If Disney Princesses were nurses…

Maybe it’s because I work in pediatrics, or because I wish I was one, but I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Disney princesses lately. This got me to wondering, if the princesses worked in the healthcare field as nurses, which kind of nurses would they be? Here’s a peek at where I think they would be working…

Cinderella: The ICU Nurse

Image result for cinderella gif

Cinderella’s precise and methodical cleaning would make her the perfect ICU nurse. She would be the first one to make sure her drips are titrated to perfection, and that every line and wire has its place. You would never have to worry about any sort of tangles or figuring out what something leads to with Cinderella as your nurse.

 

Snow White: The school nurse

Image result for snow white gif

Snow White’s ability to care for so many little men in one house is the perfect prerequisite for being a school nurse. She’s always there to give you a bandaid to sing a song when you aren’t feeling well and waiting for your mom to pick you up. She also knows the importance of healthy eating, but you can bet she isn’t keeping any apples in her office.

 

Belle: The Nurse Researcher

Image result for belle gif

Belle’s nose is always in a book…or some sort of peer reviewed journal. She’s the perfect person to be researching the latest in the nursing world and letting others know her findings. You can count on her for thoroughly researched studies, since she’s probably read every article ever published on that subject. You’ll always have the most up to date evidence based practice with her around.

Rapunzel: The Pediatric Nurse

Image result for rapunzel gif

Rapunzel’s love of fun and painting on walls would help her fit right in with the kiddos in pediatrics! She has a wild imagination and so much creativity and would be the kind of nurse to turn every assessment and procedure into some sort of game. Kids will also love her for her hair…it would be so much fun to play with!

Tiana: The Charge Nurse

Image result for tiana gif

Tiana’s no nonsense attitude and drive to succeed would make her the best leader for your unit. She’s always there to lend a hand and help you out, but she has enough sass and strength to turn down that admission that really doesn’t belong on the floor. She knows what it’s like to run a hectic business, so you can bet you’ll always get a fair assignment too.

Mulan: The Trauma Nurse

Image result for mulan gif

Mulan fought in a war and saved all of China and still managed to be levelheaded. She’s the badass you definitely want working next to you in the ER during a trauma. Mulan will be quick thinking to save someone’s life, and she definitely won’t be putting up with any of the crazy and bizarre things that walk into her emergency room, and you know she won’t be fazed by anyone yelling that they’ve been waiting too long.

 

Have any specialities you think a princess would belong in? Comment below and let me know!

Advertisements

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve learned in my first year of nursing

IMG_2110.JPG     You never really know how quickly time passes until you’re sitting down to get your one year evaluation. It really seems like 5 seconds ago I was accepting a job offer as a new grad nurse, and here I am now. I still have so far to go in terms of experience, but I have learned an insane amount in this past year. Although it was extremely tough to narrow it down, here are the top 10 things I’ve learned in my first year as a registered nurse.

  1. It’s okay to not be perfect. There are so many aspects of nursing, from the bedside patient care to communication and time management. It would take over a lifetime to manage to handle all of these, every shift, absolutely perfect. And that’s just not realistic. If you can put your patients’ and your safety and health first, you’re already ahead of the game.
  2. Remember to take care of yourself. As nurses, we immediately put the needs of others ahead of ours. This often leads to compassion fatigue, burnout, stress, and just making yourself sick. On your days off, make sure to practice self-care! Do things that you love and that relax you so you come back to work feeling refreshed. My personal favorites at the moment? Playing with my puppy, taking barre classes, practicing yoga, and lots of face masks!
  3. Ask for help. Large patient loads with high acuity can make for a lot of craziness. Work as a team with your coworkers to help you get through the craziest of shifts.  Don’t be afraid to ask them for help! Nothing feels better than knowing that you have your fellow nurses to help insert an IV in an infant with you, or stand by yourself during a critical situation.
  4. Drink water. I know this one sounds so silly, but think about how many jokes there are about nurses not drinking any water or going 12 hours without peeing. You know how important these simple tasks are for your health, so make sure to do them. Practice what you preach to your patients.
  5. Figure out what organizational system works for you. Everyone’s brain works differently, which means everyone manages their patient care differently. Even if I remember everything I was told in report, you can guarantee I’m going to write down all of my patient care. My report sheets always have medication times, diets, critical labs, and any other pertinent information I may need during my shift. When I’m not on the floor, I use my planner to write all of my important work events, like staff meetings. They call these things brain sheets for a reason!
  6. Don’t forget why you chose this profession. There are going to be tough shifts. There are going to be days when you feel like you aren’t enough, or you just want to go in your car and cry. It’s happened to me quite a few times this year. But I always think back to why I chose to be a nurse- to help others. So even if a day doesn’t go my way,I know there’s purpose to me working and to push through. After all, every bad day is always followed by a better one.
  7. Fake it ’til you make it. Confidence in nursing takes quite a bit of time to gain. Your patients, however, probably don’t want to know how nervous something makes you. Even if it’s your first time inserting an IV or catheterizing someone, you don’t have to tell them! Take a deep breathe, smile, and tell yourself you got this. You have all the skills already, and they will get better with time.
  8. Expect the unexpected. Absolutely anything can happen in a hospital! Even though I can’t expect what will happen, I always try to stay as prepared as possible. My scrub pockets are usually filled with all different supplies I may need- alcohol swabs, saline flushes, IV caps, gauze, tape, and lots and lots of pens. This way, I don’t have to go running out of a patient’s room when I need something immediately.
  9. Try to better your practice everyday. There are always new policies, procedures, equipment and research in your hospital. Keep up with all of these! By making sure you stay up to date with the latest information, you can provide the best care for your patients. And those journals management leaves around that we all ignore? Read them. You never know what you’ll learn.
  10. HAVE FUN! Nursing has so many ups and downs, but when push comes to shove, it’s really a fun profession. Enjoy joking with your coworkers, or singing songs with your patients. Appreciate all of the little things that make each day happier, and try to add a bit of sunshine into everything you do. You never know whose day you’ll make 🙂

Have anything else you think should be on my list? Comment below!

Here’s to the next 365 days of nursing!

From at bedside to in the bed: a nurse turned patient

As many of you know, I spent the majority of the month of March at sick. What I originally assumed to be food poisoning from an omelette at a breakfast, turned out to be an extremely nasty stomach virus. Within a matter of two days, I went from laying in my own bed to being admitted into the hospital closest to my home.

Being a patient in the hospital is such a different feeling than being the one taking care of patients. I’ve been in the hospital before, and experienced my fair share of medical care, but never as both a patient and a nurse.

I noticed the littlest things in the hospital, from the stress level of the unit PCA juggling 20 patients on her own, to the kindness of the paramedic who encouraged me while I drank three cups of CT contrast while nauseous (I don’t recommend this experience to anyone). I felt the true appreciation for my GI who allowed me to have clear liquids and gave me a cup of ginger ale, against the judgment of the internist who wanted to keep me NPO for days. And I felt the meaning of caring when a student nurse came in to check on me when no one else on the floor wanted to step in to my room.

I also noticed a lot of the nasty sides of healthcare and how much patients can be overlooked. I was severely dehydrated when I entered the ER (for those in medical, my CO2 was 13- fun stuff, right?). I was given bags upon bags of fluid, but at one point when my IV pump beeped, a nurse stopped it and walked away. I sat for 40 minutes trying to get my own nurse’s attention to restart the pump, but I was ignored. When my dad approached the nurses station to say something, he was told if he didn’t like the way they did things, he could leave.

Hearing a health professional say that out loud was like a slap in the face. I could never imagine speaking to a patient or a loved one that way. As nurses, we are taught to be caring, compassionate and understanding. Where was that compassion? Where was the family centered care we are supposed to emphasize? I was hoping once I left my 13 hour stay in ER and received individual care on the floor I would see it, but it sadly did not occur.  

It really didn’t help my case that I was admitted due to a virus that occurs in pediatric patients. Lesson for all: just because they say only kids can get something, doesn’t mean it’s true. But because of that, quite a few of the nurses did not know how to handle caring for me in my room. I know from my own personal experience that any sort of gastroenteritis receives contact isolation and all healthcare personnel wear a gown. So I have to say I was surprised (and a little scared) when my first nurse walked in wearing a respirator and full on isolation suit. “Was my diagnosis 10 times worse than what the doctor said? Are they hiding something from me? Why is he acting like I have ebola?” were the thoughts that began racing through my head as he told me to explain my virus to my family. It certainly didn’t ease my anxiety when he refused to come within a few feet of me to speak or give me medications. I was instructed to even stretch out my arm past the bed when it was time for my IV to be flushed.

I was lucky enough that the other nurses were a lot kinder and my stay wasn’t long, but as a nurse watching from the other side, it was not a good experience. After spending a month thinking about my hospitalization and reflecting on the experience, I’ve come up with a few things we all need to remember in every patient encounter

  1. Patients and their families are stressed, scared and vulnerable. Always be kind and keep them informed on every step of the plan of care.
  2. If you aren’t familiar with an admitting diagnosis, look it up! It’s better to be educated and enter a room with information (including patient education) so everyone has a better idea of what is going on. Asking a patient to explain their diagnosis to their family is NOT the way to do it.
  3. As much as I made fun of it in school, therapeutic touch is so important. It wasn’t until I experienced someone being afraid to touch me that I realized I would have appreciated a hand on my shoulder telling me I would be okay.
  4. Treat every patient and family as you would treat your own family member. If you were caring for your own family you would provide respect and kindness. You’ll give each patient the care they truly need.
  5. Remember that every small encounter and bit of comfort counts. You may not think it’s a big deal to provide someone with an extra pillow or a cup of juice, but to the person in the bed, it could mean the entire world to them. Appreciate all the little moments and victories with them.
  6. If there is a way you can help a patient alleviate their anxiety, do it! A positive healing environment is essential for healing, and you are the person who can truly provide that.
  7. Stay kind. Stay caring.

As much as I did not enjoy being a patient, I do think it was helpful for me to see the other side of things. I now keep all of these things in mind when caring for my kiddos and I work to give them 110% every shift so they feel calm, comfortable and safe with me.  Being a patient has absolutely turned me into a better nurse, so for that, I’m thankful.

P.S. how long does it take for an IV scar to go away? Asking for a friend.

New girl on night shift

I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve shared a new post. I guess time flies when you’re up all night! Being a night shift nurse has taken a while to get used to, but I have to say, I love it. Before starting on nights, I was one of those people who thought everyone just stays asleep and my shifts will be way easier. WOW was I wrong. It may be the middle of the night, but there is definitely not a lot of sleeping going on. In fact, sometimes it feels like the fun really starts when the rest of the world is going to bed.

So what exactly do I love about night shift?

1. The teamwork: there’s a limited staff at night, since most physicians and healthcare workers go home. that leaves you to rely on your coworkers for any assistance. I’ve created great relationships with the other nurses and pcas on my floor, so I know that someone always has my back when I’m in a bind or getting slammed with work.

2. The atmosphere: there’s a lot less hustle and visitors at night, leaving a more relaxed atmosphere. not only is it a great healing environment for my patients, but i feel more at ease myself, which leads to clear thinking and decision making.

3. The patient interactions: during the day, it can be difficult to spend a lot of time with your patients when they’re on and off the unit for surgery and diagnostic testing. at night, they get to spend their time hanging out with us! i’ve truly gotten to get to know and bond with my patients at night, which has helped me provide whatever they might need or want to feel better (whether it be a coloring book or a hug). I’ve been able to spend my nights making friendship bracelets with 12 year olds and cuddling infants, and there’s no better experience than that.

4. The skills practice: since moving to night shift, I’ve really been able to practice a lot of my nursing skills. My hospital does not have pediatric phlebotomists, so the nurses often have to do labs themselves. I was super nervous at first, but I now definitely feel more confident around tourniquets and tubes. I guess you could say I float like a butterfly (needle) when it comes to lab work. I’ve also been able to really work on my assessment skills, since I am often the first person to see the patient on the floor upon admission and it could be hours until the doctors examine them. Pediatric conditions change so quickly, so I’m learning how to notice the subtle changes in my kids.

5. The coffee: the night shift nurses are known for making the best coffee in the hospital

6. The fun: there’s just something fun running around when you know everyone is asleep! But it could be because I dance around the halls whenever I get the chance…

There’s still so much to learn and so much to get used to, like my sleeping schedule, but I’m getting better every day! I never thought I would enjoy the night life as much as I do, but I’m so happy I’ve surprised myself. I’m about to get back into bed since I work tonight, but comment and let me know what you love about your job!

18 Nurse Resolutions for 2018

A new year brings lists of things and goals we hope to accomplish within the next year. Whether it’s losing weight, cleaning our house more, or gossiping less, let’s be real- most of our resolutions are broken by February 1st.

For me, this new year brings a whole new set of resolutions. My new years resolutions have stopped revolving around nursing school and the life of a college student. No longer am I saying that I will stop Netflix bingeing when I should be studying, or that I will stop online shopping during lectures (I totally never did that, mom). But now as a full-fledged registered nurse, there are some “nurse resolutions” that I want to try to keep.

I hope that some of you will be making and keeping these resolutions with me!

In 2018, I resolve to:

  1. Keep a positive attitude, even when the unit gets hectic and crazy.
  2. Stay on top of my charting instead of scrambling to finish it before shift change.
  3. Attempt to keep hydrated during my shifts; drinking coffee doesn’t count.
  4. Make sure I’m truly listening to, and not just hearing, my patients and their families.
  5. Be patient, especially when the pharmacy or lab is taking a long time to send me what I need.
  6. Not flirt with and/or prank the residents (okay, maybe I’ve already broken this one).
  7. Exercise on my days off, so I can be strong for my patients.
  8. Appreciate everyone I work with in the hospital, from fellow nurses to environmental services.
  9. Ask questions or for help when I need it, instead of pretending I know how to do everything.
  10. Eat more veggies and less chocolate.
  11. Learn and practice care that makes me uncomfortable or nervous, like tracheostomies.
  12. Take every opportunity to improve on my IV insertion and phlebotomy skills.
  13. Try to learn something everyday that will improve patient care or nursing skills in my specialty.
  14. Be there when my patients and families really need a hug or a hand to hold.
  15. Not squirt saline flushes like they are water guns.
  16. Help my coworkers on the unit whenever I can, so we can truly work as a team.
  17. Spend my time off doing things I love, whether it’s learning a new hobby or being with my family.
  18. Truly appreciate every patient experience, as they are what keep me in love with my career.

 

Have a great 2018!

Holidays at the Hospital

The holidays are one of the best, most exciting, and most stressful times of year. They’re filled with bright lights, presents, and tons of family time. Unless you’re spending your holidays in the hospital. Instead of the fun things, your days are filled with endless vital signs, blood work, and poor hospital food (sorry dietary, it’s true). Going into the holiday season, I quickly realized how much my heart hurt seeing kids that wouldn’t get to experience the holiday fun I was having outside of work.

So I decided to help make a difference.

Working with my amazing sorority sisters from college (shout-out to Alpha Xi Delta) to collect donations, our hospital was able to receive so many new toys and games for our kids! The feeling I got when I saw kids playing with and receiving their new toys was unreal. We may not be able to take the kids out for the holidays, but we can certainly bring the holidays to them!

25507693_10214976279981311_5335225107491345465_n.jpg

Days after our unit received the toys, the holiday season truly kicked into gear! Santa and his elf friends made visits to all of our patients (and brought treats for us nurses) to bring in some Christmas spirit. My holiday scrubs got to be used (peep the hanukkah scrubs in the picture) and I may have had a little too much fun dressing up. Our kiddos even woke up Christmas morning to presents, since Santa always makes a pit stop at the hospital.

We spent our days providing our usual patient care, but trying to add as much extra fun as possible. And it was these bits of extra fun that showed me how much of a difference it made in the mood of our kids and their families. Everyone should have a little joy during the holiday season, and I’m so glad my co-workers and I were able to provide this.

As the holiday season and the year is winding down, it’s the perfect time to reflect and remember all we have done this past year and what we want to accomplish in the next one. Although I’ll save my own resolutions and goals for another post, I do want to leave you with this: what can you do in 2018 to not only help yourself, but truly help the lives of others?

When you toast your champagne or look for someone at midnight to kiss, remember that. And remember the kids and families who will be doing their own apple cider toasts from their hospital rooms tonight.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to 2018.

3o Days of Being an RN: Check

Time really flies when you’re having fun- or when you’re working multiple 12 hour shifts per week. Between starting a new job, adjusting to a new schedule, and attempting to get a decent amount of sleep each night, this month has literally gone by so quickly. I didn’t even realize a month of work has passed until I saw in my planner that my work homework (yes, homework), was due today. How in the world did I already survive a month of work? 

The answer to that question, friends, is a lot of moral support, great coworkers, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Starting a new career is anxiety-producing, but walking into your first day in the hospital is absolutely terrifying. Because let me tell you, being a real actual nurse is 10000% different from anything you have ever seen in school or on TV.

Seriously, throw out every mental image you have of Carla from Scrubs, or the smiling nurses in the $300 textbooks sitting on your desk. It’s constant running, rushed conversations, and thousands of steps counted on my SmartWatch, but so far I really love what I’m doing. Because when it comes down to it, the craziness is what makes it feel so real.

I’m not going to lie and say that everyday is perfect. Mixing a hard day of work with adjusting to nurse life has equated to me crying in the car, or doubting if I was going to actually be a good nurse who knows what she’s doing. And even though I may not know what I’m doing, a month of working has taught me some things.

Here’s a few things I know after working for a month as a pediatric RN

  1. Coffee is truly my best friend.
  2. You didn’t actually make your patient feel better until they’ve gotten their stickers
  3. Wearing cartoon scrubs in public gets you a lot of weird looks.
  4. I can fit inside of the transport red wagons we use for the children.
  5. A screaming toddler is honestly stronger than the Hulk.
  6. You can (and will) break your nails and ruin your manicure while opening an antibiotic. Consider this a future apology to my nail technician, who is supposed to see me in a few days.
  7. It feels incredible when you finally take your compression socks off at the end of a long shift.
  8. Your coworkers are both your friends and literal lifesavers.
  9. There is no better feeling than a patient or family member hugging you and thanking you for your help.
  10. Pediatrics is exactly where I am meant to be.

Things that I don’t know? Everything else.

But here’s to month two and a lot more learning.