obviously. So you went to New York first. So

Chelsea
a few days before I turned 18, actually, I moved to New York City to pursue modeling. I got signed with an agency there and worked there for a little bit, and did a few New York Fashion Weeks, I modeled for a few clients, it was really fun. But my agency was like, let's get you somewhere else. Let's build up your portfolio. So when you come back here, you're even stronger. So China was the very first place they sent me. And that was the very first time I ever traveled outside of the country by myself. Before that the only place I had gone was Mexico, which is right here, we're neighbors. So it was a very different thing. I got there at like two in the morning, and some guy was there with a sign that had my name on it. He picked me up in a van and took me to the apartment. It was very strange. And I loved working there. But the the work ethic, I guess there is very different. And as a model, I wasn't necessarily treated the best. So I was supposed to be there for four months. And I ended up actually leaving after two, which I was excited to do. Because at that time, I got an offer to go to Australia. So I moved back to Texas, got my stuff ready got packed, and I had to talk to earlier. From there. I lived there for two months. And I was modeling doing commercials and things like that there. And I loved it. That was one of my favorite places in the world. And I'm really hoping to go back soon. But while I was there, they gave me another opportunity. And they said, Hey, we have an agency we work with in New Zealand. Do you want to go there? And I was like, yes, let's do that. So I went to New Zealand for a month, and loved working there as well. I worked almost every single day that I was there. So while I didn't get to explore as much, which I'd love to do, it was really great for me for my portfolio for my experience. So I did all of that. And then came back to New York. So at that point, they were like, Alright, let's do this. Started working a lot more, but then got the opportunity to go back to Australia. And since I loved it there, I was like, yes, let's do that. At that point, I started doing a lot more commercial work. And that is when I kind of realized, hey, I really liked this acting side of it. And I thought it was a lot more fun than the modeling side of it. So at that point, I thought, You know what, let's go to LA. Let's go big. Let's do it. So I moved out there and I lived there for three years. It went pretty well. In the beginning, I booked my first film, and it was it was a small film, everybody that was on it had never been in a film or worked on a film before everybody including the producers, the executive producer, everybody. So that was a really fun experience because we were all kind of learning this thing together. So that was really fun. And I loved it and I really enjoyed it. But it just didn't it kind of felt like I guess more of a selfish career. And as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to do something with my life where I was able to help others in some way somehow. And so I eventually decided, You know what, I'm gonna move back home, I'm gonna move back to Texas and kind of figure out what that what that looks like for me. And that's when I started the Thumper project. So, if you have seen the movie, Bambi, the little bunny in the movie, his name is Thumper. And that was kind of the inspiration because his dad always said, if you have nothing nice to say, and don't say anything at all, so I started the Thumper project. And what I've done with it is I go to different schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and different events, and I just talked to whoever it is, that's, that's listening about the importance of just being kind to one another, expecting one another, and always living with that optimistic outlook. And the, the response that I got was really great. So I got invited to more schools, more events. And it kind of turned into locally a little bit bigger of a thing that I was that I was even thinking, which was really exciting. And then I also started painting wing murals. Because I know when I lived in LA, I would see these murals, and they were these beautiful wings on a wall and you go and you stand there, and you take your picture. And I thought, You know what better way to spread that message, then have these wing murals and have people take pictures and share them on social media. So I started with that. And I think now I've painted 15 pairs of wings, if I'm not mistaken, all throughout my counties, which has been really, really cool to see people take their pictures and share them. And think back and think you know, I did that. And so I'll send a few of them to y'all. So you can see you can check them out, but, or you can follow me at the Thumper project on Instagram. But that was kind of my journey. And what led up to the point in time before I started school, I haven't been as active with a thermal project, because nursing school is like a full time job. But now that I'm done with that, I'm excited to start getting back to it a lot more.

Brooke Smith
I was seeing the Thumper project on Instagram, because you have it linked in your bio. And I was like, Oh, what is this about how interesting when I grew up? That was the thing my mom would always say to me, Oh, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I just wonder like, kindness is such a beautiful thing. And we need to give it to others more, we need to give it to ourselves more. And I just wonder, is there a reason or something that drew you to people being kind to each other? Or is it just something that you feel passionate about? Is there a story there

Chelsea
growing up, I was I was bullied, whether it was for being super tall, or having a long neck or big hands or big feet, my dad is six, four, and I grew up to be just over five, nine. So my hands are probably going to be bigger, my feet are probably going to be bigger. And I eventually grew into them. But for a while, you know, I was shorter, but my hands and feet just grew first. So it was little things like that, that that I would get teased for. And at the time, I just really didn't understand why. Because in my head, I'm thinking I can't change the size of my hands. I can't change the size of my feet, I can't change the way that I look. Why am I being made fun of for it? And it just never quite made sense to me, I guess. So that had happened earlier. And then of course, I mean, everyone deals with some sort of bullying in their lives. When I started modeling, and I would post pictures online, sometimes I would get people saying, you know, you're not, you're not tall enough, you're not skinny enough, you're not this, you're not that. And then when I would compete in pageantry, it's very competitive. So I would get people commenting or messaging me, you know, ugly things like that to people get very passionate for the person that they're supporting. And so sometimes things like that happen. And thankfully, I have pretty thick skin. And so it didn't affect me in ways that it could have. But I know that there are people that it does affect really badly. And so taking that experience and taking the way it made me feel, is kind of what led to it all. And in my mind, I think you know, it takes nothing to be kind to one another. It takes absolutely nothing. It's something that we can do for free. And it's something that's contagious. If you're kind to somebody else, it's going to make them feel great. And when someone feels great, it in turn is going to make them want to kind of like a chain reaction. Continue that right. And so like smiles, kindness is contagious. And I guess I just don't understand why we don't see more of it. I feel like we're at a point in with within our country where we just see so much separation we so much. We see so much judgment and all it all it takes is taking a step back and thinking what I want someone saying this to me. And if that's not the case, then just don't say And that's the quote, you know, if you have nothing nice to say Just don't say anything at all. And that's as simple as that, you know, just just keeping your mouth shut and keeping it to yourself. It's something that my mom instilled in me when I was younger. And so that's, that's what I started in. That's, that's what I remind people of

Brooke Smith
I again, I can relate to a lot, I was bullied a lot growing up as well. You know, I think, people you know, that I was always confused as a, as a kid with the phrase, you know, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. And yes, they do. Words hurt a lot, they hurt a lot. And I never understood that thing. And never made sense to me, because people were throwing words at me that were very hurtful. And I think, you know, I think when you go through something like that, whether it's a lot of bullying, or some bullying, I think it gives you, you know, more empathy towards other people and never wanting to make anyone feel the way that that you felt, at least for me, and I think just always giving people grace and the benefit of the doubt, because we're all going through our own battles that people can't see. And a lot of times a person that's throwing that hatred, they're hurting inside as well. It's not an excuse, I just think that they need to have some self reflection and understand their own feelings and some personal growth and why they're lashing out at others to try to make themselves feel better. But I know that bullying, it doesn't just stop, because you grow up. You know, I know that there's a lot of talk about bullying in the nurse in the nurse workplace. They say that thing about, you know, the nurses eating their young, there's been a lot of articles, a lot of mental health aspects to that, and I'm sure, I don't know if if that's hopefully, that's not something that you'll come across an experience. But I think your advice of, you know, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all, and having a thick skin, and not taking things personally, and understanding that people hurt people try to hurt, try to hurt people. And so for me, that's the biggest way that I've ever been able to, like overcome it, even as an adult as it happens, you know, just realizing that I know who I am. And I don't, it doesn't matter to me what anyone else says, and they're entitled to their opinions. But you have to have a thick skin. And I imagine for you going into nursing, you know, you're you're very beautiful, you're very well spoken, obviously very kind. And sometimes, you know, you would think that would bode well in life. But sometimes it has the opposite reaction because people get uncomfortable with the fact that maybe they want to be more kind, or you're showing them sides of themselves that they maybe wish they were more of, and we can't, we can't control how other people treat us. But you're right, we can control how we interpret that and how we react to it. So great advice on that.

Chelsea
To me, I think words hurt worse than any kind of physical wound, because words can stay there forever. Words are something that, especially if you're an overthinker will continue to play in your mind. Whereas physical wounds will eventually heal. And I think nowadays that we're starting to talk a lot more about mental health, it's something that we are understanding more, we're talking about it more, we're bringing more light to it. But for a long time, I feel like bullying with words. Or even cyber bullying, which is still you're using your words was not seen as true bullying.

Brooke Smith
words carry weight. And when you can't take it back. You can apologize for it. And you can be sorry, but you can't take it back. It's once it's out of your mouth. It's it's really so I think we all have to think more before we speak. How can people support the Thumper project? And is it a follow on Instagram? Is there a way people can get involved spread the kindness is there a hashtag to use on social

Chelsea
Likes, Shares follows right now i i want to eventually become a 501 C three nonprofit organization. But right now I don't currently have that status. So for now, just follow like share. I'm hopefully going to get more murals out in different places, hopefully all over Texas soon. But eventually, maybe in other places that I want to hopefully grow this tour. I have ambassadors all over the place that can help me with that. So it's not just going to be me painting them anymore. Hopefully, I'll get others to help me with that. And then I do use the hashtag that number project and then hashtag being kindness. Cool. So those are my two little hashtags that I use. But for now, yeah, just a follow like and share would be amazing.

Brooke Smith
Love it. I love it so much. Okay, let's talk about graduation. So you just graduated right? And you're you're actually going to walk tomorrow. Is that right? That's so exciting. Did you already do your anything?

Chelsea
Yes. So I had my pinning on Tuesday. So we did that, you know, the whole white scrubs walking across the stage getting our pin. And I love that with nursing that we get a little pinning ceremony because it's a lot more intimate. It's just our classmates who are graduating just SMU new grad nurses. And so to me, it was just really special. And with each one of us, when we walked across the stage, we had the opportunity to record a little voiceover, which just made the whole thing so much more special and so much more meaningful. So that was really cool. It was so surreal sitting in that seat, though, and then standing up and making that pledge together as the class. It still honestly doesn't feel real. This has been such a long, grueling journey. And I can't believe that, that I'm here now. And I am closing the door to that chapter and starting my new one. Sometimes it felt like I wasn't going to make it through because nursing school is hard. But yeah, it was really exciting to be there to shake all of my professors hands, knowing that, you know, this is it, we made it. And then to look back at my family and the audience after just it made me so proud seeing how proud they looked at me. And yet tomorrow, I have my graduation. So I'll be putting on that cap and gown. I just heard that I am graduating with honors. So I'm graduating magna cum laude. So that's exciting as well, just being in that seat. Knowing that we did that, you know, we push through, we got through it. And now we're here is it just to me gonna be really, really exciting.

Brooke Smith
I'm really excited for you. I want to ask from start to finish. How so how long was this process for you from when you started nursing school to now graduating.

Chelsea
So I took three years. It's a two year program. But at the end of my first year, I decided to compete for Miss Texas, USA one last time. And that was going to happen at the exact same time as one of my exams and one of my clinicals. So knowing this information, and in nursing school, I don't different nursing schools are different. But in ours, I think our exam scores are like 67% of our grades. So if you miss one exam, that's it. You're, you're done for there's no coming back for it from it. So I spoke to my dean, and I told her, I said, Look, I have this opportunity. You know, I really want to take it, but it's going to conflict with school. And I asked her if there was any way if I could take a leave of absence and come back after that with with the next session. And she was all for it. She was really excited for me and said, sure you definitely like you go do that you chase that dream. And when you're ready, we're here for you. So I did take a year off, which I'm not gonna lie was really not what I wanted to get done. Having that little break between between semesters in between years was nice, but kind of challenging when I went back because it wasn't fresh.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I was gonna say you have to like relearn a lot of Yes.

Chelsea
And I told myself, I told myself, I was like, Look, I'm gonna keep studying, I'm gonna go over everything. So when I go back, I'm ready to go. I did not do that at all. I enjoyed my break way too much. So during that year that I took off though, I did finish my Associates in Science, so I graduated with that degree. And I just worked odd jobs here and there trying to you know, make make money and save money for when I went back to nursing school. So went back and finally finished so I completed it within three years. Taking that year off in between. I am continuing though I'm gonna continue to get my BSN, I'm starting pretty much right away, and then maybe eventually, my masters and doctorates. Well, we'll see. We'll see one step at a time.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I could. That's the great thing about nursing is as I talked to a lot of nurses, I'm like well you guys have you can continue your education, you can go down different rabbit holes, different specialties, you can change your specialty, you can turn to do something else. It's really awesome. Because the information and everything that you're learning, you just build and build and build and build and learn new things. And it's not like that knowledge ever goes away. But yeah, I can imagine taking a break and then going back is difficult just because you have to relearn all the information. But also like a lot of the friends that you started with, I imagine now have already, right, they didn't take the year off so they're not there with you. So new friends,

Chelsea
oh, my little study group that I was with. They they all eventually graduated without me. But I did get to go to their pinning ceremony and support all of them, which was really nice. And one of my closest friends actually she moved to Austin and she's a nurse in the labor and delivery in Austin. But she came back home to watch me go through my opinion, which was really special. So I did have amazing friends. I still keep in touch with them from that class. Yeah, I do have a lot of my friends who have already been a nurse for a year. And so I think about that and I think man I could have already been working for a year now. I could have been a year into it. But everything happens for a reason, and everything is going to happen the way that it should. And so and I also think about like, Chelsea, that at that point and what I wanted to do with my career versus like Chelsea now, and I'm so different, I have grown so much,

Brooke Smith
Something I can tell about you and I really, really admire it is that you just kind of go for it. I feel like you want something you go for it. That was something you wanted to pursue and go for. And you said, okay, cool. This can hold because guess what school can wait, Miss Texas can't wait, like, but school can always wait. And I think that's important for everyone watching and listening. Like, you don't have to do everything, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, in an order that society tells you to do things in, you can stop, you can pause, you can take a break, you can go over here, try to shoot for something else over here and still come back to nursing because it's not going anywhere. You know, so and I think that if you didn't take that opportunity, and you hadn't done that, I think you would regret it because you would sit there and think well, what if? What if I had just taken the time and gone and done that? What if and you know, so I just think it's I it's very admirable, I see in you that you have other dreams, you have other goals, you have other things you want to do. And it's not at the expense of one thing over the other, you find a way to just bounce it to say, Okay, well, nursing is here, and I can come back and do this, but this opportunity is not going to stay forever. I'll go pursue this opportunity. And then I'll come back. And then you know, life is just not on this, this timeline that everybody likes to put us on. So I think that's really awesome and really inspiring for everybody listening to that. You don't have to go into nursing right out of high school, you don't have to go to college right away, you can take your time, you can go travel, the all of those things that you did, only made you learn more image experience life where it made you more sure of the things that you wanted to do. If you didn't go experiencing those things, then you wouldn't have known, oh, you know, this, this acting thing isn't for me, I'm not being fulfilled the way that I need to be fulfilled, or it's just, it's too toxic, or whatever it is. And I think, you know, that's how we get led to the things that we are supposed to be doing in our hearts, the thing that the things that we're drawn to that say, Oh, actually, this is the perfect fit for me. But if I hadn't done that thing, I wouldn't have known that. Sometimes you find out what you want by finding what you don't want.

Chelsea
Right? That's something that that I kind of tell everybody to is, if you want to graduate high school and go right to college, you go for it. And if there's something that you've been dreaming of your whole entire life, do it. But if you're not sure, don't rush yourself into something, take your time to think about it, take your time to explore other things first. And that's really going to help lead you to where you are. And you know, I went back to college. Let's see, I think I was 24 when I started. And now I'm halfway to 29. And I'm graduating might with my college degree. So there's no timeline, there's nothing that says you're too old to start something or you know, it's too late, because it's really not education is always going to be there. No matter how old or young you are or where you are in life, you can always start pursuing something else. So you know, follow that dream of yours, do what it is that's on your heart and on your mind. Because, yeah, you know, I'm someone who doesn't like to live with regrets. So if there's something that I want to try something I want to do, I'm gonna do it. And so and that's what any of my friends will tell you is that I'm definitely a go getter. And if there's something that I want to achieve, or something I want to do, I'm going to do everything in my power to make that happen. But it's because it's those things that give you those memories that give you those experiences, and that help you grow honestly. And one thing that advice that I give to people is if you can travel, especially outside of the country to different places do it because I learned so much more not only about myself, but about others that I think will help me now in my profession, because I can relate to different people for from different cultures and different backgrounds. Because I've been there and I understand them. So if if you have the chance, traveled, leave, leave home and go spend some time in other places, even if it's just a different state because no matter where you go, it's going to be different people are different and the way you need to treat people or approach people is different and all of that just really helps you learn to be a lot more approachable. And and know how to better care for you know those people when they're your patients or even just develop relationships with them outside of you know, the workforce.

Brooke Smith
You know what you can't learn life experience and textbook, the things you're afraid of the things that make you uncomfortable. Those are the things you need to be doing. So, you know, if you're scared to go travel, you should probably go do it because then you're gonna get confidence. You're gonna say oh my gosh, I did this on my own, you know, look what I did kind of with, you know, the Thumper project. You started it you you didn't know what you were doing. It was like Oh, you went with you? Your heart not wanting to spread kindness. It kept rolling, that bolt ball just kept getting bigger and bigger. And then you look and you go, wow, look what I created. And that confidence, you can't, you can't learn that you can't self assurance that knowing like, oh, I should listen to my instincts that comes from listening to your instincts and going after things, even though you're afraid, you know,

Chelsea
that's something like you said, you can't get it from a textbook, you can't learn it in school, you just have to get out there into the world into real life and experience those things. And some of them are going to be you know, failures. And that's okay. Because what's more important is the way that you pick yourself up from it, and what you learn from it and how you grow from it. And not letting those failures define you and you're worse so yeah, just get out there learn mess up make mistakes, you know, go through the process and and learn and grow from it

Brooke Smith
Persevere to don't give up. You know, whenever we get going, we fail, you fail, you fail does matter. Just keep keep going. Because eventually, you won't fail. So that I mean, that's that's how I lived my life. And it's really served me well, because I've you know, you get a lot of nose on things, and you just keep knocking, keep knocking until you get that. Yes. So you gotta be perseverance in the pursuit of, of your dreams. Anything, you know, I want to ask you, I know, it sounds like you have a lot of passions, you know, we've got acting and modeling. And we've got pageantry. And obviously, you're you're planning a wedding because you're getting married in October, to a firefighter. And who helped inspire this, this nursing in you. So can you talk a little bit about like, your passions, and your hobbies and other interests, we may not have discussed or elaborate more on maybe one that we did talk about,

Chelsea
I have picked up snowboarding. That's something that I didn't do before. But one of our very first trips together, it was actually to Colorado. And it was as I was moving home to Texas, so we decided to pack up my bags, take them with me to Colorado, and then we moved back home, he helped me move back home from there. And he taught me how to snowboard. He had never had a lesson in his life. He just kind of picked it up naturally. And so he was showing me how to do it. And that wasn't the best at first. But I like to have confidence in myself when I'm trying something new, even if I'm not great at it. And at this point, I got a little overconfident that I was going to make a little jumper that I saw ended up falling, I'm pretty sure that I got a concussion. I don't know. But while it hurt, and the next day, I could not do a thing. It was so much fun. So I've picked that up. And so now we even have our own snowboards that we've got for each other at different points in time for holidays, or birthdays. And so now we're trying to travel to different places and check out different slopes. We're really hoping to go to the Swiss Alps one day, which I think will be really cool. But yeah, so I love to travel, explore new things. It's hard for us because as I said, I'm planning a wedding, we're also planning a honeymoon. And we have so many different places that we want to explore that we want to go visit that it's been really difficult trying to narrow down to just maybe one or two places for our honeymoon. But that's one of my biggest passions is just learning about different cultures and really immersing myself. So when I go somewhere, Yes, I'll do some of the the touristy things, right? Because that's what's what's exciting. And that's what everyone talks about sees, okay, well, I'm here, I have to do it. But I actually also really love to get to know the people that are there and get to know, you know, how do people really live life here? Not, you know, the fancy hotels and all of that know, what is it like to be here? What is it like to be a citizen of this country, and really live there and like immerse myself into the culture

Brooke Smith
Is it typical to get your job before you take the NCLEX? That was just a curious question. And I was like, oh, so can you talk walk me through a little bit like the order of how typically it's done. And then if that's similar to what you're doing or not.

Chelsea
I know here locally, we have pretty much always had to where we have two hospitals. And so I feel like it's kind of competitive on who gets the nurses. And so they they set up we have little luncheons with them where they come and kind of talk to us and tell us all about their hospital and why we should go work there and they start the application and hiring process during our last semester of nursing school. So the way that it works is if we do get offered a job we will begin working. Sometimes it depends on the unit but you some places will allow you to work as a graduate nurse like that is your title. And then you have to have though proof that you are scheduled for the NCLEX. So at least that is in the works. You're going to take it then hopefully you pass it and you're an RN and you can continue working. If not, I believe they put you on kind of like a hold where They give you time to go back study and go back and return and take the NCLEX again and pass it. And then at that point, they'll hire you back in, but your spot is pretty much held for you. So it's really actually cool. I love that I was able to secure a job before you know, even graduating, because I, it gave me some security and knowing you know that that was ready for me. But I don't I don't know. That's how it typically goes. I know that there are some hospitals that require you to have already passed your NCLEX before. But I know that with the whole graduate nurse thing, I think what they do is they put you with your preceptor and you kind of follow them so that way you like you're still working with their I guess under their supervision with their license until you get your own type of deal.

Brooke Smith
There's always a need for nurses. And you know, we talked, we talked a little bit about nurse burnout and safe nurse to patient ratios. I know here in California, you have laws that they have passed where you nurse can only have a certain number of patients and you know, nurses are constantly in health care workers are constantly fighting that battle to get those laws like that passed in their states, to make sure to keep it safe for everyone. Nurses are needed are the majority of nurses, I think the average age of nurses 50. And so they're saying that there's like there was like a baby boomer age of the nursing and that there, a lot of them are going to be leaving at the same time. But also because of the mental stress and the appreciation that he feels and all the things that nurses are constantly having to fight and advocate for. The general unhappiness is unhappiness that nurses are having in their careers based on how they're being treated. They're leaving the bedside,

Chelsea
I was able to go to nurses Day at the Capitol here in Texas, as part of the student Nurse Association at my college and being the Vice President, I was able to do that. And they they talked about that they talked about how we're seeing this, this increase in need and demand for nurses. But we don't have the supply. And they showed kind of the projections, and it's just getting that gap is getting wider and wider. And part of it is because I feel like because we're talking about it, nurses are starting to realize their their worth. And they're starting to realize, you know, what my mental health and my health overall is, is more important than, you know, the needs of the hospital and what the hospital's requiring of us. Because it is a lot that they're requiring of us. And then we're not being fairly compensated for that work. And, and not only that, but like you said, nurses aren't able to provide the care that they want to provide because of it. And that's becoming a really big issue. And it's sad, because we need those people, we need those people to be nurses. One thing that I think is really, really important is for and not just nurses, but for really anybody, but especially our nurses is to look for, you know, what's going on in government that that is related to the nursing field, what are they talking about, you know, what are the different bills that are being discussed? And which ones do we want to pass, which ones maybe do we not, and not only get involved with researching and knowing that but also contacting your local your local government and speaking to them about it, because that's the only way that we're going to be able to see that change is spreading the word and making our voices heard, not only within our hospitals, but within our government. Because ultimately, that is where those big changes are made. We want to be able to take care of our patients. And and that's the biggest thing is if there's no one to care for those patients, then what are we going to do, a lot of the nurses that are in the hospital right now are still considered baby nurses. We're all the fresh nurses who have just graduated nursing school within the last two to three years. And those are the nurses that are teaching the newer nurses what we need to do. And you know, those are our preceptors, which is great. But we're still learning those nurses, you know, you're not considered proficient until you've been working as a nurse for a few years now. And to me that was a little bit scary going into it is I'm going to be learning and being precepted by a brand new nurse as well. And I just don't think that that's what our hospitals and what our governments think about. So we need to think about that. Because we need to retain our nurses, we need to have those nurses that are seasoned that know what they're doing that have been there who wants to be there, but they just we they need to be cared for. We're all we're humans, we're not robots working, you know, these jobs, we're all humans, and we need to be treated fairly and compensated fairly. So that will stay

Brooke Smith
I think, you know, and I think part of it too, is that one nurse talks and another nurse talks and then people start to realize, Oh, I'm not the only one who feels that way. You feel that way. And you feel that way. And you also feel that way. And so then they're banding together and saying we all feel this way we're not the problem. You know, we're we're the commonality and we're not the problem, the problem Um, is the system the problem is the fact that you're you know, you're overworking as you're not giving us proper compensation. You're, you're you're giving too many patients to one nurse, you know, all of the things that are wrong with the system. And I think just starting to stand up and talk about it is how we create the change. I know that that you're going to be part of that way Chelsea, I know you're going to do some amazing things. And we're excited to watch as you start your as a baby nurse as you start your you know, operating room nursing career and see where you go. And, you know, we're really excited to watch your journey. And we're really proud of you. Would you mind dropping your Instagram for everybody's listening so they can come find you on Instagram and ask you questions or talk to you. And if you could also just spell it out for them for everyone who's listening. So that auditory that they can hear it?

Chelsea
Yes, so it's at Chelsea Morgenson. And that's c h e l s e a, m o r g e n s e n. And that's, that's where you'll find me on Instagram. But you can also find the Thumper project and if you look there, you'll be able to find me through there as well. Sometimes the spelling of that is a little easier than my name is.

Brooke Smith
Thank you so much for doing our crafting on this podcast. It's been such a pleasure having you on and learning all about the Thumper project and Oh, our nursing and your journey and how you got into nursing. It's been really fun.

Chelsea
So it's such an honor being being asked to be here. So thank you so much.

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