BABE #148: SUMMER GOODMAN, Registered Nurse @ Baptist Health
As a nurse by trade and a gaming guru and musician by heart, today's babe wears a variety of hats in her day-to-day hustle. Based right here in Jacksonville, FL, Summer works the night shift as a Registered Nurse at Baptist Health’s Neuro Progressive unit. Outside of the hospital, you can find her writing beautiful tunes, gaming it up with her wife and siblings and perfecting her atypical sleep schedule. She's a talented, well-rounded, kind-hearted soul that we’re lucky to know, and we're stoked to share part of her story today.
Babe you admire and why?
There are so many babes I admire, but one on my mind currently has been Ellen DeGeneres. She has done so much comedically and genuinely for the LGBT community, planet conservation and general kindness. I feel like in my line of work it’s easy to become hardened and unkind, so I definitely need that encouragement in my day-to-day.
How do you spend your free time?
Play video games and sleep. (I work nights, so I spend a lot of time switching back and forth between schedules). I also recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons, which was something my sci-fi/fantasy geek side never knew she needed.
Go-to coffee order?
Black pourover! Unless I’m at work drinking mass-produced coffee, in which I use a lot of cream and sugar.
Go-to adult beverage?
Go-to power anthem?
Currently, “Head Over Heels,” by Tears For Fears.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Without a doubt: mashed potatoes.
What is something you want to learn or master?
I’d like to re-learn music theory. I know the basics but my proficient days are currently behind me.
Three words to describe yourself?
Empathetic, sensitive and determined.
Tell us about your hustle.
My main hustle is as a nurse. I currently work nights on a neuro progressive unit (I take care of brains and spines). I work 12-hour shifts (7 p.m. - 7 a.m.), so my schedule can definitely get weird depending on what daytime activities I have planned weekly. And forget sleep—who needs it? I also helped create Fusspot Gaming, which began primarily as a YouTube channel and outlet for my siblings and I to give our own input in the gaming community. We make all sorts of gaming videos, and recently my wife joined and loves doing Animal Crossing videos. We’ve also recently branched into podcasting, which is pretty cool. This project is especially important for me being a woman who loves video games, as there isn’t a lot of input from women in general. The industry as a whole is very focused on the male perspective, and I’m grateful to add some diversity. I also write music. I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager and playing shows occasionally over the years. I’m starting to get back into that recently. I’ve started writing again and working on a project with some close friends, and it’s been really fun. More to come from that soon!
What does your typical workday look like?
If it’s a nursing workday, I’m running non-stop. Passing meds, assessing patients, handing out Jell-O and occasionally saving a life or two. It’s a juggling act that nursing school doesn’t even begin to shed a light on and has truly re-routed the way my brain works. I’ll say this: prioritization is key, and my patients all need me, sometimes all at once. But who needs me the most? Who might actually suffer harm if I don’t get there now? That’s a lot of what goes through my head during a shift, and it’s stressful but gratifying when you get it right and make a difference.
How long have you been interested in nursing? Did you always plan to pursue it professionally?
I, like most young people I know, did not always know what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I was raised religiously, and for a long time thought I would be a missionary. Eventually, I sat down with myself and thought that based upon my personality and interests, I’d probably enjoy nursing or teaching. Being the logical 19-year-old I was, I ended up picking nursing purely because it paid more. I’m glad I did—for more reasons than my paycheck.
What was the education/application/interview process like for your role?
Education was brutal. Length-wise, it’s not a long program to begin your career (only two years), but those two years were hell. I was working nights full-time as a nursing assistant, going to class in the morning after my shifts—let’s just say I’m glad that period of my life is over. I applied everywhere after school, and only got one interview (on the unit where I currently work). If I hadn’t started as a nursing assistant, I'm not sure what I would have done. Competition is fierce for your first job, and I had four consecutive interviews just to secure it.
What’s something people should know before becoming a nurse?
It’s not what you think it’s going to be like. And that’s hard, because then how will you know if you like it? You might not like your first job (sorry!), but take the first job you can and get the experience you need to transfer to the kind of nursing environment that you enjoy.
Do you feel a sense of purpose in your day-to-day work?
Not usually, to be honest. Most of the time I feel like I’m a narcotic/snack machine. But, every once in a while I get to really make a difference (the kind of difference that made me interested in nursing). Those are wonderful moments.
What is your schedule like?
I work three 12-hour shifts a week, and I usually spend a day sleeping and transitioning back to a day shift schedule for my days off. My wife works as a baker and works typically a normal day schedule (with the occasional early shift), so most days I’m crashing into bed as she’s waking up. We do coordinate our days off though, so between that and me not working as much we make it work, and cherish our weekends.
How do your side hustles fit in with your nursing schedule?
They fit in where I can manage. It honestly can be hard to do anything outside of nursing at times—depending on the shift it can be especially draining. But games help me unwind and music helps me process my thoughts.
How would you say your gender and sexual orientation has affected your professional experience?
My sexuality has definitely influenced my professional experience, but I think that has a lot to do with living in Florida. It is definitely the South, and there’s never a shortage of “old-fashioned” opinions to be had. For a long time, my hospital didn’t have any protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, so I didn’t tell anyone I was dating a woman. It was definitely isolating. It was also easier when I was engaged because patients love to ask if I’m married or have children, to which I would say, “I’m engaged!” We could use the gender-neutral term of fiancé and I’d never have to drop the gay bomb. I’ve had patients inquire further; some are overly supportive and some are very much not. I’ve even had a patient say, “You’re the first person like that I’ve ever met”—to which I didn’t really have a response because surely you’ve met at least a closeted lil’ gay, but I didn’t burst his bubble and, instead, graciously bowed (because being the first is kind of cool, even if he was being rude.) But with the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) expanding its protections for my city in 2017, I don’t have to worry so much about losing my job/housing/etc. solely because of my sexual orientation, which is a wonderful thing that has allowed me to be truly open at work about who I am, which feels amazing.
What would you say is the skill you most need to improve?
Probably my patience. We deal with a lot of confused patients on our floor and it can be mentally exhausting for me to continually chase after and dodge swipes from combative patients.
What’s your ultimate dream job?
Probably something to do with writing or voice acting for video games.
What advice would you give to a babe trying to break into your industry?
Work hard! There are all kinds of nurses with all kinds of personalities—even grumpy introverts—but if you study and apply yourself, you can do it your own way.
What are some notable experiences you’ve had on the job?
I once had a 90-year-old patient notice my engagement ring, and she took my hand gently and asked about it. After I told her I was engaged, she looked at me very seriously, held my hand tight and in a hushed tone she said: “Kiss goodnight every night. That’s the secret.” It seems cliché, but in the dark hospital room then, it really felt like sage wisdom.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope I own a house by then! I think that would also be a good point to start thinking seriously about children, but who knows. Other than that, I’d like to have a sizeable savings account and work either in women’s health or labor and delivery/post-partum care. These goals feel still very abstract, but they don’t change all that much. I still feel like a child most of the time when it comes to my long-term goals.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Do something you like and figure out how to make it happen. I wasted a lot of time just waiting for the stars to align and they never really will on their own. So just go for it, and give it your all.
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