PYNKIE Talks Nursing at the Height of the Pandemic

Lindsey Radice reports from the front line.

I’m a registered nurse as well as a musician. I love making songs! After finally finishing a song, I feel more pride and validation than I’ve felt with anything else in my life, including graduating with a bachelor’s degree and getting my nursing license. But I do love being a nurse as well. It’s extremely rewarding, and healthcare is the only career field (besides music) that I feel is worth my time. Both making music and working as a nurse have helped me grow so much as a person and have affected other people in a variety of positive ways.

Although being a nurse is a great career overall, it isn’t an easy job and sometimes things get especially crazy, like when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I normally work on an ortho/neuro floor, which mainly deals with patients after they’ve had certain bone and nervous system surgeries (i.e., surgeries involving the hip, knee, spine, brain, etc.). However, when the pandemic hit, my floor was converted into an ICU and, since I’m not ICU certified, I was forced to float around to different units dedicated to caring solely for COVID patients. As I didn’t normally care for respiratory patients, this was a new world for me! We were also understaffed, especially towards the beginning of the pandemic, so the workload was a lot heavier than usual.

COVID patients are especially unpredictable and can go downhill fast without notice. I once walked in on a COVID patient of mine suddenly starting to turn blue after having a conversation with him less than an hour prior. I quickly switched him over to a higher flow oxygen mask and turned him over on his stomach (which is better for lung expansion). However, his oxygen levels still weren’t adequate, and he had to be rushed to the ICU for intubation. I also experienced the deaths of two of my COVID patients. Both were older, DNR (“do not resuscitate”), and in a nonresponsive state long before death, but both were extremely sad and stressful events nonetheless. When the family members came to see the patients after death, they were only allowed in the room for 15 minutes, in full protective gear, and were not allowed to touch the patients. This was traumatizing for me to witness, and I can only imagine how the families must’ve felt. My experiences working as a nurse during the pandemic have definitely helped me to better appreciate my life, health, and loved ones.

One good thing that came out of the pandemic was that I was forced to stay inside more, which gave me more time to create. I’m normally a social butterfly and like to go out, do things, and constantly surround myself with friends. Because of this, I don’t work on music as often as I probably should and take forever to finish things! Thankfully, during quarantine I was able to stay with my boyfriend, John Messina, who also makes music and plays keys/synth in my band. He’s starting to release some of his own stuff under the artist name Social Media. We started cooking up a collab EP while quarantining together inspired by that scene in the movie Contact when Jodie Foster travels to a strange, beautiful planet in another dimension. We released one single from it so far called “unbelievable” and put the rest on hold for my PYNKIE album that just dropped. We will release the rest soon though!

And though the pandemic/quarantine did allow me more time to sit down and make demos, it also impacted my music career in a negative sense. First of all, I was suddenly unable to play shows and had to cancel some upcoming ones. Even now, in October, my album just dropped but touring will have to be put on hold until who knows when. I also had to pause my album recording process for a while when the pandemic hit because the person I was recording with had to close down his studio. He was also freaked out by the fact that I was a nurse caring for COVID patients at the time. Thankfully, after a couple months or so passed, we started recording again in Chris’s apartment since he started to feel more comfortable with the pandemic situation and there wasn’t much left for us to record anyway.

In conclusion, COVID affected my nursing career in an overall negative sense by creating a scary, stressful work environment (although I did learn a lot) and it affected my music career in both a negative and positive sense. Further, I realize that music and nursing are both forms of healing. It’s in my nature to want to help people and make them feel better in any way. People reach out to me all the time about how much they love my music and some have said that it’s something they’ve listened to when depressed to make them feel better, etc. That is the best thing to hear! I’m so glad my music has that effect on people and it really reminds me that I’m doing something worthwhile. Whether I’m nursing or making a song, I’m leaving a tiny positive impact on the world and that’s all I need to feel accomplished.

(Photo Credit: Michael Todaro) 

Not a lot of indie rockers have a side gig as an ortho/neuro nurse, but there’s nothing typical about Lindsey Radice, aka PYNKIE. The New Jersey native brings her own distinct style, work ethic, and personality to her nursing and music career alike. Following Radice’s first, self-produced album neoteny, “one of the coolest, most infectiously charming debut LPs of 2018” [Gorilla Vs. Bear],  #37 is an absolute joy of a record, a tour through Radice’s own sunlit world. For #37, Radice decamped on her days off of nursing to a small studio in Rockaway Beach, Queens with bandmates John Messina and Josh Bartsch rounding out the lineup. They would meet whenever Radice’s nursing schedule would allow for it to experiment and find the perfect sound.

(Photo Credit: Michael Todaro)