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.
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
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
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.
Well, 2020 has been a bit difficult for just about everyone. Probably a bit more difficult than this course is. So, that means we could all use a little help. I have attached my study guides from my Med Surg 2 class. There’s a Doc available for each exam for download. I recommended adding whatever one feels is necessary from their own lecture. I’ve also attached PDF photos of my own additions to my study guide I added during my actually studying for the exam when I was answering questions on the additional question study guide that is attached. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, everyone studies and learns differently and that is likely to change from course to course. Being able to adapt ones studying techniques to the course is going to aid in excelling and understanding in the course.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
I’ll check their eyes, by using the acronym PERRLA (Pupils are Equal Round, Reactive too Light, and Accommodation.
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)
Again, I’m going to inspect the skin: color, contour, symmetry, moisture, turgor, lesions, rash, bruising, trauma, or piercings.
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)
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).
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.
Again, I’m inspecting the skin: color, contour, symmetry, moisture, turgor, lesions, rash, bruising, trauma, or piercings.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.