#NurseLife

When they say, you can’t… Remember you can

When they say, you can’t… Remember you can

When they say, you can’t… Remember you can

Whether you’ve just applied to your dream program, are in the middle of finals, or just finished the most tiring semester you’ve had yet, you might still be questioning your ability to make it in nursing. We’ve all done it; we wondered if we have what it takes or whether we’ll be able to support ourselves financially through school. Some have families and kids to take care of, while others lack confidence and let that imposter syndrome creep in. Nursing school involves hours upon hours of schoolwork every week, long clinical hours, and high-stakes exams like HESI and ATI. We wonder if we’ll have the time to do it all and still pass. This made it more difficult when you add it to having a job. I can’t tell you how many times our faculty have lectured us on why we may want to reconsider working while in nursing school (if only it were that easy). If any of this applies to you, chances are you need a little motivation and inspiration to keep on pushing through. And since it is the season of giving, I’m here to share some.

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It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How to Handle Failure in Nursing School

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How to Handle Failure in Nursing School

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How to Handle Failure in Nursing School

Nursing school is a long process. Whether you are in a two-year or a four-year program…there are bound to be failures or areas where you fall short of your expectations. Coming into nursing school, I was used to failure. It was all I knew because I failed out of college two times before beginning again in 2018. I had to meet with advisors, appeal my academic suspension, provide letters of recommendation, and re-take the classes I failed. Being back from that and getting accepted to nursing school, and maintaining a 3.90 GPA has been one of my most significant accomplishments. Not only am I in a position that I never thought would happen, but I am doing it, and I am doing it well. So, how do you handle failures while in nursing school and come back stronger?
While I have been doing well in nursing school, I have failed. Quizzes, medication calculation exams, skills check-offs, it happens. More important is how you handle it and what you do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

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Things I Wish I Knew Before Nursing School!

Things I Wish I Knew Before Nursing School!

Things I Wish I Knew Before Nursing School

I decided at 29 years old, when my son was 4 months, to quit my job that I had been at for 5 years and go to nursing school. Talk about terrifying. What if I don’t have enough time? What if I don’t do well? What if I don’t like it? All of these questions kept swirling around in my head as I contemplated this huge life change. These doubts and insecurities were some of the main reasons that I didn’t go to nursing school sooner. I didn’t know how to begin, where to start, what to expect, or if I would even be capable of doing it.  So, in order to ease your mind if you’re having similar feelings, I wanted to share some of the things that I wish I knew before starting nursing school.

First, your age doesn't matter. I will be 33 years old when I graduate next August. I have had classmates who had just graduated from high school, and others who were in their 50’s (and KILLING IT), with ages spanning everywhere in between. It is never too late to follow your passions and continue your education.

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So Close But Yet.. So Close. Remembering Your End Goal

So Close But Yet.. So Close. Remembering Your End Goal

So Close But Yet.. So Close. Remembering Your End Goal

We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we can all agree that this semester of nursing school has pushed us, motivated us, caused us stress, or brought us the best days of learning. With only one more week in the semester, we've been assigned homework, ATI's, and studying material for our finals. What makes it all worth it is the amount of knowledge and skills I've learned. I remember looking at the material a few weeks before school started. I closed my dosage calculations textbook just as quickly as I opened it. I was so nervous because I saw things that made me think: "Is nursing school for me?" But as the semester went on, I excelled in something that I feared. My class chose me to be class representative, which motivated me to go harder. I would constantly hear, "You're the smartest in the class." That made me feel really good inside. We had a test one week, and I remember making my first C on an exam. Everybody would say, "well, if you didn't do good, then I know I didn't." It put so much pressure on me because I didn't know my classmates believed in passing every exam. But again, it motivated me to make sure I understood the material and made sure my classmates knew the material. 

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Get to Know Your Professors and How They Test!

Get to Know Your Professors and How They Test!

Get to Know Your Professors and How They Test!
 

One of the most nerve-wracking moments in nursing school is the first exam of the semester. Especially if you’re taking a course with a new professor who may or may not have the best reviews online. As a nursing student you probably have a minimum exam average you need to move on in your program, which makes every exam you take HIGH STAKES. This ranges from low 70’s to the mid 90’s (if your program requires anything over a 90% exam average, you are my personal hero for achieving that). A favorite line for a lot of students is “C’s get degrees”, but what do you do if a C is a failing grade in your program? You need to take the initiative to maximize your study time and retain the information you need to ace those exams.

But you’re also expected to read the textbook, participate in discussions, complete case studies, review PowerPoint presentations, use supplemental articles and website, attend clinical, and then some. The question begs, what the heck is on the exam and what’s the best way to study?! 

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Taking Notes: Finding Your Niche

Taking Notes: Finding Your Niche

Probably one of the most frequent questions I get asked is about note-taking. What I use to take notes, how I prepare to take notes in class, my style of note-taking. I can not emphasize the point enough; I encourage everyone in the nursing field and going through nursing school to find the note-taking style that best fits your needs! There are thousands of ways to take notes, but only one way will most benefit you. Find what works and stick with it! Here are just a few tips and tricks I used to help narrow in my focus on notes and note-taking because, let's face it, we take A LOT of them!

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It’s Always Good to Take a Step Back!

It’s Always Good to Take a Step Back!

Often we look back at our past traumas. Those traumas can motivate us or deter us from accomplishing our goals, even the small ones. In nursing school, we could be so busy that we forget to step back and breathe. To step back and reflect. We have to reflect on the things we learn, but we also have to reflect on our mental health. What are your needs and wants? Because if we constantly neglect ourselves, it can show up in our personal lives, school lives, and work-life. I remember a time in the military I neglected my mental health for months. I am constantly being out in the field and getting the mission done. Then one day, when I didn't have to worry about the mission and getting things done.
I realized that I didn't have a handle on things I needed for my mental health. I was depressed, full of anxiety every day.

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The Pros and Cons of Being an Adult Learner

The Pros and Cons of Being an Adult Learner

The Pros and Cons of Being an Adult Learner

The thought of going back to school after having your life pretty much established for years can be a bit terrifying. That's how I felt after deciding to go back to school after being out of college or years, getting married, buying a house, and having a baby. I thought, do I have time for this? Am I still cut out for college life? The late nights studying, the early morning classes, the financial burden, etc.

But then I thought about something else…Do I feel fulfilled with my current career? Am I happy on the drive to work every morning? Am I doing something I love? Can I honestly encourage my kids to follow their dreams if I don't follow mine?

The answer to all those questions was a HARD no. That's when I knew I had to go back, despite all the thoughts and questions racing through my head. 

Fast-forward to my junior year in my BSN program, I've learned that I'm at an advantage in some areas compared to the rest of my nursing cohort.

If you're wondering if it's too late to go back and become a nurse or wondering if you'll have a hard time adjusting to the nursing student lifestyle, read some of my pros and cons below!

Pros-

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How To Prevent Burn Out

How To Prevent Burn Out

How To Prevent Burn Out

Burn Out: Two words, especially during these times; we hear more about nursing school and the nursing field in general. It can be terrifying and brutal to hear about constantly. So how can we prevent this from happening to us? Here are some tips and tricks I have acquired over time to help you, hopefully!

Routines: Having a daily routine or planning out your week ahead of time can alleviate a lot of stress on you! When you become overwhelmed or constantly go go go with no direction or guide, it can weigh on your mind. So having a set plan daily of things going on, something you want to accomplish, and routines are beyond helpful. I make it a checklist layout, so as I go, I check things off, and I feel so much better seeing the list get shorter and shorter! It does not have to be anything crazy either. Daily I try to work out, journal, study, call a friend or family member, cook dinner, and get 7 hours of sleep. 

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Staying Fit and Healthy as a Full Time Nursing Student

Staying Fit and Healthy as a Full Time Nursing Student

So, of course, we all want to incorporate fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle while in nursing school, right? We can quickly lose track of our physical well-being between intensive studying, long clinical hours, and spending time with family. As a veteran, I'm used to working out 2-3 times a day, 5-6 days a week. But I have to make a mental note and tell myself that my studies will come first. That doesn't mean I have to forget about my lovely workouts completely. When I've clocked in about 5 hours of studying, I'm mentally exhausted. Taking in so much information can be a lot and makes us stressed. So what I like to do is get some blood pumping to my brain, take that mental stress, and turn it into physical tension. Even just 30 minutes of cardio is more beneficial than none at all. Working out can be complex and straightforward; 5 rounds of jumping jacks for 30 seconds, jogging in place for 1 minute, or bodyweight squats in your living room can get your mind off of that homework that's giving you trouble or that online test that you have coming up.

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What I Wish I Knew as a First-Year Nursing Student

What I Wish I Knew as a First-Year Nursing Student

Flashback to September of 2018, my first year of nursing school. That was a September of so many worries and so much anxiety... would I find my "people," where I would sit in huge lecture halls, would I pass my exams, why was the passing grade 72%, was I as smart as my peers, how will I carry these 40lbs of textbooks around???

These questions made me wish I had a school survival guide, but in reality, the experience will be different for every student, and that is okay. 

Here are a few of my favorite tips that I know now that I wish I learned a few years ago. 

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This is my "WHY?"

This is my "WHY?"

My "WHY": My dad was diagnosed with Emphysema at 35; I was two years old. I was the youngest of 3, and he and I always shared a strong bond. Growing up, I wondered why my dad couldn't do the things other dads did, like coach my little league team or go out and play. When I was 12, my dad had a massive heart attack and was pronounced DOA at the hospital. He survived, but from that point, his health began to decline steadily. Many hospital visits, a collapsed lung, and various other issues followed. I graduated high school

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