Scrub in

Scrub In

"Scrub In" is a wellbeing-related podcast hosted by MedStar Health’s Crystal Morales, a registered nurse with a background in critical care, patient safety, and high reliability, who is now the director of nursing wellbeing at MedStar Health.

Crystal talks with healthcare professionals with the goal of creating a community where we share information, ideas, and true insights that either inspire, inform…or possibly entertain!

Episode 18, The APP Role: Where We've Been, Where We're Going

The number of job openings for Advanced Practice Providers – physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, midwives, certified nurse specialists – is expected to grow 30% in the next few years and is increasingly seen as a critical piece of the dynamic health care environment. In Part II of their conversation, Crystal and physician assistant Maria Leber and nurse practitioners Kiersten Henry and Surya Chacko explore some of the history of advanced practice providers, how the careers are evolving, and what the future may hold for these important health care providers.

Episode 17, Advanced Practice Providers: What to know for APP Week!

They have some of the fastest growing job categories in health care, yet there are still myths and misconceptions surrounding Advanced Practice Providers – the Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Specialists who provide patient care in almost every health care setting. For the second annual National APP Week (September 26-30, 2022), Crystal speaks with three APPs and breaks down the roles they have in patient care, the education and training needed for their career, and how the APP field is growing.

Episode 16, Nursing as a Second Career

Looking to jump start your life with a new, valuable career? For many who want a change, nursing is their second career choice – and there are lots of ways to jump in. Crystal speaks with Sierra Fisher and Irving Resurreccion, two relatively new nurses who decided to enter nursing after spending more than a decade in other careers. With more than 26% of second career nurses over 40 years of age, it’s never too late – and the rewards, according to these two, are many, including flexibility, never being bored and a lot of opportunity. For more information on a MedStar Health scholarship program for second degree nurses through George Washington University in the District of Columbia, see

Episode 15, Recognizing Moral Distress

Throughout the pandemic, clinicians and others in healthcare began more open discussions about “moral distress” – a key stressor for those involved in delivering patient care and other first responders. So what is it? And how do you manage it? Crystal interviews Amanda Bush, MS, RN, a nurse with a background in Neonatal Intensive Care and a Masters degree in ethics, who specializes in helping clinicians deal with moral distress at MedStar Health’s Center for Wellbeing, and Lucia Wocial, PHD, RN, FAAN, HEC-C, a nurse and internationally renowned senior clinical ethicist with the John J. Lynch, MD, Center for Ethics at MedStar Health. They help define moral distress, talk about how to recognize it and how to manage it…and discuss why it’s important to continue the conversation about moral distress in health care.

Episode 14, Making it easier to talk about Suicide Prevention

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK [8255]) has answered more than 12 million calls since 2005, and now they’re making it even easier for anyone who needs to reach them. As of July 16, a new three-digit phone number – 988 – connects those who need help with the national network that provides 24/7 crisis care. Crystal talks with Shye Louis, the director of clinical practices at the Lifeline, about making it easier to talk about suicide prevention, the network of 200 crisis centers that participate in the Lifeline, and the fact that anyone can call if they need advice about what to do for a loved one, a colleague or a patient in mental or emotional distress. The lifeline can also be reached by texting home to 741741.

Episode 13, Exploring the Explosion in Home Health

For so many reasons – the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing health care needs of an aging population, the shortage of clinicians and acute care space – home health care is on a fast and furious trend upward. Crystal talks with three long-time home health nurses who like that they operate at the top of their skills to bring all kinds of care to patients, how the pandemic accelerated the growing need for their services, and the benefits of connecting with patients “at the couchside.”

Episode 12, Nurses Week Special: Proudest Moments from MedStar Health Nurses

In this special episode just for Nurses Week 2022, Crystal makes her way across the MedStar Health system asking nurses to tell her about their proudest moments. The difficulty for almost all RNs: picking just one moment! Celebrate Nurses Week with these tales…and send your own proudest moment in clinical care to Stories will be aired in future episodes. Happy Nurses Week!

Episode 11, What's next for nursing?

As Nurses Week approaches, there is a lot of attention on the nation’s 4 million nurses and what the future holds for a profession that’s spent more than two years at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, Crystal talks with MedStar Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Eckert, who took over leadership of the system’s more than 8,000 nurses just six months before the pandemic started. Hear her perspective on what the global crisis changed , why nursing continues to be a highly desired career, and how she supports – and thanks – nurses everywhere.

Episode 10, Helping Your Kids Through the Pandemic

We’ve talked a lot about the impact that the pandemic has had on healthcare providers, but many of us are equally impacted by how the pandemic is affecting our children. Join me as I sit down with MedStar Health experts Dr. Michael Brachfeld and Dr. Michelle Sobon to discuss what stress and anxiety looks like in children and adolescents during the pandemic and strategies we can use to help them cope. 

Helpful resources for parents recommended in the podcast:

Breaking Free of Childhood Anxiety and OCD,” by Dr. Eli Lebowitz (2020); (CDC Website “Families and COVID-19”) (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) (pandemic advice from the Child Mind Institute: (The American Psychological Association)

Episode 9, Getting Centered on Wellbeing

MedStar Health has launched a new MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing to support the wholistic wellbeing needs of physicians, nurses, therapists and others who work in the health care system. Scrub In host Crystal Morales, one of the leaders of this new Center, talks with Dr. Dan Marchalik, the executive director of the Center, about what the Center provides to everyone who works at MedStar Health and what it means for health and wellness now and in the future. Hear why this isn’t just a response to the COVID crisis , but a long-term effort to change the way health care workers approach their own health – and the health of their colleagues -- while caring for others.

Episode 8, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

For those with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the darkness of winter is no laughing matter. The good news: there are many effective treatments, and some preventive steps too. Crystal discusses SAD with Dr. Elias Shaya, chair of psychiatry at MedStar Health and an expert on the disorder that gets really serious for some individuals right about this time of year. One of his suggestions that anyone can use: develop a “fun menu” of activities, outings, and distractions that help you find something to do when you’re looking for an uplifting diversion. For further information on Seasonal Affective Disorder, Dr. Shaya recommends these websites:

Episode 7, Build Your Resilience with Four Tools (Part II)

MedStar Health Resilience Coach Danni Davis, LCSW-C, C-CSOTS, returns to Scrub In with a second episode on resilience. In this segment, Danni gives four simple tools anyone can use to help build and nurture their resilience. The good news: resilience isn’t just something you are born with! Danni explains how a little focus and a little practice can help anyone strengthen their resilience, making it easier as you respond to life’s challenges and changes.

Episode 6, What is Resilience? (Part I)

Everyone’s talking about resilience….but what is it? Are you born with it? How do you get it? Does it go away? MedStar Health Regional Resilience Coach Danni Davis, LCSW-C, C-CSOTS, breaks down resilience, how we develop it, why we need it…and why it’s so important right now. Part I of a two-part interview….next up: Danni presents Resilience Tools.

Episode 5, Stress First Aid

Stress First Aid is a peer to peer program for recognizing levels of stress and helping each other know when to seek support for extreme stress. Originally developed for the military, it has now been adapted for healthcare settings to help clinicians recognize the stress that they are experiencing. Hear MedStar Health psychologist Heather Hartman-Hall explain Stress First Aid and explore some of the ways it can be used to heal by those who work in healthcare. MedStar Health associates- for more information, and to sign up for Stress First Aid training, go to

Episode 4, COVID-19 and Mental Health

COVID-19 has us facing new challenges. This can create stress and fear and can have a profound impact on our overall mental health. Join us as we openly discuss mental health and wellness.

Episode 3, PRIDE in Nursing

It’s pride month! Join me and my nursing colleagues, who proudly represent the LGBTQ community, as we discuss the LGBTQ world as it relates to healthcare inside and outside the walls of MedStar Health.

Episode 2, Gender marked professions and the male nurse

Crystal sits down with Mike Manning, Andrew Riddle, and Robb Hawthorne, who all currently serve in nursing leadership roles at MedStar Health to discuss gender marked professions and the impact stereotypes have on being a “male” nurse.

Episode 1, Beyond Burnout: Reflections a year into a pandemic

Crystal sits down with Rachel Watkins, RN, of MedStar Washington Hospital Center and currently serves as the Nursing Director of 2 units, 1E front and 4C. These units have treated COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic, so Rachel and her team have been on the front lines throughout this entire pandemic.