CRAFTING WELLNESS STORY

Follow Your Passion and It Will Lead You to Your Purpose

After graduating from Nursing School, Leeza went straight into Emergency Medicine, where she would stay for the next several years. Her passion for Medical Aesthetics would eventually be the driving force in her career change. As a future NP in Medical Aesthetics, Leeza proves that following your passion, despite the thoughts of others, will lead you to your purpose and ultimate joy. She encourages us all to be brave in the pursuit of our dreams, and reminds us that it's never too late to shift gears.

TRANSCRIPT

Leeza
I started out my nursing career right out of school in Emergency Medicine as a new grad, and did that for four years. And then just recently, in the last a little over a year, kind of did a little career switch, which is what's amazing about nursing because you can do that. And I switched to this whole medical esthetics world. So that's what I'm doing now.

Brooke Smith
Welcome to MDF Instruments Crafting Wellness podcast. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Leeza.

Leeza
I was so honored when I was asked to be on this podcast. My name is

Leeza
Edmondson Smith, I am from Missouri. I actually went to nursing school at the University of Missouri in Columbia at Mizzou, so mi z for all my fellow Mizzou people out there. I live in a little town called Dexter, Missouri, and work at a practice in my hometown of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, just down the road. And now I am an aesthetic injector medical esthetics, I started out my nursing career right out of school in emergency medicine as a new grad, and did that for three years. And then just recently, in the last a little over a year, kind of did a little career switch, which is what's amazing about nursing, because you can do that. And I switched to this whole medical esthetics world. So that's what I'm doing now.

Brooke Smith
I love that because as I'm doing these podcasts, I'm learning about how many roads you can take as a nurse, you can always continue your education, you can always change your specialty, the roads seem to be endless. And I was really excited to talk to you because you've done both emergency medicine and now you're into medical aesthetics. I think it's so interesting and so cool. And you know, we don't really get to talk much about these other specialties. And so I'm really excited to kind of dive in and hear about how you made that kind of transition. But also, why. Tell us a little bit about why you went straight into emergency room medicine after graduation? And tell us a little bit about what that was like?

Leeza
Yeah, so I graduated in 2019. And went right into emergency room nursing right out of school, which any nurses on here, when you first graduate, and you get in your first job, you realize, oh my gosh, like I know, nothing like everything that I think I know, I have no idea and I call it real world nursing. And so I was definitely so green. So new, just learning and but loved it loved the fast pace, I loved just the people that I worked with and learning and I really needed that core nursing experience. I think everyone needs that, at some point in your career. It was just such a good learning experience for me. And I always say that's when I really learned what it is to be a nurse whenever I've started my first job, I feel like school teaches you most of what you need to know. But then when you first get into your first job, that's when you really learn how to be a nurse. I didn't mention this before, but I'm also in nurse practitioner school. So I knew that I needed either ER or ICU experience to be able to get into nurse practitioner school. So I personally did some rotations in the ER at the University of Missouri Hospital. And I just really was super interested I loved being that person for someone and they're like most vulnerable scariest moments in their families. And there's just so much that goes into it. And I just went with my gut and went into emergency nursing right out and it was so scary but so like such I can't express how much like I learned and how grateful I am for that experience. Also, what I also loved about emergency medicine is you just never know what's going to come through the door like I love that you didn't know it was coming through the door. It was fast paced, you had to be on your toes, it was just like the the shifts just flew by most of the time like I would literally look down and be like, Oh my gosh, I'm already like almost done with this shift because it was you know, just you never knew what was going to come through the door. Also, I'm I should mention I also started. I started my first job in January of 20. And in March COVID hit so I had two months in the emergency room where we didn't wear a mask and then like which was crazy to think I'm like wow, I used to work without a mask on and then from then on. Basically my entire first start and my nursing rear was through COVID. So being in the emergency room starting out as a new grad, then you throw COVID in there, it was just like madness.

Brooke Smith
Even just going straight from graduating into being an emergency room nurse. I think that's just going to keep you on your toes. Because like you said, you never know what's coming through the door, you don't really know how to prepare for things, you just kind of have to be ready for anything. And then to experience a few months with just normalcy as a normal emergency room. And then the covid pandemic, and during that time it's crazy. So I imagine now you feel like you can do anything, if you can make it.

Leeza
Yeah I do. Absolutely. I'm like, hey, if I made it through, we made it through that we can do it, like whatever your whatever we have to go through, we will make it, you know, transitioning into aesthetics, I don't use some of those skills as much anymore. And we were eating dinner a couple of weekends ago, and one of my friend's little girls choked on a mozzarella stick. And I just kind of went and flew into that I've never saved anyone choking before. I've had all the training, but I've never actually done it in practice before. And I had her dad flipped upside down. I totally hooked her got the mozzarella stick out. And you know, it was just such it could have been such a horrible event. But I was like, wow, like, that's what all that training was for all those classes and courses that you think oh, like, I'm never gonna use this. Or even if you're not in emergency, but you're just in other areas, you never know, like, what you're going to use your ACLs or your pals for. So I always am like, seriously, like, pay attention in those courses. Because I mean, you never know you might be out and have to do CPR on someone or have to save someone from choking. And so it's just it's a really important thing to know for sure.

Brooke Smith
Isn't it ironic that you're using that skill? Not in a hospital or in an office? Yeah, it's out in daily life. And I think that's absolutely anybody should learn, you know, you should learn CPR, you should learn how to help someone from choking the Heimlich even just more basic things. Yes, absolutely. Never know when you're going to need it for even your own child or a family member or just some random person that you can help. But I'm so glad you were there.

Leeza
I know they're like we can't go anywhere without a nurse now. But in parents, their parents were amazing to in this situation. So it just luckily was not it could have been much worse, but it ended up being not so bad. So just have to be thankful for the good outcomes.

Brooke Smith
Absolutely. You know kids, they'll put anything in their mouth. So yes. Like dogs eat anything. Like we don't Oh,

Leeza
I know. I know. I did have to like look up a video on how to do dog CPR because I was like, What did I need to know that for my dog? They don't teach you in those classes.

Brooke Smith
So I have a question about your emergency medicine career after graduation. Did you go was it night shift for you? Because I've heard that starting out. A lot of times you will start on night shift is that similar?

Leeza
Yes. Yeah, so And actually, like most ers don't even hire new grads. But I'm from obviously a more rural area down in Southeast Missouri. So I mean, it's kind of just more like whatever help you can get. So they luckily hired me, the manager at the time, really believed in me and was like, you're gonna be able to do this. I told him I was like, if I'm not good at this in a month, like I'll go up to the floor, and you don't have to worry about me. I was like, but I will try to do my best and learn and just, you know, immerse myself in that field. And he was an awesome manager for me starting out as a new grad, but I definitely had a start out on nights and kind of worked my way up. I was doing the night shift live in the zombie life all the coffee, Red Bull, all the bad things that I'm now like, I just cringe thinking about what I had to do to keep going but it's a it's a real different it's a real different life. Honestly, you're sleeping during the day you're missing you know, the world around you kind of luckily only for three or four nights out of the week, but still it's definitely hard to kind of get your body acclimated to that particularly hard for me I think some people love it and enjoy it like I have friends that are like I love night shifts like I thrive overnight. I was definitely not that. So I was on the list for like the first option available any earlier which I think ended up being like 12 noon to midnight and then I worked up to 10 to 10 and then eventually days so you do have to kind of it's a totem pole process and I was just honestly happy to get like to land the job. OB. So even if it started out on nights, I was like, Whatever, I'll do it like, I'll make it work. And it's good for you. It's good for you to kind of see what all the shifts and and the differences are in that field for sure.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, and it sounds like from what I understand, it's pretty common to have to start on nights. So for everyone listening, you're probably going to have to do a night shift

Leeza
here to get out to do your night rounds. And you will survive, just, you know, lots of coffee, and you just do what you got to do.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, do you have any? Like, is there anything that really helped you, since you aren't really a night person, it seems like you're more of a morning, a morning person, person.

Leeza
Yeah, I think just make yourself get up, obviously, get your sleep. But it's really easy on that day, that day time, like after your shift to want to, you know, sleep and then maybe get up and lay around. And I really just had to make myself like, get up and run and do the things like chores around the house or whatever, just really to make myself get up and go. Otherwise, you're staying up all night, and then you're sleeping and laying around all day. And that's kind of when you get into that, like zombie like mode, basically, that you're just living in. And it's you know, miserable. No one wants to live life like that. So I think you just kind of have to force yourself to get up and keep going and let your body adjust, it will adjust, it just kind of takes time for That's great advice and lots of like tons of water. It's really easy to get dehydrated on that kind of schedule, with your circadian rhythms off and everything. So yeah, I think if you can just kind of on your off days tried to adhere to a normal schedule, try to eat at normal times, your sleep is going to be off, obviously, you're probably going to be more of a night owl. And a little bit late later morning sleeper. But I think on your off days, if you can just try to get a little bit back to normal with your schedule. It makes it a lot better.

Brooke Smith
Before we get into the change that you went through with your career and your specialty, you tell us a little bit about what your education journey was like, What did you major in?

Leeza
Yeah, so I went into school knowing that I wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to go to nursing school. So I did do the pre nursing route for my undergrad. And then I actually applied I think it's at the end of your sophomore year, I applied to the Sinclair School of Nursing at Mizzou, it's, I can't speak highly enough, at least for my time there about that program. It's an amazing program. But it is like very, very competitive. There's a ton of applicants and they only take a certain amount. And it's pretty common to not get in your first time. Even with like the best grades and everything that you can be doing club organizations, and it's just a very competitive program. So I did not think that I don't know why I just thought that I would get in I thought, well, I've got good grades. I've done all this. So I actually was not accepted my first time applying. And it totally like wrecked me. I was like, you know, I was embarrassed to come home, I was embarrassed to tell everybody that I didn't get in. And but it ended up being like the best thing for me. I had a little gap semester, as I like to call it. And I really just kind of got to, I don't know, just live I think for so long. I just been kind of on a hamster wheel like this is what I have to do. I've gotta make good grades 4.0 to get into this program. And when I didn't get in, I was just like, okay, like, I guess I'm just gonna take some classes and live a normal college life. And I just have a ton of fun, to be honest, which everyone needs and I'm so glad that I had that. Because then I did reapply and I got into nursing school and then pretty much like the fun and your college. Life just dies. You're constantly studying, but variant point, and it's how you can overcome rejection and how you can push yourself to succeed. So all in all, that was a great thing that happened to me at the time. Of course, I was devastated. But all in all, it was a great experience for me and I

Brooke Smith
talked about this a little bit on our podcast that you know, people can feel like, oh, I should have gotten in the first time or they can there's a lot that will happen when you aren't expecting to not get in and you get that like initial rejection. But everyone that I've talked to has a very similar story and it also ended up being like the best thing for them because they grew so much in that year they learned so much and then they were only more ready for the next step in their journey because in health care, like once you get going you're you're in it you know and there's not really absolutely break. So totally Did sometimes to have that time. And I think it's important for everyone listening and watching to to understand that it's okay. Like it's okay if if you don't get in.

Leeza
Rejection is a part of life, and the sooner you can kind of know that and home that and know how to respond to it. anything in life is going to be so much easier for you and you're going to be a stronger person, and you're ultimately going to be better because you're going to work I worked even harder to get in the second time. So yeah, I just, I can't speak enough on just allowing rejection in your life and not giving up and continuing to fight for what you want, because it will be worth it in the end. And you'll actually appreciate it that much more.

Brooke Smith
I could not agree more. So well said, you said that when you apply for school and you went to college, you already knew that you wanted to be a nurse. So that's second on. When did you know you wanted to be a nurse? How did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Their story there for us? Yeah, so

Leeza
I know, everyone that's like the number one question. And I feel like, you know, a lot of people have such great stories for that I really have always, I've just always had an interest in science and medicine. And, you know, just everything that encompasses that. And I knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare, originally, I kind of thought, well, you know, maybe I'll be a doctor or whatever. And then I did some shadowing, prior like in high school, I did some job shadowing, and I actually went into job shadow, a physician. And through that experience, I really just loved the field of nursing and just kind of the role of the nurse, particularly the nurse practitioner. And nursing in general, I was just like, that is really what I want to do just the I felt like the physician, it, there's a lot to that. And I totally have so much respect for providers, physicians, but I really loved seeing the partnership between the physician and the nurse practitioner, and just kind of that team oriented process. And, and that with the physician and the nurses and Kai to have had experiences in the hospital setting where nurses had been the one to help me or help someone in my family. And I just felt like no matter what, when you left those situations, it was the nurse that you probably always really remembered and gravitated to because there, it's it's so much more hands on with the patient. And I really, I've always connected with people, I've always been able to talk to people. And I just thought like, that's really what I want to do. Like I want to make an impact on someone's life, like I want them to leave, leave my care and really feel like okay, you know, she really gave me her all and, and took care of me in a low moment or when I was scared and just have that experience with my patients.

Brooke Smith
That's beautiful. I love that. How did you decide why did you decide to leave emergency room nursing? And then what made you go into esthetics will tell us a little bit about that

Leeza
kind of Yeah. Yeah. So I, it was a really hard decision. I actually initially kind of started dabbling in aesthetics part time, I always had an interest, I've always had an interest in beauty as well. So like, basically medical aesthetics being the amazing combination of medicine and science, and nursing, also, but then you have that beauty aspect of things. And so it's just kind of the best of both worlds. For me, I always had interest in it. In fact, I told a few professors in nursing school that I wanted to be an injector. And they've all were just kind of like Oh, haha, like, why would you want to do that? Like, why would you go through all this work and want to do medical esthetics. And I just something inside me was always like, I just think I'd be really good at that. I always was watching videos and really just was interested in it. But you know, I just kind of thought well, like, is it real nursing like I am and to that effect, I didn't need the experience, the core nursing experience of emergency room medicine, I do think that there are everyone has different journeys and different paths. But I think that there are some new nurses coming out of school going right into medical aesthetic position. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that. But I do think that I would not be as good at medical aesthetics. Had I not had that core nursing experience with emergency medicine first, to really learn nursing skills and you know, being quick on my feet and learning fast. I think that emergency medicine was really good for me with that in that regard. But ultimately I reached out to a very well known injector in our area. She's had 10 plus years of experience in injecting and has built an amazing practice with Jody Spain. And popper bluff. She's a nurse practitioner. And I reached out to her and just said, Hey, like, you know, I would just love to come follow you Sunday and just see kind of what your day as an injector is, like, and just see if this is something that I would ever really be interested in. And she was so gracious, so welcoming. Like, let me come in and follow her, answered all my questions, and I just left being like cash like, that is what I want to do. Like, I know, like, that's what I really, really want to do eventually, but just ultimately thought, like, you know, I don't know if that's gonna be something that is possible for me right now. Or am I gonna have to open up my own place eventually. And you know, it's just, it's a hard It really is kind of a hard field to get in, because you absolutely have to have that mentor, with experience to teach you. So then a few weeks later, her and the partner provider, our medical director, Dr. McSpadden, Farah McSpadden, they brought me in and said, Look, you know, this be something that you'd be interested in, somewhat of, like an apprenticeship and learning this craft, because really, medical esthetics is more of an art, which I've always also had an interest in, in art. So it's just just everything that I've always loved medicine, art, beauty, it brings it all together. Integrative Medicine, with health, and exercise, and everything that I love is in one, it just really encompasses all of my interests. And so when they said, you know, would you like to come start trying to learn this? I was like, Yes, oh my gosh, like, this is such a dream come true for me. And so I still kept my er, job, I just anytime, anytime that I had extra, like, on my days off, I would go there. And so I was like, working double and, you know, trying to make things work, but it didn't matter. Like anytime that I could get in there. I wanted to be in there, learning and just like immersing myself in this medical esthetics world, and luckily, that's one when people ask me, like, you know, I really want to get started in this. What's your advice? I think step number one is absolutely you have to have that mentor. For that, for me, that was Jody Spain, and Christian Bowers, another very experienced injector at this practice. They absolutely took me under their wing taught have taught me everything that I know in this field, and just really trained me from the bottom up starting with neurotoxin with like Botox and, you know, transitioning into filler, with lip filler and cheek filler, and then lasers and just all the there's so many different avenues of medical esthetics. So I really just got a well rounded training and all of that. And then not to mention also, another reason that I've always been interested in medical esthetics is skincare. Um, I had pretty gnarly hormonal cystic acne, growing up and through college, and I feel like I tried everything like all the drugstore stuff. I did actually three months of Accutane at one point, and really struggled with my self esteem with acne. I mean, people will be like, you know, oh my gosh, it's just acne. It's a normal part of life. Everyone has that as a teenager, but it was something it carried into my college years. And there were times that I would wake up and look in the mirror and be like, I don't even want to go to class I don't even want to be I don't want to go, I don't want to leave. And someone see my face it was it was debilitating. And I know so many people that have struggled with that. So then also, you know, learning so much about the skin and medical grade skincare and the power of medical grade skincare and skin treatments and how you can absolutely like cure someone's acne and and just see their confidence, rebuild, and it's just anything that has to do with medical esthetics I'm obsessed with and I think that that is so important. When you are choosing your area or choosing your specialty, like whatever sets your soul on fire or whatever, like you can't get enough of like, that's what you should go with. And so obviously, ultimately, I knew that I loved emergency medicine. It was such a great experience for me, but it didn't ultimately it wasn't what set my soul on fire and it wasn't what kept me up at night wanting to learn more about and so I quit my er Our job, and which was a hard, hard thing to do, I loved the people that I worked with. And I really enjoyed my time there. But ultimately, I knew that if this if medical esthetics is what I want to do, ultimately and be the best at, then I need to kind of give back, you know, all of my attention and my time and energy. So that's kind of the story of quitting my er job and going into medical esthetics full time,

Brooke Smith
I think it's so important to always follow your passion in your heart. And for you coming from emergency medicine going into aesthetics. What was that like temperature of other people that you knew? What was the temperature of like your friends or family? Was there any kind of struggle that you had there with just people understanding? Because you touched base a little bit and said, you know, is that real nursing earlier? Yes. Because I think it's important to talk about people don't want to talk about it. But yeah, like there's kind of a bullying aspect that can go on and healthcare like, oh, what kind of nurse? Are you? Or what kind of doctor are you or this kind of slightly leveling thing going on? And it's so important. Because I also want to touch base on your nurse practitioner. And if you're still pursuing that, I think you said you're in NP school? Are you? Okay, are you currently in school? But yeah, I just want to talk a little bit about if you don't mind. Yeah, absolutely. Just because I think it's important people who maybe want to get into what you're getting into that there's going to be that fear there of like, what are the people think of them? Or is this real nursing? Or kind of just like the struggle of that, in the industry? If you want to just touch base on your thoughts on it?

Leeza
Yeah, so I definitely, I have the most amazing family and support system that they ultimately my husband, my mom, all of our family was just like, if this is what you want to do, like, we want you, we want that for you, obviously. So that was amazing, because you know, it is kind of scary, like quitting your job and going into something that is totally different. And then, but when I was leaving the ER, I definitely received some backlash. There was a few, a few physicians, particularly I remember being like, you know, you're too smart to just go be a medic, you're too smart to go into medical esthetics, or you're too smart to just do Botox for the rest of your life. Or you're gonna get tired of that. It seems like it's a it seems fun now, but trust me, you're gonna get tired. I had one physician actually tell me that you could train a monkey to inject botox. And it's like, Oh, okay. So I definitely received some backlash. When I was leaving the ER, ultimately, I took a lot of it as a testament that I was good in emergency medicine. And I appreciated that, that they were telling me like, look, you're so good at this, like, why do you want to leave this? You've worked so hard, and you've learned so much. And, you know, we've turned to you, and now you're leaving. And so I ultimately took that as a compliment. And I really just held strong to what I knew I wanted in life, and this is your life. Some you know, anyone else can do it they want to do. But I think you have to be really careful about who you allow to tell you what you should do with your own life. Because you're the one that has to live it every single day. And I just always felt like, you know, this is what I want to do this is I've wanted to do it for years. And this is an opportunity now that has been, you know, laid before me that if I don't take this now, what if I never have an opportunity to try this again? So ultimately, I was just like I took I took the comments, I took the backlash, and just really held strong to what I knew that I wanted to do.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, and it's not like you unlearn your knowledge, you know, all these accolades that you had in the emergency room, all of all of the things that you learn, it's not like all of a sudden, because you change specialties. You're just like, now your thoughts

Leeza
gone? Oh, absolutely. It's like,

Brooke Smith
I still have all that now. And I can still go back if I wanted to. But I'm gonna go

Leeza
on like, I'm still saving kids choking on mozzarella sticks so don't worryabout it. Yeah,

Brooke Smith
you're still doing great. And I mean, there's a lot of, I think, what you're doing now in medical aesthetic, it's people want to make it seem like it's this vanity thing. And but it's it's I don't think that that's really what it's about. I think it's about like, I'm sure everyone wants to look their best. But like, earlier about having this diabiiltating thing with your acne when you were younger, and how that affects your self confidence and how that affects your whole entire life. Yeah, like it's important work. What you're doing, I guess is what I'm trying I'd say, unless you're going have gone through it yourself, you don't really understand maybe, if you've always had great skin or you, you know, you don't have weird, you know, weird things going on with you that you can fix. And it's like, we're always trying to better ourselves and wise their judgment, when it's a physical change that you're trying to do to like, improve yourself. But there's not judgment when you're, you know, going to the gym every day or internally eating healthy. There's no judgment there. So why is there this judgment with. trying to make the outside of you the best it can be?

Leeza
Absolutely, yeah, the actual the are like mission statement of our practice. The practice that I work at is called aesthetic Nirvana, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and our mission statement is look good, feel good. And it seems simple. But it's so true. It's like when people really look in the mirror and like what they see in our, you know, confident and happy with themselves. And ultimately, you feel better on the inside. And that's, that's so true. And someone can say, you know, oh, it's vain. Like, it's not, it's not real nursing, or it's not, it is an elective, obviously, it's an elective form of nursing. But I have absolutely still have the same feeling that I had in emergency medicine, where I saved someone's life, and they were so appreciative of me, I have also felt that same feeling in medical esthetics, when I've changed someone's life, and built and given them confidence that they don't, they haven't had made them feel like, you know, I can go out and be myself. And I love the way I look. And I love the way I feel now. And that is so rewarding. I'm like, the the rewarding the reward of making someone feel like their best self, and having them say, oh, my gosh, I've not, I've not felt this good, or I've never, I've never felt like I could go out and be confident in how I look. And to be able to give that to someone, even though they already had it, they just maybe needed a little bit of help with some skincare, or maybe a little Botox, or, you know, whatever it is, it's like, that is so rewarding. And what I love most about my job,

Brooke Smith
you actually are changing people's lives you are because yes, as someone who has really bad acne, and they feel, you know, their, their, their life is being kind of what's the word I'm looking for their life has been kind of contained in in a smaller space, maybe because they don't want to put themselves out there as much, or they're, they don't have the self confidence, and they can do all the inner work that they want. But still, you know, it would be nice if that can be also helped. And once that is done, like it changes, it changes their life, it changes the way that they go out in the world how they feel. I mean, in dentistry, it's the same thing if someone had a bunch of missing teeth. And you know, so and a dentist was able to implant and fix that smile amazing your person's life. And there's no judgment there. People aren't like, oh, you know, are you a real dentist, because you're making it very strange. That like, there's like kind of that stigma there. But I don't want it to talk about it. Because in Israel nursing, it takes a lot of skill. And you don't just trust anyone with your face, you know, so the fact that they've seen you with their face. I mean, that's, that's not an easy thing. You know?

Leeza
No, I and I've actually I've had to self study and train so much more in medical esthetics to be able to, you know, take what I've learned and in practice, and to just really master my craft, of injecting and injectables way more than I ever had to train in emergency medicine, which is pretty crazy when you think about it, because you're literally like there's life saving techniques. And then we're talking about medical esthetics and injectables. But it really it's an art and it's a craft, and it takes a ton of training to be really good at and like you said you are someone is coming to you and trusting you with their face. And there's also complications that can occur. And you have to know how to handle those. Just the same as in, you know, regular nursing, there's complications and regular nursing, there's complications and medical esthetics, and you have to know and be trained and how to handle those. And ultimately, just do your best work and take it patient by patient, giving them their best results and just changing one, one thing at a time with patients and making them feel so much better about themselves.

Brooke Smith
Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about where you are in your NP journey.

Leeza
Yes, so I am a year and a half through so I have about a year and two to three months left. I'm set to graduate in 2023. So hopefully we will. It'll get here soon Of course. just juggling work and life and school, it's a little bit different in this phase of my life versus when I was in college in nursing school, because when you're in college, it's all you do. School is your job, basically, with the exception of maybe like, part time or whatever. But now in this phase of my life, with full time job, you know, having a house trying to keep everything going with that. And then also, the school aspect is you definitely have to get good at time management. I don't have kids yet. So the only like the next step up are the moms like some of my classmates that have kids in our nurse practitioner class. I'm just like you are y'all are the real superheroes in this world, because they keep everything going. They've got their babies, they've got their school, their job, I just have so much respect for the moms that are in school and keeping it all afloat, because that's not easy. So I don't have kids. I don't have that in my mix personally. But ultimately, it's been a really, it's been a good thing for me to learn how to time manage. And I'll be so excited to be done, of course, and graduated here in about a year or so.

Brooke Smith
Are you taking class online right now? Are you going in?

Leeza
Yes. So I'm actually doing my program through Maryville online universe or Maryville University online. It's a institution out of St. Louis, Missouri. And I've so I've done all my program online, I'm entering the phase now where I'm going to be doing my clinical rotations here through the summer. And I've had a great experience can't speak highly enough of their programs so far and have just really had a it's been so nice to be living in rural rural Missouri, there's that's kind of, you know, there's not really nurse practitioner schools around. So being able to live at home and work in my hometown and do my schooling online has been awesome.

Brooke Smith
And I'm wondering, like, what the hours are like, Yeah, I'm in emergency medicine, from what I understand you will work like 12 hour shifts, maybe three or four times a week? Maybe not necessarily. And so what's your schedule, like now,

Leeza
so my schedule is a lot different I work eight hour days, as opposed to 12 or 12 hour shifts. And so I now work three to four days a week, depending on you know, how busy we are. And I just do eight hour days now. So definitely, I have a little bit more of like a work life balance, I feel like with the eight hour days, as opposed to the 12 hour days, I don't know if the 12 hour shifts are nice, because you do have, you know, if you work three twelves a week, and then you have all your off days, that is really nice. But then now I also like I have time in the morning, usually before I go to work, I can get like a run in. Or, you know, when I get home in the evenings, I'll go for a run or ride my bike or whatever. So that's been really nice for me personally, because I definitely think, um, my, my body appreciates the eight hour days better than the 12 hour shifts. But, um, and then I also obviously always have like holidays off because you know, it's an elective. Like I said, all of our procedures are elective. So we don't, you know, do anything on holidays, and I work some Saturdays, we do have some Saturday clinics, to getting clients that work through the week. So I'll work a Saturday here there. But yeah, so that's pretty much my weekly week to week schedule. So it's definitely a lot better than when I was in emergency medicine. I appreciate the scheduling a lot.

Brooke Smith
Yeah. And so how will that change with your rotations that you said, you're gonna have to maybe strike me over the summer? How is Yeah, and then the rotations. I think that about that yet?

Leeza
Yeah, it's gonna get busy. So I am probably going to be doing my clinical rotations on Mondays and Fridays. For however, I have to get a certain amount of hours, per course. And then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I'll work and you know, Saturday and Sunday will still be pretty much my off days. But usually on those off days is when I am there's also coursework that goes along with the classes. So I feel like Saturday and Sunday, I'm usually trying to finish up my homework to get submitted by Sunday evening. And then it just starts over again on Monday. So it's definitely busy. My husband is always teasing me. He's like, I swear every time I see you at home, you've got a computer in front of you. And I hate that right now. But I'm like, You know what, this is the sacrifice. This is the time that you have to put in. And of course he's been so supportive of me doing it and from the beginning was like if you want to do this, like I stand by you 100% We will make it work. And my family is the same way. So it's been a Really, it's so nice to have the family support behind you to get you through it. Because there are some days that you're like, Okay, I've run out of hours in the day. And I don't know how to fit any more into this. But you just do the best you can. And you will get through it. It just takes, like I said, a lot of time management skills.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, and you're almost there. You're so close.

Leeza
Yeah, it really goes by so fast. Like, I remember the beginning, I was like, Oh my gosh, like, two and a half years, this is gonna be forever. And you know, 2023 saying it seems so long. And then now I'm like, already over halfway halfway through. So it goes by quick.

Brooke Smith
Yes. I'm curious. I have a couple like advice questions. So yeah, just if you could go back and tell your younger self something or give your younger self some advice? What would it be?

Leeza
I would say, if I could go back and tell my younger self, something, it would be to not sweat the small stuff so much. I think that when you're younger, for some reason, they seem so much bigger than what they actually are. And it's very easy to get caught up in that. But if I Yeah, if I could tell myself one thing it would be don't sweat the small stuff. Go with your gut, there have been so many times that if I would have probably gone with my gut the first time it would have been a much easier route. But a lot of times you know you take into for you take into everything that everyone's telling you to do. And I think about along with my gut, I probably wouldn't have gone a long way around so much on some things. And then honestly, just make sure that you make time for the things that matter. The people in your life that you know, those moments, those memories, you can't get those back. So I think that I would tell myself like stop soak this in I do that all the time. I'm like, Just things will be so good. Life is hard sometimes. And everyone goes through so much. You know, with loss and in this pandemic, especially has made me just so much more mindful of like when things are good, just like stop and soak it in for a little bit. Because you you deserve that in life and you need that in life. So that would be my top three things that I would tell my younger self.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, all that is really good advice. I love it. I love it. It's it's very true. And you know, sometimes going a long way around is sometimes it's

Leeza
yeah, you learn your way around. Yeah, you pick up a few things that you might say they're not what have so

Brooke Smith
yeah, and you absolutely grow and you only become stronger. So sometimes taking the long way around is isn't so bad.

Leeza
Absolutely rejection and not knowing it's okay to not know what you want right at first because you'll, you'll soon find out by doing the things that you don't want to do. It'll be like I don't know exactly what I want to do. But I know I don't want to do that. Yeah, so you, you will learn it just takes time and that's okay.

Brooke Smith
Because you have gone you got your bachelor, you have worked in emergency medicine, your non esthetics, you're, you're simultaneously going through NP, I have to ask you, tips, tricks, hacks, what kind of things that have you learned along the way that like just have made streamline things a little easier or helped you in some way anything you can share with everyone listening that kind of just a little a tip a trick or hack or anything like that?

Leeza
Yeah, so I think big, obviously big thing is time management. And it's so easy, especially with phones and social media, which you know, social media has been a huge part of my Honestly, my being able to connect with people, I do virtual consults with people for skincare or injectables and I kind of started that coming into my career. So and just building a platform to connect with people in and showcase my work with medical esthetics. So absolutely. Like I owe a lot to social media for that. I think that it's made my career it's definitely boosted my career but it is very, very easy to get caught up in that and I think that you definitely there's a time and place for it and you have to separate yourself from it like look up taken what's around you it's so easy to get caught up in our phones all the time. And especially when you're trying to do like if you're trying to get through school and you're you're studying and you just have to like tell yourself like I have to put this down I have to sometimes I'll like put my phone in a different room and where I can't get to it or put it on a charger in a different room and work can't hear it so that I can just get done what I need to get done in a day. So that would probably be my my biggest tip because I think we do spend some as much time on our phones and it can really be a time sucker for what you what you the time that you need in a day to get everything done that you need to get done.

Brooke Smith
Yeah, I concur with that completely. I think you don't realize how much time you could possibly be spending on that. And what you could do with that time instead. But yes, thing that I do is I, I put a little because on Instagram, especially you can have a little like, basically, it'll alert you when you've gone when you've spent a certain amount of time on the app. So yes, it's a great way to say hey, you know, I'm going to say, Oh, I'm going to spend 20 minutes or 30 minutes a day, or whatever that is for you a little time on it. And that way, every time you like, open and close, it's counting that time, no matter how long you're on it. And that way you okay, I only I didn't hit it. And then also, I don't know if you know if other phones have this, but the Apple phone iPhone, it has the ability for you to like screen time and kind of see how much time have you been spending in front of it. But it's hard, though, because a lot of people work from their phones, if you're doing social media, yeah, kind of work for you. Because you're trying to tell people you know about your services and what you can offer and what you can do. So some of that is also working social media, so it can kind of

Leeza
definitely have to set some, it's a lot about self discipline and setting boundaries. Like this, what I'm doing on my phone right now as for work, but, you know, laying in bed and watching tiktoks Until two o'clock in the morning, that is, you know, not necessarily a necessity, and you're gonna feel so tired tomorrow. So put it up, you know, just just stuff like that, and a lot of self discipline. But your body will thank you for it. And you're you'll get a lot more done for sure.

Brooke Smith
Yes. Okay. So I have one last question for you. Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you think that you're, you're in this now? And this is where you're going to stay? Do you have? What kind of goals do you have for this career that you're in? Now, obviously, you're going to be an NP here next year. A little bit about where you see yourself in the next five years? Yeah,

Leeza
so I definitely think I have found my niche. And I'm so grateful for that. I think I will definitely be in medical esthetics. Hopefully I you know, I've been in this field now for a little over a year. So I'm definitely still new and learning. I'm always learning. That's one thing about this field, if you stop, it's your constant student, you're always learning. There's new techniques, new products, just so much new lasers and technology. So you're constantly learning and I feel like the moment you decide that you've learned at all, then you're probably going to fall behind because someone is going to come right up beside you and just keep going. So I think hopefully, in five years, I will have, you know, five years under my belt of perfecting my craft and, you know, working with people, and just being the absolute best injector that I can be, I hope to obviously be a nurse practitioner and graduated with that degree and kind of bringing that role into my practice. A few things. It's nice as a nurse practitioner, and medical esthetics, especially, it's just the prescribing aspect in case you need to prescribe anything for procedure. And then also just just having that was kind of a personal thing for me that I knew that I wanted to go ahead and continue my education and go on to be a nurse practitioner. So I'll be super excited to have that under my belt. And I don't know, I hope to be still involved in different organizations, there's so much connecting in the world of medical esthetics. I've made like so many friends nationwide across the United States with these conferences that we go to. So I would love to be still I actually have a goal of going to a conference and like speaking so they'll have different master or key opinion leaders speaking on behalf of their specialty or some or some aspect in medical esthetics. I would love to be a speaker or a trainer at some of these conferences that we go to throughout the year. So yeah, I just I would love to just kind of Excel and climb to the top, the top, the farthest that I can get in this business. And just be I also love anytime anyone asks me like how do I get into this? I love talking with people and you know, saying like, this is how I did it. There's totally different routes that you can go but it's really fun to be able to share this with people also. And new nurses coming out that night. I'm gonna go into the medical esthetics realm. Yeah, and I don't have I don't use this as much anymore. But this was my so I don't know if this one's still awkward. This is the white glitter with the rose gold. Yeah, the stethooscope. And I love this was my graduation gift from MDF when I graduated nursing school. So I'm about to be whipping it out a lot more for my nurse practitioner rounds here in a couple of weeks that are starting, it's been sitting in my car a little bit more because I don't have to use it as much in medical esthetics. So I'm excited to be able to break this baby out again for my nurse practitioner rotation.

Brooke Smith
I was just going to ask you, I was actually going to ask you there was a need for a stethoscope. In medical esthetics. I feel like it really is much yeah, it's always have in case you need to check some blood pressure or something it

Leeza
is it is occasionally we will we'll do like some basic vitals before a procedure or something. So I'll have it you know, on me for I always have it in my bag in case I need it. And it's just nice to be able to. I mean even out like I said, sometimes now I use it maybe more out of the hospital setting than I do now with being in medical esthetics. But I'll definitely be using this a lot more here in a few weeks for my health assessment class. So it's gonna get this bad boy is gonna get broken out again. Awesome.

Brooke Smith
Like what do you like to do? Outside of being a nurse? I'd love to just hear a little bit about like other hobbies and interests that you've like any any organizations you're involved in that can be with the have to do with medicine or not, doesn't matter. Yeah, I want to get to know you a little bit.

Leeza
Yeah, so outside of work, I am a runner for sure I run pretty much daily, more. So you know, I've always had an interest also in like the Integrative Health Medicine, so exercise and diet and vitamins and, you know, just kind of how you can make your body work at its most efficient level. So I've always kind of been interested in that. But I also just love the mental aspect of exercise. Like if I don't run, then I just like something, something feels off. So I, I always say I run more for my mental health and I do my physical health. So I'm definitely a runner. I love being like anything outside. We're very big outside people. So hiking. Just you know, we golf, we live on a golf course. So we golf a lot. And I have a kitty cat. He's probably back there trying to break in here. So I've got a little orange kitten named Petter, hence the golf course. And I also have a German Shepherd. So we have animals we love, love our pets, I love spending time with my family or our family is super, super close knit. And we spend a lot of time with siblings and our parents. And I would say probably other than that I am if I'm not studying for school, or you know, trying to get a little bit of that work life balance, and I'm just usually always watching injection videos or trainings. What's really cool that is new with medical esthetics probably since injectors have been in it a lot longer than I have, you know, they really I have a lot of respect for particularly like, who I worked with Jody, she, you know, there wasn't all this education, just kind of at your fingertips with technology, and she really kind of had to pave the way for herself in learning this. So I, you know, anytime that I can go to a training, I absolutely take advantage of that. There's a lot of like online courses that you can do. There's trainings frequently with different brands, I think one of the first trainings I ever did was with the company allergen with Botox that was probably one of my first training sessions that I did. And then there's, I'm a member of the International Society, plastics and nurses. So I span and I go to that conference yearly. And just like any, any time that I can, like I said, in this business, it's constantly learning and you're constantly a student and just immersed it really the best of the best. It's immersing yourself into this world and giving it your 100% always learning because it's just an ever evolving field in itself. So yeah, pretty much if I'm not outside or with my family or doing school or working, I'm just trying to train and and perfect my craft or and medical aesthetics.

Brooke Smith
That actually brings up something I wanted to ask I as we were talking, becoming a nurse practitioner You know, I was reading some articles in the last like couple months about giving nurse practitioners more abilities.

Leeza
Yeah, there's a lot of talk. And it's kind of always been a buzz, I feel like since I started getting into nurse practitioner school, but kind of giving nurse practitioners a little bit more freedom with like, either prescription writing or even, you know, just basic abilities with providing care, because there is so much, there's so many people that need to receive care by provider, and there's only so many physicians to be able to provide that care. So there's really a large majority of our population that does not receive adequate care that they should. So by giving nurse practitioners more freedoms, and more, you know, the the ability to be the primary care provider, we will be able to see and provide care for more patients. So I think that's kind of the the argument to give nurse practitioners a little bit more freedom so that we can serve as that primary care provider for patients, which I personally love the the relationship and the partnership between physicians and nurse practitioners. I think it's what makes the role of a nurse practitioner so special. And I think, you know, just in my experience seeing so actually, both of my bosses are our medical director, which is Dr. Farah McSpadden. She's extremely well known in obstetrics OBGYN. She's a phenomenal provider and surgeon. And then also, you know, her nurse practitioner is the injector, Jodi Spain. So they are in women's wellness, also with medical esthetics, you know, kind of separate clinics, of course, but kind of have that women's wellness aspect to our clinic, which is awesome. But just seeing their relationship and their partnership. It's such a trust and such a great working relationship. They've built an amazing practice. And I just, I've always really loved watching them work together and seeing how that relationship between provider and nurse practitioner works. Well, I had a few people tell me like, oh, the field saturated, you should just stay in nursing, like, you know, there's no point in going on to get your nurse practitioner. And I totally disagree with that, because there are so many more providers that are hiring multiple nurse practitioners to be able to accommodate the volume of patients and their clinics. So I think it's I think that there's always going to be jobs for it.

Brooke Smith
Yeah. Well, Leeza, thank you so much.

Leeza
Thank you so much for having me. This was so fun. And I like I said I'm honored to have had this opportunity and to speak on the podcast with you. So thank you so much for inviting me

Brooke Smith
and we want to I know people for people listening and watching who may want to reach out to you or find you. Can you give us your social media handles? We can get over to you if people have questions or just Yeah, videos.

Leeza
Absolutely. So pretty much on everything. Tick tock Instagram all the platforms I am under at my injector Liza. @myinjector And my first name is spelled L E E Z A so you can find me anywhere with that.

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