WWE nurse and diva hold self-defense course for nurses

Pictures: Instagram of Georgina Villarreal

Georgina Villarreal, RN-MSN, or “Nurse Georgia” as she is called on her Instagram, from Huntington Beach, Calif., is on a mission to empower nurses and busy women in all facets of their lives. And his new adventure? Teach nurses how to protect themselves through self-defense.

Nurse.org spoke with Georgie to learn more about her various business ventures, what she thinks all nurses should know, and how nurses can protect themselves when working with patients.

“She can be both”

Georgie – who has been a nurse for about seven years – has worked in many different areas, from medical-surgical oncology, to telemetry, ortho and, for the past two years, on a COVID floor. But she explains that despite her love of working as a floor nurse, she’s also been struck by an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as she can remember.

So, shortly after working as a nurse, she started her first business, an e-commerce platform that sold nursing products. From there she branched out into fitness wear and jewelry and now runs a successful Instagram account called “She Can Be Both”, celebrating women who have multiple careers like her.

“It was inspired by the fact that a lot of women in healthcare, and specifically nursing, have two roles,” she explains. “She’s a nurse and maybe she’s modeling on the side or she’s a nurse and she’s a real estate agent, or a nurse and an entrepreneur and a mother and they have their own business.”

“I love being a nurse. I love being an entrepreneur, so I do both,” she adds.

@nurse.georgia

Empowering nurses through self-defense

And speaking of female entrepreneurs who wear many hats, let’s turn to Eve Torres Gracethree-time WWE Champion, co-creator of @WomenEmpoweredGJJa martial arts school, a jiu-jitsu enthusiast and a mother of two.

@evetorresgracie

Georgie admits she’s a huge WWE fan, so when Gracie reached out to her on Instagram about hosting a self-defense seminar for medical professionals, she was a pretty strong fan-girl. “She contacted me looking for a nurse to help organize this event,” says Georgie. The two have teamed up to organize a completely free event, in-person workshop seminar on June 12 at Gracie headquarters, @GracieUniversityHQin Torrance, California.

The event, Georgie says, was a huge success, with more than 350 healthcare professionals, mostly nurses, signing up. The seminar focused on how medical professionals can use Brazilian jiu-jitsu to defend themselves in various situations, such as when walking to the car or when working with a patient in the hospital. She explains that they even went over very specific nurse-centric scenarios, such as if you’re wearing a stethoscope around your neck and a patient tries to choke you, or what to do if a patient jumps on you or pins you to the wall.

“It was a very stimulating seminar that we organised”, adds Georgie.

Why should nurses learn self-defense?

Georgie explains that the reason she believes this event was so important to nurses is that nurses are particularly vulnerable to workplace abuse. 1 in 4 nurses are assaulted at work and violence directed at nurses in the workplace has been on the rise, especially during the pandemic.

“Of all the people in the hospital, I think nurses have the highest rate of abuse,” Georgie says, adding that’s because nurses have the most contact with patients. “We are obviously at the highest risk and likelihood of something happening and workplace violence can be both verbal and physical.”

Georgie and Gracie released several educational reels ahead of the event with statistics and information about health care and workplace violence, and she notes that seeing the statistics head-on was shocking. “They’re pretty bad,” she said. And unfortunately, verbal abuse doesn’t just come from patients: sometimes it also comes from your colleagues, something Georgie has personally experienced.

Confronting Nurse Abuse

@nurse.georgia

Sadly, Georgie also shares the fact that she was also physically abused at work as a nurse on more than one occasion. One situation involved a patient with mental health issues that threatened her, but security initially refused to get involved – only when the patient ended up throwing her shoe at a doctor who was also involved in her care security kicked in. After security pinned the patient, Georgie was able to administer medication to help her calm down.

“It was one of the craziest things that’s ever happened to me, especially with climbing so fast – one minute she was fine, then the next minute she’s yelling at me, threatening to throw me against the wall, then the doctor comes and they try to help, then the doctor gets hurt. And then I’m like giving him a shot in the ass on the floor,” she recounts. “But I cried many times at work just because I was scared.”

Georgie thinks more hospitals and healthcare facilities should implement physical defense training programs for their employees, because just learning statistics or hearing about hypothetical situations won’t be enough. “They have to implement some kind of physical training, like they do with everything else, like care,” she points out.

While the health professionals seminar was a pilot program, Georgie says she hopes there will be more in the future. And in the meantime, anyone interested in learning more about self-defense can follow Women’s empowerment and Gracie University for more information on the monthly seminars they hold. Now that she has completed the training herself, Georgie is a big supporter of nurses looking for a way to train with hands-on experience.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she said. “It’s really empowering – I feel safe. Like when I walk to the garage, I know how to protect myself. If there was a case where I was pinned to a wall or thrown to the ground, I would be able to strangle someone and I would not only be able to protect myself, I would be able to protect another person too because that I know the basic movements of jujitsu. And so I think it’s really empowering for me and the people around me to know that I can take care of myself.

“And you know, it also gives me more self-confidence as a woman.”

Kristen T. Prall