AJN Best of The Blog Features Post by JparadisiRN

Manicure by Julianna Paradisi 2014

It’s an honor to have my post and illustration,  A Brief Meditation on Love, Loss, and Nursing, originally published on Off the Chartsthe blog of the American Journal of Nursing, featured in the February issue of AJN

Click on the link above to read the issue online, and find look for Best of the Blog, A Brief Meditation on Love, Loss, and Nursing, in the table of contents.


Back From The Digital Future: My Return to Paper and Ink Books

Tiny Lending Library ink on paper by Julianna Paradisi 2018

My adult life I’ve had an unreasonable fear of being without a book to read. The anxiety is triggered when I travel, particularly by air. I trace its beginning to childhood when, on a family vacation to visit my grandparents in Italy, our plane was delayed in Germany for hours due to bad weather. Eventually, all passengers were shuttled by bus from Frankfurt to an airport in Stuttgart, continuing our flight to Rome.

I was in the fifth grade, stranded in a foreign airport with nothing to occupy me for twelve hours. My personal Hell was exceeded only by my parents’: they had to manage my boredom along with my six year-old brother’s, and toddler sister’s, also stranded. Fun times.

From then on, I travel with whatever book I’m reading, and if nearing its end, at least one other book, or more, depending on the planned length of stay. I know books are sold at airports, but I’m unwilling to take a chance on their selection. Problematically, my books take up space, and add weight to my luggage, interfering with my desire to travel light.

The invention of digital readers changed this. I live near one of the best independently owned book stores in America, and I apologize to all small, independent book store owners, but the ability to download books to a slim, lightweight device, and buy more books from virtually anywhere I travel was a game-changer, until last year.

Last year, the hospital  where I work installed a Tiny Lending Library in its Healing Garden.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Tiny Lending Libraries, they’re a thing, with their own organization, and website. The movement began when people built cases, or sometimes simply placed boxes filled with books in their neighborhoods, inviting their neighbors to “take a book, and leave one behind.”

Besides the satisfaction derived from the printed page of a book, the experience of handling a used book left by someone wanting to share it provides a connection to the neighborhood, and the people who live there.

At work, I stop to see what’s on the shelves in the Tiny Lending Library if it’s not already being examined by staff or neighbors. The selection changes often. So far, I’ve borrowed six books, and left twice as many.

Once again, there’s a stack of unread books on my nightstand. I carry the one I’m reading with me to work, in case I have time on my lunch break to read a page or two. Eventually, it will take its place in the Tiny Lending Library.

I wonder how many of the books from the Tiny Lending Library make their way into hospital rooms, carried there by family or friends visiting a patient who is stranded by illness or injury, and worried about not having enough books to read?




Book Review: Nursing From Within, a Fresh Approach to Putting Out Fires and Self Care Work Arounds

In her book, Nursing From Within, a Fresh Approach to Putting Out Fires and Self Care Work Arounds, Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN takes on the chronic dissatisfaction most nurses experience at some juncture in their career. With change rapidly dominating the landscape of health care delivery, nurses are stretched to the breaking point in their ability to provide safe, patient centered care.

Nursing From Within, a Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self Care Work Arounds by Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN

Nursing From Within, a Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self Care Work Arounds by Elizabeth Scala, MSN, MBA, RN

This problem is not new in nursing, according to Scala. In fact, it’s existed in some form or another for decades. Scala considers,

It is possible that nursing, the entire profession as we know it today, is stuck. Bogged down from the energy that is created with the funnel. Looking left and right, turning around or glancing above us-who do we see? What do we hear? Where do we go for answers?

We hear the same things, talk about the same things, and live the same things.

While nursing has come a very long way in terms of scientific skills and critical thinking, can we say the same thing for our own personal and professional evolvement as a whole? Are we developing in a way that will help us to thrive and move forward as a group? Or is the mindset of ‘this is how it’s always been done?’ keeping us stuck in the funnel of nursing limitation?

 In a conversational voice, Scala uses stories from her personal experiences to illustrate how she changed from a nurse on the brink of burnout into one with an expanded viewpoint of where an open mind and change from within can lead. The creative career solution she chose at the book’s ending surprised me. It validates the versatility of a nursing license, but I’m not sure it answers the question at the heart of the book’s premise.

However, this does not take away from the truth of Scala’s observations, or the value of the  tools she presents for self care. Scala’s openness and authenticity shine through. Her topic is important, demanding recognition and discussion among nurses. I found much of what she wrote inspirational.

Nursing from Within: A Fresh Alternative to Putting Out Fires and Self-Care Workarounds is available now. Get your copy today by visiting Elizabeth Scala’s website or purchase directly from Amazon

An Interview with J.Paradisi

What medium(s) do you work in?

     Primarily, I paint. I’ve exhibited work in sculpture, collage, and knitted wire. I dabble at printmaking.  And, I’m a writer. I choose the medium during the artistic process, based on a call and response from the concept I’m working with.

Please describe the connection of your work as a nurse and an artist: how did you become inspired to start expressing themes from your nursing work in your art?

     I’m an artist who earns her living as as a nurse. I look to convergence, irony, transformation, and the ephemeral for themes and healthcare is a goldmine of these topics. In twenty-two years of nursing, I’ve developed skills of observation that are necessary for nurses and artists. As a pediatric nurse, many of my small patients were voiceless, and an ability to read body language and facial expression was as crucial to an accurate assessment as reading vital signs.  I’ve found that working with adult patients is not much different. Many want to avoid hospitalization, or bothering me, and often answer “how are you doing?”  with “Fine”, when I can clearly read fatigue or pain on their faces.  I find they appreciate that I pay that sort of attention to them. An artist needs the same level of observational

"Supplant" J.Paradisi 2008

"Supplant" J.Paradisi 2008

 skills to reveal truth in their art. Leonardo DaVinci saw the connection between health science and art. It wasn’t until much later in art history that the two seemed to become polarized.

How long have you been in Old Town Chinatown? How did you come to be a part of the neighborhood?

     Last winter I unexpectedly needed to relocate my studio. My husband found this one in the Goldsmith Blocks on Craig’s List, and I moved in mid-January 2008.

What do you like best about being in the neighborhood?

     The people I’ve met. There’s a lot of support for artists. I also love rarely needing a car. Growing up on Catalina Island, I knew everyone and walked everywhere. Old Town provides me with the same sense of community I had back then.

Who are some other artists that you work with? What do you like best about their work?

     Morgan Pasinski and Matt Condron are two in our Collective. Morgan’s oil paintings are elegant in their nostalgic simplicity. When you look closer, her surfaces are distinctive, varying from transparent and glass-like, to so textural that I have to keep myself from touching them.

     Matt’s paintings create a psychological environment, luring me into the image. I marvel at his flawless surfaces of nearly invisible brushstrokes.

When/where will your work be displayed this spring?

     I have paintings on rotating display at Pearl District Dental, 1211 NW Glisan, and in April, I  participate in the annual Chair Affair, benefitting Portland’s Community Warehouse

     New Lives: Nurses’ Stories about Babies, includes my short stories Icarus Again and Voyagers. The book is currently available for preorder on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Target. I believe it is available locally at Powell’s, following its release in May 2009.