Day 58: Paisley

Our senior year is flying by. Honestly, it is terrifying. The thought of taking the NCLEX actually makes me want to vomit. (-: There is so much pressure surrounding nursing students to pass the NCLEX… if you don’t pass the first time you only have a 30% chance of passing on the second time just because of the added anxiety and pressure. I have found that doing photography has helped keep me well rounded though as far as my anxiety, in that I can forget about everything else. All that matters during these photoshoots is my model and taking pictures that capture their beauty and this special milestone in their lives. I had so much fun with this session.

Paisley – my roommate – is currently at the Mayo Clinic doing a residency in the ICU. She has already been recognized by her floor manager and the nurse that she has been working with. She is absolutely killin’ it in her residency. She is someone who jumps at any opportunity she can get when it comes to being in the hospital. Surprisingly there are some students who would rather sit in a chair and do nothing rather than get up and learn new things. I don’t think any of my friends are like that in my class – we are all super eager to learn and be in the hospital. I personally have enjoyed my clinicals the past two weeks. I only have 7 more clinicals until I graduate – holy WHAT THE HECK. Seriously where has time gone?!

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Studying Tips for Nursing Students

I think I’ve finally learned how to study for my exams in nursing school (it’s taken 3 semesters, but its totally fine *insert dreadful cry*). Last week I had my last final exam for level 3, and I managed to get a 95% on it. I flew through the exam, and I wasn’t second guessing my answers because I actually knew the information. It was the best feeling ever! Here’s what I did:

  • Began studying about 2 weeks before the exam. Cramming for exams may work for some, but for the majority it’s not beneficial at all, especially for nursing students because you wan’t to leave your class at the end of the semester actually knowing what the heck you even talked about in that class. 
  • Used quizlet. If you like flashcards but don’t want to spend the time making flashcards, quizlet is your friend! I had over 100 quizlet flashcards for this final exam. I would start with the term, and then on a separate piece of paper I would write out the definition/answer. This was super helpful, as it helped me to instill the answers in my brain. 
  • Studied in groups! I find that when you talk with someone about the material that you tend to retain it a lot better. I found myself actually running a study group the day before the exam, which has never happened, but because I was so confident in the material I felt comfortable enough to question people on it and help them out to learn the info. 
  • Used my professors powerpoint and then went back into the book and read every topic that she had in her powerpoint. I have never done this before. I hate reading! But I found it extremely beneficial to go back into the book and read the topics that my professor had discussed in lecture, as it further explained a lot of the topics we discussed. 
  • Dirty Chai. These were my lifesavers during long days of studying. The shot of espresso really helped to keep me awake, and I liked that I didn’t get the jittery feeling that coffee gives me. 
  • listened to my brain when it was tired. Studying when you are tired is the most un-beneficial thing you can do for yourself. Your brain won’t retain a single thing if you are tired. I went to bed super early some nights, but it was worth it because I was able to wake up early the next morning and get right to studying.
  • never just keep studying, take breaks! The day before my exam I took a three hour break. I just laid in bed, watched The Office, and went to dinner with Scott. Not thinking about the material gives your brain some downtime. It is possible to overstudy, so taking study breaks is really useful! 
  • when i was studying and started to get things wrong and started getting frustrated, I stopped, went to my room, watched Netflix for an hour and a half, and then went back to the library to study some more. Your brain WILL reach a point of just, “I GIVE UP and I need a break”, so listen to it! 

I hope these tips help you ❤ If you have any questions, comment down below and I’ll get back to you!

Problems in Nursing & How to Address Them

During my time in clinical, there are definitely some challenges in the nursing community that I have noticed. These challenges are lack of nurses, the lack of compassion towards patients, and the attitude that some nurses have towards student nurses.

During my time at one facility, nurses were constantly being asked if they wanted to pick up extra shifts. They seemed to be very short staffed, which was also evident in the fact that most nurses had up to 6 patients to care for during their shift. Due to this high patient to nurse ratio, there are many negative effects. As stated by The Truth About Nursing, “When nurses are forced to work with high nurse-to-patient ratios, patients die, get infections, get injured, or get sent home too soon without adequate education about how to take care of their illness or injury” (2016). This leads into my next point, in that nurses are losing their compassion towards patients. I had one patient who was in excruciating pain, but my nurse and the case manager labeled her as ‘just wanting drugs’, even though this patient had hardly any history of being in the hospital. The patient was hysterical, and it was making me upset in that no one was wanting to care for her. When my nurse was looking in the patient’s files to see if the surgeon was ready to discharge her, the surgeon said that he had met with the patient and that she was ready to go home. The patient denied ever meeting with the surgeon, but yet my nurse refused to call the surgeon and clarify as she did not want to disturb him. This upset me a lot, because she failed to advocate for her patient.

 

During my clinical, I have also had some nurses clearly be angry at the fact that they had a student for the day. One morning, I approached the nurse I was supposed to be shadowing and when I told her I was her student for the day she said, “Ugh no. I’m way too busy for that”. It was upsetting, but I just found my clinical instructor and told her the predicament. I have also had nurses who expected me to do things, even though they were failing to do the tasks themselves. It has been clear to me that nurses in today’s society do not want to work with nursing students, and their attitudes are very clear of that. According to Mueller, Naragon, & Smith state that, “staff nurses have the ability to make a significant impact on nursing students’ learning experience” (2016). This is why it is crucial for nurses to be open to having students. When I am a nurse, my experiences will remind me to be open to students.

These challenges are affecting health care constantly, and eventually these will cause major problems for facilities as people will not want to attend certain hospitals due to their reputation of their nursing staff. It is important to remember that not all nurses are the same, and not all facilities are the same. Each facility focuses on specific guidelines that they have in place for their staff. I will have to adapt to challenges in a timely manner, because health care is constantly changing. It is important to take constructive criticism as it comes, and to learn from my mistakes as well as the faults of others.

There are a few ways that these problems can be addressed. First, dealing with the lack of nurses, I believe that the only way that facilities can work with this issue is by advertising positions at their facilities and being open to accepting new graduates.

As I furthered my research regarding this topic, I found that the enrollment in nursing programs has been declining for five years. Also, there are issues in our institutions because there isn’t enough faculty to teach those who are interested in the field of nursing. I feel as though this is prevalent issue at Grand Canyon University due to the fact that so many students apply to the program, yet many students are turned down due to the fact that there isn’t enough spots for them in the program (which is correlated with the few nursing professors available). Many colleges are now doing something where they are donating money to nursing programs at school to allow for more spots to be opened (Nevidjon, Erickson, 2001).

When dealing with the lack of compassion towards patients, the best way that facilities can deal with this issue is by running programs in their facility to promote positive patient outcomes. Things such as patient ratings on nurses and the facility is a great way for nurse leaders at the facility to see if their nurses are doing a good job. Another way that facilities can deal with this program is by not overworking their nurses. Nurse burnout is a big cause of why nurses stop enjoying their profession. This overworking relates to the fact that there is a nursing shortage, so many hospitals are short staffed.  As stated by Cornwell & Goodrich, “It is the presence or absence of compassion that often marks the lasting and vivid memories patients and family members retain about the overall experience of care in hospital and other settings” (2009). As student nurses, we must remember that there is an art behind nursing that must not be forgotten.

During my clinical experience, I had some nurses who clearly did not want to work with me because I am a student. I believe that the best way for facilities to deal with this is to communicate with their staff about the responsibility those nurses play in teaching and educating us on real life situations. I think that facilities should communicate with their staff if they will be receiving a student that day, as it seems like many nurses are unaware many times of their duty to proctor a student during their shift.

 

References:

 

Nevidjon, B., Erickson, J. (2001). The nursing shortage: solutions for the short and long term. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/workforce/NursingShortage/Resources/NursingShortageSolutions.html

Cornwell, J., Goodrich, J. (2009) Exploring how to enable compassionate care in hospital to improve patient experience. Retrieved from https://www.nursingtimes.net/exploring-how-to-enable-compassionate-care-in-hospital-to-improve-patient-experience/5000526.article

The Truth About Nursing. (2016). What happens to patients when nurses are short-staffed or work with a high nurse-to-patient ratio? Retrieved from http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/faq/short-staffed.html

Mueller, S. A., Naragon, R. M., & Smith, R. R. (2016). The Relationship Between Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Staff Nurses’ Attitudes Towards Them and Self-Efficacy in Sophomore-and Senior-Level Nursing Students.

Why waking up early is beneficial

It’s 7:56 am, and I’ve already completed two online assignments that are due Wednesday and Friday and got in touch with my professor to meet with her today. I’ve only been up since about 6:30. I did not set an alarm to wake me up that early, but my body decided it was awake and ready for the day. I have noticed that when my body decides it wants to wake up that I can’t normally fall back asleep anyways. If I decide to try and rebel against my natural body clock, I end up laying in my bed, with my eyes shut, but not mentally asleep.

〉 Increase in productivity

I don’t know why, but for some reason I am always so much more productive in the morning! I feel like I want to accomplish everything all at once! And no, I haven’t had a coffee. (I’ve actually decided to stop drinking coffee, but I will write about that some other time). Try getting up around 6:30, make a list of everything you have to do for the week, and pick out the stuff you can get out of the way! I just got two assignments done that I would of had to worry about later this week… and since I have my first exam this week as well as no school on Friday, I really did not want to waste my time doing stupid online assignments when I could be studying and relaxing. 

〉 Better test scores

According to a study done by Texas University, students who woke up early, consistently, actually had higher test scores and overall grade points compared to those who slept in and slept a LOT. 

〉 Healthier YOU

If you sleep in, you’re probably sleeping through breakfast, meaning that you are screwing with your metabolism. If you eat a late lunch, that most likely means you’re going to have a late dinner. Eating 3-4 hours before you go to bed isn’t the best if you’re trying to lost weight… all that food just ends up sitting in your stomach since you’re body isn’t using it for energy as it does when you eat breakfast and your brain uses that food as it’s energy source. 

〉 Time to workout!

I love getting my workouts done in the morning! It seriously makes me feel so much better throughout the day! Your body releases natural endorphins when you workout, and those endorphins help to make you to feel not only happy, but relaxed. As a college student, workout out helps me to keep my stress levels low, so when I start out my morning with a workout, I notice myself being less stressed throughout the rest of my day. 

 

Resources:

Sanders, H. (2015). Top 7 benefits of waking up early. Retrieved from https://www.healthambition.com/benefits-of-waking-up-early/

My first OB clinical!

[I have advice for my fellow nursing students down below for getting started in clinicals!]

Yesterday was a LONG day. I had my first OB clinical and I spent my 12 hours in postpartum. It was a long day, and we started off by assessing our moms and their new babies. My favorite part by far was being able to hold the little ones. I also loved seeing new mommies and daddies soaking up all the cuteness regarding their new baby. It was so cute to watch dad’s hold their baby and talk to them. I only gave two meds – an IV push and an IM in the booty. I have never done an IM before, and I felt really bad for the patient recieving that needle cause they’re not tiny. 

If you don’t like boobs or vaginas and feel awkward about them, then OB is probably not a good place for you. I saw a LOT, of both. You’ll also see a lot of blood in postpartum just because nurses do fundal checks to make sure that the uterus is contracting back it’s normal size, and when they press down blood may come out. You’ll never know when a patient may start hemorrhaging, and at that point you will be seeing waves of blood coming out of the vagina. I also got to watch my nurse in action and help mom’s with breastfeeding. It is interesting how much goes into breastfeeding as far as making sure that the baby has a good latch, how to get it to suck, making sure you’re keeping the baby awake while feeding, and also teaching moms how to properly hold their baby to breastfeed. I feel like I gained a lot of information, and I feel like I will be super prepared now for when I have my first baby (which won’t be for a while lol but still).

I loved everything about yesterday – besides the fact that I had a lot of downtime and was just sitting around. I am really excited to go into labor and delivery though! 

If you have clinical, get to know your nurse and ask them questions! My nurse taught me so much yesterday. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up! Sometimes they forget that you’re there and they will just go about their tasks, but don’t be afraid to speak up if you want to pass a med through an IV, listen to a babies heart beat, or even do a fundal check on mom! When I spoke up, my nurse loved explaining how she assessed baby and everything she listens for. They also want to know that you’re interested, and speaking up to do things shows them that! Make sure you go to clinical prepared! Bring lots of paper, lots of snacks, and get your instructor’s phone number incase anything happens or you have any questions! You will probably have to be writing down information for your concept map or SBAR, so write down as much information as you can – and never leave your papers with a patient’s info out in the open, because that technically is a HIPAA violation. You will get hungry since it’s a long shift, and most units have a break room for you to put food, so brings yogurt, an apple, and even a soda with some caffeine for later!

A Student’s Guide to a Healthy Grocery Trip

After almost 2 1/2 weeks of having zero food in my fridge, I finally made the trip today! I got everything I needed to hold me over the next couple of weeks – proteins, veggies, lots of fruit, yogurt, and some yummy bars for a quick snack! If you want to be more aware of the foods you are buying, start looking at the nutrition labels! The yogurt I buy? low carb. Almond milk? I buy the one with the least amount of sugar. The carbs will add up quickly and will completely impede your weight loss. Have I cut carbs completely from my diet? No. I eat complex carbs – unflavored oatmeal, whole wheat toast, rice cakes, brown rice, and whole grain pasta … those are honestly the only sources of carbs in my kitchen. The 21 Day Fix focuses more on getting in more protein and vegetables into your diet. The carbs in my daily diet serve as sources of energy rather than to fill me up. FullSizeRender-2.jpg

Let’s start with the tip shelf! (Keep in mind too that some of this stuff is my roommates!):

CarbMaster yogurt. This stuff is magical. One, its flavored BUT low in sugar and they have only 5 grams of carbs (compared to other flavored yogurt that can have close to 20). I like vanilla and the black forest cake! 

Second Shelf: Eggs (I eat these for breakfast about every other day), Jenny O turkey bacon, humus (which goes really great with carrots), thin sliced chicken breast fillets (they were on sale for buy 1 get 2 free), blueberries, and blackberries (which were on sale for 87 cents!)

Third shelf: Nature’s Own 100% whole wheat bread, pepper crusted chicken breast from the deli, a giant bag of broccoli and a giant bag of spinach (my roommate and I share these bags since they’re so huge!)

In the drawers I have my Italian blend salad mix, packets of baby carrots, zucchini, apples, and grapes! I also bought some frozen strawberries so I can throw them into my smoothies! I also bought a Cashew Cookie Lara bar. I love this brand of bars because their ingredients are all natural and they’re pretty filling too! Plus the flavors are sweet, so they help with my sweet tooth 🙂 

Also, since I have an obsession with chai’s, I bought a sugar-free blend and then some half and half! I can’t wait to try it out and see how it tastes over some ice! The regular chai blend had 20 grams of carbs.. and with trying to watch my weight carbs are not my friends.. and I would rather eat real food than waste my carbs for the day on a chai. All of these came to only 50 bucks : ) If the prices are too high – do not buy! You will waste so much money on expensive items and it will add up very quickly!

I hope this gives you an idea of what to get when doing your shopping! : ) If you have any questions just comment down below and I’ll get back to you!