Well, 2015 is quickly coming to a close and 2016 is right on its heels. This past year was my first, full calendar year as a blogger. Considering I hated every English and writing class I ever took – not what I expected to find myself doing. But, here I am and it has been a blast! I have met so many cool and interesting people. Really tapped into a whole unrecognized source of information and resources. But, most surprising, people actually wanted to read what I had to say! Crazy! So, here is my year in review – the top 10 posts of 2015!
One of the biggest areas my students tend to struggle with (besides care plans & concept maps) are evaluating labs. So, I am always on the hunt for some helpful tips and this week a stumbled upon some great stuff on Pinterest (of course!). Here’s some helpful lab tips for students and practicing nurses too!
Hi all! Hope your summer has gone well! It has been a fun and busy one for me, especially since I had a clinical group for a super fast summer session. Clinicals can be tough enough on a good day, but for my fundamentals nursing students, summer session is like learning via a fire hose!
As we head back into the fall session and the stress level starts to amp up again, I thought I would share some self-care tips for nursing students. Although you may have heard a few of them in the past, really take them in and consider, “how is your self-care routine?” Students are notorious for not taking care of themselves and I think this is amplified in nursing students. People entering the nursing profession tend to seek to put others first and demonstrate a high level of care to others, often at the expense of themselves.
So, here’s my tips for taking care of yourself while in nursing school and after graduation too!
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.
Being a nursing student is tough work – all those hours of studying, dedication and hard work….and that’s even before you get accepted to your program! But that hard work continues as nursing school trudges on and each semester presents it’s challenges. But sometimes, we just have to laugh. It is the best medicine right?
So as the semester comes to a close for most, I couldn’t help but think about my poor, tired and weary students who are counting the minutes to winter break! I came across a funny little video about things nursing students NEVER say and I thought about what my list would look like….
So as a clinical instructor I am often asked what type of stethoscope should the students invest in? Personally, this comes down to budget constraints, especially as a student. However, keep in mind that picking out your stethoscope is a pretty important decision. This will be one of your go-to tools in assessing your patients. I hate to sound cliche, but a patient’s life may depend on it. So chose wisely and carefully! Here are the one’s I personally have tried and the one that has been my work horse for over 15 years.
So you arrive on time to clinicals – good job! You are in dress code – awesome! You have all your supplies, a pen, your stethoscope – ready to go save some lives! You get up to the floor, find your patient assignment and BAM – you find out you have to work with “Nurse Ratchet” today! So what do you do? Run for the hills? Cry? – no, there’s no crying in nursing school (at least not in public)! Instead, you are going to figure out how to manage a challenging nurse!
You get your assignment for the day and go out to find you patients. Your stress level and anxiety is through the roof. What if the nurse assigned to my patients does not like me? What will my instructor think of me? And what if my patient yells at me?? Or worse, doesn’t like me? Ahhh… the joys of a nursing student!
As a clinical instructor, I am always trying to find ways to calm down my students, motivate and engage my students. Here’s a list of my Top 5 tips I always give my students. Hope it helps make the best of your time!
Five Tips to Survive Nursing School Clinicals
- Set goals for the day – each week my students have to have three goals. This not only always the student to self reflect on how they are doing and what they still need to accomplish, but it gives the student and the nurse a starting point. Most days the student is greeted with, “What can you do?” After letting the nurse know, the student can also let the nurse know what the goals for the day the student hopes to accomplish. Some examples of daily goals would be to hang more IV medications. One student told her nurse this goal and the student hung almost all the IV medications for the whole assignment and then some. One of my all time favorite student goals… to see a code. Only a nursing student would wish such ill-will on another human – but, hey, they gotta learn!
- Get some sleep – often this is easier said than done. The night before clinicals is NOT the time to go out on the town. Be well rested so you can be engaged. Remember, peoples lives (and your future) depends on it.
- Seek out opportunities – when you find that RARE moment you might be idle, find something to learn. There is so much to see, do, hear, learn – you just have to be willing to find it! Most students are skill hunters – always looking for practicing those elusive skills. But really, the one skill most lack is interviewing and the art of conversation. It is not easy to ask total strangers personal questions, but the only way to get better is to practice. Also, this goes back to setting goals – ask around to the other staff, maybe they can help you meet your goals. They can’t help if they don’t know!
- Play the “student card” – this has been a controversial tip with some students. I am always preaching to them that they need to own what they know, but then, I tell them to “play it dumb” when the time comes. Essentially, if someone is willing to teach you something – let them! This works especially well with the physicians. When they come in to talk with your patient, introduce yourself as the student – you will be amazed at how much they might want to share – and the patient will benefit too! I had worked at a large teaching hospital for many years and knew who most of the friendlier doctors were. I was surprised one day when one of my students got a whole mini-lecture about cardiac cath interventions from one of the less friendly cardiologist. I made him point out the physician to me in the nurses station because I had never heard this particular physician speak so much! “Student card” well played!
- Be confident, but don’t be afraid to ask reasonable questions – Even when playing the “student card”, you can still be confident in what you know. In fact, you probably have a better recall of more information than most of the staff because it is still fresh for you. But know your limitations and ask questions when appropriate. Make an effort to seek out information instead of just expecting to be spoon-fed. Your resourcefulness will be refreshing. Plus, most of the world’s information is on your phone!
Well, I hope this helps you out a bit as your continue your journey through nursing school – it definitely is an adventure! Do you have some other tips for clinicals – something that works well for you – I would love to hear it! Please leave a comment.
Also, don’t be afraid to share/like this post on Facebook, Pinterest or Google + –> sharing is caring!
Thanks and be safe!