Black Girls White Coats: Tanisha Terry, RN, BSN Tanisha Terry Creates a Nursing Blog To Connect and Inspire Young Women to Live Their Passion
June 17, 2017
Name: Tanisha Terry
Hometown: Missouri City, TX
Occupation: Neonatal Nurse, RN (Pending Travel Nurse)
Fun Fact: “I’ve saved every card that I’ve been given since the 6th grade because I’m very sentimental like that!”
Having graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Stephen F. Austin State University and with a past career in Gynecology and now as a Neonatal nurse and blogger, Tanisha Terry can’t be stopped from succeeding in any opportunities that come her way. Due to the inspiration from her parents and grandfather, Terry created Black Girls White Coats in hopes to promote visibility and positivity towards everyday girl bosses in the health care industry. Melanation was able to get a hold of this fearless, leading lady to discuss her experience as a nurse practitioner, the launch of her blog, and opportunities giving back to young women pursuing nursing careers. Backed by strong faith and constant prayers, Terry is ready to take on another challenging endeavor in her career…
MN: So Black Girls White Coats..cute name! How did you come up with the name and idea?
TT: I knew I wanted my blog name to be catchy, I didn’t want my name in it, and I wanted it to be something that people could remember. I’m almost embarrassed to admit: it took me six months to decide on “Black Girls White Coats.” One day as I was sitting out on my patio, God revealed the name and I knew, that was it!
MN: Who inspired you to be a nurse? Who or what influenced you to create BGWC?
TT: The summer before my 8th-grade year, I was responsible for caring for my grandfather while my parents and siblings were away at work. I would do simple tasks for him like, prepare his meals, administer his meds, and read him the newspaper. He would always say, “Thank you, my little nurse.” I’d smile and say, “You’re welcome paw paw, but you know I’m going to be a dolphin trainer.” Later that summer when we laid him to rest I could still hear him saying, “Thank you my little nurse”, and I knew then that I was made to be a nurse!
I was inspired to create my blog because I wanted to leave my mark on the world and share my story. I want others to look at me and think, “If she can do it, then so can I.”
“Care is the heart of health[care]. If an individual is not able to show sympathy and be caring to a patient or family member during their most vulnerable time, then healthcare is not for them.”
MN: What would you say has been your biggest challenge being a nurse?
TT: The biggest challenge I face as a nurse is learning to adapt. Nurses are constantly faced with situations we don’t always like, we deal with patients that aren’t always nice, and often times people take their anger or frustration out on us. While learning to adjust has been very challenging, it has grown me both professionally and personally. I’m constantly adapting, constantly adjusting, and I’m loving the process.
MN: What are some special qualities as a nurse or any health professional should have when it comes to performing their job?
TT: The biggest qualities that make a great healthcare professional are a passionate and caring person. My passion is what drives me to go to work from 7pm-7am to serve other people regardless of any personal issues I may have at home. Care is the heart of health[care]. If an individual is not able to show sympathy and be caring to a patient or family member during their most vulnerable time, then healthcare is not for them.
MN: What is something you have to be prepared for when dealing with patients?
TT: I have to remember that they are going through a lot. When I work in the newborn nursery with my healthy babies, I have to remember that this is one of THE biggest milestones in the parent’s life. I try my best to personalize their delivery by offering to take family photos, take footprints for their baby books, and even make a cute bow hat for all my baby girls!
In the same manner, when I work in the NICU I have to remember that these parents are stressed, sleep deprived, anxious, sad, and concerned. There is no limit to what I would do for these parents as long as it aligns with company policy and within my scope of practice.
MN: What advice would you give young women who want to become a nurse or who are in nursing school now?
TT: The best advice I can give young women who are interested in nursing school is to be willing and ready to put your life on pause for the next 2-4 years to achieve your goal. I am always upfront and honest by saying, THE WORK WON’T BE EASY, but it will be worth it. It’s a short term sacrifice, for a long term gain.
“Protect your mental health. As women of color, we have always been taught to be strong, resilient, and emotionless….because we HAD to!”
MN: What was your hardest class in nursing school? Exam?
TT: I really don’t remember my hardest class but I do remember that my first semester was the hardest semester because it required the biggest adjustment. Prior to my first semester of nursing school. I was able to party occasionally, workout regularly, and I always seemed to have time for campus events (all while maintaining my 4.0 GPA average). When I started my first semester, all of that changed!! I didn’t have time for anything but school and church.
The hardest exam was undoubtedly the NCLEX. Although it was very hard, I did excel and I share all my tips on my blog, BlackGirlsWhiteCoats.com
MN: What’s your #1 health tip you would advise to women of color?
TT: Protect your mental health. As women of color, we have always been taught to be strong, resilient, and emotionless….because we HAD to!
As I mature, I have learned that while we can be all those things sometimes, it is not healthy to be that way ALL the time. I always advise women to be sure to take time out every day to do something that truly makes you happy!
MN: If you weren’t a nurse, what would you be?
TT: If I were not a nurse I would be an interior designer, maybe then I would have an excuse for going to HomeGoods 3-5 times a week!
MN: So you’re a travel nurse now? How exciting! What are some things you’re anxious about as you take on your new role?
TT: I’m pretty anxious about a lot of things. I wonder what the work will be like? Will the staff members support me? Will we all work as a team? Will I have the resources I need? Will I get homesick? The list goes on and on. I have found that prayer and meditation have done an excellent job in controlling my anxiety. In every new chapter of life, I ask God to go before me and prepare the situation. I ask that He prepare the hearts of my coworkers so that they accept me with open arms, I ask they He prepare the hearts of the parents so that they will treat me with respect, and finally, I ask that he prepare my heart for any challenge I may face.
MN: Where do you see yourself and Black Girls White Coats in the next year? 5 years?
TT: In the next 5 years, I hope that Black Girls White Coats continues to exceed my expectations. I pray that she develops from a blog to a well-known brand! As my blog grows, I plan to grow with her. I see myself continually evolving, smashing every goal I set for myself, and never touching the ground!