Meet our Entrepreneurial Nurse of the Week Brian Park! Brian’s company makes something that should be part of every nurses “must-haves” at work!
Read about Brian’s unique experience of being an ICU Nurse, starter of his own company and a magician!
I worked for 3 years as a nurse on a surgical intensive care unit at Washington Hospital Center. It was a level-1 trauma center. So, I had a number of amazing and exciting experiences there. However, after 3 years, I was experiencing some burnout and tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit to start a company, Nabee Socks. Nabee Socks was crowdfunded on Kickstarter and inspired by my time as a nurse. We make fun and fashionable compression socks, which are mostly worn by nurses and doctors. Eventually, I was able to quit the bedside and become a full time sock CEO. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, meet all types of interesting people, and even join Open Heart Magic as a hospital magician, which gives me the opportunity to do magic for pediatric patients here in Chicago.
Name: Brian Park, RN – 29 years old
Years working as a nurse: 3.5 years
Current Position: CEO of Nabee Socks and Hospital Magician with Open Heart Magic
What brought you into the nursing profession?
I had spent a lot of time in the hospital to visit family and friends the year before I went to nursing school. My parents had been diagnosed with cancer and one of my best friends was shot in a school shooting. So, that was my first major exposure to the world of nursing and all the wonderful work they do. So, when the recession left me struggling to find a job with my biochemistry degree, I went back to school for a nursing degree.
Where did you get your nursing degree?
First RN/LPN position (and how you got it… we’ve all been there!):
Surgical ICU at Medstar Washington Hospital Center
I got my position through a loan repayment scholarship. In exchange for 3 years at Washington Hospital Center, they paid off 80% of my student loans. Getting the scholarship required a number of interviews and essays, which allowed me to utilize one of my favorite hobbies—writing. In my final semester of nursing school, I got to do my practicum in the surgical ICU and they liked me so much that I was hired there when I graduated!
Random fact /hobby: I can ride a unicycle and do magic for pediatric patients.
Biggest career challenge and how you’ve overcome it (or how you are currently working to overcome!):
Missing my work at the bedside is my biggest career challenge right now. I miss the problem solving, urgency, and connections I made working with patients.
I don’t think there’s anything quite like working at the bedside in a trauma ICU. However, I now work as hospital magician with Open Heart Magic and get to do 1-on-1 magic with pediatric patients at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Being a hospital magician lets me connect and help patients at the bedside just like when I was a nurse. It doesn’t have the rush or challenges of the SICU, but fun and laughter are just as good.
Any projects on your desk right now?
I’m practicing a lot of magic right now and also working on making new compression sock designs for my company, Nabee Socks.
Do you have a blog or website you would like us to feature?
What item is most useful to you as a nurse? (What piece of equipment or clothing could you NOT do your job without?)
I’d love to say compression socks since I own a compression sock company, but if I’m honest, my most useful nursing items were my collection super fine tipped Uniball pens because we still were using paper charts with teeny tiny blanks.
Do you have a fondest memory or favorite nursing experience?
My fondest memory as a nurse was the first time a family member talked to my manager to request that I be their mother’s nurse for every shift I worked. The family was incredibly sweet, optimistic, and encouraging. Some days it was a lot of work, but the patient’s family made the days so much easier.
What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new nurse? (first year working)
Find a senior nurse on the unit that’s positive and knowledgeable as a mentor for your nursing practice. Also, never forget about self-care: eat lunch and use the bathroom during your shifts. After your shift, do something fun, recreational, or relaxing, whatever you need, to recharge your batteries.