Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My NCLEX Experience :)

Hi Guys!
This is a video that was long over due, sorry for everyone that requested it earlier!!
Here is the video... but below I have included the section from the book!!
I hope you find this helpful!!

My Story
When it was time for me to graduate nursing school, I told my mother I didn’t want to celebrate with a party. I explained that my degree was worth nothing unless I passed the licensing board examination. My mom got her way, and we had a nice party anyway. I have to admit it was nice to celebrate making it this far, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Directly following the party, I switched back into serious mode. I said every day to myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!” In my head over and over while I was studying, I said this to myself.
I was blessed to attend a school that provided us with NCLEX reviews. I attended every single one, every single day. I noticed many of my classmates taking vacations or simply time off studying. I often wondered why, as our four years meant nothing without passing this final licensing exam. After the review every day, I went home and studied what we had gone over that day. In my head still, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
I signed up to take my exam the first date I could, which happened to be a month after graduation. I was surprised to see that I could sign up for a two o’clock test time. As I like to sleep in, this was the time I chose. I also found a job at Central Carolina Hospital that allowed me to follow an RN before I passed the board examination, and get paid while doing so. On the days I didn’t have a NCLEX review or follow my RN, I allowed myself only one luxury. This was to sleep in until 10 a,m. Once awake, I made myself repeat question after question. I still repeated in my head, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Two weeks before my exam, I was introduced to Pearson Vue. This company had NCLEX review questions on the computer. Every morning I answered question after question. In the evenings I would go over questions I didn’t understand with my mother; she would help me understand the rational or help me look up the answer. In those two weeks, I completed every single question on that website. Sometimes in the mirror I would say to myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Many of my NCLEX reviews suggested taking a few days off before your exam so you would not be too stressed out. Some of my classmates did this and it worked perfectly for them. I knew myself and realized I wasn’t comfortable with that. During my entire time in nursing school, I studied until my instructor told me to close my book. For the last most important exam, I was not about to change my strategy. Again and again, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!”
Two days before I drove to the location of the exam. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly where to go on “the day.” I went home and again repeated question after question. I still allowed myself only one luxury of sleeping in until about 10 a.m. because I was able to get a 2 p.m. test time. I knew I could also do this on test day.  While driving back home, I kept looking in the mirror saying to myself, “Wow, the test shut off in 75 questions, you know what that means!”
Test day. I woke up at 10 a.m. just like I planned. I went through my morning routine of telling myself, “Wow, you passed in 75 questions, you are so intelligent!” I ate breakfast while still doing more questions. Time flew and before I knew it I was driving to my test location.
Fear suddenly came over me. I suddenly thought, “Oh, I need something to make me feel better or give me some energy.” Right away I pulled into the nearest gas station, tires screeching and all. I went straight for a Mountain Dew. It had been so long since I drank one, possible five years, but when I consumed them before I was always buzzing off of a sugar and caffeine high for hours.  I drank it immediately and continued onto my destination. By this time, I was practically screaming, “Wow, you passed your NCLEX exam in 75 questions!”
I arrived at the location about an hour early. I began looking over notes, my nerves, however, would not let me comprehend anything I was reading. I looked over these notes for 30 minutes then finally went inside the building to take the test.  The test room was much smaller than I was expecting, and there was almost no one in sight. I expected to be in a crowded room with many more nursing students about to take their exams. However, it was nothing like that.
I was early, but it didn’t matter. I went right up to the counter, handed the person my test information and my license, then posed for my photo. They gave me a locker for my sweater and said “Okay, you can go ahead.” As I went up to the exam room, I was closely examined by the proctor who asked me what the bump in my pocket was. “Ummm, I’m not sure.” I reached into my pocket to find my chap stick. I was told to put that in my locker as well.
When I came back, I was told the rules of the room. I was given a small dry erase board if I needed to write anything down.  I was told I could have as many bathroom breaks as necessary; I simply needed to raise my hand and he would lead me out. I then was led to my cubby, which had my computer on it. I entered all of the information it asked, and then answered three example questions. I was told at one of my reviews these example questions would determine the level of difficulty your questions would begin at.  
Question one. The question came up but I couldn’t see it! My heart was beating out of my chest and I felt like I was going to pass out! “Maybe the Mountain Dew wasn’t such a good idea, oh my gosh, what if I fail my exam!” Panic-stricken, I sat there, unable to read the first question and drowning in fear.  “Breathe, Caroline,” I said calmly to myself, “just breathe, slowly, easily. If you don’t pass, you can take it again,. Everything will work out.”
It felt like five minutes that I was breathing and talking calmly to myself. The clock however said 30 seconds. I finally blinked one last time and was able to read the question.  Question after question came. They were so difficult, just like I imagined.  I did every question just like I always practiced, reading, rereading, then reading the answers, then again rereading the question. Then finally, selecting what I thought was the most appropriate choice.
I went though each question like this. The majority of my questions were med-surg based. I was pretty nervous about this, because this had been my hardest course while I was in school. I kept getting “select all that apply” questions, too, which I always thought were so difficult. I had to do breathing exercises several times during the exam. As the numbers began to rise, I had to make myself breathe slowly even more.
73, 74, 75. I looked at the number 75 for about 30 seconds before I could even read the question. I read, reread, then looked at the answers, then again reread the question.  At one of my reviews I was told that if you remember the last question you had and you knew you got it right, you probably passed. I selected my answer and tried desperately to remember this question.  Every time I was about to press the submit key I completely forgot the question.
I did this several times before I finally said to myself, “Caroline, if you have to do more questions, it’s ok.” I talked myself into truly believing that and breathed some more as I pressed the submit key. The computer screen went blank. “Oh no! I didn’t remember the last question!” Did I pass? Did I fail? The whole time I imagined myself taking this exam I saw myself feeling so confident afterwards. I felt nothing of the sort.
Driving home I could hardly talk. My nursing school friends called me and assured me that I passed.  I didn’t feel as good as I wanted though. Over the next few days, while waiting for my results, I just didn’t feel that great. When the third day came and I was able to go online to see my results I was so nervous to do so.
I sat in the living room with my mom and dad. I went to the website, put in my information and waited for what seemed like an eternity. I was concentrating so hard on the screen I didn’t even notice my parents disappeared. Finally, it came up and said my result in tiny little 12 point font, “pass.” “I passed!” I exclaimed! My parents came into the kitchen carrying a cake that said, “Caroline Porter BSN-RN” and a bottle of champagne!

As proud as I was that I passed my exam in 75 questions, not one person besides my classmates ever asked me that question.  My boss didn’t care what my grades in school were and when I got my license, they were just happy I could work as an RN.  Bottomline, no matter how many questions or times you take the exam, pass is pass. In the end if you’re a licensed or registered nurse. That is all they care about. I have come to find out myself that is really all that matters as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Will I Be Disrespected as a Nurse?

This is a question that I get a lot from people who are considering the nursing profession, so I thought I would make a video about it! 
I hope you find it helpful!  If so please give it a "thumbs up ;)" and post a comment to let me know!!

Remember don't let any negative situations take you away from real reason that you became a nurse (or want to become a nurse).
I hope you find this helpful!!
- Caroline

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Stay Organized as a Nurse!

Hi Guys!
Thanks so much for watching!
This video is to give tips on how I stay organized throughout my day as a nurse.
Our job can be very demanding, so it is important to have "systems" in place :)
In this video I share many that I use on a daily basis!

Get the FREE Report sheet :)
Sorry, I could not figure out an easier way to give you the file... I want you to have the word document, just in case you wanted to modify it :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tips for Major Lab Values!

Hey guys!
Here are some tools that I use every day to help me make sure I don't miss any major lab values while on the job.
This is a brief intro, but if you all want to dive deeper into this and the critical thinking process that goes into each of the lab values post a comment and let me know!!!

Make sure to subscribe so that you get updates on when I post the next video!
I love you guys!!

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to Detach From Work :)

How to Detach from Work!
5 Tips to help you leave work at work and be present for your fam when you get home :)
1.   Make the Decision that you will leave work at work and be present when you are home.  This will help you be a much better wife, husband, mother, father… and nurse!!
2. When you get home think about what your loved ones need and be so busy making other people feel good that you start glowing from love ;)
3. Stay away from the gossip at work! Be in your patients rooms making them feel good as much as you can!!
4. Have a “feeling good” ritual before you leave to go home!!  This way you are ensuring your self care and self love so that you can great your family with a big smile ;) Some rituals that may work for you could be: Brushing your teeth like me, eating a little snack, drinking a glass of water, praying, meditating, writing down 3 things that you are grateful for ect!

(sorry totally forgot to mention STEP 5 lol!!)
5. When you have a bad patient outcome, for example your patient is diagnosed with a scary disease or you have a patient that passes away, faith is seriously needed. I have faith that I do not know why many things happen, but everything does happen for a reason. No matter how wrong or hard it may seem on the surface, everything ultimately does turn out to be good.  This faith allows me to go home still feeling good and with a clear mind ready to be with my hubby!
            I hope you liked this video I made for you!!
If so please give it a “Thumbs up” and post a comment to let me know which video you want to see next week ;)
Make sure to subscribe so that you get updates on when I post the next video!
I love you guys!!

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Disclaimer: Not a sponsored video!! I do not diagnose or treat disease, if you have a concern please see your doctor! These videos reflect my opinion only and should not be taken as fact.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Nurse? What to carry with you in the hospital :)

Hello My loves!
This is Caroline from EmpoweRN!  Just wanted to give my new nurses (and soon to be nurses ;) some tips to help them prepare for their jobs and/or clinical rotation....

One question that I have heard repeatedly is this:  What should I be carrying around with me? Well honestly this will vary somewhat depending on which unit you call home, however I try to pay attention to the things that I do over and over.
            If I do something on a daily basis, I figure out a way to make it a habit.  Whenever a new task is added or I start to see a new medication more often that requires something specific, I find a way to make administration easier.  For example, let’s just say our hospital started ordering Dilaudid IV 2 mg in a glass vial.  I will start carrying with me filtered needles so that I’m not running up and down the unit looking for a filtered needle while my patient suffers in pain.
            I’m very methodical about how and where I place things in my pockets.  Because my goal every day is to move faster and faster on the unit, this involves knowing where everything is that I need to get my job done.  I take what I do very seriously.  I’m grateful every single time that I have the opportunity to care for an individual.  I am so grateful for the hospital and the administrators who run the organization that gives me a place to do this awesome job.  You should feel the same; I know you worked hard for this, but it is still a privilege.  With that said, let me tell you how I prepare to do an outstanding job.   
I’m going to first list the supplies that I keep in my pocket on a regular basis:

Left Shirt Pocket
1.      Alcohol swabs
2.      Sticky notepad
3.      Flushes
4.      Wrapped 18 gauge blunt needles  2 or 3
5.      Filtered needles 2 or 3
6.      Empty 3 ml syringe 1 or 2
7.      Telemetry leads 1 or 2
8.      On the outside I have a banana hair clip

Right Shirt Pocket
1.      Scissors
2.      Highlighter
3.      Black dry erase marker
4.      Red dry erase marker
5.      Black Sharpie
6.      Mechanical multicolor pen
7.      2 mechanical pencils
8.      One pink (or turquoise) uni-ball pen
9.      2 black mechanical pens
10.  Transparent tape
11.  Pen light
12.  Telemetry calipers

In my pants pockets
1.      Pulse oximeter (right pocket)
2.      Temporal thermometer (left pocket)

In my bag
1.      Pill crusher
2.      Another pair of medical scissors

            Each item is important to my work.  I usually work as a Telemetry/Cardiac nurse.  I say “usually” because I am also a float nurse, which means I can go to multiple units.  I have been floating for almost three years now, so I am trained for a number of different specialties.  I am giving you my base list; however, keep in mind that for your specialty, this equipment list may vary quite a bit.  The main goal is to have your frequently used items available so you can do your job in a timely manner.
I hope you find this helpful!!
Please thumbs up and post a comment if so J
See you soon!!

- Caroline