nurses

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.

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.

 

Scrubbing In: Should We Nurses Be Concerned?

Scrubbing In Cast

MTV recently premiered its new reality TV show “Scrubbing In”, that focuses on the lives of young and vibrant travel nurses working in Orange County, California. Dedication to patient care is portrayed by the cast, but of course so is partying, playtime and personal drama, which comes with reality television territory.  ”Scrubbing In” is no exception. Due to growing concern over the potential negative perception of nurses, some nursing organizations are calling for its cancellation. The popular online petition site, change.org currently has a growing petition with over 30,000 signatures.

After reviewing the show’s  premiere episode, I must admit that I to am concerned about its effects on the nursing profession. Call it professional bias, but I have always held nursing in a certain honorable and noble esteem.  I worry a bit that the cast’s antics lessen that esteem.  I now find myself posing questions like this:

Will viewers begin to see young nurses as immature, dramatic and reckless? Will those perceptions weaken the influence of nurse advocacy? Will travel nurse companies have more rigorous hiring processes as a result of the cast’s behavior? Will hospitals soon be more cautious about hiring travel nurses?

These questions are great food for thought right? But hey, there is a bright side to this. Maybe “Scrubbing In” is hardly an iceberg soon to create impending doom for the field of nursing.  In the best case scenario, viewers could just chalk the show up to pure entertainment for those who tune-in.  Maybe in this case, “a cigar is just a cigar”.  Many professions have to deal with their share of negative attention. Perhaps nursing is no different.

Share your thoughts with me!  You can tune-in to “Scrubbing In” on MTV, airing Thursdays @ 12/11c.

 

 

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:)

Whatsapp: My Favorite Apps for Travel Nurses!

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My smart-phone is the most crucial piece of luggage that I take along with me on travel nurse assignments. Why? Because my apps are amazing! They seriously help to de-stress my travel nurse life. I have come to depend on them when I need to know the best route, photo, nearest gas station, restaurant or hotel. There are always alot of app options, but I will share the quick, fun and stress-free apps that have helped  make my life on assignment that much easier!

 

1. Around Me: This is one of my favorites! This app lists nearby gas stations, bars, coffee shops, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters, taxis, etc. Even if I am looking for a specific place, I can search for it and map it with this app. It’s wonderful for road trips to my travel destination. Honorable mention: Wikitude is amazing! In addition to bars/nightlife, this app also shows nearest sights and live music.)

 

 

 

 

2. Diptic: What travel nurse doesn’t want to capture the sense of fun and adventure when on assignments? Pic collages are an excellent way to that.  Diptic is my favorite collage app. I can use many pics from one experience ( sightseeing, ball games, hiking, etc.), edit them the way I like and either save or share them. It also has a great variety of layouts, both classic and fun, to load pics to.  (Honorable mention: Pano is a great app for capturing panoramic views of those beaches, cityscapes and mountains. No collage pics with this app, but still awesome)

 

        

 

 

3. Urbanspoon: Okay, so I am a complete foodie when I am on assignment :)  What better way to explore a city than to try its cuisine? Urbanspoon is a foodie’s best friend. It sorts the city’s restuarants by cuisine, open tables, price and most popular. It also lets you reserve a table at your restuarant choice.  (Honorable mention: Eat24: If you are in the mood for delivery or pick-up, just put your address and cuisine choice in this app, place your order and voila!)

 

 

 

More and more apps are created by the day, so there’s no doubt even more great apps for travel nurses. Do you have any favorites? Feel free to share with me!