Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 8 months ago

Bambū: Bringing Awareness through Medicine by Uniting


Last year, everyday healthcare heroes shipped off to the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only, in this war, there were no banners, no flags — no symbols of unity.

For many fighting alone in a new, scary setting, that unity could have made a huge difference.

That’s why Christen Roberts, CRNA, Mrs. Georgia American and Founder of Bambū, made it her mission to provide such a symbol to the extraordinary healthcare workers risking their lives to fight for all of us.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The origin of Bambū
  • How Christen’s message led to her pageant victory
  • How you can help spread Bambū’s message of resilience, hope, and unity.

Heroes of Healthcare is hosted by Ted Weyn.

You were listening to heroes ofhealthcare. The podcast that highlights bold selfless professionals in thehealthcare industry focused on transforming lives in their communities.Let's get into the show, welcome to the heroes of health carepodcast, I'm your host Ted Wayne, I'm joined today by Kristen Roberts aftercompeting as a division on cheerleader at the University of MississippiChristen, went on to the Medical School of Georgia, where she graduated in twothousand and eight serving in critical care. She was accepted into the HamadSchool of Anasthesia as the youngest inner class at age. Twenty four afterrigorous hears a study. She graduated in Credential Das, a Crna, a certifiedregistered nurse enestysiologist in two thousand and twelve as an anesthegiaprovider. Christen has served the country from coast to coast. She hasprovided Karin Rhode, Island Massachusetts, Oregon and, of course,in her home state of Georgia at the onset of Covid nineteen cristen and herhusband, Michael founded bamboo, as a way to unite the country in support ofour heroes of healthcare completely selffunded. They have built thisorganization from the ground up they've collaborated to create a movementnationwide. As a reminder of appreciation to our providers duringthese trying times, we are very excited to have Hirston Roberts join us on theheroes of healthcare. Welcome Christen, hello, Hi everyone, I'm ChristienRofert, now Miss Georgia American here to represent all the wonderful nursesand frontline workers of this country, and I'm so excited to be on today andto speak with all of you. ETHAT's great yeah want to talk more about the MrsGeorgia part of it, but thanks for being here thanks for joining us, we'reexcited to talk more about it. Why don't you tell the listeners I kind ofgave a little bit of an intro before we kicked on here about your background,but why don't you tell the listeners a little bit more? How long have you beena crna and wherere you currently practicing and a little bit about yourpassion of Healthcare Yeah? So I've been a CRA now for nine years Iactually put my first patient to sleep at twenty four years old, which iscrazy, but practicing independently. I've been a Seraday for nine years.I've practiced all over the country up in Rhode, Island Oregon, I'm originallyfrom Mississippi, as I stated before, but now I currently resid in northGeorgia and practice at a Gi facility where I currently resided about twentyminutes away from that facility and then have previously served thehospital right next to the GI center in o be in the past. So I had a passionfor babies before I piss so, but now that I had my own babies that obschedule was not very conducive to a mother's wife, Shil with twenty fourhour shifts and nine Kins and holidays right in so now, I'm in a great job.That gives me the opportunity to spend more time with them perfect. Thatsounds like the best of both worlds. For you so tell us a little bit aboutyour organization. Bamboo tell us a little bit about how that came aboutwhat was the spark of the idea. Okay, so back when the pandemic first hit, Ifound myself on my sofa crying nightly, trying to figure out what it was Iwanted to do, and I have a son with Siviar asthma the's been hospitalizedseveral times and including down at childrens in Atlanta and but I feltcalled to go and serve on a nightly basis. I was just torn I reachd Yot tomy family and I felt that my sinter at the time had shut down and I wanted togo and serve our country an and one of the hottest spots. There was so Ifigure if I'm Goingno, do it, I'm goingto jump in big and I'm going toreally do what someone need, and after hearing these nurses were taken ontwelve patients at a time and the critical pare units with former IC, youexperience, I knew that I was stressed...

...out to the Max if I had three patients,so I felt that you know this is something that I really wanted to do,and so a friend of mine and I jumped in- and we said, hey we're going tocredential and we're going to go ut there and we're going to serve so wedid we fully credentialed and were ready to go, but I found myself reallyhaving a lot of anxiety and ncertainty still with having committed to that. Icouldn't sleep. I was restless and just uncertain just kind of going into a warzone of a situation and not really knowing anyone that I was going to bebeside and taking care of all these patients. So I kind of started tobrainstorm, and I thought what is it that I want to do? You know I'm puttingmyself out there, but I want to do something bigger. I want to make usfeel united as providers and really give us strength and hope and we're allin this together. You know we're stalling the same storm but we'reingdifferent ships, and so, after a lot of research, I wanted to find a symbolthat symbolized strength, uniity optimism, encouragement and resilienceand that symbol happened to be the plant Bandeu y interesting, becausewhen I graduated from Anastegia school one of the gifists that our programgave us was a plant af bamboo, and I never remembered that until I got intothis whole process. I was like well that they actually gave us bamboo as agraduation present because of everything that it stood for. So I didsome more brainstorming and thought. What could I do to have like a tangiblesomething for these providers to really look down at and remember that theyrremembered and their thought fore and Prade for and that were all in thistogether and we're united? And so I came up with an idea of creating abracelet with actually a piece of banboo on it. So that's what I did andthen my wheels kept turning and my sweep- and I thought you know what Icould come up with the way to spell bamboo that actually meant somethingspecial, and so I spelled it Ba Nbu, which stands for bringing awareness ormedicine by uniting, and so that's kind of how I got started. So we madehundreds of these bracelets as we planned to go up north New Jersey and Iwas going to pass them out to any and everybody to make us still united andthen once they started to Plat to we never got called and my cinter actuallyopened back up. So I just put to this out on social media. Hey. I have allthese bracelets and I'm just going to donate them and if anyone feels acenter or facility or physician or a nurse or anyone wants one to just. Letme know- and I got my Barden and people really want to. You know-wanted to come together, mainly as a country, because this was goingnationwide to try to help individuals or facilities feel supported. So then Iknew that it really meant something so yeah, that's how we kind of got startedand we started in our living room just making these bracelets and we attacheda little car to the bracelet. So the provider knows how Banboo got startedand what the meaning is and just to make them feel special and just unitedand resilient. That's awesome. I appreciate the a lover Spirit about youknow you aren't able to mobilize physically, but you still wanted to dosomething: Yeah Kal, my husband. I said you know they're, not calling me untherthe sinners opening back up. I don't know. What's going on, New Jersey wasplateaing and I said you know I'm still going to catch a fly. I want to go upthere and give these to people and make them feel like they're cared for andthey're not alone was my main thing. I didn't want anyone to feel alone inthis, so Yeph, that's how it got started. So I understand that you andyour husband Michael, have bootscrapp...

...this yourselvs right, there's nooutside funding. This has been really all your yeah, your mission. So far.Yes, this is our mission. You know- and that was a big discussion in thebeginning, because my senter was shut down for a while and financially I'm aten ninety nine employee. So I was not receiving any income, but I told myhusband, I said you know this is worth to me like making someone feelimportant, because I know how I feel- and I can't imagine how the people feelthat have the twelve patients and that are putting their own lives at risk andtheir own family's lives at risk, and you know just the detrimental situationI feel like. We just need to do what we can and just do this. These people needsomething symbolically, and this is more important than our financialsituation. At the time Yesyo responded to the you responded to the CO thingyeah. Well, you responded to the calling so tell me a little bit aboutthe first kind of inquiry, so when you put it out on put it Oun on socialmedia, how did you start to get the word out about this and what was someof the responses? What were people saying? Were they saying send mehundreds of these or I on five or how did he forst a little bit about this?It kind of was like I need to that. I need tin, Hey. Can I get this facilitya whole? You know, so it was like some people needed to and some people neededtwo hundred, so it was just from, but the crazy thing was is that- and thisis something that my brother told me is that when you know you have somethingspecial when you have someone trom all over the nation reaching out for you,and you know that that means something, and so that is what was so intriguingabout. It was that people really felt and need to feel supported. So that'sthat's. What really hit Hapn with me is that this actually went completelyacross the country an we were getting messages from California, from Arizonafrom the northwest and Oregon I mean, and we on our website. It's really cool,because my husband is a teacher and his kids. They formulated a map on thewebsite and we're trying to paint that mat bamboo green, because the braceletsare green, right, Yep, one right here, yeah, so we're trying to paint that Mat,baby, green and trying to just spread the word, but we've had just any andevery type of facility. I mean you name it Denistry hospitals, you know littlesmall officesetting facilities, everyone needs to support and to feelloved and just denine it in general yeah. So we'll put it up on in theheroes of healthcare podcastcom website. So people know how to get to thewebsite, for why? Don't you tell the listeners? What is the website and yourand how they can kind of follow you on social or where are you guys? So it'sBanboo, strongcom and that' spelled Ba Mbu and Strongcom, and you know wereally want this. This movement to keep going forward. We had a stall for asecond and that's how the whole misss Georgia thing got started, but we feelthat you know for every dollar, there's two bracelets to go to providers, and-and that's you know we pay for the shipping we pay. For everything mean webought a printer off Amazon. My husband built a website. Thank goodness. He hasthose skills, because I don't Wan so he's really advocated for me and myidea during this whole process, which is, you know, feel a tbit. We are inthis together for a reason being a nurse and a teacher in the year, twothousand and twenty trying to make a difference. But if anybody knowsthere's a difference to be made, it's us so yeah, that's kind of where we'reat so tell me about approximately. How many have you have gone out and how arethe request still coming in, even with the second wave and a surge and howsthe movement ween going it's been going great. You know we'll have a coupledays where we won't get a message and...

...then we'll have a couple days or we get.You know ten twenty messages, but the great thing is is that some of mysister Queens from other states have reached out and IV reached out to themand said: Hey. I want to provide to any facility, that's important to you. Iwant to donate to you to spread this word and they really use their socialmedia to spread the word, which is really awesome in this yeah. So we'regoing to have the listeners all saying my sister Queens. What is that? So,let's, let's jump into that a little bit d. So there was so there was a lullin your process with bamboo a little bit, and so let share with thelisteners that story and and how you're now into something you probably didn'tthink you would be into twelve months ago yeah. I never thought that thiswould be in my lafe right now, so yeah we had period where we werekind of stagnant and- and I was just bound and determined to keep this goingand I happene to be on facebook one day and Mrs Georgia, competition kind ofpopped up on my facebook and I thought Wol miss, I didn't even know, missusexisted. I thought after you got married, it was over, and so I thought well what if I couldgo and tell this story and just go in there and be myself. So I gave him acall, and I said you know you got two weeks but we'll take your applicationbecause of the covid situation and everything, but if you think you canpull it together and, like I said earlier, I did I Amazon frine, my myshoes and my swimsuit and everything kind of threw it together. Whent outthere told my story and I watched some youtube videos to try to learn how tostrup myself and I winged it, but I think in theinterview they could really tell that I was authentic and I meant what I wastrying to do and I was trying to further Tis and more than a platform. Ireally felt like. I had a purpose and I think that shine through Yoa, you can'thide passion, yeah, you can't you really can't, and so I thought thatthat might if I could come home with you know whether I placed or one if Icould come home and say hey, this is Georgia's doing this. Maybe it couldopen some eyes, and you know now we say sister Queens Woll. That's all theother states that are being represented in the national pageant coming up. Sohow many other women misses were in the pageant that you and then you againobviously for the listeners. You emerged the winner, so this is veryinteresting and I had to become educated on all this, because I've hadpeople that have said. Oh, we didn't know you did pageants and I'm like Ididn't know, I did fageancs either so yeah there was. I think there wasabout twelve or thirteen contestants, which is a little bit less than normalbecause of the whole corona situation, Du Yeah. So there was about twelv orthirteen contestants and we had to do swim suits, which was twenty fivepercent of the score interview, which was fifty percent of the score and thenevening gown. That was twenty five percent of the score, and then we hadan onstage question as well so yeah. So that was very interesting andeyeopening to me. It's all a new world to me, but I think that you know thisis a wonderful way for women to you know, have platforms and purposes andhave a voice, and so that is. I really feel that this is really empowered usfrom a standpoint of pushing bamboo forward, and hopefully we can GAM omentum and we can go u there and do well on this national competition, soyeah. So now you have now you have sister Queens. Now everybody knows whatsister Queens are and that's great, that they're getting behind you too,and supporting you through the social media and trying to continue to pushthis along. So let's stay on the PADGEAN story. So what's next, soyou've won the state. I assume there's the national thing and tell us a littlebit more about that, and when is that and how does that work? Yes, thenational pageant is at the end of March.

We were going to go at he intof Januarybecause of the situation with coronavirus, everything they felt, thatit's safer to go and go ahead and do that in March, give us a little bitmore time to prepare and if they have to take more precautions, but yes,that's going to be in Vegas and they prepared us to be. You know they said:Hey record this record, that practicees and practice that verson telecasting,so they're planning on having it on TV and, if not for some reason, it'll belivestramed online so that you can watch online, but it's an eight day,competition, wow, so yeah. So I will get there around March. The twentit andthen I'll leave around the twenty nint and Oure. All fifty states representedall fifty say to represent it. We have an interview which is fifty percent ofour spore. We also have a costume the which we do an entrance in the costumeand then which that's not really part of the scores more for entertainment,okay, the swim, wear competition and the on stage evening, gown with thequestion so yeah. It's I mean it's a big event. You know there's a lot thatgoes into this and I didn't really know kind of what I was getting into but 's.It is such a blessing to be involved in this, but there is you know every night,there's dinners that we have to wear gowns to and practices that you have tobe in certain attire and appearances, a lot of work, a lot of work that goesinto this. Yes, so, but it's exciting, you know, I feel that I have a voiceand I'm ready to share it. So well, something tells me Christian. Youhaven't lived your life as an underachiever. No that's the thing. The thing is is thatI feel that my personality is, if I'm challenged, I do better and that's andI'll share a story with you. When I was a cheerleader in college at all Miss Iwas dropped twenty feet on the basketball, gym, CORT AND IE delayedthe basketball game, Tho, Alabama old, Mis basketball, game on national TVyeah. That was kind of embarrassing, but try out for bark city was they werein about a month month and a half from then, and I felt I broke my arm mywrist, my I had fractured a couple burder in my back, my coxic mytel boneand everything and I became resilient, and I said you know what I'm going togo for Varsey this year, because I want to travel, t a country and see thesestadiums and I'm going to go for a four point o because I couldn't write withmy right hand. So I recorded all of my lectures and all of my hourses and Iwent and- and I did I bad vorcity and I had a for point of so I feel, like youknow what, if it's a challenge, let's Gra it on. Let's do better, let's gobigger, so that's just kind of how that's my personality, that's who I amthat's, who Christian Roberts as that's how you'r wired that's great. I lovethat yeah. No, it's amazing how from adversity, so many good things canhappen and not only your story about you know what happened at theuniversity, which I'm sure was really tough to deal with at the time, butwe're seeing it here and with with the pandemic that there's, you know, out ofthe adversity, a lot of people are rallying and some great causes arecoming out of it and so on. ND, obviously we're all going to be rootingfor you now, as you get into the National Competition in Las Vegas.Let's US talk about as we're kind of coming around here talk to us about thenumbers. How many bracelets have come out? How of the numbers been going andwhat can we do to help continue to help? You get the word out yeah, so our goalis- and I said, a goal a while back when I started all this way before Iknew I was going to be doing MSSS Georgia, but our goal is to get tenthousand out and I think if we can get tenzand out ten, the word will start tospread and we are at fivehsand right now, wow, so we're fivehzand, braceletsand, like I said, for every dollar, there's two bracelets thot go toproviders. My husband and I were going to do a huge donation is told him. ISuper Christmas. I really want to take care of northeast Georgi of thehospital that I used to be employed at and we're going to go on Wednesdaybefore Christmas and deliver a thousand...

...bracelets and that's fom us that'sawesome, because I just I feel that you know now more than ever. It's theseason it's giving, and this is what we stand for, and this is so important tous. So I would just ask that people just really. You know if you can getthe word out on your social media, reach out to me we're at bambos strongon instagram and then also like I said, Bambu strongcom and then my instagramis Mrss, Georgia, American, two thousand and twenty so yeah I meanthere is the word to be spread. We can do this, we can GAM a minum if we'reall in this together and what a better way- and you know, I really feel thatthis year is historical and we need these providers to feel remembered andall thos Tay Pass. We have a vaccine coming out bat. More than anything. Ifeel that it's important for us to remember everything that they wentthrough the frontline situation. Well, that's why heare at the podcast. Welove your story because that's very aligned with us too, and that's why westarted the podcast was to be able to recognize those unsung heroes, aspeople are in the front lines who are putting their lives at risk for thecare of other people, and the thing is: is that we get theseletters. I get these handwritten letters and messages on Instagram andfacebook of these nurses that feel so frustrated and just down and they justlooke down at their bracelet, and a lot of them were wearing them on theirlanyards or keychains or whatever, but they'll look down and they just saidyou know. I just feel that I'm not alone- and I see this and it's just sospecial to me. I mean I've, read letters that have brought me to tearsbecause they feel encowered and they feel supported, and that was myultimate goal. That was my ultimate Gal and all of this Hoh, that's great n.That was going to be my next question. was you know what are the some of thestories you're hearing and what are some of the feedback, but it soundslike that's. What you're sharing is that W, as they are feeling tired andworn out or feeling like they just can't go any further? They feel thesupport from the bracelets and feel like you know. I think I think thething is. Is it's not just a gift? You know that we're giving them it'ssomething that symbolizes something there was a lot of thought that wentinto this and with myself being in a frontline situation and putting myselfout there in the anxiety and the uncertainty I was feeling I askedmyself. What would make me feel important and special, and that's how Icame up with this so yeah and Bambi was born. That's great well we're thrilledto have you on here and are so excited about what you've got going here withbamboo. Obviously, we're hope that the MRS Georgia and the misses USAcompetition serves as a platform for you to just sing louder about thesepeople and what it is, and I'm sure part of the reason why you won was likeyou said the passion of your story came out, and that was a big part of whatthey saw in what you were doing as we trind tof wrap up here and I'll get thesocial media thing. You know sites and things and again, ASD So said: We'llput this on our website, so as people her the podcast that they want to getmore information about. Bambou strong we'll make those links available on ourwebsite, so they can get to you and and get to the website and stuff, butthere's any kind of last thoughts or last words. You just want to kind ofshare with the audience and and what they hear or call to arms for them. I'dlove to allow you to share that with them as well. Yeah I put a quote on theBande website and you know rainer shine, we're going to persevere through thistime and I want each and everyone of them to always be remembered, Antil,united and resilient, and you know, if anything, we're going to come outstronger frough. This experience, hat we've all had together, and I know thatso many people have been through so many detrimental situations, but justalways know that we're sailing in this storm ere in different ships, but we'reall in this together and at the end of...

...the day we are united and we are strongand I support every single one of you great and so the last thing Christen is,as you know, and for those who listen to the podcast. No, I kind of finisheach episode with the question, which is: Who is your hero so growing up orcurrently, when you think back to? Who is the hero that jumps out at you, themost in your life? So I have a past hero and I had several present heroes.My past hero would have to be the nurse the critical care nurse that trained meand the ICU Sam Richardson Wol. He was he's an emery fight nurse he's over theECMO program at Kennistone hospital and he went from a janitorial kind ofmaintenance position in a hospital to becoming a lead of their ecmo programand instructing so many critical carenurses and being one of the numberone flight nurses in Atlanta and if you can go and really achieve at that leveland you're that passionate from walking in a hospital as a maintenance guy toreally wanting to take care of patients on that level that to me he trained meand yeah. He will always shine bright in my heart, so he's my first hero andthe second hero would have to be my husband. I would not be where I amtoday without him, he has been so supportive in this process. Matter offact, right now he's in the living room making prices it's happening real time. He watchesfootball games, making bracelets. He set up our website. He finds facilitiesthat need these bracelets. The need support, he's. You know, order to printher off Amazon packaging. Everything up for me, as I work continuously he's youknow he's just it's been so supportive he's my hero and all of this. But onelast thing I want to say is that in the world of pageantry there has alwaysbeen sponsorship, and this year there hasn't been the sponsorship because ofthe covid situation. So when I first shared my story that I would be doingthis, the American Association of Nursand EPHESIS and a group of Crnas,which is a thirtyousand member group, put my story out there and whether it'sbeen a dollar or two dollars or whatever to really pish me for thisyear. In this process they are the ones that are literally my sponsors to upwith them, which I think its an absolutely incredible. I'm trying togive them a voice, yeah you're, giving me the voice and Ito need forard, soall of the front liners and the ones that are out there that are fishing mefor to represent them in this competition. You are my number ones andI'm going to do my best to represent you on that stage in March. That'sawesome what great support right! That's got to make. You feel love, yes,and it does it's very meaningful. That's great! So Christin share withthe listeners where you see this going. Where do you want to take this? Whatother visionary things do you have going? I'm sure someone like you. Youstill got some ideas up your sleep, so I really want to the ultimate goal onthis. I would it would be my dream as to develop a five hun one s three, as anonprofit for Helt care providers to have resources. I think right now, onthis year, we have really shine o light on a situation that always exists andwhether it's the Er nurse that has to deal with the child that comes in anddies in her arms motcarick and has to go back to work the next day. I feelthat providers need resources, education, that's something that wedon't get in school. I would love to take this forward and really createsomething that provides that for us. So that is my ultimate goal in all of this,and I've also got something up. My Sleep, I've written a children's bookin regards to two thousand and twenty,...

...and so that's being illustrated rightnow and I'm really excited about it, but that is where we're going with thiswhole movement. I just want everyone to be remembered and that's my ultimategoal. Well, that's. That's amazing love your heart. Do we have the title to thebook yet or we just gin a hold. We going to hold that the title is a herowithout a kate hero was out AF Cape, that's great! That's great! Well,listen! It's been my pleasure having you on here, we're so grateful of yourtime between work, two children, Bamboo Heyno, Mrs Georgia and I'm sure a wholehost of other things. You've got going on. We appreciate your carvon out alittle time to tell us your story, we're excited for you we're going tocontinue to, as I said, root for you and we just thank you for being a partof our show. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate this you've been listening to heroes ofhealthcare for more subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player,or visit us at heroes of healthcare. Podcastcom.

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