From left, Heather McKinnon, Valerie Connor, Heather Lespasio and Brian Monahan sport their Quick 12 shirts.

“No matter what challenges lie ahead, you only have 12 ‘quick’ hours to make a difference in someone’s day.”

When Heather McKinnon, RN, of Braunwald Tower 15, came up with this mantra and the phrase “quick 12” about 15 years ago, she never imagined it would end up on a line of apparel designed by her colleagues to send a positive message and support nurses’ resiliency.

“It’s a way of looking at the 12-hour shift in a positive way. You only have 12 hours to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “And at the same time, if it’s a challenging shift, it’s only 12 hours and then you are able to walk out the door. A lot of people can’t. I think it makes a big difference to be positive for yourself and everyone around you.”

The phrase resonated with her colleague, Valerie Connor, BSN, RN. “Heather really represents the essence of nursing to me,” Connor said. “You could have the worst day, and Heather always says, it’s OK. It’s a quick 12.”

So when Connor and Manvir Nijjar, BSN, RN, began talking about creating an apparel brand, they felt that leveraging “quick 12” would be a meaningful way to make a difference for other nurses.

“The pandemic was really hard on everyone and nurses in general,” said Connor. “We thought starting a brand to spread the intention-setting ‘quick 12’ message could help us all focus on nursing resiliency.”

Once McKinnon was on board, they asked colleagues Heather Lespasio, BSN, RN, and Brian Monahan, BSN, RN, to join their effort. “Heather is into fashion and has insights on what nurses would want to wear, and Brian is brilliant at everything,” said Connor.

Monahan felt the timing was right to promote resiliency after an immensely challenging year.

“I wasn’t interested in selling apparel, but I was interested in the message behind it,” he said. “The pandemic really left its mark on nurses. People are still tired and trying to get through day to day. Quick 12 is a mindset: I’m here for 12 hours, and I only have 12 hours to make a difference in someone’s day. It’s empowering. The phrase transcends whatever struggle you might have to help you make someone’s day better.”

Monahan led efforts behind the scenes to establish a limited liability company, create a logo and identify a company to design and ship the products in collaboration with Lespasio. The brand officially launched in May with an online store where shoppers can purchase Q12-branded sweatshirts, T-shirts and mugs.

Already, they have received orders from multiple states, with customers sharing personal stories on the brand’s Instagram account about why they went into nursing.

“People are proud to wear it, and it’s helping to build community,” said McKinnon. “For me, it says I’m proud to be a nurse and take care of people.”

Seeing colleagues on Braunwald Tower 15 wearing Quick 12 has been especially rewarding. “It shows the camaraderie of our unit,” said Nijjar.

Not only does the brand stand for positivity and resiliency, but it also supports suicide prevention. The team is donating 25 percent of its proceeds to local and national charities that support suicide prevention and nursing resiliency.

“We saw depression rates and anxiety go up during COVID,” said Monahan. “Nurses and caregivers can be vulnerable to mental health diseases, and many of us know someone who has taken their own life. This is a way to honor them and try to prevent it from happening to others.”