Nurses played an important role throughout the pandemic caring for the sick, and risking their own health as they worked long shift after a long shift. With more patients to treat with each new wave of the pandemic, many front line nurses experienced burnout and deteriorating mental health. This has led to an exodus of nurses, as many are moving into new careers.
Registered nurse and founder of TommyBee’s, Tomer Brener saw it all firsthand. When the pandemic started, he’d been practicing as a nurse for just over four years. During one of his 12-hour shifts, he realized the importance of feeling comfortable during these long and challenging shifts.
“I recognized that there was a clear gap in the amount of available comfortable and fashionable healthcare apparel,” he recalls. “In healthcare, it’s fair to say that we (frontline workers) constantly are faced with challenging, upsetting, and sad situations and we have to learn to cope with such animosity. This is why it’s important for us to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves.”
So, in 2020, he started TommyBee’s, a fashion line of healthcare apparel that, unlike traditional scrubs, are both fashionable and comfortable. He recalls showing his sketchbook of designs to his co-workers during an overnight shift.
“It must have been around 2 a.m. during the night shift when I got so much positive feedback about my designs,” he says. “I presented them to some of my co-workers and the rest is history.”
As a male frontline worker, he solicited important feedback from the women he worked with. Since the majority of nurses are female, this was especially key.