As the economy sluggishly recovers from the wounds of the pandemic, a Durham nurse has been able to create two businesses, and one of these jobs includes a clothing deal with Nike.
Santisha Walker was able to create two businesses in the last eight months by harnessing her skills as a nurse entrepreneur, a certified wellness coach, a designer of a women’s athletic fashion brand and more.


What You Need to Know 

Santisha Walker created a line of wellness clothing supplied by Nike. She used her experiences as a nurse during the pandemic to inspire her line of clothing 

With the help of her husband, Derek Walker, they also created a nurse staffing agency last October 

She is a nurse entrepreneur, which means she creates lines of work for people in the healthcare industry 


"Because I am a really creative person, I have a lot of energy flowing through me all the time. It can be a lot but I organize my day,” she said. 

The the website says nurse entrepeneurs “use their professional nursing experience and education to start their own business in the healthcare industry." 

Last October, she got a business going with her husband Derek when she created the Walker Group Nurse Staffing company, which primarily provides staffing at longterm care and rehab facilities.

Walker has been fortunate to florish during the pandemic, which hit many households hard in terms of economic impacts. The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 850,000 new jobs were added in June, but the national unemployment rate still sits right under 6% with the number of unemployed people coming out at 9.5 million.

These figures give a sense of hope, while also highlighting how much the country is still feeling the effects of this pandemic.

Every Monday, Walker and her husband are running their company from the dining room table inside their Durham home. Typically, this Monday morning meeting is to see what facilities need their services, but they never actually clock out from their work.

"I just block off my day. I may use an hour of time for this and for that," Walker said. 

She sets her own hours. When she isn’t checking staff reports, she makes time on her schedule to clock in a few rounds on the punching bag at the boxing gym. 

If she can’t make it to the gym, there are mornings she exercises at home in her study. She intentionally hung positive affirmations on the walls of this room when she works out in the morning. Every time she walks into this space, it’s a visual motivator for her to chase her dreams.

She points to one of her favorite inspiring quotes. “The first thing I see when I walk in is ‘Amazing things are going to happen.’ So that gets me in the mindset to say today is an amazing day,” said Walker. 

The workouts offer physical relief to the emotional and mental stressors of her day.

"It sets the tone for my day. It sets the mood for me mentally, and it makes me feel like I have achieved something mentally," she said.

The work she puts in at the gym is complemented by the sacrifices she makes in the kitchen. Routinely, she carves out a diet focused on nutritious fruits and vegetables. Her go-to choice is a superfood smoothie: bananas, strawberries, sea moss, organic milk, and a few other items are the ingredients to this drink.

Healthy living generates the mojo she needs to get through her work days. Many of which were long, hard and tiring as she worked as a bedside nurse during some of the toughest stretches of the pandemic, the kind of work nurses like Walker and others have done tirelessly for over a year. 

Walker did not have the luxury of staying home during quarantine. At times, she picked up shifts at healthcare facilities when she was needed. By creating the nurse staffing agency, she even made sure healthcare facilities who need nursing services the most could get it.

Working long hours on hospital floors taught Walker the importance of self-care. She said she saw a world in turmoil because she was looking for peace, and she began looking at herself on the inside. Mornings outside of hospital units were spent praying, meditating and coming up with affirmations. At one point she came up with the "I AM Experience."

"It would be cool to launch something to empower folks while they enhance their physical well-being."

Wellness was a focus from the start. She wanted the physical cloth of the clothing to inspire them. She customizes boxes to her customer’s tailored assessments. In these boxes are the apparel, a musical energy workout mix with spoken affirmations, and a wellness kit with guided instructions written by the RN. Toward the end of June, Walker shipped off her first orders.

She said all her lifestyle decisions help to fuel her creative thoughts.

"Each time you take a step towards a goal, you are proving to yourself that you can do it."

She was able to use Nike clothing to create her brand with the help of a friend of her husband’s, who connected her with a distributor. From there, her ideas took off. Throughout lockdown, Walker said she grew outward only because she looked inward.

"We have to be compassionate with ourselves. That’s only where we are going to understand our true feelings, in the moment, how we feel, empathize with yourself, and give yourself grace,” Walker said.