#NurseLife

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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Pre-Nursing School Anxiety

Pre-Nursing School Anxiety

Is your nursing journey about to start? Are you full of excitement but also scared, anxious, and nervous? Trust me; I feel all of these emotions. When we sit and think about the joys of nursing school, it can quickly turn to thoughts of doubt—doubting our abilities to provide the best care possible to individuals from all walks of life; doubting our ability to think critically. I have an aunt, a nurse, who gave me some advice that allowed me to take that anxiety and doubt and throw it completely out of the window.

 

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Normalize Imperfections: The Nursing Journey

Normalize Imperfections: The Nursing Journey

Normalize Imperfections: The Nursing Journey

Nursing is one of the most demanding fields that someone can enter into. Maybe I am biased, but I also feel it is a fact. It takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health… you stand on your feet for up to 12 hours a day, helping heal the sick and wounded, giving your everything to this field daily! There is constant pressure to be perfect at what you do, from your friends, family, teachers, future employers, and the most prominent critic of all, yourself. The pressure comes from all sides, and most of the time, it is not intentional! We want to be the best for our patients. I remember being back in nursing school… the pressure I would put myself under would lead to anxiety and make it so hard to focus or do much of anything. Then one day, it clicked… What is the definition of perfection?

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How to Make the Best Out of Your Nursing School Preceptorship

How to Make the Best Out of Your Nursing School Preceptorship

How to Make the Best Out of Your Nursing School Preceptorship

You’re about to start your nursing school preceptorship in an area where you may potentially work in after graduating nursing school! How exciting!!! Preceptorship is essentially a time where you get to work with and learn from an experienced nursing staff member and see firsthand what it really is like to work as a nurse.

On my last semester of nursing school, I was assigned to precept at an intensive care unit on night shifts, and I got the SWEETEST and honestly the BEST preceptor I could ever have hoped for. Despite having to precept during the pandemic (where I primarily had COVID patients), my preceptor taught me the value of resilience and of speaking up for oneself, especially when advocating for your patient, as well as helped strengthen my nursing clinical skills. With that being said, let’s jump into some tips/things that I found really helpful during my preceptorship!

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How to Build Relationships While in Nursing School

How to Build Relationships While in Nursing School

How to Build Relationships While in Nursing School

Nursing school can feel like an incredibly scary, intimidating monster (and let's be honest, sometimes it is). However, the experience can improve significantly by gaining meaningful connections with your fellow classmates, instructors, and even potential places of employment. The first thing I do on every first day of the class gets at least one person's phone number. Yes, I am THAT person. Having a point of contact that isn't an instructor to discuss due dates, build a study group, or just a supportive friend has made my nursing school experience improve immensely. No one can quite understand nursing school's stress, pressure, and craziness quite like a fellow nursing student. It is important to stick together. It may take some time, but some of the best friends are made in nursing school. I have met some of the most supportive, helpful, intelligent group of girls since I began my journey, and it all started by stepping outside of my comfort zone and introducing myself.

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Preparing for a Clinical Shift

Preparing for a Clinical Shift

Preparing for a Clinical Shift

When I first started clinical placements in nursing school, I was constantly unsure about what I should be packing, preparing, and doing to make myself feel more organized. I want to share some of the tips I have picked up along the way.

Routine, routine, routine: This is so important! I have curated a routine that allows me to ensure I always have what I need for my shift. These steps work for me, and something different may work for everyone; feel free to build off of this.

1. Ensure your lunch is packed and ready in the fridge the night before: The last thing you want the morning of a 12-hour shift is to sleep in and not have time to pack nutritious food. Nursing is a hard job, and you want to make sure you have adequate brain power packed in your lunch bag!

2. Layout a clean pair of scrubs/socks the evening before: I have had a panicked morning or two early on in my schooling where I was digging through the dryer in a frantic search for my school uniform scrubs. Laying this out the night before your shift will save time and stress!

3. Print out any necessary documents 1-2 days before: This helps prove to your instructors and nursing staff that you arrive prepared and show off your organizational skills. Plus - if your printer runs out of ink, you’ll know before it’s too late!

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How to Create an Effective Course Study Guide

How to Create an Effective Course Study Guide

How to Create an Effective Course Study Guide

Nursing school is all about adaptation. Keeping up with the course load and managing your personal life, relationships, work, and everything else can be delicate. Figuring out how you learn best is an integral part of studying effectively and not only learning but retaining the material. What works for some people may not work for all. Using resources such as YouTube videos, flashcards, and more can help to solidify information. Personally, I wouldn't say I like reading textbooks. I find that I do not retain the information. Therefore, I have had to develop a system that worked for me by creating my own course study guides and using other resources and material to fill in any blanks.

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Specialties: Where Do I Belong?

Specialties: Where Do I Belong?

Specialties: Where Do I Belong?

During and even before my nursing school career, people always seem to have the same question. “Do you know what specialty you want to be in?” Before nursing school, I knew the answer to that in 2 seconds! But as time went on through school, the more experiences I had in all the amazing specialty groups, the answer progressively changed. I would think about my original answer and then make a pros and cons list about a new specialty I am interested in! The process went on and on, and there is no specific timeline of when this must be done, but I did want to take the time to share some advice and tips that might help you along the journey of making that choice!

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Balancing Life and Family While in Nursing School

Balancing Life and Family While in Nursing School

One of the questions I consistently receive in my inbox goes something like this, “I am so overwhelmed. How do you balance school, being a mom, and still have time for yourself?” And while I am flattered that I put out the perception that I have it all together and give advice on the topic, that isn’t the reality.

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Nailing The Nursing Interview: My Favorite Tips and Tricks

Nailing The Nursing Interview: My Favorite Tips and Tricks

Today is the day you have officially graduated (or soon to be), and you are ready to enter the nursing world! Exciting day but a daunting task, especially if this is one of your first times ever interviewing for a full-time position through a hospital. I get asked all of the time about interviewing, how do I personally interview, what do I even ask them?! I do not have any nursing experience. How do I even get a job or answer any of these questions or scenarios they throw at you?! Just stop… take a deep breath and try to relax...... 

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Networking: The Importance of Building YOUR Tribe in Nursing School!

Networking: The Importance of Building YOUR Tribe in Nursing School!

During our nursing school journeys, we have heard many things about success in school and success in our future careers. Throughout my clinical experiences, I had the opportunity to shadow and meet so many incredible nurses who had great tips and tricks along with advice. But one piece of advice I will never forget I received from a nurse I had shadowed for a day, "Go ahead and keep building YOUR tribe; the earlier, the better." Hmm… that is an odd statement, and I thought about it all day. I already have my tribe- all my friends and family? What does she even mean? 

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