Trauma Nurse Finds Stress Relief as DJ–What Do You Do?

DJDharmaScreenshotA little over 10 years ago I met Christine Moffa, AJN clinical editor, while working as a travel nurse in Miami. I lived on South Beach and she lived in “the Grove.” We took turns playing in both of our neighborhoods, since they offered different attractions.

Travel nurses may have a higher tolerance to stress than the average person, but it was always good to finish a shift on our busy pediatric floor and walk out the door. I remember my Miami assignment as difficult but a lot a fun. Our patient population had a lot of variety, requiring us to draw upon many resources as well as past experience to handle the load. Even with the difficult working conditions, I remember taking time to see the town, eat at great restaurants, and take in the local flavor as a way to offset the workload.

A recent article in the Miami Herald highlights Kate Emily Yeadaker, a trauma nurse who has a unique way of relieving her job stress. DJ Dharma, also known as ‘the Night Nurse,’ spins tunes for dance clubs in Miami.

I particularly loved her comment, “I make people feel better in both of my jobs!” She also says that the nursing profession “keeps you humble, grounded and grateful,” and she feels that music has helped her better relate to people—and also to be a better nurse.

What a unique and healthy way to blow off stress in a career that requires just that. I know there have been many articles written about this, and lots of advice put out there, but it really is true that you have to find something that works for you. Moff and I danced our stress away back then. We worked a 3-11 pm shift—things had just started to jump by the time we ran home, showered, changed clothes, and hit our favorite spots. 

Granted, we were a bit younger then; but, like Kate Yeadaker, at that point in my life a high-energy shift made me need a high-energy release after it was over. I have great difficulty dragging myself or my hubby out after 6 pm these days. I now walk daily and regularly practice yoga to counteract the inactivity of a more desk-bound nursing position.

What do you do to relax? How do you take care of yourself? To be fully effective as caregivers we must take care of ourselves first. Send us your favorite stress relievers—maybe one of your peers will benefit from something you have already taken to heart.

Peggy L. McDaniel, BSN, RN, is an infusion practice manager.

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Jean September 9, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    As a kid I took lots and lots of tap dancing classes. Every Sunday I regress to childhood and tap at a local studio.

  2. Twitted by NursingCenter August 12, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    […] This post was Twitted by NursingCenter […]

  3. Thom August 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    As a hospice nurse I found the difference between my work and my home life to be too jarring to be left unaddressed. Succinctly, it haunted (haunts?) me. I quickly found that I need to exorcize it from my soul, my consciousness, after every shift. I have been writing all manner of pieces about what I see and what touches me, poetry, essays, short-shorts, and even middle of the night phone messages left on friend’s cell phones; they are kind and generous enough not to say, “STOP!”, so far.
    Writing is the cheapest and often the best therapy. Perhaps no one will ever read it; that’s not why I write. I write for my own peace.

  4. Peggy August 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I love it! Thanks Sean and Carrie- come on nurses out there, it’s Friday. How are you going to take care of yourself this weekend?

  5. Sean August 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    More than anything is decompressing after a tough shift. I luckily have a wife who is a nurse, so I usually burn her ear off.
    Outside of that, exercising, listening to music, and an occasional self-talk always helps.

  6. Carrie Hanley August 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this from my friend and colleage at work, Peggy. Wanted to mention that listening to Classical music from my favorite radio station WCPE here in Wake Forest, NC no matter what I’m doing is a welcome calm in my day!

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