When young children and young adults don’t hear about nursing as a viable career choice or learn about how to pursue a nursing career, the world loses an untold number of excellent potential nurses.
Mona Clayton, MSN, RN and CEO of Nurses 2 Roc Pub, knows all too well how some dreams need a little nudge. She is making sure that will happen with a goal to reach out to 100,000 people worldwide to tell them that a nursing career might just be the best career for them.
As a kid growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Clayton didn’t have the encouragement she needed to even think of nursing as a career. “You could say nursing chose me, I didn’t choose nursing,” says Clayton. “I didn’t think about nursing as a career at all. I didn’t like blood, and I didn’t like math. And I never had anyone tell me I could do this.”
She didn’t have professional role models telling her that her fascination with health care and the medical dramas she watched on television might mean she had a passion worth pursuing. They could have told her she could overcome her queasiness about blood and that improving her math just meant she had to practice.
Clayton aims to be the inspiration and mentor for those who might want to follow the same path. With seminars in person and online, casual discussions, a blog, and a pure determination to have good people become good nurse, Clayton spreads her message.
Clayton’s path changed when her cousin became a nurse and when Clayton herself worked in a trauma unit while attending college. After forays into journalism, pharmacy, computer science, and business, Clayton went back to school for her nursing degree in her mid 30s. As an older single mom who was also a minority and didn’t consider herself great in math, Clayton says the unknown was scary. “I think the main barrier for many people is the mindset that they think nursing is an impossible venture,” she says.
In fact, Clayton says when she is running a seminar, the young adults she is speaking with invariably ask her the nuts and bolts of how she achieved her goals. They want to know how she applied to a nursing school and how she even knew which one to apply to. They ask how she was able to pay for classes and did she work and go to school simultaneously. They want the details on how she managed while being a single mom and how hard her classes were. They are all hungry for information on how to make their dream become reality.
Clayton admits the road for her wasn’t always smooth. Her daughter was active in lots of school activities, and Clayton relied on extended family to help fill in the gaps as she continued to work and go to school while raising her daughter. When the going got tough, Clayton says she just looked at her daughter. “She kept me going,” she says. “I wanted her to see the importance of education. I wanted her to see how I did it and then they think, ‘If she did it, I can do it, too.’”
And while Clayton’s message connects her with people worldwide, you’ll also find her talking to people in Target or at the gym. She talks to kids who are curious about nursing and older people who are thinking about going back to school for nursing. And she recruits men and women believing a balance of genders is necessary in the workplace.
“I could go and work as a nurse and not do this,” says Clayton, “but this is a passion and drive I have. It feels great when I see someone succeed.”
As a new graduate nurse, I had tremendous mentors that directed my path to success. Oftentimes, they imparted priceless trinkets of nursing knowledge that shaped me into becoming a better nurse, and I am delighted to pass along their insight. Without question, Pearl Uhomba, BSN, RN and Yolanda Ferguson, BSN, RN were beacons of light throughout my first year. These extraordinary leaders in the nursing profession taught this fledgling to arrive to work at least 30 minutes prior to clocking in. I understand that this sounds very intense, but there’s a method behind the madness:
You can get a feel of the atmosphere.
By arriving early, you can visualize whether the shift is chaotic or smooth. As a result, you can appropriately adjust and prepare for your shift. Sometimes, you have to acclimate your mind and body to the madness. As a preparation routine, I would sit in the break room and listen to my favorite playlist. As one that has experienced the madness of the trenches and lived to tell the tale, I encourage you to develop a stress-busting plan that gets you through the difficult shifts.
Your shift assignment is posted.
You have scored a huge advantage. Now, you can delve into your patients’ charts with a fine-tooth comb. Also, you can prepare a well-developed strategy and layout of your patients’ goals and plan of care. Most importantly, during the shift change, you have successfully developed per se a colorless image of each patient that you will care for. Then, the off-going nurse will bring your image into Technicolor!
You have 1st round dibs on the BEST C.O.W., which is lovingly known as the Computer On Wheels.
For those that have endured the sometimes arduous task of selecting this essential and sometimes temperamental teammate, you really want a C.O.W that is agile and can turn on a dime without tipping over. Now, you won’t have the worst teammate that is infamous for shutting down during the most important medication administration.
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Do you ever wish nursing school could be a little easier? Juggling classes, labs, clinicals, exams, and a life outside of school doesn’t exactly make your typical day serene.
No, nursing school isn’t a breeze, and nursing school stress is a problem. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will make it a little easier on you.
1. Time Management
No matter how well planned you think your schedule is, take another look at how you plan your days and weeks. Time management skills are critical in the life of any student and will carry over into your life as a working nurse after graduation. Are you using the time you have in the best way you can?
2. Ask Your Advisor
Schools can’t say it enough – talk to your advisor. Whether you are planning to change classes, the direction of your career, or just want to find out how to cope with a particularly difficult class or nursing school stress, your advisor is there to help you. Just not feeling the connection? Look into changing your advisor – it shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Visit Career Services
Looking for a part-time job or wondering how to shape your job search? Do you look at your resume and wonder if it’s the best it can be? Your school’s academic advising office can help you with all of that (and even study skills, too!). Visit them and save yourself loads of time.
4. Find a Tutor
Experts say it over and over – the smartest students are the ones who actively seek out help. If your chemistry class has tripped you up, talk to your professor and find a tutor to help you before you fall behind. Tutors will help you understand the material and might even offer some insight into the particular class you’re taking.
5. Find a Mentor
Mentors are a huge part of a nursing student’s life. A mentor can help guide you on the right path, help you figure out just what you want from your career, introduce you to others in the field, and possibly even help you get a job (or at least guide you toward promising opportunities). Sometimes, you are lucky enough to have a mentor come into your life through a class, but other times you need to look for one. Find them through your school’s mentoring program, through a job, in the lab, or even through a professional organization.
6. Find Help for Stress
Sometimes, stress can build up and make your life pretty miserable. It can be a particularly tough class or even a health crisis in your family that derails you for a while. If you find the pressure is impacting your mood or even your ability to get things done in a timely manner, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talking to a counselor or a close trusted friend or family member can do wonders for your ability to cope. Let’s face it, nursing is high-pressure, so learning how to take care of your mind and body now is only going to help you in the future.
Nursing school can be tough, but you know you’re on your way to one of the most rewarding careers out there. Take the time to keep yourself on the right track and use all your available resources to make it easier on you.
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