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AORN Blog - The Periop Life

4 Steps to Get Gutsy

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour
November 28, 2021

Nurses need a “Breakthrough Mentality” to take action for patients and personal or professional goals, encourages combat pilot veteran Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour.

“It takes guts to be a perioperative nurse and having guts means taking action, whether you need to stand up to a colleague for your patient’s safety or want to advance your career in a new direction,” says FlyGirl.

FlyGirl knows a thing or two about guts – as America’s first Black female combat pilot.

She now travels the globe to help people find the courage to make their own Gutsy Move, including the upcoming AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2022.

“With a Breakthrough Mentality, you can overcome any challenge or obstacle. The obstacle IS the opportunity.”

She defines a Breakthrough Mentality as “refusing to settle…even in the SMALLEST of moments.”

At the end of the day, whether you are flying a combat mission or keeping a patient safe during surgery, FlyGirl says having a Breakthrough Mentality means you are willing to overcome any obstacle to get to that positive outcome on the other side.

There are so many ways nurses can refuse to settle in their practice, “just having the courage to speak up for your patient is Breakthrough Mentality right there,” she notes. Breakthrough Mentality can also help a nurse look past obstacles like time and money to go back to school or pursue a different career path.

Watch FlyGirl in action and hear what it takes to conquer life’s tough obstacles in the air and on the ground.

With the courage to refuse to settle, FlyGirl shared with us four steps to achieve your “Gutsy Move” for your patients or yourself:

Step 1: Create Your Flight Plan

Ask yourself ‘what do I really want?’, she suggests, encouraging nurses to go big and, “do NOT think about the ‘how’ of achieving your goal or you will lower your dream (many times to meet your reality).” 

Step 2: Pre-Flight: Mitigate the Risks

What are the pros and cons? Start thinking about who and what you need to start creating your plan, she suggests. Maybe it’s a nurse manager who can champion your safety concern or maybe it’s a scholarship to help pay for training or education. “This is the time to bring reality UP to meet your dream.”

Step 3: Take-Off

Acknowledge the obstacles, DON’T give them power. CHOOSE not to give power to the obstacles in your way, FlyGirl says, whether it’s a difficult surgeon or the money to go back to school. Instead, you “find the solution, and focus on success.”

Step 4: Execute Your Gutsy Move

A Gutsy Move isn’t a gutsy thought! To make a Gutsy Move, you have to take action. “You can have the best plan in the world, but you if don’t take action, ya got nothin’!”

FlyGirl will ignite your passion, harness your Breakthrough Mentality, and unleash your Gutsy Move at AORN’s annual conference in New Orleans, March 19-23.

Connect with Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour on her social media and download her ultimate action guide to create your own Gutsy Move at

AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo. March 19-23, 2022 - New Orleans, LA. Register Now