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The Hunt is On!

As I reflect on the early days of my nursing career, I remember the anxiety and indirection I felt stepping into the world of nursing. There were so many different specialties and directions I could go in. Prior to graduating, I already had several steps in place to assist with the job hunt.
Fall semester of my senior year in college, I decided to trade in my server apron for green scrubs. I wanted to expand as many skills as I could before graduating. While being a hostess/server/busser in a restaurant in my hometown was an excellent first job that gave me tons of multi-tasking and memory skills, I needed to dive into nursing. I applied for several jobs as a Skilled Nurse Assistant (SNA) within the Columbus area. Through the interview process, I got to shadow a lot and see which fields I liked and which ones I wasn’t particularly fond of.
It was during this job search that I discovered an excellent opportunity. There were Safety Coaches, who sat with patients to ensure their safety, and SNAs, who assisted with daily cares. This position was an “SNA/sitter”, a combination of the two. I was excited because clinicals and STNA certification had given me experience with daily activities and skills but being a sitter or Safety Coach would allow me a venue to utilize therapeutic communication and de-escalation skills. These were stills we didn’t get to use often in the busy clinical setting. I jumped on the opportunity.
I maintained this position throughout my senior year. Around March of my senior year in nursing school, I began applying for RN positions. I made a big list of areas that I liked from clinicals and areas I couldn’t see myself working. I knew I wanted to work inpatient so I could further improve my clinical skills. The age demographics I preferred were babies and adults. I absolutely loved my post-partum clinical- I could sit and rock babies all day! I worried that I might disservice myself by going into such a specialist area right after graduation. I decided to stick with adults. I then became aware of a new opportunity within my very own department. There was a pilot plan of sorts to introduce new grad nurses to the Critical Care Nursing Float Pool. If I had learned one thing about myself by then, it was that I learn best by diving head first. As I thought about it, I became more enthusiastic about it. There would be so many new skills to learn and master! I would be able to compile endless information in my mind about the new medications, diseases, and treatments. I applied.
I knew there would be a lot of applicants for the position, so I made sure I had two or three backup plans in place. I applied and interviewed for positions in the CVICU at Cleveland Clinic, the Critical Care Fellowship at Riverside, and many more.
On graduation day, I got the phone call that I had been accepted as one of the two first new grads in the Critical Care Float Pool. I accepted the offer and I’ve never turned back!
In summary, get experience. Find out what your passions are. Pursue your goals but have a backup plan. You got this!

Kate Best is a 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

5 Tips to Owning Your First Year as a Nurse

  1. Buy a book that will keep you refreshed on your nursing skills and any questions that may come up in the midst of work. So you think you know everything (skills wise, per say) now that you’ve spent the last few years feet deep in books and clinical? That’s what I thought too. I’ve been a nurse for almost 4 years now and I still come across things that I haven’t done since nursing school (i.e. chest tubes) or things I’m still sticky about. When this happens while I’m at work, I write on a post-it note to look it up when I get off work and refresh myself. What are these books you speak of Sydney!?!?  I have one that I saved from studying for my NCLEX, which I’m sure every one of you reading this post have heard of, Saunder’s Comprehensive. I also bought a practice area specific book that I find even more helpful, Medical-Surgical Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! You can find in almost every type of nursing track.
  2. There’s an app for that!! Yes, yes. Nursing too. Piggybacking (no pun intended) off of my first piece of advice, there are many apps that coincide with and can enhance your clinical practice. Some of them being ones that will reinforce your skills with videos of specific tasks and more. One that I highly suggest is MediCode, and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like; this app reinforces your BLS/ACLS skills and mindset in a different way than manikin activity and textbook reading. Some other apps I recommend keeping handy are a nursing dictionary (I use Nursing Dictionary by Farlex) and subscribing to Medscape, which you may already have through school (I got mine from clinicals at OSU!). This app alerts you of evidence-based research and changes in care (I promise you EBP was required with purpose. It follows you everywhere 🙂 It also has a handy drugs, diseases, and diagnosis tool as well.
  3. Befriend every single person you work with. That is if you’re able to. This will make the awkwardness of walking into the break room at the start of your shift as a newbie more bearable. But for real, getting to know as many people as you can has many benefits – almost as many as your degree :). This includes everyone from your manager, fellow doctors/residents, all the way to nursing colleagues in other departments since you will likely be working with many disciplines. When you get a patient back from surgery and the PACU nurse is your weekly coffee buddy, you’ll likely get them returned in above average condition. I know people say work is work and pleasure is pleasure and that the two should remain separate, but for me work is my life, therefore I keep an open mind to as many friends as possible – makes work just a tad less stressed.
  4. Don’t fret if you have more than one preceptor. I found this to be one of the most helpful things as a new nurse. Despite starting a new job as an experienced nurse and having a brief orientation with nurses, I still enjoy having them all show me the ropes. It’s nice to pick up on multiple people’s tips and tricks, the way they do things and hone in on their suggestions and utilize all of it in order to find your own way that is efficient for you. We never stop learning as nurses.
  5. Get involved!!!! Whether you were or are in extracurricular activities or nursing councils in undergrad, the same justifications for doing so then pertain to now in your professional career. One of the easiest, no-hassle ways to do this is by joining a nursing association (ANA or specialty). Other options of doing so include joining a council at your hospital such as nursing council or shared governance where you can be at the forefront of change and culture on your floor. And yes, of course the bonus of these being resume boosters do pertain, especially if you are planning on going back to graduate school!

Sydney Adelstein is a 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Top 5 Benefits of Being a Nurse

There is a reason why U.S News places Registered Nurse in its Top 20 Best Jobs- nursing is one of only three careers listed in the Top 20 that only requires a Bachelor’s degree, with the rest requiring Master’s or Doctorate degrees. How is it that a career that only requires a Bachelor’s degree can be so awesome? You’re about to find out!

1. Job Security

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the demand for nurses in the US to increase by 26% by 2020 (Nursejournal.org, 2019). An estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers retire each year (Friedberg, 2019). This opens up vacancies in a lot of crucially important nursing positions. Additionally, as older members of these cohorts require skilled nursing care, they will need nurses to care for them. With the population of senior citizens predicted to increase by 75% between 2010 and 2030, the Geriatric nursing specialty is in high demand (Lanigan, 2018). 

2. Versatility

 One of my favorite perks of nursing is the versatility of your degree! There are so many specialties within nursing. Not only does this allow you to switch specialties when you get disinterested or burnt out, but it allows you to constantly evolve within your professional practice. If you find that bedside nursing is hard on your body, you can be impactful away from the bedside with nursing research or nursing informatics! You can even be a nurse from home by being a medical transcriber or a telehealth triage nurse. Another perk- travel nursing! Say you’re sick of the joys of Ohio weather- take an assignment somewhere where the wind doesn’t hurt your face. There are so many different things you can do with nursing! 

3. Community

The nursing community is quite huge- the community you find in nursing is so much more than the 250k + followers on the “Nurses with Cards” Facebook page. You’ll find so many nurse-founded and managed social media accounts sharing everything from recent evidence-based research to funny memes. Additionally, there are so many professional organizations you can join that will connect you with nurses who share the same passions as you do. I personally belong to American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), which connects me to thousands of critical care-loving nurses as well as hundreds of hours of continued education. When I speak of nursing community, I also speak of the great relationships you’ll be able to make with coworkers. In my position, I have the privilege of floating to each ICU and ED, making so many friendships along the way. The support system you’ll find in nursing is second to none, and it truly makes a difference on a difficult day. 

4. Compassionate Career– Nursing is truly one of the most compassionate careers. Each day you get to help people- you see patients at their worst and have the privilege to make each day a little less difficult for them. A gesture as small as hunting for a grape popsicle or making sure the T.V is set to play Jeopardy can make the greatest impact for your patient. As we show compassion in labor and delivery, watching newborn babies experience everything for the first time and helping nervous parents through each new step, we also show compassion in palliative nursing, helping patients reminisce on a life well lived while providing comfort. The ability to make a difference each and every day, no matter how small, is so rewarding. 

5. Career Advancement/Lifelong Learning 

Another wonderful perk of nursing is the access you have to education. Within each specialty, there are tons of skills and competencies you’ll pick up along the way. For example, within ICU nursing, I’ve learned the following skills: Cortrak Nasoenteric feeding tube insertion and bridling, CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy), Ultrasound-Guided IV placement, NIHSS (Stroke certification), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), and so much more! I was also able to achieve my CCRN certification for critical care nursing. My initial thought when presented with all of this education was “man, that’s going to be expensive”, but we actually get paid education hours to complete training and OSUNO reimbursed me for my CCRN exam cost. In addition to the education you can pursue at work, you can also pursue advanced degrees within nursing. Many health organizations will provide tuition assistance, making career development achievable for employees. With Nurse Anesthetist and Nurse Practitioner showing up on almost every list of “top jobs”, tuition assistance is a priceless perk! 

Nursing has been a wonderful experience for me. As someone very much committed to professional development,  lifelong education, and spreading smiles, nursing has been an outlet for all of my passions and a doorway to countless opportunities. 

References

Friedberg, B. A. (2019, August 12). Are We in a Baby Boomer Retirement Crisis? Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032216/are-we-baby-boomer-retirement-crisis.asp

Lanigan, K. (2018, January 3). 10 Fastest Growing Nursing Careers in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nursingjobs.com/news-resources/10-fastest-growing-nursing-careers-in-2018/

Writers, S. (2019, August 26). 5 Booming Nursing Specialities Where the Demand is High – 2019 NurseJournal.org. Retrieved from https://nursejournal.org/articles/5-booming-nursing-specialities-where-the-demand-is-high/

Kate Best is a 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Meet Sydney Adelstein!

Hi again!

My name is Sydney Adelstein for those of you who do not know me. I graduated from the College of Nursing in 2016 and I am from Cleveland, Ohio… yes I moved back home because I truly whole heartedly believe that home is where the heart is – after all, while I was studying for my NCLEX the Cavs broke the drought, so it was (and still is) a fun place to be 🙂.

I currently am in my 3rd year of being a nurse. I recently transitioned as a Step Down nurse at University Hospitals, which is the same health system I have been working at for the last 2 years. I have a vast array of backwards nursing experience.  I started out in Emergency, and then went to Med/Surg-Tele, and here I am now in Step Down, more so cardiac.

To this day, I still tell people that the push from my parents is what made me want to become a nurse. I switched my major 3 times until they persuaded me to change it to Pre-Nursing the day before OSU orientation, and boy am I glad I did! Nursing is my passion, so I thank my parents for every little push.

I always knew that I did not want to be sitting at a cubicle for the rest of my life (mad props to those that do and love it). I knew I was always going to be in health care one way or another as I watched my major switch between pharmacy, athletic training, and physical therapy. I have to say I was completely blindsided to the fact that nursing was my calling because I didn’t realize how much it was for me until I started working, especially in my second year of being a nurse. Over the years, my passion keeps growing every day. They really do mean it when they say your parents know you best 🙂.

It’s hard to say what the best advice I’ve ever gotten is. If I had to pick something, it would be that life truly is too short to be unhappy and not do what you love, and that you should go for every opportunity available to you. Take chances and don’t stop taking them until you’re satisfied and achieved all you can. Hence why I’ve switched positions three times in my three years of being a nurse and am over halfway done with my Master’s degree. Life is too short to not be happy!

I suck when it comes to delving out fun facts, I find them truly hard to think of but I did just go to Jamaica and stayed at an all-inclusive resort. I am proud to admit I did not go swimming in the pools once. Although I did not hesitate to go zip-lining, ATVing and horseback riding. Can you say bucket list??!?!?!!???

Sydney Adelstein is a 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Meet Kate Best!

Hi there!

My name is Kate Best. I graduated from The Ohio State University College of Nursing in 2015 and have been working in the ICU Float Pool ever since! I grew up in a small city East of Cleveland called Chardon- I came to Columbus for school and never left! When I was 14, my sister was struck by a car and life-lighted to a Level 1 Trauma Center in Cleveland. She was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Watching the nurses’ positive impact and compassion along her road to recovery (she’s doing great!) inspired me to pursue a career in nursing. I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years, but the best has come from Dean Bern- practice wellness! My job gets SUPER stressful at times, so I balance out the stress with amazing hiking trips, daring climbing adventures, and relaxing camping trips… and cats.

Fun fact: I recently made a cat calendar featuring my cats and I!

Kate Best is a 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Working during the holidays can be a fun and stressful time. Between trying to request off your holiday to work and other coworkers swarming you to swap days with them, it can become a season of mixed feelings.  I for the most part happen to enjoy working the holidays, when I’m on day shift as is the case this year, because I get to make the holiday pay and then spend time with my family afterwards. There’s nothing wrong with making a lil extra money 🙂

Not only is it super stressful trying to rearrange your daily lives, work schedules, and other amenities around working the holidays — if you have no choice — worrying about walking into roomfuls of potlucks and holiday parties can be a concern for some people, like myself. I have always tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I’ve found that sometimes this career can get in the way of that.  From patient’s families sending in food for the staff, to coworkers bringing in food, to the end all be all holiday potlucks and employee holiday meals, I have seen it all!  Hopefully I can shed some light on it and show you that it’s actually very manageable with a few quick tips.

Regulate a solid exercise schedule: When I am on day shift I make time to go to the gym before I go into work, as it allows me to wake up and be on my A-game come time to clock in at 7am. Making sure to fit in exercise, regardless of it being holiday season or not, can set you up for much success mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Pack the proper snacks and foods: If you don’t want to partake in any holiday snacking, bring your own food! Or if it’s a potluck and you want to join in, bring healthier options that are shareable — it’s a win-win: healthy food for you and still being able to partake in the potluck. This is a key piece of advice that pertains to almost any day at work.  Most cafeterias have adequate healthy food (mine has hard boiled eggs, a salad bar, and others), but typically it’s best to bring your own 🙂

Send in your requests well in advance: Even months or years if so be it!! This one more so goes along the lines with not getting too stressed during the holiday work season… but, if there’s a holiday you know you absolutely cannot work, request it in advance!  I work with people who have requested off or asked other people to switch well in advance. Now, if your position is rotating holidays like mine you may have no choice, but you can always switch with people. Give and take a little bit.

Don’t forget to take time for your most important patient- YOU: I have probably said this in almost all of my posts, but at the end of the day you are your #1 priority and most important patient. I’ve recently been working a lot, picking up extra shifts because I have a hard time saying no to extra money!! It finally took a toll on me and I became physically and mentally exhausted I had to turn down extra shifts over the weekend. I realized that I won’t be the nurse I strive to be everyday if I am not treating myself in a healthy manner nor doing the things I encourage and teach my patients to do – rest.

Taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally will not only get us through the stressful holiday seasons, but helps us every day in the nursing world to keep enjoying what we love! Until next time bloggers 🙂

Sydney Adelstein is 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Holiday Traditions

The holidays have always been my favorite time of the year. My family is spread out all over the country and the holidays are the only time of the year that we all get together to celebrate.

A large part of my family’s holiday traditions revolve around food. Coming from a diverse European ancestry, my family has accumulated countless “secret recipes,” ranging from my Czech grandmother’s stuffing to my German grand mother’s Christmas cookie recipe.

For the past several years, I have hosted Friendsgiving, which has been a really cool experience. Everyone brings a dish that is part of their family tradition. It’s really great to experience different cultures this way.

Working in healthcare does cause some scheduling difficulties when it comes to the holidays. I have gotten into the habit of celebrating Thanksgiving a week early with my family so that I can work the holiday. It has worked out pretty well and has formed a new family tradition! I don’t get too upset about not being able to celebrate on the actual holiday because I feel like any time my family and friends are together, that’s the real spirit of the holiday.

Kate Best is 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Relighting Your Nursing Passion

Career burnout is a hot topic with almost any profession, but it seems burnout is more common with nurses. Working 36 to 40 hours a week, whether it be in three 12-hour increments or four 8-hour increments, it is very easy to get tired of what we do every day, and sometimes our work takes a toll on our everyday lives — that’s usually how you know burnout is approaching.  I recently found myself coming home after a typical shift (which usually last around 13 or 14 hours by the time I get to clock out) and sprawling across my bed unable to move.  Nurses stand on their feet, sometimes sprinting around a hospital, for over 12 hours a day.  I come from a background where I used to workout every day while in school, but I didn’t realize how much more exercise I would be getting at work.  Also it’s not just a physical burnout some nurses feel — they also feel emotional and mental burn out as well.  I won’t go into details, but we all know the types of things we can encounter at work. It can be super tough.

I have found a couple ways that I try to prevent burnout from happening and keep the spark for what I love doing every day alive.  Sometimes the best thing to do is take some time off.  Most workplaces allow for PTO to be accrued and taken as long as it’s available.  I have planned a getaway trip to Nashville in January where I am allowing myself to take much deserved time off from work.  I also periodically request random days off, obviously in advance according to hospital policy, where I can spend time with my family or have a day to myself to do school work or things that I enjoy.  I find that when I have a week where I don’t work nearly as much as a typical week, I start to miss being there and it excites me to go back to work the next shift.  More importantly, if you are having a bad or stressful day at work – which I’m sure we all have or soon will have – I find that it’s best to take a quick break, calm down with some deep breaths, talk it out with a coworker, and quickly pick yourself back up and move on.

We have learned to be resilient as nurses and when we encounter very hard things at work — whether it be with a patient or personal news we may receive at work — we all know that we can’t bring emotions into the patient care area. I find the same adage helps with dealing with a stressful day at work that typically could be the breaking point with nurse burnout.  I recently had a very stressful day at work the other day, on the verge of tears, so I talked it out with a coworker to let out my emotions, picked myself back up, and went on in to the next patient room.  As long as we are caring for ourselves first and foremost, nurses are typically able to handle all facets of the job that are thrown our way.  Don’t forget, we’re just superheroes disguised in scrubs.

Sydney Adelstein is 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Fighting Self Doubt

As a novice nurse, I experience a fair amount of self doubt. I work among some extremely talented and knowledgeable nurses. When I compare myself to these nurses with decades of experience, I sometimes feel discouraged and inadequate. I have been able to combat these feelings of self doubt with a few steps:

  1. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something- just ask. This is the easiest way to learn new things. If I’m getting shift report and someone uses an abbreviation I don’t understand, I’ll ask for clarification. If doctors order an intervention that I’m not familiar with, I’ll ask for the meaning behind the intervention. A lot of the times this occurs during bedside multidisciplinary rounds, so it creates a learning moment for everyone.
  2. Educate yourself. A major perk of working at a teaching hospital is the large amount of continued education and specialization classes offered. If I feel inadequate in a certain area of my practice, there is always an educational opportunity available to help me combat that inadequacy. For example, last year I took care of several immigrant patients, which I had minimal experience with. I found a continued education class on providing care to the immigrant population and now feel better prepared to work with this population.
  3. Get involved. I recently joined the Critical Care Quality and Education committee and am working with other ICU nurses to provide education to our units to improve care. For example, OSUWMC just rolled out the Yale Swallow Evaluation, which is a tool developed to determine whether patients are able to swallow safely or if they need a formal speech therapy consult and swallow evaluation. Our committee received education on the evaluation and we in turn presented the material to our units. In other words, the best way to learn is to teach!

In summary, be proactive in your practice. When you feel inadequate, reflect and determine why. It’s scary being a new nurse, but you’ll have tons of resources at your fingertips and lots of people to help you along the way!

Kate Best is 2015 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. 

Why I Became A Nurse

I had switched jobs — not only type of nursing but health system as well. I loved where I left and loved even more where I came to.  I started out my nursing career in an emergency department, which was where I had been throughout college, which is very different than the basic nursing we are all taught in nursing school, and very different than med-surg nursing.  Since you are with patients for a short time, you don’t get that one-on-one bonding with the family you get in med-surg since you typically receive the same assignment day-in and day-out as long as you are working.  That’s one of the big differences.  But there are always the instances where you have special encounters with patients and you realize that it doesn’t matter what type of nursing you do, you still come into contact with patients who you not only make a difference in their life but ones who make a difference in yours.

I had had a patient/family who was very emotional with new diagnoses and issues being hospitalized, so needless to say, she was very vulnerable.  I remember caring for them at change of shift, so all I mainly did was start an IV and draw bloods and do an assessment.  Within that 15-minute time frame, I was able to sit down at the bedside and interact with them as I did what I needed to do.  When I left, the patient’s wife was in tears and “had” to give me a hug “even though [she] wasn’t supposed to” just because of the compassion, time, and attention I had devoted to them during such a difficult time.

About 5 months later, I was at my new job on a night shift.  I was at the nurses’ station and someone had popped their head around and said, “Wait! I know you! Oh my goodness!” and put her hands to her mouth and got teary eyed.  We both remembered each other.  This time she was there with her father, so again it was another emotional time for her.  She proceeded to let me know how happy it had made her feel to see me during such a difficult time and continued to reiterate to all of my coworkers how amazing I was that first time I took care of her family.

This woman having remembered the impact I had on her and her family, along with praising me to my new coworkers about something so personal was a very fulfilling experience to reflect back on why I became a nurse.  Everyone hears people, particularly nurses, say how they’re always reminded why they chose this profession, and this is one of the simplest and purest examples of why.  I have been in the field of nursing for about 3 years (working as nurse for 1) and have experienced many, many joys and reinforcements as to why I became a nurse, but this interaction is the one that will leave a smile on my face for a lifetime.  People aren’t lying when they say to “do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Sydney Adelstein is 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing.