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Brian Paonessa & FFN

Bringing Nurses to the Front-Lines

By Carlos LacayoPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

Brian Paonessa has made it his life’s mission to get nurses the recognition they deserve as the new American Heroes. Based in Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, Brian decided to create Fit, Functional Nurses (FFN), which is dedicated to giving back to those who dedicate their lives to others before themselves. Paonessa hopes a little recognition, appreciation, and experiences outside the workplace will help balance the ever-growing number of burnt-out nurses physically, spiritually, and mentally.

In this exclusive interview, Paonessa talks about the current state of hospitals with the rise of COVID’s Delta variant, being healthy inside and out and why something like FFN is of vital importance in today’s world.

1. You made a transition from personal trainer to registered nurse, giving you a well-rounded view of health. Are there any ways our physical or outward health affects us mentally or vice versa?

Absolutely. Being physically healthy is very challenging. There are many components that need to be in line for you to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be content with the way you look/feel. If you look in the mirror and you're not happy with what you see, it plays a toll on you mentally. There's a saying "nothing tastes as good as healthy feels." It's very true! I've learned through the years that nutrition is number one. If you're not putting nutritious food into your body, (or quality gas in your engine) the output is going to suffer. The best way to work on your nutrition is discipline. You have to be the one who decides when to eat, what to eat, and how to eat; that's on you. There's nobody to blame but yourself when it comes to eating/nutrition.

Number two, exercise. They're going to be days when the last thing you want to do is go for a walk, run, go to the gym, etc.; but you have to do it. You have to stay dedicated to your body. Exercise is more than feeling the pump at the gym or sweating your tail off in a spin class. Just by doing some sort of physical activity consistently helps you build muscle, it's good for your heart, lungs, flexibility, endurance, and stamina. It helps you sleep better. It reduces stress, which we all have nowadays more than ever! The key component to all of this is remaining positive! Do not let your nutritional habits or exercise routine become a negative component in your life. If you do, then it becomes distressed. You have eustress, which is positive motivating stressors, then you have distress which is negative stress. That type of stress can become overwhelming and can wreak havoc on other areas of your life if you let it. Remember the body likes to stay in a normal state. It doesn't like to change; it likes to be in a comfortable spot. So, when it comes to exercise and losing weight or changing the way you look it takes time. It's all about staying committed and motivated to your goals! I've always liked the oak tree saying; "If you hit an oak tree a thousand times, in a thousand different spots, you'll never chop it down. But if you hit an oak tree a thousand times, In the exact same spot eventually it's going to come down!" Stay committed and stay focused on your goals!

2. What is FFN? What does it stand for and what does it mean to you?

FFN stands for Fit Functional Nurses. It is an incentive and benefit program that enhances a nurse's lifestyle outside of work. It is very similar to what we all know as the "military discount." The military active-duty members and veterans get discounts when they go out to eat, travel, restaurants, attractions, home buying, etc.. These incentives and discounts are truly deserved by all our military. They're the ones risking their lives day in and day out for all of us citizens. During the last year and a half with the COVID-19 pandemic, our new American Heroes are Nurses! Nurses have stepped up to the plate throughout this pandemic. Now is the time to give back and show the value of nurses in the community. FFN is a way that businesses can show their appreciation for the nursing community. Businesses can provide a discount just like the military discount to nurses!

3. Why do you think a company like FFN is needed today?

FFN is needed because it can give back to nurses above and beyond what hospitals can recognize them for. The need for nurses to be recognized is huge! Ask any nurse out there if they feel appreciated by the corporation they work for? I'll use myself as an example: In the last six years as an RN, the only thing that I've gotten is things taken away from me at work. It just seems strange to me how nurses have to fight to keep medical benefits. The corporations want all the recognition, but they don't want to give anything back. The last time I checked it's the nurses who are in the COVID rooms 8-14 hours a day. Wearing all of the PPE and exposing themselves to the unknown risks of the virus. Not the CEOs and not the administrative staff. That's why FFN will create the bond between nurses so we can all unite as one! FFN will be the light that never fades in our community finally giving something back to nurses!

4. Can you give me a brief overview of what Mountain View (and possibly other hospitals) have been like since the emergence of COVID’s delta variant?

It's all about adapting to change. Just when we thought things were slowing down with the pandemic and getting back to normal the numbers are starting to rise again so it's challenging. Right now, at the hospital, it's all trial and error. The administrative staff is trying to manage the influx of covid patients but hospitals are only so big. When you have that many people come into the hospital that are diagnosed with the COVID virus where do you put them? There's only so many designated locations where you can place these patients. We don't want to spread the virus to non-COVID patients who are currently in the hospital. Our staffing numbers have been compromised again as well. Us nurses are floating to different floors to help out with the shortages. At the end of the day, we have to remain calm, stay positive, and be understanding to all during this challenging time.

5. What are some ways we can keep front-line worker appreciation at the forefront of people’s minds long after the pandemic’s over?

Again, very similar to the military as well as teachers, policemen, firemen and EMTs, nurses belong in this category as well! It's shocking to me how we're not. Nursing is a career that has been underestimated for a long time and it's time to put nursing on the map. With FFN, we can team up with businesses like restaurants, hotels, airlines, attractions, medical services, you name it! Any business that provides a service to the community can provide a discount to a nurse for the selfless care they provide every day. Eventually, there will be a shortage of nurses. We have to highlight the career of nursing for our youth. By doing so, we show the value that nurses can receive from the community. Businesses can express their appreciation for the nursing industry by providing discounts and incentives.

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About the Creator

Carlos Lacayo

I love to write about everything from restaurants, people and events that interest me as well as entertainment, pop culture and health and wellness. Your support or tip means the world to me as a writer! Give me a follow on Instagram.

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    Carlos LacayoWritten by Carlos Lacayo

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