Blake Lynch, aka Nurse Blake, loves caring for and helping patients and caring for and helping fellow nurses. As a popular nursing influencer, internationally touring comedian, healthcare advocate, and keynote speaker, Nurse Blake uses humor to bring nurses together.
meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-blake-lynch-aka-nurse-blake-magazineWorking in trauma centers around the country, Nurse Blake started posting original comedy videos aimed at his profession to cope with the stress of his nursing job. His lighthearted videos connect with nurses, nursing students, and healthcare workers worldwide, and he entertains almost 4M followers on social media while lifting healthcare workers across the globe.

But Nurse Blake is about more than comedy.

He always wanted to be a nurse. He started working in healthcare as a patient transporter at age 17 and graduated with a BSN from UCF in Orlando, Florida, in 2014.

Advocacy has always been a part of Nurse Blakes life. During nursing school, he was the President of the Florida Nursing Student Association, and in 2013, he started Banned4Life to end the permanent FDA gay blood ban. This ultimately contributed to the lifetime ban being lifted in 2015.

Now, Nurse Blake uses his online content and comedy shows to advocate for underpaid healthcare workers.

Hes also the creator of NurseCon at Sea, one of the largest and most popular nursing conferences; creator of the NurseCon App, which provides free continuing nursing education courses; and author of the #1 best-selling childrens book I Want To Be A Nurse When I Grow Up.” In the book, Blake learns that to be just like the nurse from his favorite TV medical drama, that it wont be easy, but if he puts his mind to it, he can become a great nurse.

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Nurse Blake is an important nursing leader, and Minority Nurse is pleased to profile him as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series. The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Nurse Blake, a nurse, creator, internationally touring comedian, healthcare advocate, and keynote speaker.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

Ive been a nurse for nine years now. I stepped away in early spring 2021.

Why did you become a nurse?

I knew a hot hospice nurse caring for my grandfather, and I’m like, ‘He’s a hot nurse. I want to be a hot nurse.’ (Nurse Blake jokes).

My dad’s a respiratory therapist. Hes worked on the night shift for over 30 years. Growing up, he would tell me the coolest stories about him caring for others. I think thats what inspired me. I havent considered any other profession. I was in the healthcare academy in high school. When I graduated that summer, I was doing prereqs. So, it was a no-brainer for me.

Do you miss being a bedside nurse and getting more content for your shows?

Yes. To some extent, people may call me crazy, but I miss the camaraderie of working in that team environment and patient interactions.

I stay up-to-date with all the evidence-based stuff and whats going on. I get a lot of feedback from nurses who watch my videos, and we get their stories and stuff. Based on my time as a nurse, I have stories for years and years to come because so much can happen in a 12-hour shift, right? Like so many stories and things that can happen in 12 hours, Ive had that experience multiplied by a few years, so I have endless content.

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What are the most important attributes of todays nursing leaders?

Equality and inclusiveness. Nursing leaders ensure their staff and their patients are safe. Many leaders care about making the higher-ups happy or just looking at a certain number instead of really caring. Its truly caring about the patients and their staff. I tell nursing leaders that you should treat your staff the same way you want your staff to treat patients. The lack of bedside staff nurses in those leadership roles is the problem. Thats the huge disconnect.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

It would be NurseCon at Sea, the nursing conference I have on a cruise ship. Seeing the nurses have their best lives and feel so safe and just let loose, to having nursing students who are 20 dancing on the dance floor in crazy costumes with a 70-year-old retired nurse. Thats what makes NurseCon at Sea so special. And thats what makes me the most proud.

What is it like to watch NurseCon at Sea grow to become one of the largest nursing conferences?

It’s cool to see that community grow and thrive. I provide the ship. We have education, but the participants make NurseCon at Sea the feel and vibe that it is.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

Staffing, staffing, staffing is the number one issue and affects nurses and patients at the end of the day. But it makes me so happy to see nurses going on strike. And record numbers like they are. Big hospital systems are striking like they havent seen it in decades.

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As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

It’s just giving them a venue and a community to let loose and forget about the stresses of their job. I tell nurses all the time youre not going to be perfect. Youre not going to get it all done within 12 hours. Youre not going to do it. Just try to be the best nurse you can be. Knowing you wont accomplish it all, do your best for your patients.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

It was one of my professors. It was Professor Angela Renton. She was one of my professors in health assessment. I remember how she made me feel to this day. She would start every class and come in and say “Hello, future nurses.” And just by saying “hHello, future nurses,” made us realize we will get through it. And that one day were going to be nurses, and that she sees as not being lower than her. Were all in this learning process together on a learning journey. So shes someone I think about all the time. She made me feel just so warm and so safe with her. I try to take that energy and feeling into my show and NurseCon at Sea. How do I make people feel? How does the show make people feel? How do the people on this cruise feel?

What do nurses tell you after seeing one of your comedy shows?

That Ive been following them with a hidden camera because we all go through the same thing. Theyre not alone. Some nurses say I considered leaving the profession because Im so stressed out, and they just really needed this night. Whats so cool about my shows is nurses come in party buses. So they come in groups of like 30 and 40. They make t-shirts and posters, and the energy is unbelievable and wild. And again, even at my shows, you have the younger and more experienced nurses of all ages and backgrounds coming together. And that is just, like, so cool. So I think its just relatability. Im telling my stories, how they happened in my life and my years as a nurse, and seeing what others went through is my most common feedback. Like were all missing a bladder scanner. Like weve all had the patient thats pulled their Flexi-Seal™ out.

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What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Know you have a voice. If theres ever something youre passionate about and want to change, do it, because if you dont, who will?

Editors Note: This month, Minority Nurse proudly shines a spotlight on the significance of DEI in nursing and honors the remarkable Champions of Nursing Diversity. These individuals are not just leaders but beacons of inspiration, guiding us toward a more diverse and inclusive future in healthcare. In 2023, we introduced the Champion of Diversity series, showcasing healthcare leaders driving positive change within their organizations and the nursing profession. In this edition, we applaud the top three profiles from this series. Nursing Diversity Champions embody a steadfast dedication to diversity and inclusion within accredited nursing programs and healthcare facilities throughout the United States. We commend their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to these vital initiatives. Moving forward, we must not just prioritize, but champion DEI in nursing. This is not merely a call to action but a shared responsibility, a commitment to shape a more equitable and compassionate healthcare system for all. Let us not become complacent, but rather, let us be the catalysts for change.

Renee Hewitt
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