EP 169: The Misconceptions of Nursing With Theresa Brown

EP 169: The Misconceptions of Nursing With Theresa Brown

The Misconceptions of Nursing With Theresa Brown

Misconceptions of nursing – what are they? How can we help highlight these issues? Nursing is a profession that isn’t for everyone. But some excel greatly in this career. And while nursing is a remarkable career that provides essential services, there are still misconceptions about it. What are the misconceptions about nursing? How can we uplift nurses?

In this episode, we would like to introduce you to Theresa Brown. Theresa Brown is an author of the New York Times bestseller The Shift. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and taught English before flipping her career into nursing. She now holds lectures on issues related to nursing, healthcare, and the end of life. 

Her new book titled Healing is out now, where she tells a powerful story about navigating healthcare after a breast cancer diagnosis. 

QUESTIONS FOR GUESTS:

The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We go off-topic all the time so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas please let us know. Looking forward to our conversation!

  1. What made you shift focus from academia to pursue a career in nursing? What made you choose oncology, palliative, and hospice? 
  2. During your first year as an oncology nurse you experienced a sudden death of a patient, how did that make you feel and how did you process those emotions?
  3. Your book Critical Care is an account of your first year as a nurse, what was your biggest take away and how were you able to deal with the emotions and workload of a new nurse?
  4. How different was the reality of nursing compared to your expectations going in? 
    1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about nursing?
    2. What are the struggles you’ve noticed nurses faced?
  5. Going from nurse to patient, how was it navigating through a healthcare system that you’ve worked in?
    1. What were your first thoughts when you were diagnosed with cancer?
    2. How were you treated? Were physicians and other medical staff transparent and timely? Did you feel that you were getting the appropriate “help’?
    3. Do you feel that you were left in the dark or weren’t given the full picture of your situation?
  6. Being both a patient and a nurse, what would you like to change in healthcare or in nursing? Did healthcare fail you?

ENDING QUESTIONS:

Before we end the show we have one last question we like to ask all our guests. If you had the opportunity to have a Cup of coffee with anybody, dead or alive, who would it be & why? 

You can check out Theresa’s book Healing: When a Nurse Becomes a Patient at https://www.theresabrownrn.com/Or stay in touch with her through Twitter @TheresaBrown for more information.

To understand more about the misconceptions about nursing, check out the full episode here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
01:42 What made you shift focus from academia to pursue a career in nursing?
04:55 What made you choose oncology, palliative care, and hospice?
07:34 The biggest takeaway as an oncology nurse
11:26 The struggles of nursing school
14:25 Tips for dealing with emotions after a patient’s death
23:05 Being a cancer patient
28:12 What patients really need from nurses
32:31 Realizations to improve healthcare
36:59 What would you like to change in healthcare or in nursing?
46:34 How does it feel to be out of leadership status?
50:25 Who do you want to have one last cup of coffee with?

 

 

How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses at Work

How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses at Work

How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses at Work

Covid-19 impacted nurses in the most brutal ways. Many nurses are exhausted, depressed, and in some cases, dying. While the pandemic is still on the rise, nurses suffer more than ever. But how did the pandemic change nursing? How can nurses get help? 

Covid-19 Impacted Nurses Psychologically and Physically

Caring for patients sick with Covid left many nurses not only exhausted physically but mentally as well.  As a result of this, many nurses are no longer functioning well at work. And when nurses cannot function properly, the quality of care delivered also decreases. Here’s how Covid-19 impacted nurses

Anxiety

Many nurses are facing pressure as they continue to care for sick patients. As the number of patients also increases, the levels of stress among nurses also rise. Because it’s not specific as to when the pandemic ends, many nurses anticipate the worse. That said, many of them have developed anxiety. 

Depression

Taking care of sick patients along with the dying ones caused some nurses to develop depression. Added to the high stress that they face every day at work, it’s not surprising to see nurses develop feelings of depression and anxiety. This depression also caused nurses to be less adaptable to the changes in their environment. It also makes them less susceptible to the needs of their patients. 

Burnout

Burnout is the most common psychological phenomenon among nurses characterized by an emotional, mental and physical decline in energy. It is often caused by work-related stress, leading to cynicism towards colleagues and low self-efficacy. Many nurses feel the burnout of their job due to long hours of work and less time for rest. 

Physical Exhaustion

Anxiety, depression, and burning out are not the only problems nurses face but the physical exhaustion from their day-to-day jobs. It’s a nurse’s job to check on patients and always be on their feet, moving. With longer working hours, nurses barely get the rest they need to de-stress.

Vacation days are also kept short because of the shortage of nursing staff and the new Covid variant that’s been on the rise. As a result, nurses are drained of energy, stressed, and physically exhausted as they care for Covid-19 patients. 

How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses with Stress

Nurses deal with stress differently. Some can still function well at work while others can’t. In this pandemic, it’s hard to tell who is anxious and depressed among our nurses. However, while many nurses don’t verbalize how they feel, there are still signs that they are under extreme stress. [1]

  1. Nurses are slow to respond during crises or emergencies. 
  2. They have difficulty concentrating and managing time. 
  3. Nurses often make errors while charting or giving medications. 
  4. They show signs of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and depersonalization. 
  5. They have poor interpersonal skills and prefer working alone. 
  6. Nurses who are anxious and stressed are known to have a short fuse. 
  7. They are known to be quick to anger towards colleagues, their families, and even patients. 
  8. Nurses perform poorly with simple tasks like calculating doses or care mapping. 

How Can Nurses Deal with Anxiety?

The Covid-19 impacted nurses’ mental health in waves. As the pandemic continued, many nurses developed anxieties. Having anxiety can be crippling, and if you are a nurse, it’s a significant hindrance in your job. So, how can nurses like you deal with stress? Here’s what you can do:

1. Being aware of your condition 

Identifying that you have anxiety is the first step in managing it. Understanding that having anxiety does not impact your value as a person and as a nurse helps encourage you to seek the support you need. 

2. Ask for Help 

When you have anxiety, asking for help seems like an impossible thing to do. In some cases, nurses will choose to ask for help in situations that are too stressful. Others will inform close people that they are dealing with anxiety and depression. Regardless of how you want to ask for help, reaching out to your peers or mentors will help you get the support you need. 

3. Get enough rest

Nurses work long shifts every week. Dealing with different people, sick patients, and working with other healthcare professionals can be exhausting at the end of the day. Getting enough sleep, exercise, eating, and having space to de-stress is crucial for your well-being. It will also help you get back on your feet so you can help others again.

4. Seek professional help

If getting enough sleep, exercising, and relaxation doesn’t help ease your anxieties, it’s time to seek professional help. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors can help manage your depression and anxiety. They will teach you coping techniques and help empower nurses like you to manage their mental health and minimize its effects on your work. 

How Can Nurses Get Support from their Workplace

Nurses must get the support their needs regarding mental health at work. The nurse administrator’s job is to provide help, guidance and mentor nurses suffering from burnout during the pandemic [2]. Other ways they can help nurses are as follows:

1. Educating staff/team 

One of the best ways to support nurses suffering from anxiety and depression is by educating their team or staff. New and veteran nurses that are suffering from mental health issues may experience isolation among their peers. It is why it’s essential to help educate staff members about mental health and that talking about it is not a sign of weakness or insignificance. 

2. Provide support systems

A reliable support system in terms of mental health is vital to nurses. Leaders at work should help motivate and encourage nurses. Providing space for them to talk about their feelings about mental health is also a good idea. It will help them realize that they are not alone and their feelings are valid. 

3. Campaigning for self-care

As nurses, it’s easy to get lost in work and focus on the goals of taking care of people. However, when it comes to mental health, nurses are encouraged to take care of themselves first. Think about it, how can nurses take care of others if they don’t care for themselves? Nurse leaders must set an example on balancing work and personal care by allowing them to catch the much-needed breaks. 

4. Give access to resources

One of the best ways to help nurses suffering from anxiety and depression is to access internal and external behavioral health resources. Crisis hotlines, mental health counselors, or mental health screening must be readily available for them. Nurse leaders should be alert on giving access to their staff so they can get help early on. 

Nurses Are Still Going to Work, But They Need Help

The Covid-19 impacted nurses like an iceberg. No one knew how big and wide the pandemic was going to be until it reached countries around the world. Being a nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenging position to be.

There’s no denying that many nurses are tired, physically and mentally. But because they need to keep going, many nurses suppress their own emotions for fear of being stigmatized.

However, this is not going to benefit them at all. It is up to nurse leaders and managers to reduce this stigma surrounding mental health and make their nursing staff feel supported during these trying times. 

 

Men Talk: The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

Men Talk: The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels 

In this episode, we will talk about the decline of serum testosterone levels among young Adult Men in the USA. Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a vital role in the body. It regulates the sex drive, bone mass, and fat distribution.

In addition to that, testosterone is responsible for muscle mass and strength. It is also in charge of sperm production and red blood cells. And small circulating testosterone is converted by the body to estradiol, a form of estrogen.

Mammals have >95% of T fused by Leydig’s cells of the testes and are regulated through the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis.

The adrenal glands also produce testosterone but in small amounts. However, the amount produced depends on gender. So, it means different areas have different amounts.

A Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels in Men

A study from 1999 to 2016 showed that the testosterone levels in young adult men and adolescent males with an average body mass index resulted in a decline, as presented in the 2020 American Urological Association Virtual Experience

The reason for this decline in testosterone level is attributed to age. It means that the decrease in these levels is time-dependent. However, the overall reduction in testosterone levels is caused by multiple etiologies. 

Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) dating from 1999 to 2016 to analyze serum testosterone level changes in 40-45 AYA males. 

This study found a few factors affecting the decline of serum testosterone levels. These are as follows:

  • Age
  • Race
  • BMI
  • Comorbidity status
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Physical activity levels

Here are acceptable testosterone levels for men by age group

  • Early Teens: Between 12 to 13 years old, a person should have 7-800 ng/dL. But by 15 to 16 years old, the ng/dL should be 100-1,200.
  • Late Teens: Anyone between 17 to 18 years old have normal testosterone levels between 300 and 1,200 ng/dL.
  • Adults: An adult (19 years and older) should have anywhere between 240 and 950 ng/dL.

Mean Total Testosterone Decrease: 

  • 1999-2000 (605.39 ng/dL)
  • 2003-2004 (567.44 ng/dL)
  • 2011-2012 (424.96 ng/dL)
  • 2013-2014 (431.76 ng/dL)
  • 2015-2016 (451.22 ng/dL)

An increased BMI is associated with decreased total testosterone levels (P < .0001), with the mean BMI increasing from 25.83 in 1999-2000 to 27.96 in 2015-2016 (P = 0.0006). 

It was noted that even men with an average BMI of 18.5-24.9 had declining total testosterone levels of P < .05 during the same time frames.

Limitations of the Study

The study was a cross-sectional study design, a type of observational study. It is self-reported activity leading to potential bias and testosterone levels are only measured once. However, there were no results given on the participant’s symptoms. It is also the most extensive study of its kind.

Potential Causes Of Decline of Serum Testosterone

  • Increased Obesity/BMI
  • Diet/phytoestrogens 
  • Declined physical activity
  • Fat percentage
  • Marijuana use 
  • Environmental toxins

Increased Obesity/BMI

People with moderate obesity have decreased total testosterone. This decrease could be due to insulin resistance that is associated with reductions in sex hormone-binding globulin. Severe obesity connects with reductions in free testosterone levels.
 
Researchers believe it is due to a suppressed hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. Obesity also affects iron metabolism and overactivity. It can further contribute to low circulating total T levels.

Diet

A small study conducted in 2016 investigated the dietary patterns associated with serum total T levels and their predictive effect on hypogonadism (low sex drive) and body composition.

Anthropometry, blood biochemistry, and food frequency questionnaires were collected for 125 adult men [1].

People whose diet is mainly composed of bread, pastries, and dairy products and those who rarely eat homemade food or dark green vegetables are most likely at risk for unhealthy body composition.

When the body composition suffers, it can increase visceral fat and decrease skeletal muscle mass. This result can also lead to lower serum total T levels.

How do endocrine disruptors affect the body?

When absorbed in the body, an endocrine disruptor can decrease or increase normal hormone levels, mimic the body’s natural hormones, or alter the natural production of hormones.

Examples: BPA, PFAS, Phytoestrogens, Phthalates, Triclosan &, etc.

Stress Levels Contributes to Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

Stress can raise your cortisol, which is a hormone that can lower your testosterone once elevated. Reducing stress also reduces testosterone production. So if you want to reduce stress, you must get enough sleep and live a more balanced lifestyle. Exercising also helps and so does proper nutrition in your diet. 

Doing Physical Activity

A 2016 study of men with obesity found that regular exercise increased T levels than even losing weight. 41 overweight and obese men completed a 12-week lifestyle modification program (aerobic exercise training and calorie restriction).

They measured serum testosterone levels, the number of steps, and the total energy intake [2]. The best exercises to increase T levels are resistance and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 

One study in men found that interval training helps in boosting T levels. The training consists of 90 seconds of intense treadmill running interspersed with 90 seconds recovery periods.

Results show a significant increase in T levels compared to running on the treadmill for 45 minutes straight [3]. So, to rise the T levels in your body, you must do intense exercises for half an hour or so. Running on the treadmill helps but it might slow down your T-level production. 

Doing cardio has no evidence that it can impact your T-levels, no matter the gender. However, too much cardio may lower your T-levels. 

Can Marijuana Cause a Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels?

A study from 2020 using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2011-2016 had some interesting outcomes. They have studied men who are regular marijuana users and how it had impacted their testosterone levels.

This study had identified all men 18 years old and above who answered the substance use questionnaire and underwent laboratory testing for T levels.

In addition to that, regular THC users were defined as those who use THC at least once per month, every month for at least a year. Does this mean marijuana helps increase the T levels? 

Among 5,146 men who met inclusion, 3,027 endorsed using THC at least once in their lives (ever-user). Nearly half of the THC ever-users (49.3%) were regular THC users.

THC use is associated with small increases in testosterone. This means that the rise in T appears to decline as THC use increases. However, T is still higher with any amount of regular use when compared to T in non-users.

Furthermore, this increase was represented by an inverse U-shaped trend with Regular THC users using two-three times per month. It demonstrates the most significant increase in T (+ 66.77 ng/dL) over non-users [4].

Men who smoke it regularly are twice as likely to have sperm with abnormal shape and size. According to one study, males who smoke marijuana at least once a week experienced a reduced sperm count.

Conclusion: 

What you believe you believe is what you become. If you think you’ll lose intelligence by basking in the sun, you probably will. The hippocampus is 90% affected by what you believe and your confidence, in my case, at least.

If you believe that you’re smarter than Einstein, your neurons will fire corresponding signals, and you’ll be seriously reading and studying. It’s all about self-discipline and determination. 

To watch the full episode of Ep. 94, check out our latest by clicking here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:52 Plugs
02:11 Episode Introduction
04:02 What is testosterone?
06:00 The fun and exciting time of puberty
07:47 The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels
11:01 The acceptable testosterone levels for men by age group
13:17 Testosterone decreased by 150 points
15:34 Potential cause of testosterone decrease
15:57 1. Obesity
18:39 2. Diet
20:48 3. Environmental Toxins
22:21 4. Stress
23:19 5. Physical Activity
25:26 6. Marijuana use
29:13 Conclusion
31:54 Wrapping up the episode

EP 156: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome With Crystal Grant

EP 156: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome With Crystal Grant

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you are never good enough or good at something? Did you ever feel like you are not doing as much as others thought you to be? If you feel like a fraud or do not belong anywhere, you might be suffering from Imposter Syndrome. 

No matter your social status, race, background, skill, level of expertise are, anyone can suffer from this. We must arm ourselves with knowledge and educate others to help those who are struggling with impostor syndrome. 

Overcome Imposter Syndrome

But what is imposter syndrome anyway? How do you know if you are suffering from one? In this new episode, we would like to introduce our guest, Crystal Grant. She is a CRNA, CEO of Superscript Wellness, and author of several books. 

Crystal has also worked in the healthcare system for over 20 years and now coaches nurses and CRNAs about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it. 

She currently has a new book coming out called A CRNA’S Guide to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Besides working with nurses and CRNAs, she also has her line of Vitamin gummies. 

So, sit back, relax and enjoy another great episode with your favorite Cup of Nurses! 

QUESTIONS FOR OUR GUEST:

  1. Can you give some background about yourself and how you got to the position you are in today?
  2. How was life growing up? What were some of your goals in life? How have they varied over the years?
    – When we finished nursing school we were making a decent amount of money, we came out with minimal loans and we were making more money than a lot of our friends. When we looked back at where we were at the age of 21/22 compared to a lot of other people it felt like night and day. It still feels that way to this day.
  3. What is Imposter Syndrome? Do you think it comes with success?
    – Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
  4. With many psychological issues like depression and anxiety, is there a genetic predisposition to imposter syndrome? Or is there something that happens in childhood that makes people more susceptible to imposter syndrome?
  5. With the age of neuroplasticity, we can almost reprogram our brain to react differently. How can we use the concept of neuroplasticity to help us with imposter syndrome or other negative thinking?
    – Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. 
  6. We are holistic beings which means how we feel physically affects us mentally and how we treat ourselves mentally reflects on us physically.
    – How important is physical health? The importance of nutrition, exercise, and supplementation. 
  7. What are some of the ingredients in the gummies you’ve created and what are the benefits of micronutrients? 

To watch the full episode about How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, click here and learn more 👇

 

You can also find Crystal on Instagram at @thecrystalgrant. Her book titled Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is currently available at thecrystalgrant.com. And to those interested to buy her vitamin gummies, check out superscriptwellness.com and walmart.com for more. 

TIMESTAMP:

00:00 Intro
00:47 Plugs
02:03 Episode Introduction
02:35 About Crystal
04:47 Can imposter syndrome be beneficial to someone who has it?
06:38 What happens to a person who has imposter syndrome?
09:32 Imposter Syndrome: The Perfectionist
11:28 How and when did Crystal know that she had imposter syndrome?
15:02 The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome
17:19 How does a person get imposter syndrome?
21:26 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome?
24:04 Neuroplasticity: Rewiring the brain
26:44 The best investment is in yourself.
32:53 Mindfulness and meditation can help fight Imposter Syndrome.
35:27 The lack of self-belief
37:29 How did Crystal become an entrepreneur?
39:32 How to get into the supplement business?
42:58 Built for nursing, built for success.
47:32 Where to find Crystal?

 

 

6 Study Habits of Successful Nursing Students

6 Study Habits of Successful Nursing Students

6 Study Habits of Successful Nursing Students

Becoming a successful nursing student does not happen overnight. It takes time, practice, and of course, dedication. To become a successful nursing student, you must have discipline and apply it every day.

Be a Successful Nursing Student

Do you want to graduate on time? Of course, you do! Do you aim to be one of the best nurses in the field? If you answered yes, you must start developing good habits early on in nursing school.  Here are the habits of successful nursing students. 

Time management is the key.

One of the most crucial keys to passing nursing school with ease is to manage your time efficiently. Whether you are working on your BSN, MSN, or ADN, you must know how to balance time and make it work. To do this, you must break your day into blocks and decide what activity or school work fits where.. Know how much time you need for each activity so that you can manage your time more closely and allow for non-nursing-related things.

Your schoolwork takes most of your time; tests, exams, papers, assignments, reports, clinical – all of these require a lot of dedicated time. The best action to take is to plan around your study hours and remove anything that could block or affect your focus and time to study. 

Study smarter, not harder. 

Some people can miss a lecture and still ace an exam, but in nursing school, you must focus on each topic and understand how it is applied in the healthcare setting. Keep in mind that nursing exams are not always A or B, it may seem as if there are multiple correct answers but always think about the priority.  Plus, some questions can even be selected all that apply. 

When studying it is good to memorize content but also understand its function and learn how it pertains to a certain situation. Think of nursing as cause and effect, if one thing happens how does it affect the rest? 

Now don’t get frustrated with the exams if you don’t always pass them. When you find yourself in a tough situation always remember to change or add a study method to study more effectively. . How can you do it? 

For one, You have to know which subjects give you the hardest time or what areas take you the longest to learn. Don’t just study the same material for hours; instead, divide them. Let’s say you have allotted four hours of studying.

You can separate each hour into one subject that way you can study multiple areas and it may help you understand how each concept affects another. . It will be a lot easier for you to understand the topic. 

Avoid having distractions. Stay away from things that are not part of your studies. Turn off your phone for a few hours or put it on silent mode. This way you won’t get distracted by a text or social media.

Review your notes before you go to class. See if you have retained anything from the last lecture. Try practice tests too, this will help sharpen your test-taking skills and help you remember questions when you take the actual exam. 

Lastly, give yourself enough time to study. As a student, you must learn how to estimate the time it takes to understand a topic, finish a report, or complete an assignment. It will also help you open up room for some free time. 

Keep your focus.

Back in the day, social media and smartphones were not a thing, so they didn’t keep us distracted. When it’s time to study, you need to have your full attention on your notes and textbooks. Unfortunately studying rarely comes without any distractions.

While technology is helpful in many ways, it is also the source of major distraction. It is so easy to get off-track and be distracted by a text or social media, before you know it you’ve spent the 30 minutes on your phone. 

Turn your focus back to what you are doing. Eliminate distractions by organizing your space. Turn off your phone or tv when you are studying. When you stay focused, you can finish quicker and have more time to do other things you want to do. 

Join a study team.

Another good tip on how to study better is to join a group that you can learn with [1]. You can also find a study partner if you prefer a one-on-one study buddy. One advantage of studying with a group is listening to different perspectives while discussing a subject or topic. 

Learning how other people think and apply their knowledge helps you develop critical thinking and test-taking skills. Remember, critical thinking skills are developed in nursing school and are key to a nurse’s success. It will help you when it comes to taking exams and answering different types of questions. Joining a study group or team can help you with a lot of your struggles. 

Develop a study strategy.

Be honest with yourself; do you prefer studying with others or by yourself? One of the good habits of a successful nursing student is to not only know how you like to study but also what time of the day you learn best.

Do you like staying up late? or do you prefer studying early in the morning? The truth is there is no correct time to review; it is all about personal preferences! 

To be successful with your study habits, create a calendar to determine the hours of studying. If you do not plan your time, it’s easy to get sidetracked because the majority of things take longer than expected.

The best plan to have is to block out study time during your most productive hours, this way you are setting yourself up for success.

Reward yourself, as you should.

I’m not going to lie; nursing school is hard work. I have been there, and I know how it goes! So when you have done everything you needed, reward yourself [2]. Get ice cream or a froyo. Buy those shoes you have been eyeing for a while – in short, you deserve a reward for studying long hours and for keeping yourself from distractions. Get into the habit of doing something nice for yourself after all that stress. You deserve it!

You Can Do It

Yes, nursing school is not an easy path, but if others made it, so can you! You can do it, you too can become a full-fledged nurse, but to be one of the best, you must start early. Developing these habits of a successful nursing student will guide you through, not only a nursing school but through life. Start planning your way up to the top today; good luck!