BLACK LIVES MATTER

BLACK LIVES MATTER

SAY THEIR NAMES.

Donate to the ACLU, ACLU MI, or NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Register to VOTE.
Be an ally.

Understand your Privilege (it is uncomfortable)

If you are White, no one is saying your life is not hard or that you have not struggled. It means that your life is not even harder because of the color of your skin.
An excellent systemic racism video.

*NEVER FORGET THAT RACISM. IS. A. PUBLIC. HEALTH. ISSUE (as is police brutality). You are treated differently in the healthcare system based on where you live and the color of your skin, whether you want to believe it or not. It happens consciously and subconsciously. It is called implicit bias.
–> Here is some US healthcare disparity info. <–
*Black women are still DYING more than White women during childbirth even when SES, job, education level, and all other factors are equal. Read How America is Failing its Black Mothers.

Support BLM & Educate Yourself

*Black-Owned Etsy shops found here
*Black-Owned Businesses found here
*How to find black-owned businesses

Protest. #EndPoliceBrutality

✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

*Nurses & HCP: move beyond cultural competency to cultural humility!!
You must now be actively ANTI-racist. Challenge your racist family members and/or coworkers. Stop saying “all lives matter” when they clearly don’t. Take a stand or this world won’t ever change. #BlackLivesMatter #NoJusticeNoPeace

Passing the NCLEX

Passing the NCLEX

Yes, I was one of those unfortunate souls who got every single question on the NCLEX…but guess what? I passed! We all know you can pass OR fail in as low as 75 questions, up to all 265. I already heard from several of my classmates who passed in just 75 questions the week before. That was going to be me too, of course. My mind started spiraling when I hit question #76 and I became sick when I hit the 200s. Everyone I started testing with finished hours before me. Soon I was all alone. It was agonizing not knowing if I was just one question away from seeing a black screen or not. 265 questions and 5 hours later, I sat in the parking lot, called my mom, and cried. I couldn’t stop panicking. I was convinced I failed and left feeling so unsure of myself. I was frantically trying to remember what the last question was and if I got it right or wrong. I don’t recommend trying to think about any of the questions or answers by the way!

When I got home, I tried the Pearson VUE trick and it seemingly worked. However, I couldn’t stop sulking until I got my official results 48 hours later. You have to pay for expedited results, but it was worth every penny to end my misery. I was then crying tears of joy and my parents took me out for dinner and drinks 😊 I was proudly one of Michigan’s newest RNs!

Our school exclusively used Kaplan as a resource and their books/practice Qs were all I used. (Unfortunately, I have no experience with HESI or ATI so I can’t tell you how well those prepare you). We took a mandatory 2-week in-person course after graduation and then studied on our own until we felt ready. I graduated early May and took it on June 24th. I took a mini-vacation after graduation and then spent ~6 weeks solely dedicated to studying. How much time you need to prepare depends entirely on you. While I felt prepared for what would be tested on, I was not prepared for the actual testing experience. You go the testing center, get fingerprinted, have your picture taken, and wait with people who are taking a variety of other exams. Then, you are called into a small computer room with big cameras behind you. There are big, bulky headphones waiting at your station. No talking or looking around. It was very impersonal and unwelcoming. The experience is what you’d imagine it to be. Yet, I didn’t imagine myself sitting there until I actually was. My best advice is to do some imagery and have meditation techniques in mind beforehand!

NCLEX Tips

  1. Understand how the NCLEX-CAT works but don’t agonize over it. Watch this video about what to expect before you start studying any content. Learn the pass/fail scenarios and then move on.
  2. Your nursing school test scores and overall grades don’t always correlate to NCLEX success à you still need to PREPARE more than any exam before. The studying is not the same and your nursing school notes won’t be enough. You now need to think like a nurse, not just to pass a test.
  3. Take a review course. I’m assuming it will be virtual this year but still take one. It keeps you accountable and allows you to ask questions as you have them.
    The course also taught me how questions will be asked.
  4. Do as many practice questions as possible. I used the Kaplan Content Guidebook (link) that came with the course and answered all the practice Qs in the book and online Qbank. You will get vital feedback about what content areas you need to study the most. They also put your knowledge to the test in different ways. (Do all the remediation too, as annoying as it is)
  5. Practice taking exams like it’s the actual test day. Go to a library cubicle with big headphones, no interruptions, no music, and no notes. Try-out your mindfulness techniques and learn when to take a break (I didn’t take one but should have!)
  6. Don’t assume you’ll pass in 75 questions. Prepare your mind like you’re in it for the long haul. If I had some more endurance with taking up to 265 Qs at a time, I wouldn’t have spiraled so easily.
  7. No one will know or care how many Qs it took you. Your future manager won’t ask, and no one will remember how many times it took you to pass!
    You will STILL get your nursing license.
  8. Take some breaths. You are more prepared than you think you are.
    Be confident in yourself, you got this!

Study Hacks

**Obviously don’t cram, but here is a good cheat sheet that still seems helpful. I can’t guarantee the accuracy since it was made in 2012, but the general concepts are similar.

***STICK TO A CONSISTENT STUDY SCHEDULE. Print out a monthly calendar and fill in all the days/hours you plan to study, with the topics too. Give yourself some off days. Having a pretty, organized calendar makes it more exciting when you’re getting close to the end!

The Content Review Guide that came with the Kaplan course. You can also purchase the NCLEX-RN Prep Plus from Amazon too!

*COVID-19 Changes* (now effective thru Sept 30!)

Some of the best nurses I know didn’t pass the 1st time, so don’t let it get you down if that happens. You WILL pass and be a great nurse! Please feel free to reach out with any questions you have. I’d love to help!

Frontline

Frontline

I recently volunteered to exclusively work in our main adult COVID ICU (on my old general care peds unit). There are multiple COVID-19 ICUs and moderate care floors throughout the health system. It is terrifying to see two critically ill adults in each room when there used to be one isolette or crib for relatively healthy children. Every night I learn how to do more and more ICU care to help the primary nurses as much as I can. My first night I helped get a bagged body ready for the morgue. My second night I saw family come to the bedside of a man in his 30s to be with him before he passed. Most patients are intubated and several are on continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). None of this is fair. None of it seems real. It is very surreal to see room after room with patients maxed out on ventilator settings, sedation, pressors, and barely surviving. In some rooms you can hardly move with all of the IV pumps, machines, supplies, and equipment. I cried the first time I walked the RICU halls, but now feel somewhat immune to the trauma we see at work or watch on TV every day. Then, I find out patients I helped bathe, turn, or draw labs for died that next day and I break down again. My emotions, probably like yours, are all over the place. I can’t always label them but I do know a lot of what I’m feeling is grief. Grief from what our lives were supposed to be like this spring, grief from cancelled events or missed trips, grief from not seeing friends/family, grief from actual death around us, and grief from our old way of life as we transition to a ‘new normal.’

I am thankful however, to have all of the PPE I need to safely enter patient rooms. The entire unit is negative pressure too. This is NOT the reality for many nurses across the US and now some are even getting fired for refusing to work without N95s. While we did sign up for this job to help others, we did NOT sign up to do it without the equipment needed to protect ourselves. Our country was completely unprepared for this pandemic and its essential workers are feeling its detrimental effects the most. The good news is that the curve is flattening thanks to successful mitigation. Please continue to do your part by STAYING HOME until it is deemed safe to leave. You are helping save the world by doing so and the frontline can’t thank you enough. The next time you venture out don’t forget to thank our other crucial frontline staff ~ grocery store employees, postal carriers, truck drivers, bus drivers, chefs, janitors/EVS, and more! Stay strong, we will get through this.

#HAILtotheFrontline

“Just going to hold his hand for a bit, I don’t think he has long.”

FYI

“We know from history that when citizens become restless and protest to their leaders about lifting these sanctions too early, another rise in cases invariably occurs. In some places it was worse than the first peak.” -Howard Markel MD

African Americans represent 40% of COVID-19 deaths in MI but only represent 14% of our state’s population. The reasons for this can be attributed to multiple social determinants of health such as having a job that doesn’t allow ‘work from home’, lower income, fewer community resources, comorbidities etc. (this is Nursing 101)!

Proud of our Governor for creating a task force to help understand why these racial disparities are occurring and how we can remedy them.

Please remember you don’t have to be productive during quarantine. We are experiencing a trauma and your only job is to stay home and take care of yourself. Mental health is as much of a priority as physical health so don’t feel pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable doing right now. Two articles helped me understand this: A Trauma Psychologist Weighs In & Don’t Feel Like ‘Getting Things Done’?

*Jaanuu is selling cute reusable, antimicrobial masks for when we all have to wear them 🙂
*Love Your Melon also has a face mask/headband collection and FIGS has a mask waitlist
*What I use to sterilize my phone & watch (PhoneSoap) after work, also sold on Amazon

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Flattening the Curve

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  1. Clean your hands often (for 20 sec) or use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
  2. Social distance (at least 6 ft). Stay away from those who are sick.
  3. Stay home if you are sick (for at least 14 days). If not sick, only leave the house for essentials.
  4. Ensure you are reading/sharing credible information via CDC & WHO.

John Hopkins Global Interactive Map

Encouragement

Free lunches for Michigan children found here

Distillers making hand sanitizer found here

Starbucks offering free coffee found here

Crocs donating free shoes found here

Be thankful for your thoughtful professors/teachers who are working hard to make sure you can still learn during this time.
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Friendly Reminders

*There is an extreme blood shortage. You can save a life by donating today via the Red Cross*

Protect your mental health during quarantine

Don’t just “look for helpers.” Be a helper by doing your part to combat COVID-19.

Taylor BSN, RN

Although racial/ethnic minorities make up ~34% of the US population, they only represent ~25% (11.5% Black, 6.1% Latino, 7.3% Asian) of the nursing workforce, as of 2016. 👩🏽‍⚕️👩🏾‍⚕️👩🏿‍⚕️

Diversity among nurses is crucial for providing culturally competent care and in turn, improving health outcomes. We can also help ALL of our coworkers become more culturally aware. One of my goals is to inspire more minorities to choose nursing in order to have a workforce more representative of the US. Having someone take care of you who looks like you, has a similar culture, may speak your language, and understands you can save lives. Every few weeks I’ll feature a fellow minority to share our unique stories.

“When I began at the University of Michigan, I was undecided on what I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in the medical field but definitely not a physician. During freshman year, I was in a Health Science Scholars Program, where I researched multiple careers, listened to numerous speakers, and shadowed physicians but nothing sparked my interest. My grandmother, who is a nurse, told me to research the field and ironically my roommate was in the nursing program. I began doing my research and realized the endless possibilities in nursing. I immediately knew I wanted to be a nurse practitioner working as a midwife (that changed once I did my clinical lol). I decided to apply but was discouraged after listening to other applicants talk about the extra science pre-reqs they had while I only had the minimum. I was also discouraged by my counselor because she told me the nursing program rarely admits students of color. With everything against me, I took a leap and applied. I was admitted into the nursing program at the end of my sophomore year through their RN-BSN sophomore-transfer program. I was excited and a little upset because this meant I would have to do an extra year of undergrad (which means nothing now).

Going through nursing school was tough being 1 of the 7 African American females in a class of 180 students. I believe this increased my drive to exceed. I worked as a nurse tech in the PICU at St. John during my last year of nursing school. I graduated in April 2017 with a 3.7 and passed my NCLEX with 75 questions. Job searching fortunately was fairly easy. I got offered 4 pediatric nursing positions after graduation. These included: PICU at St. John, DMC Children’s ER, Mott Children’s as float nurse, and Beaumont Children’s. I decided to choose Beaumont Children’s because of location convenience and wanting to begin my career on a general pediatric floor, so I could become more familiar with common childhood illnesses and how they are treated.

My interest to specialize in pediatric nursing started while in nursing school. During my pediatric clinical rotation, I gained great insight into what it meant to care for children. I was very intrigued about how passionate the nurses were compared to those in adult nursing. They had to play a unique role in not only supporting their young patients, but also comforting families while explaining patient conditions and providing emotional support. Initially, I couldn’t imagine having the responsibility of facing the family of a seriously ill child and standing with strength enough to not only instruct them on how to best care for their child, but to also help build their faith in the face of, in some cases, a discouraging prognosis. The realization about the innate resilience of children solidified my decision to specialize in pediatric nursing.  It helped me not only feel more comfortable and confident working with the pediatric population compared to adults, it also affected the way I presented while caring for my patients. I became more confident in my ability to encourage families because I began to truly believe in the strength of children to promote healing.

After working for 2.5 years in pediatrics, I have gained so much insight into what it means to be a nurse. I have learned that it takes great responsibility, tenacity, and accountability to care for the life of another. After working for 1 year, I decided to go back to school to get my master’s as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. This desire was matured through my previous and current work environment. I have passion to work in underserved communities to promote health and prevent/manage childhood illnesses. Working in the city of Detroit and surrounding suburbs has allowed me to see the difference in access to healthcare and health education. I understand that there is a lack of support and opportunity, which negatively affects the health of these communities. This drove my desire to do more and increased my inclination for continuing education among this patient demographic. Working as a CPNP-PC, I will be able to make choices that I believe will benefit the community and turn my advocacy into action. After completing my education, I plan to work in an underserved community providing outreach and educational programs either in clinics or school-based settings. Long term, I plan to participate in local legislative affairs relating to children’s health policy and reform.

Sadly, there is still a lack of minorities in the field. I see this every day at my job. I try to encourage young black girls to keep pursuing this career because although it can be challenging, having minorities in nursing allows for better health outcomes of underrepresented patient populations.”

~Taylor BSN, RN