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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.