Tuesday, September 30, 2014

that awkward time: after you pass the NCLEX, but before you find a job

So getting here was hard enough. Nursing school literally drained the life out of you and clinicals made you feel like you never stepped foot in school, none-the-less a nursing school. Now you're out of coffee and your mom isn't even picking up your phone calls any more. You've passed your NCLEX and applied to any and every RN job posting you've ever seen in the history of your internet search. Tensions are high and job opportunities seem null. What now? Fellow nursling, WHAT NOW?

I recently docked the boat you are in and found this new boat that is a nursing job... We will get to how... First, remember that every single RN there ever was has been in the same boat. My friend, my incredible, intelligent, and sexy nurse friend, there is hope in the hopeful. Here are the steps that I took to find my job, nail my interview, and beat the post graduation blues.

I went to Target and got more coffee.

Then, I tried my hardest to perfect my resume and cover letter. This came to me after the realization that everything on my resume had been said before. Yes, I had 275 hours of clinical experience, yes, I had maintained a 3.0 throughout my college career while balancing two jobs, etc. etc. But so does every other nursing student on the face of the planet, and they wrote that on their resume too! What I forgot to mention the first few times were the emotional and physical accomplishments I made throughout the course of my nursing career - this is especially important in your cover letter. I learned that children are extremely resilient and respond worlds better to most treatments than any adults. I learned that compassion and honesty and knowledge will make you the best nurse not just for patient, but for yourself. Is this hard for you to summarize? Remember the hardest times of your student nurse career, the times you wanted to go home and not come back, the time you wanted to storm out of clinical, burn your white scrubs, and apply to McDonalds. What made you stay? What helped you re-learn that your heart and fire-burning passion lies within the care of other humans? Now write it down and make it sound fancy. And don't apply to McDonalds... you deserve so much more!

I literally applied to every single posting there was on monster and local job search sites. I recruited friends and family to notify me of any postings they saw on the sides of buildings or on those fancy light-up signs in plaza parking lots. I talked myself up to anyone who I knew who had a position in healthcare in any capacity. I enlisted the help of my fellow nurslings who were lucky enough to have a job already (Spoiler alert: this is key). Remember to write down the names of places, phone numbers, and positions that you apply to... (This was my most rookie mistake.) Because the importance is in the follow up phone call (a standard one week following the submission of your application.)

Then you wait. You wait and wait and wait, and contemplate whether or not you could somehow manage a career from your couch and viewing a certain amount of episodes on Netflix in one day. Maybe you could. Who knows, not you, you will never know that because you're going to get a call, and it may not be today but it will absolutely be tomorrow. 

You can't be picky. Get your foot in that hospital door, the weird circular one that moves like a giant butter churner because those doors are way cooler than the regular doors next to them. Take the graveyard shift, mess up your sleep schedule, and just learn every single thing you can because the more you know, the more healthy you can make your patients. Thats what we came into this to do, right? Like Dr. Shepard said, literally every single day, "It's a great day to save lives." (Which I never understood anyways because isn't any day a good day to save a life? Like, are you gonna say no to performing the Heimlich on someone when the day just doesn't suit you?) I mean, really Shonda.

Then receive that call. Receive it like the champion nursling you are! No, seriously, stop watching Netflix and ignoring the number that you don't know, and pick it up! 

My call was approximately 24 hours after one of my friends emailed the nurse recruiter for the hospital she works at for me. After interviewing I was offered a position in the ICU. I am terrified to begin, but for those of you looking to start out in critical care I will surely keep you updated.

So my questions to you are, what are your experiences with the job search grind? How did you cope? What worked/didn't work?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

pack me a carry on

7 questions to renounce your packing foes and learn to travel light.

With the price to bring luggage on a plane skyrocketing, the importance of eliminating stowed luggage is becoming exceptionally relevant. Not only is the annoyance of dragging luggage to and fro ever foreboding, it's just unnecessary. Ditch the suitcase and pack up a roll on. Most airline companies allow a bag approximately 22" x 14" x 9" or 56 x 35 x  23 cm in size to be considered a carry on. This can be hard or soft shell depending on preference; however, I find the hard shell rollies to be more forgiving as well as more protecting to your valuables. Also, carry-on's aren't weighed at check in, so, whatever fits in that size bag is free-reign for bringing on the plane! This carry on, for most airlines, is one of two allowed per flyer. This doesn't necessarily mean you can carry on two rollies, but it does mean you can have another bag/purse/laptop case/etc. on board. Flustered about what to pack? It's simple, ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you staying for longer than a week?
Typically one rollie will fit a weeks worth of clothes (pending you're okay with re-wearing things like jeans or shorts). If you're vacationing for longer than a week I would recommend bringing a:

  • travel size bottle of detergent/cold water wash.

Use the sink at your hotel/hostel/couch-surfer's apartment to rinse your clothes before bed and simply hang dry over night or use a hair dryer. This will save space in your pack as well as allow for you to stay clean and tidy all trip long. If you're traveling to colder locations, pack multiple long-sleeve layers and only a couple heavy/bulky sweaters. This will decrease weight and drying time.

2. Are you staying in a hostel?
Some hostels provide sheets and towels for you to use during your stay or at least allow you to rent them. I recommend:

  • contacting your hostel manager to see what they offer as far as linens in their facility.
Eliminating a towel in your rollie will save a ton of space and also a lot of weight. 

3. Are you traveling with friends?
Consider saving even more weight by 
  • waiting to buy shampoo/conditioner/soap/etc. until you get to your destination. 
And share it! This will not only save you money, but will spare you the aggravation of finding TSA-friendly bottles to carry on in your luggage. 

4. Need to pack bulky items for where you're headed?
  • wear them to the airport.
This is probably obvious but it's a tip I always forget. Wear your boots and heavy winter jacket to the airport to spare the space and weight in your carry on. If the jacket is too hot, use it as a pillow or headrest on the plane, or stowe it in the overhead compartments.

5. What continent is your destination?
Surprisingly many people don't know that different continents/regions bode different outlet shapes and currents. Target and Walmart offer outlet convertors in single packages or multi-packs with multiple continent regions included. Make sure you get the correct region for your
  • outlet convertors and voltage adaptors.
Voltage adaptors are also really, really important. (Coming from the girl who blew the fuse for the entire hotel's electricity with her hair dryer...)

6. What's the currency of your destination?
Check out the current rates for buying other monies online simply by searching through google. 
  • Buy foreign currency in advance at banks and some post offices.
Try to avoid ATMs as much as possible when abroad, foreign user fees can be excessive and you might not even notice you're getting charged. Also, make sure you check with your credit card provider before you leave to see what fees they incur when using the card abroad. Some cards offer good deals for traveling abroad, corestone being one of them with a 1% cost per use. It might be worth it to apply for a new card, or to purchase a pre-paid visa card solely for your trip. In any case, make sure to keep the customer service phone number for your credit card somewhere other than on your credit card or in your wallet in case these get stolen. I recommend writing it in the brim of a baseball hat or on the tag of a T-shirt.

7. Things you really shouldn't forget for long plane rides:
  • Headphones - let's be honest. People in confined spaces suck, especially 20,000 feet in the air. The least you can do is get some music bumping so you don't have to hear them. Take it a step further and pack one of those sleepy time eye-covers to eliminate looking at the suckiness as well.
  • Game Books - One dolla holla's at your nearest dollar tree will work just fine. Just something to keep you occupied while the baby two rows behind you finishes it's hour long cry for other perilous demons.
  • Dramamine - Get the stuff that knocks you out, don't be shy. Long flights were made for sleeping.
  • Your preferred headache reliever - airlines and airports charge upwards of $8 for one dose of advil. Don't give them the satisfaction, pack your own.
  • Electronic Devices - check with your airline to see if they offer in-flight wifi. It makes the decision to bring your laptop on your trip all the more worthwhile.

Hope this helps ease the endless vacation nerves..
Happy Travels!


a beautiful morning in France

beautiful shot of sunset on Paris 


I realize in life I may have too much to say, and not everyone wants to listen. So here is my solution: just talking at the people who find my words and their resulting stories interesting. Oh and a few people told me I should do it. Hashtag peer pressure.
This whole blogging thing is new to me, but I think writing it all down is about as therapeutic as it gets - and it's free. Hopefully we can all get a little something out of it, even if that doesn't mean my blog. I'll try anything once (i.e.: this blog,) but don't hold me to that.
Here, hopefully in the near future, you will find a stunningly random array of interesting tid-bits. I'll start with great recipes with pics on process, the best nail hues and glitters I can find, traveling tips, photos and experiences, along with the best advice I can give to all those who happen to be living (or trying to live) life as well. Oh and we can't forget the sarcasm to boot.
I'm a lush for travel, an eye for fashion, a lackluster chef and foodie, and an advocate for trees. (The best part about blogging that it is biodegradable!)Hope we can all find something in common that we can grow an even stronger passion for together.