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 Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Management of the Older Adult Two: Medical Surgical “Med Surg” Two

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.

Exam 1 Gastrointestinal & Renal

Exam 1 Additional Notes page 1
Exam 1 Additional Notes page 2
Exam 1 Additional Notes page 3
Exam 1 Additional Notes page 4

Exam Two Endocrine & Cardiovascular

Exam 2 Additional Notes page 1
Exam 2 Additional Notes page 2
Exam 2 Additional Notes page 3
Exam 2 Additional Notes page 4
Exam 2 Additional Notes page 5
Exam 2 Additional Notes page 6

Exam 3 Immune & Neurology

Exam 3 Additional Notes page 1
Exam 3 Additional Notes page 2
Exam 3 Additional Notes page 3
Exam 3 Additional Notes page 4
Exam 3 Additional Notes page 5
Exam 3 Additional Notes page 6

Exam 4 Shock & Burns

Exam 4 Additional Notes page 1
Exam 4 Additional Notes page 2
Exam 4 Additional Notes page 3
Exam 4 Additional Notes page 4
Exam 4 Additional Notes page 5
Exam 4 Additional Notes page 5
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 LiFe, Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Maternal Newborn

Alright, I’m so excited! I received a request for a maternal newborn post so I scavenged up some of my study guides to help gear studying.

I too had a difficult time with the course. Not because of a quarantine but because of a couple snow days caused me to miss class. And if anyone knows anything about nursing school it’s the fact that missing a couple classes puts you pretty far behind. So, I will help as much as I possibly can! I passed the course with a B so here it goes 🤓. I have also attached a downloadable document of my study guides. In addition, I added an extra little study aid for the exams.

TIPS:

  • Adapt to your class
    • There’s some classes I’ve taken and I didn’t have time to rewrite my notes. So I had to come up with other idea (more to come).
  • Highlight!!! Honestly, the more color (sensible color) the better I remember what I wrote.
  • Underline – if something helps your member a term or a concept, underline it. If that’s not enough put it into it’s own separate HIGHLIGHTED box.
  • I sometimes have a difficult time remember the “umbrella concept.” So, I make sure to underline the main subject so that clicks in my mind instead of getting confused later down the road
  • TAKE BREAKS!
    • My fiancé has to remind me after 2 hours to take a break. Set a timer, ANYTHING. Your brain is not going to take in anymore information after that amount of time.
  • Go back over notes 2-3 times before exam.

Exam 1 Study Guide

Another Study Aid/Guide: Exam 1

Study Guide Exam 2

Another Study Aid/Guide: Exam 2

I hope even a small amount of this information helps someone. It helped me.

Final Exam

My final exam was cumulative, so I recommend going back over the previous study guides. However, I have also attached a full final exam study guide.

Know How to Calculate an Apgar Score

GOOD LUCK!!

Posted in Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Holiday Stress Pick Me Up

We all know the holidays are stressful. We all know schools is stressful, especially nursing school. So, juggling the two together can be a bit overwhelming. Just like juggling work, family, and the holidays. No mater what the combination, the holidays add an additional stress on to our plate. If we let it. I know, so much easier said than done. I am completely guilty of thinking this as well. But, for someone like me who is obsessed with the holidays and everything having to do with the holidays, I don’t want to let anyone or any stress ruin that for me. The holidays are something I look forward to every year. Yes, they may be stressful, if that’s the mind set.

Unfortunately, society has created this chaos about the holidays. Many people, including myself have lost the truth behind the holidays. I’m realizing this at the beginning of the holidays and I plan on changing my perspective. The holidays are a time for believing and having faith. It’s about spending time with people that care about us that we love.

Let’s Make it to Break!

Alright, it’s finals time and holiday time. Talk about stress! Well, one thing at a time. I will be continuing to add onto this post as I get through finals and the holidays myself. In the mean time, I had a fellow student ask me about some of the pictures I sent her to remember HELLP for preeclampsia. So, I wanted to make this study tool is accessible to people that need it. I recently received a book I bought on Amazon and I think this is my new “study bible” if you know what I mean. It has everything I could think of to help me focus my studying.

Illustrated Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN Exam
An “Inside” Look

Made it Through the Semester!

Holiday time means holiday stress, am I right? NO! I am not right! Yes, the holiday’s CAN be stressful. however, they don’t HAVE to be. I’ll admit, there’s been times that I I’ve felt stressed out either about family drama, presents, traffic, or people’s attitudes. Then I have to do something to work through the stress so it doesn’t ruin my holiday spirit. I’ve been creating Mandala’s to put onto my blog to help other people who also need a little “alone” or “me time” (let’s be honest, we ALL need “alone” or “me time”) whether it’s the holidays or not.

Create Your Own Creation

De Stress with Yoga

Yoga for holiday relaxation! Let yourself have that time that is very much needed to recoup and recharge. There will be more relaxation tips to come throughout the holidays!

Posted in Nursing School, Stress Prevention, Wedding Planning

Feeling Disconnected?

Some times I feel as though I’m off balance or I feel like I’ve lost myself a little. It’s almost as though I’m standing over my own body because I feel so disconnected. This yoga video is quick reconnecter. A quick 12 minute video that truly helps you reconnect with yourself. Whether you’re feeling disconnected because of work, school, wedding planning or social life, just about anything; try this video to reconnect.

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

Posted in Nursing School, organizing, Stress Prevention

Studying Tips

THE BEST STUDY AID
Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN (Saunders Comprehensive Review for Nclex-Rn)

This book is going to be my best friend throughout nursing school (I love colors so I thought it was a must to have my hair match the book in the picture). Every time I’ve needed clarification on anything thus far this book as been able to answer it in the most simplistic forms. I’ve used it for my Intro to Med Surg class (first exam is tomorrow, I’ll write how that went and how this helped me). I’ve used it for my first Patho exam and received an A and felt very confident. Side note, about feeling confident. A fellow student came up to me today and told me why she didn’t do very well on our first Patho exam even though she studied her butt off. This has happened to me and multiple fellow students of mine. A little advice, don’t go in over confident. I have made more mistakes on exams when I go in overly confident. I tend to skim the questions instead of thoroughly reading them; therefore, missing what the question is actually asking. This is exactly what my friend did. So, slow down, ESPECIALLY when you know the information.

Studying Techniques

Fluid & Electrolytes

This is the beginning of my Fluid and Electrolyte notes for my Intro to Med Surg. This lecture was over 100 slides, it was a lot of very necessary information but I had to condense it. It ended up being 5 pages. Yes, this is still pretty long but like I said, it’s a lot of necessary information. This is one of my longer sets of notes (it’s also covering almost half of my exam, so it makes sense).

I have gotten asked a few times this week at school what I do to study so I thought I’d post this blog to help anyone else who may be confused out there. I must say this is how I study and I do not guarantee good grades or anything along those line. I am giving recommendations, everyone learns differently and I recommend molding this however anyone might need.

For this particular chapter I made sure to make my main topics the different diagnoses and made sure to describe signs/symptoms, clinical manifestations, and nursing considerations. If there were any tid bits that my teacher said I would write that in a different color on the side of the paper because those are usually pretty important details. IMPORTANT: MAKE IT COLORFUL!! My eyes are drawn to my notes (I’m a huge nerd, I know) nevertheless, my brain likes looking at my notes, it helps me learn. I use the same colors or color palate according to each class. Purple for Med Surg, pink for Health Assessment, blue for Patho, and green for Pharm. This helps when I’m looking at my agenda and what I need to get done. For things like Normal Ranges I usually put in another color and outline it with a highlighter. I usually refer back to these multiple times throughout the semester and sometimes even in later semesters. If I have any acronyms for diagnoses I will also put those in a stand out color in the margin next to the term.

Use whatever resources possible. There’s a lot of information and there is not one perfect way to understand it. So try different things, this one helped me.