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Do you need an expensive stethoscope in nursing school?

Many learners often wonder whether to make the investment in an expensive stethoscope for nursing school. With so many different options and prices, it can be a difficult choice. Do you buy a cheap one now, and a nice one later? Or do you buy an expensive one now? Or do you buy an average one now and use it as a nurse? How much will you use it?


These questions and others can be sometimes difficult to answer broadly because of the different specialties in nursing, but we will do our best. We appreciate the help of our nursing faculty who helped answer some of those questions for us.


What level of stethoscope should I buy?


Karen Sincerbeaux, an instructor in our ADN program, said,  “I think having a good quality but not necessarily a cardiac stethoscope is the way to go for new learners. We want them to have the best opportunity to hear lung and heart sounds and bowel sounds but I don’t think they have to have to be the most expensive. The ultra inexpensive ones really are just a waste of money because often I’m letting them borrow mine.”


Buying an “ultra-inexpensive” one is a bad idea, but so is buying an ultra-expensive one. Although this hasn’t been a problem at Nightingale, some nurses from other states warned against buying expensive ones because they often get stolen.


What brands of stethoscopes are reliable?


Littmann is the main brand for stethoscopes, with models anywhere from 30 to 400 dollars.

MDF stethoscopes are often said to have better sound than a Littmann, however, they are more sturdy-built and heavier around the neck. Janet Ramos, an instructor in our ADN program said she uses Littmann. “I have two Littmanns that I paid about $100 each for and have had them for twenty years. They perform well.”


When should you buy a stethoscope?


Some nurses consider buying a cheap stethoscope for nursing school, and then purchasing a nice one when they become a nurse, but we advise buying a good quality one before nursing school, that way you are hearing the sounds properly as you learn. If you can’t hear the sounds properly in nursing school, you won’t know what to listen for when you have an upgraded scope.

Ramos also said that making the investment up front, just one time, is a good idea. Don’t wait to buy a nice one. “I would invest in a good one, absolutely,” said Ramos. “If you later go into a specialty (cardiology for example) you may want to get an amplified one at that time.  For now I wouldn’t spend an enormous amount, but would go for quality.”


Questions to ask yourself when buying a stethoscope:

  • Are you hard of hearing? You may need a more expensive stethoscope.
  • Is the device flashy? You don’t want your stethoscope to draw attention to itself, because it might get stolen.
  • Are you working in a busy hospital? In a busy environment, stethoscopes are sometimes misplaced, traded around, and forgotten, so you might not want to buy a really expensive one.
  • How does the weight feel around your neck? Is it too heavy? Make sure to lean over and wear it for a few minutes.
  • How does the tubing feel? Is it sticky on your skin, does it collect hair and lint? Does it stick to your hair and pull on it?
  • Is it dual-sided? Most stethoscopes these days are, but double check that you have both an adult and a pediatric side if you are going to be dealing with children.
  • Are the earpieces the right size for your ears? Do they fit correctly and not rub uncomfortably anywhere?


In the end, it’s not about how advanced your stethoscope is, but how well you are trained to listen. Our instructors do their very best to train you to be the best nurse you can be. A stethoscope is just a tool for you to get there!


We hope that these tips answer some of your questions about stethoscopes. If you have any other questions about nursing, what you need to start our nursing program, or your education experience at Nightingale, please contact Learner Advising and Life Resources.


Note: All Nightingale learners will be given a stethoscope in their nursing kits, so they don’t need to worry about buying one. This blog is for informational purposes only.


How and why you should volunteer in healthcare


Volunteering and giving back is something that Nightingale College values.  Florence Nightingale, our inspiration, went miles above and beyond her duty as a nurse when she was helping soldiers in the Crimean War. As our values statement reads, “Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, lit the way for success with her unwavering values. Today and always, we commit to following her path of going Beyond Self.” Volunteering is the best example of going Beyond Self.

Twice a year, all collaborators participate in Give Back Days to give back to our community. This past August, we volunteered at OWCAP, an elementary school for kids in poverty, and at the Humane Society of Utah. To read a recap of the event, click here.

We also encourage our collaborators to volunteer on their own time. Mac McCullough, our Regional Manager of Partnerships, was recently recognized as a Hometown Hero for his extensive volunteer work. Although more people volunteer in Utah than any other state, Mac has managed to pass the state’s average in leaps an bounds.

We want our learners to volunteer and give back to their community as well.  We hope that our programs inspire our learners to go above and beyond their duties as a nurse, to not just churn patients out like machines, but really care for and love each one.

You already know that volunteering is good for the world, but here are some lesser-known personal benefits to volunteering:

  1. It benefits your health! It has been shown that when people volunteer, they are less likely to be depressed later in life because it gives you a sense of purpose.  This also helps to boost self-esteem and self-worth.
  2. You can meet likeminded people. It can be difficult as an adult to make friends, especially friends with similar interests.  When you volunteer for an organization you are passionate about, you will meet other individuals who share the same passion.
  3. You will learn new skills. There are many different things you can do when volunteering, and most of the time, you will learn a new skill for free!
  4. It is great for your resume. Especially in the health field, you can learn new technique, take that back to the work place, and put it on your resume.  Employers like to see that you are giving back to your community and gaining knowledge while doing it!
  5. You will have fun! Volunteering is a great activity to do with your family, especially young children.  It will teach them that you do not have to sit in the house to have fun; you can have fun outside, helping your community and people in need.

Who knew that volunteering is so good for your health and career? So now that we have you convinced that you should volunteer, here’s how to get started:

  1. Research different organizations and find one that you are passionate about. What interests you? Mental health? Physical therapy? Geriatrics? There are so many opportunities to serve. You can also search different organizations in your area for opportunities.
  2. Think about your skills. Volunteering in the medical field can give you more experience and is something you know how to do.  You can volunteer in your area of expertise to really help people in need.
  3. Volunteer with friends and family. It is great to start volunteering with your kids when they are young so they can grow up with these values.  It is also a fun way to spend time with your family and friends that is different and fulfilling. Taking your kids to visit an old folks home is an easy way to spread some kindness.

We hope that this will help you find ways to give back. Since Nightingale values this so much, we have created an award for a learner who actively volunteers, given out every semester.  The Community Fellowship Award is a prestigious honor learners can earn by actively volunteering in their community.  This award is presented to learners during the commencement ceremony.  For more information about this award and to apply, please contact Samantha Hanlon, LALR Counselor, at shanlon@nightingale.edu




Durable, Easy, and Cute Hairstyles for Nurses (+Video Tutorials)

What kind of nurse hairstyle do you use? Simply pony? Messy bun? Three-second twist and clip?

Although requirements about keeping hair off the collar vary by employer, wearing your hair up as a nurse is generally a good idea for the following reasons:

Safety issue

Wearing your hair down as a nurse can be a safety issue. In mental health facilities especially, nurses are cautioned to wear their hair up so the patients don’t pull on it or grab it.

In dealing with other unstable, angry, violent, or confused patients, having your hair down can make it easy for it them to harm you.

Because Ew

In other situations, wearing your hair up can help keep it out of body fluids. You are required to wear gloves so that unsanitary substances don’t touch your skin, and keeping your hair up can keep it out of wounds, or, heaven forbid, out of briefs. Although a ponytail is great for short hair, with longer hair, sometimes a pony isn’t enough, and you need a bun. Many long-haired nurses have been cured of ponytails by having their hair fall in a wound or in something they were cleaning.

Too warm

Nurses are always busy, and sometimes having your hair down can make you too hot. Having your hair around your neck, ears, and face can make your body temperature rise.

In the way

Long hair, and hair in general, can get in your way and get caught in things as you are working. Your hair can get caught or tangled as you’re working with equipment, or trying to help move patients. It also can fall forward as you lean over to help a patient or fellow nurse, obstructing your vision.

What nurses want in a hairstyle

Being a nurse means a lot of things to different people. To some it means being a hero. To others it means being a comforter. But for all nurses in the field, being a nurse means being short on time. On that note, we sure don’t know of many nurses who want to wake up hours before their 4 am clinical to  spend an additional hour on their hair. Nurses need something quick. Speed is a must.

Nurses also don’t want to be constantly adjusting their hair throughout the day, so they need something durable. They need something that will last through a 12-hour shift of moving around. Headbands, bobby pins, and clips can help with this problem. Especially if you have bangs, make sure to use a headband or pin them out of your way.

A lot of nurses think, “I’ll just tuck my hair behind my ears.” But that can get difficult when you have blood all over your gloves. You don’t want to be in that situation and be leaning over with bangs in your face.

The third requirement is looking attractive. Of course. Nurses still want to feel good about their appearance while they’re at work, and just because they’re working hard doesn’t mean they can’t work a great hairstyle too.

Check out three fun styles for nurses to try in the video below.

We hope our learners and other nurses enjoy these hairstyles, presented by our friends at Blown Away Family Hair Salon in Sunset, Utah. Below the video, we’ve rated each hairstyle based on speed, easiness, durability, and looks. 

The Hairstyle Ratings:

The Ponyhawk:

Speed: 8

Easiness: 9

Durability: 10

Looks: 7


Founding Fathers:

Speed: 7

Easiness: 6

Durability: 6

Looks: 10


French Pony:

Speed: 6

Easiness: Depends on skill level

Durability: 10

Looks: 9

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5 Ways Real Nurses Deal with Emotional Trauma at Work (+VIDEO)

We all know that the nursing profession is not an easy one, and by no means a stress-free one. So what do nurses do to handle the stress and emotional trauma after a tough day at work?

We often forget that nurses are people too! They have feelings and sometimes they need a good cry just like everyone else. When their patients are extremely ill or even pass away, the nurse is often left feeling the pain long afterwards. Mikhail Shneyder, our CEO, was once a nurse himself. He said the profession is built on “unwavering dedication, personal sacrifice, and all-encompassing empathy.” Sometimes that empathy may get to be too much for nurses.

How do they move on? How do they handle it? We asked some of our nurse faculty and administration how they unwind emotionally after a traumatic incident. They offered up some advice to help you take some of that weight of your shoulders. Here are a few of their tips:

Remember why you became a nurse

Tayler Allen, an RN who teaches for our ADN program, said that she reflects on why she became a nurse, and that gives her more purpose to continue through the rest of the hectic workday. “The number one thing that I always do is just reflect back on why I even went into nursing, and that was because I truly enjoy helping people,” she said. “I want them to heal, I want them to know that I’m compassionate towards them and that I really care about their total outcome as a human being, not just as a patient.”

Talking it out

While it may seem obvious, another thing that can be helpful is talking it out with coworkers or family. Assistant Professor Amanda Nussbaum, who also works in an intensive care unit, said that after an unexpected death, she vents to the other health workers. “Dealing with mourning family members, and kind of that frustration with whether or not you could have foreseen what was going to happen, whether or not you could have done things to prevent the death…In dealing with that stress, I find that I reach out to coworkers, and we talk about our stories and our experiences and share that grief.”

You might have noticed a huddled group of nurses in the hall when you’ve been to the hospital. You may think it’s a bunch of nurses slacking off and shooting the breeze, but really, there’s more to the story. Chyleen Tucker, a nurse and Nightingale Area Regional Manager in Idaho, said, “They’re not really chatting, they’re processing. They’re processing that traumatic event by talking it over amongst themselves. ”

Personal time

As expected, nurses sometimes need some personal time to cry it out and just to embrace being really miserable for a little bit. They need time to internally process what happened, and this looks different for everyone. Karen Sincerbeaux, an instructor for our ADN program, said she takes quiet time to cry, pray, to “absorb” what happened. She said she likes to take that evening to watch the sunset or maybe study the bible, “Taking time to process and surrender those feelings, and then it allows me to let go and move on to the next day.”

While many may not be up for an evening outside, there are other ways to snag some personal time. Chyleen said she enjoys reading. A nice fluffy book to take your mind off the pain. “A fiction,” said Chyleen. “Something that will get me kind of out of the way, make my mind think and get me out of that world.”


Don’t you hate it when the answer is exercise? But it’s true. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.” All four of the nurses we interviewed mentioned some kind of exercise as a way to lighten up. Long walks, especially in nature, are definitely favorites, because it allows them time to ponder and come to terms with the events of the day. They also mentioned running and yoga.

Moving on

Somehow, nurses always manage to move on. Aren’t they incredible? They still come to work the next day, ready to help the next ailing soul, even though they know that disaster could happen at any moment. That’s why nurses are so special. They witness so much pain, yet are always willing to lend a hand again and again. They know the value of health and life, and they don’t take it for granted. Amanda said that after a traumatic event or a death, she goes home and remembers to hug her loved ones a little tighter that day.

What are some ways you cope in stressful, even traumatic, situations?


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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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Bullying_Happens_Here_-_FacebookBullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Types of bullying include verbal, social, and physical. Verbal bullying is saying or writing something mean or hurtful. Examples of verbal bullying include taunting, threatening to cause harm, name-calling, or inappropriate sexual comments. Social bullying refers to hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Examples of social bullying are spreading rumors about someone or embarrassing someone in public. Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Examples of physical bullying are hitting, spitting, pushing, or taking of someone’s possessions. These definitions are taken from www.stopbullying.gov. This site offers resources if you feel you or someone you know are a victim of bullying, as well as explores preventative actions that you can take to help if you recognize bullying.

Is it Bullying?

Many state and federal laws address bullying-like actions under very serious terms. Bullying can even be acts like hazing, harassment, and stalking. Furthermore, most adults are uncomfortable with the term <em>bullying</em> because they associate it with school-aged children, but bullying in the form of hazing, harassment, and stalking is rampant among adults.

How Adults and Learners Can Get Help.

We encourage our learners to talk to someone they trust if they feel they are being bullied. The College’s Learner Advising and Life Resources department is available to help with a variety of concerns and complaints, and can help direct you to the appropriate on- and off-campus resources. Additionally, Nightingale College’s Title IX coordinators can help determine if the behavior is sexual harassment. To find the list of Title IX coordinators, review the Safety & Security page on the College’s website by clicking here.

What Can Nightingale College Do?

Once a learner has expressed such a complaint, the College will determine if the behavior violates campus policies by reviewing the Learner Handbook and the College’s codes of conduct in addition to checking the violation against state criminal laws and civil rights laws. If warranted, the College will report criminal acts to campus or community law enforcement. Nightingale College does not condone bullying of any type, including cyberbullying. The College takes any complaint very seriously.

What about Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is defined as “bullying that takes places using electronic technology” including computers, cell phones, and tablets. You might be unenthusiastic about seeking out help for cyberbullying. Nightingale College recognizes it as a serious issue in our society, and we strongly encourage you to report any cyberbullying that you believe is occuring. Learn more about cyberbullying by clicking here.

Remember to always model your behavior to show how to treat others with kindness and respect. By treating others with kindness and respect, we all show that there is no place for bullying on or off campus. In the words of Jewel, “In the end only kindness matters.”

– Ashley Thompson (Manager, Learner Advising and Life Resources)

Adapting to Change

Change is a constant in life—nothing will ever stay the same and everything will always change. Although it can be hard at times, change can be very rewarding.

Many have heard the phrase “have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference” (anonymous). This simple phrase relates to all challenges in life and in school. It means to accept things that can’t change, be proactive and adjust things that can, and most importantly, know the difference between the two.

People, schools, companies, and organizations must learn to not only accept change but embrace change. Those who don’t are doomed to fail. Some would argue that the most dangerous phrase in the English language is “we’ve always done it this way.” This thought is extremely destructive for professional, educational, and personal growth. Nightingale College has many Value Statements, one of which is Continuous Improvements, meaning we never settle. Nightingale’s faculty and staff are constantly looking for new ways to improve nursing education for the learners’ benefit. Change is inevitable when searching for solutions and aiming to improve. As Mikhail Shneyder, CEO and President of Nightingale College, says, “If you are doing something the same way as yesterday, you are not improving.”

Nightingale works to bring the best learner experience and with that comes change: change to help solidify policies and procedures, to improve and update the curriculum, to decipher the best systems, and it is all done with the learner in mind.

So, take charge and embrace change. If you learn to accept change, then there is no limit to your success, only adjustments along your journey. If you fail to change, you will fail to thrive.

– Ashley Thompson (Manager, Learner Advising and Life Resources)

Ready to change your nursing career for the better? Enroll in our RN-to-BSN course and step it up to a new level!

Baby Love (Alumni Highlight)

Christi Alvey graduated from Christi AlveyNightingale College in December 2014 and works at Mckay-Dee Hospital in the NICU. She is another Nightingale graduate who was willing to offer some advice and shed some light on her specific nursing duties.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Other nurses that I worked with when I first returned to the work force.

What type of nurse did you want to be? Why?

Critical care. I’ve always loved the challenge of critical care and the complexity of the situations. And, I get bored easily.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before starting nursing school?

How hard it is!! It consumes your life. Hesi’s matter, they really do help with the NCLEX. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!! And nursing school will end.

Besides learning the needed skills and knowledge to be a nurse, what are some things you took away with you after graduation?

The ability to adapt. Things are not always going to go as planned, things change, schedules change, people change…and it’s OK!! You will be just fine, learn to roll with it. Once you learn this, life’s a whole lot easier.

What is something you have found was absolutely necessary to know for learners desiring to be a nurse?

Sterile technique. Learn it, love it, and never break it!!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

We do care times 3 to 4 hours depending on the infant’s needs (feeding, changing diapers, repositioning). We do IV and oral medications. I do a lot of teaching to the parents to encourage them and empower them to participate in their infant’s care. There are many times where I have to suspend my personal feelings and judgment when dealing with difficult situations such as neonatal drug addiction. Never ending charting and documentation, and a whole bunch of baby love.

What do you love most about your job? Do you have any experiences you would like to share?

I love seeing an infant that I have had a hand in caring for get to go home. I love running into the NICU graduates in the community!! Seeing them having fun and living life is great.

For those interested in pursuing a career in the same field, what advice/guidance would you give them?

The NICU is a hard/stressful/emotionally draining/amazing place to be! You have to have the compassion to deal with really emotional parents (sometimes angry), the confidence to stand up for your patient’s best interests even when it’s hard, and the competence to back it up. My advice for any position in the nursing field would be to find something that you love and are passionate about, work hard to get the skills you need for it, be willing to be the “go-to” person, and never forget to take care of yourself.

What has been your most memorable experience during your nursing journey?

My most memorable experience as of yet was when I was approached while eating dinner with my husband by a family that was in our NICU  and having the father tell my husband that I saved his baby’s life. I’m positive that it wasn’t me at all, but it was this father’s perception, and that was pretty cool.

What has been your favorite experience about being a nurse or going through nursing school?

I loved precepting in the jail! Well worth all the hard work to do it. I also love that some of my best friends are from my job and from school. Nobody gets nurse humor like another nurse.

What would you say to someone who wanted to become a nurse?

Do it!! All the hard work and sacrifice is worth it.

What advice would you give to current nursing learners? Potential learners? Graduates?

Take advantage of every learning opportunity you can. Be the volunteer to do a procedure; pick your instructors’ brains, they are smart (once you get in there…you might be sorry though); NEVER be afraid to say you need help or have a question; know when it’s time to have fun and when to buckle down; and never wear your nursing shoes in your house… (because… EWW).

Finally, what does being a nurse mean to you?

Being a nurse means being there at the start of life and sometimes the end of it. It’s being emotionally and physically drained at the end of a shift and loving it enough to get up and do it again the next day.

“You have to have the compassion to deal with really emotional parents (sometimes angry), the confidence to stand up for your patient’s best interests even when it’s hard, and the competence to back it up.”

Christi is  a mentor in the Career Connections mentorship program. To learn more about her and the mentorship program, reach out to the College’s Career Services department.

We would like to thank Christi for taking the time to share her experiences with us.

Wanting to Make a Difference (Alumni Highlight)

Alumni_Heather_2When asked what her favorite thing about nursing was, she replied, “Making a difference in someone’s life. There is no better feeling.”

Meet Heather Armstrong, an August 2014 Nightingale College graduate, who decided to become a nurse and tackle the restless journey that would soon change her path in life. At the age of 46, Heather was able to check nursing school off her list as she walked across the stage, diploma in hand. Since November of 2014, Heather currently works as an RN case manager. “I oversee 35-40 cases at a time and coordinate all of their home care needs.”


We asked Heather to relive moments of her personal nursing journey and tell us a bit more about her experience. After being a part of her father’s knee replacement surgery in 2009, Heather made the decision to become a nurse. “The nursing staff made a difference in his speedy recovery and were wonderful,” she said. “The nurses made a difference and I thought, ‘I can do that, I can make a difference.’” From then on, she aspired to be a nurse and wanted to lend a hand to others just as the nurses helped her father.


Looking back, what is one thing you wish you knew before going into nursing school?

That it would be so hard. I wish I would have had better financing options.


Share with us one thing that you really enjoyed about Nightingale.

My cohort—especially in my group. There were 5 of us and now, we will be lifelong friends.


Besides learning the needed skills and knowledge to be a nurse, what is one thing you took away with you after graduating?

Lifelong friends and the comradery and bond that all nurses have.


What is something that you found was absolutely necessary to know for students desiring to be a nurse?

You have to want to do it. If you are just doing it for a job, then you won’t like it. It is a very giving profession and you give so much of yourself. You have to like people.


What nursing specialty did you want to get into?

Surgery. I am intrigued by the human body and love to see the insides hands on. It’s amazing to watch surgery.


What is one piece of advice to current students? Graduates? Potential students?

Study hard and want it. It’ll be hard, maybe one of the hardest things you do. But, stay with it because it’s over before you know it.


What was your most memorable experience either here at Nightingale or during your nursing journey?

In my nursing journey, I assisted a woman with terminal rectal cancer from diagnosis through her passing. It was a magical connection and me and my staff made a difference at the end of her life.


What would you say to someone who wanted to become a nurse?

You have to want it and it’s hard work. Never stop learning. It’s frustrating at times and hard to watch when people do not take care of themselves. You just do you best and carry on.


Share with us what being a nurse means to you.

It’s a noble profession with much respect. I enjoy helping people. I love the flexibility and different workplace options.


We would like to thank Heather for her willingness to participate in this alumni highlight.


Combating Stress in Healthy Ways

If you’re anything like me, you get stressed very easily. I know that the majority reading this may be stressed due to nursing school. So here are some personal ways that I like to deal with my own stress, and hopefully, one of them might spark your interest and help you conquer not just your stress but your anxieties.

My first suggestion is to start balancing your time. Timing is so important, and if you are able to manage your time and set yourself a schedule, you will have less stress and anxiety. But I’m not going to bore you with those details when you can easily go check out Nightingale’s two blogs about time management. Read Time Management Part 1. Read Time Management Part 2.

My second suggestion is volunteer work. It makes me feel good about myself that I’m helping out where there is a need. There are plenty of places in the community that are looking for a helping hand, like St. Anne’s Homeless Shelter (801-621-5036), or Safe Harbor Crisis Center (801-660-6104). It’s amazing what volunteering can do for your soul.

hot-yogaThe third option I would recommend is an obvious choice- exercise. Exercise is known to get those “happy” endorphins flowing. Plus, it gets you looking good. Let’s be honest, we ALL feel better about ourselves when we are working out regularly and eating healthy. Take your aggression and stresses out on a punching bag or a good cycling class. Lifting weights always makes me feel more powerful and more in control, which is great for me because sometimes in life I feel like I’m utterly out of control in certain situations. I also love doing yoga after work, especially hot yoga. It gets out all of those toxins and relaxes me for bed time.

Lastly, one of my all-time favorite ways to soothe my nerves and unwind during a stressful time in my life is to work in my yard. This might sound weird, but I LOVE pulling weeds. There is something therapeutic in pulling up all of the ugly things to make room for the pretty things. I guess it’s kind of like a metaphor for me in that I try to do the same thing with all of the negativity in my life- weed it out. I like to grow things by my own hand and create life where there was none. There are so many rewards to it- delicious fruits and vegetables and beautiful flowers. Growing your own produce can go hand in hand with your new exercise routine.

I hope nursing school on top of regular life isn’t stressing you out too much, but if it is, try to find healthy outlets that let you vent and relax. There are many activities that you can do to give your mind a break from hectic schedules and life mishaps. Don’t forget, you WILL get through this, and you WILL succeed. Take on that attitude, and you can do anything you put your mind to.

Author: Amanda Shoemaker

DIY Valentine’s Day

If you’re anything like me, you love Valentine’s Day. This day represents the one thing this world needs more of: love. Love for friends, family, even pets. But after the holidays, I am literally broke. Hence, do-it-yourself gifts are given to my husband, family, and friends. I feel that they enjoy a hand made gift from me even more than a store bought gift. So here are a few suggestions to get you jumping on the DIY train. Side note: these gifts are great for men and women, boys and girls. They can be given to your kids or parents. Valentine versatility … that was my vision while looking for gift ideas. Hope you agree!

The first idea I wanted to share is a frame that you can write little love notes on for your significant other. It’s an “I love you because” theme, and personally, it is one of my favorites. I’d stick this in the bathroom for my husband to see when he wakes up in the morning. Just to put a little extra pep in his step. Who doesn’t want to see a little love message first thing in the morning? I really like that it’s on the little frame, it looks classy and cute. You use a dry erase marker to write your note, then you can easily erase it at the end of the day, and write another one for the next day. Super simple, inexpensive, and thoughtful. Check it out by clicking here.

Valentine 1

The next idea is a jar full of nice little notes for your honey. I like that the person in the article mentions that she picks out of it when she’s having a bad day, and it instantly brightens her mood. We all need a little pick me up here and there. I would personally do a mason jar and maybe tie some burlap ribbon around it, just to make it cuter. Maybe even a little lace. I love the country look of mason jars, burlap, and lace (probably because I’m from Texas). Take some time to personalize it, and have fun with it. Then all you have to do is write little love notes, jokes, or Bible verses – whatever your heart desires. I’d keep mine in the kitchen so I could pull one out to read while I am drinking my nighttime cup of milk. This gift is so easy to make and it carries through long after Valentine’s Day. Check it out by clicking here.

Valentine 2

The last option for you is obviously cookies. You can’t have Valentine’s Day without a little sugar. These are some of my favorite cookies, so trust me, because I am the champion cookie taster of the universe. No, but seriously, these are delicious, and you can use any flavor of jam you like. I love the heart shape of them, too. You can wrap them up in fun bags and finish off with a curly ribbon. These would be cute to send to your kids’ teachers, give to your hairdresser, or your favorite person in Student Services (hint hint). No one refuses these cookies. And they’re so easy to make. Double win in my opinion. Check it out by clicking here.

Valentines Cookies

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you look back through the history of Valentine’s Day, it was customary to give little handwritten cards. I personally love the idea of handmade gifts. It means so much more to me than anything you can buy in a store. It’s all about trying to figure out what to make. I hope this has given you some fun ideas to show the ones you love that you care for them. And I hope you have a very happy Valentine’s Day.

Author: Amanda Shoemaker