Introducing Nurse Boss # 28: Ashley Pofit
What are you doing now?
I am currently a float nurse in Denver, Colorado. I am also exploring nurse journalism and filmmaking. I have a blog, NurseByHeart.com that helps nurses re-fall in love with nursing by sharing our experiences and reclaiming our collective voice as a profession. I recently went part-time to explore my dream of becoming a nurse journalist and filmmaker. I have a special project coming out next summer (stay tuned) and I want to make a documentary about nursing one day!
Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?
Great question. Nursing is definitely my passion, however I never realized how many opportunities there are outside of the clinical settings. Attending the National Nurses in Business Conference, this year really solidified my desire to make an impact on the profession in a unique way. Sometimes I fantasize about being in a movie or documentary, so after that conference I woke up one morning and said to myself “F*** it! Let’s do this.”
Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own lifestyle doing what they love?
Well for one, we tell people every day how they can live a better life but we don’t live that way ourselves. To truly be an affective nurse, you need to reach outside of your comfort zone quite often to give patients the best care. We should do that for ourselves too. You don’t necessarily have to be a slave to the shift life, unless the shift life provides you the lifestyle you’re truly seeking. Regardless, life is short and nurses know that, so do whatever you want to be happy and fulfilled.
What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?
Or as I like to say “Nurse BAWSSS.” A nurse boss needs to be open and willing, confident and assertive. When you present yourself that way, you feel that way, and people want to be around you. Doors open up for you. A nurse boss takes responsibility for their life and lives it to the fullest. <Insert whatever that means to you>
What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it?
After nursing school, I struggled with addiction. It was a hidden, private battle at the time and now I am very open it. Today, I don’t let that part of my life define me, however it’s something I have to be aware of every single day. It’s exhausting to stay clean, but its offered me more opportunities than I could have every imagined. Tough times can be blessings in disguise. I think I am a powerful advocate for patient’s that are dealing with addiction in addition to their other medical problems because I often share my story with them and it helps them open up. You have to know the whole story in order to take care of a patient properly.
I want nurses to know that we aren’t perfect. We are human. The things that we see and deal with can really take a toll on us in strange ways. PTSD is real for us. That’s why self-awareness is essential. I know when I’m “off balance” and need to find it again, because if I don’t, I’m risking not only my nursing career, but my entire life. For any nurse that’s out there struggling with an addiction- alcohol, drugs, food, sex, toxic relationships, shopping, working… wake up tomorrow and choose to ask someone for help. The Employee Assistance Program is the best resource. You will be making the best decision of your life.
What does your current job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?
My current job as a float nurse allows me to see every part of nursing. I have so much respect for each specialty and the skills require doing a different job. Being a float nurse requires me to
put my pride aside, because often times I am not familiar with the routine and culture of a nursing unit, and I can’t walk around acting like I know everything. Putting my pride aside opens up a channel for learning, and I love that about my job.
For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo?
Well first, the status quo is not real. It only exists because the status quo is a limitation that seems safe (hint: it’s an illusion!). There are leadership opportunities all around you. Sometimes you just need to breakout form the daily grind and try something new or take on a new project. If that doesn’t work, my next piece of advice is figure out what you want to do… don’t hesitate… and go do it. I’ve taken some big risks in my life in blind faith, and they’ve always paid off.
What resources can you share for nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?
Join the NNBA ! This community helps each other out. We are all so unique and the energy is contagious. Also, don’t ask for permission to explore something that intrigues you. Just do it.
Now for fun:
What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?
There are at least 5 books on my nightstand at any given point. I just finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am currently reading Dough Nation by Nadine Grzeskowiak because a gluten free life seems to be a good idea. The Unconventional Nurse by Michelle Podlesni, and Being Mortal by Atuwal Gawande (this book has completely changed my perspective on how I perceive nursing for the aging and dying).
The best book I have ever read…. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Her use of language is like poetry of the senses. You can taste, smell, hear, feel, and see every scene playing out. She once described the taste of licking an icicle after breaking it down from the roof. I almost cried it was so accurate. She’s hands down the best writer out there right now.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Easy. Marinara sauce. My fiancé will say “Ashley I see you haven’t had any marinara this week, are you ok?” NO I’m NOT ok! Gimmee!
How can we get in touch with you?
Thank you for your energy and taking the time to read Nurse Boss. Please share with us what you are doing to own your nursing acumen, creativity, and imagination?
If you want to join the Nurse Boss movement to up the vibe of the nursing collective, join us over on Facebook at Nurse Boss Tribe http://bit.ly/2aE9vkh
Keep shining your light,