Posted in LiFe, Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Clinical Readiness

Clinical bags/bag Essentials

Clinical stress! No matter how many clinical’s I’ve been to in nursing school I get worried and nervous every time. Something that helps me calm down and relax a little, in general, is making a list. I make a list for everything! Chores, groceries, todo lists; if I can put it on a list to cross it off or check mark it so I know that it’s completed, I do it. So, clinical is nothing different. This way I know I’m not forgetting anything. I’ll admit, Amazon is my best friend with these items. So, I’ve become and Amazon Associate so I could attach the links in this blog. And just to be up front and honest, I do receive a small amount from Amazon when people use these links.

Create Your Own List

My Capstone Check List

Each clinical is going to require a few different materials. For instance, in the list above, I’ve included my pediatric pocketbook for my clinical placement on the pediatric floor. I have also included a few different nursing brains that I’ve accumulated from past clinical placements to see which I feel best fits my clinical needs in this particular placement.

Everyone’s Brain is Different!

I mean this literally and figuratively. The Nurse Brains I use may not be the best for every individual person and that is why I HIGHLY recommend acquiring as many Nurse Brains throughout nursing school as clinical placements. By seeing how each department or hospital uses their Nurse Brains I’ve STARTED to figure out which ones work best for me.

Nurse Brains Coming Soon


Clinical Essentials

NurseIQ Info Badges, Stethoscope, Bandage Scissors, Pocket Drug Guide, Nurse Info Clipboard, Pen Light, Pens, and Essential Oil Retractable Badge Holder
I chose 5 Info cards to hold on to that I felt I needed the most for this specific clinical; head to toe, nursing basics, pediatrics, code blue, and medication calculations

NurseIQ Info Badges: Thank you to a wonderful nurse that has made it her goal to help nursing students and other nurses. I was feeling quite intimidated going into my senior practicum/capstone (final clinical before graduation) due to missing my hands on pediatric clinical. Which was missed due to COVID-19, my cohort and I were unable to complete our pediatric clinical hands on, we had to complete it virtually. So, I started looking at resources when I found this beautiful nurse and her amazing aspirations. Additionally, the best thing about these badges are they’re not only for pediatrics! They cover ALL of the basics that students need and nurses may need reminding of.

Essential Oil Retractable Badge Holder: This is what holds my ID badge and my Info Badges together. I chose the essential oil one because let’s be honest, there’s so many smells in the hospital. It comes with different felt disks so you can keep different smells on different disks. I don’t think I’ve changed out the purple felt disk on mine because it’s my lavender one. If the lavender helps me to not stress as much or if it helps a patient to not stress as much, I say, “why the heck not!” I have gotten so many compliments on it and this is one item that I’ve had from the very beginning.

Pocket Drug Guide: To be fully prepared when dispensing medications. This is one of my most necessary items in my bag. I do not know every med out there, not many do. And one should never administer something they don’t know what its indicatios are or possible side effects to look out for. This book has probably 95% of the medications that I’ve looked up and it fits right in my pocket. For my clinical prep I would mark all of the medications my patient was on. When I would have more than 1 patient I would mark on the tabs, “1” or “2” or even “both” so I know which med goes to which patient and I have the possible side effects, nursing implications, and dosages marked before I go to give the patient their meds. I’ve attached the newest version here.

Bandage Scissors: This was an item I wish I had from the beginning. There had been multiple times that nurses had asked me if I had scissors on me and I always felt behind or forgetful when I had to embarrassingly say, “No.” I will admit that this is not an item I use on a daily basis, however, having them on me when they’re needed is more of a, “HECK YES! I have a pair of scissors!” Instead of feeling any type of disappointment. This particular pair can cut through a penny and can be put in an autoclave. Now, I was not looking for the strongest pair out there. What I was looking for was a sturdy and lasting pair of scissors and after two 12 hour shifts they’re holding up great :).

Pediatric Pocket Book: This item is one that comes in handy more than you’d think. During down time, I look it over and if there’s anything that I don’t remember from the class I highlight it or write it down. I was naive to think that I would remember everything from each course. I would love to be able to remember everything that I’ve learned but unfortunately, that’s not very realistic. I have to remind, reiterate, and rewrite topics to be able to remember them. I’ve also seen that they have these pocket books for other courses. I personally have not used them but if they have as much information (I would assume they would) as this particular pocket book, it’s a great resource. So, I put links to others that I’ve thought about getting, just in case.

A Couple Pen Lights: While performing assessments as a nursing student it’s hard to remember everything you’re supposed to check. There’s so many things running though your mind that it feels like it’s about to explode. One of the assessments I forget most is checking pupils PERRLA (Pupils are Equal, Round, Reactive to Light and Accommodating). With the pen light in my pocket and my nursing basics info badge it makes it easier to remember this assessment. Also, on the pen light they have pupil sizes so you can measure (nice little perk).

Nursing Clipboard: This was another item I unfortunately waited to get until my senior practicum. There were many times I’d try writing on the wall when I needed to add information to my nurse brains. This is another great resource for things such as lab values, pupil measurements, injection sites, all things that when I was in class I thought, “Oh I know this, I understand this,” but then when I’m in the setting I second guess myself and this is an amazing reassurance or double check.

Stethoscope: Now I’ll be honest, I’ve had my stethoscope since I first became a Vet Tech in 2010, so I wont preach about which one is the best because that is something I’m still figuring out. One thing I have figured out is to not spend the most amount of money on my first stethoscope. This is an item that I think is a perfect graduation present for a nursing student. In nursing school your stethoscope gets passed around, taken, moved, tossed, you name it and that’s why I don’t recommend getting your “perfect” stethoscope from the get go.

Posted in Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention, Wedding Planning

2nd Week

Alright. Second week down. First couple exams this week in addition to make up classes. This week was another full week. But I did it, I did well on my exams, I don’t have any missing assignments, we’re getting the internet system figured out. I think the positives of this week override the negatives, the stresses. I must admit, I had a few anxiety break downs; but what I quickly realized was, I’M NOT ALONE! Every corner I turned Tuesday morning, I heard another person telling their friend about their break down! At that moment I took a GIANT breathe, obviously not because these people were also having anxiety but because I wasn’t alone in how I felt. I’ve said this 100 times in the last two weeks. “This program is difficult, it should be difficult! We are taking care of lives, of human lives. I would be more concerned if it wasn’t difficult.” So, what do we do about it being difficult? We adjust.

This past weekend I probably studied for exams, and finished homework assignments for approximately 12 hours. From Saturday to Monday. I was trying to get as far on homework as I possibly could.

Organize and Set Yourself up for Success

One thing I do to help myself and organize myself is finish as many assignments (especially ones that don’t take a long period of time to complete) as I possibly can, more importantly I do it at the very beginning of the semester. I don’t know about anyone else but when I start to come up on the end of the semester a lot of assignments are due, I’m trying to study for finals, and let’s be honest at this point of the semester I am beat. I’m physically and more understandably, I’m mentally exhausted. I just studied almost everyday for the last 16ish weeks.

So, I help myself out for later in the semester. I am more able and willing to study even when mentally, I’m ready to throw in the towel. I do better on finals because it’s the only thing on my plate.

Alright, that was my speal about getting stuff done early and honestly that could go for just about anything in life. Easier said than done, right? Yes, BUT one at a time makes everything easier. That’s all I know I can do. I can multi task, yes, however I can only complete one assignment at a time.

So, I put them in order of urgency just as I would if I was a nurse in a hospital setting. My primary urgency is anything that is due the next day. My secondary urgency is anything that is due that week. Finally, my third urgency is assignments that are due the next week and then the following week and so on and so forth. Then, I could break it down even further and look at which ones are going to be difficult and time consuming and which ones I can knock out quickly. The ones I can get done fast I will finish first then work on the longer ones. TIME MANAGEMENT, boom!

Organized chaos
Redi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes, Tabbed Self-Stick Lined Note Pad, 60 Ruled Notes, 4 x 6 Inches, Assorted Neon Colors (29500)

This is my study station. I like to spread out. I put just about everything in front of me so I can see it and grab it if I have a hot train of thought going. This looks like I just threw a bunch of stuff on my bed but I know where everything is and I know what I need to get done. My agenda is one thing that is right next to me.

Color coded
HARDCOVER Academic Planner 2019-2020: (June 2019 Through July 2020) 5.5″x8″ Daily Weekly Monthly Planner Yearly Agenda. Bonus Bookmark, Pocket Folder and Sticky Note Set (Pink Marble Triangles)

It’s almost as if I have two agendas in one. I write down the daily assignments and such that my teachers mention. Then, I have my list on the right that has what I need to have done for each class that week. I have had nightmares about forgetting assignments or exams or being late and missing an exam. Other type A people, especially nursing students know exactly what I’m talking about. Well, this has stopped those nightmares.

If It Takes 5 Minutes…

A wise man once told me, “If you’re afraid of forgetting something, write it down. Save yourself even the slightest amount of stress just by writing it down.” Simple right? But, I did it just last night. I had a great idea for my blog today and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. So, instead of taking the time to even type it in my phone I forgot it and now I’m beating myself up for it. I don’t need any/or want anymore stress so why didn’t I take that wise man’s advice? I was being just a little bit lazy. It would have taken me 1 minute max to type it in a note. This is something that I too have to continue to work on. Good rule of thumb: if it takes less than 5 minutes to get it done, just do it and get it done. You’ll spend more time thinking about how it needs to get done then the time the task actually takes.

Wedding Planning

Amongst all the chaos I made time for myself to finish up our Save the Dates. To make my life easier I bought clear address labels that I can place right onto the Save the Date postcard. I decided on postcards for our Save the Dates. This way I dont have to worry about or pay the money for envelopes, or take the time to write out everyone’s address. In addition to not having to spend the time hand writing the addresses, I have all of the adresses saved for the Wedding invitations and Thank You cards. I’ll just have to print them out. I am all about making things less difficult and less stressful.

Posted in Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

First Week of Nursing School

So, my first week of nursing school is just about over. I have to admit it was a bit rough. Just about everyone knows that nursing school in and of itself is intense. Well, to make things just a bit more difficult, my nursing school’s entire system was down. This has made it quite difficult to communicate with teachers. Not only that, none of the students had their schedule going into the first day of class. So, to say the least, it was a frustrating, diffcult, and an extremely stressful week. However, I’m trying to think on the bright side. So, here’s the bright side, I have one week of nursing school under my belt. I am here. I am in it. I CAN do this.

As one might image, this was an uncomfortable week for a type A person like me. I like order, I like organization, I love having things planned. This might be a reason why nursing is a good fit for me. Anyway, what I did to help my mind, my body, and let’s be honest, my sanity was to get everything in some kind of order. For starters, my nursing schedule is pretty hectic, it’s different on a weekly basis. So, I layed out my agenda, my Med Surg calender, my Patho calender, my Health Assessment calender, and finally my Pharm calender. I wrote in the notes section of my agenda, and color coded it to each class: For example, pink is Health, purple is Med Surg, light blue is Patho, green is Pharm. I also color code my notes according to this. I’ll go into more detail about color coding and organizing my notes in another post.

Monday: (Class times & room #)

(obviously, only if you have the room number, just in case, I have a lot of times, dates, and numbers to remeber so sometimes I forget)

Tuesday: (Class time & room #)

Wednesday: (Class time & room #)

Thursday: (Class time & room #)

Friday: (Class time & room #)

Then, I went to the monthly calender of my agenda and wrote down all of the days I have exams. I dont know about anyone else, but I like knowing when I’m going to have a hectic week so I can plan around it. See there’s that plan word again.

Now, there’s a little bit of order. That’s how I calmed my brain down after such a stressful, unorganized week. I will admit this week was tough, it was very overwhelming and I’ll also admit that I started to doubt myself. When these thoughts started to arise, I had to remind myself, “this IS what I want to do,” “I AM going to be a great nurse.” These are things that I have to remind myself and will continue to remind myself because I will get stressed and discouraged throughout this journey called nursing school. However, it’s about I acknowledge it, use it to my advantage (having some stress is good, it means we care) and move through it. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we should give up; it means we are going to have to try that much harder and put in that much more effort. This is why we remind ourselves, “this IS what I want to do,” “I CAN do this.”