Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walk a mile in these shoes...

You will walk somewhere around 3 miles on your average 10-hour clinical day.  At my school, we are required to wear white shoes with our uniform scrubs, and most of the students in my class went on a mission to find the cutest ones they could.

From my years of teaching, I have tendinitis in one of my ankles, and have suffered from plantar fasciitis in that same foot.  I know that I cannot wear shoes that are not supportive, because I won't be able to walk the next day.  I wear Danskos on a regular basis, so I immediately started shopping for Dansko nursing shoes.  I found a style that I really liked, and was able to buy them for about $80, with the student discount, from my local nursing supply store.  Some of the students in my class were appalled that I had spent that much on my shoes, but I won't have to replace them during our two years in school, and they will last many years afterward, as well.

After a day at clinical, I don't have a sore back or feet like a lot of my fellow students do.  I can still walk comfortably, and don't have to go home and immediately put my feet up.  So, my recommendation is that when you shop for nursing shoes, you shop for shoes that are supportive and comfortable, not ones that are cute!  Here is a photo of the shoes that I have (and love):

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A good stethoscope makes all the difference!

When I started nursing school, we had a four-week summer class that we had to take prior to the official start of school, so that we could learn how to do a physical assessment, take vital signs, and learn some other basic lab skills.  On the first day, we were told to buy a cheap stethoscope and blood pressure cuff to use in class.  I went to the local nursing supply store, and bought a blood pressure cuff that cost about $25, drooled over the nice stethoscopes, and bought one that cost somewhere around $20.

When we went to lab the next day, I couldn't hear a thing when I used that stethoscope.  I couldn't take an accurate blood pressure reading, because I couldn't hear the pulse, and couldn't take an accurate apical heart rate, either.  After struggling with that for a few days, I became very nervous that I wasn't going to pass the class, because the final exam was to successfully take vital signs and do a physical assessment on someone.  I'm not used to failure, and it really stressed me out.

One of my friends started lending me her stethoscope whenever we had to use them for something important, and I began perusing the websites of companies that sold quality stethoscopes.  Also, it was one of the hot topics among the nursing students in my class.  I decided that I wanted a Littman Classic II SE in red, but the cost was prohibitively high for me to just go out and buy one.  My husband gave me one as a birthday present last September, and it made such a huge difference in what I was able to hear, both on real patients, and on the SimMan that we have in the lab.

I highly recommend that new nursing students get a good stethoscope right off the bat.  Ask for one if you have a birthday or anniversary coming up, or try to get a part-time job to cover the cost.  There's just no comparison, and it should last you your whole career.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Need to hit the books

I've been out of school for six weeks now, and haven't really done any studying.  I know I need to get back to it, because this fall is supposed to be the hardest semester for us, and I don't want to be rusty at any of the skills, diseases, or concepts covered last year.  We have a remediation packet that is provided by the people who did our final exam this past spring, and I plan to download that to go over the questions and concepts that I didn't score well on.  I also want to go over the Powerpoints from the past two semesters, and look up the terms and concepts that I am not comfortable with.  I have three NCLEX books that I can review and do questions out of, as well.  I have a copy of last fall's Nursing 3 syllabus, and I guess I could start going over that, too. 

It's just hard to find time when I'm not busy with the kids, cleaning the house, or cooking a meal.  Since there is no pressure to do schoolwork right now (the first time in two years for me), it makes it hard for me to actually do it.  I am in the middle of cleaning out my office right now, so maybe having a clean space to study in will be enough motivation.

Does anyone have any tips for what to review over the summer break?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


If you are a nursing student and have a blog, or just know of any student nurse blogs, please leave the addresses in a comment for me so I can add them to my blogroll.  It's always nice to know who is also in the trenches!

New Adventure

I've been blogging for five years about various things, and I started thinking today that I wanted to start a new blog where I could share information related to nursing school.  This will hopefully benefit aspiring and current nursing students, as well as me.  Please feel free to leave a comment with post suggestions; I plan to share information that I have learned about helpful websites and books, as well as experiences I have had as a nursing student. 

Some background info on me:  I was a public school teacher for eight years, and when I had my daughter in the fall of 2007, I had a really great experience in the hospital.  During those late nights during maternity leave, I started researching different careers, and thought it would be fun and rewarding to teach the childbirth education classes at the local hospitals.  When I looked into it further, it seemed to me that no one would hire me to teach the classes without an RN, and my sister and I joked that I should just go to nursing school. 

In the summer of 2008, I decided to go to the local community college, take A&P I, and see if I could handle school on top of raising two children and keeping up with the house.  I found that I loved the challenge of learning new things, and really enjoyed the class.  In the fall of 2008, I started back to school full-time to take the prerequisite classes to apply to nursing school.  I applied during the spring of 2009, and was accepted into the two-year ADN program beginning in the fall of 2009.

I've now survived a year of the program, which is half of its length.  I am the president of my school's SNA (Student Nurse Association), and am juggling my courseload along with a very energetic 8 year old boy and mama's girl 2 year old.  I am a Cub Scout leader, and love to cook and read.

Please feel free to ask me questions if there is anything else you want to know!
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