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Nurse Practitioner, Medical-Surgical Nurse
Baldwin, NY
Headshot of Kristle Simms

What I love most about being a nurse is that look on a patient’s face when they go from being terrified to just being grateful. They’re just so happy and gracious when you walk them through something that wasn’t expected.

My inspiration

One of the most important reasons why I became a nurse was to become the voice for the voiceless, and as a nurse, you become a patient advocate. Any time that I’ve had any issues and I’ve had to go to the doctor, it was always the nurses that provided that extra special touch to help me. That garnered my interest in nursing, and I used to ask them a ton of questions.

Video still of Kristle Simms in hospital setting

The life of a Perioperative Nurse

Find out why working in the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) gives Kristle, MSN, RN, NP, a lot of career satisfaction.

I work as a Nurse Practitioner in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit

So, we take care of everyone who’s had surgery, and we either discharge them home or keep them in the hospital. We transfer them to other units. Sometimes we get the critical care patients when there are no ICU beds available, so we take care of everybody from every age range.

What a typical work shift is like for me

A typical day would be going in, doing my assessment, making sure that my patient is comfortable before I do anything else. A lot of times we worry about post-op complications, and being the patient advocate that I am, the first thing is for me to get that patient out of bed so that they can feel more human, as opposed to staying in the bed and feeling like they’re a sick person. Doing early mobilization has helped patients very much to get to where they need to get to, and this—getting them up, getting them out, making them feel human again, helps them. I have them tell me what they want me to do for them. I’m working for them, right?

I have to make sure that they have all of their needs met before I step away from them, before I do my documentation. You have to document as quickly as you can in a timely fashion. You have to make sure that you're time stamping everything, making sure that all your documentation is on point, because you’re telling a story, and you’re giving a report to the oncoming residents or the oncoming nurse.

Volunteering, missions and disaster relief
I’ve done a lot of assisting in missions, helping to get supplies, helping to get the word out. My family, we do a lot with in the community. We try to give back to the community by doing back to school drives and health screenings. So, there is a purpose for everything.

My innovation story

There was one patient who changed my life in terms of not necessarily being negative, but taking the good with the bad. She was a breast cancer survivor. She had a double mastectomy, and she said to me, “Well, it doesn’t change who I am. I’m still a woman. Don’t be scared to look at me. This is what it is. It doesn’t change who I am as a person. It just changes a body part of me,” and realizing that this is somebody who survived a very, very bad trial of cancer and mastectomy, and having to be disfigured, it didn’t change who she was as a person.
How I balance work and life
You have to have something to occupy your time besides nursing. You have to have a hobby. You have to destress. You are a patient. You’re a caregiver when you’re on duty, and it’s okay to feel tired and overwhelmed in doing that caregiving duty. It’s okay to say I need a break, it’s okay to take time for yourself. Nurses are often selfless when at times we need to be selfish. Take your break.”
I would say for any new nurse coming onboard to volunteer their time, prior to going into nursing, that way they can feel out what interests them, and they can hopefully specialize.
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