Healing Hearts

Meet Crystal Onadeko, BSN, RN, MEDSURG-BC

Nashville General Hospital Registered Nurse

Crystal Onadeko, BSN, RN, MEDSURG-BCCrystal Onadeko, BSN, RN, MEDSBURG-BC, knew at a very young age she wanted to help people live healthier.

“I’ve always been very interested in improving the health and well-being of people around me, but I didn’t know the best way to do it,” says Crystal. “As I got older, and experienced other careers, I decided that nursing was the best way for me to accomplish this goal.”

Prior to joining Nashville General Hospital in 2019, Crystal worked in a UPS warehouse and as a machine operator for the Davidson County Election Commission.

While in nursing school, she had the opportunity to do hands-on training at Nashville General Hospital.

“I love the family-like atmosphere here and that we all know each other’s name. After I got my nursing license, I knew this was the right place for me,” adds Crystal. “I’m inspired by how Nashville General makes a difference and provides equal access to healthcare that’s accessible to all.”

Why did you become a nurse?

I became a nurse to improve the health and well-being of others. I want to provide people with tools and knowledge they can use to improve their health. People want to be healthy, but they don’t always know how. As a nurse, I can help share that knowledge.

How has nursing changed during your career?

My nursing career began about six months before the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, there have been numerous, almost daily, changes. Every day we learn something new. Nursing is about being flexible to the changes that occur so we can provide the best patient care.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

I love listening to podcasts, watching television, exercising, eating good food, traveling, singing, dancing, couponing, freebies, getting a massage, and catching up on sleep.
What did you do before you became a nurse?

I worked in a warehouse at UPS for a season. I also worked as a machine operator for the Davidson County Election Commission for about 5 years.

When did you initially know you wanted to become a nurse?

Since grade school, I’ve always have been very interested in improving the health and well-being of people around me, but I didn’t know the best way to do it. As I became older and wiser (and narrowed down my choices), nursing seemed as the best way to accomplish this goal.

Why did you become a nurse?

I became a nurse to improve the health and well-being of others. I wanted to provide people with tools (mainly knowledge) that they can use to improve their health. The other day, there was a patient on my floor that just had his toe surgically removed due to infection. He is a diabetic. I was shocked when I walked into his room and found a 2 liter bottle of orange Fanta soda on his bedside table and a Domino’s pizza box in his trashcan. Obviously he needs some of my “tools”.

Why did you choose to work at NGH?

I enjoyed doing some of my clinicals here at NGH while I was in nursing school. After obtaining my license, I knew it was the place that I could call home.

What do you like about working at NGH?

I love having a family-like atmosphere when I am away from my family at home. We all know each other at NGH by name, which is awesome!

What has been the most difficult part of nursing/working during the COVID-19 pandemic?

One was the lack of PPE and other supplies during the toughest time of the pandemic. The other was constantly sending patients from my floor to the ICU. It was frightening not knowing if the patient would survive or not.

How has nursing changed during your career?

Interestingly, my nursing career began about 6 months before the beginning of the pandemic, so there have been numerous (daily) changes since July 2019 until now. I remember being floated to the ICU wearing a reusable plastic gown that had to be wiped down with purple wipes. I even remember the huge ceiling-to-floor zipper between the nurse's station and the patient’s rooms in the ICU. As of today, they no longer exist. Every day, it’s about being flexible to various changes that may occur at any time.

If a nurse ran the world, how would our lives be different?

I think that people would be healthier and more compassionate towards others if a nurse ran the world. Perhaps the crime rate would be virtually non-existent, people would have access to healthcare, no matter what their socio-economic status is, or where they live.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the little things that people do that make a big difference. For example, about 10 years ago, I was sick and tired of purchasing groceries at Kroger, just for my brother to take all of the fuel points to fill up his vehicle! So, I was left with none (at the time the Kroger fuel points were all or nothing). Ironically, an employee at Kroger had the same issue with her husband. So, I sent an email to Kroger explaining this issue and I offered a solution: allowing people to choose how many fuel points can be used at one time at the pump. Issue solved!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

I love listening to podcasts, watching television, exercising, eating good food, traveling, singing, dancing, couponing, freebies, getting a massage, and catching up on sleep. I usually would run a few errands from time to time.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I can’t think of anything else at this time, other than thanking you for this opportunity for this interview.

Meet Lisa Bolton RN FNP

Lisa BoltonWhat did you do before you became a nurse?

I had a career in advertising and marketing and was writing and producing promos for our many shows at CMT / Country Music Television which had become an MTV Network, so we were doing less music shows and more “lifestyle” shows for example “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding.”

When did you initially know you wanted to become a nurse?

I had had my first and actually only child and had gone back to church, where I had participated in a small group discussion series called “Diversity in Dialog” which opened my eyes to how things really are, in America, for many people. At the same time, I was seeing a lot of doctors and nurses for the first time in my life: obgyn clinic, pediatrician clinic, ear doctor, etc. These people all seemed to like their work and to be doing something with meaning and purpose. I wanted this too. The doctors and nurses I overshared with were so gracious and encouraging, and I felt like a midlife career change would be possible and maybe wonderful.

Why did you become a nurse?

I explored medicine, physician assistant, nurse practitioner. The nursing profession attracted me with the holistic approach: that idea of helping the patient learn to live well with illness, which can be overwhelming. Back in the day, when people got injured or sick they either got well or they died. Today we live with “chronic illness” which means not just pills or surgery, but ongoing diet and lifestyle change. How do we care well for ourselves and one another, in a world which does not necessarily support a healthy lifestyle, meaning: getting enough sleep and rest, getting :30 minutes of exercise a day, shopping and cooking and enjoying nutritious meals, and managing stress in hopefully safe and legal ways. Nursing turned out to be the perfect type of profession for modern healthcare problems in a rather chaotic world, especially for someone with the gift of being that person that others wanted to share their problems with spontaneously.

Why did you choose to work at NGH?

I was hired by wonderful Marc Overlock, famous social worker and attorney, and the Friends in General Board to do outreach in the churches and faith communities surrounding our hospital. This opportunity spoke to my passion for helping people take better care of themselves, especially people who have historically been in many ways left out. The Foundation and the hospital under Dr Webb have taken a creative and innovative leadership approach to helping people improve their health. This was my passion when I was a student at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, and I am thrilled to be part of what this hospital is doing.

What do you like about working at NGH?

I love the affiliation with Meharry Medical College, I love the inpatient service and clinics caring for patients together, I love working with people from all over the world and all walks of life, I love the traditional family-like vibe at this hospital. I love my relationships with my patients and with the other nurses, doctors, students and staff. I love that we are doing something unique and needed here in North Nashville in a wonderful small academic teaching hospital. Our attending physicians are excellent, and I appreciate being able to consult with them and to learn from them.

What has been the most difficult part of nursing/working during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As an outpatient nurse, I am not front line. I have felt a mix of grief and deep admiration for the devotion of my front line colleagues, and I have felt frustration and anger at this misinformation “put out there” per an apparently political agenda by people who I would say do not share my interest in my patients’ heath and wellbeing. I have been so grateful to continue to have a daily routine, a job, an income. So many have lost so much. Concurrently with COVID has been the Black Lives Matter movement, and I have felt in a sense more on the front lines of that, than of COVID. We are caring for patients who have dealt with and are dealing with significant multifactorial individual and collective trauma, which we seem to be finally trying to address in this country. I am hopeful about the positive change which seems to be trying to take place. I grieve for what so many of my patients have experienced, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a compassionate, empathetic nurse for our patients.

How has nursing changed during your career?

I think nurses have been working quietly in the background as the business of health care has led to changes including shorter hospital stays, meaning that patients are sent home “quicker and sicker,” with less time for nurses at the bedside to do all that their training prepares them to do for the recovering patient. Maybe we see that now, and maybe there is more appreciation for the work of nursing, and maybe there will be more priority placed on better nurse-to-patient ratios and on more clinician time with patients, which evidence shows produces better outcomes.

If a nurse ran the world, how would our lives be different?

A nurse is first and foremost a strong patient advocate. If a nurse ran the world, then the world would be that nurse’s patient. The world needs to be able to support life and wellbeing for the people and creatures who live here on the earth, and so the nurse would also be promoting health wellbeing for all.

The nursing approach would include strategies to address climate change, sustainable and humane food production, affordable housing, excellent public education, protocols for managing common problems, initiatives for preventing circumstances that lead to addiction and homelessness and crime, and using treatment rather than punishment to create more healthy, happy communities and nations. The most nurse-like of the Presidential Candidates in my view was Elizabeth Warren, because like all nurses: she has a plan.

What inspires you?

Morning coffee and prayer. That and seeing someone go from feeling tired and unwell with out of control blood sugar and high blood pressure and smoking, to being someone who successfully did the work to quit smoking, to take medications accurately and maybe even able to come off a medication or two, to lose a bit of weight, to start exercising more, to get that A1c number down under 7, and who feels better now, with a spring in their step and a sparkle in their eye. Sometimes patients apologize for crying in their appointments, and I am inspired by their willingness to be completely honest with themselves and with me regarding their struggles, and to share their process and progress and encourage others, to get up in the morning and make it to their appointment with their blood pressure logs and their glucometers and doing all the difficult baby steps of healthy lifestyle change that we counsel them to do. I am inspired by how connected and the same we all are, each of us, regardless of our differences.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

Seeing movies with family and friends in the actual movie theatre is kind of my drug of choice. I missed this a lot during COVID. Also having dinner with my son, who grew up and graduated from college during the time I became a nurse and joined NGH. Also going for a long chatty walk on the Greenway or around Radnor Lake. Also visiting my tiny toddler great-nieces and my mom and sis in Kansas City.

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Meet Terry Snow, LPN, CPI Instructor

Nashville General Hospital Licensed Practical Nurse

Terry Snow, LPN, CPI InstructorTerry Snow, LPN, CPI Instructor, was working as a mechanic in the National Guard when his commanding officer informed him he was being sent to a medical unit and his next step was nursing school. That was more than 38 years ago. Following five years working in emergency medical services on an ambulance, Terry joined Nashville General Hospital in 1989.

“Nashville General has been a big part of my family’s history,” says Terry. “My wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and sister have all worked here. And now, my granddaughter goes to school here.”

Having grown up in a small town, Terry appreciates the diverse population served by the hospital and the lessons they’ve taught him.

“Here at Nashville General, you’re guaranteed to meet many people from all races, religions and creeds. When you meet different people every day, you have the opportunity to learn something different each day,” says Terry. “In my 30 years here, I’ve learned a lot. Humility is at the top of the lessons I’ve learned”.

When not at work, Terry enjoys gardening, woodworking and cooking.

What do you like about working at Nashville General Hospital?

The people I work with. They are very supportive and I can talk with them about anything. I also like that when people leave to work at other hospitals they sometimes come back here. There’s some secret sauce going on that keeps people here and brings them back.

How has nursing changed during your career?

Medicine has improved a lot. We had probably four or five antibiotics when I started. We have a lot more now and some we don't use anymore. Procedures have changed, too. When I started, if you had a heart catheterization you laid flat on your back for six hours and couldn't move your leg. Now we can do them in a way so you’re active almost right away. It used to be if you had hip surgery you're walking around like Frankenstein because you couldn't put your legs together. Now people are having hip surgery and going home the same day.

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who try to make things better. You can tell that some people, no matter the profession, are doing the job just for a paycheck. But then there are people who truly care and want to make things better. If we all tried to make things better, it would be better for everyone.

Meet Laurel Barber, BSN, BBA, RN, CCRN

Nashville General Hospital Nurse Manager

Laurel Barber, BSN, BBA, RN, CCRN Eighteen years after getting her Bachelor of Business Administration and applying it to a successful career in human resources, Laurel Barber, BSN, BBA, RN, CCRN decided it was time to change her profession and went back to school to become a nurse.

“I wanted to do something where I could focus on helping people,” says Laurel. “After a family member had a massive heart attack, I was impressed by the care the nurses provided him and the family. That, along with a series of other events in my personal life, convinced me that nursing was the right career for me.”

Following a family move to Nashville, Laurel heard about the work being done at Nashville General Hospital and decided it was a good fit.

“There is a community feeling at this hospital that you don't get at other hospitals. The people that work here care for each other as much as we care for our patients. Being a nurse here is a labor of love,” says Laurel.

In addition to her three adult children, Laurel has two dogs – a beagle named Charlie and a corgi named Lucy. She enjoys cooking, chocolate, and binge watching Netflix and Hulu.

What do you like about working at Nashville General Hospital?

I believe every patient should be treated the same regardless of where they come from. I like that, at Nashville General, we care for each person with a respect and dignity that every human being deserves. It’s like we're on a mission to be outstanding and we never lose sight of that.

How has nursing changed during your career?

We've become more knowledgeable and better understand how to more effectively treat diseases and cure the human body. Some of the biggest changes happened in the past two years with the pandemic. We needed to work quickly to identify challenges and make improvements so our staff could continue to focus on providing empathetic care.

What inspires you?

People who have empathy and care for others inspire me. I’m also inspired by people who are able to provide care with limited resources, like those who do mission work in other countries.

Meet Madison Loos, RN, BSN

 Nashville General Hospital ICU Nurse

Meet Madison Loos, RN, BSNMadison Loos, RN, BSN, recently graduated from nursing school and chose to start her career at Nashville General Hospital because of the hospital’s size and commitment to serving the community.

“I initially wanted to work overseas and do mission and service work,” says Madison. “A friend’s mom was a nurse and she showed me how nursing provides the opportunity to do all the things I wanted to do overseas.”

In addition to serving her patients, Madison appreciates that she gets to really know both her coworkers and the people who use the hospital’s services. 

“I love that I know almost everybody here,” says Madison. “I also love that I work with the same patients during their stay here. And, if they need to come back, I get to serve them again. They’re like family. I think that’s really special.”

When not at work, Madison enjoys spending time at a cross-fit gym. She also has a really cute cat that she spends time with. 

How has COVID changed the way you do your job? 

Before COVID, during my first days of nursing school I was told a smile can go a long way. Unfortunately, during COVID when we’re fully gowned and you don’t see any part of my face we don’t have that luxury. I can’t walk into a room and just smile at the patient, so I try to do it with my eyes. I look forward to showing my smile again. A smile can really go a long way. 

If a nurse ran the world, how would our lives be different? 

Nurses are a jack of all trades. We wear many hats. A nurse may not be a master of one thing, but we can do many things. We can assist a physician, help a respiratory therapist and provide compassionate care for our patients. The world would be very different if everybody was like a nurse. 

What inspires you? 

I try to live my life as a light for others, especially in the ICU, where it could be somebody’s worst day. When it’s the darkest of dark for a patient, their family or my coworkers, I try to provide a positive light. 

Meet Sarah Peterson, RN

Sarah Peterson, RNNashville General Hospital ED Case Manager

As case manager, Sarah Peterson, RN, supports the delivery of effective and efficient patient care in collaboration with the patient, family and health care team. Prior to becoming a case manager in Nashville General’s emergency department, Sarah studied otolaryngology – a medical specialty that focuses on the ear, nose and throat. She also worked in the emergency department at area hospitals.

“I am the only nurse in my family. I became one because I like taking care of people,” says Sarah. “Since I was little, I’ve always loved being able to help people and animals.”

Sarah has been a nurse for 12 years and is committed to nurturing both health and hope.

“I love the people we see and the people we get to work with,” says Sarah. “Everyone is welcome here and we treat everybody equally.”

When not at work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and kids. She also rescues stray cats.

When did you initially know you wanted to become a nurse?

I played softball when I was 10 or 11. There was a girl on the team who was frequently ill. I remember one day she fainted at second base. I ran out there. She had problems with the heat and started getting sick. I remember holding her hair and helping her. I did a lot of taking care of people.

How has nursing changed during your career?

Nursing has not changed. There may be new ways to way to do something, but nursing, and taking care of people, has pretty much always been the same.

What inspires you?

My kids. I have a 5-year-old who’s so witty and smart and he tells you how it is. I also have a 2-year-old. He is the sweetest and always has a smile on his face. He’s so animated and he makes everybody laugh or smile. They both have big hearts, like their Momma.

Meet Sullivan Brimmer, RN, BSN

Summer Brimmer NGHNashville General Hospital ICU Nurse

From her early childhood, Sullivan Brimmer, RN, BSN, had an interest in medicine and wanted to go to either veterinarian school or medical school.

“In middle school, I had a friend who got sick,” says Sullivan. “I visited him in the hospital and saw how the nurses cared for him. They really got to know him. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a nurse.”

Sullivan, from Arizona, is a recent nursing school graduate. Because of her childhood experiences, she wanted to work at a place that made health care accessible to all. That’s why she chose to work at Nashville General Hospital.

When not at work, Sullivan enjoys being outside, hiking and appreciating Nashville’s green trees, something she did not see a lot of in Arizona.

What do you like about working at Nashville General Hospital?
I love that we’re small and different types of people work here. Because of Nashville General’s size, I get to know people from different departments and form friendships with them.

How has nursing changed during your career?

I started during COVID when there was a huge need for ICU nurses. Over time, we’ve seen different COVID strains, which impact patients differently and has changed how we care for them. We’re also working with a lot more travelers. I get to hear all of their experiences.

What inspires you?

The people I work with are phenomenal; they keep me going every day. I’m also inspired by our patients. I like caring for them and being able to impact their lives in small ways. I want to do more than just hand them their meds. When I go into a room I listen to them and want to talk with them about whatever they want to talk about.