Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Official NCLEX Test Map

To those of you who've wondered what is actually on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), here’s a PDF from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing that provides both a broad as well as detailed description of the test content for 2013. The broad description is found on pages five through eight whereas the detailed description is found on pages nine through 43. 

Happy studying! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Books on Facebook?

As the fall semester draws close, we all start looking for the textbooks we'll need to succeed in our nursing classes.

I would like to spread the word about two sites on Facebook which will help connect you with buyers and sellers of nursing books. The first is the "Liberty Book Exchange", which is a venue for Liberty students to sell their books to other LU students. It allows you to get the most out of your books by cutting out the middle guy.

"Nursing" is another page within Facebook Groups at Liberty that serves the same function while catering to specific nursing classes. The Nursing page also allows students to post questions about classes and get advice from fellow classmates as well as upperclassmen, even LU nursing graduates.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thank God for Showers

Have you ever just felt grateful to be alive? To get up in the morning--to actually be able to get out of bed by yourself. To brush your own teeth and comb your own hair. Pick out what you're going to wear and eat whatever you want for breakfast. Drive your car to wherever you have to go...?

Whatever your daily routine is in the morning, don't be in such a hurry that you miss the fact that you CAN do these seemingly mundane tasks. Be grateful for the fact that you can do them. So many people in the hospital would give their right arm to be able to do what you and I take for granted.

This morning as I was riding in my car, I felt rushed and wished the car in front of me would hurry and get up the road. I was in such a hurry that I almost missed the beauty of the sunrise that was taking place all around me.

Let's make a habit of thanking God for the little things. Even something as simple as a shower. What seems like no big deal to us means a whole lot more to other people who can't, because of physical limitations, do what we do every single day. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Work Experience Builds Confidence

I cannot overemphasize how important it is to gain experience in healthcare before graduating from nursing school. Many nursing schools require some sort of experience as a nurse's aide (NA) at either a I or II level. These schools require this experience from their students because they know that students will learn lessons at work that they may not learn while in nursing school.

I know for me personally working as a nurse extern at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has been a great opportunity to learn many skills that are vital to success as a nurse. Working in a hospital as a nurse extern (NA I and II) has taught me time management skills, prioritization, effective communication, and people skills.

My responsibilities do not end with the basic duties I perform as a NA; they go much farther and encompass communicating patient and family concerns with nurses, doctors, nutritionists, medical and PA students, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

These are life experiences for which I wouldn't trade the whole world because they have prepared me for my future vocation as a nurse, a job that will put me in the position to deal with issues with both people and equipment. I now have confidence when I walk into a patient's room--confidence that I can get the job done in a timely manner and take care of all the patients I am assigned. This confidence was born first in the amazing clinical experiences we have at Liberty University, but it has matured and grown as I have worked in the hospital setting as an employee with coworkers I have an opportunity to get to know and patients I get to see more than one day a week.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Joni Eareckson Tada

My last blog post was inspired by my own personal experiences with sickness as well as the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. Today I read an article that gave a closer look into the lessons that God has taught Joni. Many of you are probably already familiar with her story. She was paralyzed in a diving accident when she was a teenager. Now she is a public speaker, author, and artist who shares how God has used her accident for His glory. I highly recommend reading this article if you're interested.

"Why Me, God?"

Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen? I know even I have struggled with this question. Parents get killed by drunk drivers. Children die in house fires. Still others live with terrible deficits from these freak accidents. Teenagers get paralyzed in motorcycle crashes. Others are left with scars from the battle wounds they receive in gang fights. 

As nurses, we are surrounded by a great deal of pain and suffering (cancer, pancreatitis, liver and kidney failure, MIs, suicide attempts--the list is endless). So how will we answer when someone (a patient, a family member, a fellow nurse) asks "How can a 'good' God let bad things happen?" 

The answer isn't easy. And I don't pretend to know 100% of why. But I do know that God's original intention was for a perfect world--a world with no sickness, no pain, and no heartache. Man sin is what brought all this evil into the world. It was never God's plan for man to suffer. 

But how do we deal with the problem of evil when it effects our own lives? There isn't always a clear cut answer to that question, but I do know that God's nature doesn't change. He is still the same good God that He was yesterday, and He will be the same tomorrow and the next day (Hebrews 13:8), and I know His plan is to work out all the bad things that happen to us for our good (Romans 8:28). 

Job is a prime example. God allowed Job to endure unspeakable injury and insult at the hands of Satan, but God used it to prove to the Devil that Job was a godly man, and the Lord rewarded Job by giving him double of all that he had before (Job 42:10).

Joseph also was cast into a pit and then sold into slavery by his older brothers. Later just when he was experiencing the blessings of God and rising through the ranks in Potiphar's house, Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, and then when he wouldn't consent, his reward was two years in prison (Genesis 41:1). It was only after Joseph remained faithful to the Lord through 11 years serving as a slave in Potiphar's house and 2 years as a prisoner in a dungeon that Joseph became second in command over Egypt. Speaking to his brothers, Joseph said “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).

How will we respond when we face trials? Will we have faith that God can use them, just like He used Job’s and Joseph’s, for His glory?

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:2-5).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Clustering Our Care

I know we’ve all heard about “clustering our care” as nurses until we’re blue in the face, but I’m here to testify that it really is important. It both respects our patient’s time as well as saves us time. I have found that something as simple as stopping to think about what I need, such as bathing supplies, full set of linens, towels, wash cloths, and shampoo cap, to accomplish my goal (bathing my patient and changing their linens) before I enter my patient’s room helps cut down on the number of trips I make between my patient’s room and the stock room. Patients will also appreciate your forward thinking because numerous trips in and out of a patient’s room can be disruptive to family visits and patient sleep.   

Stopping to think and plan takes only a few moments and saves you and your patient minutes. 

Nurse Aide Daily Task Checklist

Recently as I've been working as a nurse extern, I've created a checklist that helps me stay organized and make sure I complete the numerous tasks I am responsible for throughout the day. This is a tool I wish I had used while I was a sophomore and junior nursing student. I hope that you will find it to be useful to you during your time serving patients in the hospital. Feel free to use it and edit it any way you wish to best serve your needs as nursing students. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Audience of One

One of the things I've been learning recently is that it doesn't matter whether or not anyone thanks you for doing a good job. A lot of times nurses, and even nursing students, can feel unappreciated, which is understandable since many of the things we do for our patients go unnoticed, but that doesn't mean we should be discouraged or ever stop giving our best.

This morning I was reading in Psalm 40 how the Lord does not delight in sacrifices or offerings but rather in a heart that delights to do His will (vv. 6-8). The offerings and sacrifices are, in reality, outward manifestations of a heart that loves to be obedient to the Lord. In other words, God is after a heart that loves Him. This love for God should be the motivation of the good things we do for our patients, not a desire to be noticed or recognized.

"Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:22-24). 

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free" (Ephesians 6:5-8).