Nursing School

Clinical Do’s and Don’t’s

I am a day late here but that’s ok. I was contemplating this post yesterday and then realized I had a bunch of things that needed to get done before my own clinical tomorrow. So, yeah. A little late. But here, none the less!

Also, yes, the title looks odd. I don’t know how else to write that though that doesn’t sound pretentious! So without further ado, my thoughts on clinical do’s and do not’s (see, that sounds kind of uppity…)

  1. Don’t say no to an experience. When someone asks if you want to put in an IV, a foley, watch this patient get their MRI, help clean the patient up… your answer should be yes. Even if you’ve done it before. Even if it sounds gross. Even if you don’t really want to. Get your butt in there and get experiences. That’s what clinical is for, after all. Also, it lets your instructor know that you’re willing to jump in and try things.
  2. Nothing is beneath you. Yes, you are there to learn to be a nurse but the patient still needs things. It doesn’t matter if those tasks are typically delegated to a CNA, you can and, more importantly, should do them. Keep in mind that nobody likes the nurse who never does anything dirty and tries to hand those things off to the CNA all the time. Also, karma. Just saying. Most importantly, you are there to take care of your patient. Those tasks, though they may be gross, are part of that job. If you don’t like it, get a different degree.
  3. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something. It is much better for you to tell your instructor that you don’t know what to do than to do something wrong and possibly cause harm. And you’re they’re to learn. Nobody expects you to know everything. Heck, even nurses that I see that have been working for years still learn things sometimes (less often than students but you get what I’m saying here).
  4. Check your meds. Seriously. Check them before you pull them. Check them as you pull them. Check them again before you go in the room. Check them as you scan them. It’s not just about you. Things get put into the wrong slot in the med cart. You accidentally grab the wrong thing. Mistakes happen. They’re a problem when you don’t check what you’re doing. You can’t check to much, I promise you.
  5. Ask questions. Again, learning. You don’t learn if you never ask questions.

Five simple steps to a happy clinical day. Well, if I’m honest, you can’t make a clinical day happy or sad but your experience will be more valuable if you put your heart into it.

Until next time lovely people.

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Nursing School, Uncategorized

I Quit Nursing School

Ok, so maybe I didn’t quit, exactly. Still, there are those moments that you have where you are frustrated and tired and don’t really see why you’re still doing this. After all, in the midst of it, the end seems to never come and you just don’t feel as though going forward is an option. I mean, I’ve got a job right?

So here are the reasons I’ve come up with to keep myself going even when I want to curl up in a ball and give up.

  1. This isn’t never ending. It only seems that way. Seriously. When I started I felt like this was never going to end. Now I only have eight months left and I still have days where I feel like it’s never going to end. This is especially true when the day has been bad. It will end. Eventually.
  2. Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophesy. We all have bad days. Sometimes we have bad weeks. It’s easy to let the bad take over your attitude and that makes everything worse. While nobody expects you to be “Happy Fun Ball” (props if you know what that’s a reference too), if you’re always thinking down, things will always look down. Try to think up a little.
  3. Why did you start this journey? Most people have a reason why they went to nursing school. Nobody does this on a whim (it’s to hard to get in to even consider that ish). Find that reason and remember it. Keep it in the front of your mind so that when you have that bad day you remember to keep going.
  4. Remember that you are smart enough to do this. I mean, you’re here right?
  5. It’s worth it. The end result is completely worth it. It just is. Think about how many people want to be where you are right now.
  6. There is an end. This is worth repeating. It seems exhausting and never ending and in truth it is. There are long days and long nights and paperwork that seems to never end. It will end though.

I need a countdown somewhere…

I hope everyone had a good day. Most of you probably had a better day than me. ūüėČ I’m still going… Frustration and all.

Life, Nursing School

Nurses are patient advocates

This statement has been said to my class since the first day. A nurse’s first and most important job is to be an advocate for their patient. To ensure that the person they are taking care of is being taken care of in the best way possible. That their rights and dignity are protected. That they walk out of the hospital (or where ever else) well (or as well as can be) knowing that somebody was doing their level best to listen to them and care for them.

We’ve all seen the memes talking about how nurses spend all day taking care of patients to the neglect of their own needs. Skipping breaks, not going to the bathroom, staying well past their shift end to chart because the didn’t have time to do it. All of that is par for the course and yet so few people realize it. Those who come to the hospital are rarely at their best and often are going through their own personal hell. It’s fair, I think, for them to not realize that they are not the nurse’s only (or perhaps even primary) concern. Nurses don’t often get recognized for they what they do although I will say that they are at least treated better in the eyes of public opinion than teachers often are. That’s a blog for another day though.

So the video of a nurse being arrested for protecting her patient’s rights is disturbing to me. It should be disturbing to anybody and generally, people do seem outraged. But seriously, does it have to come to this? Do we need to come to a point where a nurse needs to stand and print out the hospital policy for a police officer and still ends up in handcuffs for refusing to violate the very policy that she is showing him. A violation which I would guarantee would cost her her job and would likely cost her her nurse’s license. And still people defend this police officer.

Really? Let that sink in. There are people who think the police were in the right to handcuff a nurse for refusing to violate the duty she has to her patient. For what? A vial of blood that by the officer’s statement was to prove the victim’s innocence? First off, does anybody really buy that? They wanted to prove his innocence? We don’t have a legal system that works like that. Secondly, anybody who thinks that the police have a right to tell you to disregard the rules of your employer because the police said so needs to really think about their position here. That’s a dangerous precedent that places the police above the law.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I have enormous respect for police officers. They do a job where they put their lives at risk by simply going to work. It’s not for the faint of heart. They get into some pretty terrible stuff and see some things that no person should ever have to see. However, at a certain point we need to look at what we are willing to allow to happen. No, not all officers would do this… although, those defending the officer are saying that he was following his superior’s orders, so perhaps they believe that any officer would have done the same. I choose to believe that most officers would not have gone that route though.

Ultimately, this is opening up a dialogue and that’s good. The nurse involved has said that she wants to ensure this never happens again. Perhaps we all need to have a dialogue though. Talk to the people who serve you. In every capacity. Take the time to listen to them and what they have to say. Police officers, nurses, rescue personnel, fire fighters, teachers… all of them have a unique position in this world. All of them do jobs that few people choose to do and most do those jobs as well as they can. A little respect and taking some time to actually listen would do us all a world of good.

Oh, and next time you get a moment, tell your nurse thank you.

Nursing School

What’s in my Nursing School bag?

So, I’m going to do a brief discussion of textbooks and other stuff that’s in my bag for school.¬†IMG_2649

First things first. My bag. If I could do it over again, I think I would get the next style up from this but this is a good bag. It’s an L.L. Bean one. I wish it had more pockets and a water bottle holder on the side. Otherwise, I love my bag. It’s held up to quite a bit so far.

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This is the next most important thing for a couple of reasons. One is that it holds all my school stuff. The other is that it provides me a way to amuse myself when bored. Not that boredom ever occurs during class… It’s an Apple MacBook Air. I wouldn’t have anything else at this point. I’ve gotten rather addicted to the MacBooks. It has a ton of storage space plus I have a Google Drive, so really there’s no way I could ever run out of space. Which is good because I have a lot of stuff stored. There’s an entire folder of nursing stuff (notes, care plans, etc).

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I keep notes by hand. I swear by this method for keeping things in my brain. Writing is so much better for helping me to remember. There are actual studies that prove we remember better when we physically write things down. With the exception of my first semester, I have all of the notebooks for my previous classes. I feel like they may come in handy eventually… maybe not, but I have them. I also have the powerpoint on my computer, so there’s nothing missing.

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So, not the actual book that we’re supposed to have, apparently. The snafu with our books means that several of the books we should have gotten didn’t get to us when we got books. This is the psych book I ended up with. It works for information because it has everything that the book we should have has. I will say that while I need an actual book, digital versions work just as well for some people and if you are one of them, save yourself the extra weight and get a digital copy of the book. I can’t handle working out of digital books. I also don’t have a kindle or ereader for the same reason. I need the actual book in my hands.

These two things go together. My bullet journal and my paper mate pens, which are primarily what I use in my bullet journal. This is the new one, that I have been promising details on and still haven’t gotten too. I will, I swear. Just know that this thing goes pretty much everywhere I go and with good reason. It has my brain written down, so that things don’t slip through and vanish. That has happened. Usually I remember an hour or so after the fact when it’s to late to do anything about the appointment I missed. This fixes that problem (as long as I look at it).

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Pens, pencils, highlighters. The highlighters are possibly more important than the pens. Also, the little tabs in there are for my notebook, so I can flip to a section faster. This case has been with me for a year and it’s held up well. I think I got it at Walmart. That card was handed out by our nursing chairperson, who loves us and keeps reminding us that we can do this. I love her.

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And then there’s this left over stuff. Ear buds, a protein bar, sunglasses and an umbrella. Plus a pen and pencil that were just tossed in there. Random goodies. Sometimes there are lifesavers in there too. You never know when you might need something. Like the umbrella. Or the protein bar. I need to keep chocolate in here, actually….

So that’s the stuff in my bag. I have another bag for clinical that has totally different stuff in it. I will try and do that bag at some point too. It’s usually much more interesting.

Life, Nursing School

It’s almost back to school

Somehow, this brief vacation is nearly over. I don’t want it to end though. I finally feel as though I’m starting to become a human again, functioning at a normal level and not worried about my next test. But sadly, next Tuesday, we go back to it, jumping in feet first to try and finish this wild two year ride.

I am blessed because I got scholarships to cover the entire year, so I don’t have to pay for any of this or worry about getting money from work (who will help a little bit, if I needed them too through an education program). That’s all good. I was reminded to day of all the little things I still need to do before going back.

The senior students get little sisters/brothers from the incoming class. So I have to contact both of mine, something I still haven’t done as I’ve simply been enjoying not having to worry about getting things done. I have to clean up the bookshelves, from where I just threw books and notebooks onto the shelf, not worrying about where they landed. They have an order that I need them in (that’s the organization in me). I have to check my clinical bag and see what’s stuffed in there and clean out anything that needs to go and make sure I have pens and whatnot.

I also need to go through my backpack, which is full of all kinds of random stuff from going to work and clean that out. Possibly run it through the washer. The only thing I know is clean is my scrubs, which got cleaned after my last clinical and hung up and they are still there. My jacket may be stuffed in my clinical bag, actually…¬†I may see if I can track down a different pair of pants for clinical that actually have pockets in them.

I have two books that I need to try and finish before we go back. That may be challenging. One of them I haven’t started yet, so we’ll see how that goes. I got the kids registered for after school for this year. The only potential problem is that our first clinical day is also the day of open house where the kids meet their teachers. I don’t have hours for that clinical yet, so I don’t know if I can go or not. I’m hoping that I’ll make it. It’s from five to seven at night, but if our clinical goes to six or seven there’s no way I’ll get there (because let’s face it, I’ll be at the hospital farthest from me, like always, so it’s about forty-five minutes from the school).

I meant to make freezer meals but alas, I spent most of my time writing. Who am I kidding, I’ve loved spending so much time writing. So if you are inclined to read crappy fan fiction I’ll leave you a link here:¬†Lost and Found – A Court of Thorns and Roses FanFiction. You don’t have to register to read, I don’t think. Don’t feel obligated. I just know that I’ve talked about it quite a bit and thought some of you may be curious. My original writing isn’t posted anywhere and I’m not at a point to post anything, so sorry if you wanted to read that. Maybe once I have something solid down. Right now it’s mostly outline with vague character ideas and general descriptions that need to be actually written out.

I also have to get a 504 meeting scheduled for my youngest for her ADHD. I meant to get that done before now but it slipped my mind.

The upcoming eclipse has me excited. It’s been awhile since I’ve been anywhere near a solar eclipse… I think there was a partial when I was in elementary school. This one will be nearly complete and I can’t wait to see it (with protective glasses, obviously – don’t look at the eclipse without protective glasses!).

I got through all of the past season of NCIS. I didn’t have to go back and watch any Criminal Minds because I got through all of that during the season. I’m back to watching whatever looks good on Netflix. That’s good because I’m not trying to find time to watch anything.

The rest of my week looks to be pretty quiet. I’m meeting a friend for lunch Friday before working this weekend. We have a friend coming next week to stay for a week. It’s been awhile, so I can’t wait for that either. Otherwise, I’ll be trying to wrap up my fan fiction so that it’s done before school starts (I have more written than I have posted) and then I need to get my planner in order. I meant to do a post about my new planner spread and forgot about it, so I’ll try to get that done tomorrow!

Nursing School

Fall is coming…

In two more weeks, I begin the battle to the end. Two more semester stand between me and the NCLEX. I know I can pass the NCLEX. I just have to get there (I’m trying to go in with confidence, knowing I will be a lunatic waiting for the results of the test to come back). In two more weeks, we start an eight week class followed by a week off and then another eight week class.

The best part of this semester is that we get Mondays off, so it’s only four day weeks. That makes my life a lot easier. Then if I have my preceptorship I won’t do clinical for at least part of the time because I would have to be at the hospital. We’re actually kind of in limbo about how the precepting works because we haven’t been given a lot of details yet. So patience is key here.

One of the things I’ve been contemplating is where I want that experience to be. We’re limited in where we can go, so labor and delivery is off limits, for example. This makes some sense but at the same time is limiting because that’s one of the places I’d like to get more¬†experience. It’s not something that I have any control over though, so I’m moving on. We’re supposed to pick three places that we’d like to go and rank them in order. Currently, my thoughts are: 1) ED, 2) ICU, and 3) pediatrics (or PICU if that’s an option).

My decisions are based on a couple of things. First of all, they are all places that have critical care components and I really think I would enjoy that. I also feel like if I wanted to interview in an ED and I had experience in an ICU that would be better than just a regular med-surg floor. Secondly, they are all places that I feel like I would thrive. I generally do better with higher stress environments than I do in typical environments. This was apparent to me this semester when I had experiences off of med-surg and felt far more competent in those situations than I did on the regular floors. I don’t know why that is though. Am I just trying harder? Is it that those nurses didn’t know me and expected more (but the ones on the floor don’t know me either, so…)? Was I simply more engaged because there was more going on around me? No idea. All of these things are things to consider though. For the record, I don’t feel like I didn’t do well on med-surg, but rather I felt like I had a better grasp on what I was doing off of med-surg.

Either way, the time is approaching where we are going to have our little selves tossed out of the nest, so to speak. In one sense, I can’t wait. I want to get a chance to really experience working, especially in those environments. On the flip side, it’s a little unnerving to be told we’re going to be kind of on our own and expected to do this. I guess if you’re not a little bit afraid of that, you’re probably a fool.

Nursing School

Grades matter but they’re not everything

There seems to be a great discourse going on within the nursing community of how grades and the ability of a future nurse are related. Of late, I’ve heard that it’s not all about grades (the famous C’s or B’s get degrees line) and that a great nurse isn’t defined by their grades. These things are entirely true. But I have an issue with the flip side of this portrayal which seems to imply that if you have good grades, you won’t be a good nurse.

Now, I honestly don’t think that’s the intended connotation. However, words carry meaning and when you repeatedly emphasize how a person being a B student or a C student can still be a great nurse, the other side of that argument quickly becomes A students aren’t good nurses because… well, the only reason I’ve heard is a lack of common sense. Seriously?? That’s just as bad as implying that a student with poor grades wouldn’t be a good nurse.

I will be the first to tell you that it’s damn hard to get A’s in nursing school. Those things should be celebrated for the achievements that they are. It’s terribly unfair to then turn that around and imply that because a person has a high GPA they must be a bad nurse.

Are there people who are bad nurses? Of course there are! But their grades have nothing to do with that. There are nurses who have straight A’s who are fantastic. There are nurses who barely make it through nursing school who are fantastic nurses. There are nurses who make A’s and are awful nurses. There are people who barely make it through nursing school and are awful nurses.

Let’s be real for a minute here. Nursing school is hard. This stuff is not for the weak of heart. There’s a ton of material, a lot of which is pretty complicated stuff because the human body is a pretty complicated thing. Then there’s the people side of it. Some people are just awful to try and deal with and nurses see people at the worst moments of their lives in many cases. And it’s not just the patients that nurses have to work with but their families too. It’s a job that requires both a huge quantity of knowledge and an ability to work with people. And that’s before you even start looking at different specialities within nursing which can be years of knowledge and still not even scrape the surface of what there is to know. Not every person in nursing school is going to be adept at both of those things. The best of us adapt and learn the skills that we’re missing. That makes us better. Some of us don’t adapt or learn new skills. But as in all things, sometimes people get jobs even when they’re not the best candidate.

So what’s my point? Be nice people! If someone is struggling, offer help. And sometimes there’s nothing that can be done. There are people who struggle with tests, especially the way these questions are worded. If someone is doing well, be proud of that accomplishment. If nothing else, they can be a source of help for you – they obviously know a few things. We need to spend our time lifting each other up, not cutting each other down. We will all be better in the long run if we support one another, in whatever ways we can. I mean, isn’t that what nurses do anyway?