The Year of The Nurse and Midwife

Courtesy of WHO

Just by the name attached, it seemed like such an enigma and it proved to be more than that. 2020. Nursing and midwifery may seem as an enigma as it holds different meanings to different individuals based on individual values and the cocktail of experiences we interact with. With that, comes the intrinsic humanistic values bombarded and contrived by the experiences of the year of the nurse and midwife. The meaning of Nursing and midwifery changes with the evolution of the world, diseases, pathologies, and people at various points of their lives. The fundamental truth the year 2020 has affirmed, is Nursing and Midwifery are based on profound empathy for the continuum of human life. Quality human life.

Courtesy of @WHO

In many interactions with nurses and midwives on reflection of this year, the slither of a silver lining is, hard as is to recognize, the circumstances provided Nursing and Midwifery a chance to test our capability and capacity. In many dimensions, there has been a great redefinition of these professions, the professionals within and the perspective of the universe we serve. We have had a renewed perspective, zeal, and re-evaluation of these, who and what we are. As a contraption or as the traditional belief of being ‘a calling’, Nursing and Midwifery have both been challenged and augmented. Significantly, people have seen these aspects first hand and urgently, to establish a profound appreciation for the holistic care we embody. Our swift malleability in circumstances that require curving out creative and timely ways of delivering healthcare are truly admirable, and commendable. The autonomy and authority of nurses and midwives continues to be demonstrated from the nucleus of the bedside to the organism that is our survival. For that, we are indebted to these professionals.

A nurse participates in the drill to test their system capabilities for the COVID-19 coronavirus mass patients influx at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. Courtesy of @theconversation

On an individual level, as a professional, I am still reflecting on this profession and the professional it is shaping us to be. Every day, after every shift, there are insights. New and even refurbished understanding of our values and roles. From these, I make room for more, because that is the bottomless capacity 2020 demonstrated. We can take so much, we can give so much and in between that, we are human so we have to refresh and realign our spirit, our intentions, and the demands of reality in order to devote ourselves so abundantly.

Here is what has been and what continues to be, Nurses and Midwives.

Passing Nursing Licensure Exams

Here we are, at the final sprint and the finish line is within reach before we throw up the caps!

You are about to begin the honorable responsibility of caring for others under licensure and we are proud and excited for you! You have done extremely well. Being brave and working hard & smart until this final juncture of your education. Now to help you cut the ribbon of passing Nursing licensure exams and commence this next step, here are tools that are sure to assist you in passing this upcoming licensure exams.

5 Simplified Preparation Steps for Licensure exams

Self belief is the first step to succeeding in nursing, a profession where people of all ages will always trust you. With their time, their bodies, their lives, their children, their most private information and so on.

7 Types of Learners and Maximizing Learning Techniques + Apps for Nursing

The capacity to synthesize and retain information is often based on the types of learners we are, personality types and, often, the methodologies we employ in education. Being able to curve an individualised niche based on these is a clever way of making studying in Nursing school easier. That way, we work smarter and not necessarily harder.

Simplified Pomodoro study technique

Starting a task such as reading a large amount of material can be anxietying, boring, full of digressions and you may want to go up for air a few times. Adopting a study technique is a suitable way to break down a large bulk of work into manageable sections.

Study With Me

So how about productivity partnership and we can all get the most done?

RUNNING AND NURSING

From childhood we started running to school, then for fun, soon it became an addictive soother. Easing temporal tensions from Nursing School studies and just finding freedom in a Flight (sort of) mode.

The tighter the schedule, the stronger the need for and ease of fitness. Gradually becoming a cemented part of the day.

Fitness, like Nursing, has it’s pleasure and pain. Starting off seemingly tough. With time, you’ll see that it’s adjectivably hooking!

There are so many ways Running has brought ease into Nursing & joy to my life. To say the truth, sometimes an escape from it 😂😂

As a practitioner, it has helped me become stronger. Physical resilience plus moving swiftly in the clinical area.

Psychologically, my mental hygiene has been maintained majorly through fitness.

To the subject that moves my soul, Non communicable diseases (directly&/indirectly), Fitness has catalysed discussions on health maintainance with patients. Helping make their journeys to optimum health so so relatable! That we are, at times, on the same frequency and I hope that gives them confidence.

This empathy is the holism Nursing & Running.

Managing And Making the Most out of Fear during Clinical Rotations

Feel the fear and do it anyway ask your preceptor

There are a lot of feelings that come with starting clinical rotations. Curiosity, excitement, the crisp newness of the environment and of course, the big elephant that is, fear. Fear of making an error and what not… Don’t worry, it is okay and absolutely normal. These are very common and there are ways to go about them.

1. Always ask before doing and never do a procedure without the supervision of your preceptor.

Remember you are under someone else’s licence so protect yourself and protect them.

2. Tap into the positive curiosity.

We are in the age of evidence-based practice so always ask why. Ask yourself, and stimulate your mind. Ask your preceptor, clinical instructors and during ward rounds.

3. Be willing to try

Take every opportunity to learn because it will build your confidence. It might take a moment, you might fail at the first attempt but keep trying. The basis is to try. Observe and ask to do these procedures.

4. Take notes.

Take note of new terminologies, techniques and look them up later. Write diagnoses, questions and so on. Once you go home for revision you have the references with you. In terms of questions, you might not be able to ask questions at the very moment of a procedure so keep that in there and ask you are alone with the nurse. That will go a long way in boosting not only your nursing knowledge but your confidence.

5. You don’t have to be confident to act confident.

Introduce yourself to clients and have a positive energy about you because they are in dire points of need. Hesitating might put them off and if it bounces back on you, then that might take more confidence away from you. So for that, speak up and let your preceptor know whenever you don’t feel 100% about a procedure.

When all these pass, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because even seasoned professionals are afraid sometimes, we are all human.

Until next time,

Elevate Nursing!

Ace your Study Space

Creating the right environment for inspiration and productivity is crucial towards getting work done on time and efficiently. These ideas have a huge impact on our mindsets and productivity levels, particularly if you are up against a creative block.

These go a long way in taking and keeping us in ¨the zone¨-a happy, still place-where work is more of a beckoning pleasure. So with these ideas, we can create a dedicated work space (no matter the size) with an ambience that taps into creative juices and positive energy.

Ps- The space is not always defined as a dorm room, home or office, it is where ever you like to get down to working.

1. Get Organized:

Environmental and mental organization divides the urgent from the not so urgent. Take To Do lists for one, to lay out all you need to do on paper (or an app), reduce the mental traffic jam of thoughts and outline tasks, intentionally.

¨A tidy space equals a tidy mind¨ is not a fallacy. Having work items in an ordered clear view & accessible is part of mental blocking. This sets the tone of the moment.

Organizing your space the night before going to bed pans out a clear path for take off in the morning. Cleaning out before starting the day is another way of doing that.

There is the regular clean up by Kondo. Clearing out to the basic needs and using organizers, folders and cabinets. As well you might go the Muji minimalist stationery.


2. Go green:

Flowers or succulents. A friend said cacti absorb harmful radiation from laptops and p.cs. Apart from recreating the mood boosting properties of nature, sprucing up the space with fresh flowers, leaves or a low maintainance succulent purifies the air around you.

You might give eucalyptus a shot, the smell is levitating.


3. Lighting:

There is an unoticeable eye strain from working in poorly lit environments. You may notice fatigue, one of the things to rule out is poor lighting.

If you can work under natural light, the better. If that is not possible, a decent table lamp will do.


4. Personalized space:

Giving your best shot is always simpler towards personal activities than most others. So a unique personalized space would only stir up the same effect on the tasks at hand.

This is with small things like a photo, a wall hanging, quotes, a memorable table placing that reminds you of home or a colour hue that zens you out! These work wonders on motivation when we hit creative blocks.


5. Comfort:

The workspace ought to be conducive and as comfortable as possible. Especially on long working days, discomfort can be a gnawing distractor. So open your windows and let the air circulate. Make sure the computer is on the right height and your back is well arched.

There is a feeling of cold feet that, atleast for me, feels like a freezing mind. So get a warm pair of socks/floor mat and a lap blanket for that seasonal whiff of cold  air.


6. Tune in or Tune Out:

Tune out the mental background noise with a hum of music like we do during pomodoro sessions using chill hop and jazz. Prefereably the kind that has no words which your mind might pick up and filter into the work at hand.

Top View Photo of Keyboard Near Earphone

You can tune into your mind, as well, with silence. If that is your thing, pick up some noise cancelling earphones for the office day or that coffee shop session.

Another fine tuner is a scented candle of vanilla or wild berry. A coffee scent if you prefer the straight up


7. Quick Ones:

Coaster; reduce the mess of a coffee ring stain & insulate 🙂

A calming or compartmentalizing view; could be a wall that reduces any visual distractors, nature for inspiration or city overview.

Hydration; a glass of water and a bottle of it 🙂 Out of sight, out of mind.

I hope you find these a good kickstart for this coming week and beyond.

Until next time, Elevate Nursing!

Minimalist Three-Sectioned Nursing Bag

Commencing clinical rotation is an exciting experience especially if you are a fresh nursing student or back from holidays! So just to top that excitement and get you ready for the incredible adventure you are about to begin, we have summed up a three sectioned all-inclusive bag. Just one top up and you can take this bag to both day and night shift.

First off, you will need three pouches and if you a tad bit minimalist, you may succeed with a double-sectioned bag. These are handy for a day shift.

1.The Clinical Pouch: Items for clinical work. Often the pouch is made of easy to clean material. Either washable or wipeable with alcohol wipes.

Scrubs &/ Uniform (Keep a spare pair in case of the common spills), stethoscope, Penlight & Scissors, ID badge, Notebook, Multicoloured pen, marker, Drug book/Cheat sheets and Hand Sanitizer

2.Personal Items case: This is the emergency kit and personal hygiene portion. A moisturizer. This will be useful between the hand cleaning to note-taking moments. Coconut oil or shea butter based moisturizer has become my personal preference because it absorbs really fast. The travel size items are always easy to carry around.

Charged phone (and a power bank), hand Lotion, hairpins (there can never be enough of those), lip balm, toothpaste and brush(for a freshen up), Breath fresheners or tic-tacs, wallet (for the locker room) or a tiny Coin purse to carry around, safety-pin/ Needle  & Thread (Emergency needs like an unexpected button pop, trust me, it happens).

3. Snacks & Beverage Pouch: Often Airtight, this one should protect a fresh meal from leaks and keep food from contamination.

Water bottle, Coffee Mug, food container, Energy Snacks/Fruit, Tea/coffee and sugar sachets.

For a night shift, you may need to add compression stockings and a warm fleece sweater to the clinical supplies section.

I hope you find these useful 🙂

Until next time, Elevate Nursing!

5 educational Apps & Study Programs for Nursing School

Having been created from effective study techniques, these applications and programs are some of the most efficient education resources yet. They are easily accessible and offer almost infinite retreavable data storage, so you can catch up on school work wherever you are.

In the realms of Nursing school, there are time consuming trials and errors in the quest to find brilliant, useful & affordable educational apps. Chances are, finding the suitable combination for your specific learning technique also takes time. Not anymore! We´ve tried and curated appropriate applications for various types of learners. Here they are!

1. Medscape:

Subscription free application with a reliable clinical database. There are various clinical specialties catered for as well as current news, research and so on. With an offline version, thisproves to be a sure way to keep studying on the go.

Study technique: Study group revision, personal studies and the best writing assignments such as care plans.

© Medscape

2. Anki App

This is an individualized spaced repetition app that allows you to create flashcards for regular studying. It is particularly useful for learning medical terms and new languages. There is a section of the app that gauges how well you remember these terms therefore useful for monitoring the efficiency of the study sessions.

© AnkiApp

Study techniques: Study group revision, note taking, individual studying 6 teaching for clinical instructors employing spaced repetition.

3. Picmonic:

This one is more so for audio-visual learners having a tonne of educational topics for various specialties. The diagrams are quite hilarious which makes learning fun! It promises you will remember everything, forever. I am not so sure how that is possible but trust the study technique.

© Picmonic app

I gave it a shot! The upside of picmonic is it utilizes spaced repetition and various study in unlimited multiple choice questions, online & offline viewing and unlimited access to media resources such as video. Daily acess to 20 questions, 1 video and a daily quiz.

The downside; the subscription service my dear students, with no student costs. For 77.99 Euro annually & 14.49 per month. It´d be better with student costs but a way around that is to try it for a week round between study group partners. As well, refering friends translates to 1 month free for every 2 subscriptions. How about that? However, i think it is worth the penny.

4. Tomato Timer:

This simple, functional website works by time blocking in the name of good old pomodoro study technique! If you are working on a computer, be sure to try it. Absolutely free!

Upside: You can adjust the time frames for other activities that take more than 25 minutes, negates the distraction prone phones, simple and easy to use. Such as mock exam revision sessions.

Downside: I haven´t found a downside, Maybe just that there are no application related as this is 100%.

© Be Focused

However, for a rather almost similar mobile application, give Be Focused a go. Apart from it´s simplicity and being free, it allows monthly progress tracking and in-app task management. Flow Timer does the same but you may have to subscribe to unlock all it´s resources.

5. Med Mnemonics:

By putting together over 1600 acronyms, rhymes, and memory tricks. The database covers various topics and the app allows addition of mnemonics by users who can share them via email.

Upside: An almost infinite modifiable database.

In order to maximise on these apps based on specific learning techniques, take a moment to read The 7 Types of Learners and Maximizing Learning Techniques for Nursing.

Until next time, Elevate Nursing 🙂

7 Types of Learners and Maximizing Learning Techniques + Apps for Nursing

The capacity to synthesize and retain information is often based on the types of learners we are, personality types and, often, the methodologies we employ in education. Being able to curve an individualised niche based on these is a clever way of making studying in Nursing school easier. That way, we work smarter and not necessarily harder.

There are 7 types of learners. Each person falls into one or more groups. The ease of transition within the respective groups is often encouraged in nursing education because there are different materials (classwork,clinical work, labs, experiements…) that we engage in, regardless of study technique. There are education applications as well that create study ease for each type of leaner.

We´ve individualised these learning style by relating with suitable study techniques & education applications for nursing.


1.Visual learners

These learners rely heavily on pictures, imagery, videos among other visual ques since their brain to hand co-ordination plays a major role in comprehension. They generally find ease in drawings and are inclined to using flow charts, various coloured pens and diagrams to explain concepts.

Person Using Ipad

The best learning techniques are; Note taking, diagrams, experiements, watching education videos, summarizing and researching.

Useful Apps: Picmonic & Med mnemonic app.


2. Aural or Auditory learners

They learn best by responding to sound and music. The voice of teachers, colleagues and face to face interactions with patients are best suitable for this group.

A caution is to avoid auditory distractions like studying in busy coffee shops.

White Samsung Earphones

Capitalize on the following learning techniques; watching videos, participate in group discussions, attending classes & asking questions, using word associations, vocal repetition, spaced repetition, recorded classroom sessions & audiobooks and/or podcasts,

Useful Apps:  Med Mnemoics app, podcasts and audio books.


3. Solitary learners

These individuals often keep to themselves and may be described as introverted as learning is fostered by independence in solitude. . However, the personality type does not necesarilly define this type of learners.

Woman Using Laptop

The best learning techniques are: self testing & studying within time blocking & spaced repetition, note taking, practice quizes, summarization and researching.

Useful apps: AnkiApp, Microsoft Excel for Spaced repetition and these.


4. Logical learners 

These inquisitive learners often draw conslusions indepedently as they thrive in intellectual challenges, logic and reasoning systematically. They employ creativity to think factually from different points of view.

Study techniques: Being prone to challenges, these learning retain more in group discussions and class presentations. They find ease in researching and experimenting. In the end, their summarization skills are above par as they use their own words and logic. Therefore, other recommended techniques include individualized studying, online and group debates, role play.

Apps: Med Mnemoics, Anki App & PicMonic.


5. Verbal Learners

These expresive group learn best by using words  by verbal instruction and/or writing activities. They thrive in learning opportunities involving speaking such as teaching others.

Study techniqques suitable are group discussions, experimentation in lab work, demonstration, acronyms, vocalization of ideas to self and role play.

Apps: Med mnemoics & Picmonic.

Three Woman Talking Near Laptop on Desk Inside Room


6. Physical Learners

These are learners who engage with movement in their studies by utilizing body, hands & the sense of touch. These is often associated with individuals who speak with hands as a conductor of  their words.

Learning techniques, Flow charts & drawings, group studies, role play and presentations.

Apps: Med mnemoics & Picmonic.

Person Pointing at Flowchart

7. Social Learners

You know that expressive person who can, in a crowd, conceptualize topics into logic just their explanation? That is a social learner. They are inquisitive, expressive individuals who learn best by engaging with others, often verbally.

Learning techniques: Group discussions, picmonic, experimentation, demonstration, acronyms, vocalization of ideas to self and role play.

Apps: Med Mnemoics, Anki App & PicMonic.

Three Persons Sitting on the Stairs Talking With Each Other


Conclusion:

Different people prefer various learning styles and techniques. However, there is a mix of learning styles where one style is more dominant.

Other people find different styles effective in different situations. In nursing school, this allows a flow between clinical to class work and maintain momentum despite different teaching styles. You always have a self curated fallback.

There is no perfect mix. So if you can, give them all try or rather or identify those you identify with then develop what works best for you.

For the suitable nursing learning apps and programs, we´ve unpacked them here.

All the best & until next time,

Elevate Nursing.

The heart and Art of Nursing

This artwork was done by dotting, a few months ago. It is one of the main organs of the body that connects the aspects of our holistic nature. The heart. You might be thinking, well, there is the brain and the infinite nature of…but no, it is the heart. In my books, atleast.. so let’s go on with this 🙂 I´ll tell you why!

Sketching down

Over the years, I have experienced both on a personal and professional level how cardiovascular diseases have literally swept through communities in the world like wildfires. They have literally been compared to the effects of civil wars in terms of their after effects on families and debilitating human life. At 9 years old, I told my dad I wanted to become a nurse. Because the nurses of my childhood wore crisp white dresses. But on a more logical note, after mentorship by observation. Observing diligent nurses manage cardiovascular pathologies on a community level exceptionally well.

Fast forward to a few years ago, I was losing my faith in Nursing. It was ebbing away and the previous positive curiosity was gnawed at by fear of failing. Escapism. There are days that you know what is right to be done but you push back that thought because it makes you uncomfortable. Discomforting to hear, to do but more so, to digest. The more you avoid it, the further it goes away and the more you lose yourself to whatever ‘reality’ you think is The reality. More often than not, out of fear, panic over failing, fear of the unknown…

Dotting down

So on a canvas (inescapably large ), I thought to pour out what has built up my Nursing and that will be a reminder for what it is I want out of this. Also, what it means to be a Nurse from the perspective of exemplary Nurses. The cornerstone included is what valuable peers, mentors, parents & most importantly, patients have said over the years. A few words that powered up a day here and a shift there. Cumulatively, these moments, notes and talks curved out the professional path that we are currently on. A tough road that I stayed on, often, because of those people. If not for myself, this for patients, parents and mentors who power the cause.

Translated, the upper part of the heart is mainly tubules that direct blood in and out of the chambers. This blood, that energizes and nourishes our cells, goes through the lower chambers. The bottom of the heart, where our sincerity sits [I mean it, from the bottom of my heart ] is where these valuables words sit. On the bottom of this heart. And so from the bottom of this heart, comes the values of Nursing, redirected through beautiful flower like pathways, into actions. Actions that have infinite outcomes.

In a study room

These things that have been said of Nursing speak to life as well. For example, ¨The world is put back by everyone who has to sacrifice the development of their gifts to concentionality¨ basically, do not lose your flare!

Putting it out here, as a constant reminder. The genuine intentions to save human life are executed through an incredible profession that, many times, is kept afloat by these lives we intend to save. This etch work has gone a long way in maintaining my momentum and I hope it does to you too. Figuratively and literally, racing your heart.

This is why I heart Nursing.