Women in Wellness: Featuring Brianna Katzman

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Brianna Katzman is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant


Jennifer: Please introduce yourself in a few sentences for our readers
Brianna: I'm a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant. I work side by side with an attending on an acute floor to decide patient plan of care and necessary interventions for the day, assist in bedside procedures, and infuse stem cell transplants.

J: What are you currently doing and how did you get into this field?
B: I currently work at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant floor. Since I was young, I knew I wanted to work with children I just wasn't sure in which capacity. I struggled to make a decision about my career and was choosing between physical therapy, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. I was accepted into Columbia's Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program and decided this program made the most sense since it was pediatric based. After 3+ years of schooling post college, countless clinical rotations, and two board exams, I have finally landed my dream job and I have been at NYP for a little over a year.

J: How do you balance a busy career as well as healthy personal life?
B: I am constantly working to balance a busy career and a healthy personal life. It's not easy! My schedule at work changes frequently, some weeks I work night shifts and others day shifts. The constant change is tough on my body. What I find most helpful is meal prepping each week before my shifts, even down to the snacks. Sometimes, I don't even have time to sit and eat lunch so I eat on the go. Meal prepping makes it easier not to pick something unhealthy since I don't have to think about what I'm eating for lunch! Second, organization is key. On my days off from work, I try to get my errands done so I feel better about starting the week off with a clean slate and less on my mind going forward.

J: At the beginning of the day, how do you prepare for a good day and at night, how do you wind down before bed?
B: I prepare for a good day by reading for 30-45 minutes on the subway to work. I either read the news on The Skimm, a book, or listen to a podcast. It allows me to take my mind off things for a bit before I need to be on all day caring for patients. At night, when I get home from a crazed day at the hospital, I take time to "decompress". I put my phone down and take the time to let everything that happened that day sink in. Many times at work, I suffer from decision fatigue. When I get home I try to take 10-15 minutes to relax, turn the events of the day off, and just be.

J: What does your daily wellness routine look like?
B: I try to exercise 3-4 times per week. I belong to Equinox, do boutique classes such as Soul Cycle, Barry's, or The Class by Taryn Toomey. I also try to see my trainer 1-2x per week. If I'm working a day shift (7am-730pm), I normally don't get home until closer to 830pm which doesn't leave much time to exercise. On those days, I try to steam and shower to at least get some sort of sweat in! Along with workout classes, I try to do at least one thing for me each day (even if it's small!) I take care of very sick children day in and day out and it's important for care providers to take time for themselves.

J: In such a busy and fast-paced city, how do you find time for yourself during the day?
B: When I'm at work, I find time for myself by trying to go to the garden during the day and taking 10 minutes to relax and get fresh air. On my days off, I try my best to listen to my body, and if I need that extra hour of sleep, I take it!

J: Any tips to avoid burnout?
B: Burnout is huge in my career as a Nurse Practitioner. I've been avoiding burnout by taking personal days and holiday days that are allotted each year. I try to space my shifts out a few days to optimize my time off.

J: What are three things you could not live without?
B: I could not live without coffee, a good book, and my support system.

J: What book/podcast are you currently reading/listening to?
B: Educated by Tara Westover

J: What is the best advice you've been given?
B: The best advice I’ve ever been given is to never take life too seriously and that "laughter is the best medicine"


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Jennifer Silvershein