First and foremost, we want to thank you and all our colleagues for your devotion to helping patients receive the right level of care and for supporting physicians on the frontline we serve. We’ve faced and overcome many challenges together over the last 19 months, and you have responded with exceptional courage, determination, and enthusiasm. We are proud of our team’s incredible heroism to pandemic proportion patient health concerns and appreciate you!
Although on October 15, 2021, The US Department of Health and Human Services renewed its determination that a Nationwide Public Health Emergency exists as a result of continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic, Night Nurse remains optimistic, and we see glimmers of light leading us out of the end of the tunnel. Let’s hold onto hope because COVID rates are reducing in many areas, vaccinations rates are steadily increasing, and there may be an effective COVID medication approved by the end of the year.
We are grateful for everyone’s patience, diligence, and team effort as we boldly rise to meet unprecedented winter peak call volume demand, coming so very early this fall. Night Nurse is happy to report we are keeping up a phenomenal momentum hiring and training. More top professional team members are joining us at record rates each month. We are confident this growing progress is moving us in the right direction and welcomed relief is soon on its way!
Please enjoy this edition of our newsletter that will introduce you to new colleagues, provide helpful information, and might even give you a laugh, which really is, the best non-Rx medicine!
Tami and Stu
Welcome New Night Nurse Team Members!
In our last newsletter, we promised to bring on more nurses. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve hired more than a dozen new nurses in just the last 30 days, and many more new RNs are now finishing up training. With flu season ahead, we will continuously hire until we reach over-staffing for each shift. We want everyone to enjoy a reasonable workload with balanced productivity.
Here are our newest nurses!
Tina De La Cruz
MEET OUR NEW DISPATCHERS
We’ve also hired more dispatchers in the past 30 days to help manage our busy triage workflow. We are so very grateful to the dispatch team for assisting our nurses, communicating with answering services, speaking with MDs, and so much more! Shamquika “Mikki” Brown and Rosa Aponte have joined our team, and Chris Fahlbeck, a former dispatch supervisor, has returned to help out. Thank you all for joining Night Nurse!
Shamquika “Mikki” Brown
OUR GROWING IT TEAM
We’re also happy to add another new member to our technology department. Please welcome IT veteran Kevin Gray to Night Nurse! Kevin is training new RNs and helping out in many areas as well.
Thank you to all the new team members for joining Night Nurse! We are happy to have you on board
STEPHANIE CROSBY PROMOTED!
Please congratulate Stephanie Crosby, who we have promoted to Pediatric Nursing Manager and Clinical Orientation Coordinator. Stephanie will be responsible for a wide array of management tasks, including recruiting, precepting, coaching, payroll approvals, and performance evaluations. She will also help triage calls.
Stephanie briefly worked with us in 2018, then re-joined Night Nurse this year as a full-time compact pediatric nurse. Now, we are so pleased to have her on our management team. Stephanie has extensive experience caring for children in pediatric intensive care units (PICU) and has management experience as a charge nurse. Through her career, Stephanie has also worked in a pediatric medical surgery department, in a pediatric office, and as a travel nurse.
Stephanie is eager to take on her new role: “I am very excited for the challenge and the opportunity for growth. I have big shoes to fill, and I am encouraged to have such strong mentors in Tami and Karen. I look forward to serving my peers and co-workers to the best of my ability. I welcome RNs to contact me at any time, I’m always here to help!”
Stephanie will be an excellent manager to help our growing needs during these busy times. Please welcome Stephanie to her new role! She can be reached at email@example.com and at extension 524.
THREE RNs JOIN OUR PRECEPTING TEAM!
A big Thank You to all of our preceptors! These RNs and tech specialists help get our new staff members trained and ready to work. We’re happy to announce that three of our pediatric RNs have recently become preceptors:
Not pictured: Colleen McLeod
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! NIGHT NURSE CELEBRATES 22 YEARS
It seems like just yesterday when Tami began providing after-hours, pediatric telephone triage services. That evening of September 30, 1999 we served eight practices in Massachusetts with a staff of only a handful of nurses.
Now, more than 22 years later, we serve some of the largest and most respected healthcare organizations across the country. More than ever, we thank YOU for your diligent, dedicated efforts. You are why Night Nurse can deliver specialized, age-appropriate care, no matter the day or time.
Thank you to everyone, from our fearless nurses and supportive dispatchers to our managers, medical directors, and board members. Each person has stepped-up throughout the pandemic to make Night Nurse the special place it is. We appreciate you more than words can say!
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: RN RACHEL NOVOSAD
Some say that our future is “written in the stars.” This metaphor dates back at least as far as Shakespeare’s work in 1599, if not further. For RN Rachel Novosad, looking to the stars is more than an analogy, it’s a passion. At her home in southeastern Texas, the skies are wide with no trees for miles. This area, largely free of light pollution from big cities, allows Rachel and her husband Ryan to spend warm evenings studying the stars and capturing stunning astrophotography images from their telescope.
Studying the cosmos is not a new hobby for this highly experienced adult nurse. Growing up, Rachel was always interested in the sciences, and contemplated a career as an astronomer. However, she somehow knew that her scientific mind might lead her in another direction. Rachel was raised by her parents: Mom was a surgical RN, and her dad was the Deputy Chief Fire Marshal in their hometown of Brenham, Texas. At an early age, Rachel noticed that both parents were serving as first-responders, which was very meaningful to her. Rachel’s dad would be on the scene at fires, car accidents, and other tragedies. Then her mom often treated the same people as hospital patients.
Rachel’s interest in the medical aspects of science grew over time. As a Girl Scout, she pursued extra badges in first aid, which prompted her to join the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) while in middle school. Still, Rachel wasn’t ready to pursue a career in nursing. This pre-teen’s career ambitions were firmly planted on becoming an epidemiologist, studying infectious diseases for the CDC.
Over the next few years, Rachel realized her true calling in the stars, to become a nurse. Once she made the decision, she pursued nursing with the same passion and vigor she applies to every area of her life. She became an LVN in 2008 and worked at a skilled nursing facility, soon moving to the Alzheimer’s unit, where she also served as a charge nurse.
Rachel also tried pediatric nursing for three years. She worked at a rural family health clinic, where she also gained experience in orthopedics. “I also worked in pediatric medical surgery for about 126 days, and that’s when I discovered that my future was in adult not in pedi.”
Around that time, Rachel was also helping to take care of her elderly grandparents and she discovered her love for geriatrics. Then she further defined her future as an adult RN. Rachel began working as a home health nurse, which was ideal for her. “I love working with adult patients, building relationships, and making a difference in their lives. It’s always a joy to go into the patient’s home, meet their family, and help them through their recovery.”
Not one to rest on her accomplishments, Rachel was ready to learn more. In 2018, she went back to school to earn her Bachelor’s degree, which she received in March 2020. Without pausing for a moment, Rachel enrolled in graduate school at Western Governor’s University (WGU), working toward a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Leadership and Management. She’s more than halfway done, on track to graduate in December 2022.
But that still wasn’t enough for this born overachiever. All along, in addition to her full-time job and her schooling, Rachel has been working on our Night Nurse adult team. She found Night Nurse online in 2014 and immediately fell in love with the idea of triaging adult patients from her home. Following the job interview, she persistently followed up to earn Tami’s attention, respect, and her spot as a dedicated member of the Night Nurse family.
“I love triaging for Night Nurse from home in my pajamas! Such an enriching experience! I’ve lived most of my life in Texas, but with Night Nurse, I get to talk with people from all across the country. It’s a window into different cultures and perspectives.”
Rachel also talked about how she enjoys working with each of her Night Nurse co-workers. “Back in August of 2017, we here in Texas were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. My Night Nurse colleagues were so supportive, and some even sent gifts. We all work from our own homes, but all of us nurses and dispatchers truly are part of a community.”
Night Nurse also brought Rachel several unexpected benefits. “On many occasions, I’ve learned about new medical benefits from Night Nurse before other sources. When the COVID pandemic struck, I heard about monoclonal antibody treatments from Night Nurse before any of the MDs in my area were talking about it. I also use Night Nurse to gauge national trends in the pandemic. I call it my “COVID thermometer.”
When she started with us, Rachel didn’t anticipate how well it would complement her day job. “Night Nurse has actually made me a better home health nurse. Whether I’m in a patient’s home, or even on the phone when I’m on-call, I’ve developed an enhanced ability to discern patient symptoms. In my seven years with Night Nurse, I’ve triaged virtually every condition. These are skills I’ll have forever.”
Looking back, Rachel remembers being very nervous before her first telephone triage shift. Many nurses are! We asked this veteran triager for her top three tips to help new RNs overcome fears about their initial solo shifts. Here are her recommendations to reduce stress and seamlessly triage calls:
1. Imagine yourself in the room with the patient. Don’t think of yourself alone in your home. Picture yourself in an exam room with each patient, and get to know them. It will put you both at ease.
2. On many occasions, you can begin by asking why they are calling today, make it conversational.
3. Don’t focus on your computer or the headset. Working with these tools will all become second nature with experience. Telephone triage is all about nursing. Focus on your skills and you’ll do great!
While her career and professional development are very important, Rachel’s top priority is her family. “Ryan and I were married in 2017, but we have been best friends since 2000. And between my relatives and his, we have a big family that I truly treasure.”
However, there are two members of the family that are dearly missed every day. Rachel lost her dad, Alan Finke, in November 2020 and her mother-in-law Debbie Novosad, also an RN, this May 2021. Our condolences go to Rachel, Ryan, and their extended family.
Rachel and Ryan find great joy in their dogs, who offer heartfelt love and comfort. “Tucker, a mutt, is the elder. Princess Abby-Gale is our beloved snob, a pure-bred beagle.”
Outside of work and family time, Rachel has a number of personal interests. She’s still a student of the sciences and loves to learn every day. Sometimes after a busy week, Rachel and Ryan take in a documentary or science fiction series on Netflix. She also loves outdoor activities, such as kayaking or tubing in the Frio River or the Guadalupe River, both in Texas. Rachel has also developed a keen eye for target shooting.
Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story and your family with us! We are lucky to have you as a longstanding member of our Night Nurse Family!
October Healthcare Awareness Dates
October hosted many important month-long healthcare awareness occasions, including Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Health Literacy Month. This month also included many awareness days and weeks, such as Mental IllnessAwareness Week, World Mental Health Day, National Health Education Week, and National Healthcare Quality Week. We encourage you to research any of these important conditions and awareness occasions to help us learn how we can better serve patients.
October is perhaps best known as the month when we celebrate Halloween! COVID has put a damper on in-person activities for many of us. However, children (of all ages) can’t resist the temptation to indulge in Halloween treats and to dress up in fun costumes.
Here are four fun facts about Halloween:
1: According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), nearly 47 percent of Americans will buy Halloween candy.
2: Everyone has their personal favorite type of candy. Overall, the most popular is … (drum roll please) … Skittles! The company sells a record-breaking 3.3 million pounds of Skittles each year, mostly for handing out to trick-or-treaters. If you’re a fan of Reese’s peanut butter candies, you’ll be happy to know they came in second (by weight) at about 3 million pounds sold per year.
3: Halloween is an expensive holiday. Americans spend approximately $4.6billionon candy in the September-October timeframe leading up to the holiday. According to USA Today, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Overall, U.S. consumers will drop an estimated $10 billion on Halloween in 2021, including candy, decorations, greeting cards, and costumes, including pet costumes!
4: Speaking of (human) costumes, 1.8 million children will dress up as Spider-Man and 1.2 million kids will be Batman for Halloween 2021. Adults are opting for more traditional costumes, such as a witch for more than 4.6 million people, or a vampire for 1.6 million people.
NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT REACHES NEW MILESTONES
More locations across the U.S. continue to recognize the need for multi-state nurse licensing, as enabled by the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
In Alaska, Governor Mike Dunleavy re-introduced legislation to bring his state into the compact. The Governor recognizes that joining the NLC would help Alaska better respond to COVID needs by utilizing nurses from other states.
Legislative committees in the U.S. Virgin Islands are also actively moving forward on a bill to join the compact. It is expected to reach the floor for a vote in the near future.
On October 19, our CEO Stuart Pologe testified to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Health Care Finance Committee on the benefits of the NLC for our home state. We hope change is on the way to benefit everyone.
PROGRESS AGAINST THE COVID PANDEMIC
As the Delta variant continues to infect more and more people across the country, we’re excited to see the new medication named molnupiravir that may cut hospitalizations or deaths by half. If it receives FDA approval, the drug produced by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics will be the first oral antiviral medication that effectively combats COVID.
Clinical trials of molnupiravir were cut short due to highly positive results. The FDA’s emergency use authorization has helped expedite COVID vaccinations currently in use. We are hopeful that molnupiravir will meet the FDA’s strict standards and help COVID patients as soon as safely possible. Some believe that it could be available to United States patients by the end of the year. On October 20, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged an initial $120 million to help distribute the treatment to developing nations, once it’s available.
KNOW A NURSE THAT WOULD LIKE TO WORK FROM HOME?
We are so happy to see dozens of new nurses join our team each month. Do you know an RN, APRN, or NP who might like to be a home-based telephone triage nurse? We’re looking for experienced adult and pediatric nurses, with both part-time and full-time positions available. You could earn incentives for referring new colleagues. Please invite them to contact us directly or to visit our online Careers Center here.
WE’RE ALSO HIRING DISPATCHERS!
Dispatchers are the glue that hold Night Nurse together. Do you know someone that would be a good fit for our dispatch team? We’re hiring part-time people to help support our nurses, providers, and answering services. If you know a good candidate that lives near our Framingham headquarters, please reach out to Rick Utaegbulam (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jill McDonald (email@example.com) if you’d like to recommend someone.
100% FICTIONAL FUNNIES
Caller: “My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart. What should I do?”
Triage Nurse: “Is this her first child?”
Caller: “No, this is her husband!”
Who’s there? Colin…
Colin who? Colin the Night Nurse, I’m sick!
A nurse tried to get her patient to stop using Q-Tips, but it went in one ear and out the other.
Patient: “I’m still seeing spots.”
Nurse: “Did the new glasses help?” Patient: “A little. Now I see the spots more clearly.”
WE CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH!
Thank you again, everyone, for your excellent work. Thank you as well for all the feedback and suggestions we’ve received. It has helped us so much through these unpredictable times.
Please do reach out to us at any time. We’d love to hear about your experiences and your ideas on how to make Night Nurse even better!