Tips for the Nurse to Ease the Holiday Blues

cropped-img_46591.jpgWith the holidays fast approaching, it is hard not to feel a sense of magic in the air. The lights, the music, and the food give a sense of warmth this time of year. Unfortunately, anyone that works at the bedside full time has an obligatory holiday shift each year. While many become acclimated to this reality, there are those that could use a little cheering up. The following are just a few tips for making it through your holiday shift this year..

Tips for the Nurse to Ease the Holiday Blues

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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

What Does it Take to Be a Nurse?

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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?

A Nurse’s Vow to Her Patients

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Hello from sunny Florida ❤  Every winter, I head home for the warmth and light, embrace of family, and to remember where I come from.  Since coming home, I have been a little lax in my posting.  As a result, I will now be inundating you all with back posts 🙂

For me, being a nurse is so much more than having the skill to place an IV, the ability to detect subtle changes in a patient’s status, and the ability to deal with the multiple personalities one is confronted with on a daily basis.  It is equally important to be a good listener, strive to continually learn, and take the time to educate and advocate for one’s patients.  Our patients are not only those we treat at the bedside, but those we  are surrounded by in every day life including friends, family, and community.  A nurse is never truly off-duty.

In the last year, I have transitioned more and more away from my role as a bedside nurse to the role of maternal/infant health and education.  Patient education has always been my passion and in the last year I have been honored and privileged to offer maternal and infant education courses to expectant parents living in Gothenburg, Sweden, through a fledgling maternal/infant and wellness company.  My vow to each and every student is the same I offer my patients.  I strive to leave my own struggles behind and greet them with undisturbed enthusiasm.  I will learn from them as they learn from me and guide them with care and consideration on the journey to their baby.

The following is my vow to those I serve in my role as nurse  whether through care at the bedside or through community outreach ❤

A Nurse’s Vow to Her Patients

Foreign Nurse Feature: A South African Nurse

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I developed  wanderlust at a young age, but didn’t start nurturing it until I was older and able.  The most amazing part of my journey has been meeting so many fascinating people from every corner of the globe.  In this month’s foreign feature, we meet Betina-a young and enthusiastic nurse from South Africa.  In our interview, one could not help but be infected with her enthusiasm for nursing.  It is clear Betina has found her calling and interestingly enough as we will find, it was by way of a detour.

How long have you been a nurse?

I started my training in January of 2009 and graduated in December of 2012 at the University of Johannesburg.  I started my community service at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and worked there for two and a half years. I believe that although I was not yet qualified as a student, I was a nurse, because during our training we work with patients to accumulate the needed hours to qualify as a Registered Nurse, therefore I have been privileged to touch the lives of patients and their families for 7 years.

In what area of Nursing do you work?

I found my passion and the area in which I wanted to specialize during my training and since I graduated I’ve been working with the little miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I can’t describe the immense amount of belonging I feel when nursing these small and innocent beings. They are so vulnerable and completely powerless, yet such strong and determined fighters. I learn something new from them on a daily basis. We spend most of our lives at work, therefore finding a career where you want to get up in the mornings is of the utmost importance and I am truly blessed when I say that I am convinced I have found that, not only in the NICU, but in being a nurse.

What inspired you to be a nurse?

Since I was a little girl, I found myself playing “doctor doctor” where I would be the one taking care of the “sick patient” and being the eldest grandchild, I was always the one taking care of my sister and cousins when we were growing up. I suppose caring is in my nature. I have to be honest though and say that I didn’t always want to be a nurse, because in our culture being a nurse is looked down upon.  I wanted to become a doctor, but those doors didn’t open for me until someone told me to do nursing, get my foot in the door (so to speak) and then I could do a bridging course and become a physician.  Little did I know that in studying nursing I found where I belong and who I was destined to become. I no longer believe that nursing is a career to be looked down upon…in fact I am determined to change that perspective and rather have people realize that it is a profession where we make a difference on a daily basis, twenty four hours and that the health care system would not exist without us. Needless to say, I no longer wish to become a physician, although I respect them and love to gain knowledge from them, I feel that I have more of an influence at the bedside, taking care of my patient and knowing every aspect of their being.

What advice would you give to a new nurse?

I would tell them that being a nurse is more than just having a job to pay the bills. Being a nurse comes with the responsibility to care for another human being when they are in their most vulnerable state. Being a nurse means that you need to be passionate and professional, not only at work, but also at home and in the public, because we are looked to whether we have our uniform on or not. So my advice is to make sure that nursing is for you, because it is a life-long commitment and then to go out there and be exposed to every possible field of nursing.  Nursing is the one profession with an insane amount of fields and opportunities and places that you can find where you belong, therefore get exposure to as much as possible and then find the place where you feel like you can spend the rest of your life and make a difference there.

What advice would you give to a tired nurse?

Nursing is a physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining profession where patients and the multidisciplinary team demand a lot from us on a daily basis. It is of the utmost importance that you find something outside of nursing that you love and enjoy to do. An activity, where you can unwind and get rid of all the frustrations, turmoil, heartache and troubles which come with our career.  I find exercise and being active to be my ‘sanity’.  In the gym and jogging on the road is where I ventilate, release my emotions and find the strength to continue. I also recently found a love for obstacle racing, there is something about running and digging through mud and challenging myself through the most ridiculous obstacles that energizes me and pushes me past my own limits.  I also ensured that I have a strong support system, people to talk to. I find my best friend and sister to be my pillars of strength. But another piece of advice would be to never lose contact with the friends you studied with. There is a certain level of understanding that comes when one nurse talks to another about a challenge they faced, different to talking to your best friend in another profession and safer than sharing with your colleague.

Thank you for your honest words, wise advice, enthusiasm, and love for your tiny patients Betina!  To read more about Betina, check out my interview with her in Mighty Nurse in the link below.

A Mighty Nurse in South Africa