Toni Scott, RN, BSN
As part of our Nurse Entrepreneur Series, we’d like to introduce Toni Scott, RN, BSN, Founder of Yogatones.
Toni is a transformational leader with 18 + years of professional experience, including newborn intensive care, pediatric emergency room and magnet leadership. The creator of “Five Minute Yoga Break” for nurses on the go, Toni is a sought-after wellness speaker and yoga expert, presenting at nursing career fairs and nursing conferences.
As the founder of Yogatones (Preventative Health and Wellness), Toni is actively involved in community health initiatives and was awarded by the National Black Nurses Association, Chicago chapter for her work in Preventative Health Care and Wellness.
In this Q&A, Toni shares her experience as a nurse entrepreneur.
Q. How long have you been a nurse? What’s your nursing background/experience?
A. I’ve been a nurse for 18 years. I began my pediatric nursing career at Yale New Haven Hospital in high-risk pregnancy/postpartum & well baby nursery. After two years, I moved into level III newborn intensive care (NICU III), which I completely fell in love with. After four years at YNHH I became a travel nurse working in NICU III around the US ending up here in Chicago where along with NICU I did a little pediatric intensive care and general pediatrics. I then moved on to the pediatric emergency room (Trauma 1), and did a little agency school nursing and holistic summer camp nurse/yoga teacher. From there I took my nursing/ yoga teaching knowledge into the community and founded Yogatones, where I provide mindfulness-based wellness and lectures to nurses and community members of all ages.
Q. Can you briefly describe how you came to yoga/mindfulness/stress reduction? (I know that might be a tall order!)
A. I came into yoga, mindfulness and stress reduction as a way to stay alive and healthy. Depression runs deep in my family. I was in a very dark place in life and really did not know or care if I’d ever see the light. It took me stumbling into my first yoga class, to clearly see and began to care about just how dark things had become. The tears I wept and the heaviness that lifted out of my heart as I laid on my mat gave me just enough clarity to know I was mentally, physically and emotionally ill. Once I began to practice regular asanas, breath work and meditation, I stopped medicating myself with false truths, quick negative wit, and gotcha-first behavior. I stopped engaging in negative relationships of any kind, and I became a friend to myself, something I never was. As days, months and years passed I would continue to grow and live from a place of awareness, peacefulness and love. Love was one of my biggest hurdles, because all the years without self-love lead to much need for inner repair and forgiveness. It was not until then that I was able to share that love and mindfulness with others. As a nurse, I knew what I had given to myself was something I must share with others, I’d spent many years medicating others before offering them mindful awareness care. It all began with self-awareness; that lead me to become a yoga teacher, pursue my masters in nursing and create Yogatones. I’m a nurse who found a way to provide mindfulness based care to my patients.
Q. What are the best things about being a nurse entrepreneur?
A. For me the best thing about becoming a nurse entrepreneur is the relationship I’ve established with myself; the self-love, self-confidence and self-acceptance have been the most instrumental. I’m six classes into obtaining my master’s degree, something I never thought possible, I keep telling myself “Yes, I can,” even when others say “No, you can’t.” The feeling of meeting beautiful people who walk on their own paths, yet see your dream and offer honest support, is wonderful and inspiring. But the very best thing about being a nurse entrepreneur is I’m living my nursing dream, with no regrets, reaching goals, giving back and helping others create healthier lifestyles mind, body and spirit, AND I live in light, I’m HAPPY!
Q. What are the greatest challenges?
A. There are many challenges on the journey to becoming a nurse entrepreneur, I believe they are necessary in order for growth to occur. For me I’ve endured more financial setbacks than many would ever allow themselves to endure, I experienced a complete lifestyle change, from spending freely to not spending at all. I’ve lost a lot of people I once called friends. I’ve paid my bills at times that seemed impossible. I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering why others didn’t see my dream as clearly as I did. Initially I expected and was disappointed when others were not as enthusiastic about my dreams and goals. My biggest challenge was transitioning from and combining a science knowledge base to a business knowledge base. I fell down many, many, times. But I always got back up.