Black Girl Blue Scrubs caught up with Geremy Wooten also known as IV QUE. He has been featured in Scrubs magazine. Read as he walks us through what he has been through to become a champion nurse and an Ambassador and Advocate of the Field. Take notes! This is a great read!
Start with a Deeper PURPOSE for Nursing
Hey what’s up BGBS fam! First off thanks for choosing me to interview for the diversity in nursing blog. I feel very honored!
... I knew Nursing was something that I wanted to pursue for myself
What influenced me to become a nurse? The care of my grandmother that I observed via the hands of home hospice nurses. I had plans to go to school on a football scholarship, however my grandmother grew ill. Instead I chose to assist my mother with caring for her during this time.
This was a very trying time for my mother and I, it was all very new to us; the dressing changes, the medications, and just seeing our loved one in such a condition where we felt helpless in relation to easing her pain and soothing her. My grandmother ultimately transitioned to home hospice within our residence.
This is where the home hospice nurses did an AMAZING job at educating my mother and I on certain aspects of my grandmothers care. I observed their every move, and I was beyond intrigued for the compassion that these individuals displayed for someone who they had no relation with. Although my grandmother (who was an L&D nurse herself) passed away, she spent her last days in comfort largely due to the care of her home hospice nursing staff.
Shortly after my grandmother’s funeral, I attempted to walk on as a “red-shirt” to my university’s football team. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut; but I viewed it as an opportunity to focus primarily on my efforts of getting into nursing school.
Obstacles Happen- It's apart of every nursing journey
Lol, No but seriously, there were quite a few [obstacles]. I started pursing nursing school in 2003, completed my core classes, applied in 2005; only to find out my university’s nursing school lost accreditation due to a low pass rate on NCLEX. From here I was so confused on what to do, so I ultimately applied to several other nursing schools throughout Georgia; none of which I was accepted into by the way. So here it is, 2005 and I have finished ALL of my core but can’t get into ANY school! My only option at this time was to just re-take some courses that I made B’s in, with the hopes that an A would boost my chances of being accepted.
Fast forward to 2007, I reapplied to all of the school’s that denied me prior; including my current school due to its accreditation reinstatement. I guess it was meant for me to be a Valdosta State Blazer, because I got accepted into the BSN program at the university where I began my collegiate career. That’s certainly not where the obstacles end however, lol.
Upon graduating, I took my NCLEX in August after I had already had a job lined up and was working as a nurse extern.
“I was incredibly nervous when I took boards, to the point where my hands were shaking as I clicked on each answer response.”
Well... come to find out I failed my boards.
However; I knew God had not brought me that far to just leave me. Therefore, I picked myself up, opened that Kaplan study guide back up, and locked myself away for an entire month until I retested. I approached the exam with so much confidence the second time; and ultimately that confidence led to me passing NCLEX with flying colors the second time around.
BE PATIENT...Great Nursing Doesn't Happen Overnight
Geremy's Career Timeline
Currently, I work at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. I have been at my current facility since February of 2015.
- I started as a new graduate critical care nurse at The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) in Macon, Georgia. I spent 3 years there working within the Surgical-Trauma Intensive Care Unit.
- After my tenure at MCCG, I decided it was time for me to pursue travel nursing. In 2012, I ventured into a new journey as a travel nurse in New York City. Here, I worked at New York Presbyterian Columbia University (as a float nurse within various critical care units)
- I completed a year and a half worth of assignments before my daughter was born. Once she arrived, I realized I needed a career with more substantial benefits in order to provide for her future. I applied to a critical care position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, and was accepted shortly thereafter.
- I worked at Sloan-Kettering for about a year and a half before making the decision to relocate my family back to Georgia to be closer to family and to get away from the insane amount of rent that comes with the territory of residing in NYC lol.
This brings us full-circle to my current job at CTCA.
So to sum it all up; I have a grand total of 8 years in critical care experience.
Give More than you Take
“The most rewarding thing about nursing to me is knowing that you can provide comfort and care for someone during the most difficult moments of their lives.”
Nothing warms my heart more than to know that I made a significant difference for a patient while they were occupied with battling their condition. Recently, I received the covenant Daisy Award for Excellence in Nursing in which I was nominated via a patient and their family members. To be honest; receiving this recognition was one of the top 3 highlights of my nursing career thus far. Recognition from patients and their loved ones truly makes all of the long hours and hard-work so worth it. Although I felt that I did nothing special outside of doing my job duties as a professional nurse; you never know what impact that you will have on someone’s life by performing even the most simplest of tasks.
Issues in Nursing: Stand for something greater than yourself
Staffing seems to be a GLOBAL ISSUE within the nursing profession.
I honestly wish that I could improve the nursing shortage. In fact, I’ve read several articles that project the nursing shortage to only become more of an issue for many years to come. Being short-staffed not only has a negative impact on current nursing faculty; but it ultimately places the patient at risk for poor patient outcomes.
Issues that I’ve experienced as a black male nurse are similar to those that any minority would face within the workplace.
DOUBLE MINORITY: A BLACK MALE working in a profession largely dominated by white female
I’ve honestly never been blatantly racially discriminated against face to face; but I have been discriminated against via patients refusing to have their care coordinated via “a black guy” lol.
"I have a rule of thumb about discrimination; I don’t take it personal."
At the end of the day, I have a job to do; so worrying about who “likes me” at work prohibits me from focusing my full attention on my craft as a professional nurse. I do however demand respect, and I feel that my presence alongside my credentials earns me the respect that I deserve.
Do you have a nurse mentor?
My nurse mentor was Dr. Jean Temple. She was literally my hero. In fact, she was one of the main reasons I was accepted into nursing school. Her consistent faith and guidance assisted me with maneuvering prior and throughout my nursing studies. Dr. Temple was such an amazing woman. She wrote tons of books, served as Dean of Nursing for many nursing schools, and was ultimately just a very overall positive influence for me. Unfortunately, she became ill and passed shortly after my graduation from nursing school. I attended her funeral and literally felt like a proud son of hers. Whenever something amazing happens to me throughout my career; I always give credit to Dr. Temple for molding me into the nurse that I am today. What advice do you have for black male Nurses?
I would advise black male nurses to stay ahead of the game. People will always doubt you, question you, ignore you, and quite honestly hate on you. However, you have to do what you can do to set yourself apart from the crowd. Seek learning opportunities, educational advancements, certifications, etc. As stated earlier, let your credentials speak for themselves. This will carry you so far within your career.
What influence do you hope to have on nursing?
I hope to have an influence of compassion of the profession of nursing. So often times we get caught up on statistics, hard evidence, science, medicine, etc. that we forget that nursing is 90% compassion, 10% knowledge. I’m currently in school for my Masters degree in Clinical Nurse Leadership. Upon transitioning away from the bedside into the role of a clinical educator; one of my priorities will be instilling the art of compassion in all of my new graduate nurses and not bombarding them with a bunch of clinical dynamics. Anybody can read and learn about medications or how the body works; compassion and caring is something that is not taught, its either in you or it isn’t.
The influence of mentorship programs, professional organizations or social nursing focused organizations
I am a part of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society (Pi Nu Chapter of The University of West Georgia). Also, I am a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated (Lambda Phi Chapter of Macon, Georgia).
I see your involved in several companies who use social medial outlets to influence nursing- How do you think social media has influenced nursing?
Social media has had SUCH an influence on not only nursing, but modern day society in general. I have connected with so many amazing individuals over social media who all have similar goals and attainments as myself. I think it quite honestly is a revolutionary tool that can change the face of nursing if we utilize it right. Follow me btw (@iv_que) lol
How do you balance work and being a husband and father?
This is the absolute hardest thing for me to do, especially working nightshift. I operate on about 3-5 hrs of sleep on average. I make it work. I realize I am not the only person who has to do it, and I certainly will not be the last. For example, I had to call out yesterday because it was my daughter’s birthday and they somehow had me on the schedule to work. I tried my best to arrange a switch with someone; but nothing came of it. Therefore, I had to make an executive decision on just what mattered to me most at the time. My little girl turned 4 years old yesterday, and I promised her a long time ago so long as I’m breathing I’ll never miss her birthday. ALWAYS remember you guys, the hospital WILL run with or without you (P.S. I am not encouraging y’all to call out every weekend to go party either, lol).
What gets you through the crazy days?
Honestly; my faith, my family, and my friends (My 3 F’s). It’s literally that simple. I know I can count on all three of these aspects within my life to push me through trying times not only at work, but within life in general. Thanks for sharing- is there anything else you would like to contribute?
I think that’s all I got!
Wasn't Geremy's Story EVERYTHING? I mean we have the the unexpected family death, then major life changes, the deeper pursuit of nursing, failing boards then to progressing with EIGHT years of experience, balancing work and family life, continuing education and becoming an example of what faith and purpose in nursing can create- A NURSE CHAMPION. (FYI the award he's holding is the DAISY AWARD. One of the most PRESTIGIOUS in nursing)
Thank Geremy by following him on Instagram @IV_que
Who has a story with just as much grit and endurance? WE WANT TO FEATURE YOU!