Albert Einstein once said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Through 2021, Night Nurse persevered through high patient care demand surges and weathered COVID-related pandemic challenges. Advancements in medical science, vaccine boosters, new therapeutics, and public health recommendations have resulted in recent quieting of the Omicron variant storm. We have all learned so much about preparedness and adapting with resiliency, should this only be a lull and calm before another variant storm, and will remain poised to take on challenges.
Let’s keep hope for tomorrow, with forecasts suggesting the worst of COVID may soon be behind us! Adversity has helped our team grow ever stronger, thanks to your outstanding work ethic.
In this edition of the newsletter, we celebrate Black History Month and Chinese New Year, share some fun ideas for Valentine’s Day, meet some of our amazing colleagues, learn about advances in Omicron, and much more.
If there’s a topic that you’d like us to cover, please reach out to us.
We appreciate your dedication to high quality healthcare, ensuring good patient outcomes!
Warm regards to everyone on the Night Nurse Dream Team!
Tami and Stu
OUR TEAM!Meet Our New Nurses!
We’re excited to welcome more new RNs! We have a growing need to serve more patients than ever before, and we are happy to have these talented RNs join our team. Thank you to the following adult and pediatric RNs for helping us deliver after-hours care with good outcomes away from the patient bedside. Here are our newest nurses!
Bobbi Jo Gundberg
Mary Anne McKeown
OUR GROWING DISPATCH AND ADMIN TEAM
We’ve also grown our hard-working dispatch and administrative teams. Please welcome Nicole Brown, Viviana Castellanos, Erica Brown, Jeff Rappo, and Ashley Whitaker who help manage our practice data and triage workflow!
Nicole Brown Practice Data Administrator
Viviana Castellanos Dispatcher
Erica Brown Dispatcher
Jeff Rappo Dispatcher
Not pictured: New Dispatcher Ashley Whitaker
We’re Excited to Welcome All New Team Members to Night Nurse! Thank You for Joining Us!
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February is Black History Month! This is a time when we honor the countless accomplishments and contributions Black Americans have made to American History as a whole.
Thanks to the vision and persistence of Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month was signed into law in 1976 by President Ford. The entire month of February was designated for Black History to be acknowledged and commemorated.
In celebration of Black History Month, Night Nurse would like to highlight the following two American heroes, Sidney Poitier and Maya Angelou.
If you love classic movies, then you have probably seen the incomparable Sidney Poitier in a number of awe-inspiring performances. However, he is forever entrenched in history for being the first Black actor to win the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actor. He won the Oscar in 1963 for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”
Sidney Poitier was able to break through to mainstream cinema during the height of the civil rights movement - a time when Hollywood denied Black actors and actresses starring roles in major motion pictures. He helped open the door for so many actors and actresses of color across multiple generations.
Sadly, Sidney Poitier passed away recently on January 6, 2022. He was 94 years of age.
Maya Angelou was a treasure before her time and is an icon and inspiration to many, regardless of color. Her poems and other writings were so self-revealing and enriching to the soul: None more than her 1969 memoir “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”
In 1993, she recited her poem “On The Pulse Of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration. In 2011, President Barak Obama honored Maya Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He once referred to her as “one of the brightest lights of our time.”
As venerable as her published pieces are, Maya Angelou is now most enshrined as being the first Black woman to be featured on the United States quarter-dollar coin. These inaugural 25-cent coins are already being shipped around the country.
We encourage you to take a moment during this month and beyond to learn about other prominent Black pioneers and ambassadors. Let us commemorate their respective impacts felt throughout our country's history.
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is the most important occasion in China. It is celebrated in many nations around the world by nearly two billion people. Chinese New Year signals the start of spring and the New Year, in accordance with the Chinese calendar.
This year, the Chinese New Year began on February 1, and it concludes on January 21, 2023. The Chinese New Year is a Lunar New Year, based on the cycles of the moon. This means that it is celebrated on a different date each year, unlike the Gregorian calendar, which ends on December 31 and begins anew on January 1.
The New Year celebration lasts for 16 days, with the first seven days as public holidays. One of the biggest events is the Lantern Festival, or the Shangyuan Festival, which occurs on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese New Year.
Each Lunar year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Zodiac. These animals are the: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each animal gets one year, then a new one in the following year. This makes a 12-year cycle.
This year is the Year of the Tiger. Years of the Tiger in the past 100 years include 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022. In China, the tiger is the king of all the animals. In the Zodiac, the tiger symbolizes strength, braveness, and the exorcism of evil. The image of a tiger is often considered good luck.
This year is special because it is considered a Year of the Water Tiger, an occurrence that happens only every 60 years. The last year of the Water Tiger was in 1962. It is said that those born in a Year of the Water Tiger are very family-oriented and they are experts at interpersonal relationships.
Happy Chinese New Year to our Night Nurse colleagues and community members celebrating this holiday!
DID YOU KNOW?: FUN IDEAS FOR A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
Happy Valentine’s Day! How will you celebrate this annual day to recognize loved ones? In past years, Valentine’s Day planning often began by making reservations at your favorite restaurant. In fact, the National Restaurant Association says that it’s the second-busiest day of the year! (Bonus fact: Mother’s Day is the highest volume for restaurants).
However, you may be considering celebrating Valentine’s Day safely at home this year. Need a few ideas on how to make it a special day while quarantining? Here are a few suggestions:
Cook an Amazing Dinner. Who needs restaurants when your kitchen is just a few steps away? Use this Valentine’s Day to showcase your culinary skills and have a fantastic meal in the comfort of your home. If you need some ideas, the Food Network offers some unique recipes here, such as a mouth-watering heart-shaped lasagna bundt.
Watch a Romantic Movie. Whether a black-and-white classic from the golden age of film, a 21st century favorite such as The Notebook, or one of the many new Hallmark flicks, a romantic movie and a cozy blanket may warm your heart this Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a favorite movie in mind, check out these suggestions from Oprah.
Make Sweets for your Sweetheart. If you’re more of a baker than a chef, try one of these amazing dessert recipes from Country Living Magazine. from the raspberry-ganache tart to the red velvet cheesecake bites, there are options for every sweet tooth.
DID YOU KNOW?: NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT UPDATES
The nationwide call for more states to join the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is growing. In an impassioned letter, CEO Brian Peters of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association wrote, "Today we have 875 fewer staffed hospital beds than we had just a year ago. We have lost so many frontline caregivers that now we can only staff a number [of beds] that is far less than what we had earlier in the pandemic.” There are many other stories like this that campaign for nationwide NLC adoption.
Here is some good news: Vermont just fully enacted its NLC status on February 1. This is the 36th state to fully implement the NLC. And as we reported in the last newsletter, New Jersey recently fully implemented the NLC in November. Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf signed NLC legislation on July 1, 2021, and the law is slowly being implemented. Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine also signed the NLC into law on July 1, although it will not take effect until January 1, 2023. Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands also joined in 2021 and are in the implementation process.
California, Illinois, New York, and our home state of Massachusetts have pending legislation. Same in Michigan, where Brian Peters describes the dire situation in his letter above. NLC legislation is being deliberated but not yet law in his state. Four hospitals in Michigan have already called upon the National Guard to help with emergency staffing.
There are still many states that have not yet initiated NLC legislation, including Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. We hope these states will enact the NLC to remove geographic boundaries and authorize out-of-state nurses to care for patients regardless of location.
DID YOU KNOW?: OMICRON-SPECIFIC VACCINE EXPECTED THIS SPRING
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended that existing COVID vaccinations are reformulated to address the Omicron strain, or that an Omicron-specific vaccine may be needed.
Others have a different perspective on the strain, suggesting that the need for an Omicron vaccine has passed. The variant represents 99% of all Covid cases in the U.S. Omicron reached record infection quantities with diagnoses in excess of 800,000 per day, however cases have been dropping off markedly since.
Some health experts warn against declaring victory and becoming complacent. An editorial by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Director Dr. Christopher Murray forecasts that 50 percent of the world will test positive for Omicron by the end of March. In other words, it’s not over yet. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautions, “It’s dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last variant or that we are in the endgame.”
One of the most challenging factors with Omicron is its short incubation period. The initial version of Covid-19 had a five-day period, and the Delta variant was approximately four days. Omicron replicates much more quickly, with just a three-day incubation period. This leaves less time to diagnose an infection.
To combat the highly contagious variant, Pfizer is rapidly manufacturing between 50 million and 100 million doses of its Omicron-specific vaccine, expected this spring. The pharmaceutical company is also exploring hybrid vaccine combinations that would target multiple strains of coronavirus.
Until the new vaccine is available, the CDC recommends non-surgical N95 and KN95 masks. These PPEs are more effective than cloth masks against Omicron. You can now get a free N95 face mask at pharmacies across the country.
Free at-home Covid tests are now also available. Every household is entitled to four tests, mailed right to your home. Click this link to order yours:https://special.usps.com/testkits
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: RN AUDREY WHITACRE
While growing up, RN Audrey Whitacre loved reading comic books. One of her favorite characters was Diana Prince, a brilliant World War II-era military nurse who rose through the ranks to become an officer and, later, a business executive. Diana was also secretly the iconic superhero Wonder Woman. As we heard Audrey’s life story, we couldn’t help but notice the many parallels.
A North Carolina native, Audrey was born and raised in Wilmington. After high school, she attended East Carolina University and had a chance encounter one evening at a friend’s birthday party. The birthday girl’s boyfriend brought a tag-along friend – a Marine stationed at nearby Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Audrey and Jeff, an industrial engineer from Walnut Creek, California, hit it off right away. Audrey would soon leave North Carolina, but they kept in touch.
After graduating from East Carolina University, Audrey served in the Air Force as a military nurse (a young Diana Prince in the making!). While stationed in southern California, Audrey went back to school and earned her master’s degree from Loma Linda University.
Following her service with the Air Force, Audrey remained in southern California and began her managerial career as a department administrator with Kaiser Permanente, one of the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare organizations. At this point, Audrey’s relationship with Jeff blossomed. She moved to his home region of Northern California through a promotion to Assistant Director of Nursing at Kaiser Oakland.
The couple moved to Wilmington, NC when Audrey’s father, also a Marine, had a stroke. She wanted to be close by to help with her father’s healthcare. This move brought Audrey to Duke University Hospital. “At this stage in my life, I wanted to expand my nursing skills. Instead of continuing adult critical care and management, I gained valuable experience working in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and in oncology.”
Then Audrey found her true calling. “I enjoyed Duke a lot because it introduced me to home health nursing.” She first did pediatric home health, then became a home health RN for adults. Today, Audrey is the Clinical Director of Home Health Services at WakeMed Home Health. She has been in management and clinical roles in the home health sector for the past 25 years.
Around the time Audrey joined WakeMed, she was online one day and found Night Nurse. She also looked at other at-home triage companies, but found our team to be the most welcoming, and the rest is history.
“I am grateful for Night Nurse because it allows me to work from home. I provide home care for a family member, so Night Nurse has been the perfect second job for me. It perfectly meets my lifestyle and it even helped pay for our daughter’s wedding!”
One of Audrey’s favorite parts of Night Nurse is the camaraderie. “Although we can’t see each other, I feel like we are a close team working together. Everyone is so nice. When we’re chatting on Telegram the dispatchers are so professional, quick to get back to me, and very helpful. I appreciate everyone so much.”
“This team-oriented environment begins at the top. Sometimes I work late or early shifts. No matter what time I call Tami, she is always so kind about everything. Everyone is helpful, and it makes me feel good about working for Night Nurse.”
Audrey has been with us since 2017 and she is a pro at telephone triage. We asked her to share some expert tips for our newest nurses just starting with telephone triage:
Tip 1: Believe in the Night Nurse system, it works. “Follow the guidance on how to start the call, how to manage the call, and how to end the call. It may seem different from what you’re accustomed to, but experience will show that it’s the best way.”
Tip 2: Keep all the memos you receive. “Tami, Heather, and the managers occasionally send new policies and updates. These are very useful. Save them all in a place where you can easily access the information. You’ll find these memos useful again and again.”
When she’s not helping patients, Audrey prioritizes her family. She and her husband have two daughters, a son, and a brand-new grandchild. Both daughters followed Audrey into the nursing profession. Her eldest daughter graduated from UNC with a biology degree and initially worked in a lab. Then she and her husband both went back to school and became pediatric RNs.
Audrey’s younger daughter is a behavioral health nurse on the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Wake County, North Carolina. Audrey’s son is not a nurse, but a successful IT specialist. “I’m always so impressed with him, and so proud of all three of my children. And I’m lucky to have them all local to me.”
Then there’s Audrey’s new granddaughter, nine-month-old Caroline. “I just love spending time with her, she’s the best thing ever. She’s so smart, funny, and loving. She gets all my time these days.”
Audrey’s family also includes some four-legged members. There’s Elwood, a basset hound named after the Blues Brothers character. Her husband is a big fan, and Audrey adds that their aptly-named dog is “very much an Elwood.” Then there’s Churchill, a three or four-year-old cat recently given to Audrey as a gift from her children. This adorable rescue from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is brand new, so Audrey is helping him get accustomed to the house.
Churchill’s name comes from Audrey’s love of history. Her top two movies in the past few years are
1) “Midway”: the 2019 movie about the World War II Battle of Midway highly praised for its historical accuracy, and
2) “Darkest Hour.” This 2017 film was nominated for six Oscars for its portrayal of Winston Churchill’s initial tenure as England’s Prime Minister. Ergo, the cat’s name shall be “Churchill.”
There is one more furry resident in the Whitacre household: A lovely 12-year old carrier mix rescue dog adopted about two years ago. This family member is fittingly named Diana, after the aforementioned superhero Diana Prince. Audrey says, “She’s always watching everyone and lets us know if anything is awry. She lovingly looks out for us.” Caregiving truly runs deep in the Whitacre family!
Thank you, Audrey, for all the patients you have helped, for serving our country, and even for lovingly rescuing pets from the SPCA. To us, you are a knowledgeable, brave, and compassionate Wonder Woman!
WE’RE HIRING GREAT NURSES JUST LIKE YOU!
Do you have a friend or colleague that would like to join our at-home triage team? We’re always happy to meet experienced nurses! We have part-time adult and pedi positions open, as well as full-time pedi positions available. You could earn cash incentives for referring a new nurse. Please invite your RN, APRN, or NP friends to contact our Human Resources and Finance Manager Stella Price (email@example.com) or to visit our online Careers Center here.
100% FICTIONAL FUNNIES
What is the transplant nurse’s best skill?
She’s very organ-ized.
What did the triage nurse say to the bladder infection patient?
Nurse: “Please tell me your medical history.”
Patient: “I had pain in my collar, got a neck brace, and haven’t looked back since!”
Do you know a funny nursing joke? Send us your best one that we can publish, and we’ll give you an Amazon gift card!
WE ♥︎ You! You’re a great catch and perfect match with Night Nurse. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thank you for all you do so well! Remember our virtual door is always open. Please reach out and talk with us or email with feedback, suggestions, or just to say “hello.” We’d love to hear from you and welcome an opportunity to connect.
All the Best,
Tami (extension 206) and Stu (extension 201) at 508-875-9760