The Stresses Nurses Face During Pandemic

The Stresses Nurses Face During Pandemic

The Stresses Nurses Face During Pandemic

The pandemic created a whole new normal for all of us. Like our doctors and nurses, those fighting in the front lines had to make adjustments to care for sick patients.

Nurses, in particular, are dealing with much bigger responsibilities when it comes to handling, managing, and assisting individuals affected with Covid-19.

Juggling family life, work, and personal changes, the stresses nurses face can take a toll on one’s physical and mental well-being. But how do nurses manage to balance their personal life and work?

What are the responsibilities of nurses during this pandemic? We got the answers you need.


The Roles and Responsibilities of Nurses During Covid-19

The year 2020 was declared the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. It is in honor of the 200th year of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Organizations, healthcare systems, professional associations, and other health facilities worldwide joined forces to celebrate the essential roles of nurses in promoting health and wellness to people all over the world. However, in the same year, the strength of the nursing workforce was tested by the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

With the pandemic still affecting people, nurses have a unique role in caring for sick people. Often, nurses go out of their way to help and protect those affected by the disease.

That is why it is vital to know the roles and responsibilities of nurses during the pandemic to understand how they work and what they can do to help others. Their duties include:

  1. Ensure that all patients have access to personalized, high-quality services regardless of their infectious condition. 
  2. Creates a plan for anticipated Covid-19 related outbreaks to avoid system overload. 
  3. Keep and maintain ample amounts of supply and sanitation materials and personal protective equipment.
  4. Offers screening information, triage protocols, and confinement guidelines. 
  5. They provide public education and teaching about the symptoms of Covid-19 and proper sanitation for disease prevention. 
  6. Educate patients and the general public on how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of the virus. 
  7. Teaches patients and families how to properly wash hands, the importance of social distancing, and sanitation. 
  8. Nurses must also protect themselves the way they do with patients. They must also follow infection procedures and wear protective gear in their practice settings, such as masks, robes, eye cover, gloves, face shields, and ventilation masks.
  9. They also help deliver public awareness about disease prevention and decrease the dissemination of myths regarding the pandemic. 

How the Stresses of Nurses Increased During Covid-19

As a nurse, you must know how to protect yourself from the coronavirus. Knowing what to do in stressful situations like the pandemic can help you avoid the following:

  1. Risk for infections – nurses work on the front lines, so it is unavoidable for things to get messy. Along with other healthcare workers, nurses assume the risk of getting infected by the disease. It is a given possibility that they can be exposed to the virus even when they are following safety procedures and guidelines. That said, nurses should exercise caution to avoid exposing their loved ones to this disease. 
  2. Risk for burnout – it is a fact that many nurses today are working longer shifts than usual ever since the pandemic hit. These long shifts, added to the stressful environment at the workplace, will eventually take a toll on nurses. Feelings of exhaustion and burnout are common among nurses. It is why nurses need to take care of their health and protect themselves both psychologically and physically. 


What Can You Do?

As nurses, you cannot avoid stress at work, but you can control how you react. It is also essential that you take care of yourself to function better and do your part in taking care of patients. So what can you do to avoid the stresses nurses face? Here’s how:


1. Practice self-care helps ease the stresses of nurses

Self-care means doing something for yourself to manage your stress. It could be as little as getting ice cream on your breaks or treating yourself to a nice warm bath after a long, hard day at work.

So for nurses who are working hard in this pandemic, looking after yourself is non-negotiable! Make sure to have time to look after your mental and physical health, or you won’t be able to take care of other people. 


2. Take a break

Taking a break means having the intention to break away from stress. If you find yourself overworked for the past weeks, make time to break away.

Go to a day of spa, sleep in over the weekend, or go on a road trip! Breaking away from a stressful workplace is also a way of taking care of yourself. It would help if you had time to decompress, or you will burn out. 


3. Exercise 

Working as a nurse often requires being on your feet. You must be physically fit, especially when faced with emergencies.

Exercising should be a part of your daily routine. It will help elevate your mood and give you energy throughout the day. 


4. Eating well can help the stresses nurses face

There will be times when you need to work even on your lunch breaks but take this to heart, don’t skip meals! Please make time to eat your meals; it will give you energy too.

Although it is tempting to work on lunch breaks, don’t give in. Separating work from lunchtime is essential. It will also help you recharge so you can work onward. 


5. Have a support team

Working as a nurse during the pandemic is exhausting. You cannot avoid feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. Longer shifts and the increasing number of patients can wear you down.

At times like this, your support team can help you the most. If you’re single, having friends you can reach out to can help, and if you’re married, your spouse, children, and loved ones who are there for you can make a real difference.

Make sure that you have people in your corner who love and support you during these trying times. It’s good for your well-being!


6. Talk to a Therapist

If you are a nurse and you feel the stresses nurses face, it can make you emotionally drained and struggle to work. The best way to survive this is to reach out to your lifelines.

You might consider talking to a therapist/counselor or getting access to an employee assistance program. While working as a nurse has plenty of memorable experiences, the workload can be toxic sometimes. Talking to someone can help lighten your load if it gets too much to bear. 


7. Take time to reflect on yourself

When nothing works right, pause and reflect on yourself; take time to step back and look at where you are. Remind yourself of your achievements.

Remind yourself of your skills and strengths – have a pep talk with yourself! No matter how things go or where you are at the moment, celebrate your victories.

Take time to embrace yourself and be open to possibilities. Life is like that sometimes, but wherever you are, always look back to moments like this. It will help you stay hopeful of the future. 


The Stresses of Nurses During Pandemic Can Be Handled

Being a nurse during the pandemic is tiresome, no doubt! But regardless of what’s going on, you must know how to take care of yourself. The pandemic may not go away quickly, and the stresses nurses face could worsen in the future.

Despite all that, always remember to take a step back to know where you are and how you feel. Knowing how to handle your stress can help you improve as a nurse. Self-awareness is key to a productive nursing career!

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!


EP 137: Three Centers of Intelligence With Janna Thomason

EP 137: Three Centers of Intelligence With Janna Thomason

EP 137: Three Centers of Intelligence With Janna Thomason

In this episode, we would like to introduce our guest Janna Thomason, an Enneagram Practitioner. She offers in-depth insight to individuals based on their three centers of intelligence; the mind, heart, and gut.

Find out more about what Enneagram is and how it can help you find a deeper understanding of how you view the world.

  1. Janna, you have an amazing array of nursing specialties: Trauma/Burn Intensive Care, Critical Care, Post-Anesthesia Care, Nursing Professional Development, and Nursing Informatics. Can you tell us about all those units and your experiences?
    • Why did you shift through those specialties? Many nurses think that whatever unit they start on is the one they should end on, and that is a major fallacy.
  2. You have battled through your own set of adversity and struggled with your husband and father. How did you feel during those times, and how were you able to help yourself? 
  3. Why did you leave the bedside or the nursing setting?
  4. What is an Enneagram Practitioner, and how did you get involved with it?
  5. How do you figure out someone’s Enneagram, and how can they use it to look at their past and future?
  6. Can you help Matt and Peter find their Enneagrams?
  7. Burnout and PTSD, we currently are not in the Post phase, at least for some nurses. What is your experience with burnout?
    • How do you help nurses in that situation?
    • Your FB group
  8. Current obsession and why?
    1. Kayaking, building a barn, watching dogs on TikTok

Want to know more about the centers of intelligence? Watch the full Episode 37 here 👇



0:00 Cup of Nurses Introduction
1:43 Guest Introduction
2:04 Janna’s Nursing Experience
4:30 Advice to new grads
5:05 What made you jump from bedside to informatics?
7:55 Day-to-day activities of an informatics nurse
8:49 How did you start being an entrepreneur?
11:24 What can you recommend to stressed-out nurses?
12:59 What affects burnout outside nursing?
14:00 When did you become aware of your own burnout?
16:19 How did you transition to helping people through your business?
17:50 What is Enneagram?
18:45 How can Enneagram help a person?
22:20 How do you figure out your motivational factors?
24:47 What category do nurses fall into?
27:24 Do you use other assessments?
29:48 Have you tried implementing the Enneagram numbers in the workplace?
30:48 What kind of questions do you ask when doing Enneagram?
31:10 What is the Enneagram?
40:04 Who is your inner critic?
41:07 What women criticize most within themselves?
43:53 How do you break the mindset of being not good enough?
44:50 How do you practice self-love?
50:50 What is your current obsession?
54:08 Where can people find Janna Thomason?

Survival Tips for Nursing School: 4 Ways to Go

Survival Tips for Nursing School: 4 Ways to Go

Survival Tips for Nursing School: 4 Ways to Go

Having survival tips for nursing school will help you get through the worst days. As a student nurse, it is essential that you have a tip or two to follow while you are in school, and in this post, we got the best ones you can follow!

Your Guide to Nursing School

Getting accepted into nursing school is a significant accomplishment. You came this far, from working and volunteering for hundreds of hours, working as a CNA, and nailing your job interview.

You now have the opportunity of becoming an actual nurse. But before you become a nurse, there are a few things you need to know before starting nursing school. 

Survival Tips for nursing no. 1: Be ready

Nursing school will be challenging, and this is not even an exaggeration. As someone who went to nursing school, I can remember how nervous I was on my first day but don’t worry. Being prepared for your first day will help you survive the following years. [1]

Start your semester organized and print out your schedule to avoid getting lost or late for classes. If you can, do an advance reading on the subjects you are taking.

Make sure to stock up on school supplies – highlighters, post-its, binders for your notes, pens, etc. Get a checklist of the other things you need, like a lab coat, clinical uniform, medical scissors, stethoscopes, and other items that your school requires you to have.

Gather everything before class starts so you can save time. 

Be prepared to study a lot of materials and dedicate time to review your notes. Be aware of your study habits, and make sure to take in as much information as you can.

Yes, going to nursing school will be challenging, but as you adapt to your schedules, you will get the hang of it in the long run. 

Survival tip for nursing no. 2: The workload is overwhelming

There’s a misconception about nursing that your first year won’t be as hard as later but guess again. While your clinical rotation might not begin until the second semester (or year, depending on where you are studying), it doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax.

It’s true when people say that nurses don’t get a timeout even before the actual work, I agree, but it’s all for training to be the best nurse! 

Many new nurse students get overwhelmed with the daily and weekly tasks in their first year in nursing school. A survey done in 2014 showed that out of the 150,000 college freshmen, 34.6% of them felt the stress and overwhelming workload of schoolwork.

Add other commitments to their schedule, the effects of the pandemic, and it can be a demanding course to take. 

Although it’s understandable to feel stressed, it shouldn’t take over you. When things get tough at school, make sure to take a step back and breathe.

It’s just schoolwork, after all! The best approach that you can take is to take care of yourself and your psyche. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and take a breather. It can help you get through the most challenging days!

Survival Tips for nursing no. 3: Reading a Lot

When I was in nursing school, I remember I was always reading my notes wherever I went. In my case, I read my notes in case there’s a pop quiz in my class. I want to be ready for that.

I hated reading textbooks then, but take down important notes to read the topic in one glance when I could. That strategy worked for me and helped me out until I was able to graduate.

Reading a lot of books is a prevalent theme in nursing school. It can be overwhelming, too, especially if you aren’t a reader or not used to reading books with medical terms. The bad news is you cannot escape this scenario.

That said, I am telling you now to prepare yourself by facing books, notes, pages, syllabus, and other reading materials related to nursing. The good news, however, is you can find a way to tackle all of that.

Find a way to work on your notes and reading materials in an organized manner. You can use an app to help you sort out the books/notes you need to read or organize them by the calendar – either way; you know what works best for you.

Just don’t overwhelm yourself too much!

Survival Tips for nursing no. 4: Comprehension Matters

Some people go to nursing school thinking that they will become the best nurse if they get the best grades. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

As a former nursing student, I know many students who didn’t do well at school but are now working as one of the best in the nursing field. Some even have high positions in hospitals abroad!

You see, grades don’t matter in the real world. Although yes, you should aim to pass nursing school and get a passing grade.

However, when it comes to becoming the best of the best, it’s your comprehension that matters most! 

If you ever sat down next to an overachiever in class, don’t panic. Let them get As and Bs, but as I have mentioned, comprehension matters – it’s the secret weapon and advantage of being a nurse.

Rather than being obsessed about getting a high score during tests, focus on how you understand the topics discussed in class. Develop your listening and critical thinking skills – you need this in the future and remember, you cannot become a good nurse without developing your skills by thinking like one. 

Busy as a Bee

Your time in nursing school is one of the busiest days you will ever have. With the clinical rotations, return demonstration classes, patient care, studying for exams/quizzes, and other activities at school, you will be facing many challenges ahead.

While this sounds like you don’t have a life anymore, I highly encourage you to take a break whenever you can and spend time with your friends and family. You cannot be a successful student if you eat and breathe nursing notes all the time, right? 

You don’t have to spend every waking moment in school, although expect that you will be around the campus most of the time, you must also make way for fun.

Of course, what I am saying isn’t far from reality, but you must also understand that your previous life or schedule before entering nursing school will be a whole lot different.

As you go through nursing school, take time to balance your personal and school life. Your schedule may have changed, but it’s for the best, so I hope you are ready for everything! [2]

Take on the Challenge

As a former nursing student, I can attest that nursing school isn’t a walk in the park. Yes, it will be challenging and extra busy, and yes, there will be times when you will feel frustrated with all the work in front of you.

But when things become overwhelming, stop and take a break; you are human, after all. 

The best nurse uses critical thinking, the correct assessment, logic, and intuition – so don’t worry too much about getting the highest grades. Instead, develop these skills; it will help you in the long run.

The challenges will always be there but use them well so you can enjoy the advantages of being a nurse.

Of course, do your best as you go through nursing school, and don’t forget to have fun! Once you balance all of these, you will realize that nursing school isn’t so bad. Trust the process, and you will make it! 

Looking for more student resources? Check out these helpful links!

New Brain Implant Treats Severe Depression

New Brain Implant Treats Severe Depression

New Brain Implant Treats Severe Depression

A new brain implant gave a patient with depression a new shot at life. Thanks to the researchers from the University of California San Francisco Health. The brain implant is helped by targeting specific brain circuits. It is where brain patterns are and then resets them.
The implant called Deep brain stimulation is a promising treatment for neuropsychiatric conditions. These include conditions like major depression. It is used to identify neural biomarkers that trigger therapy when a symptom elevates. These neural biomarkers are specific to brain activity. It indicates the onset of the symptoms.

New Brain Implant Treats Resistant Depression

A group of scientists developed an approach that first used multi-day intracranial electrophysiology. It is used along with focal electrical stimulation to identify symptom-specific biomarkers. and a treatment location where stimulation improved symptoms. They then implanted a chronic deep brain sensing and stimulation device. It implemented a biomarker-driven closed-loop therapy in an individual with depression [1].
Closed-loop therapy resulted in a rapid and sustained improvement in depression. The patient’s depression symptoms alleviated almost immediately. It lasted over the 15 months they had the implanted device. It needs more work to determine the results and approach. This is to prove if this n-of-1 study generalizes to a broader population.
Scangos says, “We need to look at how these circuits vary across patients and repeat this work many times. And we need to see whether an individual’s biomarker or brain circuit changes over time as the treatment continues.”

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a psychological approach that involves analyzing strategies used by successful individuals and applying them to reach a personal goal. It relates thoughts, language, and behavioral patterns learned through experience to specific outcomes. Neuro-linguistic Programing is reprograming your nervous system through the use of language.

In the 1970s, the University of California, Santa Cruz, developed Neuro-linguistic programming. Its primary founders are John Grinder, a linguist, and Richard Bandler, an information scientist and mathematician.

How Neuro-linguistic Programming Works

There are three crucial elements of neuro-linguistic programming. They are modeling, action, and effective communication. When a person understands how another accomplishes a task, the process is repeated. It is then communicated to others so they too can achieve the task. 
Neuro-linguistic programming proposes that everyone has a personal map of reality. Those who practice NLP analyze their own as well as other perspectives to create a systematic overview of one situation. By understanding a range of perspectives, the NLP user gains information.
Advocates of this school of thought believe the senses are vital for processing available information. It also teaches that the body and mind influence each other. This is the neuro-linguistic programming is an experienThusoach. Thus, if a person wants to understand an action, they must perform that same action to learn from the experience [2].

Neuro-linguistic Programming and its Beliefs

NLP practitioners believe there are natural learning, communication, and change hierarchies. The six logical levels of change are:

  • Purpose and spirituality can involve something more significant than oneself, such as religion or another system. It is the highest level of change.
  • Identity: Identity is the person you perceive yourself to be and includes your responsibilities and roles in life.
  • Beliefs and values: These are your belief system and the issues that matter to you.
  • Capabilities and skills: These are your abilities and what you can do.
  • Behaviors: Behaviors are the specific actions you perform.
  • Environment: Your environment is your context or setting, including other people around you. It is the lowest level of change.
Each logical level aims to organize and direct the information below it. As a result, making a change in a lower level may cause higher levels. But, according to NLP theory, making a change in a higher level will also result in lower levels.
“The map is not the territory” because it highlights the differences between belief and reality. It points out that each person operates within their perspective besides the place of objectivity. The proponents of NLP believe in everyone’s perception of the world. They think that it is distorted, limited, and unique.
Thus, a therapist who practices NLP must understand how a person in treatment perceives their “map”. And if this perception may have an effect on that person’s thoughts and behavior. 

NLP Technique

Example: A technique attempt to remove negative thoughts and feelings linked to a past event

  • Anchoring: Turning sensory experiences into triggers for particular emotional states.
  • Rapport: The practitioner tunes in to the person by matching their physical behaviors to improve communication and response through empathy.
  • Swish pattern: Changing patterns of behavior or thought to come to a desired instead of an undesired outcome.
  • Visual/kinesthetic dissociation (VKD): Trying to remove negative thoughts and feelings associated with a past event.

NLP also seeks to build effective communication between conscious and unconscious mental processes to help people increase creativity and problem-solving skills. Some advocates of NLP compare the approach to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) but assert positive changes may be made with NLP in less time [3].

Difference between NLP vs. CBT

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is the practice of understanding how people organize their thinking and language and how this affects behavior. On the other hand, CBT is focused on managing problems by changing how we think and behave.

Want to know more about brain implants? Check the full Episode 73 here 👇


0:00 Cup of Nurses Introduction
2:12 Episode Introduction
8:12 New Brain Implant Treats Severe Depression
12:00 Brain implant treats resistant depression
17:35 Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
18:40 How Neuro-linguistic Programming Works
19:00 NLP Technique Difference between NLP vs. CBT




Perks of Travel Nursing: Pros and Cons

Perks of Travel Nursing: Pros and Cons

Perks of Travel Nursing: Pros and Cons

Being a travel nurse has its advantages. But while it sounds fun, the perks of travel nursing have their ups and downs. If you love traveling and nursing, becoming a travel nurse is the best job for you!

But what is a travel nurse, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of working as one? 

As a travel nurse, you will be meeting a lot of people and going to different places. You will also work with other travel nurses and even meet some of the best healthcare workers along the way.

Here’s what you need to know about this job. 


What is a Travel Nurse?

There has been a nationwide shortage of nurses ever since the pandemic hit the world. Travel nursing is an appealing career option for nurses who wish to work and travel simultaneously.

Typically, travel nurses are registered nurses with at least a year of clinical experience, working on short-term assignments for 8 to 13 weeks.

Travel nurses are usually in contract with agencies. The agencies are the ones responsible for assigning nurses to different facilities for work. Working hours also vary for travel nurses depending on the contract; some require 36 hours per week, while others are flexible. 

Some hospitals may require a BSN to qualify, but if you have an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, you are also fit to become a travel nurse as long as you pass the NCLEX exams. [1]


Perks of Travel Nursing: The Pros

Being a travel nurse is an exciting position! If you love traveling and do not want to be stuck in one place for work, then this is the job for you. 


It is an adventure

Boredom is not an option for travel nursing. You get to see the entire country because this job will take you through 50 states. You can pick places where you can mix work and recreation too.

For example, if you love hiking, trekking, and similar activities, you can choose to work in states like Colorado, Washington, Utah, and many others. 


Personal and professional flexibility 

Besides the adventure, you will also enjoy the flexibility of this work. There is a sense of freedom in this line of profession. You get to choose where you work, the hours you put in, and go to places where you can visit friends and family.

Since you are working with recruitment agencies, you have access to see which schedule works best for you and choose the right salary and benefits to go with it. 


Good compensation

Nurses working in this field are well-compensated. A travel nurse can earn $35-$56 per hour, depending on which part of the country they are working in.

There is also compensation for travel nurses that are working overtime, as well as other incentives. 


You’ll meet different kinds of people and learn new skills

One of the best perks of travel nursing is that you get to meet different kinds of people. You will also work with healthcare professionals in various states in the country, so you get the opportunity to learn from them.

Keep in mind that each healthcare facility you come across has different healthcare practices. It is your job to work in every position and explore the parts of nursing that you would love to do. 


Avoiding hospital politics and burnout

Unlike other nurses who choose to work in a permanent setting, travel nurses won’t have to deal with hospital politics that go around a hospital setting.

Being a nurse is stressful, including being uncooperative, and tension among staff can burn you out quickly. If you don’t wish to settle in this kind of setup, being a travel nurse is the revival you need in your career. 


You get to help those who need it most

As a nurse, you have a vital role in the health care system, and your job impacts the lives of your patients.  Becoming a travel nurse allows you to work in areas where health care is not easily accessible and extend help to those who desperately need it.

You will be on the front lines of care, where you can see the fruits of your labor. 


Perks of Travel Nursing: The Cons

There are good sides to travel nursing and bad ones too. To weigh in if travel nursing is the right job for you, identifying the disadvantages of it will help you decide whether to pursue this career or not. 


Multiple licensing 

As a travel nurse, you must have a license to work. You must pass the NCLEX exams and obtain a license to practice. Most of the time, different states in the country require various requirements for a travel nurse to work.

If you wish to work as a travel nurse, you must plan before accepting the job. In case you don’t have a license yet, you must apply for one on your own.

Additionally, if you want to work in hospital areas like Operating Room, ICU, and others, other requirements are also needed to qualify for the position.

It is best to inquire about these requirements in advance to avoid cramming at the last minute. 


Compensation Varies

Although there are plenty of jobs for travel nurses across the country, one of the downsides of this job is that the pay varies. Each time you sign a contract, agencies will provide you with an allowance, transportation, and even an apartment to stay in during the duration of your contract.

However, some will not provide you with everything. You must always have a budget plan while under a contract with a nurse recruiter. 


Traveling is tiring

Some people genuinely enjoy the thought of traveling, but if you are traveling for work all time, this could also burn you out. Keep in mind that you are not just going to sit in a bus or airplane for traveling.

You must also consider the amount of luggage to bring, your itinerary, insurance, time adjustments, and unfamiliar weather.

Time zones are also a killer; if you wish to work as a travel nurse in other countries. Not only that, but you must also adjust to the healthcare practices of the facility you will be working in for the next couple of weeks or months.

Adapting to a new living space is also stressful; if you are used to living comfortably in your home, traveling for work gives you a sense of unfamiliarity.

It’s one of those perks of travel nursing that isn’t so nice to deal with. 


It’s lonely

Traveling for work is fun, gets you out of boredom, and you get to see new people. However, there’s a sense of loneliness when you are new to the workplace.

You don’t get to be friends with people right away, and you find yourself doing the same routine with the hopes of ending the contract right away.

You also battle homesickness, especially if you are working in a different country.

Even if you are a nurse with no dependents, being away from home for extended periods can be trying. 


Can’t gain career advancement

There’s always that possibility of not gaining a level up in your nursing career. Compared to staff nurses who work in one area, travel nurses do not have the opportunity to move up with the ranks and become senior staff members.

And unlike senior staff nurses, travel nurses are often called to places where agencies request them to go.

In short, travel nurses cannot pick their schedule and work fewer on weekends compared to other nurses with more advanced ranks. 


Is Travel Nursing for You?

If you love traveling and have the spirit for new adventures as a nurse, then travel nursing is the best job for you! The perks of travel nursing are great, don’t be afraid to grab the opportunity.

Make sure to research before accepting a job offer. Weighing the pros and cons of travel nursing can help in your decisions as well. Remember, the chance to gain new experiences and learning about yourself in the process are all part of this adventure, don’t miss out on it! 

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!