The Nightingaler from Australia: Meet John Bouwer, Learner Accounts Coordinator

John BouwerHe comes from the land down under . . . Oh. Wait. That is the song by Men at Work. Whoops.

In all reality, however, John Bouwer, is a native Australian that we are lucky enough to call our Coordinator of Learner Accounts. He has been a part of the Nightingale family for almost three years. For those past three years, we have heard various stories from his life back in Australia, including stories of “killer” kangaroos and cute quokkas. His motto is “Live to Work Not Work to Live.” Wise words, John.

Get to know a bit about John by checking out this month’s Collaborator Spotlight.

What is your position?

Coordinator of Learner Accounts

How do you help our learners?

I try to help learners fund their education and make their dreams come true within the constraints that we all have to work with.

What is your favorite part about your job and Nightingale?

Nothing makes me happier than seeing learners graduate and pass the NCLEX.  Education is one of the few keys to a better life.

Considering your position, what is one piece of advice or tip you would give to learners?

Think very carefully how you are going to fund your education and if you do make the plunge, then make sure that you do respond to communications from Learner Accounts because it will save you a lot of money.

Where are you from and when did you come to the states?

I’m from Perth, Australia and I have been in the U.S since February 2008.

What is your funniest story about living in Australia?

 

I have a house just on the edge of the metropolitan area, so there are still lots of native animals running around. I was in the backyard once which is partly bush, and as I turned around, I found myself staring eyeball to eyeball with a 6-foot-tall male kangaroo. He was ready to go a few rounds, but I wasn’t. I just backed away and retreated to another part of the yard.

What is the wildest thing that has ever happened to you in Australia?

Being stopped by the police in the outback with an unlicensed (unknowingly due to change of address) car and made to walk to the nearest town and get the vehicle towed and re-licensed.

If you could have any of the wild Australian animals as a pet, what would it be?

A kangaroo would come in handy because most Americans think we ride them.

What is your career specialty?

I’ve done a bit of everything from teaching (K-12) in Australia and Europe to accounting. Variety is the spice of life.

Besides being the Learner Accounts Coordinator for the College, you also own a company. Tell us about your company. 

I have a little company called Kanga Custom Products that produces medals and pins for sports tournaments.  It’s nice to be my own boss and lets me explore my creative side coming up with designs.

Outside of maintaining learner accounts, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

Three kids take up most of my time, but once in a while I get some time to myself. I try to maintain a basic level of fitness and like to binge on Netflix series.

What is your claim to fame?

Every dog has its day and good dogs get two. I’ve had a fortunate life and am very thankful for that. I think having the opportunity to travel extensively in Europe and work in 5 different countries has been a great opportunity.  To travel without a care in the world for extensive periods and experience life is something everyone should do.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 5 years? Any goals you want to accomplish? Vacations on your bucket list?

Within 5 years, I would like to be independently wealthy and retire. Short of that I will probably have to complete an MBA and elevate myself. Future travel is definitely on the list, as there are so many beautiful and interesting things awaiting me to discover.

Continuous improvement is one of our values, and a personal favorite of mine. What inspires you to be better and to continually improve?

I need to do a better job at elevating myself.  Education is critical, but because of family life, I haven’t given it the attention it deserves. Thankfully Nightingale has provided Function Leader workshops, which I appreciate

Share anything else you would like our readers to know about you. 

If you get a chance, go and see the world. There are so many wonderful experiences awaiting. And for the record, not everything in Australia will kill you. We don’t give it a second thought.

Let’s Talk Plagiarism: The Cheaters Don’t Get Ahead

Plagiarism

Written by Samantha Hanlon, MA, PPS (Counselor, LALR)

Plagiarism is very serious. How much do you know about plagiarism? Admittingly, many of us do not know much about.  We may think we are writing a paper that is appropriate and based on our own thoughts. But how do we know for sure that we didn’t fall victim to plagiarism?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines plagiarizing as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own:  use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

Plagiarism is something that is not condoned in any school.  Nightingale College Catalog states: “Learners must not deliberately use another person’s ideas, work, evidence, or words and present them as their own original work, including coping text from websites, textbooks, journals, or any other published materials, without proper acknowledgement”.

When you plagiarize, you are stealing someone else’s thoughts.  While you may be thinking this article does not apply to you, are you sure? Many of us plagiarize and do not realize it.

Here are a few tips and some great websites to help you:

Plagiarism comic

  • Do not copy and paste. Even if you are changing a few words, you cannot copy and paste into your paper.
  • It is also possible to plagiarize your own work. Make sure you are not copy and pasting from another paper you have written!
  • If you are getting an idea from another source, your need to write it in your own words and you MUST cite the source.
  • It is important that you know the appropriate way to cite your sources using APA. Here is a great website to help you: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
  • If you are unsure, ask your instructor or contact Learner Advising and Life Resources and we can help you.
  • You may also use free sources to check and see if you are plagiarizing.

Resources to Help Determine Plagiarism

The websites listed below are so easy to use.  You copy and paste a paragraph or your whole paper into the box and it will check immediately if there is any plagiarism in your paper. It is simple. It is quick. It is efficient.

https://www.duplichecker.com/

http://plagiarisma.net/

https://www.plagium.com/

https://www.paperrater.com/free_paper_grader

https://www.quetext.com/

https://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/

For this website, you will upload your paper and it will check for plagiarism.

https://www.plagscan.com/plagiarism-check/

You should not rely solely on one of these websites.  Make sure you go over your paper yourself to check for plagiarism and always review the guidelines of plagiarism before starting your paper. A quick refresher crash course on the subject may be exactly what you need to ensure you do not get tangled up in the mess of plagiarism.

If you need help or would like to discuss plagiarism further, please contact Samantha Hanlon, Counselor in the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department.

References: Mariam- Webster Dictionary, Nightingale College Course Catalog

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Become More Focused to be More Productive: Productivity Distracters

Productive

How does your focus rob you from reaching a high level of productivity? Let’s explore.

It’s ten o’clock Tuesday night (or any night, you pick). Wanting to get enough sleep to attend the early morning clinical you have been assigned to, you decide to get to bed at a decent hour. Tucked into bed, your eyes are glued to the brightly lit screen. One more pass, scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook feed. Before you know it, an hour—maybe two—have passed. Fast forward to clinical the next morning and you are exhausted, not ready to tackle the day nor have the focus to learn.

How about another situation? Imagine this. You sit down motivated to start studying for the big final exam that will determine whether you pass the class. Checking your schedule, you’ve set aside three hours to dedicate to throwing yourself into your studies. Note cards positioned right above the pencil, a bottle of water and snack at the ready. Twenty minutes in, a ring disrupts the silence. Lucky for you, your friends just commented and liked your post, sparking a conversation that has you smiling ear to ear and laughing. Finally, you check the clock an hour and half have slipped passed without notice.

Let’s explore one more example. Today in class, you are learning something new and something that you really didn’t understand from that week’s reading. The instructor is reviewing the subject in detail. Hammering on every possible angle and answering questions that would have been helpful to know, but you missed it. You weren’t focused. Instead you were stealthily checking your phone. Going through your emails, replying to texts about the weekend plans, and quickly clicking on every Facebook notification that rang on your phone. Refocusing on the class topic after all notifications have been answered or in the very least reviewed with delicate attention, you notice that you missed every single detail and the instructor has moved on to the next topic.

In each scenario, something valuable to that moment was stolen—focus and ultimately, productivity level. Time is unforgiving and before it is noticed, hours have passed with little productivity.

We are all victims to technology and it is hard to really unplug from our electronics and focus. Focus on bettering ourselves, our knowledge, and our future. However, it becomes more challenging when we are fighting the urge to reply to a text, scrolling one more time through Facebook to watch those quick cooking videos or check out what our friends are up to, and answering less-than-urgent emails that can wait until later.

How many of you reading this have been in such a situation? A situation where you reflect, knowing that you could have been more productivity if only you had unplugged from those darn electronics. Writing this, I know there are more instances than I can count.

Committing fully to nursing school is a continuous effort. Yes, effort because it requires a lot of focus to nail those nursing concepts and skills. After all, a person’s health will be in your hands.

Let’s talk about three strategies to help you become more productive with your time in nursing school and ways to leverage your attention to succeed. Of course, this is not a thorough list but top recommended strategies.

Unplug from those electronics. First, let’s cover the number one distracter: your electronics. Staying connected with others is important. Living in the twenty-first century, technology regulates almost all aspects of day-to-day activities. When it comes to studying and maximizing your focus, unplug from your electronics.

Turn your phone on silent and tuck it away out of view. You won’t be sidetracked when your phone lights up with a message or tempted to reply. Trust me, those messages will still be there when you are ready. If you live with family or roommates, let them know that the time you allotted is your focus time and to not disturb you.

Disable any notifications on your computer that will distract your attention. A computer and access to the Internet does not make is any easier to focus. With a click, you can be looking up the best prices for the vacation getaway that you are looking to book or shopping the latest trends at your favorite boutique. But how will that help with your upcoming exam? It won’t. So, disable your email notifications and do your best not to divert away to the Internet, if is not necessary.

Take frequent breaks. It is reported that a person can normally hold focus for about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes of uninterrupted study time is plenty to get you started on the right foot. Frequent breaks allow you time to get up and walk around, stretch, and grab a snack. Refreshing your mind is crucial to focusing. Focus hard for twenty minutes then take a quick ten minute break.

Have you found yourself often loosing track as you started to drift away from focus to start thinking of other things? Whether it be daydreaming about what you will do to celebrate the end of the semester or your dream job, there is a time for that and it is not during your set study time.

Take time during your breaks to let your mind wander, but make sure you have the power to draw yourself back in to study mode. A great way to get back into study mode is to put on music that helps you focus or take one to two minutes after your break to review where you left off.

Set a to-do list. Many people benefit from making to-do lists. While you set aside time to study, jot down several things you will accomplish during that time. Going to review your class notes from the other day? List it. Wanting to get started on the homework you have been putting off for a few days? List it. Needing to answer a few discussion questions and looking to email your instructor with questions from last night’s reading? List it.

You will be more productive if you know what you want to achieve during the time. Plus, every time you check an item off your to-do list, you will feel more productive.

What are some ways you stay focused and harness your attention to be more productivity?

Looking for help staying focused? Visit with the Learning Advising and Life Resources (LALR) Department and review the services the department offers that can help you and your productivity. Helpful article include Time Management, Study Skills, and Test Anxiety and Studying with ADHD.

Bests of the Nightingale Blog Posts

Popular Nightingale blog postsThe Nightingale blog consists of articles ranging from nursing school anxiety to test taking tips and career development. With the help of all departments, especially Learner Advising and Life Resources (LALR), we can write on a variety of topics that benefit our learners, graduates, and even users who happen to land on our blog.

But which posts are considered most popular? Here are our top 16 Nightingale blog articles that have been measured on the number of views.

How to stay motivated in nursing school

Popular Admissions questions and answers

How to effectively study and hold down a full-time job

5 tips to beat procrastination

First day of nursing school lab: What to expect

Destress this season in 10 steps or less

A crumpled mess: Why clean scrubs matter

7 tips to overcome test anxiety

Nursing school study apps to try

4 recommended study guides to prepare you for the NCLEX-RN

The interview

NCLEX Confessions with a graduate: Summer Kervin

10 tips for starting the semester off right

14+ tips to get you interview ready

11 tips to writing a memorable cover letter

43 tips to a strong resume

Looking for a specific article? Cruise through our blog posts at www.nightingale.edu/blog.

How to Write a Professional Email

how to write a professional emailLost in a world of informal communication, it is common to not know how to write a professional email. With the average person receiving fifty texts per day (click to read the study), we get caught up in the “lols” and “jks” of today’s communication. Often, it is difficult to find the words that are the foundation to a professional email.

Part of a successful education is mastering the skill of professional email writing. While nurses are seen more hands on working with patients, communication is vital, including written communication.

Instant communication is a benefit of email messages; however, it comes at a high cost. Misspelling, incorrect grammar, and the use of “u” instead of “you” are only a few examples that depict an unprofessional image. Scurrying around to undo a sent email message does not have to be in your future if you learn the basics to professional email writing.

When speaking with instructors and faculty at school, potential job connections, or coworkers, it is important to remember to be professional in all communication. Welcome to the blog on professional email writing.

Here are some tips to help you write a professional email.

Choose an appropriate subject line and make it count

It may be easier to come up with the right subject line after you complete your email. Make it short, sweet, and to the point, but also formal.  Visualize the subject line like the title of a paper; make sure each word is capitalized, and it summarizes the main reason for the communication.

Your subject line is the first thing read by the recipient. Be sure that the subject line makes the right impression and is not misleading. A great email subject line can set the tone for the remainder of the email. No matter what tone you are interested in relaying, professionalism is key.

Make sure you address who you are emailing and say hello

You may just address the person with their name (using Dr., Mrs., Ms., Mr., etc.) or say Hello (then add their name). Refrain from using “hey” or “hi”. This isn’t any old email being sent out to a dear friend. Take your reputation seriously. Make sure the recipient knows you meant to send the email their way.

Address the person in the correct way

Especially in the medical field, it is important to address the recipient of your email correctly. If the person is a doctor, address them as Dr.  If you do not know whether the person is married and they are a female, it is okay to write Ms.  If you do not know the recipient’s title, a quick search on the school or company website might give you the answer.

Make sure you use the proper and formal tone

Remember, this is not a text message to your friend. You must write in a professional tone.  Think about the person you are writing to.  If you are writing to a professor or boss, you want to ensure that the email is as formal as possible.

Always sign your name (first and last)

You may write sincerely or just simply put your name and title. The more popular sign off is simply “Best.” With several different ways to sign off, it can be hard to decipher which sign off is the best for the situation. For more information on sign offs, click here to read 57 Ways to Sign Off on an Email.

An easy way to make sure your email has an appropriate sign off is to select a generic, professional sign off (such as “Best”) and set it on automatic. When you send off an email, every response will have your selected sign off.

Check for grammatical errors and typos before sending

Reread your email and make sure you do not have any grammatical or typographical errors. First impressions cannot be undone with a click of a button as some email can be.  Do not count on spellcheck.  Again, make sure you are using proper English and not abbreviations.

Eliminate exclamation points or all capitals as these can make it come across that you are yelling or in the very least, upset to a certain degree. Lastly, check for run-on sentences.  Remember, you want to write this email as if you were writing a paper for school.

If you are angry, do not send the email just yet

When reviewing your email, if you find several statements that may come across as angry or see several sentences or phrases that are IN ALL CAPS, save the email to your drafts and wait until you calm down before sending it. Once you are calm, go back and check the email.  Make sure you edit it before sending to reflect your calm state.  There may be things in the email that you typed out of anger and do not want to send.

Be professional in all further communication

Great, you’ve sent out the initial email and have received an email response. This is no time to let your professionalism guard down. Continue the communication in a professional manner. While you may be tempted to add some individual flair to the email, it is okay to show your personality through emails, but do so in a manner that will not put your professional reputation in jeopardy.

Still address the receiver of the email in your correspondence.  You may start out by saying “Thank you for your email” or “Thank you for getting back to me”.  Just make sure your writing is consistent.


When you send a professional email, it shows the recipient that you are serious about your education, your job, and their time.

If you need help, please contact Samantha Hanlon, Counselor in Learner Advising and Life Resources.  She is happy to proofread emails and help you write a professional email.

“Please remember to always try to send all instructors and faculty professional emails and use your Nightingale email.  It is great to start practicing this skill before you start your professional career and we are here to help you do that.” – Samantha Hanlon

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How to stay motivated in nursing school

Staying motivated in nursing school sometimes can be a challenge, especially with those looming exams and strenuous homework assignments seem to keep building up class after class. It is easy to lose motivation during nursing school and fall victim to the nursing school blues. You begin to count down the semesters, maybe even months, to […]

Learning the Ropes as a ADHD Learner

Understanding ADHD

Have you wondered if you have ADHD?

ADHD is an abbreviation for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD includes inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which many ADHD learners find it challenging to focus, retain information, and ultimately, learn. While only about 4% of learners are affected, many other learners have one or more characteristics of ADHD.

Here is a breakdown of some of the characteristics of ADHD.

ADHD signs

Don’t assume at first glance that you have ADHD; however, the degree in which an individual is affected by it varies on a personal scale.

If you associate with any of the signs of ADHD and are looking for further information, contact the College’s Learner Advising and Life Resources Department for personalized suggestions and additional information.

ADHD and Learning

Finding it hard to concentrate on learning objectives and retaining information may be a symptom of ADHD. You struggle to keep up with concepts and staying on top of assignments. It makes learning more of a challenge, but your passion to complete nursing school is the only determination you need to keep going. While some may tell you that to learn and stay current in nursing school, a learner with ADHD cannot succeed, we see you as a learner who is excited to learn and become a nurse, but needs a few suggestions to hone those learning skills.

That is why we compiled a few quick tips and tricks ADHD learners can try.

ADHD Information Sheet Download

Download our information sheet on Studying with ADHD by clicking here. With more insights into various aspects of learning and ADHD, our information sheet will get you started in the right direction.

Study Tips and Tricks for ADHD Learners

Before you start: The first step is to recognize that your current learning pattern(s) and habits may be more of a hindrance during your learning times. Simply stated, the way you are studying—whether the environment or study materials—are not helping you, leading you to feel a bit overwhelmed, maybe even stressed.

Understanding the learning style that best helps you will improve your chances of succeeding. Uncover your learning style by reviewing our blog on learning style.

Here are some study tips and tricks that can help you if you have ADHD or any characteristic of ADHD.

  1. If you need help following instructions, try to simplify the instructions to a basic one or two points and go from there. You can either verify this with your instructor or ask if you instructor can help you break it down.
  2. If you need help with notetaking, which many learners need, some good tips are to study with a friend; ask your instructor for more information; take frequent, but short breaks. Contact LALR for more information on how to take good notes, and check out our blog post about note taking! Click here.
  3. If you need help concentrating, you can find a quiet place to study, create a study plan (if you need assistance with this, please contact LALR), avoid all distractions, try meditation and yoga (these are both great for ADHD).
  4. If you need help remembering, try to keep your notes organized and in a specific place, make a list of things you need remember (you can even keep this on your phone so you don’t lose it). If you need help getting organized, please contact LALR.
  5. If you need help with learning in general, make sure you take care of yourself and get what you need. Patience can be hard for people with ADHD, so please come to LALR if you need help with anything. It may also help to figure out your learning style so you are able to learn the most effectively.  You can see our blog post about Learning Styles by clicking here.

Meet Samantha Hanlon, MA, PPS (or our Counselor, Learner Advising and Life Resources)

Samantha is your go-to contact when looking for information and suggestions on a variety of topics including managing ADHD and how to find a study plan that works.

I am more than happy to assist you in creating a study plan and helping you figure out how you learn best.  If you need accommodation in your classes due to your ADHD, let us know so we can assist with that.  Learning can be challenging when you have ADHD, or even a characteristic or 2 of ADHD.  We are here to help you throughout school so you can succeed and learn how to learn with ADHD!

Nurse Bullying: Does it really happen

This article is an update to the College’s past article titled Bullying, published November 5, 2015.

When most people think of bullying, they think back to the days of grade school when a jerk would shake down a smaller child for their lunch money or give them a knuckle sandwich. However, bullying does not stop after elementary school. A good majority of adults report situations where they were a victim to a bully. It is important to recognize the many forms of bullying and know how to handle the situation.

What is Bullying

So, what is bullying? Bullying, as defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute, is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is

  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done
  • Verbal abuse

Types of Bullying

As the most obvious form of bullying, physical bullying is just one type of bullying. A good way to prevent bullying is to be aware of the types of bullying and how to handle it.

  • Physical Bullying: Occurs when someone uses physical actions to gain power and control over their targets.
  • Verbal Bullying: The use of words, statements, and name-calling to gain power and control over a target.
  • Emotional Bullying or Relational Aggression: A type of social manipulation where individuals try to hurt their peers or sabotage their social standing.
  • Cyber Bullying: Use of the Internet, a cell phone or other technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person.
  • Sexual Bullying: Repeated, harmful and humiliating actions that target a person sexually.
  • Prejudicial Bullying: Preconceived opinions toward people of different races, religions or sexual orientation.

Bullying in the Workplace

Unfortunately, in the nursing profession, as in any profession, there are bullies. Nurse bullying is so prevalent in today’s society that in 1986 nursing professor Judith Meissner coined the phrase “nurses eat their young” as a way to encourage nurses to stop bullying new and inexperienced coworkers. However, it’ not always senior staff that do the bullying. Often it is experienced and inexperienced nurses who are both the bullies and victims. (Hutchinson et al, 2006).

In a survey of 521 clinical nurses conducted in 2011 on incidents involving workplace bullying, 102 (19.6%) had been subject to physical violence, 268 (51.4%) had experienced verbal abuse, 155 (29.8%) had been victims of bullying/mobbing and 67 (12.9%) reported having experienced sexual harassment. The survey also showed a high correlation between working grave shifts and the increased likelihood of sexual harassment (Pai, Lee, 2011).

For nurses who may be a victim of bullying, consider the following steps to take action.

  • Report it. Any incident in which an employee feels harassed, is made to feel uncomfortable in their workplace setting, and/or bullied should be reported immediately to their supervisor. There should be a culture of zero-tolerance for bullying at every organization and all leaders should take this initiative very seriously.
  • Keep composed and maintain the upper hand. Don’t lower yourself or stoop to the bully’s level. If you feel comfortable and safe, calmly confront the bully by acknowledging and pointing out the negative behavior and asking them to stop.
  • Be a role model and do not bully others. The negative cycle of bullying will only continue if its victims eventually become the bullies.

Don’t be afraid to seek out help if you feel as if you are being bullied. The same is true while in nursing school. Here at Nightingale College, we have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. Our Learner Services Department and faculty can help determine if you are being bullied, so reach out if you feel the need.

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5 Tips to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination is a common struggle for learners. Sometimes there is just so much to do that we leave things for the last minute. Here are 5 tips to beat procrastination and help you schedule your day in a way that is productive with no stress.

Plan your day the night before. Having a plan will help you stay on schedule. Knowing what the next day involves can mentally prepare you for the day; not to mention, planning your day the night before gives you some time to prepare for whatever the day entails.

Make your own deadlines. If you have something due, make a deadline to get it done earlier than the assigned due date. Also, break up assignments and tasks into smaller tasks with due dates so you can work on bits and pieces at a time and not leave everything for the last minute.

Do a little morning exercise. Exercising releases endorphins and has been shown to help people be more productive throughout the day.

Make sure you organize your breaks. Try the 10/2/5 hack: 10 minutes of work, 2-minute break, 5 times an hour. Plan what you want to do on your breaks (watch a YouTube video, eat a snack, stretch, read a few pages of a book, check your phone, etc.). It is your time to recharge.

Set up an ideal working environment. Try not to work on the couch or in front of the TV. Set up an office space, go to the library, or go to a place with limited distractions. And although it may be hard, make sure all mobile devices are turned to silent and away from your work space.

If you need more help with procrastination or study skills in general, contact the LALR department. Happy studying!

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Charge Your Study Skills with Your Learning Style

Understanding your individual learning style makes a significant difference when studying and retaining information. Many learners often gravitate toward one learning style but come to prefer another as they develop their knowledge and skills. There are four types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Which type of learner are you? Visit with Learner Advising and Life Resources Department to obtain further resources and suggestions on using your learning style to your benefit.

Download the infographic by clicking here.

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11 New Year’s Resolutions for Nursing Learners

new-years-resolutions

As a nursing learner, it is important to focus the new year on selecting goals that will advance your nursing career. Look back and think of the New Year’s resolutions you set for yourself this past year (if you are not part of the thirty-eight percent that does not make resolutions). Were you able to achieve one or all your goals?

A small percentage, eight percent to be exact, accomplish the goals they set. We get it. Picking a goal and having a whole year to achieve it may not possible and sometimes, life intervenes and torpedoes your chances of being in the select eight percent group.

Although, we can provide stellar advice on how to combat life’s roadblocks, one piece of advice that needs to be remembered is to select resolutions that are specific, attainable, and realistic.

One of your goals for 2016 may have been to start nursing school. Congratulations on crushing that goal. Your goal for next year can be to graduate nursing school, pass the state licensure exam, and secure a job as a staff nurse. Another may be continuing your education by returning to school to obtain a BSN degree.

No matter what resolutions you decide to go after in 2017, we encourage you to review our recommended New Year’s resolutions for nursing learners and add the goals to your list. Plus, we are here to help you achieve each goal, so your resolution of accomplishing a New Year’s resolution will happen.

Make sure your resume and cover letter have been proofed. If you haven’t had the time to start getting your resume and cover letter in order, the time is now. Even if you are just starting nursing school, having an updated, current resume and cover letter at the ready are essential.

Clinicals are a great time to start making connections with facilities that are of interest. In case you run across the recruiting manager, a ready-to-go resume and cover letter will come in handy. It is never too early to start networking with other health care professionals and nurses.

Nightingale College’s Learner Advising and Life Resources Department provides resume and cover letter reviews free of charge and will provide you with instrumental feedback to make sure your documents are in top shape and reflect well on you as a nursing candidate.

45 Tips to a Strong Resume

11 Tips to Writing a Memorable Cover Letter

Get a handle on those time management skills. Your time is valuable, so make sure you are using it wisely. As nursing school starts rolling, you will find yourself mid-semester wondering where the time has gone. Understand that not having enough time to review class material will influence how you do in the class and, ultimately, how you feel about the nursing profession. Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by learning positive time management skills. Set aside time for both your school and personal life, and for some, your work life. Although nursing school is demanding, don’t forget to take the necessary time to unplug from work and school, and just relax.

Improve your study habits. Trash the useless study habits that aren’t beneficial and focus on the studying techniques that work well. Study groups are great avenues if you do well in that type of setting, but be careful that your study group doesn’t turn into social hour. Have a set schedule before your study group meets and do you best to stick with it. If you study better on an individual basis, avoid study groups and other activities that do not work for you.

Learn about your learning style. What type of learner are you: auditory, visual, or experiential? Each person learns differently. Knowing your learning style will help you prepare for classes that are not presented in your preferred learning style. Majority of people have been taught how to work with information presented in all three styles, but now is the time to zero in on what style works best for you and find remedies to help when dealing with the other styles.

Recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. No one knows you better than you do. Use this knowledge to your advantage and assess the areas that need a little extra attention. Nursing school will be challenging and will test your knowledge, your limits, and your character.

Don’t let it tamper with your weaknesses, use every moment as a way of improving and building yourself up. Seek out assistance and advice for improving your weaknesses.

Seek help right away and be wary of what you hear. An important rule of thumb in nursing school is if you have a question, get help right away. Don’t wait around. Find out the answer to your questions by speaking with your instructor or with the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department (LALR).

It is easy to listen to what members of your cohort are saying; however, you shouldn’t rely on them altogether. Be wary of what you hear through the grapevine and always ask or confirm with the instructor or Nightingale College administration member.

Learning to go to the right source for information will not only help you make it through nursing school but will help you in your nursing career. Imagine how detrimental a situation can be if you, as a nurse, turn to the wrong person or only listen to a specific person regarding an issue instead of taking it upon yourself to acquire about the correct information from the right source. Scary.

Build up a tough exterior. Nursing is a profession that is not for the faint of heart nor the weak. Keep in mind that the health care field is stressful, and part of nursing school is to prepare you for those tough situations.

Get into the habit of building up a tough exterior and working in an environment that is stressful, fast paced, and sometimes be heartless. However, always be proud to be a nurse and join such a prestige network of health care soldiers.

Set up your LinkedIn profile and learn to network. It is time to get with today and understand how important social media is to your career. A popular question is: Why do I need to have a LinkedIn when I can apply by sending in my resume. Although the old-fashioned way is an option—for now, creating and updating a LinkedIn account is simple and easy; it is your online cover letter and resume in one. No longer is the need to search for the correct resume format or dilly-dally over what should be included in your cover letter.

LinkedIn covers every item that should be included in each: summary that can be used as a general cover letter, work experience with the opportunity to provide details for each, education and volunteer experience, and a section dedicated to showing off your skills that have been endorsed by your network.

Additionally, you can have a set of recommendations from instructors and mentors on your profile. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to keep your career materials current and helps potential employers access your information. Employers now will search the applicant’s social media presence and will determine if that person is the best fit for the company by what they see on the profiles pages.

But do not underestimate the power of the traditional resume and cover letter. Having a resume and cover letter ready to go is essential. Some employers may still request applicants apply with a resume.

Develop relationships and start collecting those letters of recommendation. It is never too early to start targeting potential mentors who will be able to write a spectacular recommendation for you. Always remember to ask permission before including someone’s name and contact information as a reference.

Be picky on who you chose and seek out opportunities to build relationships and network with others. LinkedIn is a great place to join specific groups and start developing relationships.

Access Nightingale College’s alumni network on LinkedIn to connect with like-minded nursing professionals.

Prepare for the next step on your nursing journey. Whether you are heading into another semester or facing life after graduation, be prepared to the best of your ability. If you are up against another semester of nursing school, start off strong by reading through the class syllabus and know the clinical schedule.

If you have walked across the stage with your ASN degree in hand, consider continuing your education onto a BSN degree with an RN to BSN Program, as more employers are preferring potential employees to have one. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself and career.

Complete BSN Guide

Being a BSN-Prepared Nurse

Be curious. Did you know that there is a little over one hundred different nursing areas you can specialize in? Often, learners are sold on a field of nursing before starting nursing school. By the time graduation swings by, the learner has changed specialties because of the practices experienced. Be curious.

Explore the various nursing career options available before limiting yourself to one. Passions for a specialty may arise after taking a certain class or talking with an instructor.

The 11th is for you to decide. Each nursing learner is tackling a unique journey, so don’t be deterred by another’s resolutions. However, these are basic items that every nursing learner should consider for the upcoming year. Think hard. What would be your 11th nursing New Year’s resolution?

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Goal Setting for Nursing Learners: Learning the Art of S.M.A.R.T. Goals

male-nurse
Learners at Nightingale have one common goal—to graduate from nursing school and become a licensed nurse, which is a big accomplishment. Before jumping to the final goal and possibly underestimating what it takes to complete such an ambitious endeavor, establishing milestones and a set time frame for each milestone have shown to help improve the likelihood of achieving your goal. Breaking your main goal into smaller steps will help you stay on track and more importantly, understand the elements that make up the end goal you have set for yourself.

Don’t forget to download and complete our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet or to use it as a basis for learning to set the right goal that can be accomplished.

What milestones can learners set that together work towards achieving the final goal?

Making a goal to finish your schoolwork on a specific day, sticking to a specific study schedule, getting a certain score on a test or in a course, practicing something at clinicals, and similar day-to-day activities are milestones that you can set to help progress in the right direction. These day-to-day activities are not only milestones of the grander goal of becoming a licensed nurse, but can be individual goals with milestones of their own.

What is the set time frame that is needed for each milestone?

Make a timeline that starts with today, then a goal for next week, next month, 6 months from now, 1 year, or however long you believe is needed to master a specific milestone. The time frame is unique to each person, so take the time to create one that is exclusive to you, your milestones and goals. One of the greatest ways to set a goal is to remember to be S.M.A.R.T. about it, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Each goal and milestone you set should fit the five categories of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting.

Here are some tips to help you think S.M.A.R.T. about setting your goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Be Specific. Goals that are too broad are hard to define and even harder to accomplish because the goal is not specific enough to be reached. Be as detailed as possible. What do you want to achieve? The more details you have, the easier it is to plan and the easier it is to know what you are working towards.

Keep it Measurable. How do you determine success that you have successfully met your goal? Without measurement of some kind, you may doubt whether you have achieved your goal or milestone. Make sure your goals are measurable. The vaguer you set the goals and milestones, the less you will be able to envision them.

Keep it Attainable. Working towards a goal that is not attainable is not a smart route. Take a moment to determine all the elements associated with the goal and whether you have the resources available to complete it. When resources are scarce, visualize another direction to get to the goal or reframe the way you’ve set the goal. A few quick tweaks here and there may do the trick to make your goal and milestones attainable. Remember to not overwhelm yourself, but do try and challenge yourself with your milestones and goals. Challenge brings growth. You want to be able to succeed, so make sure it is a challenge that is attainable.

Be Realistic. Set your goal on what you believe you can do. Much like keeping your goal and milestones attainable, if the goal you have set is not realistic then determine whether it is worth the time and effort that is needed to accomplish it. Several factors that make a goal less realistic are not difficult to determine. Such factors can be current situations in your personal or family life, finances, time, available resources, and so forth. Be realistic with your current situation and honest with yourself. Setting goals that are not realistic will have you looking for ways to jump off the train before even getting started and will deter your determination to achieve the milestones and goal. Focus on what has worked for you in the past and what you are willing to work on and for in the future.

Keep it Timely. A set goal and milestones are rarely accomplished when you do not hold yourself to a specific time schedule. Establishing and keeping the deadlines for your milestones and goals continuously help you stay committed to fulfilling the tasks and goal. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you complete a milestone or goal. Even the smallest milestones should be celebrated if you were able to complete it on time. Set a date for your goal and each milestone to be achieved. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete your goal, but not too much time which can lead to procrastination.

The sweet taste of success and accomplishment accompanies hard work, diligence, and dedication. The strategy of goal setting can be helpful in all aspects of life, not just in nursing school. Discovering what you want to accomplish and creating S.M.A.R.T. milestones to reach the goal will help you continuously improve and grow. Nurses are constantly required to adapt to new changes, and learn new concepts and skills. Determine what goals (and milestones) you want to set for yourself while in nursing school, but don’t forget to look ahead and decide what goals you have for your nursing career. Whatever comes your way, start by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and milestones—the stepping stones that will help guide you to achieving the goal with less stress and make it a rewarding journey.

Download our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet and get started on setting your goals (and maybe New Year’s resolutions) by clicking the button below.

 

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Being a BSN-prepared Nurse

benefits-of-a-bsnNightingale College RN to BSN Program graduate with Nightingale College’s President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder. (May 6, 2016)

Congratulations on being part of the esteemed profession of nursing. Not everyone can fulfill the duties and responsibilities nurses endure on a daily basis that test not only their competencies but their emotional stability. As the top trusted profession, nursing yields many rewards and embodies selflessness and compassion, two ideal characteristics each nurse is encouraged to possess. The constantly evolving health care landscape advances each year as the diverse needs of patients grow. Nurses in particular are preferred to continuously advance their education alongside the advancements of health care, helping nurses learn the latest skills and knowledge to truly deliver quality patient care. Additionally, the importance of BSN-prepared nurses in rural communities rise even more as nurses in these settings must possess a broad array of knowledge and skills to treat communities that have a low number of accessible and local health care professionals.

To solidify a nurse’s career, higher education is needed and preferred by many employers who see the benefits of having BSN-prepared nurses on staff. Although many nurses stop after obtaining an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and passing the national licensure exam (NCLEX-RN), the developments in health care push nurses to go back to school to acquire the skills and knowledge a BSN degree program delivers. According to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations, 80% of nurses need to be BSN prepared to improve the benefits provided to communities. Research associated with BSN-prepared nurses and patient care illustrate the decrease in the mortality and morbidity rates in facilities that have nurses with a BSN degree on staff. It does not suggest associate degree nurses are not equipped to handle patients in a variety of settings, but nurses who have been further trained and hold a BSN degree have gained advanced knowledge and skills as well as critical thinking and leadership characteristics, preparing them to practice in a variety of care settings, treat chronic illnesses, and pursue specialized nursing professions.

Become a Better Nurse with a BSN Degree

The higher qualifications gained through the BSN curriculum train nurses to fulfill higher leadership positions and nursing specialties. Not all BSN-prepared nurses work in administrative roles; the need for bedside BSN nurses constantly rises. Nurses with a BSN degree can practice in more settings such as critical care, outpatient services, and community clinics, which are some of the opportunities available among a numerous list of other possibilities. Many nursing specialties that are very popular require a BSN degree as the minimum requirement along with years of experience. Some nursing specialties that require a BSN degree are

 

  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Critical care nurse
  • Flight nurse
  • Informatics nurse
  • Nurse advocate
  • Nurse manager
  • Occupational health nurse
  • Oncology nurse
  • Perioperative nurse

However, many nursing positions require advanced degrees that surpass the bachelor’s degree level for positions like nurse practitioner and nursing instructor. As a nurse, continuous education should always be a priority. Explore the full list of nursing specialties by clicking here. The nursing profession provides many avenues for nurses to take once graduated and licensed. Many current job openings for registered nurses require an ASN degree and, of course, a current, active nursing license in the specific state of employment. By 2024, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics asserts the projected employment for nurses will reach over 3.1 million nurses including both replacement hires needed to fill the gap of nurses retiring and new nurses needed to address the escalating community health needs. It can be expected that the future of employment for nurses will include a bachelor’s degree as the minimum level of education because employers and health care facilities are able to see the impact BSN-prepared nurses make in regards to the quality of patient care and safety provided. As the health care system changes over time and a BSN degree will be required for almost all entry-level RN positions, nurses will be encouraged to continue to advance their degree level.

Nurses who advance their career by seeking higher levels of education open up more job opportunities, including promotions and leadership positions, and enjoy salary increases that are associated with their enhanced skills and knowledge. The difference in salary between ASN- and BSN-prepared nurses do not differ much, however, BSN-prepared nurses are able to apply for higher-level positions that comes with a higher pay.

Having a BSN degree can have an influence on a nursing graduate’s career right after graduation. While the nursing shortage shows ample opportunities for new nursing graduates, BSN-prepared nurses who apply are preferred applicants because of their level of degree and the skills and knowledge they bring with them to nursing units.

“There are many reasons to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and while an Associate’s Degree in nursing is a result of the most efficient pathway to becoming a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing opens so many more opportunities. If you are currently a registered nurse with an ASN degree, you should be encouraged to pursue your BSN. Opportunities in nursing education, nursing management, federal agencies, and the military, for example, all require a minimum of a BSN degree. Some states are evaluating their entry-into-practice laws and are considering requiring a BSN to be the standard for practicing as a registered nurse. In 2013 the Roberts Woods Johnson Foundation published their findings supporting the outcomes of their lengthy study demonstrating the evidence linking better patient outcomes to baccalaureate and higher degree nurses. In 2010 the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% by 2020. The future of nursing lies in the age old discussion of the ‘entry into practice’ being at the baccalaureate level. That time is upon us now, and it’s only a matter of time before a BSN is the requirement to practice as a registered nurse.”

Sue Jero, MSN, RN

Ready to take the next step in your nursing career and be BSN prepared? Check out Nightingale College’s RN to BSN Bridge Program.

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A Crumpled Mess: Why Clean Scrubs Matter

scrubsScrubs are the vital uniform for nurses, but no matter how important, scrubs are often overlooked when it comes to being presentable. After a long shift, your scrubs will be in worse shape and will need a definite deep wash to remove germs from the fabric, which is why nurses are asked to keep their scrubs clean—for the safety of patients, visitors, and fellow healthcare employees.

It may be strange to consider that the appearance of scrubs can have such a big impact when interacting with other nurses, doctors, and patients. But nurses need to pay close attention to the impression they make when they are sporting wrinkly, stained, dirty scrubs.

Taking care of your appearance while in nursing school should be a main objective. During labs, learners are instructed to dress in the professional nursing attire for a reason. Scrubs are often the item that is considered last. Clinicals are an important time for learners to practice networking with potential employers and fellow nurses who can be a great resource when scouting for references to accompany a job application. And the way you keep your scrubs says quite a bit about you, your hygiene, and your character.

Insider Tip: When making a first impression, a person has less than seven seconds to impress another individual. Many first impressions are made based off of a person’s appearance. Even before the conversation or interview begins, the first impression has been made. Nursing learners have a great opportunity to network in a variety of healthcare settings during clinicals. It is a prime location and time to get a foot in the door if it is an organization that is desirable. Upon graduation and passing the NCLEX-RN, graduates can reconnect with influential people employed at the desired locations and investigate the facility’s hiring needs from an inside source. Make it your goal to leave the best impression you can by not only showcasing your competences but by showing you value your appearance and are interested in representing the employer well. Sneaky? Not really, just smart.

So why do clean scrubs matter?

Reason #1: It speaks to your work ethic.

Part of being a nurse is having comfortable clothes that can withstand long hours of wear and tear. It is understandable that nurses do not always have the time to get ready nor have the time during a shift to tidy up. However, the way you take care of yourself illustrates your work ethic. If you have the patience and make the time to care for yourself and your scrubs, it shows that you pay attention to the little things, which will spill over into your work environment. Having the right work attire also influences the response you will receive from others. Nurses with tidy, clean scrubs elicit a more positive and engaging response from those around them than nurses wearing scrubs that were not taken care of.

Reason #2: It makes a good impression.

Continuing on from Reason #1, clean scrubs make a good impression on fellow colleagues, administration, and patients and visitors. A nurse donning clean scrubs eludes to confidence and value in the job. Imagine a nurse coming in for a shift with dirty, wrinkly scrubs, then a fellow nurse coming in for the same shift with clean scrubs. As a patient, which nurse do you hope to take care of you? Unfortunately, appearance does make a big impression, especially in the healthcare field. People associate dirty and untidy with disease ridden.

Think of clean scrubs on the same level as washing your hands and wearing gloves. The scrub material catches germs and whatever else ends up on the material just as your hands can be exposed to the same elements (which is why healthcare professionals are required to wear gloves). Nurses do not reuse gloves. Think of your scrubs in the same sense and remember to care for them and wash them after every shift.

Reason #3: You will feel professional. It’s about dressing for the job you want.

When you take the time to get ready for work each day, what you wear can influence your outlook. Putting on clean scrubs right before a clinical or a shift helps you feel prepared for your day instead of looking in the mirror wishing you could iron out the wrinkles on the left side of your scrub top. Have pride in yourself and your job, and show that you do care. It is your professional appearance and your brand that you are endorsing so do it well. A famous saying is dress for the job you want. Surprisingly, this statement is very much true.

Reason #4: Scrubs are expensive, so give your scrubs the best treatment.

Nice scrubs can be expensive to purchase, especially the brands that provide extra comfort and allow you to easily move without rubbing against brittle fabric or the fabric that fits terribly. Just as it is advisable to get yourself a good pair of shoes that provides exceptional support, invest in a few good pairs of scrubs. Once purchased, take the utmost care in washing your scrubs twice to remove all germs and right out of the dryer, take a few minutes to fold them to reduce wrinkly lines so you don’t resemble a crumpled mess.

Keeping scrubs clean is not always at the top of the list while in nursing school. While you are being stretched so thin balancing work, school, and sometimes a family, it is hard to remember to throw the scrubs you used earlier today in the wash and iron out the wrinkles. But it will make a big difference in your future career as a nurse.

So why do clean scrubs matter? Once employed, you become a reflection of your employer and employers want their nurses to represent their organization well. You, as a nurse, should take pride and value in yourself and the nursing profession. Professional appearance matters a lot.

What does this mean for those still in nursing school?

Pay special attention to who you interact with while at your next clinical. Even though you may not interact directly with the DON or the recruiting manager, people will come to know you and they will be able to speak to your appearance. Take the time to care for the scrubs you wear and make sure your appearance is a positive reflection of you as a great nurse. While attending a lab or clinical, make sure that you adhere to the policies about your professional appearance and never, ever underestimate the state of your scrubs. It’s the impression you make about you, your work ethic, and your character.

Read 4 Scrubbing Essentials for Safe and Tidy Scrubs to learn how to properly clean scrubs by clicking here.

Check out Your Professional Presence: Advice on Dress and Appearance to review helpful tips and review the basics of professional appearance by clicking here.

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7 Tips to Overcoming Test Anxiety

test-anxiety

This article is an update from the last published article on How to Overcome Test Anxiety in Nursing School, published May 12, 2014.

You’ve been diagnosed with test anxiety. The fear of failure and the dreadful nervousness that builds up as the test day looms are just some of the symptoms you have experienced among others such as the inability to recall important information and complete unconsciousness. Taking a test is stressful and the desire to do well is broken down by the fear and anxiety of not receiving a passing grade. Even before the test, the anxiety you feel conflicts with the retention of information, creating a more challenging task of learning the concepts. Many learners experience test anxiety, so you are not alone. To refuse treatment and allow test anxiety to consume you is detrimental in nursing school and in your career as a nurse.


To help alleviate the symptoms and reduce the effect of test anxiety, it is recommended to seek treatment and follow the steps outlined by the Learner Advising and Life Resources (LALR) department.

  1. Be prepared! This may seem obvious, but the more prepared you are for an exam, the less anxious you will be.  Having good study habits and being organized when studying will help you feel more prepared and build your confidence.  Remember, don’t cram right before a test.  Plan out your study time so when it gets down to the last minute, you don’t have to cram!  For tips on how to effectively study, please contact the LALR department.
  2. Use relaxation techniques.
    1. Deep belly breathing: Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your belly; focus on your breath. Spend a few minutes practicing your deep belly breathing before you study and after. Do the same before and after an exam.
    2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This is when you tense your muscles then relax them. Start at your arms, hold for seven seconds, then release. Next do the same with your abdominal muscles, and so on.  This creates a deep relaxation sensation in the muscles.
    3. Visualization: Find your happy place. Close your eyes and think about a place you feel most relaxed.  Think about the details of this place, the smells, what it looks like, how you feel when you are there, etc.
  3. Eat a good meal before your exam. Fruits and vegetables are known to reduce stress.  Stay away from processed foods, red meats, preservatives, and spicy food. Tip: It is also helpful to snack on fruits and veggies while studying and eat those same foods right before your test.
  4. Get a good night sleep. Try to use the relaxation techniques above to clear your mind so you are able to fall asleep.  Try not to think about the exam.  Feeling well rested will help you stay focused on your exam.  If you do not get a good night sleep, don’t worry.  Try to do some relaxation techniques in the morning, go on a walk, or do yoga to help you feel refreshed.
  5. Reward yourself. Using positive reinforcement can be a great way to help with test anxiety so you have something to look forward to after the test.  Plan on treating yourself to a tasty treat or a gift after the exam, if you were able to complete it to the best of your ability without stressing too much.  Even if you do stress and find the test was way too difficult, reward yourself anyway for staying calm and pushing through.  You deserve it for working so hard.
  6. What to do during the test:
    1. Read the directions carefully.
    2. Budget your test-taking time.
    3. Change positions to help you relax and feel more comfortable.
    4. If you go blank, skip the question and move on. You can come back to it later.
    5. If you are taking an essay test and go blank on the whole test, just pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind.
    6. Don’t panic if other learners finish their test before you. There is no reward for finishing first.
  7. What to do after the test:
    1. List what worked for you and hold on to these strategies.
    2. List what did not work so you know what needs improvement.
    3. Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle.

It is possible to manage test anxiety. You don’t have to go about it alone.  Studying with other learners and sharing your tips could be extremely helpful and beneficial.  For more information and tips on test anxiety and overcoming test anxiety,  please contact Sam Hanlon with the LALR department at shanlon@nightingale.edu.

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The Learner Advocate: Meet Sam Hanlon

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As a counselor in Learner Advising and Life Resources, many learners know Sam Hanlon. Part of her main focus at Nightingale College is to help learners in not only the academic environment but to provide support and guidance to positively influence their role as a learner and prospective nurse. Sam currently resides in California with her husband and three-month old daughter, Olive. Although she is a few states away from home base, she represents Nightingale College well on the West Coast  and brings her passion for helping learners to her daily activities.

How long have you been with Nightingale College and what is your position? 
I have been with Nightingale for a little over a year, since June 2015.

Where did you go to school and what is your highest degree? 
I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Francisco and my master’s degree in School Counseling Psychology with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (which allows me to work with learners on academic and socio-emotional issues) from the University of San Francisco.

What drove you to apply for the position with Nightingale College? 
My mom drove me to apply for this position. She is a nurse and currently teaches in the doctoral nursing program at the University of San Francisco. I have always looked up to her and have had a passion for nursing and education, but I could never be a nurse. I will pass out if I see a drop of blood! I have always wanted to work in education and Nightingale College allows me to make an impact in the lives of future nurses, without the blood!

How do you help learners at Nightingale College?
I help learners by offering them resources for academic needs and offering support and guidance for any issues they are having. I am here to be an advocate for the learners and help them with whatever they need.

What is your favorite part about your job?
Getting to know the learners and watching them succeed!

What is your favorite part about working in the LALR Department?
I love being able to be an advocate for learners and find and create new resources for them. The LALR department gives me the opportunity to support learners in a variety of different ways based on what the learner needs to be successful.

What departments, if any, do you work closely with?
I work closely with registrar, admissions, and instructors. However, I am here as an advocate for learners so any questions learners have that I cannot answer or that is not part of my department, I can get by reaching out to different faculty because our faculty is awesome that way.

What is your piece of advice to learners struggling to juggle nursing school?
The best piece of advice I can give to learners is have one day a week where they do something they love and not think about school or their problems. When school is getting challenging and you are frustrated, step away for a minute and have a snack, watch a TV show, go for run, do something that you love that will calm you. It is really hard juggling school, work, family, etc, but always remember, in the end, you are going to fulfill such an amazing goal of being a nurse!

Please provide anything else about your position that you would like the learners to know. 
If there are any resources learners need and I don’t have it, I can find it for them. If they are having any issues in school or their personal life that is affecting their school work, they can come talk to me.  If they just need someone to vent to, I’m here. I am here to be their advocate, their supporter, their cheerleader, and their counselor.

What is the strangest talent you have?
I would have to say the one real talent I have is speaking/teaching Hebrew. I teach Hebrew school at my temple and mentor kids for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. A strange talent I have is that I can change a clock in any car, which comes in handy about twice a year, if that.

If you could travel anywhere, where would your destination be and why?
Definitely Bora Bora because I LOVE the ocean and Bora Bora has bungalows that are literally over the water with glass floors so you can see the fish! You can also jump right into the water from your room and it looks absolutely gorgeous!

What motivates you? 
My family motivates me. I want to show my daughter that women can make a difference and we can do anything we put our minds to. I want to do the best I can every day for her.

What is something you would like to accomplish by the end of the year?
By the end of the year, I hope to expand the LALR department to offer learners even more resources and support.

What are three things on your bucket list?

  1. Go to Bora Bora
  2. Have another child (preferably a boy!)
  3. Buy a house

What or who brings a smile to your face? 
There are 3 people (well, one is an animal) in my life that make me smile. First, is my dog Tchotchke (pronounced chaw-ch-kee, it’s Yiddish for knick-knack). She is a 3-year-old Yorkie Pomeranian, and she is the sweetest, smartest pup ever! Second, is my husband Brian.  He is the love of my life and since I have been with him (we have been together 8 years and married for 2), I haven’t gone a day without smiling.  Last but not least, is my 3-month-old baby girl Olive Marie. I have always wanted to be a mom and I could not be happier with my baby girl. She is my everything. If I am having a bad day, seeing her little toothless smile will always bring a smile to my face!

Share anything else you would like the learners to know about you personally. 
I was born and raised in California and I currently reside in the East Bay.  I am a big TV and movie buff.  Some of my favorite (current) shows are Game of Thrones, anything on Bravo (well, any reality TV really), and Pretty Little Liars. I also love cooking shows, but I hate cooking.  I am a vegetarian (I do eat fish, so technically, I’m a pescetarian) and I have been since I was 10 years old!  One more fun fact is that I collect hands and clowns. I know, weird right? I don’t understand it either.

Sam is Nightingale College’s Counselor, Learner Advising and Life Resources. To get in touch with Sam, email her at shanlon@nightingale.edu.

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Note Taking Strategies for Nursing Students

effective-note-takingNursing school curriculum requires a high-level of dedication to studying course material and reviewing it often. Learning to become a learner who is able to capture strong notes from lectures and reading materials helps prepare you for not only exams needed to pass the course, but for a lifelong career in nursing where continuous education is a must and excellent note taking skills is necessary. To become an effective note taker while attending an online nursing school is intimidating, especially when you are unsure what information is important enough to be deemed “noteworthy.” It requires more than simply putting course material on paper and regurgitating it for the exam. Learners must be able to takes good notes and learn to retain the information and pull from it when needed. Our Learner Advising and Life Resources Department endorses several note taking strategies to develop better skills that can be applied in nursing school.

  • Understand Organization.

    Organization and structure is the foundation for recording effective notes and without the two, there is no flow nor consistency in the notes. Learn how to use a multi-list approach that breaks main sections into smaller and smaller sections based on relevant content.
  • Be Active when Reading.
    Pace is important when focusing on crafting useful notes that is not filled with worthless content. When listening to a lecture and reading book material, practice connecting the ideas and concepts to create a continuous bridge of information that is supported. This strategy encourages you to always look for the right links between concepts, which is shown to improve memory, to help you formulate the connections.
  • Learn Note Taking Methods.
    Every learner uses specific strategies that benefit their personal learning structure. Just as one learner benefits from reading, another learner may understand better by hearing and seeing elements of the lecture. Practice several methods and try combining methods to see what benefits you.

    • Pen-and-Paper Method. There is a reason why the traditional method of using a notebook and pen to record course material is still a popular method. Because it works. It has only adapted to today’s technology of note taking on a computer, tablet, or phone. Taking notes in the margins of your book as you read and listing questions that you have immediately next to the corresponding concept helps you, as the learner, maintain consistency in your notes (not to mention it will be a helpful reminder to remember where your questions stemmed from).
    • Mind Map Method. Often times the traditional method is just too traditional for some learners who will adopt a more creative method of note taking—mind mapping. By connecting concepts through a spider diagram, visual learners are able to grasp the concepts better by simply drawing it out.
    • “Teach It” Method. When reading the lecture notes you captured or reviewing the book material is not enough, try the “teach it” method. Envision yourself as the teacher lecturing on the topic to a class that is unfamiliar with the topic. Record yourself explaining concepts then take some time to listen to it to find out how accurate you are.
    • Other Methods. Note taking depends on the type of learner you are. Auditory learners are able to learn better by recording lectures then listening to it later, not necessarily taking notes. Heard of a photographic memory? Learners who have the ability to easily remember by taking a mental snapshot of lecture notes and reading material are able to sort it mentally and recall it fairly quickly. They only need to study the page once or twice before they categorize it. Any learner can obtain a photographic memory through a mental exercise: 1) picture a place that will become a memory library such as a childhood home or a fictional library, 2) visualize yourself sorting and categorizing information into buckets, and 3) when studying, visualize yourself taking the material to your memory library and sorting it. Part of this exercise is to always return to your memory library and see yourself going through the buckets to retrieve the right information.
  • Learn when to Listen and what is Noteworthy.
    Especially with online education that has recorded lectures in the modules, learners have the ability to return to the recorded lectures if needed. However, it is beneficial to learn how to listen intently to lectures in hopes of not having to return to lectures more than once. As you listen, learn to decipher what is worth noting. Not everything the instructor says is noteworthy and spending time trying to capture everything the instructor focuses on will steal your attention away from what is actually being taught. You may return to your notes and be clueless as to what the lecture was about because of the lack of attention you had on what was being covered.
  • Reflect, Review, and Refer.
    The 3 “R” strategy should not be overlooked and time should be set aside to complete each step. Because of the greater degree of independent study time online students have, it is recommended learners do not go a day without reflecting and reviewing the information from the lecture or reading. Spend time reflecting on the information to create links between concepts to help solidify your understanding of the material then review it. This is the time to think out loud. Talk your way through your notes, focusing on what you remember from the lecture and reading. Finally, refer to the concepts you just learned, which will help you develop the skills needed to summarize course material without plagiarizing straight from the course.

Learning to become an effective note taker takes persistence and time, but it is a skill that will benefit you while in nursing school and throughout your career as a nurse. Take the time now to build up and improve your note taking skills so you can reap the benefits and transition into a lifelong learner. Our Learner Services Department can recommend further note taking strategies for you.

Meet Catherine Welker

catherine ny

Does Nightingale College even have a library? Absolutely! And it is managed by the Learner Resources Manager and Librarian, Catherine Welker. Following her passion of librarianship, she is able to help learners through the LMS access resources and with testing and tutoring services provided by the College. She moved to Salt Lake City eighteen years ago from DuBois, Pennsylvania. Quickly approaching the end of her third month at the College, Catherine is enthusiastic about the opportunities to help elevate the College’s online instruction and develop learner resources–and periodically remind learners that Nightingale College does have a library of useful resources that is just a click away.

Where did you go to school and what is your highest degree?
I attended Allegheny College, a small liberal arts college in Northwestern Pennsylvania, for undergraduate school. I attended Emporia State University, in Kansas, for graduate school.

What interested you most about your field that you decided to pursue it?
I chose to pursue an education and career in librarianship because I love searching and finding information and then packaging/organizing it and then ultimately utilizing it.  I also love working with others.

Give a brief overview of you job description and how it relates to learners.
As the Learning Resources Manager, Librarian, I contribute to the library’s instruction mission through online teaching and support.  I am in the process of creating an online repository of tutorials, user guides and training materials for faculty and learners as well as assisting in the creation, development and implementation of instructional technologies within the LMS. I manage the Testing Center and provide academic coaching services to all learners. I look forward to contributing to the profession and its literature through publications, presentations and participating in a variety of professional organizations.

What have you enjoyed most about your job at Nightingale?
What I have enjoyed most about my job at Nightingale are the wonderful people I am surrounded by and the creative spirit that comes from working together.

What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about being a librarian is that I get to advocate for intellectual freedom, i.e. provide information and material for all people.

Specific to your department, what is one thing you would tell or advise learners?
One thing that I’d like to advise learners in is in utilizing their resources.  The library, although not physically manifested at Nightingale College, does exist and can make a learner’s experience successful and meaningful.

As the College’s librarian, do you prefer traditional hard copy books or eBooks?
As a College Librarian, I have to say that I prefer traditional hard copy books, but I do love finding ways to make information readily available in a nontraditional manner.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?
By the end of the year, I hope to make library services an indispensable part of every learners’ educational experience.

What is one thing you cannot live without?
One thing that I cannot live without is a sense of humor.

Many people thrive on daily motivational stories and quotes. To be simple, what is a favorite quote that really hits home for you? 
My favorite quote that really hits home for me is by Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”

Share anything else about yourself.
My favorite vacation spot is Big Sur. It is simply majestic with its winding turns, seaside cliffs and misty coastlines.  It is the closest thing to paradise that I’ve ever seen.

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Nursing School Study Apps to Try

appsThere just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get everything done and still find time to study. The solution? Treat yourself to a few great nursing school study apps that can be accessed from anywhere with a simple click on your phone. These apps are absolutely FREE to use. So as you wait patiently in line at the department and grocery stores, don’t waste any more time and get to studying. Apps can be great resources to challenge what you know but it can also be fun and interactive like the ones listed below. Here are only just a few apps, available for Android and Apple devices, our learners have raved about:

Essential Skeleton 4

The humerus is connected to the. . . Not sure. Having difficulty in anatomy? Look no further. This app covers the essentials of human anatomy and is completely 3D.

Epocrates

Hopefully Mr. B. would approve of this app that is all about medications and prescriptions.  Train yourself to know what specific medications looks like, the drug interactions, what it’s used for, and more. Medications are a risky business, so ease the stress by taking the time to learn about them.

NCLEX-RN Mini Qbank

It is never too early to start studying for the NCLEX-RN exam. This app is based on NCLEX questions and tests your competency level. Don’t worry, each question includes a detailed explanation of the answer. NCLEX-RN Mini Qbank also has practice tests and much more. The more NCLEX support you can get, the better!

Eponyms

It can be difficult to memorize eponyms, so it is important to regularly practice the terms. As the name suggests, this app gives short descriptions of more than 1,700 common and obscure medical eponyms.

Read by QxMD

Staying up-to-date with health care news and research is a must for nurses, especially in this ever-changing profession. Read by QxMD helps you stay current with new medical and scientific research.

Calculate by QxMD

This app is a next-generation clinical calculator and decision support tool all in one. Calculate by QxMD is a robust app with many activities to help diagnose and treat patients as well as ease the decision-making process.

MD ezLabs

MD exLabs gives medical professionals lab values in a quick, easy to understand format and differential diagnoses for abnormal lab values.

Searching for new resources that are available should not be overlooked and there are many apps out there to try. Apps can be found on Pinterest, through a blog, or by simply searching through the app store. Convert your phone to a study tool that can be used on the go.

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain

If you have an app you love that is helping you with nursing school, let us know so we can share.

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Experience Gained and Respect Earned: Military Nursing

Military Nursing

Military nursing is a unique profession that involves caring for active-duty servicemembers and even veterans. While their duties do not differ much than that of normal nurses working in hospitals and care centers, military nurses travel alongside active-duty servicemembers to help care for the individuals that serve the county. Up until 1901 in the United States, military nurses were nothing more than civilian nurses who usually volunteered their time. However, it all changed when the United States Army Nurse Corps was established in 1901. Today, military nurses hold military rank and can be part of any of the Nurse Corps of any major military branch, including the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

What is a Military Nurse?

Military nurses care for patients within the military and from around the world. As with all nursing careers, there are a number of disadvantages and advantages to working as a military nurse. Military nursing can be extremely stressful and often heartbreaking. It can also be dangerous, since it’s not uncommon for military nurses to be deployed to foreign war zones with troops.

Despite the drawbacks of the career, there are also a number of benefits. For instance, military nurses have the chance to travel and see the world, have access to first class education and are often well compensated for their time, and have excellent benefits such as free healthcare. One of the biggest rewards of working as a military nurse is the experience gained and the respect earned from colleagues and loved ones.

What Can You Expect as a Military Nurse?

Military nurses often follow their assignments all over the globe. As a military nurse you can look forward to a fast-paced, multifaceted, patient-facing, and invigorating career in patient care.

Similar to other nurses, military nurses administer medication, treat the sick, and care for the wounded. However, military nurses are not only educated in basic nursing skills, they’re also trained on how to work with military patients and in military environments. It is not uncommon for nurses to work alongside military personnel in war zones. Caring for deployed members of the military during wartime is one of the most dangerous and difficult aspects of military nursing. During deployment military nurses treat severe life-threatening injuries, such as gunshot wounds or lost limbs. Because of the severity of the injuries and volatile work environment, military nurses must be able to keep a cool head under pressure.

Military nurses also care for active-duty servicemembers and veterans along with their families. They may help soldiers, wounded in the line of duty, recover from their injuries. Military nurses may also treat patients suffering from a vast variety of medical problems, ranging from the common cold to a sprained ankle to cancer.

The military needs nurses trained in all specialties, so you can work in whichever specialty you choose: pediatrics, psychiatric, emergency trauma, critical care, neonatal, midwifery and more.

Where do Military Nurses Work?

  • Military bases
  • Military hospitals and clinics
  • Overseas war zones
  • Ships at sea

How do I Become a Military Nurse?

  1. Speak with a military recruiter. You may find a tuition reimbursement or scholarship. Enlist to work as a military nurse for a certain number of years after completing the program.
  2. Complete your BSN with Nightingale College
  3. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX – RN).
  4. Undergo officer training through the branch of military you wish to serve in. This training educates you on leadership skills and military life. During the training, you will also be required to complete and excel in physical exercises.
  5. Start working as a military nurse.

To learn more about the steps to becoming a military nurse, visit Discover Nursing, sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

Military Nurse Organizations

Navy Nurse Corps Association (NNCA)
U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Army Nurse Corps
Amputee Coalition of America
Army Nurse Corps Association (ANCA)
US Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S)

Nightingale College Serving the Military

Nightingale College is proud to be part of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative by providing educational opportunities to servicemembers and their families. The College accepts Post-9/11 GI Bill as well as offers the Joining Forces Scholarship to active-duty servicemembers and veterans. To learn more about the opportunities for servicemembers and their families to enroll in the College, speak with an Admissions Advisor or with a member of the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department at (801) 689-2160.

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Communicating Effectively with Physicians

Communicating Effectively
As a nurse, you will be in constant communication with physicians, and it is important to make sure you’re communicating effectively. A common response Career Services gathers from Graduate Employer Surveys concerns how new nurses struggle to communicate effectively and appropriately with physicians. Interacting with physicians may seem intimidating as many veteran nurses still experience some sort of anxiety, but physicians can’t be avoided and it comes with the job. Here are several tips to prepare new nurses to be effective communicators at work.

1. Understand that physicians are busy. Having experienced the same stress, nurses understand the constant pressure physicians face from other physicians and nurses, patients, patient families, and so on. Being professional in every interaction is crucial and always keep in mind that physicians appreciate nurses who are able to “get to the point” so that they can move forth with their tasks and seeing patients.

2. Be prepared with the right information. Fumbling around for the right paperwork while on the phone with the physicians or not having a patient’s chart on hand can and will cause physicians to become impatient. For example, have the following information ready to go:

• Your patient’s diagnosis
• Your patient’s latest lab results and vitals
• What medications your patient is taking
• Your patient’s allergies
• The main point of why you are calling and what you are hoping to get

Try to anticipate other questions the physicians may ask. The goal here is to avoid having to continually repeat “let me check.” Follow the SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) technique to relay information efficiently. Following this rubric, the nurse

• Identifies the patient and the problem (situation);
• Provides a brief explanation of the patient’s admission and pertinent medical history (background);
• Presents any concerning findings, including symptoms and vital signs (assessment);
• Asks the physician what they need (recommendation).

3. Speak up and be an advocate for your patients. Be assertive. Don’t be aggressive and don’t be afraid to talk with the doctor. However, show respect in all communication efforts. Poor communication plays a huge part in the decline of patient safety. As a new nurse struggling to decide whether a situation is urgent enough to call the physician immediately or wait until rounds, imagine the patient is your child, mother, or father. What would you do? The level of compassion should be the same for any patient.

4.Document everything. When speaking with a physician about a patient, always document the conversation and what is said. This is for the protection of not only the nurse, but the physician and patient. Keep a notepad and patient chart close at hand to jot down the date, time, actions to take, medications to update, etc.

5. Report inappropriate behavior. If a physician is acting unprofessional and/or jeopardizing patient care in any way, it is your job to report them. Make it a priority to know your chain of command and what policies and procedures to follow when reporting a physician.

Nurses do not need to be anxious or scared when conversing with a physician. Despite what may be the belief, many physicians do appreciate and respect the observations nurses have because nurses interact frequently with the patient. Be prepared with the patient’s information, and act quickly and speak directly. Communicating effectively with physicians comes with practice but these surefire tips will help get any new nurse started in the right direction.