Finally off of my critical care probation!

sim manYesterday marked the last day of my critical care probation. So what did I do to pass? Instead of being at the hospital, I went to the simulation lab with Mr. Sim Man.

While I did sign a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the specifics of the lab, I can briefly state that it was similar to being at work in the hospital. When you receive a patient, you do a Head to Toe assessment, and determine the next step in care. Is he stable or unstable? If the patient doesn’t respond to your care, what is the next step?

It’s exciting to be off probation now, considering that I’ve been on the unit since December 2013! Now I will have to float to the SICU or CTICU, stepdown, PACU and ER. I’m a little scared to not know everything is (again), but it should be ok!

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!

What Do Registered Nurses Do?

What Do Registered Nurses Do?

My sister keeps asking me what I do as a nurse. In a nutshell, I assess, teach, provide medication and treatments, monitor conditions, communicate my findings, and coordinate care (are referrals needed? Consults? Who else should know about the issue?). Taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is the differences among things that Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Nursing Aides do.

Registered Nurses (RN)

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

  • Monitor patients’ health—for example, by checking their blood pressure
  • Administer basic nursing care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
  • Discuss health care with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health

Certified Nursing Aide (CNA)

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat