So here I am…
It’s been a very long time since I have blogged and if it weren’t for the encouragement of my clinical instructor, I’m not sure I would have. Thank you Lisa Marie, for making me f…
Source: So here I am…
My Recent Clinical Experience
I just finished another semester! This time it was 1st semester students. I have to say this is by far my favorite group of students!
When students who have never stepped foot in a hospital come their first clinical day they are so incredibly nervous. To watch them transform and become more and more comfortable is such a wonderful experience for me as their instructor. I also remember that feeling like it was yesterday! To have a clinical instructor that makes you feel at ease is so important. I did not have that experience. And I wish I did! I know for me that I would have learned much more if I was comfortable, but unfortunately I was so concerned about making my clinical instructor mad that I couldn’t relax and enjoy the journey.
I recently saw a post on Facebook stating that in 2011, the BSN degree had been entered into the Guiness Book of Records as one of the hardest degrees to obtain. I am not sure if this is accurate, but I must say from personal experience that it sure felt that way. With that said, the last thing nursing students need is a clinical instructor that is not supportive!
Our clinical experience this semester was a tough one! We were on a unit where the nurses were very cold, unwelcoming, and even “mean” to a degree! I could only imagine if my students had a clinical instructor like I did my first semester – what a horrible experience that would have been! I worked hard to try to salvage their experience and hoped they gained some positives from it. On a funny note, I asked my students what did they want to do as a “Thank You” gift to the unit for having us? I suggested making a collage “What is a Nurse?” I suggested we could use words like ‘Kind’ ‘Helpful’ ‘Caring’ ‘Supportive’ etc. I lovingly called it “my shame board idea”. My students laughed, but decided to buy them a thank you card and some donuts. I was kind of joking but I really wanted these nurses to know what a real nurse is! Don’t get me wrong all the nurses on the floor weren’t like this, but the majority were, and it made it a very uncomfortable experience for us as a whole.
I wrote this blog for two reasons:
1. To bring awareness to this problem
2. To inform students that nurses may try to eat their young but you will meet someone who won’t let them!
What kind of nurse are you? Or what kind of nurse do you want to be?
Lisa Marie Walsh
Nursing Options – What Do I REALLY Want To Do?
Some nursing students/new graduates are perplexed with all the many options, and specialty areas in the nursing field. Here is a suggestion on how to figure out want you want to do.
Try journaling, it can help you. It is a very powerful tool!
Buy a journal and start writing down your clinical experiences. Write about what you don’t like and what you love! This is important because sometimes we can lose track of what we love when the things we don’t like seem to be abundance.
Here is 4 very important questions to ask yourself:
1. Why Did I Chose Nursing?
When trying to decide where you want to work it’s very important to know you Why? Think about your why! Why did I chose nursing?
2. What do you hope to accomplish during your career?
Global impact? Local impact?
3. Who has inspired you the most in school? In your life?
Family member, a friend, a nurse?
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Married, kids, single, traveling?
In a hospital setting working 3 twelves? In a clinical 5 days a week? Night shift? Travel nursing?
There are many exciting areas of nursing! And I wanted to do them all!! But I had to ask myself these questions. When I evaluated these things I found my answers. I am a educator, and I work in the psychiatric nursing field as an NP. My 2 passions! (I narrowed it down to 2, lol). Then I made my choices in jobs to fit my dreams!
Living the dream!!
What is Mentorship?
This poses another important question: Why do I need a mentor? Or better said, how does having a mentor benefit me? The term mentor is simply defined by Merriam-Webster as “a trusted counselor or guide”. Another, and more detailed definition is, to teach, give advice or guidance to someone that is less experienced. With that said, the question is clearly answered and understood. It is truly that simple.
Why do I need a mentor? Because there is always someone out there who has more experience and can guide me, and teach me how to accomplish my goals. Here’s a a simple example. When I was in nursing school I did not get an opportunity to insert an NG tube. So, as a novice nurse I finally had my first opportunity; I asked a more experienced person for help. I had been a nurse longer than the nurse I asked, but it didn’t matter! She had put in many NG tubes in her career and I had zero experience!! My goal was to learn how to insert NG tubes and this nurse was the expert on the floor; therefore, she was my NG tube mentor. I use this example to say, I have many mentors and I will continue to seek out mentors. I also try to be a mentor whenever possible.
This is how it all began for me……
When I was in nursing school I was looking for a mentor. The school website even said they had a mentorship program. When I went to my first student nurses association meeting I was disappointed to find out that the mentorship program had not been functioning for years. I quickly decided to start a mentorship program there. For me, I believed that having a mentor for each individual course was going to be key for the success of all students. I started the mentorship program with the fundamentals course. I found the students that completed this course and were successful. They became the mentors for us who were just starting the course. I did this for every individual course during nursing school. It was very successful in helping those of us along our journey that had less experience than those who had already completed those courses. These mentors were available to all students that wanted to participate. Some of these mentors even had group sessions. The majority of the students that participated in the mentorship program really benefited from it. I encourage you if you don’t have a mentorship program at your school to start one. If you need any advice or any guidance please feel free to contact me I’ll be more than happy to help! I am a huge advocate of mentorship and mentorship programs. There’s no doubt about the fact that this is why I started my blog I’m passionate about mentorship and this is one way I can help mentor those who want to become nurses, nursing students that are starting their journey, or graduates that are started there careers. I am also now able to mentor those in graduate school. I finished my graduate program in August 2015, took my exam 6 weeks later and filled out the mound of paperwork to get my license! I am now mentoring those that are approaching that part of their journey! For me, it’s so rewarding to give back and help others. I love the visual of climbing up a mountain and stopping along the path to turn around and extend a helping hand to the person behind me to assure we reach the mountain top together!
Always Be Inspired,
Lisa Marie Walsh
Ah, Mentorship! My favorite topic. When I hear this word my ears perk up, and I get very excited. Therefore, I decided to write a series on this wonderful, important topic. Here are some of the questions that will be answered and discussed:
What is Mentorship?
Why is Mentorship Important?
How does Mentorship benefit nurses? Nursing students?
What is the role of a Mentor?
What is the role of a Mentee?
Lisa Marie Walsh
I once read a book called, The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck and first line in the book read, “Life is hard.” I paused after that line and thought, “Wow, I’m not the only one that feels this way!” I read on feeling comforted that I was in good company!
I mention that to say, if I wrote a book about nursing the first line in the book would be “nursing is hard”. It is hard! It’s difficult for many reasons, but here is why I think it’s harder than it needs to be.
1. Nurses don’t support each often enough.
2. Nurses are mean (lateral violence, bullying).
3. Nurses are stressed to the maximum capacity.
4. Nurses are terrible at taking care of themselves.
Here are my suggestions, inspired by my background and my friends:
A) Form a support group of nursing friends that you trust.
I have a few of friends from nursing school that I don’t get together with enough, but when we do get together it is so engergizing! I feel as if my battery has been charged 100%. We complain, gripe, laugh, tell our heartwarming and difficult stories, dream, discuss the ‘perfect’ work environment, etc. We support each other. We get out all the ‘hardships’ of nursing and verbalize the rewards! One of the greatest rewards of nursing for me are these compassionate, loving, beautiful friends I have developed relationships with.
B) Do fun, relaxing things together to decompress and recharge!
For example, a couple of my friends knit, so we have that in common. We get together and enjoy each others company relaxing and knitting. This past weekend we visited a beautiful botanical garden. It was so invigorating for me! We plan to go to a famous spa together in the near future-something beautiful to look forward to!
Why is this so important? Why shouldn’t I do this with my family or lifelong friends instead? Because these women are nurses! They get it. They know nursing is hard. It’s not easy. And they know survival in nursing is crucial.
I’ve met so many jaded nurses. Mean nurses. And if you get to know them I guarantee to you they don’t do these things. They go home night after night feeling the hardship of nursing and come back to work day after day and take out all those feelings on their patients and co-workers! I do not want to be like them!
My heart has been broken in nursing by losing patients, being understaffed and overworked, not getting support from leadership, etc. But I heal my broken heart time and time again with the support of my nursing friends. They get it, they get me. I can be real with them and I am not judged, I am loved and supported. I do the same for them. It’s an incredible bond that makes walking the path of our careers so much more rewarding.
I love nursing, I love nurses! We get to do this together. I am grateful. I am inspired.
Lisa Marie Walsh
What Makes Good Employees Leave?
Why Are Nurses Mean?
I have to say, it is so disheartening when I see nurses being mean to other nurses. First of all I want to say, “STOP IT NOW!” It starts to with you! Yes, you! If you feel guilty reading this post, you have been mean to a fellow nurse!
Last night is a perfect example of what I mean. Here’s what happened….I went to a local chapter nursing association meeting and the guest speaker was a Chief Nursing Officer of a small local hospital. She was phenomenal by the way! But during her introduction the president asked her how long she had been a nurse. I said to myself, “why does that matter?” She’s a CNO, right! That takes hard work, dedication, and education to get there! A woman in the audience replied, out loud to all of us after she told us how long and said, “you’re a baby!” I thought to myself, “wow, how rude and disrespectful!!” That to me was such a perfect example of why I am writing this blog.
Why do we as nurses think that we have the right to judge another nurse by the years of experience they have? Nursing is so dynamic and specialized today there is no way a nurse can be an expert in every area of nursing. And what about career paths? Who makes me the judge of whether or not someone has been a nurse ‘long enough’? And what makes me the expert on knowing whether or not you are going to be a good nurse when your a student? Believe me, I could go on and on with the judgements I have heard from nurses! I have seen nurses almost give up on their careers because of the mean things other nurses have said to them!
This is area that I am very passionate about. Nowadays, it is called bullying and lateral violence and that’s because it is real, and it needs to be dealt with. We had to put a name to it I order to change it. I really don’t want to answer the question why. What I really hope to accomplish is to empower you to stand up for yourself! Advocate for yourself. Do not allow this kind of behavior to happen to you! There is support out there, you are not alone. If you need help with this issue, please reach out to your human resource department for guidance. If you need additional help there are nurse legal experts out there that can help you. Don’t be bullied, but also check yourself and make sure you are not participating the the problem. Be apart of the solution! Bring awareness to your unit – do a project on bullying in your hospital to help bring awareness and exposure to this important issue. It is NOT going to go away unless we do something about it!
Lisa Marie Walsh
New Year, New Goals
Happy New Year! Most people are thinking and talking about New Year’s resolutions. If you’re tired of making New Year’s resolutions and not keeping them, I suggest setting goals for the new year.
What is different about goals? According to WordBook, a resolution is “a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner” which to me is different from a goal. You may not agree but here’s my thinking…….
If I am making a resolution I usually am trying to change a behavior. It’s not uncommon to hear people making resolutions to lose weight to get in better shape to go back to school, etc. because they want to change a behavior. However, when making goals it’s important to remember that a goal is a plan and a plan involves action.
When I set my goal to go to nursing school I didn’t change my behavior, instead I devised a plan of action to get me there. Once I got into nursing school I had completed my goal. It was a successful accomplishment towards my future.
Another goal that I was able to accomplish was to go back to grad school. I had a goal of going back to grad school within five years of completing nursing school. My plan of action began with looking at many graduate programs. I realized my true goal was to be able to teach nursing students, and in order to do that I had to have my Masters degree. My first decision was to decide on what type of masters degree I wanted that would enable me to better teach students. With that in mind, I decided on a masters in the specialty of family nurse practitioner so that I would acquire advanced skills to teach nursing students. Once I made that decision I chose the school to help me best accomplish that goal.
That goal took time, it didn’t happen in a year! The second year of grad school my goal was the same – to complete my masters program. Therefore, the second year I did not make a new goal, I just continued with that goal until it was finished. So a new year doesn’t necessarily mean a new goal. A new year may mean continue to strive towards your goal.
My ultimate goal was to teach nursing students and that is still my goal! I love education and I am passionate about nursing students. Teaching will always be a goal of mine, I’m not sure that one will ever end.
I am currently teaching nursing students for a local university in the clinical setting and I absolutely love it! My goal is to continue to teach nursing students in the academic setting or clinical setting for the rest of my career. I hope to keep inspiring and empowering nursing students to grow into their career and successes through teaching, mentoring, and blogging. A goal I have set for this year is to continue to write and get more exposure for this blog so that I may touch the lives of nursing students all over the globe.
What goals have you set? What goals are you working towards this year? If you don’t have a goal set I encourage you to set a goal whether it’s for your career or for yourself personally. Goals help us grow, mature, and develop into better human beings.
Lisa Marie Walsh