Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Why the QT interval matters

QT interval

When you begin taking care of patients who are on cardiac monitoring (AKA “tele monitoring”) you’ll need to chart a few key ECG measurements once per shift and any time there is a change in the rhythm. These are the PR interval, the QRS, the QT and the QTc. You probably are already very familiar with the PR interval and QRS measurements…but what is a QT and why do you need to measure it?

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Nursing School Paperwork Hacks

nursing school paperwork

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:

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Podcast Episode 7: Giving End-of-Shift Report

end of shift report

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!

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Mailbag Monday: Skills Checkoffs!

skills checkoff

The one thing that is MOST dreaded in nursing school is the skills checkoff. Sure, the exams can be downright terrifying, but skills checkoffs are where you go one-on-one with your professor as they scrutinize your every move. Make too many mistakes (or even just one “fatal” mistake) and you fail…but the good news is, you get to re-take it! The bad news is, if you fail the checkoff a second time, you very well could  be out of the program. Here’s an email from a reader about this very topic:

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Day shift vs night shift…which is for you?

night shift

As someone who’s about to finish up on night shift and start back on day shift , I thought it might be fun to compare the pros and cons of each shift. Each definitely has its merits, so if you’re not sure which shift is for you…read on! I’ve worked both days and nights, and I can definitely say each shift has its advantages AND disadvantages. The difference is….well…night and day!

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Dealing with difficult docs using SBAR

SBAR

Before I start an “us” vs. “them” war, let me start off by saying that I cannot imagine the pressure that physicians are under these days. They go for long stretches with no days off, work very long hours, have tremendous responsibility and, basically, have a job that I would never ever ever want. So, with that said, it is understandable that you will, at times, deal with a difficult or demanding physician. These tips about SBAR and effective communication should help!

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NCLEX questions don’t have to ruin your life

nclex

Nothing, and I mean, NOTHING gets a nursing student more worked up than NCLEX questions. I have very clear memories of sitting in the testing room making my best “WTF is this” face as I worked my way through the questions. And yes, that’s the exact same face I made the entire time I was taking the actual NCLEX and my CCRN exam…so if you think these style of questions are ever going to go away…you are sadly so very very wrong.

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The Nursing Diagnosis Decoded

nursing diagnosis

In your first semester of nursing school, the nursing diagnosis can seem like a really, really bizarre concept. I mean, why not just say “patient can’t breathe” instead of “impaired breathing pattern as evidenced by blah blah blah.” It can drive you bonkers if you don’t understand how to decipher them, so let’s get to it!

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The supplies you need to rock nursing school

school-supplies

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?

Tabbies

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.

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Dosage Calculations Quiz #2

more dosage calc

Mastering dosage calculations is absolutely necessary in nursing school. If you are just starting your program, you will most likely have a dosage calculations exam sometime in the first weeks of class…if your program was like mine, you had three attempts to get 100% on this exam or you were out of the program. And since your ability to accurately give your patient the ordered dose of any medication could mean the difference between life or death, you can see why this is a pretty crucial skill. So, if you need to learn (or re-learn) how to do dosage calculations the 100% foolproof way, check out this post. Then come back here and take this quiz to put your skillz to the test. Ready?

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