Should You Volunteer as a Student Nurse?

Should You Volunteer as a Student Nurse?

Should You Volunteer as a Student Nurse?

Volunteering gives you the chance to experience what it is like to work as a real nurse. It allows you to see if it is indeed the right path for you. So should you volunteer as a student nurse? 

What to Consider When Volunteering

As a student nurse, your time is preoccupied with a lot of things in nursing school. However, if you want to gain experience in nursing, signing up as a volunteer can help you in many ways. So what should you consider before giving it a shot? 

Consider the time you give

When you volunteer, you are adding more responsibilities to your plate. It could lead to more problems in the future and might even affect your school performance and grades. 

Before you volunteer, consider how much time you are willing to give into it. Remember, your commitment is needed when you volunteer for something. It will also show on record how trustworthy you are with the opportunity granted to you. 

Your reasons for volunteering

What are your reasons for volunteering? If you know why you are volunteering, then all is well. Although there is no concrete reason why people volunteer sometimes, it is still best to narrow down why you want to volunteer. And once you know why you can prioritize the things you would like to pursue. 

The requirements needed

Keep in mind that not all volunteer opportunities are the same. Some may ask for minimal requirements, while others might require you to train first before they accept you. Before volunteering, it is best to check the conditions first to see if you fit the part or not. It will save you time and effort.

The responsibilities

Before volunteering, you should also consider the responsibilities that it comes with. As a student nurse volunteer, you will be dealing with patients and nurse staff, so quitting once the odds are not in your favor is not an easy option. You must see through it before you say no. 

Should You Volunteer as a Student Nurse? YES!

Now that you know the things to consider, here’s why you should do it:

Networking opportunities

As a volunteer, you have the chance to reach out to other nurses and student nurses alike. Get to know the people you work with when you volunteer. You might be working with the best people in the healthcare field. Having them as part of your network gives you better opportunities when applying for a nursing job in the future. 

It’s good for your health

Volunteering improves your health in general. According to PublicHealth.org, research done by the University of Exeter, people who volunteer adjust better to stress, cope better with changes, have lower rates of depression, and get to live longer and healthier lives. 

Enhances your resume

Applying as a nurse means sending out your resume, and for it to stand out, you must have an impressive resume ready to go. Volunteering gives your resume the spark it needs. It will also show that you are not afraid to take responsibility and are dedicated to the profession. Your experience as a volunteer will also give you the confidence you need when answering an interview and increase your chance of being selected for the job. 

Hands-on experience

Of course, the main reason why you volunteered is to gain first-hand experience. While you are not licensed as a nurse yet, your experience as a volunteer gives you the chance to see what it is like to be one. As a student nurse, your knowledge is also an asset to the facility. So, it is like a give-and-take relationship. You volunteer to help the nurses, and your time as one shapes your skills and comprehension about the job. 

Volunteer Today and Enjoy the Experience

If you have plans to volunteer, do it. You will not regret it – not only will you enjoy the time you allotted in it, but you will also learn a lot of things as you go, call it a sense of satisfaction. Volunteering seals your commitment to saving lives. So, head to the nearest healthcare facility and sign up as one.

 

EP 164: Improving Patient Communication with Jennifer George

EP 164: Improving Patient Communication with Jennifer George

Improving Patient Communication with Jennifer George

Improving patient communication is an effective way to provide patient care. Without proper communication, it is easy to miss out on your patient’s needs. But how can you become effective in this situation? Will this help lessen the stress nurses feel? 

In this episode, we will talk about effective communication and how nurses can improve the way they speak to their patients to get the message out. We also welcome our guest, Jennifer George. She is a compassion-focused physiotherapist with vast experience in the private and public care sectors. 

Jennifer has spent the last 14 years learning and reflecting on the importance of communication in our health and education systems. 

She is also a mentor to future and current health providers on discovering their purpose, achieving fulfillment, and creating empowering patient experiences. Author of her book, Communication is Care: 9 Empowering Strategies to Guide Patient Healing. 

QUESTIONS FOR GUESTS

  1. As a physiotherapist, what do you do, and what are some significant takeaways or life lessons from your career? 
    • Work on inputs rehab currently
    • Patients need a team of professionals; physical therapy is only one piece of a much bigger picture in the healing process
    • Helped me to recognize the whole person
  1. How was your role as a caregiver for your father shape your personal experience of healthcare and later your professional career?
    • The power of communication and connection on healing – feeling disempowered, unheard, rushed, at times – good: learned to empathize and be an advocate for patients and families
  1. When did you realize how important communication was and its importance in healthcare?
    • After the first two years of my practice – I learned to better connect with patients before conditions and diagnoses and look at the bigger picture of their life and the impact of pain and suffering
    • Then after my dad died, it was like I became super conscious of the fact that my life as a caregiver/daughter shaped my professional interactions 
  1. Is there a difference between communicating in social engagements vs. communicating with patients? How should this differ? 
    • How can you keep a professional yet personal communication style with patients?
    • Is there such thing as communication burnout? I talk to my patients and many other people in/outside of work. Sometimes that gets tiring, and I need a day to myself and silence. 
  1. Where do you think misunderstandings arise from? When there is a break in communication, it causes misunderstandings. 
    • How/when does communication fail? What goes wrong?
  1. When speaking to patients, what do they mainly seek to learn? Or how can you pick up on what they are looking for? Does it vary between situations?

Learn how you can communicate more effectively with your patients by watching the full episode here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
02:37 Episode Introduction
04:08 The feeling of seeing your patient progress
06:00 The importance of communication in improving patient care
09:54 Building rapport with your patient
12:12 What are the barriers that affect communication with patients
15:06 How to be true to your patient’s care
17:36 How to start a conversation with a patient
19:43 Gauging patient for a good conversation
24:42 How to solve miscommunication
28:39 Guiding and educating patients to empower themselves again
33:35 The importance of Interprofessional Communication
35:41 The inspiration of how the book came up.
39:20 Caretakers aren’t taken care of
46:26 Patient safety as the main goal
49:33 Healthcare’s reactive approach to solving the problem
57:08 Wrapping up the episode

EP 161: The Basics Every Nurse Should Know

EP 161: The Basics Every Nurse Should Know

The Basics Every Nurse Should Know

There are three basics every nurse should know by heart. You must understand that being a nurse comes with significant responsibilities. It’s like being a superhero, but your powers are stripped off when you make a mistake! You can say goodbye to your career and beloved profession if that is the case. 

Because medical errors are common these days, you must know all the nursing basics. Knowing all the basic procedures, SOPs, etc., will save your patient and your license as a nurse. 

As a nurse, you have to perform your job to the best of your abilities. It will also help you if you can memorize all the nursing basics there is to know so you can also serve your patients better. 

Keep in mind that there are many work-related basics that every nurse should know. These are all essential in making your job more effective. Nursing is composed of many different units and fields, each requiring its level of competence. Here’s what you need to know:

Basics Every Nurse Should Know About

 

1. Medications

Not every nurse works in the ER or ICU.  But there are specific medications that are often shared amongst most if not all units. Over the course of your work, you will get used to your unit’s medications. Those are unit-specific, but there are also medications that you’ll be familiar with.

Some of these are emergency medications and are often used as a quick solution to acute issues. The meds we’d like to address are more for emergent use and used as problem solvers. Medications like levothyroxine or pancrelipase are essential. But those are more unit-based. These are usually given the next day. We want to focus on meds that can benefit nurses in stressful situations.

  • Pressors

Vasopressors are among the common medications you’ll see in the ER or ICU. But if you don’t work in these units, you might think you’ll never use them.

Before you call that rapid or even during a rapid there are things you can do. If the patient is hypotensive there are 2 major things you can do; give fluid and/or start levophed. For patients with low blood pressure, norepinephrine is a good backup med. Levophed, Levo, norepi, and norepinephrine all mean the same thing.

You don’t have to memorize all vasopressors. Remember only the basic medications used like levophed. It is usually the first line of meds used in emergencies.

  • Antihypertensives

There are many ways to lower blood pressure and many meds. The most common ones we’ve seen are Nicardipine, metoprolol, and hydralazine. Each works differently but has the same functional effect on lowering blood pressure. 

  • Beta-blockers like metoprolol tartrate (Lopressor) or metoprolol succinate

Metoprolol tartrate is also referred to as Lopressor. It’s different than succinate because Lopressor wors quicker but not as long. We use Lopressor to bring down a patient’s blood pressure quickly. Metoprolol succinate is a common med prescribed outside the hospital because it can be taken once or twice a day vs. 4-6 times.

Keep in mind that this is a beta-blocker, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. You’ll need to find a delicate balance in the amount of med to give for that reason, you need blood pressure control, but you can only give them so much before you throw them into heart block and need to pace them.

  • Vasodilators like hydralazine

Hydralazine is one of the main antihypertensives used in heart failure. It is an interesting medication because it primarily affects the arteries causing decreased peripheral resistance; reduced blood pressure; and reflexively increased heart rate, stroke volume, and CO.

The main contraindication is coronary artery disease because increased cardiac output increases cardiac work and may provoke angina and myocardial ischemia or infarction.

  • Calcium channel blockers like nicardipine

Calcium channel blockers are medications used to lower blood pressure. They work by preventing calcium from entering the cells of the heart and arteries. 

It also causes the heart and arteries to squeeze vigorously (contract). By blocking calcium, calcium channel blockers allow blood vessels to relax and open.

Nicardipine is given intravenously. Sometimes, patients with a stroke get placed on it for strict blood pressure management. It is a titratable drug. 

  • Insulin

So many different insulins. You don’t have to remember the exact hourly effect or half-life, just the basics. Lantus or glargine is long-acting. You’ll give it once a day, twice tops. 

NPH: this is the insulin you will give with meals. Regular is usually used for coverage.

 

2. Report

Each unit is going to have its own specific things they like in the report. For example, a cardiac ICU nurse gets more information about the heart. In the report, they write about the cardiac index, output, and pulmonary artery pressures. 

Regardless of what unit you are in, you need to know the basic information that is standard for each report. If by chance you are new, floating, or a travel nurse, your report improves over time. But, you will always be in the clear if you know the core basics. These are:

  • Room, name, age, code status, and allergies
  • Past medical history, contact info
  • Admission day, why they came in, and events during hospital stay/shift.
  • Planned procedures, able to DC or transfer, patient plan.
  • Neuro: Mentation, commands, fever, activity, RASS
  • Card: HR/rhythm, BP, pulses, and meds
  • Resp: O2, trach/ET size, tubes, vent settings, ABG, and lung sounds
  • GI/GU: Drains/tubes (NG, PEG, ostomy, etc..), output, last BM, and diet
  • Skin
  • Lines
  • Drips and important meds
  • Labs

 

3. Emergency basics every nurse should know

Not all floor requires ACLS, but BLS is a standard in the hospital. You should also know what to do in certain situations. Even though you may not perform all tasks during an emergency, it is always a good thing that you know what to do. 

Having a basic understanding during an emergency situation is essential. It is also good to know some of the algorithms, so you have an understanding of what to do in case of emergencies. 

 

  • Assess your patient, what has changed? Are they hard to arouse? Breathing? Pulse? 
  • ACLS
  • Bradycardia protocol 
  • Tachycardia with pulse

To watch this full episode, click here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:48 Plugs
02:12 Episode Introduction
02:41 Nursing Basics: Medication
05:05 Medication: Pressors
07:58 Medication: Antihypertensives
09:35 Antihypertensives: Metoprolol Tartrate (Lopressor) or Metoprolol Succinate
11:06 Antihypertensives: Hydralazine
11:51 Antihypertensives: Nicardipine
16:55 Antihypertensives: Insulin
20:05 Nursing Basics: Report
21:54 Reporting Run Down
24:13 Reporting Tips
27:57 Nursing Basics: Emergency Situations
31:17 Emergency Situations: Adult Cardiac Arrest
34:32 Emergency Situations: Adult Bradycardia
36:03 Emergency Situations: Tachycardia with a pulse
38:37 Wrapping up the episode

Your First Year as a Nurse: Advice for New Nurses

Your First Year as a Nurse: Advice for New Nurses

Your First Year as a Nurse: Advice for New Nurses

Congratulations on passing nursing school and making it into the nursing world! You are now a qualified and registered nurse, so how can you survive your first year as a nurse? Here’s what you need to know.

On Your First Year as a Nurse

Working as a professional nurse is an exciting and scary thought. You are new to the job, but at the same time, you have the skills needed to do it. Your first year as a nurse is a year for adjustments, and I will be honest with you, it will be difficult. It’s like everything you learned in nursing school is poking you all at once! You will discover different skills and techniques used in the trade, AND you will probably be tired all the time. Long shifts, overtime, and toxic days are ahead of you. But, don’t worry, if anyone before you made it, so can you! Following these pieces of advice will help you survive and thrive in this wonderful career.

It’s OK not to know everything

One of the anxieties that new nurses experience is that they expect to be good at what they do right away. You are not going to master every technique, procedure, or hospital protocol in one year. Give yourself some time to adjust to your new environment. Remember, your first year is a year for adjustments, so give yourself some room to learn. Bear in mind that your new domain is different from nursing school, so relax. It is OK not to know everything. I know you want to be good at your job, but take one step at a time. After all, being a nurse is a job that requires patience, so be patient with yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

As a nurse, you must have a curious nature. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Many new nurses are afraid to ask questions because it may sound like they admit to something they don’t know. However, asking questions is also an excellent way to learn. So, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It will show that you are interested in learning something new and that you are open to new things and not afraid to speak up. 

Develop your time management skills

One of the skills you must develop during your first year as a nurse is time management. Keep in mind that your priority is patient care, but as you do, you also need to meet the hospital management’s expectations and coworkers. Learning how to use your time effectively can help you in this situation. 

Get to know who you are working with

Remember your coworkers’ names, and make sure to say hello when you meet them in corridors. As a new nurse, it is essential to make friends and build relations with your colleagues. So, be polite and cooperate with your coworkers. Seek advice from your mentors and colleagues. Not only is this important in your profession, but it will also help in surviving your first year as a nurse. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone you can trust and laugh with on your team when things get tough? Of course!

Sign up in classes or volunteer to enhance your nursing skills

Your life as a nurse does not only revolve around the hospital. During your first year, be sure to sign up for additional classes to enhance your nursing skills. Volunteering for events, internships, and nursing drives also enhances your nursing knowledge. It will hone your skills and prepare you for your career as a full-pledge nurse. 

Join nursing organizations 

Becoming a member of nursing organizations is beneficial on your part as a new nurse. Being a part of these networks broadens your opportunity to find work and resources. It is also an excellent way to make connections in the professional nursing world. If you decide to join a nursing organization, make sure that it is close to the chosen area of the nursing field you would like to work. For example, if you wish to be a part of psychiatric-mental health nursing, you can join the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. 

Prioritize self-care for you. 

Many new nurses experience anxiety and stress during their first year as a nurse. That said, it is crucial to take care of your mental health too. As a nurse, you are the health care provider, but what happens when you are not well yourself? How can you deliver quality care to your patients? So, take care of yourself; exercise, meditate, eat healthily, and get enough rest. Not only are you taking care of yourself and your mental health, but it will also help you from burning out. 

The Reality of Your First Year as a Nurse

It will be challenging, but it will also be one of the best years of your life! As a new nurse, you are like an infant. You may have a license to work as a nurse and the knowledge to apply, but just like a growing baby, you also need to take small steps. 

Of course, there will be days when everything else is extra tricky, but don’t give up! Stay positive, and instead of feeling down, list the things you don’t know of and see what you can do to correct them. Read new nursing trends, be updated with the latest in the nursing community, build relationships in and out of your workplace – anything is possible! Yes, your first year will be tough, but if you focus on the good things, your time will fly by, and the next thing you know, you’re on your way to better opportunities. So, enjoy the experience, and most importantly, enjoy the opportunity of helping others. Good luck!

 

You Failed NCLEX Exams: What to Do Next?

You Failed NCLEX Exams: What to Do Next?

You Failed NCLEX Exams: What to Do Next?

So, you studied hard, took the NCLEX exams, and waited in agony for the results, only to find out that you failed the NCLEX. What a disappointing outcome. By now, you feel like breaking down because of this result, but before you do, wipe your tears, hold your head up high, and retake the exams. But how can you retake this test? What is the next best thing to do?

A Silverlining

Learning that you failed the exams for the first time is probably one of the disappointments in your life that you will not forget. Looking back at the hours you spent studying, preparing, sleeping that you missed, and countless hours of reviewing that all came down to failing NCLEX is a heartbreaking ordeal. But with all of this, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Retaking the exams is your next best option. 

What to Do After You Failed the NCLEX Exams

If you are reading this part of the post, then chances are, you have failed the exams. But, do not worry. You can still retake the exams as long as you follow these steps and do your best next round. 

Understand Why You Failed

Failing the NCLEX exams is not the end of the world; although it is a bit traumatic, you must gather yourself and try again. Understanding why you failed is crucial at this point. Failing does not mean that you are dumb or stupid. Most importantly, failing this exam does not mean you won’t make a great nurse. The truth is, some of the best nurses in the field had their fair shares of failures. So, do not beat yourself up on this one. Some people are not good at taking tests, maybe you did prepare for this, but your nerves got the better of you. Either way, it is okay that you failed. 

Process your NCLEX Results

A single day can make a big difference in your ability to process the results of your NCLEX exams. Taking the following steps is crucial, but before you do, take time to go through your results and reflect. Of course, there might be some feelings of discouragement, but don’t give up yet. Give yourself some time, and evaluate how you feel before moving forward. Once you feel better, proceed to the next step. 

Select a Date for the Following NCLEX Exams

After reflecting on your emotions (and maybe crying hysterically on your pillow), take time to educate yourself on retaking the test. Keep in mind that you can take the NCLEX exams at least eight times per year with 45 days waiting period between attempts. So, all in all, there is hope for you. 

The National Council will send you a notice about the options for retaking the exams. If you want, check their website to find out the details in the re-application process for this. But, if by chance you feel lost, ask your school to assist you with the process. Of course, the council will also inform them that you failed the exams, so it is best to work with your school for this step. However, if you want to do it yourself, you can visit NCSBN.org for more information.

Your NCLEX Study Plan is Essential

After securing the date for retaking the exam, check how much time you have left to study for the NCLEX. Come up with a strategy so you can nail the exams this time. Check how you prepared in your first attempt; what did you do that helped you? See what study habit works best for you, and be clear about how you alter your approach in this next attempt. Be sure to have a proper amount of study time too. You can also use the NCLEX Candidate Performance Result or CPR to determine which areas you need to focus more on. It will also help as your study guide since you already know which topics you are weakest at and those that are not.

Study Plans, Study Plans

Creating a study plan and calendar is helpful. Writing down the details and activities in this calendar will give you timeframes as well. Find the focus of your study and dive deep into the areas you are not confident in. Be sure to include test strategies and practice questions as well. Include at least five days for studying with two days for rest. Keep your study hours to not more than 6 hours a day. Make sure to have breaks in between for 45 to 60 minutes. However, you create your study plan, be concrete on following through with them until you are ready for the exams. 

Go and Retake the Exams

As you enter your test room, relax. Have confidence in yourself. You already know the dynamics of the exams; you studied and prepared for it, so you got this. Don’t think of the failure you did, do not dwell in the past. Focus on how you tackle the test questions and apply the strategies that you learned. Be mindful of your pace, and always understand each question before answering. Do not rush or panic. Take it easy, pray, and do your best! 

So what if you failed the NCLEX exams

Failing an important exam such as NCLEX can be heartbreaking, but do not panic. You have all the options and time to get it right. But this does not mean you should fail every time you try! So you failed; we have done this one way or another. It is not an excuse, but it is not a reason not to keep trying either. You have all the access you need to pass the exams, use them wisely, study well, and most of all, keep trying! Passing the NCLEX is within your reach, so don’t ever give up! We hope that this post sheds light on your path, good luck!