Monday, April 26, 2010

Refuel. Refresh. Rejuvenate.

This concept is about taking time for yourself. Things like treating yourself to a mani or pedi, reading a book, taking a nap, going for a walk, hanging out with friends...basically doing things on a regular basis that will refuel, refresh, or rejuvenate you. Self care is one of the most important things anyone can do. I know it sounds selfish, but realistically if you don't take time to relax and are mentally and physically spent, you will not be able to be effective and excellent at the things you do. Learning this as a student is essential in enjoying your nursing school experience, but even more importantly starting a habit of good self-care is something that will infinitely help you when you start working as a nurse. This lesson is definitely one in which I have so much left to learn.

Don't forget to take some time for you!

Yours Nursingly,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Get inspired...

Have you ever had that giddy feeling after you've heard a really good speaker, watched a movie that pulled at your heart strings, or read a book that instilled some passion in you? Not the post-chick flick giddy feeling, but the one where you feel invincible and ready to take on the world along with your wildest dreams?

Lately I've been getting this feeling a lot. I don't know if it has anything to do with being finished university, but I feel so motivated and inspired to pursue my dreams and make a difference. I know the "I want to make a difference in the world" tends to be cliche, but I feel that most people if they look deep deep within themselves, would find there is a part of them that has this desire. I firmly believe that everyone has a purpose and something that only they can contribute to the world and finding out what that is can often be the most frustrating search of all.

It is essential to get inspired because often as nurses we give, give, give so much and don't necessarily receive much in return. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but what I am saying is it can often leave our emotional, mental, spiritual "tanks" feeling empty. When we are exhausted and spent it becomes easier to forget the reason why we do what we do or why we are striving for whatever dream. Purposefully taking time to do something that will refuel the fire or fill the tank will help keep our passion for whatever we are doing alive. There really isn't one thing that you can do to be inspired as it will be different for each one of us...whatever it is, take some time to rejuvenate that passion and remind yourself of the reason why you are doing what you do.

When I was in third year I was running myself so thin and very stressed. If someone had asked me the reason I went into nursing or if I was excited to be in the program I honestly have no idea what I would have told them. My mom had bought me the book A Nurse's Story by Tilda Shalof just because she thought it looked like a good read. During my third year I reread this book as well as another book she wrote called The Making of a Nurse. These two books helped me remember why I love the profession of nursing, helped me refocus and get through the rest of a very tough year, and ultimately inspired me to become a nurse like Tilda. My view of nursing was changed forever and I can't begin to describe all the lessons I learned. Her stories and the wisdom she gained from her experiences helped me to see nursing for what it truly can be and I fell in love with the profession all over again.

Since then, I've taken more time to "get inspired" in all sorts of different ways. Letting yourself be inspired takes time and practice, but I assure you it is worth it and so necessary to continue to strive for excellence in whatever you do. With that I ask...have you been inspired lately?

Yours Nursingly,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Take time to smell the roses...

Let's take some time and think about what it means to do more than "just survive" nursing school. I believe that your nursing educational experience should be one full of learning, growing, and transformation. I feel that by just "getting through it" you may miss out on many opportunities and not realize the full potential of what nursing school can be.

The nurse you are when you enter the program is 100 times different than the one you are when you leave. Similar to life, I feel that nursing school is a journey where you discover who you are as a nurse through ups and downs and through the many opportunities you are given. So how then, amongst the piles of papers and assignment, late nights and early mornings, and the stress we all feel at times can we fully enjoy our nursing education?? 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have some helpful hints and essentials that I think are crucial in doing more than "just surviving". They are in no particular order, and you can take them or leave them...these are just valuable lessons I learned. 

Let's begin with the first one...take time to smell the roses.

Do you ever get that feeling that life is going by at an uncontrollable pace and sometimes you wish it could all stop for a moment so you can enjoy a moment or catch your breath? I think "taking time to smell the roses" may be one of the most important ideas to keep in mind as you go through the program, and life in general. Too often I find myself working to achieve the highest mark or trying to be involved with every extracurricular activity I can or working at a job. I seem to want to do everything and be involved with as much as I can. My days are often planned to the minute, starting early and ending late, and my down time consists of the minutes before my head hits the pillow. Even then I find my mind racing about what the next day holds. This past year I packed my schedule so tight it felt like I hardly had room to breathe. Even though I was doing things I loved, because I was run so thin I no longer enjoyed what I was doing and wasn't as effective as I could have been. When I came to this realization I was disappointed that at times I didn't fully enjoy what was going in my life. I was too focused on getting the next thing done, whatever it was. When I was finally able to slow down and make a conscious effort to enjoy life, I found myself being more effective and enjoying what I was doing.

I know it's easier said than done, but taking time to stop and enjoy the exciting things that are going on in your life whether it be personal or academically is crucial. What's the point of doing all sorts of things if you never have time to enjoy them?

Yours Nursingly,

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's more than just surviving...

We all have probably seen or heard the sayings "nursing school: bootcamp for your brain" or "Hey, you look exhausted you must be in nursing school" or "I'm a nursing student, can I have my life back?", and even though they may be close to the truth...shouldn't we be doing more than just surviving our nursing school experience?

Here are a few helpful hints and nursing school essentials I will elaborate on over the next few days that I think are crucial for doing more than 'just surviving' your nursing school experience.

1. Take time to smell the roses.
2. Get inspired.
3. Refuel. Refresh. Rejuvenate.
4. 65 hours + no sleep = BAD IDEA.
5. Be well-rounded.
6. Iron sharpens iron.
7. Look up.
8. Never say never.

Now I know these are all fairly corny and sound slightly ridiculous...but just give me some time to explain myself. You can do more than just survive nursing school! I promise!

Yours Nursingly,

The journey of becoming a nurse...

After four years of hard work, determination and countless sleepless nights I have finally completed nursing school. I've been in a state of euphoria for days now and I can't believe university has come to an end. Looking back over the last four years and thinking about the person I was entering first year and the person I am now, I cannot help but be amazed by how much I have changed. Going through this program has taught me so many crucial life lessons that will stay with me forever.

I'm sure we all can look back on different situations in our lives and wish we could've known then what we know now, but that's not how life works. It's a journey, a process, a fight, an adventure, and it's such a wonderful thing. The experiences we have, the struggles and the victories, shape who we become. My hope is from reading this you will be encouraged and learn from some of my experiences. If my experiences and what I have learned can help even one person or encourage them or bring a smile to their face, I am satisfied. I am by no means an expert or renowned scholar, but sometimes the simplest lessons or gentle reminders are the ones that can help the most. Enjoy :)

Yours Nursingly,