Favorite Makers: Shelley Layne

by Debbie Baer August 23, 2016

At The Willary we proudly celebrate Favorite Makers–amazing women (like YOU!) who make awesome things happen in the world every day. Your work inspires us and we strive to outfit you in a durable, stylish and versatile wardrobe that works.

Above: Shelley ROCKS The 1003 Shirt layered over a dress. In her words, "The Amazing 1003 Shirt has been functioning as my summer jacket. I fold it up and keep it in my pocketbook." 

I’m excited to introduce you to our newest Favorite Maker, nurse and educator Shelley Layne. I met her when she dropped by our pop up this summer and won our 1003 Shirt in the raffle! Read on to learn about what she does and be inspired by the creativity, collaboration, curiosity and compassion that go into nursing and teaching the next generation of nurses. 

Shelley Layne makes people feel better.

A quick note before we start: This is the first interview I've done via email, I've added in some of my reactions because so much of what Shelley talked about was too cool to not acknowledge somehow!
Shelley started with the basics:

I’ve been a Registered Nurse [RN] for 12 years. My title is Clinical Nurse III, which means I am certified in my specialty and have been working on my unit long enough to be in charge of the unit. There are 4 Clinical Nurse III's on our unit of over 60 RN's and ICU techs. We are the right-hand women of the Patient Care Director (nurse manager).

I work on a Surgical Step Down and Ventricular Assist Device Unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital. A Step Down Unit is for patients who come out of the recovery room or out of the ICU but they are not yet stable enough to go to a regular medical or surgical unit. A VAD is a mechanical pump used to support heart function and blood flow in people with weak or failing hearts.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

To be a good nurse you really have to love it and have a passion for it. When I started college, I couldn't figure out what to do. My mom, also a Registered Nurse, suggested I major in nursing. When I finished school I wasn't ready to take care of other people–I could barely take care of myself! I worked at FedEx for five years and then came back to nursing when I felt that I was ready to take on the challenge. [Ed. note: I think so many of us are career changers/explorers–I loved hearing about this part of Shelley's journey!)

I imagine some days are rough/sad/scary. How do you relax/cope/decompress?

I work with a great group of people, they make those days easier to cope with. I also remind myself to be thankful that I am not sick, I am not a patient. This makes it easier to not take everything personally and helps me empathize with others. [Ed. note: Seems like a good practice for all of us!] On my days off I love to wander the city, eat out, meet up with friends, nag my husband, force the dog to play with me, read a good book etc. I'm just like most people.  

I imagine some days are amazingly uplifting and affirming too.

It's very uplifting when patients come back to visit us after having a heart transplant or after having been in the hospital for a long time. It's great to see them healthier and normal. It's really amazing how thankful and appreciative they are. It makes me love my job even more that day.

So many of our Favorite Makers collaborate with others to grow their work, is there a team/group aspect to nursing?

Nursing is a collaborative field. We collaborate with each other, doctors, social workers, dietitians, physical therapists, pastoral care etc. There is autonomy but you are always asking questions. It's always good to discuss a problem with another RN or have another RN double check something you are unsure of. I don't know any RN who will refuse to answer a question or take a look at a problem. If one RN doesn't know the answer another does or at least knows where to find the answer. 

Shelley is also a Clinical Instructor of Nursing at Hunter College where she’s taught for 5 years. She shows the students how to apply what they've learned in the classroom and from textbooks to the clinical setting. 

There is a simulation component to the class I teach, where students practice on mannequins in a lab set up like a hospital ward. [Ed note: NEAT!]

I have a lot of friends who teach their craft/vocation in addition to practicing it. We all talk about how teaching our craft helps us become better practitioners of it. Does that hold true for nursing as well? And tell me, what do you love about teaching?

Teaching reinforces the best practice, the proper way of doing things. I can't teach someone to do something if I don't know how to do it correctly. I never want to show the students something incorrect. A mistake at the hands of the nurse may cost the patient his or her life. I love the look on my student’s faces when they master a technique or finally understand why something is done a specific way. I love seeing the confidence they gain as they learn. 

What are you proud of?

I currently work with a nurse who I taught during her first semester of nursing. She makes me so proud!

Teaching makes me feel like I'm playing a big part in all the excellent care that patients will receive from my students in the future. I'm indirectly taking care of all of these future patients. It's my legacy. [Ed note: Awesome, thank you, Shelley for doing this good work!]

I'm so proud to have Shelley represent The Willary in her 1003 Shirt! Do you know an awesome woman making amazing things happen in the world? Share her work with me and you both will get a Willary bandana if we run an interview with her! Email: info@thewillary.com

Debbie Baer
Debbie Baer


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