You Are Complex: Cardiothoracic CRNA Elaine Riano

You Are Complex: Cardiothoracic CRNA Elaine Riano
Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you‚re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex ‚ that‚s why your supplements should be too. To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, over the next few months we‚re going to be highlighting individuals in our community ‚ taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness rituals and all the wonderful things that make them who they are. In this month‚s Vibrant Health series, we got to catch up with Elaine Riano, a Cardiothoracic CRNA who received her doctorate at Columbia University. In this inspiring interview, we chat with Elaine about her experience working on the frontline during the Global pandemic, how she‚s maintaining work-life balance with her husband who‚s also working in the medical field, and what she‚s doing to keep her immune system strong during this time (including some Vibrant Health products she includes in her wellness routine). We hope you enjoy our series‚and remember, keep being you! Elaine Riano, Cardiothoracic CRNA, 45
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How would you describe yourself in three words? Charismatic, Optimistic, Ambitious What does a typical day in the life as a Cardiothoracic CRNA look like for you? I wake up at 4:15am, get ready for work and leave the house by 5:15am. I then drive into work and make it in by 6:00am, when I see my first patient of the morning for usually a heart or lung surgery. I‚m in the OR with a patient by 7:00am, and get the patient ready for their procedure by making the patient as comfortable as possible, while doing pertinent lines and intubation. I manage and maintain the surgical procedure; given the length of the procedures I am involved in, I take my adequate breaks. Once the procedure is over, usually six to seven hours later, I transport the patient to the ICU. I see my second patient of the day, usually 3:00pm or 4:00pm in the afternoon. The surgical procedure starts around 5:00pm, and I‚ll stay in the procedure until about 7:30pm when I get relieved to go home. I arrive home around 8:30pm, shower, eat, interact with my family, and make sure their homework is all done. I then go to bed by 11:00pm, and start the same schedule for the next two days. While I usually work three consecutive days per week with long hours then have four days off, during the pandemic I‚ve covered four to five night shifts per week and have managed patients on ventilators for seven weeks! What are some of the particular challenges patients and physicians are facing day to day during the pandemic? Some particular challenges physicians are facing during the pandemic are increased workload with acutely ill patients, being spread thin with staffing to patient ratio, and risk of infections to oneself and family members. As for the patients, challenges include hospitalized patients losing touch with families or suffering from depression due to severity of disease leading to poor outcomes. What have you been doing to take care of yourself and practice self-care during this time? To take care of myself during this time, I‚ve been practicing frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and getting proper nutrition and exercise. I rest when possible, get plenty of hot baths, pray and keep my faith. I‚ve also been working out daily for one hour, even when I am tired! With your husband working as a heart surgeon in the medical field as well, how do you maintain work-life balance, especially during this challenging time? I‚ve been able to maintain a semblance of work-life normalcy. Luckily, my husband and I have been able to organize our schedules to supervise the kids who are home from school and need help with schoolwork. We also have a 20-year-old son who is currently home from college and able to help. Do you have any rituals or favorite activities to do together when you get some down time? When we have down time, we plan family meals together with a glass of wine here at home. We are also trying to catch up on movies! What‚s your go-to healthy meals and snacks to bring to work or enjoy after a long shift? I have been continuing my meal pattern of about four to five small meals per day; these include vegetables, lean protein with small amount of carbs, and plenty of water. My favorite snacks include starting my mornings with 20 ounces of iced water with three scoops of matcha. I also make sure to have a protein shake with almond milk during the day, and I consume 4 ounces of Greek yogurt. What are you doing yourself to keep your immunity strong during this time? I eat plenty of sweet potatoes, which are full of beta-carotenes. I also consume multiple servings of cruciferous vegetables daily, which have well proven immunity benefits. What does wellness look like for you? Wellness to me is a balance of work, rest, family, exercise, diet, social engagement in a positive circle, empowerment and faith. Do you use any Vibrant Health products? If so, which ones and why? Yes, I enjoy the Gigartina Red Marine Algae (rich in sulfated polysaccharides, which are substances known to inhibit certain viruses) and Immune Defense (which supports immune function). Both of these products were recommended to me! Thank you for being a part of our community! Want to be featured on our Vibrant Health blog? Send an email to

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