Student Nurse Series: Tips for Your First Clinical

Nursing School Meme

I remember how tough it was in nursing school.  There is so much advice I would love to give to my student nurse self 17 years ago.  With that in mind, here is the first of several posts dedicated to my nursing students ❤

Student Nurse Series: Tips for Your First Clinical

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New Site, Same Girl…

IMG_2747Hi everyone ❤  Happy Thursday!  I am taking a moment from a  crazy busy teaching schedule and sick day to catch up a little and reach out.  What do you think of the new site?  Any thoughts and constructive criticism are very welcomed!!  Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend.

Hugs,

Lori

P.S. Feel helpless with all the hatred and disaster in the world?  You can do your part.  Help is still needed in the form of donations for the people of Puerto Rico and don’t forget to donate blood if you can.  There is always a need the world over ❤

Help Puerto Rico

Donate Blood

8 Things to Know Before You Marry a Nurse

Nurse

As you all probably already know, I recently married my boyfriend of 10 years ❤  In our time together, he has learned to tolerate some of the things that come out of my mouth. My career as a nurse has shaped me into an individual that sometimes lacks a filter. There is no telling what I might talk about over dinner. I still have to be very cautious when discussing anything related to needles for fear he might end up on the floor. Contemplating marrying a nurse? The following are a few things to know before marrying your nurse. 

8 Things to Know Before You Marry a Nurse

A Swedish Wedding

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My apologies for the delay in posts.  In the past month I have traveled back to Sweden from Florida.  In that time, accompanied by family and friends, I married my best friend.  I thought I would take a quick detour from my usual nursing related posts and share with you one of the greatest days of my life.

One month this past Saturday, I married Nils Fredrik Brännström, a man I met ten years ago in San Francisco.  I had no idea that I would one day be living with him in his native Sweden and much less become his wife.  I have always been a bit of a rebel or have done things in less conventional ways in my life.  I never planned to marry, never wanted to have children.  In fact, I always imagined myself being the crazy old cat lady.  The thing is, never say never and I am proud to say that marrying this man was the greatest detour in life.

When we decided to marry, it was a simple question of where.  My family and friends reside in Florida, his in Sweden.  We decided in the end to have a small ceremony in Florida for family that would not be able to travel to Sweden and an actual wedding in Sweden.  We had our small family ceremony in Florida back in January.  What follows is a glimpse into our wedding last month in Sweden.

The Church 

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We married in a church marked as a World Heritage Site.  Dating back to 1492, Gammelstad Church  and its surrounding church village with over 300 cottages, has a long history in Fredrik’s family.  Everyone in his family for many generations has married here, been baptized here, and buried here in the neighbouring cemetery.  While Swedes are generally a secular people, they are still for the most part a traditional people.  Marrying in a church is still the most common place for a wedding ceremony.

The Procession

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A Swedish wedding procession is nearly nonexistent.  There is no maid of honor, no bridesmaids, no best man.  In fact, the father of the bride does not traditionally walk the bride down the aisle like back home.  The bride and groom walk down the aisle hand in hand, a symbol of entering their marriage together as equals.  We walked to live music played by the super talented daughter of a dear friend.

The Ceremony

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The ceremony is similar to an American ceremony with the, “do you take this man,” and “in sickness and in health,” only in Swedish.  Sweden’s churches are primarily Protestant led by both male and female priests.  Our priest spoke a bit of English to accommodate our English speaking only friends and family.  On a funny side note, our priest was hilarious.  He told us the first time we met that he was going to a party the night before our wedding, but not to worry.  He said he would not be too hungover on our wedding day.  Only in Sweden.

The Reception

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A Swedish wedding reception is a super fun evening of food, drink, speeches, and dancing. Ours was no exception.  We rented a restaurant in a cultural center for our reception.  We were served some of the most delicious local food of the area including local fish and reindeer and the most beautiful cake adorned with orchids.

The Toastmasters

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Every wedding reception is hosted by someone called a toastmaster, usually the best friend of the bride and/or groom.  The toastmaster’s job is to welcome all of the guests and coordinate the entire evening which is a tall order and a lot of pressure.  In our case, two of Fredrik’s best friends were our toastmasters.  They did a truly amazing job arranging the entire evening for us.  No detail was left unpolished.  It was a wonderful, magical evening thanks to these two.  Thanks, Jörgen and Marcus!!!!

The Speeches

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It is tradition at a Swedish wedding that anyone can give a speech.  The speeches usually begin with the father of the bride and continue throughout the night with other members of the bride or groom’s family and friends.  Speeches are at the center of a Swedish wedding reception and go on through the entire evening.  I was completely shocked and moved that our toastmasters had arranged for my father to give a speech remotely as he was unable to come to Sweden for the wedding.  It meant so much to me.  I don’t think there was a dry eye for that one.  Fredrik’s mom, pictured above, was one of many that gave a truly touching speech.  His sister, Therese, also standing, translated for his mom.  His family has been so wonderful to me through my ups and downs of acclimating to life in Sweden.  I have always felt the full support of not only Fredrik here, but his dear friends and family as well.

The Kisses 

Another tradition at Swedish weddings is that each time the bride leaves the room, every woman in the room lines up to kiss the groom on the cheek.  The same goes for when the groom leaves the room.  It is a super cute tradition that I can now say I have been a part of.

The Dance

Traditionally, the bride and groom’s first dance in Sweden is a waltz.  Being the always unconventional girl I am, I opted to choreograph our first dance.  It was  a last minute decision and we spent only two weeks rehearsing, but it went very well in the end.  We had the best time putting it together.

Fredrik & Lori’s Dance

Thanks to all of our wonderful friends and family that shared in our day with us.  And thank you for those that traveled so far to be there, some even leaving babies home to come.  Thank you to my amazing cousins, Jenn Ross and Diana Ross for all your support and help in preparation for and on the wedding day.  I guess to sum up this magical day and tie it in to the purpose behind this blog, my advice to those of you in a difficult time in life or just questioning what you are doing with your life is to follow your heart.  I came from a place of difficulty and uncertainty to a place of joy and acceptance.  Through it all, I found myself.  Your heart will lead you in directions you never imagined if only you allow it.  Trust the process.  Sometimes pain and difficulty lead you to your heart.  Trust your heart.  Trust yourself ❤

 

 

 

A Shout Out to the Veterans Administration

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I have spent the last four weeks visiting friends and family back home in Florida. Since here, I have accompanied my 76-year-old father from consultations to surgery to follow up appointments with a few unfortunate complications along the way. It has been emotionally taxing. Witnessing a parent, who has always been the fixer of the family, struggle to walk to the mailbox is hard to watch.

My father is a veteran, a Marine. He proudly guarded Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D Eisenhower during his service. He is a proud patriot, tough as nails. He was injured in the line of duty. As such, he is one of millions of veterans of the Armed Forces fortunate to have rightful access to the services of the Veterans Administration (VA). Some of my earliest memories are of visits to the VA with Dad. In light of the recent controversy and scrutiny the VA has faced, I decided there was no better way to say thank you than with a post.

A Shout Out to the Veterans Administration

What Does it Take to Be a Nurse?

Nurse

I look forward to coming home and spending precious time with family. Life is short and in the end, these precious moments are all that matter. During a recent family dinner back home, the conversation turned to my niece-a bright college student who currently works as a pharmacy assistant. I asked her what her career goals were and she mentioned that she wants to be a neonatal nurse like her aunt (gush), but doesn’t know if she can handle the blood. My first reaction came as a moment of melting pride followed by an instant shift to nurse recruiter. Here is a bit of what I would say to her as well as anyone else considering this most noble profession. What exactly does it take to be a nurse??

What Does it Take to Be a Nurse?

5 Tips for the Nurse with Insomnia

Insomnia

If you have worked 12 hour shifts long enough, you begin to convince yourself that you really do not require more than a few hours of sleep to function. Perhaps your plan is to “catch up” on your days off. The fact is, a tired nurse can be a dangerous nurse. The American Nurse’s Association ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN states, “research shows that prolonged work hours can hinder a nurse’s performance and have negative impacts on patients’ safety.” “We’re concerned not only with greater likelihood for errors, diminished problem solving, slower reaction time and other performance deficits related to fatigue, but also with dangers posed to nurses’ own health.” The following are a few tips for the nurse insomniac….

5 Tips for the Nurse with Insomnia

Compassion Fatigue & Nursing

Emotional NurseCompassion fatigue, first described over twenty years ago in text by a nurse (Joinson, 1992) can be defined as the “loss of the ability to nurture.” It is considered a “cost of caring.” While the symptoms are similar to those of burnout, the cause and onset are different. Burn out is a result of job related dissatisfaction while compassion fatigue is more directly patient related. Burn out occurs gradually over time while compassion fatigue can be more acute in its onset. Could you be experiencing compassion fatigue?

Compassion Fatigue & Nursing

Honoring the CNA

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You have probably defended your role as a nurse in conversation with friends at least once in your career. For the lay person, the nursing role may still be unclear. The image of a subservient woman with a clip board chasing a doctor every step of the way may come to mind. This image is long outdated. Nurses have had to fight for years for their rightful place in the medical team and be seen as the rightful and equal to the doctor. The same goes for the nursing assistant or CNA. He or she deserves equal respect and equal voice as they are just as vital as any other member of the patient’s team. The following are just a few reasons why a nursing assistant is so vital to the team….

Honoring the CNA

Observations of an Emotional Nurse

Emotional Nurse

After working many years in nursing, one learns to temper emotions. Perhaps it is a self defense mechanism. Perhaps it something we learn like any other part of our practice. A nurse can experience a wide range of emotions in one single shift. The important thing is learning how to temper these emotions to get through said shift without becoming completely apathetic…

Observations of an Emotional Nurse