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Month of Misconceptions-Week 4

Posted by Image of Nursing Chair on October 26, 2016 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Myth: Nurses just do the“dirty work”

 

Truth: Nurses do very challenging work requiring analysis of their patients conditions. Nurses provide education on treatments and disease processes to patients and families. Nurses complete and monitor treatments such as medications, to ensure that patients are responding therapeutically to the interventions. Nurses as members of the health care team, provide input into patient care and ensure consistency of care. When nurses are not providing direct care, they are making sure that evidence based practice gets implemented in the patient care area.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BMAdAU4DRvt/?taken-by=md_nursing_students

Month of Misconceptions-Week 3

Posted by Image of Nursing Chair on October 18, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Myth: Nursing school is easy

Truth: Nursing school consists of high-level thinking, hands-on skill competency, effective communication, and evidence-based practice training. Students are taught detailed information about pharmacology, pathophysiology, research, and informatics. Nursing students must learn to hone their critical thinking skills. Nursing programs are rigorous and are very competitive to get into.

https://www.instagram.com/md_nursing_students/

Month of Misconceptions-Week 2

Posted by Image of Nursing Chair on October 10, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Myth: Nursing is a female profession

 

Truth: The majority of nurses are female, but male representation has steadily increased since the 1970’s. The U.S. Census Bureau found that the percentage of male nurses increased from 2.7% in 1970 to 9.6% in 2011 (latest data). The goal of the American Assembly of Men (AAMN) is for 20% of the nursing workforce to be male by 2020. Nursing is moving toward a more diverse workforce.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLYtW67jsUu/?taken-by=md_nursing_students

 

Month of Misconceptions-Week 1

Posted by Image of Nursing Chair on October 3, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Myth: Nurses want to be doctors

 

Truth: Nurses want to be nurses because they wish to spend most of their time providing direct care to their patients and their families. The role of the nurse requires that nurses critically think all day everyday and are on hand to manage patient deterioration and to handle crises immediately. Nurses are able to connect with patients and their families during some of the most difficult times of their lives and nurses empower patients through teaching and caring for them to make some of the most critical decisions of their lives. For these and many other reason nurses choose to be nurses and not doctors

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ATTENTION NURSING STUDENTS

Posted by Maryland Association of Nursing Students (MANS) on September 17, 2016 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

MNA and the Nursing Foundation of Maryland extended the due date for 2016 scholarships. There are 7 scholarships to choose from. Deadline is now September 23d. For more information go to: http://www.marylandrn.org

Reflections from a New Nurse

Posted by MANS MNA Student Liaison on May 22, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I graduated nursing school 5 months and 3 days ago (but who's counting?) and if there's one thing I've learned to be true during that time, it's this: Nursing school does not really prepare you for the reality of being a nurse. It's true that nursing requires a lot of medical knowledge and technical skills, but it is also an art form to be perfected over time. For my final blog post as MANS MNA Student Liaison, I want to share some wisdom I’ve gleaned from my first half year in the profession so that you might be a little more prepared for what to expect when your time comes to leave nursing school behind and join me in the trenches.

 

1. You will have trouble with IVs. This has been the hardest part for me. I was generally used to learning techniques fairly quickly in nursing school, but IVs are a whole different ball game. Between identifying a good vein, anchoring said vein, keeping your own hand steady, trying to find the vein when it moves away, getting stuck in a valve… It’s a lot to manage. Don’t get discouraged and give up, because the only way to get better is to keep practicing. A lot.

 

2. Be prepared to swallow your pride. We’re all used to do doing this as nursing students. You work 7 to 14 weeks on a unit that you’re not very familiar with and spend the rotation knowing that you are probably the least helpful person there. As a new nurse, you feel that again, but this time it lasts for months and eventually you’re actually supposed to master how the unit works. After three months it’s tough to keep going in day after day knowing that you will make mistakes and have questions about seemingly mundane matters, but it’s normal and all part of the process.

 

3. You may be treated like a tech. Techs are awesome and let’s be honest: It would be darn near impossible to do our job without them. In the first few months that you’re on orientation learning how to be a nurse, your coworkers may start asking you to take vital signs for them, run to the pharmacy, and so on. And you, being an energetic new nurse anxious to please your peers, will acquiesce. This is fine from time to time, but make sure you stand up for yourself when you need to and let them know you’re happy to help… after you finish your nursing duties.

 

4. SBAR is actually important. You might not make it through the whole thing – I usually find myself being cut off about halfway through the B – but it really does help to know your stuff. The person you’re reporting to really will want to know the details, and sometimes you’ll find that if you gather all of the information, you may even be able to answer your concern yourself.

 

5. It gets better! Recently I had my two-month meltdown – which, according to my nurse educator, is pretty common – where I felt like I was getting nowhere. Luckily part of my orientation has involved weekly self-assessments of 10 different nursing areas. When I reviewed them, I was amazed at how far I felt I’ve come from Day 1! If your workplace doesn’t offer something similar, keep a journal or blog your reflections yourself. It’s a real self-esteem boost when you’re feeling down.

 

 

It has been a joy to navigate the struggles, joys, pitfalls, and achievements of nursing school with you over the past year. Best of luck finishing your program. I hope these reflections make you feel a little more prepared to enter the world of nursing!

Graduation Season has arrived!

Posted by MANS Membership Chair on May 8, 2016 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

     As the Spring semester comes to an end, the next group of graduate nurses is preparing for pinning, and yours truly is among them! While the excitement, fear, anticipation, and all out joy of finally finishing nursing school is more than I can bear at times, it also reminds me that soon I will be like one of those nurses that I have worked alongside as a student. As I look back over the last several years of school, and all my interactions with nurses of all levels, from instructors to charge nurses, nurses I’ve socialized with and randomly met, to nurses I’ve worked with on the floor as an extern, I realized there were a number of similar qualities in the nurses who have been positive role models in my journey. I thought long and hard about those qualities this week as we begin our practicum, primarily because I want to emulate those qualities as a nurse. So I would like to share what I have observed as the qualities of positive nurse role models:

 

- Nurses who truly love what they do emulate positive vibes to all those around them. Find this nurse on your unit, or in your practice, and make them your new best friend. You’ll be grateful you did, because they will be one of the reasons you come to work.

- Nurses that do things the correct way, even when no one is looking, are the ones you want to learn from. They set the bar high for themselves, and are highly respected by others. Stay close to these nurses and make them your go to person to learn new skills from.

- Nurses who remember they were students, and want to help students understand the how and why, are the leaders of tomorrow. They understand learning never ends, no matter how long they’ve been a nurse.

- Nurses who have no tolerance for lateral violence are the nurses to align with on your unit/facility. They stand up to those who mistreat other nurses, without considering the repercussions. They are the strong nurses who will stand behind you and inspire a positive work environment.

- Nurses who reach out to help, before anyone asks, are the proactive people that everyone appreciates and looks forward to working with. They are kind, caring, compassionate people who are the example of what the world expects a nurse to be.

- Nurses who push you to do more, and to do things better, will help make you a better nurse. It may not seem like it at the time, but it’s always true.

- Nurses who maintain a positive attitude and adapt to the changing dynamics of the shift, are the ones to work with as much as possible. They will be your reminder of what nursing is meant to be.

    

     This of course is not an all-inclusive list, just some things I have observed along the way. As I embark into my nursing practice, I hope to use what I have learned from these nurses, and apply it in my own way. Each time I go to work as an extern on the oncology in-patient unit of the hospital in my community, I remember to check my attitude at the door. No matter what has happened in my life, I remember that the patients I am taking care of have their own issues and do not need to hear mine. As a result, I find that having that positive attitude every time I walk through the door has been therapeutic for me also.

 

     There are so many ways to be a positive influence, to make a difference, and like our annual convention indicated, to lead. So when you begin your nursing career, make sure that you get involved with your facility, your unit, state nursing association, specialty association, legislative association, or community at large, and make a difference in the future of nursing!

 

Nurse-Patient Ratios

Posted by MANSPresident on April 5, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your patient load? And made an error or forgot to complete a task as a result? You are not alone! Nurse-to-patient ratio has been a hot topic of conversation for a while yet continues to create issues. This topic area perked my interest upon researching evidence regarding its safety implications on patient outcomes for a school project.

Working in an acute setting, nurses are surrounded in a stressful environment as they meet the needs of the patient and provider, and carry out patient specific tasks (i.e. assessments, medications, discharge, etc). Adding additional patients to nurse's workload forces nurses to find ways to take short cuts and decreases time spent with patients. This becomes an issue when nurses can not perform their tasks correctly or not at all. Nurses neglect to carry out safety protocols set by the unit/hospital and put the already vulnerable patient at increase risk for adverse events. In fact, units with low nurse-to-patient ratios show increase rates of patient falls, hospitalization time, and infections (Belegan et. al., 2011). Additionally, medication administration errors can occur and contribute to the 1.5 million patients yearly who encounter a medication error (ION, 2006). High patient ratios not only pose risk to the patient but also the nurse as it increases nursing fatigue and turnover rates.

What can you do about this? Nursing students are at the forefront in creating change! As the next generation of nurses we need to be aware of these issues, confront, and create a solution for the problem! Students should check out the American Nurses Association's thoughts (link below) on patient ratios and how to effectively solve this problem. The solution lies within nurses! Together we must look at a variety of factors including the unit, patient, and nurses to decrease patient load in order to increase patient outcomes.

Check out what the ANA says about patient outcomes: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/State/Legislative-Agenda-Reports/State-StaffingPlansRatios

Check out what current nurses are saying about the issue on Facebook by joining the Nurses for National Patient Ratios!

Bibliography

Blegen, M., Goode, C., Spetz, J., Vaughn, T., & Park, S. (2011). Nurse staffing effects on patient outcomes: safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals. Medical Care, 49(4), 406-414 9p.

Institute of Medicine. 2006. Report Brief: Preventing Medication Errors. Retrieved from:https://iom.nationalacademies.org/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2006/Preventing-Medication-Errors-Quality-Chasm-Series/medicationerrorsnew.pdf

 

Health Concerns and Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted by MANS Secretary on March 13, 2016 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

After completing an assignment for my environmental health class, I decided to write a blog sharing my knowledge gained on an environmental health issue going on worldwide. As a part of my assignment, I was required to watch the film, Gasland 2 (2013). After watching this film, I found a new love for environmental health and decided to cover a unique topic, different from what posts are usually found on this site.

Gasland 2 (2013), is a documentary created by Josh Fox, a Pennsylvanian homeowner, who decided to travel the country in curiosity of the health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing or fracking, after he was proposed with a hefty check, in exchange to placing fracking equipment on his land. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling, creating a toxic mixture (by combining harmful chemicals sand, and water together) and injecting it into wells at an extremely high pressure to fracture rocks, causing the release of oil and gas.

With the advancement of technology, hydraulic fracturing has made way for a massive supply of gas and oil. Many may think this is great, as I first did; more oil and gas, means less gas prices. Well, in addition to this gain, we are faced with a rise in illness of those residing near fracking sites. As the concoction is injected into wells, this makes way for leaks that happen all too often. These leaks of fossil fuels can pollute our air and contaminate our land and water. According to Colborn et al. (2012), the toxic chemicals used in fracking can cause harm to the eyes, skin, sensory organs, lungs, and gastrointestinal system. Additionally, 40-50% of the chemicals used can affect the kidneys, the immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% are carcinogenic (Colborn et al., 2012).

In 2014, there were over 1.1 million wells in the United States (Kelso, 2014). Imagine how many people are breathing the polluted air, or drinking the contaminated water. As a nurse, I took it upon myself to speak out against hydraulic fracturing and joined the movement and I am here to encourage you to do the same. In the nursing community, it is imperative that we remain informed of environmental issues that are associated with illness to allow for accurate diagnosis and effective care of our patients.

 

Please take the opportunity to visit the following sites (or feel free to search your own), to become active in the movement to ban hydraulic fracturing:

 

Earth Justice: http://earthjustice.org/advocacy-campaigns/unfracktured

The Food and Water Watch Organization: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/campaign/ban-fracking-everywhere

The Gasland Website: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/

 

Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to take the time to watch the film Gasland and Gasland 2, it is so informative, you won’t regret it!

 

References

 

Colborn, T., Kwiatkowski, C., Schultz, K., & Bachran, M. (2012) Natural gas operations from a public health perspective. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 17(5), 1039-1056.

 

Fox, J. (Director). (2013). Gasland: Part 2 [Documentary]. United States: New Video Group.

 

Kelso, M. (2014). Over 1.1 million active oil and gas wells in US. Retrieved April 2016, from FracTracker: http://www.fractracker.org/2014/03/active-gas-and-oil-wells-in-us/

 

What Type of Nurse Should I Be?

Posted by MANS MNA Student Liaison on February 27, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

You did it! You have worked hard throughout nursing school and now that you are approaching the end, it is time to start thinking about how you want to start your career. During nursing school you have experienced a number of different nursing specialties through your rotations – L&D, med/surg, pediatrics, psych, public health, and maybe even more. Some of your peers undoubtedly had a moment in nursing school when everything “clicked” and they knew they had discovered the nursing specialty that was meant for them.

For the rest of us, the question remains: "What type of nurse should I be?"

I am here to help you figure out where to start in your job hunt with some tips I have learned along the way, starting with…

1.) Utilize your resources. If you do not even know where to begin, consider doing some research on what opportunities are out there. The National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) recently published their 2016 Career Planning Guide (http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/8858e6eb#/8858e6eb/56) that contains information on over 60 different nursing specialties. You can also try this short quiz from Johnson & Johnson to get an idea of different nursing specialties you may want to consider: https://www.discovernursing.com/diagnostic#.Vst4zlLXiqQ

 

2.) Keep an open mind. I recently took my first nursing job on a unit that I rotated on as a student. If you had told me six months ago that I would make that choice, I would have never believed you. I was so upset when I first received my placement on that unit that I considered switching off of it because it was not what I thought I wanted to do for my career. However, after 7 weeks there, I found out that I was doing exactly the kind of nursing I had imagined myself doing. The problem was that nobody had told me before that the specialty even existed, let alone how closely it matched my professional goals. Take the time to get to know a specialty before deciding it is not the right fit for you.

 

3.) Seek the counsel of others. During my nursing rotations, I always asked my instructors near the end of our time together what kind of nursing they could see me doing. Even though I did not end up in those areas, it helped me to get an idea of where to start looking for a specialty that fit me well. It can be very helpful to get the objective perspective of those who have observed your work with unbiased eyes.

 

4.) Consider your personality. You know yourself better than anyone else does. If you thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy new challenges, perhaps a hospital department like the ED would be a good fit for you. If you enjoy working with patients but not necessarily at the bedside, maybe a career in outpatient rehab or as a nurse educator would suit you well. Tune in to who you are as a person – not just as a nurse – to help guide you in your specialty search.

 

5.) Think outside the “hospital” box. There are so many different areas where nurses can practice. Most of us had experiences in hospitals during nursing school, but nurses are also needed in urgent care, primary care clinics, outpatient centers, public health departments, and beyond. While it is true that hospitals offering new grad residencies make it a little easier to get your foot in the door with no previous nursing experience, that does not mean that no opportunities await you elsewhere.

 

6.) Look for “rotating” nurse residencies. Some hospitals do not confine you to a unit when you first start out. Look for hospitals where you can apply for a “rotating” nurse residency in which you will have the opportunity during your orientation period to work on a variety of floors. At the end of your rotations, the hospital may allow you to “bid” to work on your preferred floor. This is a great way to gain exposure to different areas of nursing you may not have experienced previously.

 

7.) Think about lifestyle. Nurses are known for having a hectic schedule; however, that does not mean that you have no say over your work lifestyle at all! If you prefer working days or really do not want to work on weekends, perhaps look for opportunities in outpatient centers. If you are concerned about rotating between days and nights, look for hospitals that hire new grads for specific shifts rather than on a rotating schedule.

 

8.) Shadow! Reach out to people you know – friends, family members, instructors, professors – to see if they know of any shadowing opportunities where they work. If you have a particular area of interest in mind, ask around to see if you have any friends of friends who would let you shadow them for a shift. Your roommate’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt might just be the one to expose you to the nursing specialty that is the perfect fit for you.

 

9.) Follow your heart. While med/surg is a wonderful specialty to work in, we are often told by instructors that it is the ideal place to start a career because it provides the foundation of all nursing practice. However, I am not of the mindset that every nurse needs a med/surg background in order to have a successful career if that is not where they want to work. In fact, I reread this blog post (http://thebossynurse.com/myth-of-med-surg-nursing-for-new-grads/) about a dozen times when trying to decide if I should take a med/surg position or work on the specialty unit I ultimately chose. According to the blog author, “Any specialty in nursing can give you a foundation in your desired nursing practice.”

 

10.) Don’t worry! I am willing to bet that your interests have changed quite a bit in the last decade, and chances are that they will continue to change in the next decade of your life as well. If you find out that where you end up working is not your heart’s calling – or even if it is – there is no guarantee that those feelings will be the same as time goes on. Part of what makes nursing such a colorful profession is the ability it provides to explore so many different specialties during the course of a career.

The reason you may feel lost right now is because, well, you kind of are. And that’s ok! In fact, that is exactly where you should be right now! We cannot possibly leave nursing school knowing all of the answers about what kind of nursing we are meant for just because we completed a few rotations on a handful of different units. That kind of confidence comes with time and experience and will likely continue to grow and develop as you do. Use these tips to get a head start in finding the area that is right for you… and get ready for a thrilling career ahead!

References

American Sentinel University. (2012). Ten considerations for choosing the best nursing specialty. Retrieved from http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/12/27/ten-things-to-consider-when-choosing-a-nursing-specialty/

Battee, M. (n.d.). The myth of medical-surgical nursing: Why new grads should pursue their specialty of choice. Retrieved from http://thebossynurse.com/myth-of-med-surg-nursing-for-new-grads/

Johnson and Johnson. (n.d.). Find your specialty. Retrieved from https://www.discovernursing.com/diagnostic#.Vst4zlLXiqQ.

National Student Nurses’ Association. (2016). Personal branding and marketing: How to influence your destiny. Retrieved from http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/8858e6eb


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