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Why Pediatric Nursing?

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Well, I’ve been a pediatric nurse for almost 10 years now and it’s truly a rewarding job! Here are a few reasons that I love doing what I do and I hope you’ll appreciate pediatric nursing and even consider it as a nursing career.

1. It’s’ the little things! I’ve had my best times being a pediatric nurse doing the little things that make a difference in my patient’s day. Whether it’s wiping the brow of a febrile child, getting a popsicle for a thirsty child, high-fiving a child for taking their medicines, or playing a game with a child that is bored, it’s the little things that make a shift better for the patient and for you. These things don’t always take the most time to do, but they do make the most difference. Your patients and families will appreciate you more for it.

2. It’s a family affair! When you’re caring for a sick child, you’re also caring for the parents and sometimes extended family. You’re helping the family deal with the stress of having a sick child in the hospital, which can be extremely stressful. I’ll never forget having a mother tell me that my calm demeanor helped her relax during her child’s hospital stay. It made me feel like I had done a good job of helping her cope with her child’ s illness. A calm family helps keep a child calm as well.  As a pediatric nurse, you play a huge role in helping families de-stress and deal with illness. It’s very rewarding!

3. Why not specialize? Pediatrics is one of the top nursing specialties in the field. Whether you work in the emergency department, cardiac services, intensive care or general pediatrics, you will be sure to find a good fit for your particular interests. No matter where you choose to navigate in the field of pediatrics, your job will be sure to present gratifying and challenging experiences to you.

4. You’re the biggest cheerleader! Illness and hospitalization is tough on children. They can’t always play or be with their friends or live life as they normally do while being in the hospital. Add to that having to take medications, endure procedures and sleep away from home. Hospitalization can make children very anxious. That’s where pediatric nurses come in. We cheer the kids on as they take medicines, go through procedures and tests and eventually get discharged home! It’s very satisfying to watch a child return to their normal lives after staying in the hospital and knowing that you encouraged them and held their hands through it all.

5. Children give you courage because they are very resilient. As a pediatric nurse, you get to witness their bravery up close. It seems as though they can cope with many things. Seeing their bravery makes you want to be brave with them and encourage them through their illness.

Those are just a few reasons that pediatric nursing is a great career path. I hope that you’ll consider it as a career choice and I hope to have shown you why it is so rewarding!

Surviving Your Shift 101

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8-12 hours is a long time in patient care world. Even the strongest of nurses can have moments of overwhelming stress and frustration. Here’s my tips for surviving those shifts when you feel like doing everything but smiling!

  • Get organized! Tasks can pile up in a matter of minutes; so, organization is key to keep things from going haywire. Learn to best prioritize your care. Find out the best way you keep things prioritized and plow ahead during your shift. If it helps, ask a more experienced nurse about how to prioritize your to-do list.
  • Get help! No one person can do it all alone. Teamwork is a beautiful thing when put to good use! There will be times during your shift when good help will be the difference between you drowning in your workload or staying afloat. Never be ashamed to ask for help as even the best nurses need a hand sometimes. Asking for help can make you a better team player because you’ll be able to recognize when one or your teammates needs you to return the favor!
  • Get funny! Learn to laugh at yourself. A good sense of humor can help you keep things in perspective and know when to take deep breaths. Laugh at yourself and watch your stress level come down immediately!
  • Get real! Dealing with stress and frustration is no fun, especially during long patient care shifts. But sometimes, we need to get real about why the stress is presenting itself. Do we need to get better at prioritizing? Are we dealing with personal issues while at work? Are we afraid to ask for help during a busy shift? There are real ways we can minimize stress and frustration once we get to the sometimes underlying causes. If stress and frustration frequently occur during shifts, it could indicate some things about us that need room for improvement (i.e., prioritization, teamwork, etc.). Don’t be afraid to change certain behaviors if they impede good patient care.

Well, I hope you found these tips helpful. Stressful shifts are sure to happen, but thankfully, there are ways to manage them. The most important thing is that we take deep breaths and plunge in to being great nurses who manage to give great patient care despite the stress.

Starting Fresh

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Hi there! I want to share something with you. I’ve recently decided to put down my travel nurse bags and take a permanent nurse position. While my time as a travel nurse was a blast, I’m really looking forward to starting over in my nursing career, bringing all that I’ve learned as a traveler to a new position. Are you also starting fresh? Here’s how I think both you and I can make the most of new opportunities.

No big heads. Let’s approach our new positions as if we’re excited to learn new things, and I’m sure we will meet colleagues who are excited to teach us.

Keep an open mind! Let’s be flexible with what type of work we will do. I’m currently in the process of interviewing for a position that is nothing like what I originally set out to do. But that’s okay. If I’m not willing to at least get my foot in the door, I may set myself up for the disappointment of waiting for the perfect job that will never come.

Finally, let’s be confident, knowing that we can do the job with excellence. I’m sure that if we’re calm and confident, we can cut down on the “new person” jitters.

As you start fresh with me, let’s get excited! We’re embarking upon a new adventure. Here’s to fresh starts everywhere.

Refreshing the Wanderlust: Dealing with Travel Nurse Burnout

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It’s that time again. Another contract is signed. You’re saying goodbye to new friends
and leaving to go off on your next adventure in travel nursing.

Sure, it’s awesome! I am currently on my 5th travel assignment , and I’ve had my share of great times. But, I also know how physically and emotionally taxing travel nursing can be. Frequent travel is tough on anyone, but the constant changing work environment can eventually wear out even the strongest travel nurse.

But there’s good news! There are ways to prevent your wanderlust from running cold. Here are a few.

Get some rest! It’s grueling to start a new assignment, especially during the first 1-2 weeks. New time zones can be a beast! Catch up on as must rest as you can while adjusting to your new surroundings.

Evaluate your goals. What are your reasons for travel nursing? Do you want more experience? Do you want to see new places? Do you want to enhance your resume? If you notice your excitement about travel nursing starting to wane, reevaluate your reasons for traveling. It may be time to change courses, and that’s okay.

Try a new activity! Look for new and fun things to do while on your assignment. It could be just the thing to re-energize your travel nurse experience.

Stay stress and drama free. One of the great benefits of working as a travel nurse is the ability to remain un-involved in hospital drama.  Is there strife between staff and management? It’s unfortunate, but not necessarily a concern of the traveler. You’re there to help, so you have to stay balanced. Of course there are situations that may stress you out, (frequent floating, various patient populations, etc.) and if it ever gets to be more than you can handle, talk to your recruiter.  Also keep in mind that if your assignment is not enjoyable, it is temporary.  Learn what you can from the experience and move on to the next adventure.

Happy stress-free, energy-filled traveling! Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment.

 

You Can Do It! 5 Must-Have Traits of Travel Nurses

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“You’re a travel nurse? That’s awesome, but I don’t think I could do that”.

 

Boy, have I heard this a lot!  Are you considering travel nursing,  but not quite sure you could handle the more stressful parts of the lifestyle? Read on then, because this blog’s for you. Allow me to share 5 must-have character traits that make travel assignments easier to handle.  You may not have all of these traits under your belt before you start life as a travel nurse, but be prepared to develop them at some point along your journeys.  Are you ready?Here we go.

  •  Hutzpah: I love this word! A travel nurse has to have hutzpah, or guts to move to a new city every few months. Making housing arrangements and packing alone will certainly test your grit. But most of all, the travel nurse has to be courageous enough to be thrown into a new working environment, which is not always easy.  Your colleagues are new. Your equipment is new. Everything is just so….new! Thankfully, developing hutzpah will help you to dive in and figure your way through the unfamiliar. You may even have fun learning new things.
  •  Adventurous: Go. See. Do.  I repeat. Go. See. Do. That’s your mantra as a travel nurse! Make yourself a “bucket list”  for each of your assignments. Be determined to have great experiences. You certainly don’t have to sky-dive or bungee jump on each assignment (you’re amazing if you do), but the time will fly by. You want to be able to say that you got out and saw what made the city/area great.
  • Even-keel: Yes, you will have hectic shifts at times. No, everyone may not be as nice as you would like them to be. Yes, you will have know each facility’s policies and procedures. Yes, you may have to spend extra time looking for equipment. No, your schedule will not be perfect. Yes, you may have to work a holiday. My best advice? Go with the flow. We travellers are essentially there to help.  Your ability to deal with various circumstances will make you a valued commodity to your colleagues!  So, do your best to calmly deal with whatever comes.
  • Flexible: Flexibility goes hand-in-hand with an even-keel  temperament.  You will need both to maximize your experience while on assignment.  Since you never know when you’ll be asked to float to a different unit or pick up an extra shift, it’s best to have the ability to handle change.   
  • Savvy: As a traveller, you will see and learn new ways to do things. That’s great! Travellers are valued not only for being quick learners, but also for having experience and skill. Take time to learn about different supplies, equipment and procedures. The ability to pass that knowledge on increases your skillset and overall value.  Afterall, you’re building an impressive resume here! 
So there they are. The traits that I think will help you to have a wonderful and productive career as a travel nurse. You may have read them and thought, “I am none of those things”, but please don’t let that deter you. Go on and get started, and watch how quickly you will develop these traits. I repeat, get started. Jump in! You may suprise yourself  with how skilled, adventurous and adapatable you become. Happy travelling:)

Advice to New Grads: An Interview with Seasoned Nurses

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I recently had the privilege of interviewing  two really great nurses.  Both have been in practice for at least 7-10 years and have worked in various roles (inpatient, traveling, charge nurse and outpatient). I figured that with their experience and skill,  they would be more than able to give great advice to new nurses.  I was right!

I asked 3 simple questions and I loved the responses!  They are brief and candid, yet powerful when you take them to heart. It struck me how much these ladies valued their roles as nurses. They’ve worked a little bit of everywhere, yet there are certain parts of their roles as nurses that have remained the same. I could hear joy and satisfaction in their voices! Let’s face it, not everyone can do it. Be proud of the decision you made to become a nurse. It was a good one! I hope their advice to you is helpful.

Here’s the interview, enjoy!!

    AVW: What’s been most rewarding for you as a nurse?

Nurse A: “Seeing my patients improve and go home! I love getting to know them and building relationships with them. It’s like they know you care because they light up when they see you.”

    Nurse B. “Building really close relationships with my patients and families. They were hesitant to conversate with me when I first started this position, but now they know and trust me. That’s a great feeling”.

  

AVW: What’s been the toughest part of being a nurse for you?

   Nurse A: “A patient that I had taken care of for a long time and built a close relationship with had a stroke at the end of my shift once. It was so hard for me to see that happen and go    through it with the family. I had trouble visiting them in intensive care. It was so hard. But, the patient’s doing well now and that’s great”.

Nurse B: “Honestly, it’s  hearing my patients sometimes lie about taking their meds at home. I know they don’t want to lie, but it’s hard when they’re trying to keep from looking bad. As a pediatric nurse, it’s sometimes very hard to witness poor parenting”.

 

AVW: What advice would you give a new nurse?

Nurse A:  ”You’ve learned a lot in the textbook world. The real world of it is a little different. The understanding of  it is important. Also, everybody has a different way of doing  things. Be open-minded to that”.

Nurse B:  “Start slow, but now when and how to dive in.  It’s tempting to take shortcuts, but don’t. Go home and know that you did right by your patients”.

Wings

Wings

I’m here reading a book by a lake in Dallas, TX and these two friends in the picture gave me a great title for this blog post: Wings.  It’s  of course a little cheeky, but it fits. I’m here for my very first travel nurse assignment. New place. New people. New things to learn. I haven’t had to go through an orientation experience in a little over 6 years and being “the new girl” can be a little intimidating!

Then I consider my feathered friends here. They are in they’re zone, completely free and doing what comes natural.  What else can they do but fly? It’s no different with you or I. A nurse is a nurse, no matter the environment.  My 2nd or 3rd day in a new hosptial, I found myself doing what comes natural to me  as a nurse, even while learning new things!

Maybe you’re a new nurse or you’re changing jobs and it seems like you are going to have trouble learning all you need to fly on your own. Relax! A good nurse is a good nurse, even in new places.   As long as you hold on to what you’ve been taught, you can be put in any environment where compassion and skill is needed. You’ll do exactly as these birds. Happy flying:)

 

 

About Amanda

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