The Elite Nurse is founded by the owner Melanie Angus Aiken who has been a nurse for over 20 years as well as a lover of fashion & travel. The Elite Nurse represents the fusion of Melanie’s passion for fashion, travel and her career as nurse. Melanie has worked in a variety of areas in nursing including neurology, orthopedics, medical surgery, telemetry, travel nursing, utilization review and nurse case management. Nursing became my career almost by default as I always wanted to be a fashion designer growing up.
If you have Caribbean parents you will know that the entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t quite understood or celebrated back then. Unless you are going to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse or teacher the career just isn’t worthy. I chose my second choice which was to be a plastic surgeon. I didn’t realize until years later how my love of fashion came into play with me wanting to be a plastic surgeon. Both fields focus on aesthetics and making something seemingly better than what it was before. It is like creating art. Even though I decided to do nursing fashion was always present. I designed a swimwear line for an online boutique I owned.
My swimwear design
I did a year of premed at Pace University in NY however, it was extremely expensive so my mom suggested nursing as I already had many nurses in my family. My mom is actually a nurse. She explained that it was a career in which I would always have a job. It can be done in a relatively short time compared to being a doctor and make a great salary. She wanted me to be self sufficient and not have to take a ton of loans. Also if I wanted to continue with med school I had the ability to pay my way without taking out hefty loans.
My mom and I
When I started working as a nurse I quickly realized that nursing and I was going to have a love hate relationship lol. I loved fashion so the fact that I was going to wear what looked like pajamas back then was enough to make me ready to quit. Nurses are not supposed to have their nails done in acrylic tips which was all the rage back then and another restriction I didn’t care for. I also am obsessed with perfume and would have up to 10 different perfumes on my vanity that I wear based on my mood and the season lol. Nurses were also encouraged not to wear perfume as some patients are sensitive to smells. This one really pissed me off lol. With all these restrictions it led me to come up with the idea of making fashionable scrubs. I had a friend who was from the Philippines and I sketched some uniforms and she had them made there for me.
Since entrepreneurship was not really a big thing like it is now. I had no idea where to start. I even went to Fashion Institute and Technology after having my bachelors in nursing to sign up to become a student. I had an appointment with a counselor which never happened because it happened to be 9/11 that day. My dreams were once again put on hold.
Life happened I got married and had kids and moved away from New York putting my dreams on hold. It wasn’t until I had a health scare with breast cancer in 2013 and surviving that grueling process that I promised myself I was going to live my life the way I wanted. I was actually accepted to start my nurse practitioner program at Georgia State but decided I didn’t want to pursue nursing anymore I already had my masters degree and that was enough for me. It was time to pursue my dreams.
I liked nursing because I truly enjoyed making a positive impact in people’s lives however, there was still a void that it was not able to fill and that was my creative side. Also, I was becoming really burnt out at the bedside and I knew it was time to make a transition. I am no longer working at the bedside as I am now doing nurse case management. I am taking a leap of faith into starting my own brand.
Caricature for The Elite Nurse
The Elite Nurse came about to inspire nurses to create better work life balance. The goal is to strive to meet or exceed established professional and personal standards. We know burnout is prevalent in the medical profession and I wanted to build a brand that not only represents excellence at the bedside but also in your personal life. As nurses we are often the care takers and we neglect our own self care causing burnout. My goal is to use the platform to discuss real topics that affect us in the medical field but also incorporate ways in which we can nurture ourselves as well. One of the ways in which I do that is by traveling or going to really nice hotels to have a spa day. I am also a foodie so going to a top rated restaurant and having great food always puts me in a great mood. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as going for a walk in nature, meditating, having a massage or as simple as doing a manicure or pedicure.
The mission of The Elite Nurse is to mentor, inspire, network and empower nurses. You will be able to read blogs about topics of concern. We do a weekly Nurse/Murse crush Wednesday to feature nurses who align with the Elite brand. Our followers are able to get a feature on our site by sending us an email or DM with their name and credentials. On Friday’s we do a lifestyle segment featuring travel, bucket list places and things nurses can do to prevent burnout. You will be able to shop one of a kind trendy Tee’s with catchy phrases and other medical apparel that represent the Elite Brand. We also will do random giveaways to show our appreciation to our followers.
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to let us know what you would like to see more of on the site in terms of apparel. You can provide suggestions for any colors you would like to see added . Let us know if you have any areas of concern you would like us to discuss in our blog post. You may contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Instagram and facebook @theelitenurse. Please share with friends and family!