ER Nurse uses Bike for Emotion Release

ER Nurse uses Bike for Emotion Release

Ashley Shingleton is a Travel Nurse, which means she goes where the work is and at the moment the work is in the Emergency Room at Yreka in Northern California. Ashley enjoys working in the ER  and loves the fact her day-to-day work life is so unpredictable. She never knows what interesting thing she is going to be presented with when she walks into work. 

She also admits these are indeed scary times.  She taking every precaution to stay safe and when she can she sneaks out on her mountain bike to find some relief from the stresses of her job and to be reminded to focus on the important things.  

Can you tell the Kali Krew a little bit about your job? What does a day in your life look like?

I am in a critical access hospital in a rural area. Meaning one minute we could be slammed with traumas, heart attacks and other life threatening emergencies we will stabilize and medevac to the nearest acute care hospital. And the next, well, having time to clean up from that mess and prepare for the next. I love that I get to interact with so many people throughout my 12-hour night. Hearing their stories and being there for them at their scariest of moments. Offering them a smile and a kind heart. Others may need a stern educational voice of reason on how to make changes in their lives, so that they don't have to see me again. All of which I love, wearing different hats at different times.

How has your work day changed due to the current state of Covid-19?

My work days lately have been more anxiety filled. I never used to fear what may come in the door. Normally a call from an ambulance coming in with a patient in respiratory distress wouldn't even phase me. These days it can stop me in my tracks. "Do I have the protective equipment and resources I need?" The answer as of late has been no. The current state of medicine and politics leaves me with a pit in my stomach as I wait for the ambulance asking myself...."Is THIS the day I get exposed? Is this a Covid patient? Am I prepared? Am I covered? Is my hospital following proper protocol, what even is protocol these days, due to its constant changing. I won't lie it is a scary time, and I don't scare easy. I have to leave early for work as all employees are screened for symptoms, at the door. When I leave work, I strip in my car, placing all of my items in a plastic bag. Changing into new clothes, wiping myself and my car down as much as possible, so as to not expose my family.

You ride the mountain bike as your choice of exercise. When did this begin and what does the bike add to your life?

I began mountain biking much more seriously after my divorce a few years ago. I have many hobbies, but mountain biking for me was such an amazing way to escape it all. It silenced my mind and allowed me to focus on what was real and important, my breathing, and the earth. It was cathartic, giving me an energetic and positive emotional release. I have found that is what it always adds to my life, especially during these times. A reminder to focus on the important things, and that I can enjoy myself while doing it.

Can you tell us what bike you ride, if you've tricked it out and what one bike bit you are lusting after at the moment.

 I ride a Specialized Ruze 6Fattie and I love it. I wouldn't say I have tricked it out. I have put stickier pedals on to help with pedal slip, some better and way cooler color handlebar grips, again to keep myself better attached to the bike. My teenage boys generally end up with all the cool parts. I wold love the full suspension version of the 6Fattie for sure. I think maybe new smaller handle bars would be in my future, but maybe I'll just save up for the full suspension. Oooor the Specialized Levo electric, so I can keep up with their long legs on the uphill. Haha!!!

Do you have any advice for the kids out there who have the goal of necoming a nurse when they grow up?

 One piece of advice I have for anyone wanting to be a nurse is "do it," you won't regret it. Nursing has brought so much to my life, so much more than expected. It's a long process to get there, but so worth the wait. Put your head down, do the work and there is light at the end pf the tunnel. Nursing gives you the freedom to travel anywhere in the world to work, and the time off to do it, as well.

Where is one place you dream of riding when all the travel restrictions are lifted and you can ride one off your bucket list?

If I could ride anywhere after all this is over it would be a toss up between Whistler BC and Arizona. I would have to narrow it down to Whistler though, so much room for activities. I know my boys and we would have a blast with so much diversity in riding terrain and trails. I think my boys have had me watch enough videos from there I already have the trail map memorized. 

Do you have one piece of advice for the Kali Krew during these difficult times?

The best piece of advise I can give the Kali Krew right now is to remember in all of this, when we have seemingly had so much taken away from us, that there is so much we still do have. So much we can still do. Try to retain some sense of normalcy, but embrace the change, and move forward. This too shall pass. 

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