Personal Pain, a Pandemic, and Paddle Boarding

By | 2022-05-10T17:58:13-04:00 December 8th, 2021|11 Comments

In 2013, I was loving life with Shane, my husband of 16 years, and raising my two young boys when my life changed in an instant.

My husband had been living with bipolar disorder even before our marriage, and he started to spiral out of control. As a nurse, you would think I would know what to do or how to help, but I didn’t.

Nannette Prevost, RN

I lost my husband to suicide eight years ago. My babies lost their dad to a death I couldn’t explain. Nurses like answers. We’re problem solvers. But I had no answers.

The hardest part of my journey was staying strong for my children through all the unknowns. My friends — nurses I work with — kept me strong. We take care of each other.

Turning Tragedy Into a Movement

During the rough times after my husband’s death, I started paddle boarding with a friend and colleague to help with my anxiety. I became very good at it and won several races in Florida.

Nannette Prevost, RN, enjoys the scenery and calm waters.

In 2015, I was approached by a company called Watersports West that offered to sponsor me in paddle board races. Our collaboration grew from there, and Watersports West began providing boards I could use to take other nurses who were working on the frontlines out on the water as a form of stress relief.

I had experienced what “water therapy” could do, and I wanted to share that positivity with others. I was delighted to be able to take my colleagues out paddle boarding during pandemic lockdowns.

Interest in paddle boarding grew, and before I knew it I was getting calls from healthcare workers who were interested in heading out to the water with me. The response led to my decision to start my own non-profit organization — not only to help my colleagues but anyone struggling with mental health issues. My non-profit is an interventional program called “Remember Me NP” and the goal is for suicide prevention. It was created in loving memory of Shane and all the healthcare workers we’ve lost to COVID-19 during this dreadful pandemic.

Most of my volunteers are first responders trained to recognize if a participant may need additional support and resources. Watersports West supplies me with boards and gear for my program, while another sponsor, Island Surf Shop, donated office space. And I’m just getting started.

Paddle Boarding Is Just the Beginning

I now advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to implement change for education in healthcare for suicide prevention in Tallahassee. I’m still working in surgery because I love it, but I’m not sure how much longer I can sustain two full-time jobs.

With the rise in suicide deaths since COVID-19, I feel I’m needed in the community even more than in the OR. I’ve learned a lot since losing my husband to suicide, and I need to share my story to help others.

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About the Author:

Nannette Prevost, RN
Nannette Prevost, RN, CEO and Founder of Remember Me NP, has been a surgical nursing since 1993. Prevost works as an OR nurse at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida, is certified in Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid, and will be joining a mobile crisis response team in 2022.

11 Comments

  1. Nannette Prevost
    Nannette Prevost December 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you NURSE.com and Sallie for capturing my story and with helping me on my mission for mental health.

    Sincerely,
    Nannette Prevost

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    Maranie Holt December 9, 2021 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Wow! I didn’t know all of the back story behind your new adventure. I learned about you losing your husband through a fellow nurse. I am so proud of what you are doing. You have always had such a fun, bubbly, loving personality, which makes you perfect for helping others. Not to mention the nurse in you & your unfortunate past experience with suicide. I really enjoyed reading this. Go get em, Nan!!! 💙🙏🏼😘

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    Pamela McPherson December 12, 2021 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing💕

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    Colleen Kelty December 13, 2021 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Nannette I think Paddle boarding for Mental Health is a great discovery for you, your colleges, and the community. Being a nurse and sharing your personal story is a perfect way to connect with others and pull them in as you start your company. I also think it would be a nice career shift. You are still caring for people. Plus, it is good you discovered you can’t do both careers. I have to have both a C3,4,5,6,7,T1,2 fusion and a L3,4,5 fusion because I got hit by car while out on my morning walk. Sure wish I could Paddle board for depression prevention and a stress reliever. I used to swim a mile every morning, but can’t since the accident. Maybe I’ll be able to Paddle Board and swim once I recover. Best of luck for you and all the lives you will touch.

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    Renee December 13, 2021 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I’m interested in more info about your group thank you

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    Julie Anderson December 20, 2021 at 6:04 am - Reply

    Nan, you are an amazing lady!! I am so happy to hear that you are bringing awareness, hope and help to so many people. You truly are an amazing person! I am so glad to have known you for many years and call you my friend. God Bless you on this beautiful journey of helping others!

    Jules

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    Golec Glenda December 20, 2021 at 8:02 am - Reply

    So proud of you Nan. Good luck in this next chapter. May God continue to bless you and I’m sure Shane is watching you and your boys. Miss you.

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    christina klein January 3, 2022 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story & for having the strength to move forward after such a tragic loss. The ripple effect is bigger than most people know but you figured out a way to help others & in turn help yourself. In my family, we call it turning pain into product. Some days are good, some are not so good. On those challenging days, getting out in nature has really helped me. For me that means walking or running with my dog. But now I’m thinking, when the weather is conducive, I’ll get him out on a paddle board with me. Thanks for the idea. Have a safe & peaceful New Year.

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    Kathy Nicholson January 30, 2022 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Nannette your story is so inspirational. My father committed suicide when I was 10y/o. I became a nurse because as a child I always told my mother I just want to help people. I now have been an RN for 35 years. I also relieve my stress by being with nature an especially being on Lake St Clair in Michigan in the summer and winter when the lake freezes. It so beautiful and relaxing! Keep doing what your doing and being you it’s awesome!👏👏💚🍀

    Kathy Nicholson

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    Rippy Williams April 11, 2022 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I started stand up paddle boarding as well. I was raising my 2 daughters on my own and in 2020 my daughters decided they wanted to move in with mom. I let them make that decision. Mom is doing a great job with them. Mom is also an ER nurse. Paddle boarding has helped me get over the loneliness I felt after my daughters moved out of my home. I enjoy paddle boarding with my children as well. We last went to the Bay of Chickens in Colorado. Such a beautiful lake. I’m glad you enjoy paddle boarding. It is so much fun.

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