April 25, 2013

Notes on Nursing: Meet Chelsea!

Meet Chelsea from F as in Frank!
Cool story behind the picture: It was taken in nursing school during my senior internship. This photo is super special because the MD on call had me deliver the baby. As he told the mother, "The MD can't always get to a delivery before the baby is born, so she may as well start catching them now!". Permission was given to share this photo.
My nursing career started practically when I was still in diapers. Just kidding! I began working at my local hospital as a CNA at the age of 16. I graduated from Shenandoah University with my BSN in December 2011. I accepted my first job as an RN on a gastrointestinal/endoscopy floor & 5 weeks in I transferred to a unit I never thought I would love... inpatient rehabilitation. I've been there for 8 months & am still learning something new every day.

How long have you been a nurse?
 I've been working as an RN for a little over 9 months.

What was the toughest part about going from nursing student to nurse?
 The most difficult part from going to a student nurse was definitely going from feeling like you know a lot to realizing you really don't know that much! A lot of nursing isn't textbook; it's intuition & trusting your gut which can only come from experience. 

What area of nursing do you work in & what are some responsibilities unique to your job?
I work in inpatient rehabilitation & there is no area like it! We partner with occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, neuropsychologists & specialists, all working together for the mutual goal of returning our patients to their homes & the community at their optimal functional level. There is nothing like seeing a stroke victim or traumatic brain injury patient come in with little or no mobility & then walk out of our unit. It's an inspiring place to work.

What is your favorite part of being a nurse? Least favorite?
 My favorite part of being a nurse is definitely meeting all the amazing patients that come through our doors. Their determination & courage inspires me. My absolute favorite part of this job is when our patients come back to visit & show off how well they are doing!

My least favorite part of being a nurse is trying to rehab a patient that shows no initiative to get better. That gets very frustrating because you have to constantly push them to do things like get out of bed to go to the bathroom instead of soiling themselves in a brief.

What made you want to be a nurse?
 When I was 14, I started working at a coffee shop in our local hospital & met so many amazing nurses. They inspired me to pursue a career in nursing.

What was your experience with nursing school & the NCLEX like?
 My nursing school experience was difficult, stressful & crazy, yet so exciting. I loved learning things in lecture or lab & then being able to apply them in clinical. I remember the feeling I had after giving my first injection & starting an IV, there's no rush quite like it.

The big bad NCLEX, every student nurse's fear. Seriously, it's not that bad. The night before NCLEX I packed up my books & my mom & I rented a hotel suite for a girl's night. The morning of I had a cup of coffee, read my Bible & tried not to worry about taking the biggest exam of my life. Don't panic! Just use a variety of sources to study & practice testing for long periods of time (NCLEX took me 3 hours, 195 questions) I used a variety of sources to study. I used Kaplan, Hurst, Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination (which I thought was fantastic) & Exam Cram NCLEX. My university provided us a week long Hurst instructor led review, which was a good foundation for studying.

Favorite nursing skill to perform?
 I love starting IV's & drawing blood. For being a new nurse I'm pretty darned good at it too. You know you're good when the older nurses will ask you to come start their IV because they couldn't get it, or when your charge nurse compliments you because you got IV access after she tried!

Any advice for nursing students or new grads?
Dear nursing students, It's okay that you are exhausted, don't have a social life, are addicted to caffeine & crunchy snacks while you study. This too shall pass! Hang in there & enjoy the ride.

Dear new grads, don't expect to get your dream job right out of college. Actually, don't expect to get a job at all right out of college. Keep applying, make connections with your friends who have gotten hired, & don't take it personal if you don't get a phone call or interview. But the most important thing is, don't settle for a job on a unit you know you are going to dislike, because you WILL get burned out quickly. Wait for the job that is a good fit for you!
Such a cool story behind the picture. If you've been reading my blog since at least October, you know that I had a similar experience in OB on Halloween! If you want to hear all about it, click here.
If you would like to be featured in Notes on Nursing, leave a comment below or e-mail me at friebr01@luther.edu.

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