Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses

#44 L&D Nurse to FNP, Work/Life Balance with Clara Jones

September 18, 2023 Season 3 Episode 44
Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses
#44 L&D Nurse to FNP, Work/Life Balance with Clara Jones
Show Notes Transcript

Join us for an inspiring journey with Clara Jones (formerly known on IG as Nurse Clara), an L&D nurse who transitioned into the role of a Family Nurse Practitioner, all while building a thriving social media presence. Clara sheds light on the differences between FNP and WHNP, offering valuable insight for nurses contemplating this possible transition. Learn from the advice she would tell her younger night-shift self and how she made the decision to make a career change. Finally, get the inside scoop on how she started on Instagram and what it's like pursuing authenticity amidst the pressures of social media. It’s time to get unstuck and think deeply about your own career path as we learn from hers!

Helpful Links:
- Clara's Instagram
- Promo code for free compression socks with a purchase of shoes: CLOVECLARA
- Check out @theresumerx for resume/career tips
- Check out @monicathenp for negotiation help for nurses

Justine:
Hi, I am Justine.

Sarah:
And I'm Sarah Lavonne.

Justine:
And we are so glad you're here.

Sarah:
We believe that your life has the potential to make a deep, meaningful impact on the world around you. You as a nurse have the ability to add value to every single person and patient you touch.

Justine:
We want to inspire you with resources, education, and stories to support you to live your absolute best life, both in and outside of work.

Sarah:
But don't expect perfection over here. We're just here to have some conversations about anything, birth, work, and life, trying to add some happy to your hour as we all grow together.

Justine:
By nurses, for nurses, this is Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses. Okay, so I think it was the summer of 2019 and I had just started some silly little memes on the internet on Instagram. I wanted to talk to nurses. I got a message from Clara who we have as a guest today, and I remember jumping out of my chair and I was like, "Nurse Clara messaged me." I remember texting my sister and I screenshotted it to her and she was like, "Oh my gosh."
You probably have no recollection of this, Clara, but you wanted to use one of my things, like my little silly graphics I made. And I was like, "Yeah, and I'll just make it in your color scheme," because I wanted it to match your page more. And then we became fast friends. And so it is an honor to say that, Clara, you were on the podcast today, and this is so exciting for me.

Clara:
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. I remember this, but it was a pie chart of something. Actually, no, I remember this exactly. It was a pie chart of how nurses spend their 12-hour shifts, how an L&D nurse?

Justine:
Something like that, something like that.

Clara:
I remember 80% was adjusting the TOCO monitors, and I was like, "Yes, precisely."

Sarah:
I love that. What a full circle moment though for the both of you that years later, look at how much life can change. And we're all going to get to learn about that specifically for your life, Clara, because a lot has changed in your life. But if you want to just introduce yourself, let everyone know who you are.

Clara:
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. Obviously big fan of Bundle Birth Nurses, what you guys are doing is absolutely amazing. And obviously for me, when I was working bedside and L&D, it was, y'all are saving my life and therefore saving the lives of my patients and my coworkers. What we learn in school is so different from what we learn in practice. And so what y'all have taught on social media is what I learned in practice and outside of school, and that is I feel like 90% of what makes me a nurse today, a nurse practitioner.
Anyway, before I get too emotional, I'm Clara. I'm a gynecology nurse practitioner. I'm based in Atlanta. I work in a gynecology only practice now, but my background is in L&D. Actually, before I became an L&D nurse, I worked on postpartum as a tech for about a year while I was in school. Learned so much about that side of things. Then transitioned into becoming an extern on a busy labor and delivery unit, and then spent about three to four years there working night. And then I kind of sandwiched a lot of my stuff together and overlapped. So in my last two years of working nights in L&D, I also got my Master's as a family nurse practitioner. And so I kind of did a little different route than what a lot of people do after women's health. So not doing WHNP, I did FNP. And so that's where I'm today working in a gynecology only practice.

Justine:
I like how you subtly say a busy unit.

Clara:
Oh my gosh, listen.

Justine:
The busiest unit.

Clara:
The busiest. I know. And I think that was the biggest selling points for me when I started there as a new grad, and it is for a lot of new grads because as a new grad, you're like, "You know what? Throw me in, coach. I want to learn all the things and see all the things," but very little could have prepared me for those four years because it is the busiest unit in the nation, but also I think they say in the world, I don't know, but it's a lie. I think it was like 20,000 deliveries a year.

Justine:
How many nurses, we've talked about it, but did you say 40 to 50 nurses on a shift and you don't even know who each other are?

Clara:
Yeah, yeah. It's a huge unit. So I have to count the pods, but I think a dozen pods. And so on the unit, it's not just LDR, not just delivery, there's antepartum as well slash triage. There's also postpartum, high risk triage and the OR. And so you show up on your shift and you look at the little assignment sheet, and you could be literally anywhere. And I think that really did prepare me to be a better nurse and healthcare provider, but also my anxiety stemmed from that a lot because you just never know on top of being a nurse already. But yeah, we did all the things and you just never knew what you were walking into as typically can be in labor and delivery.

Justine:
Yeah. Totally. Did you have a question, Sarah? I think you unmuted.

Sarah:
What great experience. I did unmute because I'm curious how you made the decision from labor and delivery to nurse practitioner, and we'll talk about the difference between WHNP and FNP because I don't know that people know the difference. I sort of know the difference, but only because of my friends that have been through different programs. But I'd love to hear what did that transition look like for you? How did that come up? Is that something you always wanted?
And I think for all of us, I say I left the bedside as well, but anybody who's at the bedside and ever considers potentially leaving the bedside, I think that can feel really overwhelming. And really, how could I leave my identity?

Clara:
Oh my gosh.

Sarah:
And I even asked the question now, People, they'll say, when you were a nurse, I'm like, "I'm still a nurse. Give me some credit. I still have a license." But it's different. It's different. So talk to us about that transition.

Clara:
Yeah, absolutely. It's so different and I don't think really anything could prepare you for that besides just going through it. I think what a lot of people ask is what is the main difference? So logistically, if you want to talk about that, obviously you're working not only at the bedside, but as a nurse. So oftentimes working to support, supervising a medical doctor or a DO or advanced practice providers and leaning into this more autonomous independent role where you kind of make the plan yourself and evaluate the patient yourself and carry the plan out. But yeah, it's so different.
But what did attract me about it was the autonomy, being a little more independent, not feeling like I was necessarily a small part in this huge machine, which I still think if you work in healthcare, the entire system is a machine. But I kind of wanted a little more independence in what I did on a day-to-day. And then I also wanted a little more work-life balance. And I think that's where it gets kind of hazy because like you said, Justine, a lot of people think, "Oh, this is going to solve all my problems and I'm going to feel way less stressed, and I'm going to suddenly get this work-life balance and I can quit therapy and everything will be great."
But it just really depends. And in that transition, and also even working as a nurse, you learn what you're going to ask for and need in that next role. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from going into that route, but there's a lot of things you can do as a nurse now that can give you that work-life balance other than going and getting your Master's.

Justine:
I love that.

Sarah:
Like what?

Justine:
Yeah, I want to know. So if you were going to go back, you're going to wake up and be at the bedside again, Clara. So let's do full-time nights, Clara. You woke up and you're like, "Oh, no, I'm back," what would you do

Sarah:
Oh, no she says. Oh, no.

Justine:
Full-time nights is hard, okay? Anyone who has done it knows that.

Clara:
It's so hard.

Justine:
I would think, "Oh, no." The thought of going back to full-time nights, I'm like, "Oh no."

Sarah:
Don't take me.

Justine:
Part-time is more bearable. And I know you were part-time during school, so let's go back even farther to full-time nights. Clara, what would you do?

Clara:
Listen, a part of me does say, "Oh, no." Most of me does, but also a part of me is like, "Oh, okay, let's do it. Just a couple weeks." I think I could do it, but I think I would tell myself that, one, it's really not as bad as you think. The grass isn't always greener. I think no matter what position you're in, in the world of healthcare or in the world of nursing and schedule-wise, you're like, "Oh, surely days is better. Surely part-time is better. Surely PRN is better." And you know what? Yeah, working less is better, obviously, but ... or you're like, "Oh, surely working outpatient versus inpatient is better," or, "Working Monday through Friday is better," whatever.
But I do think there's such a beauty in, one, working nights, and two, working full-time. Number one, full-time, the paycheck, right? You're getting paid for your work. So that's awesome. And then with night shift differential and weekend differential on nights and holidays, nothing can beat that, I feel. And then I do look back and kind of want to tell myself, there really is no rush in getting to that next point and figuring it out. Would you guys agree?

Justine:
Yeah, I love that. Yes.

Sarah:
Yes. And I think often that we're ... it is always the grass is always greener. And the moment you settle ... I actually had a conversation about this this week, the moment you settle and you're like, "Ahh." It's like, "Okay, but what's next?" It's that hustle culture rather than like, just what if we were just totally present in this season of life? Absolutely. And embraced it for what it was, and then realized when the season was shifting. It's a different, less strive-y way to live.

Clara:
Yeah. But I feel like as nurses, it's always what's next. That's always like, "Oh, you're working bedside for a year." It's like, okay, "Well, are you going to grad school? Are you going to be a supervisor? Are you going to team lead? Are you going to be charge?"

Sarah:
Are you going to have a baby.

Clara:
Oh my God, right? Especially in L&D, right? There's always something in the water. Someone's always pregnant. Yeah. So it's a hard mindset to escape in our specialty, but it's also a hard in general. Societally, we're always like, okay, what's next? And is the next step really what you really imagine it to be? Not always, but it can still be wonderful and beautiful. So I tell myself, "Don't rush. Go travel, try another specialty, shadow other worlds of nursing and healthcare, and just really get the taste of what it all looks like, because your next step might not be a forever step. And that's okay, but there's really no rush."

Sarah:
I'm curious if you could just give us insight into your day to day as an FNP, right? I have it right.

Clara:
Yes.

Sarah:
That's how you're functioning. And then what would be the difference between women's health nurse practitioner if somebody were listening to this and going, "I've really considered it, or I really would, I have a lot of interest. I think that might be my next step. Can you just give us a lowdown of what their future would look like with schooling, the differences, options, et cetera?

Clara:
When we start with day-to-day, let me tell you, the biggest difference is how we sign our name at the end of a note. I go, Clara Jones, FNP, and my coworker, who's a women's health NP, signs, blah, blah, blah, WHNP. So in the day-to-day, as long as we're hired for the same role and we're seeing the same patients, we function the exact same.
Now, depending on the specialization and the type of nurse practitioner you are, so there's so many different types. There's family, women's health, there's psych, there's neonatal, emergency, adult gero, acute care, and I'm sure I'm missing some, but FNP is what's described as the generalized role where we're trained to go into primary care or internal medicine. But I think we all have figured out to use this as the base of jumping into specialties, especially if we know going in that we don't want to necessarily narrow ourselves down to one specialty for the rest of our career.
What a lot of people do is they do dual degrees too. If they can find a program that offers a dual women's health NP with a CNM or certified nurse midwife role, then they like that. But oftentimes, a lot of people don't do that and just get the midwifery role, because if you're a midwife, you can function as a women's health NP. Some people like to do family FNP and then get a post-Master's certificate in psych, especially after working for a while and realizing that almost every visit is a psych visit, then you can just get a little more education and maybe another certificate that tells you, you are certified to practice in this way.
But yeah, day-to-day, my women's health, so I work with three WHNPs, they're trained obviously more specifically to see more GYN, more OB. And they actually learned certain skills in school compared to me in school during my FNP preparation, I didn't learn how to, obviously we learned pelvic exams, but we didn't learn certain procedures or skills like IUD insertion, removals, Nexplanon insertion, removals, colposcopies and stuff like that. So it's really, the education is a little different, but the major difference is FNP is a generalized role where you can then be trained into a job if you do get a job in a specialty to be proficient in that specialty and role. Compared to women's health NP, you can work in GYN, GYN/Onc, just generalized OB care, and then round in the hospital too.

Justine:
I have two questions. So did you learn the IUD insertion and everything on the job with those WHNPs? So just so listeners know, you do do all that stuff?

Clara:
Yes, I do do all that stuff. What some states and some areas provide is workshops that you can learn those things and become certified before you step into that role. However, a lot of it is on the job education and learning and training. And oftentimes if you're learning on the job, they'll pay for that certification or whatever. But in the state of Georgia, really, it's kind of like see one, do one, teach one. So for IUD insertion and removal, I did learn a lot of that as a student during clinical. But with the state of Georgia, you file 10 supervised insertions, 10 independent, and then you're on your own. So that goes with any procedure.

Justine:
Great. And then my second question is, how did you know you didn't want to do midwifery being from labor and delivery?

Clara:
Great question. I don't know.

Sarah:
I love that question.

Clara:
Let me ask you guys. Do you think you guys would pursue midwifery?

Sarah:
No, no.

Clara:
Exactly.

Justine:
I kind of, the other day I was texting Sarah, my ADHD self was like, "I'm hyper fixating on midwifery right now," but I was, let that one run its course was my choice, was my answer.

Clara:
Oh my gosh, yeah.

Justine:
Sometimes, but yeah, I don't necessarily need to deliver. When I have an RN delivery I'm like, "Oh, that's fine, but I'm glad I don't do that all the time," and so maybe that's why. I actually am terrified of stitching someone up. That would be my biggest fear. That's would hold me back.

Clara:
Oh, absolutely. In school, we have the suture kits and we practice, but I have yet to actually stitch someone up, and I don't think I would ever want to do that. And I don't know, I'm in the same boat as you guys. I loved labor and delivery and postpartum and just, it's all wonderful and amazing. But I think early on in my career as an L&D nurse, I was like, "Yeah, I don't think I want to do that part. I think I want to do all the other parts and then see the patients before, during, and after delivery."

Justine:
That's fun. Do you do postpartum visits with your patients?

Clara:
No. So we only see GYN. So I mean, technically we could, but generally patients have their six-week postpartum and then after that, happy to see them as long as it's not related directly to their C-section scar or whatever, that's very close to their delivery.

Sarah:
Do you miss the bedside? How does that feel for you when you think about birth and do you miss the birth side?

Clara:
I do miss birth a lot. I do. I miss the anticipation and the prep and being invested in ... because when you admit a patient, you literally see them from beginning sometimes to delivery. I miss those deliveries a lot where it's like, "Oh, they're coming in. They're going to drop a baby. Come on, let's go." There are some parts I miss, some parts I don't. In a whole, I do feel like I have more balance now and more peace, like you said, Justine, of I feel like I am where I'm supposed to be compared to when I was at the bedside. And maybe that was on me. Maybe that was my fault of thinking the grass is greener and this is not my final step, but I do feel more, "Okay, I'm where I need to be right now."

Sarah:
Yeah, totally. We didn't prep you for this question, but I'm hearing a lot about work-life balance and that one of the probably many motivations to pursue an advanced degree and do something else, and that being something that you've been working towards, would that be correct assumption?

Clara:
Yeah. Absolutely, I think-

Sarah:
If I were to ask you what do you define as work-life balance, what would be your answer?

Clara:
Yeah, that's a loaded question.

Sarah:
I know.

Clara:
Everyone defines it so differently. If you would've asked me when I was working nights on the floor, I would've probably said work-life balance is I get to sleep more than five hours and I can work out two to three times a week. And I am not as dependent on outside sources for my mental health, like medication, therapy, other supportive measures. But I think now it's so different because I have all these boundaries and measures in place where I'm prioritizing eight hours of sleep a night, and I am cooking most of my meals, and I get to see my friends and family when I want to.
That is work-life balance for me because I'm not coming home and stressing out about that precept delivery that I had and, "Did I do everything right? And oh my God, am I going to get sued?" And all these things. Whereas now I'm like, "Okay, I know what I did at work is it, and if there's a problem, I'm going to see that patient again." And I also have supportive coworkers and a supportive supervising physician where I don't feel like I'm in trouble all the time. And outside of work, I feel like I have balance because I'm getting literally the bottom layer of Maslow's hierarchy of the proper sleep and food and stress is all managed.

Sarah:
Yeah, you feel safe.

Clara:
Yeah, I feel safe. And again, could I have achieved that as a nurse? Probably. If I maybe worked in a different setting where I was maybe less stressed, picked up a third job. I don't know. I know, it feels impossible.

Sarah:
Well, and it sounds like you've put a lot of intention behind your pursuit of peace and whatever we call work-life balance. And I think a lot of us maybe are feeling some of the symptoms of what it would feel like to not have a balanced, peaceful life and maybe aren't putting that much intention behind it. What was the catalyst for you? Why is that so important to you and what motivates you to push into that?

Clara:
I think what really drove me was when I had started, honestly in the midst of this journey, I was a newly-wed and we had just gotten married. I was like, "Okay, cool. We got married. Now I have to go do this thing that I feel like is so important for my career," which is putting in my time basically, or paying my dues. And there wasn't one big thing, but ultimately I just saw signs of wear and tear of like, okay, I'm stressed out from work. I only have four hours of sleep and this is how I'm showing up in other aspects of my life and this has to change.
And to be totally honest, becoming a nurse practitioner was really the only way that I thought this could happen. And I feel like that's what a lot of people do think and is it one of the main ways you could achieve it? Sure. But I would be lying if I said, this is the way, and I had 1,000 other options and this is the one I chose, but this was my number one thing that I thought would work, and I got lucky and it did work. But yeah, it was the wear and tear of it where I was like, "Okay, I don't think I can keep living like this. I don't think it's sustainable."

Sarah:
Well, it sounds like you pursued your truth. That is the answer for everybody leaving the bedside and going back to school and becoming a nurse practitioner. No, it's not, actually. That hasn't been my route. Is everybody supposed to start a business? Oh, if you want work-life balance, I would not suggest that. And so I think we all think that something's going to be the answer, and I think it's easy to look outside of yourself and even hear some of these stories and be like, "Oh, well, there's my answer. Yes, I'm become a midwife," or, "Oh, I'm going to do this because it worked for somebody else."
And really what I'm hearing here is that this was your journey, this was your truth, and you pushed into it and you knew that ... it is easy to say that now because now looking back, you can say you knew, but in the moment I'm sure it didn't feel like that of, "I hope this works out." And so I think that's part of the challenge for all of us to know thyself and push into how you feel and push into where you're drawn. For some people, they'd be like, "I never want to leave birth ever." So then it's if I know that what's my truth? How do I seek peace that fits for me? And it sounds like this was your route that's really worked for you, which it could be for other people too.

Clara:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think really intention is the key of like, okay, let's have a sit down moment and let's lay everything out and draw all the different routes instead of scrambling and keeping all those thoughts in our head and thinking, "Okay, if I do this, if I do that, she's done this, Sarah's done this." Just sit down and write down what is feasible for me in this moment and in the next 1, 3, 5 years. And is there an opportunity for me to really see what that's like in a day-to-day? Like, can I shadow someone? Do I know someone? Is there someone I follow on Instagram who does this? And then you've got to really trust your gut and take that leap of faith. But until then, it's kind of know that what you're doing now matters regardless of what your next step is, but be intentional about that next thing.

Sarah:
Yes. I think too, I literally had this conversation with somebody yesterday too about they actually are thinking about becoming a nurse and they have a completely different business. I was totally thrown by the fact that this was even coming up, but at the same time, they were like, "I hope it's not a waste." I'm like, "It's never a waste. It's never a waste. You never know."
I really believe that every life experience stacks and builds to our next level. And so again, it goes back to that being present and really appreciative of the current season, even if it's not where you want to be ultimately, but trusting that it's getting you to the next step. But that's life, right? Eventually, what? Is the goal retirement? I don't know. That's not for me. I want to keep giving back to the world for the rest of my life. Is the goal death? I don't know, but I don't think I need to know. It's like where am I at right now? How can I be present right now? And yes, I want to be working towards things because that's motivating and that gives me energy for the future and for the next day.

Justine:
You've given me a lot to think about. And I have a question. I don't know if you've covered it, did when you started nursing school that you wanted to do advanced practice nursing?

Clara:
Yeah, actually I went into nursing school because I wanted to be an NP, but I had no idea what that even meant. It was just the kind of thought of, "I am 18 and I have no idea what I want to do with my life, so I'm going to pick this thing and just really run toward it. And along the way, I might hear about other careers and other pathways, but I'm just going to keep going." So when I became a nurse, actually right before graduation, I was like, "You know what? I'm just going to apply to these handful of schools who accept students without any nursing experience where I can just go from my BSN to my MSN and become an NP and just fast track that."
But then I had my orientation for my first job as a nurse, and they were like, "Okay, this is what your life is going to look like and this is what your responsibilities are," and all this stuff. Like, there's no way in hell I can humanly do all of this. And I'm so thankful I didn't because I then ended up working at the bedside full-time for about two years before realizing, "Okay, you know what? Now I've seen this and now I'm really sure that I want to be a nurse practitioner."

Justine:
Now I'm sure I want out of here.

Clara:
Yeah, for me.

Justine:
For real.

Sarah:
That's funny.

Justine:
You said a little bit ago you were talking about do I get a third job? And I think it's interesting, and maybe listeners don't know, but you do have a pretty intense second job on Instagram, and that's how I found you. That's how a lot of people find you. But you are like, and I don't know if less now, but I would call you a hustler on Instagram. You do a really good job, Clara. I remember when, was it OxiClean sponsored you or you did work with them? And I was like, "Oh my gosh." I think again, I told my sister, I was like, "OxiClean knows Clara." She had a Clove bus, like Clove shoes.

Sarah:
Oh, she had a Clove bus.

Justine:
That's right. And you're making another pair of Cloves right now.

Clara:
We are. We're working on something really exciting, actually two pairs so keep your eyes peeled. But yeah, I mean that's something I'd really never thought that would one, support my lifestyle or two be what it is today. Because ultimately, I mean it started from me being this lost high schooler being like, okay, it actually was a way for me to document my weight loss journey when I was in high school. And with social media, you can connect with literally anyone in the world. And that's slightly terrifying, but also amazing.
And so as a high schooler, I was like, "Oh, this is so cool. I'm just going to start tracking my progress," and then people started following and I was like, "Okay, this is kind of neat." And then that is inspiring itself of okay, strangers care. And so now it's become my brand and I feel like a huge part of my identity, although I am working on being less of a hustler about it just because it's really easy to be, I call it chronically online, always on the phone, on the apps, feeling like you have to live for social media and feeling like, "Oh, am I doing this because I really want to or because I want to post about it?" And that's something that I really had to come to terms with I think honestly when I graduated from nursing school.

Justine:
What did you decide and what is your approach and how do you manage that?

Clara:
I think my approach is kind of similar to what I've always done of I'm going to post this because I want to post it and not because I care what other people think about it. Will people care and have opinions? Sure. And have there been days where I'm like, "Oh man, this person didn't like this. Does that mean that it's not worth anything?" Or you get obviously some mean comments here and there or criticism, critique. But I think now I'm just, I think the less I post it also means that I have more peace in my life where I'm like, I don't feel the need to get that outside validation.
And so listen, I told my community, "I post what I want to, and if you don't like that, then peace out. And if you want to see certain things for me, definitely mention it. But if it's not going to work for me, I'm not going to do it." It's kind of like the mindset of what is that saying? I work to live, not live to work, but basically I just didn't want to live just for the pursuit of social media. And by that I mean obviously we do need to do some campaigns, some things because there is a lifestyle to support or bills to pay, and sometimes it's obviously an added benefit if I can work with a brand like OxiClean or Clove and is some of that going to help pay my bills? Absolutely. And that's amazing. And that's something I would've never thought of and thought to do, but that's not my identity and it's an added benefit.

Justine:
I have a pair of the slope ones. They're amazing.

Sarah:
Same, same.

Justine:
And also like that I'm going to get the next ones. I love my Cloves.

Clara:
Oh, they're great. They're so comfortable.

Justine:
Yeah, they really are.

Clara:
You know what blows my mind about them is I feel really spoiled in that I can see a lot of the inside scoop of what a lot of brands are doing just because influencers or bloggers are hired before the launch of something new, and so they let you see the behind the scenes. But listen, I always thought working in healthcare has got to be the hardest job, and you know what? It is. I think it is, but I think to that degree we also do gatekeep a little of like, "No, you think your job is hard, you're sending some emails. But listen, the people at Clove work so hard and they truly do keep healthcare workers in mind at the forefront." And dang, I could go on a whole rant about it, but I mean you guys too, just because you're not working at the bedside dealing with direct patient care does not mean it's any less hard or less strenuous. But oftentimes we do think that, don't we?

Sarah:
It's just different. It's not better. It's not worse, it's just different. And I think we all want to trump each other and one up. "Well, I'm working harder, I'm doing more," and it's just different. I think that about being a doula, to be honest. Being a birth coach, I'm like, it's harder than being a nurse in many ways. And then if you look at it from a completely different angle, it's totally not. And so you can argue all sides. We're all working hard. We all need that validation. Life is rough and it's going to be okay for all of us.

Clara:
Absolutely. You know what, Justine? I think you should become a midwife and have Sarah as your doula and then just travel the world, just birthing and laboring and-

Sarah:
That would be fun.

Clara:
The traveling bundle.

Sarah:
Traveling team. That would be great.

Clara:
Just seems like I don't know.

Justine:
I literally dropped out of my Master's program.

Clara:
Oh my Gosh.

Justine:
I was like, "This is not for me."

Sarah:
The school part is just brutal. We were talking about that today that I was like, the thought of being told how to learn and what my answers should be is very hard at this point in my life.

Clara:
Absolutely.

Justine:
And online school is hard for me. I think if I went in person, it would be better, but I have a hard time just not finding the answers online instead of learning them. So it's a weird era of our learning these days. Everything's on Quizlet, everything's on Course Hero. Am actually learning, or am I just paying to for someone else's work if we're being honest?

Clara:
Oh yeah, absolutely. And I think that's a huge part of people deciding if they want to go back to school too. You do have to come to terms that school's not what it used to be and there are also a lot of degree meals out there. And so you really have to do your homework and figure out, am I actually getting a good preparation and degree and is it reputable? Or am I going to school that's not actually accredited and I'm going to be done in thousands and thousands of dollars in debt and nothing to show for it?

Sarah:
Totally. It's so true.

Clara:
It's scary.

Sarah:
Totally.

Justine:
Well, thanks for hanging out with us, Clara. One last question I have. If someone were to, what is one thing you wish you would've known before leaving the bedside and becoming an NP, if you were going to share that?

Clara:
I think this answer is going to be a little less emotional than I thought I would normally respond and very logistical maybe because this is the season of life I'm in, but I wish I knew how to negotiate and network better because when we're ... I think in our nursing programs, we are taught that, "Okay, when you're done with school, you're going to go work at the hospital and you're just going to take whatever pay they give you. And then also don't ask your coworkers what they're making because that's not allowed and don't even bother asking for another week of PTO because the hospital would never let you."
All these fear tactics I feel were used. I don't know about you guys, but that was my experience. And so I graduated a very scared new grad nurse thinking, "Okay, I'm going to take my $24.50 per hour pay, and I'm going to get my ..." oh my gosh, how much PTO was it? I think 15 days of PTO. But if I ever wanted a day off or my car was broken, then I would have to use my PTO for it. And then I was never taught that making connections is so important to every aspect of your life.
And so really for a couple of years there I was like, "I'm just going to work and leave and survive and repeat," but I feel like that put me into this woe is me mindset of like, "Man, I'm going be stuck here forever," and, "Man, this sucks, but I guess I'm stuck here because I don't know what else to do and I don't know anyone else. I don't know that I'm supposed to be paid more." But then once you start talking to other people of like, "Oh wait, you're a new grad, just hired a year after me and you're making more than me? That makes no sense." And so really I just learned the value of if you really don't ask, the answer is no. And if you don't know people, then unfortunately you're not going to get anywhere, which sucks.

Sarah:
Closed mouths never get fed.

Clara:
Yes, exactly. And also sunk cost fallacy. Oh my gosh. Because when I put in my time as a nurse, which also, I'm going to be totally honest, it wasn't a lot of time at all. I know there are probably nurses listening to this, right? Or you both. Four years at the bedside is really not that long of a time, but it was long enough for me. But I also had this mindset of I see people, some people starting a business and building a brand or switching career trajectories completely. And I was like, "How could they do that? We put so much time and effort into this," but it's like just because you put that much time into this and invested all your time and energy doesn't mean that you're stuck in it.

Sarah:
I like that as a takeaway. You're not stuck.

Clara:
You're not stuck.

Sarah:
There's options. Yep.

Clara:
Absolutely. Yeah. But I will say kind of on that note too, and I guess to plug other amazing nurses is two resources that I've relied very heavily on is Amanda from The Résumé RX. Amanda has amazing resume templates that you can use and that are kind of catered toward nurses. And also Monica, she has a course called The Compensation Course, and it helps you realize your worth as a nurse and nurse practitioner and learn the etiquette and also the correct way to negotiate your worth of not just salary and pay, but all the other things that are in a contract that we don't look at as new grads or nurses. We just signed the damn thing. So those are amazing resources that of course, I found through social media.

Justine:
I will link those at the bottom as well as Clara, all of your details and your Clove, you have a Clove promo code that they can get socks or something, right? Can I put that?

Clara:
Yes. Yeah. It's CloveClara, and then you add a pair of compression socks to your cart of shoes and you get them for free. But oftentimes there's so many ways to stack it and ways to go about it. So follow me and I'll give you all the tips and tricks.

Sarah:
Exactly. If they wanted to follow you, how do they find you?

Clara:
I'm at, it's @ClaraJones now. Previously @NurseClara, which was another big thing for me where I was like, I'm always going to be a nurse, but I'm more me.

Sarah:
I love that you give insight into your day-to-day, and that's lifestyle, and that's also work, and that was your education process. And I mean, I remember following you back when you were at the bedside and showing up to ... and when you quit, and "This is my last shift," and all of that. So it's been really fun to be able to follow along with your life and journey along the way as we do.
That's part of that networking piece of just getting different perspective and seeing what's out there. And that's what I love about this episode in general of just to open our eyes and expand that you're not stuck. I love that as our takeaway, that there's so many things that you can do, and if you're burnt out, that is your alert. What you had noticed, you said you saw signs of that and you did something about it, and that might be a career change, that might be a lifestyle change, that might be a part-time work change, that might be a full-blown career change where you're like, "I'm not going to be a nurse anymore."
I think we all need to be accountable to know ourselves and really seek out where we feel settled and at peace with our decisions. And if it's like, "Yes, I'm burnt out, but I still love birth and I still think I belong here," then what else can we do? Rather than saying, "Well, then I'm stuck," it's "What can I do?" In that sensation-

Clara:
You can join Bundle Birth.

Sarah:
You absolutely can join Bundle Birth. We have mentorship programs and classes and courses and other support things, and really fun things coming that we're getting ready to announce. So stay tuned. And so there's lots of options there for you, and we're all in it together as we continue to rock and shift and support families and each other in living healthy lives.

Clara:
I love it. Thank you guys so much.

Sarah:
There's our little summary. Yeah. Thank you for being here, Clara.

Clara:
Yes, thank you. Always a joy. And you guys make me miss birth for sure. Maybe one day. Never say never, right?

Sarah:
Never say never.

Clara:
Never say never.

Sarah:
You're not stuck.

Clara:
You're not stuck. And you know what? I remember when I first corresponded with you, Justine, I was like, "You guys are going to come labor me in Atlanta and we're going to have this baby together." And Justine was like, "What, baby?" I was like, "I don't know a baby in however long."

Justine:
Was like, wait, are you telling me something?

Sarah:
Is this your announcement?

Clara:
No, no, no, no. Obviously, I'll let you guys know, and I will ... you know what? After I met you guys and printed out the position guide and all the amazing resources, the new grads just love it, and they're still floating around and people send me pictures all the time. They're like, "We still have this, and we love it," so y'all are doing amazing work. Thank you for what you do.

Justine:
Oh, thanks.

Sarah:
Thank you for what you do. We're in it together.

Clara:
Yes, we are.

Justine:
Thanks for spending your time with us during this episode of Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses. If you like what you heard, it helps us both if you subscribe, rate, leave a raving review and share this episode with a friend. If you want more from us head to bundlebirthnurses.com or follow us on Instagram.

Sarah:
Now it's your turn to go and get unstuck. We'll see you next time.