Secrets of an ICU nurse

ICU nurse

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Stephen at Page the PA – he is a rock star on Instagram sharing his experiences as he goes through PA school. He is doing his ICU rotation soon, so I thought I would tell him a few secrets from this veteran ICU nurse! Please connect with him on IG @PagethePA and tell him I sent you!!

When most students, rotate through the ICU, they literally enter another world in health care. Whether they are new residents on service for the month, PA students, medical students or nursing students, the ICU experience is like no other rotation.  Sure, you may have seen a few sick folks, but ICU patients take that to a whole new level. It’s a smorgasbord of problems – all in one human fighting to survive. It’s the land with more devices, tubes and drains than any human should have to endure.  But, there is nothing like caring for a patient with multiple, often competing problems. The challenges are endless and the environment is often fast paced and demanding. But for a visiting student, it is certainly intimidating.

So, here’s a few tips from this 20-year ICU nurse that will hopefully make your experience a smooth one and ultimately make you want to come back for more!

Top 10 nursing school supplies

Nursing school supplies

One of the biggest questions I get asked from students starting 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?

When working as a nurse, there is a very high chance that you will need to handle a wide range of potentially dangerous chemicals and medicines on a daily basis. With this in mind, it is crucial that you know how to use medical-grade cleaning equipment such as emergency spill kits in case of any accidents or leakages. Many places will turn to somewhere like an idaho paper product, janitorial, and santitation supply distributor, but a friend of mine who is training to be a nurse actually asked if you need to keep a spill kit on you at all times.

Fortunately, most hospitals maintain stocks of emergency spill kits, so you will not need to carry one around with you. However, it is still important that you know where your hospital keeps its chemical spill kits in case of any emergencies. You can find further information about how to use emergency spill kits by taking a look at some of the resources on the Storemasta website.

So, spill kits to one side, what do you actually need when at nursing school? Well, I have been teaching clinicals for a few years, and here’s my must-have top 10 list of supplies for nursing school and for later in your career. So, whether you are taking online classes similar to these lpn online classes or going in person, you may find these items helpful.

Self-Care Tips for Nursing Students

Nursing students

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!

Remembering the Art of Nursing

Art of Nursing

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.

Best Nurse Socks

Best socks for nurses

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 or even face 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 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 feet would kill after a long shift and I heard the right socks are the perfect way of avoiding foot pain. My legs were also 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…

15 Things Nursing Students NEVER Say

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….

 

Nursing Students

 

What Respiratory Therapists Wish Nurses Would Understand

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….

Respiratory Therapy

Seven Tips for Nurses to Help Nursing Students

You come on to your shift as a nurse and you find out a nursing student is assigned to one or some of your patients. Now what…?

So a few weeks ago I wrote a little piece on how nursing students could better manage a challenging nurse they had been assigned for the day. (You can read it here!) Wow – did I hit a chord with folks! I literally had over a thousand views over the course of three days. (For perspective – that was more views for my humble blog since its inceptions! Thanks for all the love!) It went crazy pseudo-viral on Pinterest and beyond. I am beyond humbled that my message resonated with so many. It really got me thinking of how sad that so many students are struggling with this same problem – nurses not being so friendly to them during clinicals. My first instinct was frustration as I LOVE my students and enjoy being with them – I can’t understand why no one else does?? But, then I got to thinking a bit more about the situation, I couldn’t help but think about all the nurses who seem kind of lost with the students they are assigned for the day. Well, this ones’ for you!! Here are my humble tips for nurses to help nursing students!

Tips for nurses