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Kate_Peds's Latest Activity

  1. Kate_Peds

    Ready to tackle MSN-but want the easy way

    I will chime in. Perhaps you should think about your passion in nursing. Is it truly in the leadership program? No quality graduate program is going to hand you a degree after collecting your tuition (although, there are less desirable programs that do just that). If you choose an emphasis that you are truly passionate and excited about, something that you feel is a personal strength, you will find it "easy" to put in the hard work and make the sacrifices necessary to earn that well-deserved degree. As far as making your graduate school life easier, consider these tips: - Choose a public university (if you can): your tuition will be much cheaper than those high cost, low quality, low workload schools (private for-profit). You don't want to stress about finances during school. Nor do you want to stress about whether or not your degree is coming from somewhere reputable. - Talk about it with your family: tell your family that you need their support. If you have children that are old enough, let them know that they will have to take more responsibility of their own chores. Let your partner/spouse know about your concerns or fears in starting grad school, and always try to clear time for your family. This will make your life a lot easier if you prepare everyone ahead of time. - Be reasonable about your current job: I'm not sure that leadership requires clinicals, but ask yourself if you're willing to cut hours to accommodate your school program. Again, prepare yourself ahead of time for this possibility. If you do have to cut hours you'll already be prepared, and because you chose a cost-effective program, you won't take as hard of a hit if you have to do this. The best way to have an easy time in graduate school is to choose a reputable program in an area that you love and set yourself up for success by eliminating stressors before they occur. I wish you the best of luck! You can do this!
  2. Kate_Peds

    When Nurses Use the "R" Word

    I remember my first day on the job. I was sitting in education classes at a well respected children's hospital in the city. I felt lucky. Not only did I get to work at an amazing place dedicated to helping children, but from the looks of it, I was also going to be working with some amazing people. As I looked around, I saw smiling faces, brilliant minds, friendly chatter. These people were great, these people were awesome! These people were--wait, what did that girl over there just say? Did she just say the word...retarded? I reflect back on this day often. Since hearing one of my fellow co-workers utter the word "retarded" in a derogatory way, I have come to realize that many nurses that I work with use this as an insult. It seemed as if I was hearing the word being used more often than ever before. Now, I am no fool. I know that people use this word in a negative way all the time, but working in a children's hospital (plenty of kids with developmental delays and disabilities) confused me more than ever. How could we be taking care of kids with delays and still allow a word like that to echo through the hallways--even in private? Where do we draw the line? Should nurses be expected to watch their language, even when not at work? Should they choose their words wisely even in a casual conversation with friends? Is the break room off limits for less than desirable talk? To me, the answer was already clear. I stand strongly against using the "R" word to shame others, regardless of who it is. It definitely hurt my heart to think of all the amazing patients I have, and to know that one day they might be called "retarded" by someone who doesn't understand the impact of such a word. It hurt me even more to think that that person could be a fellow nurse. Some might say that we live in a world that is becoming too "politically correct." That we should be able to say what we want without being criticized. That society has gone too far in policing what we should and shouldn't say. I see the word "retarded" lumped into a collection of words that seems to be in an endless tug-of-war in terms of usability. Should we make a big deal out of it? Should we just ignore it? Does limiting any word ever do any good? It's a time when lines appear blurry and limits seem unclear. Where exactly does the "R" word fall and how does it apply to nurses? It didn't take me long to realize that it doesn't matter whether or not you should be allowed to say a word or not. What matters is that everything you say will effect you and the perception of you as a professional. You may think that others cannot hear or see you use certain words, but you could be very wrong. I speak out now when I hear someone say the word "retarded." Sometimes I get the sarcastic eye roll and a half-hearted "sorry" from the offender. To me, that word isn't OK for anyone to use, nurse or not. I will gladly take the awkwardness if it means I can make someone think twice before they say that word. I must have assumed that nurses were in agreement not to use this word. Sadly, my own career has proven otherwise. So, is it political correctness run rampant, or just common courtesy? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
  3. Kate_Peds

    Love Nursing? Or Not? That is up to you.

    Well, first of all I agree with you that people rarely sell you on the "bad" side of nursing. I know that is difficult to realize. I think a lot of students go through a similar feeling, especially because you're being bounced around to every area of nursing and you may not know which one even appeals to you yet. If you decide it's not for you, just know that it's okay. There are a lot of career changers out there. It's okay to change your mind. I hope that whatever you end up doing, you love it! Best of luck to you.
  4. Kate_Peds

    Entitled Nurses

    We all know someone that we consider to be "entitled." They believe, and in many cases demand, special privileges that they have not worked to earn. Working with these people is a total drag. But... What if there are instances in which being "entitled" is actually a good thing? What if, dare I say it, nurses should feel entitled to some things? What might these things be? Yes, I've tricked you. This article is not going to be about annoying coworkers who think they are better than everyone else. It's going to be about nurses and what they are entitled to as working professionals. This article is going to challenge the "martyr" persona that nurses are expected to project. Here we go: 1. You Are Entitled to Your Lunch Break Yes! Believe it or not, much like other people, your body requires food in order to produce energy so that you can be effective in your job. Not only do you deserve to eat, but you also deserve to eat sitting down in a place that is specifically designed for eating. Things get busy, and if you do not get to take your lunch break, you should be compensated for working through it. I once had a co-worker who never notified the department of working through lunch. She believed that if she could at least scarf down a granola bar in some back corner of the unit then she did not need to be paid for the other 28 minutes of break that she missed. She let others know that she was not asking to be compensated for those minutes. This resulted in tension between nurses throughout the department. Why? Because some felt that they were expected to give up lunch breaks without pay. Others felt that they were made to look less "dedicated" by expecting to take a full break. 2. You Are Entitled to a Safe Assignment I had a mentor that worked in an ICU setting. One day they were severely understaffed and, as a result, she was assigned four patients. This is not okay. She was expected to take care of double the expected patient load in an intensive care area. This very competent, capable nurse was near her breaking point by the end of that shift. When she wasn't doing patient care, she was praying that two (or three...or four...) of her patients didn't go south at the same time. Look, we all get assignments that we don't like. Sometimes we get busy assignments (hey, that's life!). That is not the issue. The problem arises when the assignment is unsafe, or the ratio is a serious danger to the patients. As a nurse, you are putting your license on the line when you accept a dangerous assignment. You are entitled to a safe assignment. Workplaces need to be prepared to deal with understaffing. Remember, they take on the same obligation to keep patients safe. That should not depend on you turning into superman to make the impossible happen. They have a responsibility. 3. You Are Entitled to Respect One time I observed a physician throw a piece of equipment across the room because she was upset with the nurse. Nurses experience disrespect from all directions. A frustrated physician, an angry family member, an unhappy patient, fellow nurses--you name it, a nurse has experienced it. When someone disrespects you, your response should be professional and dignified, but that doesn't mean that you should have to accept such behavior regularly. Respond appropriately, but understand that you are entitled to work in an environment where objects will not be thrown, shouting will not tolerated, and other acts of disrespect will be dealt with by management. A workplace that allows nurses to be disrespected by their colleagues and patients is not treating them right. You are entitled to respect, just like everyone else. All of this seems like common sense, so why do nurses sometimes tolerate these things? The problem lies with the "martyr" mentality that nurses are expected to live by. You are expected to be selfless, kind, and giving, but you will be criticized if you demand appropriate working conditions or compensation. It's time that we challenge that idea. Nurses have families to provide for. Difficult assignments to navigate. Emotionally taxing work that must be done. You are a nurse and you are entitled to the basic things that are afforded to other working professionals. Do you think there are some things that nurses are entitled to? Share your thoughts!
  5. Kate_Peds

    Your First Nursing Resume

    Hey, AlleycatLady! I believe that it would be appropriate for a career changer to include transferable skills from previous employment. I have yet to edit the resume of a career changer, but some skills are universal and fit well on all resumes. Great point!
  6. Kate_Peds

    Your First Nursing Resume

    That is wonderful! Best of luck to you in the interview process!
  7. Kate_Peds

    Your First Nursing Resume

    Expert note-taker... Fierce clinical bag organizer... Religious consumer of Starbucks seasonal frappucinos... If you're like many of today's nursing school graduates, you have your own collection of unique skills that you've acquired during a grueling and challenging undergraduate nursing program. Unfortunately, these commendable qualities aren't resume worthy (ugh, and I thought 'fluent in every color of highlighter' was pretty impressive, too! How else are you supposed to break down a PICO question these days?) What does is take to write a high quality resume when you don't have any real-life nursing experience yet? I have edited many resumes for nursing students and almost nurses. Here are my top tips for a killer first resume: 1. Ditch Microsoft Word Resume Templates I still remember walking into my university's success center with my resume in hand. Needless to say, I was embarrassed when the volunteer immediately identified what I thought was a very professional looking resume as a popular Microsoft template he had already seen four times that day (I've since learned). There are a handful of Microsoft resume templates that everyone loves and everyone uses. Why should you avoid these very professional, polished resume templates? That's easy. If your resume looks like every other new graduate's resume, it's not going to stand out. What you should do instead If you're good with computers, you can easily create your own resume from scratch. Try finding inspiration by looking at resume examples online. Combine aspects from several resume templates rather than producing a carbon copy of a popular template. Another great option is to check out websites like Etsy. There are tons of customizable resumes that you can purchase as an instant download for just a couple of dollars. With so many to choose from, you can easily find a unique one for you (remember to look for professional templates, as a hot pink polka dot resume is cute, but unprofessional). 2. One Page Only A previous instructor of mine used to screen resumes for potential employees. His words? "If it had a staple, it went into the trash." This really stuck with me. I once edited a resume for a classmate that was four pages in length. Even a resume that extensive was able to be condensed into one page. Why do you want a one page resume? What if you can't edit it down to one page? Here's a truth bomb. You want a one page resume because it is professional. As a new graduate, you absolutely do not have enough critical experience that your resume must be more than one page. What you should do instead Your resume should be one full page. Nothing more, nothing less. Start by brainstorming all of the relevant things you believe should be on your resume. Eliminate anything before your undergraduate program. Fill the entire page to the bottom and use white space strategically. 3. Don't List Every Single Clinical Rotation As "Experience" This tip may be a bit controversial. The problem with listing every single clinical experience is that it's not particularly unique to you or your program. It's obvious that you attended clinical. Listing every single clinical makes your resume look like the "course description" page in your student manual, and I promise you, you have so much more to put on your resume than that. What you should do instead Instead of listing your generic clinical rotations, try adding something a little more unique to you. I'm talking about your clinical practicum. Where did you complete additional hours that many of your classmates did not? Did you land the coveted NICU practicum? Did you work your tail off and spend your extra hours in the ICU? Did you go all out and aim for a busy med-surg unit to perfect your time management? Put that on there. Practicum experience is the only clinical "rotation" that you should claim on your resume because it is additional specialty experience beyond the generic clinicals. 4. Don't Forget That You Already Have Valuable Material Many students struggle with their first resume because they feel that they don't have enough content to put on it. A lot of new grads don't know what to include or where to start. You may feel like your scrounging for content. You don't want to list your campus job at the bookstore on your professional nursing resume, but how else are you to fill it up? What you should do instead It's important not to forget that you have a lot of nursing related "things" to put on your resume. For example, are you BLS certified? Employers like to see that you hold the required certifications for the job and that they are current. Think back on previous classes, as many of them include certifications that you may not have even considered as resume worthy (SBIRT certification is a popular one). Other things you can include are memberships of nursing organizations, Sigma Theta Tau, nursing related awards, participation in research projects, and volunteer work related to healthcare. In addition to all of these, you can open your resume with an "objective" statement detailing your interest in a particular position. You can also fill dead space with a summary of skills. Maybe you had a practicum in L&D and you got really good at inserting IVs. List that as a skill. Maybe you participated in a motivational interviewing workshop and it's become a strength of yours. List it! If you think carefully, you will find a lot of great experiences to put on your resume. 5. Use the Right Words A lot of new grads don't know how to describe their experience in a way that appeals to future employers. Let's say you volunteer every year at the local drive through flu clinic event. There are a lot of ways you can describe this experience. Take a look at the two examples below: Drive Through Flu Clinic Volunteer, Dec. 2008-2010 Gave flu shots to people Took donations What you should do instead Drive Through Flu Clinic Volunteer, Dec. 2008-2010 Administered annual flu shots to the community Collected donations for providing seniors with free vaccinations Distributed reading materials and engaged event participants on the importance of vaccination There's not a whole lot of extra words in this second example, but it definitely gives the impression that you did more than just stand around and give vaccinations. Look at the language in both. Words like "gave" and "took" are not as appealing as "administered" and "collected." Notice how the second example includes more than just your physical actions. You advocated for people. You provided education for people. Those things are very important qualities in a nurse. Advertise those qualities in yourself! 6. Don't be intimidated by being new Writing your first nursing resume can be a stressful experience. You have accomplished great things by graduating nursing school, but trying to translate that into an effective resume can be challenging. You may feel frustrated and discouraged trying to create a resume in a competitive job market. You may even feel like your experience isn't good enough to apply for your dream job. What you should do instead Breathe. Remember, every nurse was new at some point. Employers know this. No employer is going to expect you, a new graduate, to waltz into their office with loads of experience. They will consider this when looking at your resume. When you show up to interview, be confident in the things you have included on your resume. Be excited about the job. Show that you are willing to put in the work. Smile. I hope that these tips help new grads or soon-to-be new grads create the perfect resume for their first nursing job. Congratulations on your achievements! Don't forget to showcase your worth in a resume that you'll be proud of.
  8. Kate_Peds

    Why Do Nurses Quit?

    I would encourage everyone to remember what it is like to be a new graduate. Hopefully that way the line of communication will remain open. The issue of new grads leaving is not just the topic of a popular gossip session, it's a very real problem. I think the best way to find out why new graduates are leaving is to communicate with them about their experiences. I commend Nurse Beth for asking those direct questions, and, as unpopular as the terms may be, saying what needs to be said. We can sit around with our eyes shut and our hands over our ears because we don't like a particular phrase, but in the end, if this is what new grads are saying is causing them to move on, we would be foolish to assume that syntax is the cause.
  9. Kate_Peds

    Why Do Nurses Quit?

    "If I took report and this was the situation you'd bet I would say something very directly to the nurse who was sooooo busy. We could debate this all day long I suppose but I still think it's a poor example of an unfriendly environment." I think openly and loudly humiliating someone and insinuating that a newer nurse, who is obviously going to be weaker in terms of time management, was "soooo" busy is part of the issue. Newer nurses are slower, they don't know all of the nuances of a unit quite yet, and when they are purposefully humiliated in front of everyone it can do enough damage that they feel targeted and move on to something else. The post is about why nurses quit, specifically new graduates. The quote was from a new graduate. You can't get any more authentic than that, whether it be your personal experience or not.
  10. Kate_Peds

    New LVN in desperate need of advice.

    2014PN, what you've just described is very concerning. I am concerned that your training seems sparse, but more importantly, it is worrying that your preceptor would tell you to knowingly conceal any mistakes that could harm a patient. I do not typically tell people to up and leave a job. We all need money. However, if all of these things are true, it appears that you are placing yourself at risk in this type of facility. I am so sorry that you experienced a medication error. I know that is difficult. It happens to everyone at some point, but I know that it can feel extremely bad when it happens during your training. You should not be "babied" but at the same time you should be adequately prepared. This does not sound like the appropriate environment for a newer nurse, nor does it sound like the appropriate environment for anyone. If I were in that situation I would move on to something else. They have not invested a lot of money into training you, so there is little for either side to "lose" by you walking away. There is, however, a lot for you to lose if you stay and engage in the questionable practices that they are advocating for. Do you have the means to resign from this position and look for something else? I know that you are an LVN. Have you considered working in a clinic, a school, or another LTC facility? I am not trying to discourage you, but I would be worried for even the most experienced nurse in the world to say those things about a LTC facility. Those standards are not up to par with what the residents require. No charting, a non-updated MAR, covering up of errors. It is not a good mix. I wish you the best of luck and I hope that you reach out if you need any advice. The community here is very supportive. I am sorry about your training experience. Know that you deserve so much more than that!
  11. Kate_Peds

    Whatever happened to going to school to be a nurse?

    "So... to revisit the OP's initial question of "whatever happened to just being a nurse?" my answer is this: some of us simply have different interests. We accepted the fact that there is more than one way to be a nurse and used that to our benefit. Nurses don't have to remain hermetically-sealed into a rigid, personally undesirable, job description." I could not agree more with you and Julius Seizure. Here I am trying to explain all of the intricacies of why someone would choose one over the other. It really isn't that difficult when you break it down. Would we ever ask the guy who manages a phone store why he didn't start out climbing telephone poles? No, because even though they work for the same company and work towards the same goal (providing you with phone service) they are different roles that each person may prefer based on their own interests. Why become an OB nurse instead of a psych nurse? Why work in an office instead of a hospital? Because you want to. It should be that simple. If you work for it and you meet the requirements, who's opinion of what you should do for your career matter more? Someone you hardly know or yourself?
  12. Kate_Peds

    I really do feel depressed about the situation

    I'm so sorry that you feel this way. I agree with many others who have posted here. It might be worth it to contact your previous employer and see if they will hire you back into LTC. If that doesn't work out, try looking at clinic work or sometimes even schools (some schools allow LVNs to work alongside the RN). Best of luck to you.
  13. Kate_Peds

    New LVN in desperate need of advice.

    Hey 2014PN! I enjoyed the assisted living facilities that I did clinicals for in undergrad. They can be intimidating, particularly because of the volume of patients. However, that quickly subsides after you get used to it. HouTx is right, you typically do not administer medications in assisted living. If I remember correctly from my clinicals, we had a list of residents who had requested "reminders" for their meds, meaning we knocked on their door and we reminded them it was time to take their medication. In addition to this, we helped people get up in the morning and encouraged them to participate in the daily activities. We ensured that everyone made it to meal times, we cut up food, we helped dress people, we packed some wounds, emptied some ostomy bags, etc. Pretty much your good, old-fashioned, classic caregiver type duties. You will become much more confident the more you do. The best part if that you will get to know your residents. That will also calm your nerves because you will have a lot of familiarity in your day to day work. It would do you some good to review certain policies beforehand. I know there can be a lot, but definitely go over the policy for falls before you ever experience one. This may ease your mind, as you know that falls in assisted living are likely to happen. You can make yourself a little "cheat sheet" on an index card and keep it behind your name tag or in a bag just in case. As far as the paperwork goes, you will learn it very quickly! I would definitely give this job a shot before giving up on it altogether. You seem like a very thoughtful person who is thinking ahead. Those are very good qualities to have. Your residents will be lucky to have you!
  14. Kate_Peds

    Why Do Nurses Quit?

    I remember being a new grad and experiencing the "floating" that, ultimately, caused me to find a new job. Being new, I had the fewest points, meaning that I was the first pick to float every time. My first week and a half off of orientation I floated to tech on other floors. After that, I was spending probably one shift a week floating to do non-nursing work. Safety sitting, suicide watch, tech work, etc. I remember being back on my home unit after a long string of floating, I had a patient that was not looking so great. I had no clue what I was doing and another nurse came to my aid. I left my shift scared. I felt completely incompetent. Reflecting back on it, I realized that I was taking a long time to complete very simple nursing tasks, such as priming IV fluids. Things that I was very good at, now I was fumbling through because I had been doing non-nursing work for several weeks. I was truly embarrassed and I was concerned about my own ability to complete the job. I felt bad leaving that job, but in the end, I suffered greatly being so new and being pulled from the bedside to watch monitors. My already novice skills deteriorated very quickly. There is a lot more paperwork and charting in nursing than ever before. I truly think the learning curve for a new nurse today is higher than it was 15 years ago. I'm not saying that nursing itself is harder, I'm just saying that they've added so much more, while giving so much less in terms of resources. When you're already new and don't have adequate time management skills, it's easy to be swallowed up by the extra clerical duties and waitressing that they expect you to do.
  15. Kate_Peds

    Choosing the Right Nursing School

    It is important for future students to ensure that both the university and the nursing school itself are accredited by the appropriate bodies. Just because a school is well-known does not mean it is immune from these types of citations.
  16. Kate_Peds

    Is the Grass Really Greener on the CNP side?

    Hey, there! You seem to have a very unique RN job that affords you a lot of benefits not typically associated with this field (no holidays, no weekends, snow days, etc.). I believe that it would be difficult to leave a job with so many positive attributes to become an NP. For many, it is the other way around. If you're truly interested in becoming an NP you should consider shadowing. NPs spend more than five minutes with patients. If you're only venting, then that's understandable, but don't give up on the idea if you're truly interested. It can be a great decision! Best of luck to you.