Asking For Help: Is A Strength, NOT A Weakness

Asking For Help: Is A Strength, NOT A Weakness

Asking For Help: Is A Strength, NOT A Weakness

So many times in nursing, we hear all of the individual tasks we must do on any given day as nurses. YOU hand out these meds; YOU take this patient here or there, YOU bathe the patient, YOU have an admission. I often hear so many new or even experienced nurses talk about the "weight" they feel having for 12 hours straight, 3-5 days a week. We feel overwhelmed, scared, angry, and most of all, alone. I am slowly learning as a new grad; we do not have to feel this way! There are SO many tools, resources, and most of all, our peers to assist us daily in the numerous tasks and skills we must perform.

Now, this is something I struggled with, especially as a student! I felt like I was burdening the nurse, asking too much of them, distracting them from what they needed to do. But one thing I was told by a very knowledgeable nurse, "If you do not ask, you will never learn if you do not know how to ask!

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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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The Weekly Preparation: Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

The Weekly Preparation: Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

The Weekly Preparation: Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

I think we can all agree that there is so much prep every week in nursing school. Papers to be written, chapters to be read, notes to review… it can become very overwhelming! The anxiety of thinking about everything on that extensive to-do list we have written in a notebook keeps piling up. But managing this list and working through that list in a productive, positive way is beyond important! Here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Get A Planner: Yes. This one may be obvious, but having a monthly and weekly layout can sometimes be the simplest of solutions to the overwhelming feeling!

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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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Coping With Death in the Workplace:

Coping With Death in the Workplace:

Coping With Death in the Workplace:

“Grief is the price we pay for love” - Queen Elizabeth II. This quote is something that resonates with me. As nurses, we care so strongly about our patients, we may care for these individuals for minutes to months, yet we create a bond unlike any other in these periods of time. Often our patients' passing will be peaceful and surrounded by family, and other times it is  traumatic and lonely. We may wonder, did we do everything we could? If I were a better nurse would they have pulled through? Did I miss something that could have been a warning sign? What if we intubated them even a minute fast? All of these what if’s can leave us distressed after a patient's passing, and can become something we bring home with us.


I’ve caught myself thinking about patients' deaths for days and weeks after they’ve happened wondering all of those same questions. I’ve cried in the bathroom after codes, and driven home in silence after shifts with a heavy heart. But all of these hard feelings remind me that I am human,  and nursing does not have to make me cold to death and sadness. 

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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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