Women In Wellness: Susie Tushingham Of Choicepoint On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Susie Tushingham Of Choicepoint On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Social support is essential, so prioritise cultivating meaningful relationships with family and friends. You do not choose your family, but you can choose to spend time with them. Trust me, no one keeps you as humble as your family.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called Women in Wellness, we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Susie Tushingham.

Susie Tushingham has been a Registered Nurse for 20 years. She’s worked in bedside nursing across the spectrum, from neonates to adults in acute care hospitals and school settings. Currently, she works at Choicepoint Health. Her firsthand experience with close family members who struggle with addiction and mental health inspired her to pursue PMHNP at Seton Hall University. In the past, she’s been a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, ASAM Society, and NASN.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Igraduated in 2003 from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a minor in Psychology. I obtained my School Nurse Certification soon after. Over the years, I’ve worked in various nursing roles in hospitals and schools. As a lifelong resident of Bergen County, I’ve served my community as a visiting nurse and worked as a case manager at New Bridge Medical Center with care focusing on the mentally ill and drug-addicted population. Currently, I am employed at Choicepoint Health. My direct experiences with this demographic, along with my family’s struggles with addiction and mental health, motivated me to pursue my PMHNP at Seton Hall University. I’ve been an active member of professional organisations such as Sigma Theta Tau International, ASAM Society, and NASN. I’ve also contributed to raising awareness about nursing on NJ Channel 12 News and conducted undergraduate research, which is available on the Career Convergence Web.

Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

As a working woman, my whole life is interesting, given how I am able to handle work-life and family perfectly. However, remember it was during COVID-19, and everything was on lockdown, but the hospitals, of course. I remember we used to be assigned shifts day and night, and everyone worked up to their fullest. One thing that we were doing was consoling each of our patients. We were supposed to give them optimistic hopes through the power of words. I have always strongly advocated positive words and believe they work wonders on mental health. It was good to see so many people heal through the power of positive reinforcement. I feel sad that we lost some great souls along the way. However, I dearly remember the ones who got better! It was an honour to serve patients during this challenging time.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Not bringing a full cup of coffee with me to work. I learned quickly that in nursing, you hustle 24/7 and must come prepared to take on the day, and for me, that means having my cup of Joe.

Let’s jump to our primary focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Through my experience in the various roles I’ve held, the common theme I saw with this population is fragmented care. Along with it came stigma and limited providers in the area available to meet the needs of those struggling with addiction and mental health. My goal is to help bridge the gap in care. Once patients are discharged from the hospital, I want to be available for support and follow-up.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better well-being?

1 . I can not overstate its significance, but a night of quality sleep is crucial for physical and mental health. The nights (or days) I get a chance to sleep properly turn into the best days of my life. I have extra motivation to do work.

2 . Practice stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, or deep breathing exercises. They work! Take time out even when it feels impossible.

3 . Maintain a diary, and instead of adding what happened all day, write what you wish to achieve in the coming months. Work towards that goal. Each month, read your goals and see if you are moving in the right direction.

4 . Take out time for yourself! Yes, it may be difficult, but connecting with one’s inner self is the way to achieve the utmost satisfaction. Do anything that helps you relax, like a long walk or just watching a good comedy show.

5 . Social support is essential, so prioritise cultivating meaningful relationships with family and friends. You do not choose your family, but you can choose to spend time with them. Trust me, no one keeps you as humble as your family.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I want to start working on a dream project of mine- A mobile health delivery system. Where the hospital comes to the patients. There are so many people out there who are either too shy or too financially challenged that they can not visit hospitals. Let alone addiction treatment rehabs. I aim to help people struggling with substance abuse by providing them with addiction treatment without worrying about travelling costs or stigmas attached to seeking help!

What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

1. You will burn out as a nurse. The profession has many emotional challenges, such as patient suffering, loss, and the need to remain compassionate in challenging situations. Without the proper self-care and support, burnout is inevitable. The key is to be strong and focus on good things, like helping people.

2. It is a challenging profession and takes all your energy. I wish someone could tell me ways not to neglect my well-being. It took me some time to figure out the hidden secrets.

3. Nurses often become strong advocates for their patients, and I wish I learned more about patient rights and effective advocacy earlier in my career.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I would say mental health. Not only have I struggled to achieve mental peace at times, but I have seen so many souls going astray without proper guidance. The mental health meter should be a part of our routine vital signs for all ages. It’s crucial to address it and promote mental well-being. Those who are struggling need our support, and by incorporating this as part of their vital signs, hopefully, it will reach some who haven’t been able to talk about it.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

I am a Nurse at ChoicePoint, and if any of my readers are struggling with addiction or co-occurring disorders, they can come straight to me!

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .

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