I always love the new year – it’s like a fresh start. A blank page.
But I also love reflecting back on all the amazing things that transpire in just one year. So many of them we forget, so it’s nice to be reminded.
As some of you may or may not know, there are a gaggle of amazing writers, bloggers, and thought provokers in the world of nursing. They are speaking out for those who won’t or can’t and generally just trying to bring our community together in one voice.
And they have ALOT to say…
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!
Sadly, I can’t say I remember my first code or even the first death I witnessed. Unfortunately, there have been so many over the years. Not to minimize any life that has crossed my path, but after 16 years, it does all start to blend together. There are a few who stand out – but, I will save their stories for another day. However, each experience – each life – has been a small part of my molding – shaping who I am, teaching me a lesson. And those lessons I try to pass on.
We rarely talked about death in my nursing program – the model for our nursing school was based on restoring people to their highest level of functioning – death doesn’t always fit into that equation. So, when I came out of school, I was clueless. In my personal life, I had not had anyone close to me pass away, so I really didn’t even have that frame of reference to draw from. However, working in critical care areas – I had to learn quickly!
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.
Learning Never Ends in Nursing
Well, folks, I have some bad news. I don’t usually like to start out with bad news, but the truth must be told.
When you are done with nursing school, the learning never ends.
Yup, its true. No lies. You spent all this time in school. Moving toward the finish line. Hope and freedom insight. Only to find out, the learning never ends!
Now on to the good news – you likely will be more engaged in what you are learning and will likely find much more enjoyment! Crazy as it sounds – its true! As you enter your career after graduation, or even change jobs, there is always new information to be learned.
So when I was in nursing school, you know back with the dinosaurs, one of my instructors used these awesome handouts with her teaching. They were black & white back then, but had really simple clear visuals for lots of topics. My husband & I eventually found and bought the two books that were in publication at the time (this was pre-Amazon and we actually had to locate them in a book store – the horrors!) . Being a visual learner – these were a gold mine! I still use these books for handouts with my students and they usually love them too!
When I was a new nurse working in the hospital, I quickly learned who one of my best allies was – the respiratory therapist! As I moved into the ICU, they were invaluable as we weaned patients from the vent and rescued them from death. My second ICU job was at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in NYC. I was working nights in the NeuroSurgical ICU and almost fainted when during my orientation, I was informed that there really was no RT support at night. In fact, the nurses did the vent checks, blood gases, retaping ET tubes (this is where I learned NO pink tape!) and even the weaning and extubation! Say what!! I was grateful for the great RT’s that trained me – I would have been so lost without their valuable insight and knowledge that they instilled in me (and I am pretty sure the patients are thankful also… I still remember my first extubation – not pretty!) Lessons learned and I truly discovered the value of the RT on my team during my shift when I moved on to another hospital.
So, you could say, I had a new found respect for the masters of the lungs, wizards of the vents and providers of smoke pipes! But, one thing in my journey as a nurse I have discovered, they find us pretty annoying…. and rightly so! I often come across nurses who lack respect for their discipline and yet want them to rescue their patient they have let go down the tubes. So what do they wish we knew about them? What do respiratory therapists wish nurses would understand? Well, I asked one of them and here is what he said….
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!