Monday, October 29, 2012


Rest… Such a simple word, but for some of us who try to do and be the best we can be at everything, it may seem hard to do at times. In nursing school it seems like lack of sleep, lack of energy, and lack of motivation are symptoms of a pervasive disease that has left no one unaffected.  But if I may, I’d like to share an amazing discovery. Having FUN—doing something other than studying—can prove to have abundant rewards.

I have found that taking time out of my busy schedule to do something that’s fun and involves physical activity helps me be more productive when I study. Taking even two or three hours to go and participate in recreational activities has helped me be so much more motivated when I come back to my dorm and study. Physical exercise is also beneficial because it makes me feel more energetic afterwards and helps me fall asleep quicker and feel well-rested when I get up in the morning.

Key point: Have FUN! Take time out this week to go hang out with friends. Do something that you enjoy. Don’t think about nursing while you’re doing it. Focus on what you’re doing right then. If you try to think about what you’re going to do when you get back, you’re missing the point. Mental breaks are the much needed medicine to cure the burn-out disease. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Health Assessment Patient Education Project

Your patient education project is a great opportunity for you to practice taking information you learn in class and in your textbook and translate it for your patients in a way that can be easily understood. By completing this project you will also learn how to present information in way that is appropriate for the patient population you are targeting.

Read your Health Assessment syllabus for the details of the assignment. Your topic must be on a disease process or health promotion topic in one of the following systems: Breast & Female Genitalia or Prostate, Rectum & Male Genitalia.

Remember that you CANNOT use websites as a source. Your references must include your textbook and a minimum of three scholarly journal articles. Liberty University has an excellent Library site that provides students with access to numerous healthcare databases tailored to meet the needs of nursing students. (See previous posts for tips on using the Liberty Library databases).  

Choose a topic that interests you. Also, verify that your instructor approves your topic before you start researching and writing.

Be creative with your presentation. You can present your information in a pamphlet, cardboard trifold, scrapbook, booklet, poster, or other creative design. Make your project colorful. If possible, include pictures that will bring your information to life. (The cardboard trifold pictured above was purchased last year at Walmart).

Make sure to write your project at an age-appropriate reading level for your patient population. Don’t use medical jargon that will overwhelm or confuse your patient. If you need to use words that are not commonly understood by non-medical professionals, be sure to define them.

Make sure your work is neat and that you use proper American Psychological Association (APA) citation. There are several APA manuals in Liberty’s Library. Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is also helpful site you can use as a quick reference.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Health Assessment Clinical Final

Here’s my advice to all the Type-A, driven, perfectionist nursing students like me: BREATHE. IN… OUT… There much better. Just relax. Alright, now we’re ready to talk.

Practice is essential to doing well on your clinical final. Practicing well will actually help relieve your stress the day of the test because practice brings confidence and confidence dissipates fears of failing. The day of my test I was able to remain calm because I had spent countless hours practicing on the person who I was going to assess.

Just like a regular check-off, I recommend writing out a full script of what you will say as you perform your full physical assessment. When I wrote my script, I relied heavily on my physical assessment pocket book as well as used my physical assessment textbook.

The day of the test I recommend not practicing at all. You need to go into the nursing lab with a clear mind. I made the mistake of practicing right before I tested with my instructor. This caused me to be confused about what I did when. For this reason, I almost forgot to palpate the lymph nodes and test all twelve cranial nerves.

Once you think that you are done with your assessment, I recommend going back through the major systems to make sure you did not miss anything. For example, palpate all the lymph nodes, palpate all the pulses, and verbally go through what you did to test all the cranial nerves.

After your final, go celebrate! YOU DID IT! When you finish, you will be one step closer to doing what you came here for—taking care of patients.