Posted in LiFe, Stress Prevention

Understanding My Mental Health

Mental illnesses are a tough subject to discuss. Most people don’t acknowledge their own struggles. Mainly because we’re taught at a young age to hide our feelings, to not express too many emotions, to always be brave. But from my experience, that doesn’t always work. Yes, there are times that we need to be brave but not 100% of the time.

This beautiful author, Rupi Kaur expresses her feelings, emotions, thoughts, and experiences in their entirety. There have been countless times when I felt as though I had written those same words. Words that I couldn’t fully get out of my thoughts to put onto paper. She speaks words that help me to understand myself more than I had before I opened her books. This is a brief little explanation to how wonderful this woman is and how life saving a few words really can be.

Click Book to purchase!

Click Book to purchase!

Click Book to purchase!

These books have been absolutely amazing to read. Since I bought these books, there hasn’t been one day that has gone by when I haven’t been telling at least one person about them. So, that’s why this one is short and sweet so I can plant a seed for those that need it

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

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

We live in a society where we go, go, go, and then we go some more. We forget to check in on ourselves. I say this because I am also 100% guilty of this. Unfortunately, I tend to realize how little I’ve checked in when it seems too late and I’m having a break down. I’ll admit it, I’m human and can emotionally only take so much. Let me say that again, I’m human, we’re all human, we’re aloud to have emotions. We are aloud to express our emotions. However, society has made it difficult to acceptably express our emotions. So, with this in mind we have to check in and figure out what helps release those emotions. Some activities that I have come to realize have been helping me are:

Mandala Colorings

When it comes to drawing, I am not the best. Coloring on the other hand, is something that I very much enjoy. It makes me feel like a little kid again and when I say that I mean, I feel like I have no worries, except maybe staying in the lines. The only “worries” are which colors to use, staying in the lines, and what do I want this to look like. There have been plenty of studies that have shown how coloring can relax the fear center of the brain. This is just one small, easy way to take the mind off anything that keeps playing of repeat over and over in the mind.

Mandala Coloring Book For Adults With Thick Artist Quality Paper, Hardback Covers, and Spiral Binding by ColorIt

Yoga

Yoga is another activity that I didn’t believe in at first. I have been doing yoga for a few years now, never religiously, just when I could. Yoga works if it’s done every day or if it’s done it once a month. Giving myself even the small amount of 20 minutes to stretch and focus just on me, relieves a ridiculous amount of stress. This video has been one of the best stress relievers that I have found. Take the time to relief stress and tension.

Breathing

Breathing and meditation are something that I feel like many people have said, “You should really try this! It really helps!” and yet for some reason, in my mind, I thought, “Yea, ok, yea right” However, my thoughts were completely wrong. I didn’t believe that meditation and breathing would honestly help me to relax and focus my energy. Even though, that’s exactly what it’s designed for. I still didn’t or couldn’t believe it. It took me until I saw first hand how it could help someone.

My fiancé started following the Wim How method. I would hear him breathing in the shower in the mornings. Then when he would come home from work, he’d head down stairs and I could hear him doing the breathing exercises again. At first I was thinking again, “I’m not sure this is really going to help,” and “I’m not so sure I believe in it.” After awhile my fiancé would come up stairs after meditating and breathing and he would have the biggest smile on his face and almost seemed as though he was a completely new person. I could feel how relaxed and at ease he felt. It was electrifying and contagious. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t think I felt different after the first time so my fiancé said that’s normal and it’ll take a few times to feel the effects. He was very encouraging. And let’s be honest, nothing happens in one day or after one time. I have done the Wim Hof breathing for a couple weeks now and I can definitely feel the effects. This is something that is free, easy, and it works. I highly recommend giving it a shot, and giving it your all. The only person being suffering is you. The first couple times I tried it, I didn’t let myself give it my all and that’s why it didn’t work. Then, I realized the only person I’m not helping is myself.

Meditating

While doing some of the breathing exercises I also listen to a meditation. My fiancé had the amazing idea that we combine the Wim Hof breathing method with a guided meditation. I found one meditation that is all about grounding and accepting. When combining the meditation with the breathing I was able to feel like I was floating. I felt like I was able to ground myself and feel free at the same time. For someone who was so against meditating and breathing and didn’t believe in either, I have become a strong believer. I didn’t realize how disconnected from myself I had become, and honestly, still am. Yet, I am and will continue to work on it, to work on my, work on finding myself and grounding myself. So, for anyone who is hesitant to give any of this a try, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! But, think about it who will it hurt? The only thing it can do is either help, or not do anything. Either way there’s nothing lost.