A Day in the Life of an Anti-Social Nursing Student

0645 – Wake up, realize you have to people today, and, like most days, today is not a good day for peopling.

0700 – Text best friend or significant other about how you literally cannot people today.

0745 – Sit in car for a few extra minutes listening to tunes so you aren’t obligated to talk to people before class

0755 – Exchange necessary niceties with classmates. Find seat and establish best rbf while burying attention in phone.

0758 – Get asked seemingly innocent question by classmate. Answer politely, but ramp the rbf up a couple notches.

0835 – Hide in unused classroom following exam. Play solitaire with actual deck of cards you brought.

1030 – Stay in seat during break because everyone else leaves. Enjoy quiet reflection about foley catheters and/or tacos.

1035 – Go to use bathroom as stampede of students return from bathroom. Keep hair pulled down in front of eyes if possible.

1057 – Exchange eye roll with trusted classmate regarding other students’ behavior and/or questions.

1114 – Exchange eye roll with instructor regarding other students’ behavior and/or questions.

1200 – Take lunch break off campus to nearest Sheetz. Surround self with people you haven’t spent 20+ hours a week with for the last 2 years.

1231 – Return to class just as the professor begins to lecture. Make no apologies.

1449 – Rub temples in exasperation

1500 – Practically run out the door and seemingly fly home

1534 – Collapse on couch from exhaustion of peopling all day. Pat yourself on the back because you did not, in fact, eat anyone today.

 

How to Get Ready and Out the Door for Clinical Mornings in 30 Minutes or Less

Only one thing sucks more than having to get up at 5:30am for clinicals: Having to get up at 4am for clinicals. Here’s how I’ve trimmed down my morning routine to get me from just-waking-up to out-the-door in just under 30 minutes.

1. Shower the Night Before

In my experience, I end up showering as soon after clinical as possible anyways, so showering the night before makes sense. Don’t have time for a shower? Rub in some dry shampoo the night before or morning-of for a quick fix. Fellows, if you can get away with shaving the night before, it will save you the extra minutes in the morning.

2. Pre-Set EVERYTHING

  • Clinical Materials: I pack my clinical go-bag the night before with all the essentials: Paperwork, stethoscope, pen lights, pens, pencils, ID badge, lotion, lip balm, books to study during downtime, money for lunch (alternatively Pre-pack your lunch and leave your lunchbox in the fridge overnight for easy grab-and-go). . . the list goes on and on to include basically everything I think I’ll need. Nothing gets forgotten, and no last-minute hassles searching for that one important item.
  • Breakfast: My pack of instant oatmeal is sitting in the bowl, with the spoon, next to my travel mug, with a K-cup pre-set and ready to go. The percentage of mornings I eat breakfast before clinical has significantly improved since I implemented this strategy! No need to try for anything fancy–cereal, instant oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit are fast, easy options that will keep you going. Also, taking your drink on the run saves more time and will help keep you awake for the early morning drive.
  • Outfit: I make sure my scrubs are washed and pressed the night before (yes, I do indeed iron my scrubs if needed. Professional appearance is important). Then I lay out my scrubs, any undergarments/undershirts, socks, and nursing shoes, plus a jacket/hoodie/lab coat if I think I’ll need that. No more fumbling around my closet in the dark!
  • Hair/Beauty: Make sure any supplies you will need in the morning in the way of hair supplies, makeup, deodorant, etc are within easy reach on your vanity.

All this pre-setting takes me about 30 minutes the night before (less if I can get away with not ironing my scrubs), and the time and stress it saves the next morning is so worth it! As you get into the routine of packing and pre-setting, it will take you less and less time.

3. Set 2-3 alarms

I set my first alarm for 5 minutes before I want to wake up, my second at the exact time I want to be up, and the last 5 minutes after I should have woken up. I also set the third alarm on a separate (more annoying) alarm clock across the room from my bed. When the first alarm goes off, I have the option of five more minutes of rest, or to get up and have the extra time in my morning. Then I have the third alarm to catch myself if I have slept through the first two or if the first alarm clock malfunctioned, and I’ll only have lost 5 minutes.

4. Routine, routine, routine

Develop an order of doing things, and then always do them in that order. Pretty soon you’ll be doing things automatically, so you can operate on auto-pilot while you’re still waking up.

5. A note on hair and makeup

Although I’m a huge fan of doing the least amount of things in the least amount of time in the morning, I still like to look nice, tidy, and professional. So ladies, this tip is for you. Quickest and best way I have found to look like I put in a little effort in the morning:

  • Quick freshen up: Just a quick once-over with a wet washcloth will help you feel more awake and alive.
  • Hair: Simple ponytail or nice, tidy(ish) bun works well. Spray fly-aways out of your face by spraying onto your hand, then smoothing over the top of your hair–this avoids the “I totally doused myself in hairspray this morning” look.
  • Mascara: Even if I’m running short on time, I try to do a quick once-over with mascara. The extra pop to the eyelashes can really help you look more awake and alert.
  • Eyeliner: I like to keep it simple and conservative, with just the waterlines of the eye (top and bottom) and a moderate line just above the eyelashes. Simple, easy, and just a little definition that says you put in an effort to look your best today.
  • I typically skip foundation and eyeshadow as I’ve found they don’t produce results worth the time involved, and they usually leave my face feeling grimy after an 8 hour clinical day anyhow.

Even implementing just a few of these tips could have you well on your way to shaving time off your morning routine and able to wake up later while getting to clinicals on-time and stress-free.

Why I Love Being a Nursing Student

I realized today, as I heard yet another student slam down their books and sigh “I hate nursing school,” that. . . I don’t hate nursing school. Actually, I am rather enjoying my experience as a whole.  So, for some positivity, I thought I would come up with my top 10 reasons I love being a nursing student.

10. Heath Literacy

I’m now able to advocate for my family at medical visits, understand medications and what they do, and, my favorite, understand exactly what is meant by some of the jargon on Grey’s Anatomy.

9. Self-Improvement

Thanks to learning all about the negative consequences of not taking care of my body, I find myself with renewed motivation to exercise, eat better, and sleep longer (when I can). Haven’t managed to reduce my caffeine intake, though.

8. Learning About the Human Body

Few things are as fascinating as how the human body works, how every part works in sync with every other part, so that by the time we think to move our hand, our hand has already moved.

7. Learning How to Care For People

There’s no better feeling than actually knowing the best priority action when someone’s finger is slammed in a car door.

6. Ability to One-Up Non-Nursing-Student Peers

8am class start? Try 6:30am for clinicals.

5. Ability to Gross Out Non-Nursing Student Peers

So you had to flush the toilet in the men’s bathroom? I washed the unmentionables of a catheterized man today.

4. Ability to Use Big Words With Non-Nursing Student Peers

“Hm, you seem to be experiencing a period of hypotension, which would explain your ataxia and diaphoresis.”

“Huh?”

“Your blood pressure’s probably a bit low.”

“Oh.”

3. Helping People

It’s amazing to have the chance to actually help people. I love the one-on-one time we are able to give our clinical patients as nursing students. It can mean so much to someone just to have a student sit down and talk with them or offer to comb their hair. I wish more of my colleagues realized that nursing school is such an opportunity to give our precious time to the patients, time nurses often don’t have enough of.

2. Nurses’ Stories

Nothing sticks a concept into my head better than one of the funny/shocking/seeminly- unreal anecdotes from my professors.

1. One Day, I Will Be a Nurse

Yes, I have practiced signing my name, RN.