One of the biggest questions I get asked from students staring nursing school is, “What do I really need for clinicals in nursing school?” Sure, there are lots of fun stuff that you can load up on, but what do you REALLY need? Well, I have been teaching clinicals a few years and here’s my must have top 10 list for nursing school supplies and for your career beyond!
Well, another week of health care in the news. Lots of discussions, arguments, heated debates and the occasional cordial conversation on what changes need to be made. From Obamacare to staffing ratios to violence against health care workers…. lots of news these days affecting healthcare. But what I notice is missing – where are the nurses in these conversations?? I see lots of people and analysts discussing how health care needs this change or that one, but where are the front line workers. Oh, yeah….they are actually doing the work. But if there was every a time, it is now – nurses need to be the change.
And it starts with me. And you.
So, a few months ago, I was doing some research on nursing products made in the USA. I know, totally random and I don’t even remember what sparked the thought. I was pleasantly surprised to come upon an homegrown scrub company called Performance Scrubs. I was not only intrigued that they were made in the USA, but the incredible options for personalization and their total uniqueness in the scrubs marketplace. I reached out to them and they graciously offered to let me give a pair a trial and here’s my review!
One of the hardest adjustments for new nurses to overcome is the unanticipated frustrations they encounter in their nursing journey. Although we attempt to prepare nurses to care for patients and instruct them in safe medication administration, it is difficult to prepare them for the “real world”. Unfortunately, these new nurses find themselves unprepared, lost and feeling like they are the only ones experiencing these transitional difficulties.
It was with great pleasure, I had the opportunity to review the new book by Lorie A. Brown, RN, MN, JD called “From Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses System”. Ms. Brown and an esteemed group of nurses shared their journey’s from frustrated to fulfilled. Not only do they share their heartfelt stories, they offer tangible ways to transition from frustrated to fulfilled to empowered.
Although each nurse offered a unique account and perspective on empowerment and fulfillment, there was a cohesive message that change starts with ourselves. As challenging as the current healthcare environment is to function within, the message that we as nurses need to find ways from within the not only survive, but thrive.
I especially appreciated the personal and transparent stories shared by the contributors. I could relate to many of them, especially Mrs. Watherill’s experience of starting her first job in the ICU. She found herself full of clinical knowledge, but severely lacking in how to cope with tragedies she faced everyday. As nurses we get caught up in the business of “caring”, but often overlook the emotional aspect of our careers. When we pour out so much of ourselves, and are not refreshed, we create a breeding ground for frustration and burn out is not far behind.
Not only does each author share their experiences and perspectives, they end each chapter with action steps. Rather than just analyze the problem, tangible steps are offered to engage the reader in positive actions. Almost like a checklist to work from based on the issues you may feel you encounter in your practice. A way to institute change and transformation.
If you find yourself feeling frustrated or even have a co-worker who seems to be struggling, I would highly recommend this book. It was very easy to read and offers practical solutions that can be instituted immediately.
I would also recommend this book to new nurses starting their careers. Rather than risk becoming unfulfilled and burned out, start now and be proactive in positive self-care activities and actions. Remember, we have to care for ourselves if we want to care for others.
You can order your copy at The Empowered Nurses Book.
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Take care, be safe & wash your hands!
When I got out of nursing school, like many, I felt pretty prepared. I knew I still had a lot to learn, but with my drug book in hand and a few other little pocket books, I was ready to go. I read up on things, learned about new drugs, tackled ACLS and overcame my fears one day at a time. But, what I was grossly unprepared for was the art of nursing. Sure, school taught me how to calculate medications, do assessments and manage diseases – all the science stuff. But what it didn’t prepare me for was the sadness I would encounter, the deaths I would see and toll this would take on me. I hadn’t tapped into the art of nursing while I was conquering the science of nursing.
Ok… I have a confession to make. I have been a nurse for over 16+ years and have never worn compression stockings or nurse socks. Nope, not even through my pregnancies when everyone warned me that my legs would look like old oak trees from all the varicose veins I would acquire. You see, I hate socks and shoes. If I could go to work in flip flops – all would be perfect in the world. So, the thought of tight, ugly socks on my legs for over 12 hours gave me tachycardia. Like a stubborn nurse, I took the risk.
Well, the other day, I was starting to notice some some bad, ugly stuff showing up on my tired old legs. I started to realize, I think I should have worn those ugly compression socks… the oak trees are starting to sprout! I also had noticed my legs were swelling more at the end of my long shifts. Ok, being the good nurse that I am, I finally started to heed my own advice! The quest began…
Caregiver fatigue has been a well recognized situation with families of long term illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it hasn’t been until recent years that caregiver fatigue has been recognized in health care workers, such as nurses and sometimes physicians. It is often referred to as compassion fatigue when applied to health care workers. Nurses are especially vulnerable to compassion fatigue especially due to their close care and relationship with patients each and every day. Those nurses especially at risk are nurses who work in high acuity areas such as intensive care units and the emergency department where outcomes are not often considered “positive”.
Caregiver fatigue is often characterized by depression, poor work attitude and general lack of empathy to their patients and the peers. The persons tend to be very irritable and demonstrate periods of poor coping with periods of outbursts. Suffers often describe difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Some found that doing something as simple as a new mattress from somewhere like Leesa might help to improve their quality of sleep. However, the symptoms often creep up on the sufferer and is usually recognized by those around them before the person themselves. You know that cranky nurse you hate getting report from… she may be suffering too.
As a nurse, I am often asked what I think is wrong with healthcare? How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed? I always quickly retort with, “The problem with healthcare is that no one seems to care anymore. Remember, it is called health CARE?”. Although it usually gets a chuckle, I really do mean it. We are at a critical time of change in healthcare here in America – new electronic medical records being mandated, Core Measures, HCAHPS, “never events”, Obama-care being implemented, medical malpractice claims on the rise. It just all seems out of control… and kind of silly if you really sit down and evaluate some of these new measures. For example, one of the HCAHPS questions is regarding medication teaching. As nurses and healthcare providers, don’t we want our patients to know about their medications? If we really cared about our patient, we would. Or how about the noise level – another favorite survey question. If we really cared about our patients getting rest so they could heal, we would be quieter. We would want it to be quiet so we could get some rest if we were a patient.
I know all the problems in healthcare can not all be solved by such a simplistic answer. But what if? Imagine, if we all went into work tomorrow and actually CARED about our patients…. took the effort we would expect if we or our family members were a patient. What if we put CARE back into healthCARE?? What would it look like if we took ownership of our patients – really advocated for them when the system really did not seem to be in their favor? I believe each of us has the power to make an impact -we see it every day in the smiles of patients and families we touch.
Call to action!
I challenge you to start to care! There are a lot of things we can’t change, but we can change ourselves! Lets get our there and put the care back into healtCARE! I can’t wait to see what it will look like! Remember, change starts with you, so be the change!!
So yesterday was the last group clinical day in the hospital for my senior students. Then today was the last group clinical day for my fundamentals students who will be entering the hospital for the first time in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but reflect on the next chapter they will each encounter….
The seniors are anxiously counting down graduation and stressing that they get their choice preceptorships. I have had the unique opportunity to have these students in fundamentals and then at the end of their journey. It has been so fulfilling and rewarding to see each of them grow and learn. They each will make amazing contributions to the nursing profession and I am so proud of them – just like a mom! My hope for them is that they remember what they know – hold on to it! Do the right thing, no mater “what everyone else is doing”. Treat every patient as the special person that they are – treat them like your family member and you will make the right choice. Go above and beyond – you owe it to them and would want the same. NEVER stop learning -the wonders of healthcare is that it is always changing and there is always something to learn. Make me proud when I see in the halls with my new group of students!!
On the other side, the fresh students are anxiously awaiting the unknown of their new roles and responsibilities in the hospital. Documentation, med pass, caring for multiple patients…. it sounds so overwhelming. But, your advice is the same, make the right choices with the knowledge you do have. Seek out every possibility the day brings you – the world is out there to teach you so much – but you have to go find it sometimes. You have the skills and you are ready – now show them what you got!!
Good luck to you all – keep in touch…. and make me proud!!
So what advice do you have for nursing students…. leave me your comments and make an impact on the next generation!