My Nurse Consultant

For The New Nurse: It Gets Better

As a new nurse  it can be very easy to get overwhelmed and feeling like so many things coming at you from all directions. Relax, it gets better. Many a nurse has experienced the exact feelings that you are currently going through right now. It is easy for you to want to throw in the towel.

Is that something you really want to do? After all the time, money and hard work spent in nursing school, don’t give away your strength like that. Today, I am going to share 5 helpful things for you to overcome that overwhelmed feeling.

Tips on Becoming

  1. Leave work and work- The number one reason, you begin to feel overwhelmed is because you carry the invisible workload home even after your shift is ended. You fret about what you did, what you thought you didn’t do and what you might do the next shift. That is a lot of load to carry. The minute you end your shift and clock out, discipline yourself and find something else that you enjoy and do that instead.
  2. Have a social life- A lack of this means that you have too much time to think of (1) above. So in the absence of (1), find something to replace it. Hang out with friends or family or whatever your social life you enjoy doing. It is a very positive way to de-stress and rejuvenate.
  3. Share Your Work place stories- Not at your work place, but find other new nurses to talk about your “war” stories. You will be amazed to realize that things are not as bad as you think they are and it is not only you.
  4. Take Notes: if you haven’t already, get organized. You will find that when you take notes and write down the tasks you need to accomplish before your shift is over. You won’t feel so overwhelmed, plus you will know that exact not-so-high-priority tasks that did not get done and that you can pass on to the next shift. Remember, nursing is a 24-hour job.
  5. Learn to say no: No one else will do it for you. Be polite but learn to stand up for yourself. Not standing up is what makes you feel like you can’t do it, but knowing that you can, gives you confidence and inspires you more.

Lastly, know that other nurses have been through the same as you. Some came close to giving up, but most stayed behind and took it one day at a time. It only got easier as skills and expertise got better. And it will for you too as well. Be patient and hang in there.

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Nursing Student, You Can Still Have Social Life

Common MisconceptionAs a nurse, a nursing student or family member of either, you have probably heard the comment about no longer having a social life. Relax, that is not true and has never been true. As a nursing student, you DO still have a social life much of it is dependent on how organized you plan your life. I am going to share some helpful tips for that nursing student to find and have a social life.

Things you will need are an organizer  or daily planner and something to write with. And if you are the visual kind of person, get yourself a white board!

Three Tips on getting organized and having a social life in Nursing School

  1. Schedule events ahead of time- There is something about pre-planning that puts your mind at rest. if you know that you have already scheduled it, nature helps you find a way to make out time for that event.
  2. Study Ahead of Time:  Be proactive. At the same of nursing school, you already have a heads-up about your class schedule, tests and activities. Don’t wait till last minute before you begin studying, it only adds stress and panic to you.
  3. Be protective of your time: Use the Pareto Principle here. Concentrate 20% of your time on the most important things that would result in 80% productivity. Don’t spread yourself thin doing so many little tasks that amount to little or nothing. Focus on the three most important!

So nursing student, you can still have a social life. Just plan ahead and focus on the tasks that matter!

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Nurse, how financially savvy are you?

In nursing school, you are taught the skills and knowledge you need in order to survive clinically not taught what it means to be financially independent. Like it or not, nursing is a well-paying profession and how you choose to manage your income can determine the lifestyle you make for your self.

In order for you to determine the way towards becoming financially savvy, you have to determine what is important to you. You have to determine what you will or will not accept, only then can you figure out how to move forward.

The Financially Savvy Nurse

To help you on the right track, here are some questions for you to answer

  1. What do I place value on the most?
  2. What do I see myself doing in 10-15 years?
  3. How much debt do I owe?
  4. How much do I enjoy my current job?
  5. What am I most passionate about?

These questions while not all conclusive serve as a means of forcing you to deeply self-reflect and determine what you want out of this life. If your life is to exist to pay bills, go for it. But if you are tired of the never ending stress of working and paying bills and not doing something you enjoy, then the time to start is now. The time WILL pass anyway. so why not start now on your way to becoming financially savvy?

Here are seven steps to follow

  1. Educate yourself. You can start by reading Dave Ramsey’s book on Financial Peace University. It has helpful tips on how you can manage money.
  2. Consolidate your debt- If you are stuck with so many credit card debt, find a personal loan as a way to consolidate those debts and pay it off easier.
  3. Set up automatic payments and have the money withdrawn out of your account
  4. Have an emergency fund at home or at least handy
  5. Don’t buy everything you see.
  6. Buy in bulk when you can for items you use the most- it saves money in the long run.
  7. Find a PRN job for when you need extra money, so you can work a shift or two and not dip into your savings

Being financially savvy is freeing and gives you peace of mind. Remember that the time will pass anyway, so start now towards becoming financially savvy.

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Building Up Your Nurse Managers

True leadership is one which you don’t allow your insecurity come into play when dealing with your nursing staff.  Nurse managers, it is okay for your nursing staff to respectfully disagree with you.

Your nursing staff are adults who went to school to study and earn their degrees, so give them a chance to make use of their critical thinking skills and blossom. The number one reason why morale is low or the culture of a workplace is ruined is because of too much bureaucracy.

When you properly equip your nursing staff with the right tools and give them the permission to succeed, they will blow your expectations away, every single time.

Permission to Fly

When you allow this, what you have done is allow your nursing staff becoming actively engaged. No longer are they moving through the motions like zombies but now, their minds and selves are actively engaged and they want to excel and feel like they are contributing to the solution.

Fearful and insecure managers try to dim the candles of their nursing staff because they feel threatened. But a true nurse manager will pave the way for her nursing staff to flourish because when they do, it reflects positively on her and she understands that she is doing a bigger thing in the lives of her nursing staff.

Nurse managers, never underestimate the influence you have over your nursing staff. Some may pretend to be nonchalant, but all it takes is recognition from you that you see them for them to flourish.

Training should be ongoing for nurse managers in how to deal with the emotional intelligence when it relates to their nursing staff. The clinical matters and is important but it is not always about the clinical matters- the emotional side plays a very important role in maintaining a pleasant work place.

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Building Nurse Morale in the Work place

Morale can make or break your  work place culture. It is easy to tell when a work place had good culture or not- you feel the positive vibes and the nurses are not as fearful of policies and ready to tattle on each other. And to mention for the umpteenth time, food is NOT a morale enhancer.

Nurses eat food because they have to eat and because everyone likes to nibble every now. While catering food for your nursing staff is a nice thing to do, it should never replace the foundational structure of having good morale building and culture in place.

empower, enhance, enable and engage – business motivation concept – handwriting on sticky notes

Six Helpful Tips Towards Building Excellent Morale in Your Nursing Staff

  1. Listen: By listening, you have to practice active listening. Don’t listen to respond; listen to understand. Do you truly hear what your nursing staff is saying? Sometimes all it takes to avert low morale is just to listen. You don’t necessarily have to follow what that person is saying, you are only letting them know, “Look, you are important and I hear you.” So cultivate the active listening habit.
  2. Be Visible: As a leader, you need to be seen. If you do this right the first few times, you’ll find that your nursing staff understand. When there is a nursing shortage or crises on the floor, step out and mingle with your nursing staff. Don’t be a nuisance but find out what you can do to help. Most often times, your nursing staff will turn down your offer, but it is the thought that counts. They appreciate it.
  3. Support your Nurses: These days with the fear of litigation, leaders are afraid to stand behind their nursing staff. Don’t be. Do your investigation as you must, but try not to throw your nursing staff under the bus. Be fair and treat them as your client, because they are indeed your client. In doing so, you will have a most loyal staff and employee moral will be through the roof. You will also find that your nursing staff will stick up for you and call out their colleagues on their b.s.
  4. Have a strong mentor-ship program: Most nurses leave their places of employment, not because they couldn’t try harder but because they were miserable and did not have anyone to turn to. The cost of hiring and training nurses only to lose them not long afterwards takes a toll on finances and employee morale. So make sure that in your employee retention program, that having a good mentor-ship program is key. Why go through all the handwork of hiring nurses only to lose them?  But whatever you do, make sure that the mentors are voluntary; do not mandate it or such a program is sure to fail.
  5. Communicate clearly and frequently: Don’t let the grapevine do the communication for you. Find a common medium accessible to all your nursing staff and pass information clearly and frequently.  It improves morale when your nursing staff know what is going on at their workplace.  Nurses spend a huge amount of time and need to know when something will impact them BEFORE it does. It helps with planning and improves morale.
  6. Practice Fairness:  Nothing is more damaging to a nurses’ morale than to feel that they are being treated differently from their colleague. While each personnel situation maybe different, try as much as possible to be fair and consistent at all times. When nurses recognize your fairness, they are inclined to do more and employee morale goes up.
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