NYC Blizzard Nemo – and I’m working through it

It’s snowing a lot outside.
The nursing home called to ask if I can work
tomorrow morning from 7a to 3p.
I said yes mostly because
If I said no, they would be short.
And those working conditions
Are not safe.

Although I can hear people plowing the streets now,
I hoped that the sidewalks are still clear
Or at least mostly clear
By morning.

I should be used to the snow
I am from the Mitt
But it’s been 6 years out
I even slid when I drove,
And shiver every time
I’m back home.

I gotta go get ready.

How to Sleep As A Night Shift Nurse

This was one of the first questions that I asked my mom who used to work nights as a RN. I also got some advice from a coworker who’s been working nights for a year and half and so far, it’s worked out. I followed their recommendations and I made it through my first three 12-hour night shifts in a row without being overly tired. I thought this was pretty helpful so here it goes.

There are three scenarios.

1) The Night Before the First Night Shift

Sleep in to about 9am-11am. Eat lunch, run some errands. About 3-4 hours before you plan on leaving home to go to work, take a nap. Get up about 1 hour prior to eat, get food ready, and change to go to work.

2) You Have a Back-to-Back Night Shift

This one is easy. Some people like to eat when they arrive home. I personally don’t. I come home, shower (to wash off all of the bacteria from the day — I don’t want to bring MRSA into my bed!!), set up my uniform and food for the next day, and sleep for 8 hours. I need 8 hours. Otherwise, I am a tired mess. But some seasoned nurses (such as my preceptor who is awesome btw) sleep for 5 hours so they can do other things. I wake up about an hour before I leave my home to eat my ‘breakfast’***.

***I thought about the definition of breakfast. Technically, after I wake up from an 8-hour sleep, I have to ‘break my fast’ by eating breakfast. But my sister claims that breakfast, lunch, dinner is defined by time of day. For example, if you sleep in until 10am and then you eat, then that is considered brunch (although my sister claims that brunch only exists on weekends. But how can that be??). I guess when I go on break, I’m either eating a 2am meal or a ‘lunch’. What do you think?***

3) The Day After The Last Night Shift

Sleep until noon (more or less). Try to stay up until 8pm-10pm. Get some errands done or just relax or go work or go to school or whatever you want to do. Then go back to sleep.

I hoped that helped. Besides sleep, probably the next important thing is what to eat. You have to fuel yourself with good energy so you can take care of others!

My move to the hospital

To update you from what has happened from Christmas to now (one month later), I got interviews at a hospital and received the clinical nurse position on a medical-surgical telemetry floor with a focus on orthopedics. I am super pumped.

Yesterday, I received my schedule for the first two weeks. It looks bad — and good. The first 3 days that I’m working nights is IN A ROW and I heard that was a killer. Early exposure to the worst will make me relieved when I don’t have 3 in a row, right? Or maybe I’ll realize that 3 in a row isn’t as bad as people say. At least I’ll have 6 days off after that. I’ll have to figure out what to do with that time!!

The hospital also provides good preceptor selection and training so I really hope that will help felicitate my learning.

I’ve already finished the first two weeks of orientation and I have one more week left. I can really tell that they have developed great nurse educators, clinical nurse specialists, CWOCN (Certified Wound and Ostomy Care Nurse), and overall people here. I think that it’ll be a really supportive environment but I’ll find out soon enough!

Since this hospital focuses on the heart, we spent a great deal of time learning about different cardiovascular diseases, pre & post procedures, EKG readings, stroke, arrhythmias, emergency situations. We also went through different systems (GI, GU, neuro and Skin!!!! wound/ostomy care, and pressure ulcer prevention ~for 2012 0.81% developed PU throughout the whole hospital compared to 2011 when it was at 1.11%).

Intentional Hourly Rounding is also something that I haven’t heard of, but it makes a lot of sense. Ask about personal needs, pain, positioning, education, etc. Ultimately, this is to help prevent falls.

Epic went live at this hospital in December. Based on what people have said, they really like the program and it has helped a lot with documentation. I completed day 2 of Epic training yesterday, and I feel that it’ll be a great tool and hopefully help accelerate the documentation process. In the ‘doc flowsheets’ it asks a lot of questions that you would normally write down in a note. My question is, do I still have to write a progress note based on some abnormals? I think the answer is, probably, but from there, I can copy and paste, and right click to create a note.

Next week, there are 3 exams. Core exam, EKG exam, and Philips monitor. And there’s technically an Epic exam. I have to pass with a 90% or higher (yup, it was the same for the NLN medication exam that I had to take prior to officially having this position). I think that it adds a little more pressure on the employees to do well, but it also puts higher standards for the hospital. And that in the end, the patients receive better care.

This weekend, I’ll definitely be practicing EKG strips. And studying.

Unclog a GTube, Feel a Thrill, Hear a Bruit, and Mr. Perez

I practiced my finger stick on Mr. Perez today. Mr. Perez is a mannequin. What I learned was that the test strips are accurate and to wipe down the glucometer with PDI after every use. Microscopic amounts of blood is usually left on there and there have been cases of hepatitis being spread because people aren’t careful with infection control! So wipe it down before using it on someone else.

I also crushed medication and gave meds via the stomach (G Tube). First, push in 15 ml of air and listen for a swoosh. It should indicate that it’s patent. Unfortunately for me, it did not so when I first put in 30 ml of water to first flush, it didn’t do anything. Thankfully my instructor was nearby watching so she helped me unclog the adapter and the tube. I am actually interested in the research — what is the best way to clean out a clogged tube??

Lastly, for someone who is on dialysis (due to kidney failure), it is important to assess for a bruit and thrill. For a thrill, I felt a vibration pulsating with the beat of his heart. For the bruit, I used my stethoscope to hear a shoe — shoe— shoe— sound. Again, it’s with the beat of the heart. My coworker made a good observation — the artery may have a louder bruit compared for the vein. Interesting.

When You Make A Mistake

First, you have to have the guts to admit that you made a mistake. No one is perfect, and we make mistakes. The next step is to take ownership of that mistake and apologize for it. Say what you learned from it and what you will do differently next time.

Each day, you want to take another step to becoming better. One way is to understand your mistake and to make every effort to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

For me, I made the mistake of telling someone I was going to do something, and then forgetting to tell someone that I had changed my mind about my decision to do something.

I could do two things differently.

  1. Not agree that I will do something if I am not 100% sure that I will be able to complete it (This is a little difficult for me because unfortunately, I am a ‘people pleaser”. I have to know my limitations and be able to say “I have to think about it more” or “no” to some requests.).
  2. If I had already agreed but later could not make that commitment, then contact the other party as soon as possible. A later time is not a good time. The best time is as soon as I know that I can’t make that commitment. Even if it initially upsets the other person, it is much better for me to contact him first, than for him to contact me first.

When is the best time to do something?

When you think you ought to do something, the best time to do it is right away.

Especially when it comes to notifying someone with bad news. I don’t know if there is a good time to tell bad news. The bad time to tell bad news is when it is too late.

Last Night

Last night, I met a nurse who works as a nurse administrator at New York Presbyterian – Cornell. She went to UPenn for undergrad and went to NYU for her masters in public administration at Wagner (although she mentioned that she tried NP school for a semester at Hunter and found out that it wasn’t her thing). She said that started on the burn unit for two years and was in cardio post op surgery care for five years before she started her work as an administrator.

She said that it is super rough for people to get hired at hospitals these days and that it was smart to start working as a nurse (for me, at a nursing home). She said that sometimes she interviews people who graduated in 2009, 2010 and they still hadn’t done any nursing post graduation. Due to that, she couldn’t hire them. I think that is crazy. But I guess that also describes the hospital hiring situation because during that timeframe, that was a recession and nurses who were about to retire decided to stay on board and hospitals were not as willing to hire and train new grads.

Anyway, in the past week, I went to get my SSC and my physical exam. My old titers for Hepetitis B and MMR are still good (which means I got to save $30 blood draw fee + $45 MMR titer + $15 Hep B titer = $90!! Wow). Yep, I definitely recommend keeping old health records in a safe location. It will come in handy!!

This week, I have to renew my driver’s license (it expires on my birthday), start finding a new place to live, figuring out the best way to eat my veggies and other plant foods. While I was thankful for thanksgiving, the fruit stand guy also went on vacation. I can’t wait for him to come back!!

Reasons for Action – Eat Plants to Live Without Disease

Plant-Based Nutrition book
In nursing, everything we do has a reason. Each action has a purpose. For example, in the nursing intervention and clinical skills book, for each step in the procedure written on the left column, there was a compelling reason for that step written in the right column.

I think that most people don’t eat whole foods is because they don’t understand the reason for eating whole foods. In school, nutrition is barely grazed on in physical education class. Instead, school teachers are asking students to merely memorize and that does not give students a compelling reason to eat in a way that promotes healthy bodies.

Last Saturday, I watched Fork Over Knives on Amazon Prime (it is also available for steaming on Netflix). This documentary gets into the scientific studies done that promotes a whole food plant based diet. This diet decreases cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and weight. I personally feel that this is a great start for people to change their diet and their health. I just borrowed the book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever. It provides great information in laymen’s language so that it is easy to understand.

Prevention of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer all starts with eating a whole food plant based diet. Watch the movie. Read the book. It will change your life.

My Job Search Journey as a NYU New Grad Nurse

The media has portrayed the hospitals and healthcare systems hiring nurses all the time. Unfortunately, I have not found this to be the case in NYC. Or for many of my classmates.

I am writing my journey and struggles because so far, I haven’t found anything like it on the net, and I know that I wanted to know about this information myself when I first started even thinking about nursing school.

Most people are not willing to write about their struggles through life, especially posted on the internet for the world to read. In some ways, it shows that they are weak. And for me, I personally don’t feel comfortable posting this journey until I have reached some success. It’s interesting that we don’t reveal our struggles because that is what ultimately makes a movie, a story, a journey so much more amazing.

But, what happens if we continue to fail and never reach that point where we’ve created a lightbulb? Anyway, I feel some sort of obligation to write down what I have done so far in hopes of beginning my nursing career.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

During my job search so far, I’ve learn some things along the way. There are some people in my class who already have jobs. However, the majority of my class (including me) do not have nursing jobs yet. What went wrong? Aren’t we all capable, intelligent, hardworking individuals with a RN and BSN? I would say “yes” — my classmates are great.

Unfortunately, most of our applications are sitting in a resume pile that is the size of two med-surg textbooks. It probably explains why it typically takes 1-3 months to hear back from the NYC hospitals after you apply when you don’t have any direct relationships with the hospital (especially the nurse managers who make the final hiring decision). Even if you walk to the hospital and visit the nurse recruiter to hand in your resume in your polished suit, it does not mean that you will get a job any sooner. From what I have seen so far, several hospitals’ Nurse Recruitment do not actively hire New Grads. Instead, they depend on nurse managers to pick your individual application for them to take the next step. Now that is a hard job for the nurse manager, especially if she or he has never met you before.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I received my first pre-screening call ever!!!! It happened at 3:30pm today from Kisha at a Brooklyn hospital about an opening for radiation oncology. Although there are no guarantees, I feel just one step closer! 🙂 This is what I did: I called the nurse recruiter on September 12 and then e-mailed them right away with a personal thank you to the one who picked up the call along with my cover letter and resume.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I received the call from the nurse manager from the cancer center today at 11am. We’re meeting tomorrow at 3pm. I can’t wait! At this hospital, it looks like the Nurse Recruitment does go through all of the resumes and gives it to the appropriate nurse manager who is looking for a position to fill. That is a good sign! Now it is time for me to learn even more about them and get ready for the interview tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The interview. She asked about my clinical experience, my favorite clinical, how comfortable I was with using Mandarin and assessments, my experience with cancer patients, if I had any difficulty with patients, my career goals (basically, they want to see if you are treating nursing as a profession or as a ‘job’). The Director also sat in on the interview.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I wrote thank you letters (e-mail and handwritten).

Friday, October 5, 2012

I went out to my friend’s place in Jersey City and enjoyed spending time together with other recent nursing grads.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I have to keep working, otherwise I will probably go crazy. I enjoy teaching and coaching swimming so I went to the orientation today that lasted all day. This will be my first time teaching the Department of Education program for second graders in NYC as well as the afterschool program. I start on Friday, October 12, 2012 in the afternoon to help people register to Learn to Swim for free. YES IT IS FREE.

Afterwards, a group of us went out to Olive Garden in Times Square. We were there for 4 hours. I can’t believe it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Columbus Day! On this day, I got my laundry done, and finally cooked two dishes out of the cookbook. I am so proud of myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Instead of being super motivated about finding a job, I have been a little anxious about the interview. I know that the nurse manager said that she will interview other nurses too so it is a little nerve-wrecking. If I don’t get it, then I have to really go forward and keep trying at other hospitals. Perhaps go onto the floors and speak to the nurse managers, and try applying elsewhere. And attending career fairs and trying to network a little bit more.

However, if I do get the job, then I will do the following:

  • Learn Chinese like crazy
  • Brush up on medications with a focus on oncology medications
  • Review nursing diagnoses and care plans
  • Buy the Radiation Oncology Nursing textbook and know it inside out

Friday, October 12, 2012

I called at 9:33am and left a voicemail with the nurse manager. I’ll call again at 11:10am.

I called at 11:30am and 2:30pm and got to the voicemail. Instead of leaving a message, I wrote a short email to ask what was going on.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The nurse manager called me back today at 5:21pm. She said that she got my follow up e-mail from Friday and that she enjoyed the interview. And even though I met all of the requirements, there were several other candidates as well and that it was a difficult decision to make but decided on someone else.

I did ask that if she hears of another position that she would refer me and she said that she would.

Oh well — at least I tried. I just have to stay positive and keep trying!

Today, I did my application for a new graduate program. It was actually nice because the short answer questions were similar to what the nurse manager was asking and in this case, I really got to really think about my answers with my own resources in front of me. Now I have to think about these questions and answers and work it so I feel comfortable saying it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I’ve decided to think about personal branding. I attended a seminar through the Wasserman Center called Creating and Building Your Personal Brand with the speaker Pamela Weinberg. Her major points included the following:

  • Develop Personal Mission Statement
  • Build personal brand by reading articles
  • Social Media
  • Monitoring Brand
  • Be persistent and “be” consistent

Friday, October 19, 2012

I applied to a hospital in Houston. According to my nursing buddies, they were at the nursing career fair at the Javitts Center this past Tuesday, and they were the most enthusiastic about new graduates. Yes, yes, you may wonder — are you sure you want to move to another state? My answer is Yes! I love traveling and getting to learn more about different areas and culture. Especially when it comes to food.

Monday, October 22, 2012

About two years ago, I became interested in life insurance, mostly because I think that it is an important topic! I learned about a man named Tom Hopkins, who is supposed to be the king of selling. Since I am on the topic of ‘selling’ who I am, I decided to pick up the book called How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins. What I learned is that there are specific words that turn people off and as equally, on. I think this book applies to more than selling physical products but also provides a way to show others who you are and the services you provide.

Here, I also learned that there are motivators and demotivators.


  1. Money
  2. Security
  3. Achievement
  4. Recognition
  5. Acceptance by others
  6. Self-acceptance
  7. Love of family


  1. Fear of losing security
  2. Fear of failure
  3. Self-doubt
  4. Pain of change

What can be focused on is what you did right rather than what you did wrong. I think that is helpful in staying positive and pushing yourself to move forward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There are five characteristics that important!!!

  1. Ambition
  2. Ongoing education
  3. Responsibility
  4. Humility
  5. Perseverance

I think the last one is the one I need the most right now to push me to get a job.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I’ve taught three classes with autistic children. In swimming. This challenge showed me not only the importance of patience, but also the ability to get inside someone else’s head. The children are really inside their own world and are happy to be there. I feel that the key to teaching them learn to swim is to listen to them and see what they are doing to clue you into their thoughts. After that, some creativity is necessary to put yourself into their world and find ways for them to perform swimming skills at the same time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I love Amazon Prime. I got the following books in the mail:

  1. Rapid Interpretation of EKGs — While I learned how to read EKGs in my adult and elder II class and more in depth in the Critical Care class, I want to brush up and be ready for it.
  2. AHA Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support — unfortunately, it’s the 2006 version. But since it was only $4 on Amazon, I decided to search the net for any updates for the 2010 version. Fortunately, I found one. Time to take notes.
  3. A cook book — during this time in my life, I feel that I shouldn’t feel down about my job search. Instead, I should take it as a chance to grow as a person and expand my interests. I decided to cook. Mmmm, delicious!

Thanks to the New York Public Library, two books I reserved arrived.

  1. Logo Design Love by David Airey — I’ve been wanting to read this book for over a year now and I now have it in my possession for 3 weeks! Whoo hoo.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — Emma Watson plays in the film and there are currently 1,700 reviews on Amazon at an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s gotta be good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012 to Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy. It knocked out NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue. The former is still closed as of today (Nov 19) and Bellevue is only open for limited treatment. It knocked out electricity from 40th Street down on the east side of Manhattan. But I was thankful that the water was still running and the gas was still running. Freezing showers and not being about to see without a flashlight after 6pm — it was nothing compared to the devastation that has happened to those in Lower Manhattan, the Far Rockaways, Red Hook, and Staten Island.

I took the free bus up past 40th Street (or just walked up) to charge up my phone (sometimes at Barnes and Nobles) and for food. I was glad that no other damage was done.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I went to John Jay College to volunteer as a part of the Medical Reserve Corps. 8am-8pm. The patients stories and the people I met there — I think it’ll be unforgettable. The two families I remembered the most:

  1. A daughter needed her mom to stay there because even though they could stay at a friend’s apartment, the mom figured out how to unlock all the locks and wandered off. Dementia. At the shelter, the mom and the aide were allowed to freely wander around. This was a lot better.
  2. A sister came back from the hospital next door to arrange a ride home for her sister. It should’ve taken at most 5 minutes to get home with the ride. But the chaotic fashion of ambulettes and Access-A-Ride caused them to nearly wait the entire shift I was there to get a ride home. Even though they did get to enjoy the hot meals provide, it just goes to show that some things that should take a short amount of time to accomplish can take forever long.

AmeriCorps were there from St Louis and Seattle. DMAT from Arkansas and Florida. NYC HHC always had a physician present. Local volunteers who just stopped by were there. Donations continuously came in. I won’t forget it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012 – Saturday, November 10, 2012

A nursing career fair was canceled. Yes, it is appropriate — working nurses should keep working. Not going to job fairs. And the NYC Marathon was canceled. So in this week, work was resumed. It brought some sort of normalcy back to my life but at the same time, I know that I have to get back to job searching.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My sister’s birthday. My dad said to my sister that I shouldn’t celebrate my birthday in a month because I was having some really bad luck with my job search. I had to turn it around. I turned to finally take my parents’ advice and visit nurse managers and nursing homes throughout the week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I got a call!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I interviewed with a truly understanding Director of Nursing at a nursing home and was offered the job. She said that she would normally tell new graduates to work in a hospital first and then come back, but hospitals are not hiring new grads as readily and with Sandy, most hospitals will want to employ displaced nurses first.

I think that it will be a great place to start and I am so ready to be an awesome nurse!! It starts next Monday.

Don’t just consume– take action!

I’ve been reading a lot lately, thanks to and the New York Public Library (, the kindle and its apps, and the close proximity that I am to the library.

The more I read the last two weeks, the more it brought me back to the conversation I had with my dad. For those who don’t know him, he used to bring home 10 books at a time on any given topic that he was interested in. I think it’s his PhD side that came out of him.

He said that reading is good but sometimes you have to just put down the book and take action! Take whatever you read and put it into action. Otherwise, it just sits idly in your brain and it doesn’t do anything.

There is no purpose for information if you don’t use it.

Maybe after reading, it’s a good time to reflect about how you’ll incorporate it into your daily living. Try to use it right away!

Tomorrow will be the first day that I’ll be teaching 2nd graders for the Swim for Life program in NYC. Goodnight!