Samantha Simmons, NICU nurse

“Setting a daily goal is what works best for me.” -Samantha Simmons, NICU nurse

“Setting a daily goal is what works best for me.”
                          -Samantha Simmons, NICU nurse

My dad loves racquetball. He brought it with him to the East Coast. It’s much bigger on the West Coast. Initially, my sisters and I weren’t very interested; we’d go to the gym with him and play hide and seek. We’d usually hide in the women’s locker room, inside the lockers.

When we were 10 to 12, we started getting interested. In my junior career, I made the U.S. team four times over the course of six years. Last year in Seattle, I took the No. 4 player to four games and almost won the tiebreaker game. It felt great!

You can tell when someone is at these tournaments to have fun and loves the sport versus someone for whom it’s a job. My fiancé asked me, “What would you choose if you could choose one career?” I would choose nursing. Nursing makes me sane enough to go train. I love working in the neonatal ICU. I get to potentially save lives and change people’s lives here at work, and I also get to take personal satisfaction in sports.

Everybody in racquetball is for the most part very sociable and awesome to hang out with at the tournaments. My fiancé, Sebastian Franco, is a men’s professional racquetball player. We met and took an interest in each other at the junior world racquetball championships in 2009 in the Dominican Republic. He’s currently No. 8 in the world — he kicks my butt! He’s my coach right now.

Before a tournament, normally, you want to get to the gym at least four or five times a week, if only for at least an hour or two. Setting a daily goal is what works best for me. When I train and exercise, I have already planned which skills I want to work on and which cardio I am going to do.

Racquetball is 80 percent — some say 90 percent — mental. My junior coach said, “If you’re about to take a shot and you think you’re going to hit a bad shot or skip it, you are going to skip it or hit a bad shot.” And she’s right.

In general, I think it’s always best to think optimistically. It’s always calming to the parents when a nurse is positive. I don’t think we see this work as heroic. Obviously, it’s our job, but we just see it as something we love to do. I think my favorite part is when the babies finally get to go home. We have some babies who come for a week and some who are here for three to six months. These parents experience such high stress, and to see the excitement on their faces — there’s nothing more exciting than walking a baby downstairs to the front door and putting them in the car.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (15 votes cast)

Samantha Simmons, NICU nurse, 5.0 out of 5 based on 15 ratings


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }


Betty Edmunson February 1, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Your are a very special caring and passionate person. Thanks so much for sharing your story
I will share this with my 2 granddaughters who are in nursing school.. One is at Prince George's Community College for RN and the other one at Hampton University for Pediatric Nursing.


:Donna January 31, 2017 at 8:36 am

Samantha, I loved the last line of your story!. Thank you for sharing.


ryan williamson January 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Are you going to join the upcoming league? I am going to try! Would love to play with you sometime!


Elizabeth Felix January 28, 2017 at 1:38 am

Got my gym inspiration, and glad to hear a fellow nurse have a healthy outlet outside of work!


Stacey Marks January 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

Great story! I just started playing racquetball in September and I absolutely love it! It is definitely a mental game and a great way to use my brain in a different way!


Kathy Renn January 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

Great story! Thanks for sharing.


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