Even before your first semester of nursing school classes start, you will be OVERWHELMED with the amount of paperwork. That’s why I quickly realized I needed to come up with a foolproof system for organizing all of it for easy reference and keeping my sanity intact. Turns out, I’m not the only one who realized this…here’s a note I received recently from a reader in St. Louis:
In this podcast we talk about giving a succinct, flawless and informative end-of-shift report. Sounds simple enough, right? It should be, but you’d be surprised how often a bad shift report can leave you with more questions than answers. But, if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be someone that all the other nurses LOVE getting report from…and yes, you will be giving report as students, too!
Though I totally dig my Erin Condren planner for life after nursing school, I just don’t think there’s anyway it would ever work well for a nursing student. The schedule is just too jam-packed! When I was a student, I used a full-sized (8.5×11) planner and was happily using up every square inch of the available space. While it was a really functional planner, it wasn’t quite perfect for nursing students (and the design left something to be desired). So, what’s a busy nursing student to do? How about use a specific nursing school planner? Sounds pretty good, right?
Who doesn’t love a good set of accessories? No, I’m not talking about bracelets and hair ties…I’m talking school supplies! What do you need and what’s the best way to use them?
I don’t know what the official name for these are, but I call them tabbies. They’re the plastic page tabs/flags that you can write on with a Sharpie. They look like this and are easily the item I used the most in nursing school.
For those of you about to graduate (yay!!) you are undoubtedly already thinking about the dreaded job hunt and all the good times (and stress) that it entails. While you may not yet be able to apply for any positions until you pass NCLEX, you can start getting your nursing portfolio together…doesn’t that sound like THE perfect thing to work on over Thanksgiving break? Ok, maybe not, but it may be something you will want to create and have ready for that first interview a few months from now.
Learning how to give an awesome and succinct end-of-shift report is a vital skill that is crucial to patient safety. Once you start practicing giving/receiving report in clinicals, you will be astounded at how often this is a disjointed, unorganized mess that leaves you discombobulated and with more questions than answers. To give an awesome report, follow these tips:
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know I am a sucker for all things related to organizing (also a sucker for pens, post-it notes and all things laminated!). Depending on the type of unit you work in (or have your nursing school clinical) it may make sense for you to have your “stuff” organized and accessible in some way…but not necessarily on your person. This obviously isn’t for you if you work in a unit where you are never in the same spot for very long or are running hither and yon your entire shift (like in the ED). But if you work critical care,PACU, and even on the floor you may find that having your goodies in a storage tote works well, provided you have a place to actually put it. In the ICU where I work, we have WOWs (workstation on wheels) at every room and tables outside every two rooms or so. I typically put my goodie bag there and have easy access to all kinds of things I might need throughout my shift but don’t necessarily want to carry in my pockets.
As you embark on the journey of being a nurse, you will learn something each and every time you step foot in the hospital. Even if you’ve been a nurse for years, you still learn something every time you work. A great way to keep track of all these pearls of wisdom is to create a practice notebook.