Posted in LiFe, Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Well… Graduation happened. I’ve definitely been feeling the post graduation anxiety👩🏼‍🎓😓

It feels so crazy that it finally happened!! but I did it. I graduated from nursing school. So, now I’ve started the next step, the NCLEX. I’ve started the application process and the studying process. I bought, downloaded, printed, and page protected a wonderful nurses study guide for the NCLEX:

I’ve also purchased UWorld for 60 days. My goal is to study and to take the NCLEX in a month and a half I have a busy summer with 6 total weddings, one being my own.

One thing at a time, the NCLEX is the next item on my list.

Let’s see how this goes…🤞🏻

Well, evidentially things in life change. I ended up not taking my NCLEX until September instead on in June. I was so stressed and so overwhelmed with trying to celebrate graduation, turning 30, and planning weddings. I burnt myself out trying to complete the 75 questions a day on top of all those things listed above, looking for nursing jobs, all while still working as a bartender.

I BEAT MYSELF UP!! I made myself feel awful for not taking my exam when I originally planned. All my friends were doing it so who couldn’t I?! What was wrong with me why didn’t I have a nursing job lined up right out of school, why couldn’t I complete all the questions from UWorld that I had planned on doing, why did I feel so far behind?

If you’re feeling like this…STOP IT!!!

I was so stuck in my head about all of the things I felt like I wasn’t doing, I completely neglected giving myself credit for all the things I had done. Such as, going back to college at a later age (which was terrifying) and graduating with my BSN which is said to be one of the most difficult under grad programs one can get. I was forgetting to celebrate and enjoy the planning of my own wedding and being thankful so many people wanted me to stand up with them at theirs. None of my nursing friends were experiencing the same events in their lives so how could I compare myself to them.

Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. And that is true about everything in life. I am awful about comparing myself to other people around me. I have to constantly remind myself that we are all our own people, going through our own issues and experiences. No two people are expected live their lives the same way. So why do we do it? Why do we make ourselves feel small or less capable compared to other people? Is it societal pressures, parental pressures, community pressures? I believe it’s all of those aspects, it’s all of the aspects that help shape us into the humans we are today and that’s why we compare, we care. I personally never want to let anyone down or want anyone to think less of me. However, I CAN ONLY BE THE PERSON I AM. I will only be able to do what I can.

One thing that helps me remember this is reminding myself,

I can’t give 100%, 100% of the time. It’s not realistically feasible.

If that is what is expected of my then those are unrealistic expectations. I write these words to remind myself and to hopefully help others that may be feeling the same way.

The pressures after graduation are no different than the pressures people feel on a daily basis. The pressure of “I’m supposed to have this all figured out,” unfortunately for those thoughts, the reality is no one has it all figured out at least not 100% of the time.

So, I remind myself and others feeling this way (as my husband continuously reminds me); take it day by day, do what you can each day and don’t expect yourself to do it all in that one day. As the very true and valid cliché says, “Rome was not built in a day.”

Therefore, today I took a little self care and hung out with my best friend while getting our nails done, I’m writing this blog posts to remind myself of the aspects above, I’m going to do some yoga because I can feel my body needs it, I’m going to go to work and do my best that I can despite the dreams I had last night of feeling overwhelmed and insufficient, and maybe tomorrow I’ll work more on nursing sheets. One day at a time.

Check out the nursing sheets that are completed, more to come.

I CAN DO THIS!

And so can others that may be feeling the same way.

You got this!

Posted in LiFe, Nursing School, Stress Prevention

COVID Vaccine Education Sheet

In my nursing program, I took part in a Vaccine clinic. Our project was to inform the community about the COVID vaccine. So, my group and I created a poster to help educate the community around our clinical site. There is a lot of great information on there so I thought I’d share the information on here. This vaccine is an extremely current topic and more information is coming out daily. This is just the basics surrounding the COVID vaccine. Please check out the CDC’s website to get the most up to date information. That is where my fellow students and I found most of our info.

I hope this information is helpful to some. If you’d like to download it for your own personal clinical to hand out to patients so they have the information, please do so. Our most valuable tool as nurses and nursing students is education.

This past year has been a lot, for many people. And that’s putting it nicely, let’s be honest. We can all use a little help in learning information. I’m sharing this to help provide education for this extremely current situation going on in our lives right now.

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 LiFe, Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Management of the Older Adult

Med Surg 1 is a very in depth course where you pull in pathophysiology and health assessment and apply it. It can be very intimidating. At least I was EXTREMELY intimidated with this course. Still, I MADE IT!

I have attached a few study guides that helped me throughout this course. Each one organized slightly different for people that study differently.

GOOD LUCK!

Study Guides for Exam 1

Respiratory & Peri-operative

Assessment & Pneumothorax
Tension Pneumothorax
Tuberculosis (TB)
Peri-operative
Intra-operative
Discharge Criteria

Study Guides for Exam 2

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Acute Coronary Syndrome
STEMI vs NSTEMI
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
Need to Know Drugs

Study Guides for Exam 3

GI & Musculoskeletal

GI & Musculoskeletal

Final Exam Review

Inflammatory & Structural Disorders
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Acute Arterial Ischemic Disorder
Valvular Heart Disorder
Posted in Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Confidence

It has been way too long since I wrote last. Over the last couple weeks, I lost my confidence. I received a poor grade on my pathophysiology exam (the one I described in my last post) and it shook me up pretty bad. I started to question if this was the right path for me. I am working on having confidence in myself because I know this is my right path when I am in the hospital and I have a strong feeling that a lot of this is second nature for me.

This semester has been very difficult for me and my fellow students. However, we are all getting though this difficult time together and have each other to lean on when we need it. There were a few days I went to class when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore and thanks to a few women in my class I made it through the week without completely losing my mind. This goes both ways, I have had a few friends come to me and tell me the same times I’ve told them before. We all need a little reminder that we can do it, we can make it though this hard time.

Organization and Study Time

Head to Toe Assessment

So, as I just said we all need a little reminder that we can do this; if you’re feeling like you can’t do it, questioning if this is the right path, this is me reminding you, you can do it, you can make it through this. It’s going to be difficult and stressful but we can learn together how to manage that stress together. Writing these blogs and helping other people to not feel stressed helps me to destress.

Assessment

A head to Toe assessment is a little intimidating. I created a skit that covers everything (on our checklist, make sure to customize this to your own checklist or liking). I organized mine in a head to toe direction.

I start by introducing myself to my patient, I wash my hands, educate them on what I’m there to do, I provide them privacy, ask them their two identifiers, if or what they are allergic to, make sure the bed is locked, and move it up to my working height.

Vital Signs

Assess:

Pain Level

Temperature

Heart Rate

Blood Pressure

SpO2

Respirations

Head

Then I assess their LOC by asking the patient if they are oriented to who they are, the time, where they are, their purpose, and speech. I assess their central nerve VII by asking them to make facial expressions such as raise their eyebrows, squint, scrunch their forehead (to assess upper aspects of the face) and smile, bare their teeth, pucker their lips (to assess lower aspects of the face)

Skin

While they’re doing this I am assessing their skin on their face for: color, contour, symmetry, moisture, turgor, lesions, rash, bruising, trauma, or piercings.

Eyes

I’ll check their eyes, by using the acronym PERRLA (Pupils are Equal Round, Reactive too Light, and Accommodation.

Neck

Lay the patient flat on the bed (remove all pillows) in supine position. You should be able to see their interior and exterior jugular veins with a pen light. Start to raise the bed until you can no longer see the veins and note at what degree of the bed they disappear (should be between 30-45 degrees)

Thoracic

Skin

Again, I’m going to inspect the skin: color, contour, symmetry, moisture, turgor, lesions, rash, bruising, trauma, or piercings.

Cardiac

All Patients Take Medication

I’m going to auscultate (listen) to the valves of the heart starting at the aortic valve (right of the sternum, 2nd intercostal), pulmonic valve (left of the sternum, 2nd intercostal), tricuspid valve (left of the sternum, 4th intercostal), and the mitral valve (mid-clavicular, 5th intercostal). I’m listening for the rate and the rhythm. I will also asses S1 (heard louder at the apex of the heart mid-clavicular, 5th intercostal) and S2 (heard louder at the base of the heart (second intercostal)

Abdomen

I’m going to inspect the abdomen just by looking at it at eye level, looking at: contour (flat, round, protuberant, or scaphoid), AP:T ratio (should be 1:2 or 5:7). Inspect the aorta just left of the xiphoid process for heaves, lifts, or pulsations. Then switch my stethoscope to the bell and listen for any bruits or thrills happening in the aorta.

I’m going to listen to the abdomen in all 4 quadrants, I want to be able to hear bowel sounds in all 4 quadrants. I will then percuss the abdomen for tympany (dullness over visceral organs, i.e liver).

Lungs

Auscultation Positions

In total for the lungs I’m going to listen to 14 places, 6 on the posterior, 6 on the anterior, and 2 lateral. I’m listening for resonance in the lungs.

Peripheral Assessment

Skin

Again, I’m inspecting the skin: color, contour, symmetry, moisture, turgor, lesions, rash, bruising, trauma, or piercings.

Palpate

I’m going to assess the CRT of their fingers and toes (should be less than 2 seconds). I’m also palpating the pedis & posterior tibial pulse, the symmetry of the radial and ulnar pulse. Assess the strength, symmetry, & any edema in the limbs in addition, hair distribution.

Other Assessments

If the patient as any tubes, lines, or drains, I will inspect them and make sure they are clean, dry, and intact.

Lastly, I will asses their gait. I will have them walk their normal gait, then walk heal to toe.

Exiting the Room

The patient has their call light

They don’t have any questions for me

They have their call light

Their bed is lowered and locked

End Assessment