4 Tips to Do the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

4 Tips to Do the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

4 Tips to Do the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

Your NCLEX exams are scheduled for tomorrow; what should you do? Here are four tips to do on the night before your NCLEX exams. 

Helpful Tips to Remember the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

Congratulations! You are a few tests away from becoming registered healthcare professional. I am proud of your hard work and dedication to finally take the NCLEX exams that will determine your fate as an actual nurse. 

Before you take the examinations tomorrow, remember these tips and apply them where you see fit. What should you do on the night before your NCLEX exams? Here are helpful reminders:

1. Be as ready as you can. 

Cramming at the last minute is not the way to go. During this time, you should be relaxing. Reading your notes for the last time is not going to help you. 

Remember, you already studied for these exams months beforehand, so you must feel confident that you can answer your tests to the best of your abilities. 

Instead of cramming, get enough sleep. You can also review your test instructions, ensure that you have the correct number for your testing room and that all the documents you need for the examination are filed, double-checked, and ready for you tomorrow. 

  • Be sure to set the alarm clock a few hours before the exams. Check your car’s gas and if you have enough to drive yourself to the testing center. 
  • Check your car’s tires, and ensure they are not flat or have issues. You do not want to be late for the exams because of car trouble or miss it because of these issues. 
  • If you don’t have a car, ask someone ahead to drive you to your testing site. You can also book a transportation service if this is a better option.

If you want to take a quick look at all the materials you have been studying, do them at least 48 hours before the exams. It is not advisable to review the night before your exams. It will only make you anxious. Instead, try to relax and go to sleep early.

2. Remind yourself that it is normal to be tense.

Perhaps you have been thinking about many things tonight. Well, if you are – STOP. You will only get yourself worked up and might trigger your anxiety. 

What you can do is practice breathing. If you feel anxious about tomorrow’s exams, pause, take a deep breath, and exhale. Do this as often as you can until you feel better. 

Remind yourself that it is common to feel the jitters the night before the NCLEX exams. After all, this is an important test to take. The tension you feel right now is normal. 

Try to relax; take a nice hot bath, light up some scented candles or diffuse oils. Stressing about the exams tomorrow will not help. You might as well enjoy this time. 

3.  Treat yourself; you deserve it!

The night before you take the exams, eat a good meal. Consider it as your reward. You have been preparing for this moment for many months. Treating yourself to a night dinner is the reward you deserve for all the hard work. 

If you don’t want to eat dinner, get something you have been depriving yourself of for months. Whatever treat you give yourself, reflect on your efforts to get this far. 

NCLEX is not an easy exam; treating yourself is one way to boost your self-confidence and encourage you to do well on your exams tomorrow!

4. Get plenty of sleep.

Once you have eaten, prepared your documents, taken a nice shower, and prepared your clothes for tomorrow, you can go to bed. Say your prayers (if you’re religious of course) and go to sleep early. Don’t stay up late. It will mess with your body clock. You might also wake up late tomorrow, so avoid this. 

Turn off your social media, keep your phone silent, turn off notifications, and get to bed. Being ready for the exams means you must make sacrifices, even for a day. 

If sleeping early means you have to miss your favorite show or not reply to messages for a while, so be it! 

In Closing

Preparing the night before your NCLEX exams is essential. You must not overlook it and be complacent. If you are ready to answer the questions, be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

The opportunity to pass NCLEX on your first try is a blessing. You should also be ready for it as much as possible. I hope these tips helped you prepare for the exams, good luck!

5 NCLEX Myths That Are Holding You Back

5 NCLEX Myths That Are Holding You Back

5 NCLEX Myths That Are Holding You Back

Are you planning to take the NCLEX but there are NCLEX myths that are holding you back? If this is the case you are facing right now, this post will help debunk their reasons. Here are the most common NCLEX myths that you’ve probably heard of.

Myths About NCLEX

Myth 1. The length of the NCLEX exams matter.

Many test-takers believe that the more questions you answer, the more likely you are to pass the exams. However, this is not always the case. 

The NCLEX has a maximum of 265 questions [1], and if you get to answer them all, the myth says you’ve failed. On the contrary, reaching only around 75 questions means you’ve passed. 

While this may sound believable, NCLEX does not work that way. The length of the exams has nothing to do with you passing it. Instead, the length of your exam is based on how you are answering the questions. If you have answered correctly, the test presents you with more complex questions. The easier the questions means you have answered incorrectly. Your exam will only stop when the computer has determined your competency level. 

Myth 2. You have to be computer savvy to take the NCLEX.

Even if you don’t have computer skills, you can still take the exams. The test administrator will brief the test-takers on how they can answer the exams on the computer and work through a tutorial. In this tutorial, you are taught how to use the keys and record your answers.

Administrators will also teach you how you can answer test questions that do not require a multiple choice. So, don’t worry; the main thing you need to use during this exam is the space bar and cursor to highlight your answers and lock them. It will be a piece of cake!

Myth 3. NLCEX in other states is easier.

One of the many NCLEX myths that are holding you back is the idea that NCLEX examinations vary from state to state. In case you are planning to take this exam in a different state because it’s “easier”, stop right now!

It is not true though, keep in mind that this exam is a national exam. It means that the one you are taking is the same as other nursing students in other states. NCLEX is used nationwide, so it doesn’t matter where you take it. It is still the same exams wherever you choose to take it. 

Myth 4. The “select all that applies” answer shows that you are doing well in the examination. 

Among NCLEX myths, this one is probably my favorite. According to gossip, the more “select all that applies” or SATA choices given to you mean you are passing the exam. But are you, though? 

Again, this is not true as it could be subjective. Some may have ten SATA answers, while others may have more.  However, the best thing to do is focus on how you answer the examination and not on the types of questions you are getting. Do your best and answer all questions to the best of your ability. 

Myth 5. It will take a long time before you can reapply for an NCLEX exam.

Absolutely not; you have 45 days till you can apply for another NCLEX examination [2]. And this is enough time for you to study for the tests again. If you failed on your first try, the nursing board would send you a CPR or Candidate Performance Report. 

This report will show you which exam areas you should focus on more so you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes. It shows your strengths and weaknesses as well, which helps assess yourself. CPR also breaks down your performance and shows if you are above or below the passing competency level. 

Don’t Let the Myths Take You Down

Now that you know five of the NCLEX myths that are holding you back, go ahead and sign up for the examination. Don’t just believe the myths. Give it a try and see how you do. If you fail, do not worry, you can always try again. You just have to figure out if you are on the right track or not. We hope that our list helped you identify these myths so that you can take the next step towards your RN license, good luck! 

 

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