Q: First, please introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about you.
I’m Misha. I’m a registered nurse. I’ve been a nurse now for 10 years. I also work as a personal trainer, which is sort of now like my side thing, although it was my main thing for a while. My clinical background is in step-down and critical care level 2 in the surgical oncology unit here in Toronto, which is rated one of the best hospitals in the world. I spent most of my time in clinical education, and now I’m working as an implementation specialist for a medical device company that focuses on safe patient movement and mobility.
Q: What inspired you to go into nursing specifically?
My mom is actually a nurse, and she always really pushed me to do it, but at the time I wasn’t really interested in it to be honest. I wanted to teach. I think over time I realized — as I volunteered and got involved in it — that the same things I loved in teaching, you could find in nursing. There is something very rewarding about being able to help someone reach their fullest and best potential, which you do in teaching and you do in nursing if you’re working at the bedside to a certain extent.
Q: Can you share some moments that stand out to you from your experiences as a nurse?
Most of my career now has been with students, but whenever I think back to my bedside days, there are two scenarios that are very distinct. [There was] one where I was caring for a patient who deteriorated very quickly, and he was a fairly young guy — he was probably in his fifties. He was admitted two days prior and I had cared for him for two days. The daughter was a nurse practitioner and I was still a fairly new nurse, so there’s always a lot of pressure when you’re dealing with other healthcare workers. He deteriorated very quickly and passed away in a few days. I had dreamt about him passing away that morning, and I remember thinking, “I wonder if he passed,” and then came into shift, finding out he had passed around the time I had dreamt it. [I remember] his daughter running up to me and hugging me and being like, “I’m so glad you’re here. Promise me you’ll take care of him” in terms of post-mortem care and she was crying. That’s a very significant moment for me because it reminded me how impactful and important your care is for people. You’re not just caring for the patient — you are caring for the family members and how you care for them will stay with them forever.
Another was when I was caring for a very young kid who must have been 16, and he was a DNR bedspace, meaning he wasn’t meant to be on our unit as a specialty. He belonged to medicine, which means I have to deal with doctors from a different unit. But there is a very large misunderstanding between DNR meaning end of life, but it really means we do everything up until the interventions outlined in the do-not-resuscitate — so we might not do CPR and we might not intubate them. I was really struggling to advocate for this kid because he would start to deteriorate and medicine would be like, “Oh well, he’s a DNR anyways.” And I’d have to be like, “Yes, he’s a DNR, but we still implement interventions. His life is still significant.” He ended up deteriorating, and I remember calling [his mom] and saying, “I just have a feeling he’s not going to make it. I need you to come in and make it to the hospital.” It was a similar situation where he did pass away and his family was so thankful that at least he had some level of reasonable care.
Q: What inspired you to pursue personal training?
There was a time in my life right before I entered nursing where I was very, very heavy and really struggled to make fitness a lifestyle for myself. Entering the nursing profession, it became a struggle again. I became very burnt out, I started to gain weight and I started to get injured. Initially when I started personal training, I ran a business that was focused on mitigating burnout among nurses and working to rehabilitate and prevent injuries among nurses. I did some work as a physiotherapist assistant, working to develop the best strength movements to prevent injury and to rehabilitate people who had already injured themselves.
The more time I spent in personal training, the more I realized how it lacked an evidence-based background. Personal training isn’t very science-backed and it doesn’t take a lot to get a certification. I realized that I’m doing the rest of people a disadvantage by not offering more science-backed training generally, so I started to open it up to people who have struggled to lose weight and wanted to do it for life this time. I developed more of a lifestyle-based program with focus on mindset as well as nutrition and the physical aspect.
Q: Do you have any fitness or health tips to share?
One: don’t believe everything you see. Everything is always a trend, and it’s not always accurate. Two: no matter what your goal is, it really is about building sustainable lifestyle habits because it’s not going to happen in two weeks, and if it happens in two weeks, you’re probably going to end up right back where you started. Take your time, be patient with yourself, set realistic small goals and make it a lifestyle.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of so far?
I’ve done a lot in terms of tangible accomplishments, but I think my biggest accomplishment is actually prioritizing and coming to a space where I can prioritize work-life balance for myself and put myself first and teach others to do that. In doing that, you’re just a better nurse in general. I don’t think it’s always easy to put yourself first, especially in the nursing profession, and to advocate for your own boundaries.
Q: Have you gone through any obstacles you would like to share? How did you overcome them?
My biggest would be my burnout when I was at bedside initially. That was huge for me. I was sleeping all the time, I was incredibly irritable and I was gaining weight. I went from being a very positive, happy nurse to someone who would pick up the phone, get angry at the person on the other end of the line and slam it down. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t me anymore. That was a very trying time. I continuously kept injuring my shoulder because of the burnout and lack of proper nutrition and sleep. That was really hard, but it also pushed me to set boundaries and put myself first.
COVID was trying in the sense that, for one, in terms of running a small business, it just changes the landscape and makes you question if it is something you want to continue to do. When COVID hit, I was running my business full-time. I was very focused on pivoting it online and hit my biggest revenue in that period of time. Then I made a decision that I wanted to focus on other things like my life.
In January, my father passed away due to COVID and medical malpractice and that still continues to be a really trying thing for me to work my head around, especially since I have been a huge advocate in the profession for so long. I spent my entire life teaching people best practices and how to be an advocate, and we were treated horribly at that hospital. It was a really big fight to see him. That really derailed me in terms of my focus on my career. It made me question what was most important to me in my life and my career and it changed my trajectory in terms of what I was looking for in a job.
Q: What are your future plans and goals?
Right now, my biggest focus is on building my life around my life and work fitting into it as opposed to work being the center of my life and trying to fit my life around that. I have made the focus of my job search to be one that meets my ideals and I have been very focused on knowing that a career goes both ways — you deserve to have your needs met in this climate of healthcare burnout. My focus is work-life balance, having a very fulfilling life and honestly just doing things I love. In the future, I may do a master’s, but I also want to make sure it is something I feel passionate about doing.
Q: What advice do you have for women balancing multiple roles?
I absolutely think you can do it all, but I think it’s also important to understand that balance means not always doing it all at once or putting all of your focus on it all at once. Throughout your life, your priorities will ebb and flow. It is very important to let yourself shift with those priorities.
Q: What does “she can be both” mean to you?
In this corporate, very male-dominated culture, as a woman you can be ambitious and still be the caring, feminine individual. You can be multiple things in this world.
Follow Misha on Instagram @mishajadoo!