5 Things That Can Make You a Successful Travel Nurse

5 Things That Can Make You a Successful Travel Nurse

Health care facilities occasionally experience shortage of staff. In such situations, they turn to travel nurses from other locations to fill in for their permanent staff. There are several travel nurse staffing providers in the country to help hospitals/clinics to find temporary nurses and vice versa.

The United States offers opportunities to travel nurses in all specialties. At the global level, health care facilities are in a constant need of efficient nurses to manage clinical and administrative duties. Nurses who are willing to take up assignments in international locations can get in touch with companies who facilitate these programs.

As a travel nurse, you need to research the job description, organizational culture, and stay updated with important on-the-job skills. Even on the personal front, there are several factors you need to consider when embarking on a new assignment. You should be willing to adjust to a new area, use interpersonal skills to form cordial relations with new coworkers, and improve your nursing skills.

If you are a nurse planning to take up a new travel assignment in the near future, then you can make use of the following tips to make it a successful stint.

1.    Complete the Paperwork

Amidst your excitement to start traveling, do not neglect the documentation required by the travel nurse staffing agency and the assigned hospital. Do not forget to submit all forms on time with complete and accurate information. Maintaining a checklist of the required documents can help you keep tabs on the process.

You will be asked to include application forms, skills checklists, license verification, and letters of recommendation from your previous employers. You may want to consult a lawyer if you are planning to travel to another country for your assignment. They can help you know about the laws that are applicable to travel nurses.

Make sure that there is no discrepancy in the details you provide as the staffing agency will use them for arranging for your interviews, placements, and onboarding with your new employer.

2.    Be Adaptive

As the new nurse in the health care facility, you will have to make additional efforts to adapt to the new environment. It will be easier once you are acquainted with the rest of the staff. A good attitude and a positive approach can be helpful.

It is quite common for travel nurses to experience nervousness and face difficulties at some point during their assignments. Get in touch with fellow nurses and other staff members for solving your queries. The key is to treat others like you would like to be treated.

Remember that you were hired for your nursing skills, and these would remain the same across all geographical locations. So, even if you are facing initial glitches, keep your spirit up when dealing with patients.

3.    Carry All Necessary Items

As far as possible, try to keep your luggage light and easy-to-carry. At the same time, do not leave important items behind. Among the essentials to take along are a copy of all your documents and the approved scrubs/uniform for your assignment. As you’d be living in a new location, you may not know much about the cost of living. It is, therefore, better to keep some spare money, your financial records, key emergency contacts, IDs, and credit/debit cards handy.

Make sure you don’t overload your luggage with excessive clothing items. Try to stick to a reasonable number of personal items and clothing, keeping in mind the weather at the new location. You may also want to take a few favorite photos and mementos to make the new place feel like home. It is advisable to ask your recruiter for a more detailed list of items that you should carry.

4.    Let Your Learning Curve Grow

Try to use all the time you have during your travel stint to learn as much as you can. But, before heading to the new place, make sure you study about your assignment facility. You may be taken through a traveler orientation to know more on the facility’s management policies. Make sure you that you take enough notes, study procedure manuals, ask questions, and clarify all doubts.

You may be assigned a short-term mentor, who you can shadow for a few days, but make sure you know who you can contact on the floor with questions at all times. Some travel nurse staffing agencies, such as Onward Healthcare, also have clinical liaisons their travel RNs can get in touch with around the clock, if necessary.

5.    Make Use of Technology for Assistance

Technology can be a great aid for travel nurses as they can use information from the Internet to learn more about their new location. Whether you want to find the route to the local market, read restaurant reviews, or locate the nearest health care facility, your laptop, tablet, or smartphone can help you find answers to these queries.

You can even store e-books on these devices for leisure or professional reading. This way you will be more prepared to live comfortably at the new place, which can help you focus more on your professional role and adapt to the new facility faster.

To Conclude

Many nurses are gradually warming up to the idea of traveling for business. The great thing about being a travel nurse is that you can blend fun and work and make the most of your professional stint. As long as you have the above considerations in place, you can look forward to a successful and prolific career as a travel nurse.

A New Normal: Graduate Nursing Students Paying for Clinical Rotations

A New Normal: Graduate Nursing Students Paying for Clinical Rotations

Aspiring advanced practice nurses enter their prospective graduate programs each semester with the good faith of excelling at their course work and practicum. Unfortunately, that notion may be tarnished by the misfortune of not finding a clinical site. In some instances, unwarranted cancellations by a preceptor occur. Leaving the pupil to hastily find another preceptor. Consequently, if the student is unable to obtain a new preceptor their graduation is postponed for months or sometimes years.

With the advent of online advanced nursing education, the demand for preceptors has skyrocketed. Many students spend months calling around for a preceptor to no avail. Plenty of primary care clinics are, booked full of students, a year or two in advance. To offset the demand some practices and health care practitioners have begun charging students for time spent precepting in their clinics. Thus, herein lies “an elephant in the room”: is it ethical for clinics to require payment for nursing practicums? Sadly, there is no straightforward answer to this question; yet among students there are two schools of thought.

One school of thought: “It’s unethical to pay for a clinical rotation. Why would I pay for something that a person should do out of the goodness of their heart?”

Central to any health profession is service. This act of unselfish kindness and generosity bears meaning to one’s career and, above all, sustain and dignify the future of others. In this instance, a pupil in need of mentoring isn’t too lowly for the time and attention necessitating growth. Unselfish service is marked by giving freely without expecting anything in return, as explained within an excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath, “To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in life with him, and to fulfill his needs when required; to look upon his offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or contract…”

Second school of thought: “You’re paying for your education just as you would in a classroom environment.”

Some clinics are charging a minimum of $200 per week for a practicum experience. Which translates into $1,600 – $2,000 for an eight to ten week session. However, not all clinical sites are created equally. Some preceptors allow the pupils to independently see patients and afterwards they confer to execute a treatment plan for the individuals. Alternatively, other preceptors adopt a “hands off” approach and throw the student “out to the wolves” with little to no experience. How can schools of nursing solve this burgeoning problem?

Graduate nursing clinical rotations should be regulated by an accreditation body, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Program effectiveness, assessment, and achievement of program outcomes are addressed within CCNE’s Standards for Accreditation. Presumptive regulation of graduate nursing clinical sites should be addressed under section IV – B, “program completion rates demonstrate program effectiveness”. How effective is the nursing program if students are not graduating due to sparse clinical sites? The school of nursing should be held accountable to help their students find practicum placement. If a large percentage of pupils are unable to complete the program of study due to insufficient assistance with securing a preceptor, a mandate should be place upon the school of nursing to provide a written explanation and analysis along with a plan of action for improvement before re-accreditation is approved for the graduate nursing program.

What’s a Nurse’s Professional Image?

What’s a Nurse’s Professional Image?

Nurses know their jobs are essential, but they also know their jobs aren’t typical in any way. They don’t have 9 to 5 hours and don’t always have a set schedule. And their duties can vary greatly.

Even the standard scrubs often associated with a nursing career don’t apply to everyone. Nurses might wear a suit to work or they might wear scrubs every day. Some might work with patients while others testify in front of Congress. Often, recruiters say they hear nurses comment that they are “just a nurse” and because of that they don’t always raise the game of a professional image.

Being a professional nurse and having an image to go with that means more than having a great resume or even an impressive title. What can you do to strengthen your professional image as a nurse?

Here are a few ideas.

Get on LinkedIn

Professionals use LinkedIn to network, find jobs if they are looking, reach out to candidates if they are hiring, and present their qualifications to the business world. But LinkedIn also has something even more essential—lots of online groups that you can contribute to and learn from.

Commenting, posting, and adding your well-thought-out ideas to LinkedIn groups and forums is an ideal way to begin making connections you might not have had an opportunity to make otherwise.

Have a Business Card

Does it seem silly to order business cards when your organization doesn’t offer them? Shouldn’t you just get what your company gives you? The short answer is loud and clear – no. According to Donna Cardillo, RN, known as the Inspiration Nurse, a business card puts you on equal footing when you network professionally or even socially.

You never know when you’ll meet someone who could help you in your career at some point in the future and having the ability to give someone your card with your information is convenient and shows you are a prepared professional. Order inexpensive cards online and keep them basic. Don’t make your business card cutesy.

Join an Association

Join the local chapter of the American Nurses Association or whatever association matches your specialty or particular interest. Become an active member who attends meetings or volunteers to help with events. You’ll learn about educational opportunities, professional advancement, career tips, and meet other nurses. Attend the meetings with an enthusiasm for your field and a handy “elevator pitch” that explains to people quickly and accurately what your job is.

You might find that an association gives you a feeling of connection as well. That alone might help you get through any career bumps or detours.

Get Noticed

If you don’t have time to become president of the local nursing association or to volunteer to help with a petition drive, do something you can manage. But make sure you do something. Name recognition is important to any career, but it’s harder for nurses to get their names out in front of the public.

Write a letter to the editor about a cause that is particularly relevant to your own nursing interests and to the general public (vaccines, strikes, gun control, heart disease). Send it to several papers. Your opinion as a professional nurse carries a lot of weight, so back up your points with solid facts. Have someone proofread your letter to make sure it sounds good.

There are lots of things you can do as a nurse to bring your professionalism up a notch. And as each nurse does takes steps to do so, their efforts raise the professionalism of the field as a whole.

How to Deal With a Difficult Professor

How to Deal With a Difficult Professor

As a nursing student you know one thing for sure—no two professors are alike. The benefits of having great professors are obvious, but even the most difficult professors will teach you some valuable skills.

Even if you know you’ll learn in a course, it doesn’t make dealing with an obnoxious professor easy. How can you make the best of a bad situation?

Start Each Class With Good Communication

Sometimes, students and professors get off to a bad start that never seems to resolve itself. Professors deserve and are used to a certain level of respect, and you should approach them with that in mind. Start any communication with them by addressing them as “Professor” before their last name, until you are directed to do otherwise.

Triple check to be sure you have spelled their names correctly. Use polite language (never slang) and err on the side of being too formal. That means don’t send an email full of texting abbreviations, and always thank them for taking the time to help you.

Act Like You Deserve to be Taken Seriously

Of course, to lay a good foundation with your professors, you need to be a good student. Get to class on time, not 5 minutes late. Pay attention to what is being taught and participate in the discussions. Don’t spend lecture time on your phone or playing catch up with other students. Get your work in on time and with all the requirements. Be focused and your professor will be likely to notice and take you more seriously.

Reach Out for Help If Needed

Despite your best efforts, you might get a professor who is impossible to please, is rude, doesn’t give good lectures, and gives exams that border on out of line. If you have approached the professor for help and have gotten no where, you are not out of options. All schools have either an academic advising or a student support services office that will work with you to help you resolve any conflict or miscommunication. The Dean of Students is also an excellent resource when you are having real difficulties with a professor.

Find an Out

If you just have a really bad feeling (for instance,your professor tells you that even a hospitalization is not an excused absence), then see what your options are. Talk with your advisor and see if it’s too late to switch classes.

If you feel the professor is on a mission to fail you and you have exhausted all your options and outside assistance, you might look into withdrawing from the class. You ‘ll probably lose money, but it might impact your nursing school career less than failing a class. Your advisor will help you through this decision.

Accept the Life Lesson

Dealing with unpleasant people is difficult and can rattle your confidence. But it also makes you tougher, and as a nurse, that’s a skill that will come in handy. Learning how to cope with someone’s unflinching criticism (whether deserved or not) is good practice for anyone’s career. If your professor has pushed you to the limit, take a step back and see what you can learn from the experience and use that to your advantage in the future.

Whatever problems you might have with a professor in your nursing school years, you can turn the lessons you’ll learn from it into something useful and helpful.

10 Qualities That Make a Great Nurse

10 Qualities That Make a Great Nurse

Few would disagree that nursing is one of the most underrated professions in modern times. Being a nurse isn’t easy. In fact, it is a field that can be extremely demanding—and even unforgiving—to those who pursue it. Being around the ailing and the frazzled for long hours and dealing with them patiently day after day can be challenging, to say the least.

Nurses are required to be not only compassionate and helpful, but also capable of making difficult decisions and administering the right medical care to patients in the absence of doctors. Of course, education plays a big role in ensuring this, but there are certain innate qualities that make one nurse better than the other.

Here are 10 qualities that make an exceptional nurse.

1. High Standards of Professionalism

Nurses need to be professional in their approach towards their work. Whether it is meeting with and attending to patients, administering medication, or maintaining patient records, they need to do all of it in the most skilled and ethical manner.

As a nurse, you’re bound to deal with patients coming from different age groups, genders, races, communities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is important not to make assumptions or generalizations with respect to their appearance, and instead focus on their illness, injury, or that which ails them.

There may be times when you may have to deal with difficult patients. Do not let that experience get to you. View each patient as an individual who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

2. Never-Ending Diligence

Nurses are extremely hard working, which is why diligence is an important attribute they need to possess. While we may think that theirs is a 9 to 5 job, the truth is far from that. More often than not nurses end up working long hours, thanks to the nature of their job.

To be an exceptional nurse, you need to have it in you to work long hours and be up and running to (possibly) do it again the next day.

3. Exceptional Communication Skills

One of the most critical traits to be good at any job is outstanding communication skills. This applies to nurses as well. In fact, this skill is a necessity rather than an option. A great nurse has exceptional listening and speaking skills. The rest of his or her work depends on these two factors.

Nurses can solve problems only if they’re able to effectively communicate with patients and families. Patients expect nurses to understand their troubles perfectly well before administering any medicine. An effective nurse is one who can not only fulfill, but also anticipate patients’ needs.

4. Effective Interpersonal Skills

Apart from excellent communication skills, nurses need to have remarkable interpersonal skills. After all, they act as the link between doctors and a variety of patients. Further, they also need to work well with other nurses and members of the staff.

For patients, nurses are the face of the hospital and doctors depend on them for carrying out several tasks. A great nurse is able to strike the right balance between doctors’ and patients’ needs.

5. Attention to Detail

Good nurses realize that every step they take in providing patient care can have grave consequences. This is why all effective nurses pay careful attention to detail and make sure they do not miss any step.

Whether it is reading and understanding a patient’s chart or memorizing the details of a case, nurses take nothing for granted. In a profession where a tiny mistake can ruin another’s life, attention to detail is one quality that can either spell the difference between life and death.

6. Quick Problem-Solving Abilities

The ability to mitigate problems quickly is a must-have quality in a great nurse. An even better quality would be to anticipate and address problems before they arise. You never know when a tricky situation will arrive at the time of dealing with emergencies or trauma cases.

A nurse always needs to be prepared with solutions, whether it is speaking to patients’ families, comforting patients, or communicating with doctors and other administrative technicians.

7. Action-Oriented

Patients who come to a hospital or clinic typically need remedies that are not only effective, but also administered quickly. A great nurse understands the importance of responding promptly to emergencies and sudden incidences and is prepared for all sorts of surprises with a composed mind and a calm attitude.

8. Empathetic Disposition

More often than not, patients happen to be enduring or have endured immense pain and suffering. Remarkable nurses have empathy for them and are able to be compassionate to provide comfort. Of course, nurses can experience their share of mental and physical fatigue too, but they’re able to get past it.

The atmosphere in a hospital can be a formal one. However, nurses can add the humane touch with their kindhearted attitude. This can be instrumental in improving patient care to a great extent.

9. Solid Stamina

Nurses work long hours. Further, they’re also required to frequently carry out various physical tasks, lift heavy equipment, provide physical support to patients, stand for long periods of time, and carry out other demanding drills on a daily basis. In short, they’re always on their feet.

This is why nurses need to be energetic enough to make it through the shift, irrespective of whether they’re in a surgery or looking after a patient.

10. Sense of Humor

Finding humor in difficult situations isn’t easy, but the nurses who can do it are able to mitigate stressful situations better. It is perfectly okay to mix the elements of fun and humor into your work to be able to enjoy it better. After all, this combination will keep you going in the tough times!

As a career, nursing can be a difficult, yet rewarding one. The satisfaction of being helpful to those in need can be tremendous. All you need is the right personality to deal with the stresses that come with it and you should do well. If you aspire to become a nurse and think that you possess all of the above qualities, you should definitely pursue nursing as a career.

It Takes a Village to Get Through Nursing School

It Takes a Village to Get Through Nursing School

When you think of being successful in college, you know lots of hard work, hours of studying, and a dedicated commitment will pay off. But if you’re heading into nursing school this fall, there’s also another essential, piece of the puzzle that will help your college years go as smoothly as possible.

What else can you do to help you make the most of your time in nursing school? Get a team together—one filled with other students you can rely on, professors who can teach you, advisors who can guide you, and college services offices filled with information.

While many students enter college thinking this will happen naturally, planning for the right kind of team is almost a strategic business move. You aren’t going to pick your friendships and associations with an eye on getting ahead, but knowing where to go for help and developing relationships with people on campus will always help you.

Friendships Are Your Foundation

Good friends will be a life saver when you are in college. Not only will they be right in the trenches with you and understand what you’re going through, but they’re also a steady source of sage advice, on-target observations, and, hopefully, some comic relief. Friends aren’t all good for the same thing all the time. You might find you develop friends to study with, friends to blow off steam with, others who help you reach your fitness goals, and others who’ll binge-watch Netflix with you the day after your last final.

Professors Motivate You

Some professors will make you pull your hair out and others will push you to make yourself better. Reach out to your favorite professors to cultivate a good relationship. They will help you when you are struggling with a class, offer you career advice, and will serve as references when you are seeking internships, externships, or a job.

Academic Advising Introduces You to the Possibilities

The most successful students are the ones who seek out help. You may have never needed a tutor or needed extra help in a class, but nursing school is a whole new situation. You aren’t expected to know everything, and keeping up the intense pace of nursing school is difficult—even for the best students. Get to know your school’s academic advising office and staff. Ask them for help with classes, difficult professors, or time management. They are an important part of your team and the sooner you develop a relationship with them, the more likely you are to avoid pitfalls like burnout, poor grades, or procrastination.

Health Services Watches Out for You

If you have any kind of chronic medical condition—from diabetes to depression —college is not the time to manage it all on your own. Health services will help you with getting medication, finding outside providers, and checking in to keep your health on a steady course. When you get to campus, start getting acquainted with the people and routines of the health services center. If you ever need to take any time off for medical reasons, they will be a big help with the process. The first time you see them shouldn’t be an emergency.

Career Services Takes You to the Next Level

All nurses have an end goal of a career in nursing, but that final career will look different for so many students. Career services will help you figure out how to narrow down your best career path, but they will also help you take steps to get there faster. Start early to get a resume in order, explore career options, and even develop a plan of outside experiences (volunteer work, summer jobs, internship or externship opportunities) that can help you get there.

Nursing school is a step toward independence and your career, and surrounding yourself with people who can help you will make your experience that much better and more successful.

3 Tips to Protect Your Eye Health

3 Tips to Protect Your Eye Health

Summer’s freedom brings so many health benefits—more daylight and more opportunity to move around outside, more variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and enough outdoor events and gatherings to keep your calendar packed.

But with all the relaxed summer fun, one aspect of your health can easily get overlooked—your eyes. Taking the steps this summer to protect your eyes will pay off in the long run. Just as with many other body systems, accumulated damage eventually adds up and causes problems.

According to Prevent Blindness, taking some preventative steps now will protect your eye health years down the road. Get a good pair of sunglasses that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. And while so many worry about the wrinkles caused by squinting, it’s the potential for cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer and melanoma that can lead to debilitating vision loss that is the biggest health threat.

1. Protect Your Eyes in Surf and Sand

Eye protection is especially important in the summer not only because the sun is more intense, but just because there are more hours when you are out in it. Days at the beach require a good pair of shades (and a good hat helps protect your eyes, too).

Wearing sunglasses if you are floating around in any kind of water adds even more protection. While you’re in the water, your eyes need to be shielded from the bright reflections off the water as well as the sun shining from above.

2. Don’t Neglect Sunglasses on Short Trips

It might seem like a hassle to bring sunglasses for short runs to the store or for quick walks around the park. If you aren’t going to be out long or if you’re just going to get sweaty and your sunglasses will slip off anyhow, why bother? It’s those short accumulated exposures that add up to much more damage than you would think. If you go out, pack a pair of sunglasses.

3. Be Cautious Around Fireworks

According to a US Consumer Product Safety Commission study in 2014, an average of 230 people went to US hospitals every day with injuries related to fireworks in the month surrounding July 4. There were 10,500 fireworks-related injuries that year. And while burns account for many injuries, the eyes are particularly vulnerable to flying parts of fireworks which contribute to the contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies the study saw with eye injuries.

Fireworks are routinely implicated in eye injuries during the summer. But it’s not just the big booming fireworks that cause problems – it’s the smaller ones, too.  Those hand-held sparkers account for as many injuries as fireworks themselves. Your best bet is to leave the fireworks to the pros. If that’s not feasible, use eye protection and extra caution. And don’t let kids run around with sparklers or get anywhere close to the adults setting off the fireworks.

Be safe this summer and protect your eyes at every opportunity. Your vision is worth it.

Get Ready for Nursing School

Get Ready for Nursing School

Getting ready for nursing school is a big deal and if you’re going to be a new student this fall, now is the time to get organized so your year is off to a good start.

Corral Your Paperwork

You’ve probably already been flooded with mail, email, papers from orientation, and any other school offices. You’ll have information and deadlines for choosing courses, getting matched with a roommate, accepting your scholarship or financial aid, and sports team trainings and schedules.

While it might look like you can just put some of this to the side, you have to check each and every piece of correspondence to make sure you know what your responsibilities are. If you don’t accept your financial aid package, you might not get it. If you don’t sign up for courses on time, there are lots of other students ready to fill those slots. And you don’t want to be late with your tuition payments either.

Know the deadlines and write them on the calendar or put them on your phone. Then highlight them or send yourself reminders and don’t miss a single one.

Get Yourself Prepared

If your parents wake you up every day so you get to work or school or other commitments on time, have them stop. There’s no one to wake you up at college and this is your first step toward becoming more responsible for yourself.

Get your act together by setting a loud alarm and putting it across your room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. And don’t even think of crawling back into bed!

Become Dorm Ready

Lots of colleges give out suggestion lists for what you need to bring to school. Take a look at it, ask friends, and check Pinterest for great ideas. Also ask people what they bought and didn’t use. Save yourself some money and hassle in the long run by only bringing what’s useful.

If you take medications, find out where the nearest pharmacy is and if your school has any kind of prescription delivery program. If you’ll need any kind of monitoring by a doctor near your college, find one this summer so you aren’t caught by surprise if you need medical attention when you’re on campus.

Get to Know Your College

Successful nursing students have a team to watch their backs. Since you’re not on campus yet, you can’t really get that team together now, but you can start thinking about how to do that. Spend time learning about your college and try to establish an idea of clubs you’ll join or support services you might use.

If you have a person at the college (like a tutor in the academic support center, a professor or department head, or even someone in health services) who can advocate for you if you ever need it, your years will be easier.

Stretch Your Wings

One of the best parts of nursing school is getting to know other students who are all as passionate about nursing as you are. Join a group chat for students in your graduating year or from the specific program you are interested in. Ask questions, and make plans to meet up when school starts.

Your years in nursing school are what you make of them. Getting out of your dorm room or the library to meet others and have new experiences will give you a much better college experience.

To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be

“ Once you know yourself, in this living stillness, there is nothing in this world that is greater than you”

One of the elements of discovery is “stillness”… I am sure you are thinking, ” What does that really mean? As healthcare professional, how can I incorporate STILLNESS into my life when I have been trained to move and move fast because it is the difference between life and death?”

Guess what, IT IS POSSIBLE! Let’s break this down a little bit more.

Many people see the word “stillness” and automatically think it means to have no movement which is true to a certain point, but from the perspective of discovery, “stillness” is the state of being or being one with yourself. Not thinking about the kids, what you have to cook for dinner, the bills you need to pay, but can’t… the job you dread, the co-worker or friend that gets on your nerves, etc. I mean you DO NOT think about any of that, just simply BE!! In the state of being is where we really and truly get to “know thyself” and not what everyone else tells us about ourselves. In stillness we allow the voice of the holy spirit, which is our GPS navigation system, to guide us through the streets called life. In stillness we learn to quiet the mind and not allow anything that is going on around us affect us. So when you are in a state of stillness, it doesn’t mean that things are not going on around you, it means that they are not going on within you. Let me make it a little clearer for you, you can be at work on a 35 bed med-surg unit with 10 physicians and 3 respiratory therapist on the unit, family all over the place, a supervisor who is screaming at staff, and a co-worker who scrolling through her social media timelines chilling while you have 10 outstanding task and not let ANY, I mean ANY of it affect you internally. The key is to create an intention of stillness which can be achieved by having some intentionality about how you are carrying yourself in a given moment and focus on what is within your control.

Now that we have what stillness means from the perspective of discovery out of the way, I can hear you saying “ Nicole I don’t have time for that”, I have to take care of my family, walk the dogs, manage all the household chores, manage the financial accounts, and I am sure that the list could go on and on but guess what you CAN practice stillness through all of this (I am not telling you what anyone told me but what I know)!! And to be honest if you want to live a life purposefully as a healthcare professional according to Gods’ will then it is a non-negotiable.

So let me share 4 tips that helped me to begin my practice of stillness and make the practice of stillness a ritual in my life.

1. Deep Breath- Yep simply deep breath! I hear you saying “and what is that going to help”? When we take deep breaths it induces the parasympathetic system and slows down your heart rate, which leads to a state of relaxation  (use this one when you have trouble going on all around you so that it is not going on in you).
2. Schedule Time to Be- Look lets keep it real we all live busy life’s that pull us in 50 directions and many us live by a Google calendar which tells where to be and when. Well guess what place your “Be Time” on there too. It has been proven that anything we do for 21 days becomes a habit.
3. Get off Social Media- Yep I said it!! Get off Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. stalking pages and looking at fairytale lives that often don’t exist and practice just “ Being” (I was once guilty of this one, LOL). With the hours we spend on these sites weekly, we can really get to “know thyself” and find our purpose as a healthcare professional.
4. Find a Location that brings you Serenity- Know I know I said the state of being can happen when trouble is all around you which means we can have stillness anywhere but to get to a place where we can do this, we can get practice by doing it in areas where we find peace. So that may be by the water, outdoors with the birds chirping, a certain room in your home, etc. Practicing stillness in a location that brings you peace prepares you to be able to do it anywhere.

These tips are the very tip of the iceberg for practicing stillness because stillness goes much deeper but I wanted to start with building a foundation for you to build upon.

 

Remember in Psalms 46:10 we were told to “ Be still and know that I am god”.

Living purposefully,

 

Nicole Thomas

7 Tips to Stay Safe This Summer

7 Tips to Stay Safe This Summer

With summer’s incredible array of foods, activities, and fun, you’ll probably be out and about more. You don’t have to worry about icy roads, but there are plenty of other potential mishaps that are summer related. Here’s how to protect yourself from a few preventable warm-weather hazards.

1.Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated either at work or at the beach. Even being slightly dehydrated can make you feel sluggish. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and just keep sipping on it.

Notice if you or anyone you are with begins to feel overheated at any time. Get to a cooler spot and sip on fluids. Heatstroke can come on quickly and is dangerous. If you’ll be at an outdoor event, carry some frozen wet washcloths in your cooler. Instant cold packs (the kind for sports injuries) do well in a pinch, too.

2. Watch the Weather

Keep your eye on the weather—especially if you live in areas prone to severe events or storms. Summer brings some pretty wild weather and you want to be prepared.

3. Be Cautious Around Water

It can’t be said enough, be alert when you are around water. Don’t swim alone, and if you’re at the beach, pool, or lake with kids, designate someone to keep an eye on them at all times. You can’t assume each parent is going to be watching and kids get into trouble quickly in the water.

Be careful with adults, too –pay attention to red flags indicating rough water or even shark sightings. And if anyone has been drinking, remember their judgment and their reactions could be impaired enough to cause problems while swimming.

4. Make Food Safety a Priority

Summer barbeques are often the highlight of these warm months. But the heat can spoil food quickly and the resulting illness is pretty awful. If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all the food is cold. Keep anything that can spoil quickly (meats, anything mayonnaise based, dairy products) refrigerated until you need them.

When you put food out, keep it out of direct sun –you can even put your bowls of potato salad on ice to keep things cooler. When you attend an event, pay attention to how the food is taken care of. Don’t eat anything you suspect has been out too long.

5. Keep Insects at Bay

Watch for all the critters that can cause you misery over the summer. Mosquitoes, ticks, ants, bees, jellyfish—no matter what gets you, it can hurt and cause lasting ill-effects.

Protect yourself so you can be outside and not get waylaid by bugs and critters. Wear long pants and long sleeves when possible and when it’s too hot for that, wear bug repellant and reapply it every couple of hours. Keep sugary drinks covered (bees have been known to sneak into soda cans) and scan picnic sites for ant holes or mounds. Make sure you know if the water you’re in has jellyfish or any biting fish.

6. Don’t Forget Your Car

Keeping your car prepared for summer is just as important as keeping it ready for cold conditions. Make sure your tires are inflated correctly, your oil is changed, and you have plenty of coolant. And if you’re in the habit of running on fumes, keep an eye on your gas tank. One hours-long traffic jam to a concert or on the way home from the beach could leave you stranded on the side of the road and miserable. Be smart and prepare yourself.

7. Use Sunscreen

You know the drill. Use sunscreen every day and reapply it often. Use enough lotion to fill a shot glass and put that on every two hours. If you use a sunscreen spray, spray enough on so you can rub it in to cover all the areas. This can’t be said often enough, but lots of people just don’t bother. In the long run, sunscreen can prevent skin cancer, but it also helps you avoid the immediate misery of a painful sunburn.

Here’s to a healthy and safe summer!