Sorry for Neglecting My Blog

Before moving to the Virgin Islands, I had all these plans to blog at least once a week, to be more consistent with posting on my social media platforms, and to make sure everyone stayed up-to-date with all my travel nurse adventures. I’m half way into my first contract and I’m unashamed to admit: I haven’t accomplished any of that because…I’ve been having fun!

Moving to the Virgin Islands has been such a liberating experience! There’s this magical thing that happens when you put everything you own into storage and buy a one way ticket to an island all by yourself….you feel like you can do anything! The work has been extremely tough, but the off days make it all worth it! I’ve been here for seven weeks and I think I’ve spent one day in the house. It sounds surreal, but I really do live on vacation. Everyday that I’m not at work, I wake up wondering, “What can I get into today?” And lol because the island never fails me. If you follow along my instastories, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been partying on boats, island hopping, brunching, hiking, swimming in natural pools, and climbing mountains! I LOVE this travel nurse life; the adventure never ends!

Our company provides housing for all the travelers. We live in a condo right on the beach, so it’s basically college all over again. Our condos are the dorms, work is class and our boat parties are just like frat parties…except we somehow get paid to live this crazy life! Maybe this is God’s way of saying, “Job well done” for those four years of college that I spent devoted to my studies. It was hard giving up my “normal” college experience, but if those four years of dedication gave me this life, then I’d do the same thing over and over again.

I’m learning SO much from being a travel nurse. I’m gaining independence, resilience, and the courage to do things that I never would have anticipated this early on in my career. As travelers, the hospital has high expectations from us. My second week on the unit, I was thrown into being charge nurse (with five minutes of training). While I easily could have told them that I’ve never been charge and avoided the responsibility, I didn’t…I just went for it! Charging has been the perfect opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and into the unknown. All my snapchat followers know I call it “forced growth.” I don’t think I was 100% ready for it, but I’m killin’ it! It has been challenging but I’m excited that I get to walk away from this experience and add “charge nurse” to my resume! *Rick Ross grunt*

Now that I am half way through my contract, it’s time for me to start looking for my next assignment. Last week I received my California nursing license, this week I applied for my Georgia license, and I’m already licensed in twenty-six other states so yea…I have options. Although I’ve REALLY been enjoying life as an island girl, I think I’ll be ready for change by the end of my assignment. I don’t know where I’ll end up next, but I’m ready for the ride! I have about six weeks left on the island and I plan to blog more, but if I don’t, “I’m sorry for neglecting my blog… I’ve been having fun!”

 

 

 

 

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Surprise! I’m a Travel Nurse!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.” 

 I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. The girl who cried when she moved thirty minutes down the street and out her parents house is actually moving across the country to a place she’s never visited?!…Okay! My friends and family keep asking me, “How does it feel?” Honestly, I’m still in complete shock but I feel 100% prepared. I have no idea what adventure awaits me when I get off the plane in St. Thomas, but I know that I’m going to kill it! I have peace knowing that God has laid the foundation for my life and that He did not bring me this far to leave me. I am nervous, I am excited, and I am scared; but most of all…I’m prepared. I was made for this!

Q: Why did you decided to become a travel nurse?

A: To be honest, I didn’t know travel nursing was a thing until my last year of nursing school. Since learning about it, I knew it was something I HAD to do! This summer, I realized my lease was ending and I was tired of paying rent but not ready for the commitment of a house. I had no attachments, and I love to travel, so I figured, “why not?!”

Q: How did you get started?

A: I’ll need to write a whole blog with step by step instructions for you all, and I will. But the short version is 1. Find a company 2. Choose a recruiter 3. Decided where you want to go 3. Apply to your hospitals of choice 4. Interview 5. Get an offer 6. Negotiate your offer 7. Finalize your contract 8. Begin your on boarding process

But have no fear; your recruiter will act as your personal assistant and make sure everything goes smoothly!

Q: Why did you choose to go to the Virgin Islands?

A: Ha! I didn’t choose the VI, it definitely chose me! I applied in Utah, got an offer, and God said, “dream bigger.” I applied in Colorado, got an offer, God said, “dream bigger.” I applied to NYU (which was #1 on my list) got an offer, God said, “dream bigger”. At that point, I grew frustrated with God, like “How big do you expect me to dream here?!?” The next day, my recruiter called me and suggested I apply to an opening in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I literally said, “I guess.” I applied, interviewed the next day, and received an offer within 30 minutes of completing my interview. I couldn’t believe it!

Q: What about housing, do they provide it?

A: My company offers housing or a stipend for me to find my own. Since this is my first assignment, I decided to let them handle it all.

Q: Will you have a car while on the island?

A: No. I had the option, but I hate driving! So yay! Public transportation here I come! Or I may decide to get a cute pink moped when I get there, I don’t know y’all; I’m making this all up as I go!

Q: Where’s all your stuff?

A: All my precious Z Gallerie furniture, Louboutins, and other designer labels are in storage. It makes me kind of sad to part ways, but I’m excited for this low maintenance lifestyle I’m about to live. I need it.

Q: How long is your contract?

A: Contracts can range from 6-13 weeks, mine is 13 weeks.

Q: Do they pay for your flight?

A: Yes, my company pays for my round trip airfare.

Q: What’s the pay like?  Is it really that much more than you currently make?

A: All the offers I received were more than I accepted in the VI. I believe each assignment will have different perks, I accepted this offer knowing that I could have made a lot more money. But I couldn’t put a price tag on working my dream job…in paradise! But to answer everyone’s question: Yes, I make more traveling.

Bonus: If you’re a NICU, L&D, or ER nurse, congrats! You are working in one of the highest paid specialties. You’ll have financial freedom wherever you go. And if you’re not in either of those specialties but want to make big bucks, just go to California and thank me later!

Q: What’s next for you?

A:  I’ve always tried to plan my life. This experience has taught me that I should just give it up. God has exceeded all my expectations and is planning things far better than I ever could. So from this point on, I’m giving it to God. I don’t know what’s next, but I know it will be great!

PS. If you have any suggestions on what I should do or where I should go while in the Virgin Islands, I would love to hear your suggestions below!

 

 

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Life Lessons Straight from the NICU

One night at work, I was drawing newborn labs when I had a realization. Newborn labs are a mandatory procedure that we do on all babies where we stick their heel to obtain a blood sample. While most babies usually let out a little cry, they are normally easily soothed. However, on this particular night, my baby was screaming to the top of her lungs! All the other nurses were looking at me like I had done something wrong and looking at the baby wishing she would be quiet. I continued drawing the blood while she continued to kick and scream. I thought I’d comfort her by saying, “It’s okay baby girl, it helps to cry it out sometimes.”

I instantly stopped what I was doing and realized I was talking to myself. I realized that I was pressing through life so hard; I was stuck on being this strong, unemotional, black woman that I had portrayed myself to be for so long that I was numb to my own needs. I had given so much to other people that I was loosing myself. Those that know me know I cry over everything, but rarely over myself.

That morning I came home, sat out on my balcony and allowed myself to cry it out… and it felt so good! I was able to be vulnerable and get real with myself about all the things that I had been holding in. The older I get, the more I am starting to realize that suppressing emotions is NOT healthy!  I’ve recently started seeing the negative effects of holding on to emotional baggage and I vow to never do it again. As I reflected on all the things that life threw at me last year, I realized I never gave myself time to cope with them. Last fall was rough for me, but it was also very busy. I was working relentlessly behind the scenes for my blog release in January while preparing to step out on faith and start my new job in February. I never gave Tanisha time to work on Tanisha and my life was starting to reflect it.

So I did what any #girlboss would have done; I took control over the areas of my life that I could and let go of the things that I couldn’t. I took one month off to focus on myself and it was BEAUTIFUL. I was able to spend some much needed time alone figuring out what I needed to do to make sure I was happy. I worked out more, I got more rest, I drank more water, and wholeheartedly practiced self-love. I no longer allowed negative situations to harden my heart, I simply dismissed them.

Taking a step back from life gave me clarity on the ugly characteristics of myself and the strength to work on them. It also allowed me to fall back in love with the beautiful characteristics that I almost lost in the process of pleasing others. The biggest lesson I learned was that it’s okay to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time!

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Passing Your NCLEX

I was recently sharing some of my NCLEX tips with one of my girlfriends who’s in her last semester of nursing school. Midway through our conversation, she was extremely engaged and paused to say, “Umm Terry, all the things you’re saying are great, you definitely need to mention them on the blog”. Honestly, it never crossed my mind that people would actually want to hear from ME (the girl who almost dropped out of nursing school), but nevertheless, here I am! I’m sharing my tips on how I went from potential dropout to passing my NCLEX in 75 questions, flat!

1. Change Your Mindset and Victory Is Yours!
Seriously! Passing the NCLEX is 90% mental. First, you have to willingly accept that your life is on PAUSE until you pass this test. I graduated, celebrated for one weekend, and the following Monday I got right back into my books like nothing happened! For one month I didn’t go out, I didn’t do brunch, I didn’t go on vacation with my friends, I didn’t do anything because I was focused! In reality, what is one more month of no social life for a lifetime of credentials? Okay then.

2. Pick ONE Study Guide and Study It…. Religiously!
I swear by the Hurst Review. It provides a condensed manual for everything you need to know to pass the NCLEX. After I paid the $250 to sit for my exam and $425 for the review, I was left with a whopping $6 to my name, and I would do it time and time again. My school offered the live review for those who paid for the course, but honestly I didn’t learn much in class. I just watched the videos religiously! While watching the videos, I followed along with the Hurst review book and paid attention to every little detail.

3. Get a Solid Study Group 
I cannot imagine passing nursing school or the NCLEX without my girls Cece and Tamara! The three of us complied an informal “study guide” of which chapters we would study individually and we met weekly to REVIEW them. We did not study together, I really don’t believe that’s effective to anyone; we simply reviewed what we learned every week. We quizzed each other and got on each other when we were slacking. I appreciate those moments and miss those hot summers days sitting outside of Starbucks studying for hours on end. Those days made us.

4. When In Doubt, Pull Out Your Practice Questions
After you finish the content portion of studying, quiz yourself until you are nauseated! Pull questions from any creditable source that you can find: Hurst, books, apps, classmates, anything that is up-to-date and credible! In the last few days leading up to your NCLEX, you should only be doing practicing questions and reviewing your areas of weakness. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Practice some questions! In line at the grocery store? Practice some questions! Waiting on your ex to text you back? Practice some questions!

5. RELAX Girl, You Got This!
The day before the exam, I took one sheet of paper and put everything that I still didn’t know (but thought would be vital) on ONE side of that sheet of paper. The morning of my exam, I drilled those last minute things into my head. I walked into the exam feeling like a champion and I walked out feeling like the dumbest human to ever roam the planet. When the computer cut off at 75 questions, I KNEW I FAILED! I instantly started thinking of how I would explain this to my parents, how disappointed I was in myself, and how I would loose the job I had lined up. A few days later, I was browsing the Board of Nursing website and my heart sank when I stumbled upon the words: TANISHA TERRY, REGISTERED NURSE! Looking back, I regret all the anxiety and pressure I put on myself. The best advice I could give young Tanish is, “Relax girl, you got this!”

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to comment below or contact me directly. Please know that I am sincerely praying for each and everyone of you. Congratulations in advance, I can’t wait to celebrate with you!

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You’ve Got to Jump

Since releasing the blog three weeks ago, my life has been CRAZY! I am overwhelmed with the amount of love and support I have received. I had my first live interview with The University of Connecticut, been invited to several speaking engagements, and I have partnered with nurses across the country that I considered role models just three short weeks ago. I am completely humbled by all the prosperity.

After taking a moment to reflect on where I expected Black Girls White Coats to be, I realized things could not have been orchestrated any better! God has been the ultimate plug and is writing my success story far better than I could have ever imagined! After reading Steve Harvey’s, “Jump”, I have been inspired to go after everything that I want out of life. I have adopted a lifestyle of “jumping” at everything that terrifies me. I am not scared anymore, for I know God is orchestrating my life just as He sees fit! This newfound courage led me to apply for an amazing job as a neonatal transport nurse at Houston Methodist Sugar Land (my hometown hospital) and much to my surprise, I actually got it!!!

I LOVED my previous job, I had amazing coworkers, a great boss, and a steady workflow. But deep down inside, I knew I needed more…so I jumped! With this move I am ready to live outside my comfort zone and face my fears of being the least experienced nurse on the unit. At Houston Methodist Sugar Land, I will be surround by other nurses who have specialized in neonatology longer than I have been alive, and that scares me just as much as it excites me! I’m going into this new opportunity with an open mind, ready to receive all that these seasoned nurses have to teach me!

My story is no fairytale. I am just a girl who decided to trust God and go for it! If you too are feeling content in your current job, situation, or relationship, I encourage you : JUST JUMP!

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The Thank You Letter I Never Wrote

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Dear M&D,

Thank you for everything you’ve ever done for my siblings and I. Growing up, I had the best childhood I could have ever imagined and I didn’t even realize it until I was 23 years old. You two showed me the importance of loving God and loving others.

Mom, thanks for being my personal taxi to all my cheerleading practices, church events, oboe lessons, gymnastic competitions, and girl scout meetings. Seriously, how did you do it?!? #Blackmommagic? As much as I hate to say it, thanks for all those times you didn’t let me befriend certain girls because they didn’t come from “good people,” I get it now. Thanks for always teaching me to be a lady. I remember one night in high school, my then boyfriend was passing by the house and wanted me to come outside to talk while he was in his car, you flipped! You cursed me out, but I’m sure you conveniently don’t remember. It’s cool. I now receive respect from men without even asking for it because of you, thank you.

Dad, thanks for cooking breakfast for Tamika and I EVERY single morning while mom was away at work. Thank you for making me walk to school even though I would literally be in tears about walking three blocks. Thanks for seeing us to the door and making us say that chant every morning before school. “Hey! Be the best! Hey! Have a nice day! Hey! Daddy loves you!” I said that to myself countless times in nursing school. The chant was so special to me because the first verse taught me to always strive to be my very best. The second verse taught me that I could have a good day, or not, but the choice was mine. The last and sweetest verse taught me that no matter what I ever did, you would always love me!

My first semester of nursing school I was failing BADLY. I made a 64 on my first exam (the lowest score in the class). In order to pass that class I needed an 84 on the remaining 4 exams. I remember that semester and those numbers so vividly. I didn’t even come home until Thanksgiving break because 1. I was embarrassed and 2. I was studying relentlessly. When I finally came home we had the best time. We shared many laughs and I ate three servings of Tamika’s famous broccoli and cheese casserole. When it was time for me to return to school, I sat in my room with the weight of the world on my shoulders knowing I needed an 88 or above on my cumulative final to pass the class. I came down to the garage to tell y’all I wasn’t going back, I couldn’t do it. Then as usual, we stood in a circle and prayed. You two got behind me and pushed me into my car, I fought back, but y’all won. It was a cute little moment looking back on it, but at the time nothing about it was cute to me. Y’all slammed the door and waved as I drove off. I cried the entire way back to SFA. The next two weeks of studying for that final were exhausting but needless to say, I aced the test, passed the class, and later went on to graduate with honors! I know I couldn’t have done it without the extra push from you two, and for that I say….

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