13 interview tips for your next nursing job!

I figured this was a good subject considering, I am about to find myself having to interview. My contract where I am ends November 3rd, and so I am on the look out! (Look for an article about non-compete clauses in employment contracts coming soon)! And of course it is Friday the 13th, so we have to do 13 tips! So here we go!

1. Relax!

I know this is easier said then done! But in an interview you really want to be confident. Being to nervous can come across as your not confident. It is okay to be a little nervous, but mostly you need to appear relaxed. Interview’s don’t have to be scary! Most interviewers know they are going to have nervous candidates. Just don’t get yourself so worked up you can’t answer  questions!

2. Do your homework!

If you are applying for an organization look up their mission statement. Does it align with your idea of a company you would want to work for? If not, then move on. If so, then work it into some of the questions they might ask. For instance, Why do you want to work at ____ &______? This would be a great time to tell them how your ideals match the companies. Bonus points if you look up the companies history, just to learn a little more about the company. You want to show them you did your research, but also don’t want to come off as stalking them  either!

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3. Dress the part!

Understand what your interviewing for. My advice is to not wear scrubs to an interview if you can help it. I have one time, but I let the interviewer know that I would be leaving work to come to the interview at the allotted time, and was it okay if I wore my scrubs. They said it was fine. I also ended up with the job. For the most part though, even though scrubs are what we spend most of our time in, you want to dress more for business. Probably not a good idea to wear flip flops. I only mention this because I have seen it done, on more than one occasion, and it cracks me up every-time! And yes these were nurses!

4. Be on time

Show up on time, if not a few minutes early. You don’t want to be so early that your putting pressure on the interviewer. They make these time slots, and most likely are working themselves, then fitting you in for an interview. 15 minutes early is probably max, unless they ask you to come in earlier, or you have another reason. Try your best not to be late! Things happen, but if your going to be late, due to traffic or some other unforeseen circumstance. Apologize, Call ahead, and let them know. It is courtesy, and will give them a better time-frame on when to expect you.

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5. Research interview questions

Research (Google search) commonly asked interview questions and commonly asked interview questions for nurses. This will give you good practice and you will have some answers ready if they come up. One I always struggle with if I am unprepared, is “name something about yourself professionally, that you need to improve” or ” what would you consider one of your weaknesses”.  These questions always trip me up. You spend most of the interview, telling them all the positives, and they flip the script. It is best if you can spin your negative into more of a positive.  Or another route would be how your improving  your weakness. What ever route your choose stay positive. This isn’t the time to confess you wake up at midnight, and eat ice cream, and watch the home shopping network!

6. Be prepared to ask questions.

They will ask you if you have any questions for them. Try to have a couple that are relevant to the position your applying for. See how the conversation goes when it comes to compensation. Most likely the person interviewing you has nothing to do with this. Negotiations will be apart of human resources. If you go in talking about what you will make an hour right away, it can be a little off putting. If the interviewer brings it up, it is a different story. If the interviewer sees your past salary and it is way more than this position is offering. It has been my experience before you even come in, or at the interview, this is one of the first things discussed. They don’t want waste your time or theirs if they can’t afford you.

7. Ask about follow up and time frame

This is something easily forgotten in an interview. You have answered the questions like a rock star, the interviewer and you hit it off. You are already imagining working for this company! Slow down, and be sure to ask when you will hear about the decision. If you don’t, then the suspense will eat you up. Some companies will send out letters to all candidates that state if you were chosen or not. Don’t expect this though, when it comes to not being chosen.  This is why a time line can help. If they say they have multiple candidates, and they say I plan on making a decision by the end of next week, and you don’t hear from them. It might be a sign you didn’t make the cut. It is also nice to know when and how you can contact them for a follow up!

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8. Be mindful of body language

Try to stay open and relaxed. If your arms are crossed then it puts out a message of being closed off. Or maybe the interviewer will think your not interested. Smile when appropriate and make eye contact. This is all important to help convey your confidence. When leaving, a firm handshake can help. Don’t crush their hands, but you don’t want to make your hand a limp noodle either. You may want to practice with family or a friend. Also, standing in front of a mirror and practicing interview questions can help. See what you look like when you answer questions.

9. Get their business card

If the offer a business card take it! This will have their contact in case you have follow up questions. Also, you will need an email or mailing address. Sometimes during the interview, nervousness can make you forget important questions, or maybe you need some clarification. If you have their business card, no problem!

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10. Send a thank you

Be sure to follow up with a thank you, but don’t expect a response. This is just to help put you in the mind of the interviewer again and show courtesy. I personally like to send thank you cards via the mail. I feel it is more personal, but it also can be a little old fashioned. An email is appropriate if that is all you have or if that is what you prefer. Really either one is good, because your just wanting to express your thanks. An email has the advantage of being delivered right away. If you send a thank you card by mail, you take the chance of it getting lost in the mail, or being read after the decision is made. So emails can be better, it really is just a matter of preference.

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11 . Keep going on interviews

Even if you have a good feeling about this position, keep any interviews you have scheduled, or keep the job search going. It can really feel like you got the job, but you just never know. It could have nothing to do with you personally. The interviewer could be told they are no longer hiring for the position, so now the position you interviewed for is no longer available. There are many variables and things going on behind the scenes that you have no control of. So it is best if you keep your options open until, you have an offer in writing.

12. Follow up when advised

If they do tell you a time when they expect to follow up with you, try not to initiate contact before. Or if they tell you to contact them on a certain date then follow through. It can be very tempting to contact them before the time they gave you. It can seem like an eternity when your waiting to find out if you got the job or not! If you have a follow up question then this should be okay, just don’t keep harassing them if they have made a decision. You want to make contact with them even if you are no longer interested in the position. You never know if in the future you might be interested in this position again, or in the small world of nursing run into them again.

13. Keep your head up

Depending on where you live the competition can be fierce! There are people with varying degrees and experience. So if you don’t get the job, keep your chin up. It can be even harder when your a new nurse. You really need to stand out! Sometimes employees would rather hire someone who is new, so don’t let that discourage you. Try to find employers who are friendly to new nurses. Above all stay the course and keep trying!

I hope you find these tips useful. I have 12 years under my belt with nursing and interviews. That’s not to mention the jobs prior to nursing! These are some tips I have used and have found helpful. There is always more to learn when it comes to interviews! There is no absolute when it comes to interviewing, but with these tips, and your own research, you can be better prepared! Good luck!

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7 signs your experiencing nurse burnout

Do you really need to know the signs of nurse burnout! I think so! Having experienced it myself, I have found that it can really sneak up on you! Then you’re left with confusion, exhaustion, and you don’t know what to do! So here are 7 signs your heading for nurse burnout! And of course, all of these or just some of these might apply. If anything it might raise a red flag that something is a miss and you need to take heed! Also, am I in no way suggesting you quit your job, or nursing for that matter. I just want you to know the signs of burn out, and how to recognize the symptoms. You can do this by taking a break from your job if you can like a vacation, talking with someone, or maybe a job change is in order. That is okay! If you’re like me, you cant afford to up and quit, I would think most people couldn’t do that. But it can help to look at different specialties and see if a change could help!

1) Are you calling in a lot from work? So have you called in so much your starting to run out of excuses, and you start using some really weird ones like ” My dog has the flu” ” I can’t come to work because I’m stuck in the house” or maybe ” I tried a new recipe from the Food Network, and it was a fail, now I have food poison”. Well, in theory, some of these could be valid excuses, but really if you see the increase in calling in and the dread of going to work, you could most likely be burned out.

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2) Your tired, not just the, I stayed up late and watched Game of Thrones tired. I am talking no amount of sleep can cure this tired. When I get stressed I can sleep for over 12 hours and still not feel like I got any rest. Especially on days after I work. This can also be a warning sign of nurse burnout. Of course, it can also be you can’t sleep! I have also been through this. It seems to be a cycle of no sleep, then excessive sleep. It is important that you get the rest you need, but if you feel like you just can’t get enough, then it is worth thinking about nurse burnout as the cause.

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3) Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression oh MY! This is a sign for sure something is not going right in your life. It could be nurse burnout. If you haven’t experienced a panic attack consider yourself lucky! They are horrible. Mine started this year, mostly in relation to things happening outside of work, but it didn’t help with my nurse burnout. It is important for you to slow down and really find out why the anxiety, panic attacks, and depression is happening. Especially if this is a huge change for you. Sometimes there can be no specific triggers, but you need to take care of yourself regardless. It just might mean taking a break, talking to a counselor, or medication. Whatever it takes to take care of you!

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4) Sickness, sickness everywhere! Are you getting sick more than usual? This is a big sign from your body telling you something is wrong. Stress over time can run down the immune system which will leave you getting sick all the time. I noticed I would get colds all the time. One would end and another would begin. It was miserable! If you start noticing you’re getting sick a lot see your doctor of course, but you might want to reassess the stress in your life also.

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5) Has your family used terms like mean and irritable to describe you? Maybe some other colorful language! Well, personality changes can be a direct result from nurse burnout. Sometimes your family and friends are the first ones to pick up there is something not quite right. I remember my son asking me if I had a good day or bad day at work, every-time I got home. I asked him why he does this, and he said he could tell my mood was changing, and if I had a bad day he didn’t even bother to ask me something. That was a wake-up call! Especially, when I started having more bad days than good!

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6) You absolutely dread going to work. We all have days where we don’t want to go to work. I am talking so much dread you can’t sleep, or you fantasize about running away. On my way to work one time I drove by an airport. I thought to myself, I could totally buy a one-way ticket to just about anywhere, and get out of work. Of course, I went to work, but it made me realize, wow! I need a change!

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7) Feeling under appreciated is also a common sign. Some of this is normal, but when it gets to a point were your feeling more underappreciated than happy, it could be nurse burn out. Nursing is a thankless job. When we do get a thank you it’s awesome. Or if someone tells you your a great nurse, wow! Maybe, even those compliments are going in one ear and out the other. Because you’re burned out, you focus more on the negative and the positive you miss! This could also be a red flag that you are in or heading for nurse burnout. Of course, it does take some examining, because it could just be the work environment your in. Either way, some assessing, and change could need to take place.

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I hope some information was learned about nurse burnout and how to recognize the symptoms. Nurse burnout should not be ignored because the symptoms and warning signs will just increase. It is my hope for you, that you catch it early and take care of yourself. We need good caregivers and in order to keep them, we need good caregivers taking care of themselves. That was a long hard lesson for me to learn!

Nursing School (Drop-out) Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my nursing career story, thus far! So, I decided after being in long-term care for awhile I needed to go back to nursing school, to get my Registered Nursing License (RN). Also, the drama of the ADON and her crazy ways, finally had taken it’s toll. The bad part was, now I was working full-time as a nurse (stress), had a new born at home (stress), and my oldest was starting school (pull hair out, stress) Looking back, it was the most horrible time I could have tried to go back to school. I was also working night-shift! So, I started nursing school, and finished the first two semesters, with lots of problems! Notice I said problems! It was harder to find people to watch 2 kids, while I tried to do home work. My kids were no longer the only grandchildren, so it was harder for grandparents to step up. So my family support was also at an all time low. Gee, I wonder why I ended up dropping out! So at the beginning of the 3rd semester, my very first day I was scheduled to start clinical. I started to drive to the site, and realized I just couldn’t keep going like that. So I turned around, came home, and become a nursing school dropout. That was a hard hit to my ego and finances. By the time I was ready to go back, which was little over a year, they told me I had to start all over. So it felt like I wasted my time and had a bill to show for it. I felt defeated and honestly just thought about not going back to school. After the sting wore off, I decided to wait until my youngest was school aged before I tried it again. I needed a change, so I started working for a doctor’s office. It was the change I needed! I worked with some great people and started to get my confidence back! I learned many different skills that I still use! The doctors office was a specialty in allergy and asthma. Allergy and asthma is a huge deal where I live. So to add that to my nursing tool belt was very benifical.  Before I got too complacent, I knew I had an ultimate  goal still hanging over my head. With encouragement of family, friends, and co-workers, I decided to give my RN another try! This time I found a school that was mostly online, and just a few days required in class. It worked so well for me. I honestly don’t think I could have continued with my education had this not been an option! I wanted my RN badly! By the last semester I was working 5 days a week and going to clinicals on the weekend from 6-6. Looking back I’m not so sure how I managed! I had great family support and my husband really stepped up. When I finally graduated it was such a relief! I actually had a job opportunity before I took the NCLEX. The NCLEX is the dreaded nursing boards. I passed, but I prayed a lot, and was horribly anxious about it! It was really hard to leave the doctors office I worked. For the most part, they hired LPN’s. The couple of RN’s that we’re there were more in supervisor roles. I really didn’t want to be a supervisor, nor was there an opportunity at the time. I really wanted to get some hospital experience, because I knew eventually, I would love to teach, and I felt this would help me to understand, and be a better educator. So I left my comfy 9-5, no holidays, or weekends, and jumped into the world of hospital nursing! Little did I know my nursing skills were going to pushed to their max! It was a great opportunity, but one of the hardest nursing jobs I have ever had. It was also, the one that provided me with a lot of growth personally, and in nursing. So the take away is never give up. Life is going to knock you down, and throw hurdles at you. Take time if you need to, but get back up, and try again! It took 4 years before I tried again, but I did, and I’m happy I didn’t give up. Until next time! Nurse on!

(Photo credit) https://www.nrsng.com/quit-nursing-school/

The Night Shift…

I have returned to work, and I am back on night shift. Aside from the crazy sleep schedule, I really do enjoy night shift. There is always a certain quirkiness among us night shifters, and we just seem to all get along so well. It really works better for my work life. My home life, it can be a bear at times. My family wishes I were on day shift. Sometimes I feel like a zombie when we are out doing family things, especially if I have given up sleep to be with them. At this point in time, it is the best for me. Trying to manage stress levels, and continue on with my career in nursing, it’s best I stay were I am comfortable for now. I know when I start my new journey in nursing education I will have more of a daytime schedule. Honestly, I will miss the nights! There are only certain things that other night shift workers can under stand. I will list a few of the ones I know I deal with on the regular!

  • Everyone thinks your lazy, because you sleep till 3 pm. If I had a quarter for every time I heard, “but you slept all day!” I wouldn’t have to work anymore. I hear from my children, spouse, people who randomly call me. The people that call me are my favorite, because they are genuinely shocked I am still asleep! I can feel them judging me through the phone. I have had many of thoughts of scribbling down names and numbers, to call them at 1 to 2 am in the morning to act surprised also!

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  • In the summer time I feel like a vampire. I bought black out curtains for my bedroom, and I also bought a sleep mask. If my kids come in and open the curtain, I do let out a weird growling sound, and retreat under the covers, which they find hysterical! When I go out in the afternoon I have to wear sunglasses, or at the least my transition glasses, because the sun hurts my eyes! When it comes to going to the pool side we can always spot fellow night shifters by our pasty complexion.

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Any type of caffeine has become my best friend. I have never gotten into the energy drinks, but some night shifters swear by those! If I don’t get my caffeine it is not pretty! I have to have that little pick me up, so I can get started with my day. That is at work and at home!

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The weird hours of the night I go shopping is hilarious. I have gone grocery shopping at 3 am. It is great and scary! There are no lines and all the employees look so bored. It kind of puts me in mind of a movie, like ZombieLand, where it is the apocalypse, and no one is around. So I might have acted like this a time or two while shopping, don’t judge me! I wonder what the workers would think if I brought in a banjo!

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Anyway, it is good to be back. Just taking one day, one step at a time. When I start looking at the big picture I start to get anxious and panic. So, I try to stay in the here and now, at the moment! Goodnight, everyone! Nurse on!

New Journey in Nursing & Life!

Nursing is a hard profession! There are highs and lows, and it isn’t for the faint of heart! When I started in nursing and still today, it was for the clients. Really, throughout my nursing career I really didn’t have any issues with my clients. It’s just the healthcare system itself is rigged against the safety of our clients, and our staff. It isn’t anymore fair to them that we have huge patient loads than it is to us. My mom currently is in a facility for rehabilitation following a very serious illness. The poor nurses are very much over worked, and to see it from the other side was horrible also. Imagine, having to wait for a pain medication for your family  member for over an hour, because the clients nurse has 40 patients she is taking care of, and she just simply can’t get there. The nurse in me feels for the other nurse, but the family member part of me, doesn’t care, that is my mom! So I understand both sides. These types of scenarios is what led me to become burnout in nursing. As I have been leaning about nursing burnout and it’s cause. I feel like it isn’t necessarily that I don’t want to be a nurse anymore. I still have a deep passion for nursing! I think I just need a change, not just in nursing, but in how I cope with stress. So that led me to take up various hobbies, and starting my Journey to my Master in Education in Nursing!

Writing

I have always enjoyed writing. I like the research process and even writing papers. Now sometimes in nursing school your required to write so many papers you wanna pull your hair out! When I suffered with depression as a teenager, I kept a journal and it was really helpful. There is something therapeutic about getting your feelings out on paper and then looking back, and being able to see any changes. So the first step of managing the symptoms of burnout I used was writing. This led me to stumble upon an old sketch book that I had started 20 years ago. It was really eye opening to see some of the writing in there, drawings, and poems that reflected my mood at the times. One thing I did notice my last entry was in 2009. That was depressing in itself. So that’s when I decided to start a blog, because writing in a sketch book is so 1997, ha! It is a very public way to go through feelings and emotions, but a good trade off if it helps, inspires, or other wise encourages just one person! So far it has been a wonderful journey. It has really helped me to get my feelings out on virtual paper now, and has encouraged me to reach for other goals in my life!

Crafts

So I decided I need hobbies! Something other than getting lost in my own thoughts and sleeping. So I have started making all sorts of things from pins, to necklaces, and coin purses.

It’s been so much fun, I even have my youngest son involved! I thought about trying to make things for his schools craft fair in November. That would give me 2 months to make things for it. It’s silly how much something like this can change your mood, but it really does. I thoroughly enjoy it! I actually want to pick up a few hours overtime here and there, because I think of all the craft supplies I can buy!

Education

Last, but not least, I am starting my Masters in Nursing Education on September 1st! I am really excited to see where this new degree will lead me in nursing. I have always wanted to be a nursing instructor, and this will get me closer to that. It is always really scary knowing I am back in NURSING SCHOOL!!! Nursing is hard and so is nursing school! I went back and forth, if it was the right time for me to do it. I decided it was for me, because I needed a change in my nursing career, and this was the best way to bring it about.

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I am going to be a super busy person! That’s good though, less time to think! Be ready for some, I can’t do this post, or I am overwhelmed! Until next time! Nurse on!

 

Nurse bullies: Is it an epidemic and how to stand-up!

Bullying is something we hear about in the news a lot in relation to schools. Something we don’t necessarily associate bullying with is the workforce, in-particular the field of nursing.  On the surface why would you, we are a group of professionals, who had to go through some strenuous training to make it out the other-side.  Every nurse as heard the phrase nurses “eat their young”. As a culture of nurses we have just accepted this to be true. This is not only with brand new nurses to the field, this can be a brand new nurse just to the facility, that is tying to adjust into the culture of the facility. The older nurses usually get blamed for the bullying! New nurses are actually starting to bully the older nurses. So another words it is EVERYONE! Nurse bullying is an epidemic and it is not because of the doctors. Not saying it doesn’t happen, because it does, but not on the scale of nurse to nurse bullying.  There are many theories as to why this is happening, and their are many arguments. Why is it becoming an epidemic ,and how does the victim stand-up, and get help.

Why is it becoming an epidemic?

Did you know in our workforce we have four generations working side by side? That alone is enough to cause major differences. It is also amazing of the wide range of experience, and expertise we can offer our clients, if we come together as a team! As stated before, the older generation tends to get the blame for bullying the younger nurses. This does go on, but it is not just them, and not on the scale that it has been blown up to be. New nurses as mentioned are graduating and are coming in bullying experienced nurses. Why would a new nurse, bully an experienced nurse? Again just like the older nurses, it is not every new nurse. Some are coming out with hyper-inflated self-esteems.  For instance, they just came out of school and have a Bachelors degree in nursing, but this “older” nurse only as an Associates degree,or maybe even a technical certificate. So they think, more education, hence better. What is not seen by (some) new nurses, is that the older nurse may only have a two year degree or technical certificate, but she has been working the floor for 25 years! Both nurses offer things to bring to the table, but they need to work together. That’s what we got to fix. So the epidemic is being caused by many things new nurses, old nurses, there has even been a suggestion of gender playing a role. Personally, I have experienced this. Nursing is a female dominated field. More and more male nurses are coming into the field, and I say bring them on! We need the balance! It is a proven fact the females get into competition with each other (more some than others), and that can lead to friction in the work place. It’s not attention from male counterparts either (sorry guys), it’s more professional competition now. Why can’t we just cheer each other on! Competition is fine, but so is cheering each other on, and ladies, guys have us beat hands down on that (as a general rule). Most of us have heard nurses say, I would rather work with men than women any day. In some situations I have been in, those words have came out of my mouth. The point is there are numerous contributing factors that can lead up to nurse bullying! If you happen to find yourself the recipient of bullying, now what?

 

How to stand-up? (Professionally of course)

When I say stand up, I don’t mean turn into Muhammad Ali! Image result for Boxer cartoon ali

For the sake of this article I am not talking about physical violence. That goes beyond just bullying , that is assault!  I am referencing name-calling, intimidation, threatening, ethnic jokes, slurs, and blaming to name a few. In my opinion, if it has reached physical violence, it has reached into the criminal realm. Think about it, if your were mowing your grass, and your neighbor of 16 years came over and said, “I hate how you mow grass, its ugly, and you don’t know what your doing”. And then proceeds to push you off your lawn mower. As your laying there ,your neighbor kicks you in the leg and says ” You better start mowing better, or else”, and then walks away. What would you do? Most people would want to go Muhammad Ali all on their neighbors face, but hopefully they would call the police, and they would handle it. Of course, if you have to protect yourself you would. But see the point I am making. It crosses a different line when violence enters in. So how do you professionally stand up to bulling behavior? The number one thing you can do is name the behavior. If for example, a supervisor is yelling at you in the middle of the nurses station, in front of other coworkers and patients/families, ask her to move to another location. Start to move toward the desired location. You could say “Patients and Families can hear you and you are screaming and yelling at me” (name the behavior). Another example can be, “I was told by another nurse, that you were bad mouthing how I give report (name the behavior), you could come to me with concerns” It doesn’t have to be completely confrontational, but the bully needs to know that you are not going to accept this behavior, and that you do recognize what they are trying to accomplish. This might not work, but it is still an important step to send the message to the bully this is not professional, and won’t be tolerated. You can do this in a professional way, there is no reason to resort to their methods, or now you have just become a bully yourself. Then start to write down the incidents, date, time, details! What do they tell you in nursing school? If you don’t document it, then it didn’t happen. That means if you have to go up the chain of command write down who you talked to, the result, and if they referred you to anyone. There is always a next person up. Just keep record of everything. Because if this person decides to escalate things, and somehow gets your job in jeopardy, you have a whole lot of evidence backing up a history of abuse, and steps you have taken to stop it. Now sometimes it is just easier to throw your hands up and move on. Some times that is the answer, and sometimes it is not. What if you landed your dream job? Everything was perfect, but the bullying. That would be worth sticking up for. So the situation is going to  be unique to everyone.

Conclusion

The main take away I want everyone to learn from this, if you don’t already know,  bullying among nurses does exist. I would actually be really shocked if you hadn’t experienced it yourself, or know someone who has. If you find yourself a victim of bullying, then please don’t let it keep going, because it will eventually escalate. Like stated before, sometimes the best advice is to just simply walk away. Sometimes that is not an option, maybe you can’t afford to just walk away until another job is lined up. That doesn’t mean you have to be someones punching bag until you find one. Name their behavior, document what is happening, report, and use the chain of command. Even if your leaving, some other poor soul is going to replace you, and be the new punching bags. So hopefully the bullying can be fixed and the cycle stopped for the next nurse. As nurses we have a lot in common just with our profession alone. We should share a common bond, lift each other up, and be our biggest cheerleaders. Lets hope that we are leaning towards that one nurse at a time, that’s all it takes! Take care of yourself and your fellow nurses! Nurse on!

Reference

Thompson, R. (n.d.) Dr. renee thompson’s series on nurse bullying. American Sentinel University. Atlanta, GA. http://ppc.americansentinel.edu/wp-content/uploads/Dr-Renee-Thompson-Series-on-Nurse-Bullying-1-22-2016.pdf

I would rather Work…than nursing!

I would rather work (insert any other job here) than nursing. Or maybe, I should have went to school for this or that? Have you ever had those thoughts? If you have your not alone. I have had many of conversations among nurses. We are sitting around the nurses station dreaming about selling seashells down by the seashore! I know I have, more so recently. One of the funniest conversations I ever had with my oldest son, was when I received a phone call in the car from an application I had put in, at a factory that molded plastic. He could not understand why I would go from nursing to “welding plastic”, ha! The funny thing is, I had several applications out at several different places! And none of them were nursing related, and actually kind of felt good. I was kind of like Tom Cruise in the movie, Jerry Maguire when he sings “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty!

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It was an awesome 5 minutes! Of course the reality hit of the major pay cut I was taking.  Money isn’t everything, but you do still have to pay the bills. So at one point I had worked out a plan, and would work basically three jobs to make up for the income I would lose being a nurse. All this just so I wouldn’t have to work a nursing job. Sounds absolutely flipping ridiculous doesn’t it. I would have never been home, and then completely stressed out just for different reasons. But when you’re upset and not thinking rationally, you start making wonky decisions. Of course my husband helped me to realize I was being a little silly, okay maybe A LOT silly! Also, after reflecting on why I was so upset with nursing in general, I realize I just needed a change. And I’m still in the process of discovering what that change is. Because I still have a passion for taking care of people. I love my clients! One thing I really like to do is teach. It’s something even in my non-nursing jobs that I loved to do. I’m always the one that would take ,or was asked to take, the new employees, and train them. And I really do love education, research, and the university setting. I should be starting my Master’s in Nursing Education (MSN), in September. I have prayed and prayed about what I should do. I know from an LPN, I was interested in nursing education. Now it’s time I make it a reality! What are some of the reasons you got discouraged? A few of mine were:

  • Short staffed
  • Unsupported
  • Large Patient assignments
  • Polices & charting taking away from patient care
  • Never getting breaks

We really need good nurses! And better yet, we need them to stay in this profession. So there are some things that need to be fixed. But in order to start fixing things, you have to acknowledge it’s a problem. And for far to long, it has just been looked at with blinders on. I hope that changes! These are a few of the issues I think that led me to thoughts of leaving the profession completely. Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comment section, that you might have had related to an area other than nursing you thought about working, or things on the job that just make you start questioning your life choices, ha!  God Bless and nurse on!

Funny Nursing Memes

Well after the sad story of part 2 of my nursing career, I figured we could all use a laugh! Really, laughter for me has been a god send! Comedy and humor has got me through some of the darkest times in life. So I bring to you several of these memes that I have found over the years that are nursing related, that make me LOL! Like, for realz laugh out loud! Unfortunately, I did not create any of these! Some very smart people out there in the Internets did, and thank god for them!

  1. We all know that one person that says this…

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2) Am I the only one who thinks like this…

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3) I have worked both shifts ,so I am allowed to think this way, Ha!

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4) This was the look I pretty much had all day every day at the hospital!

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5) That right there is funny, and only a nurse can say LOL! (and for inquiring minds, yes both has happened to me)

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6) I always worry how the stress is going to effect me! Then I worry, that I worry to much lol!

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7) There is truth to this!! Ask anyone who works a full-moon! I keep track of them now that I am on night shift!

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8) Yep, pretty much sums up most shifts

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9) Say what?! Can I get a new patient, trade maybe…do we trade here?

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10) And when we finally get to leave…

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These were all in good humor! Hope you all enjoyed! I love my patients. Really, over the years they honestly are what keeps me coming back! And of course some wonderful co-workers! Until next time! Nurse on!

 

 

 

Part 2 My first job! ( I can change the world)

I hit the ground running with my resume in hand. I had decided in nursing school that I wanted to work in the hospital setting. I want to start out in medical surgical nursing, and really get a good skill set. That was the thinking when I first started nursing school. Now medical surgical nursing is it’s own specialty, which it should be! I became disappointed when I realized most hospitals around my area were not hiring LPN’s. I had to shift my focus if I wanted a job.  So I started looking into long term care nursing. It wasn’t long after I applied that I was getting calls left and right. I was in demand and it felt great! I decided on a long term care establishment and accepted my first nursing job!

The realities of nursing hit like a brick. I was given 3-4 days training, which basically consisted of “here are the keys, if you have any questions come find me”. I was taking care of 20-25 patients, more if I worked the night shift. It was a complete shock. I had treatments and charting, medications, families, and cna’s to manage. It was only for 8 hours, 5 days a week, but everyday was a race just to get care done. I could really only do the bare minim for my clients, because of time. I went from thinking I was going to change the world with care and compassion, to depression and guilt. Every shift I worked I gave it 100%, and I still felt like I came up short. I was finding out that nursing school was in a protective little bubble,and I was just now being let out to see the reality of nursing. It hit hard and I didn’t want to let my family know how I was feeling, because everyone was so happy for me. I prayed and decided to stick it out, and luckily I had a senior nurse who took me under her wing, that would help me when I didn’t know what the crap I was doing! She was also a great listener. Unfortunately, the assistant director of nursing (ADON) at the time decided I was going to be her new “punching bag”, and for a year I experienced workplace intimidation, bullying, whatever you want to call it. It was hell.

This nurse would come in, and in the morning her first stop was to make me feel worthless about the day before. Other nurses witnessed this and would intervene at times, or try and distract her. She would come in and criticize my charting, how long it took me to pass medication, or anything else she could think of. I understand this is part of her job, but it went above and beyond. I sought advice from fellow nurses, on how I could improve. I was told I was doing great that this particular person just likes to pick a punching bag (especially a new nurse), and will move on shortly. Well, shortly turned into months and I had finally had it. I had asked her politely to pull me aside if there were problems (she wouldn’t), to stop cussing at me (she wouldn’t), and I even asked her if she could start off with a hello in the morning before she started into yelling ( of course she didn’t). Her response was always “I am making you into a better nurse”. So I went to her boss the director of nursing (DON). I asked if we could have a meeting and possibly discuss what had been going on. Well needless the say it didn’t go well. The ADON was yelling in the meeting and calling me a liar, and getting real defensive. Finally, the DON just asked me to leave, and she would talk to her. I returned to the floor thinking “we’ll at least she saw some of the behavior I was describing, so surly my days of darkness had to he ending”! Well, not really. The ADON actually left the meeting and come found me on the floor I was working. I was in the middle of medication pass. She stormed down the hall like a bull charging at a matador! She slammed into my med cart pushing it at least 3 feet. I was in shock. I thought this is it she is going to resort to physical violence on now. Of course there was no one around to see this. She just stuck her finger in my face and told me if I thought it was bad before, I had seen nothing yet. I ran and found my nurse friend, I was visibly shaken. She didn’t know what to do. She told me just to keep waiting it out. So my torment continued on and off for weeks, until I got a survey where I could fill out how my supervisors were doing, and it was anonymous! This not only went to the DON, but corporate. The DON had already made very clear to me she wasn’t going to do anything about it, so I unloaded in the survey.

Well, a few days went by and I came back from a break, and saw the ADON sitting at the nursing desk where I usually sit. She looked visibly upset. I went behind the desk to put my things up, and she started to interrogate me. She stated “I know you were the one who ratted me out, admit it”. Needless to say she completely lost it in front of everyone and bought herself a one way ticket out the door. She was let go, basically given the option to resign or be fired. Another words she became another organizations problem. Looking back now, I cant believe a stayed in that situation as long as I did. Hindsight, I wish I would have stood up for myself more, and maybe prevented this person from moving on and bullying other nurses. Rumor has it she did end up getting fired from the other company for the same type of behavior. I did choose to learn from this situation. I developed better coping skills, and learned to be more assertive. I wouldn’t wish this experience on any nurse new or experienced, but I chose to not let it define me, and shape my future negatively.  If anyone else is experiencing this type of workplace bullying, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your supervisors, and follow the chain of command. Let your family and friends know what is happening, and if you need to, talk to a professional. Most work places offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that can help. When something like this happens it can be frightening, and you can feel alone. You are not, please don’t do what I did, and what so long to stand up for yourself, and let others know about the situation. The saying is true you have to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others. It took me years to figure that out!

 

Everyone needs a hobby…even me!

I ran across an old sketch book I had, and started in 2000. I have everything in there from drawings, to poems, and a top 10 bucket list! I can check off 3 of those, so I have 7 more to go, not to shabby! After I read and looked at my drawings, I realized my last entry was from 2009! That means I went approximately 8 years with no further drawings, poems, or any type of expressions. I looked at the blank pages and realized, I need to take some of my own advice on burnout, and take up a hobby! I ended up staying up all night looking on Pinterest and you-tube for craft ideas. I remembered a recent trip to Atlanta where I drove 7 hours to see a Labyrinth exhibit at a Jim Henson Museum. What is Labyrinth your probably wondering? It is a movie, and freaking awesome one. Stick around and trust me, you will see I am obsessed with this movie! I wanted to buy some labyrinth pins online, and they cost anywhere from 10-30 dollars. I thought to myself, I could make that! So I got some supplies and started drawing, and brainstorming. Of course the kids caught wind and started placing their pin orders! It was a good trial and it worked! I really enjoy making pins! Like so much, when I ran out of supplies, my husband said I need to wait to buy more until I have steady checks coming in again. (Burned out remember, I have took some time off). Which I understand but, I decided to sell some things I just had sitting around to get more supplies! I know it might seem minor and when people say “You should get a hobby”, you start thinking of excuses why you don’t have time. But since I started my hobby I can already feel my mood change. I used to take long naps in the day if nothing was planned. Now I am hurrying up to get stuff done so I can make art! So long story short, I took my own advice, and advice I have ignored for 8 plus years, and I am thankful I did. As long as your hobby makes you happy (and is legal, ha!) do it!

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My husband thought it was silly at first, but was happy I was happy. And after the first few batches, he started putting in orders, Ha! I have some original designs that I plan on posting. Also, some more nursing related pins. Instead of being lost inside my head, or sleeping, I am creating! The sky is the limit! Until next time!