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!

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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.

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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.

 

From thoughts to written words: becoming a blogger

To be completely honest, I never thought I would be the blogging type. Sure, I’ve read my fair share of nursing blogs, but until recently, the thought of starting my own never even crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I was sitting with a friend, discussing my job, when I had that AHA moment. In just one month of working on a pediatric unit, I’ve gained such a love and appreciation for what I do. I’ve also gained the realization that 98% of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing. And while my friend and I were talking, I realized the majority of us baby nurses (and student nurses) have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

So why not revel in our confusion and fears together?

When you realize that so many others are experiencing the same feelings you are, and fighting same battles, it makes you realize you can too. So if I can (kind of, sort of) handle all of what comes with being a new nurse, I know that you can too.  Or, you can at least enjoy reading my interesting experiences and learning with me as I go.  Being a nurse is not all sunshine and rainbows, but this career does always manage to provide a good story. And I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I’m going to enjoy telling you them.