6 Months of Nurses Supporting Nurses

Today, I am celebrating 6 months of Nurses Supporting Nurses!

6 months ago, I wanted a way to help my fellow nurses, nursing students, and CNAs who may be struggling in some of the same ways I was working through a pandemic in a broken health care system. I decided to take a big and scary step and host a virtual support group. On March 9, I hosted my first group. 6 months later, the support group has grown, and we are still meeting every Wednesday. NSN also has grown to include it’s own social media, website, and offers other resources to nurses including a self care newsletter and a published daily reflection journal.

A few stats about the past 6 months:

I have a lot of plans and dreams for NSN and I look forward to continuing to grow and support my fellow nurses. It’s been an honor to have people choose to come into this space and trust me with their stories. They have helped me so much on my healing journey and I am very thankful.

New Blog!

In honor of the 6 month anniversary, I am hosting another complimentary resource- the NSN Blog! This blog will be nursing focused and I hope to include guest interviews and guest blog post! If you have a request for the NSN blog- please go check it out and leave me a comment about what you would like to see!

PLN isn’t going anywhere. I hope to have it become more of a personal and lifestyle blog. I’ll still talk about nursing, but it will have a lot more variety and I’ll make more room for creative expression.

Thank you!

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to support NSN either through contributions, following and sharing on social media, visiting the website, joining a support group, purchasing a journal, whatever it may be! I appreciate your support so much!

Amazon Essentials for the Nursing Student

It’s that time of year- back to school! I know nursing school is such an exciting and overwhelming time! Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite Amazon items to help you be prepared for nursing school!

This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a very small percent of your sales at no cost to you. This goes to help support the blog and NSN. Everything I share are items I really use and love! Thank you for your continued support of the blog!

3M Littmann Classic III Stethescope

I remember the first time I got my stethoscope in nursing school and how excited I was!! I felt so official to be wearing a stethoscope and actually using it in lab and clinical! I purchased a Littmann Classic II in my LPN program and used it for about 8 years, all the way through my BSN program and job as a cardiovascular RN! Then, when I started traveling, I decided to splurge and upgraded to the Littmann Cardiology. I think the Classic is a great stethoscope and felt I could hear really well with it especially for the price. If you are looking for a less expensive Littman, I would suggest the Littmann Lightweight Stethoscope.

 

Insulated Lunch Box

I bought this lunch box at the beginning of my last travel assignment and I loved it! It’s a great size- enough to bring lunch and snacks! It comes in a lot of different designs and worked well with an ice pack. Nursing school and clinical are looooooong hours and you will want plenty of snacks (and an actual meal!) to keep you nourished and get you through!

True Lemon Packets

Another essential to your brain health- HYDRATION! It’s so easy to just drink coffee and other caffeinated drinks in nursing school, but you have to hydrate! It will help keep your energy up and help with your retention during long class or clinical day. I love these lemon packets because they allow me to add some flavor to my water without always having to cut up fresh fruit (which is another favorite of mine!) Throw these in your backpack or lunch box to make water a little more enticing. They even have orange and lime too!

Business Travel Backpack

I used a rolling backpack in my LPN program then for my AS, ADN, and BSN I used a Northface backpack. BUT, I discovered this a couple years thanks to my friend and I think it would be great for school! This is the newer version of the one I have, but it still has good reviews. It has a space for a spare battery for your phone, lap top, pockets for pens etc. It’s really comfortable to carry, a good size, and reasonably priced!

Clipboard

For both my LPN and RN program- a clipboard for clinical was essential! You don’t always get space at a desk to write on. You also want one with storage- that way you can keep clinical paperwork like care plans and check off sheets safe! I used a cheap clipboard similar to this from Walmart for both programs and it served me very well and kept me organized.

Compression Socks

Go ahead and do yourself a favor and learn quicker than I did- you NEED compression socks. Seriously. It is a lifesaver for leg pain (and swelling) on those long shifts. I didn’t start wearing compression socks until I had been a nurse for a while. I have tried several brands and these socks are surprisingly affordable and comfortable. Not too thick, not too thin. And they actually come up to my knee- which having long legs has not always been the case for compression socks. They come in all white or all black if you need that for nursing school. I know my school micromanaged us down to our sock and underwear color… Sigh.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my recommendations- let me know if you are looking for anything else below and I will provide a link if I have one! Good luck this semester- I hope it’s a great one!

Caring for your mental health as a nursing student

Nursing school talks about the importance of studying, doing your best in clinical, never being late- all the ways to be successful in school. They fail to mention one very important part- caring for YOU. Nursing school is a challenge- mentally, emotionally, physically. You need to take care of yourself! I’m sharing some ways you can take care of your mental health in nursing school today.

Schedule Time Away from Study

You have to take a break from studying! And school. I know, it feels like there is SO much information to learn and you don’t have a second to step away. But you have to make the time for some self care every day, even if it is only a few minutes. Nursing school is important, but you are more important.

A few ideas for self care:

  • Get in some physical activity: take a walk, do some yoga, ride your bike. It doesn’t have to be going to the gym if that’s not your style!
  • Make a cup of coffee, tea, smoothie- whatever you like. And enjoy it. Sit outside or near a window. Do not study or look at your phone. Enjoy the taste, the temp, the surroundings, the relaxation.
  • Enjoy a hot bath. I know this is cliche, but after a long day of clinical, a nice soak with some epsom salt is life changing. Listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite show! Or just turn down the lights and enjoy a few minutes of quiet and relaxation.

Affirmations

Affirmations are something I recently really started using in life and they are so helpful. They can help to strengthen your self-worth by improving confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. They also help with positive self talk and being more compassionate with your self. Definitely things you need in nursing school, right!?

A few affirmations for the nursing student:

  • Everyday I am one step closer to my goal.
  • I am capable of learning this material.
  • I am proud of myself and my efforts.
  • I will be a great nurse.

Say these affirmations, everyday. At the start of the day. When things feel tough. Before you go to bed. You deserve to speak to yourself with love and kindness.

Sleep

You HAVE to sleep as a nursing student. You have too. Sleep is so important to both your mental and physical health. It is better to get an extra hour of sleep than an extra hour of studying you won’t retain because of exhaustion. I know, life is busy. You may not sleep as much as you would like and there are nights where sleep doesn’t really happen. But being mindful to try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night as often as possible is essential.

Eating Well

I lived a lot off caffeine and vending machine snacks in school I will admit. But, your body and brain will not run their best if you are not eating well! I’m not hear to tell you to cook every night, only eat organic, etc. I get it! I was a broke nursing student with little time. Crockpot meals can be your best friend. Easy to pack lunches. You don’t have to cut out the convenience food completely, I know that’s not reality. But adding some fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein to you diet will have you feeling more energetic and clear minded! Also- HYDRATE! Seriously, I drank a LOT of coffee in nursing school. But you have to drink water! Buy a nice water bottle (I literally bought one at dollar tree in nursing school and always kept it filled) and keep it filled. Add lemon or other fruit to it if water just isn’t your jam. But again, your brain cells (and the rest of your body) will thank you!

Talk to Someone

Find a classmate, a nurse, a friend, significant other, family member- someone to talk too! If you can afford a therapist or a coach- even better. Having someone you can share the highs and lows with is important and will help you feel less alone in nursing school.

Also consider joining a NSN Support Group! I would love to start one for nursing students if anyone would be interested- share below or message me on Instagram!

If you are really struggling, please talk to your doctor. Find a therapist. There are low cost options now, sometimes through your job or school. Please do not struggle alone. People are here and we want to support you.

Are you a nursing student? What are you doing to take care of your mental health? What are you going to start doing after reading this post? Share any thoughts and questions below!

A few other post to check out:

Self Care: A necessity to preventing burn out

Difficult Nurses in Clinical: How To Deal!

Tips for Surviving Nursing School

 

 

 

Self Care: A necessity to preventing burn out

If I’m honest, I don’t really care for the word burn out. I have experienced burn out many times over my career- but I feel the term puts a lot of the blame on us as nurses and not enough of the blame on the extremely broken system we work in. I do think by just the nature of healthcare, burnout will happen. However, if we had a system that truly supported us, I think it would happen a lot less and it would be a lot less severe.

You may read the title and think “well you just said we aren’t to blame but the title says we need self care.” HUMANS need self care and self compassion to lead healthier and happier lives. I don’t think yoga is going to make it so a broken health system doesn’t effect you, but I do think as nurses we do not do a good enough job of caring for ourselves. Women don’t do a good enough job of caring for ourselves. Mothers don’t do a good enough job of caring for themselves. HUMANS don’t do a good enough job… You get the point. I am not here with some toxic positivity to tell you if you take a bubble bath after work all the systemic issues will go away. I am here to say you- as a human- deserve to treat yourself with love and compassion.

Finding the Self Care for You

One type of self care isn’t right for everyone. As I have become more serious about my healing journey, I have learned that I needed to be more intentional about how, when, and what type of self care I need to do. Things that I felt I would never be able to enjoy- like meditation or yoga- I am now starting to explore. Have an open mind when deciding on practices you will incorporate to help with your stress- both at your job and at home.

Time in Nature

Time in nature is by far one of my favorite forms of self care! There is a variety of ways to use nature to help with stress reduction, improve quality of sleep, and lower anxiety and depression. Some of my favorite things include kayaking, hiking, camping, and spending time at the beach. The Nature Nurse wrote a great guest blog post: 4 Simple Nature Practices to Heal the Weary Nurse: Guest Blog Post.

Boundaries

One of the best forms of self care is one that is far outside of a face mask, bubble bath, or a walk in the woods. Boundaries. In order to take care of yourself- you have to have boundaries. I lacked boundaries for a large part of my life and career- and when I started learning about boundaries and how important they are, life and my career got better. One of my favorite former charge nurses who is still a very good friend of mine taught me the phrase “I’m sorry, I can’t.” That’s it. That’s the phrase you need. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you can’t join a committee, pick up an extra shift, volunteer at a function, go out to dinner, etc. You have to protect yourself and your time in order to life a happier, healthier life.

Join the NSN News Letter

The Nurses Supporting Nurses newsletter is a monthly email to help you find new ways to practice self care. It includes journal prompts, self care activities, and more! It is free and I would love for you to sign up here!

What self care would you like to commit to this weekend? I planned to see a good friend and spend sometime outside with my dog and husband.

 

 

Past Blog Posts for Nursing Students!

Hello! If you are reading this and you are a nursing student- Congratulations! Started nursing school is a HUGE accomplishment! While it wasn’t perfect, I really enjoyed nursing school. Today I went through the archive of Nursing School posts and chose a few to share here with you! These are from back when I was a baby blogger- a mix of advice and my experience navigating nursing school.

A little about me and my nursing school journey. I first completed an LPN program from 2011-2012. I then worked as a LPN before returning to school in 2014 to obtain my Associate in Science and then my Associate Degree in Nursing (LPN to RN). In 2018 I returned to Medical University of South Carolina and received my Bachelors of Science in Nursing! I have been a nurse for 10 years this fall and love supporting nursing students and new to practice nurses on their journey! Follow me on Instagram for more tips & tricks for nursing students! I would love to connect!

Nursing School Prep

OB Clinical Rotation

Difficult Nurses in Clinical: How To Deal!

Success in Clinical

Tips for Surviving Nursing School

Good luck with this semester! I hope it goes well and you learn a lot! Drop any questions you have for me about nursing school below!

 

 

New to Practice Nurse Support Group

Hello! I hope your week is off to a good start! I am excited to announce the newest offering from Nurses Supporting Nurses. If you don’t know, NSN is an organization I founded to provides support groups and other mental health resources to nurse and CNAs of all specialties.

I have been facilitating a support group every Wednesday for 5 months now (it’s hard to believe it’s been that long) and I have identified a need for a space just for new to practice nurses. “Covid era nurses” have their own unique set of needs and stories to share, and I want to provide the space for them to find community. The New to Practice Support Group will be open to nurses with less than 2 years experience. We will meet biweekly or weekly (I want to see the response before I decide which) to share stories and empower you through active listening and community. We also will discuss topics important to new to practice nurses, including (but not limited to):

  • Confidence building
  • Setting boundaries
  • Anxiety
  • Coping skills
  • Death & Dying

Our first meeting will be Monday August 1, 8pm-9pm EST via Google Meet. I am asking a small investment of $10/session with this group to help support NSN and allow us to grow and offer more to help nurses and CNAs. The Google Meet link will be emailed to you the day of the group session.

If you are a nurse with less than 2 years of practice, I would love for you to join our group! If you know a new to practice nurse- please share this blog post with them! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or comment below.

Sign up for the New to Practice Support Group: Sign Up Here

Thank you for being here and supporting the blog and NSN!

Roe v Wade Overturned: Actionable Steps & Resources

Friday, we received the devastating news SCOTUS overturned Roe v Wade- setting up for multiple state to severely restrict or completely make abortion illegal. My heart has been hurting all weekend. I can’t even begin to fathom the death this will bring. The trauma. The pain. To people who can become pregnant, the ones who love them, and the healthcare workers who will care for them. I have a lot to say on the subject, but I am still processing. However, I wanted to share some resources and actionable steps we can take. I have spent the weekend reading and learning and I’m sharing that here today. I’ll continue to learn and share to help you take action. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so remember to take care of yourself along the way.

Donate

Donations is one of the best things we can do to support abortion clinics and access for pregnant people right now. Established organizations need money to get people the help they need.

Carolina Abortion Fund

Provides financial abortion assistance to people in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood provides abortions, contraception, and other sexual healthcare for free and low cost. They also provide education on sexual health.

National Abortion Funds

Find abortion funds for each of your state to donate (or apply for a fund).

Protest

Protest are an important way to make our voices heard and exercise our first amendment right. However, due to current political climate and extremist, especially involving the issue of abortion, you must be safe. The ACLU has tips on knowing your rights and how to legally and safely organize a protest as well as attend one.

Protesters Rights & Safety

Finding an Abortion Clinic

Abortion Finder

Abortion Finder. Org allows you to search for abortion providers in your area and also gives you information on medication and procedure abortion to help you choose what is right for you. There is also a state by state guide available.

3 Step Plan

Three for Freedom

OB/GYNs are suggesting any person of child bearing age with the organs to get pregnant (Do NOT believe when a doctor tells you “its not possible” unless the organs are gone) to have a 3 step plan to take control and protect their reproductive freedom.

  1. Birth Control
  2. Emergency Contraception
  3. Medication Abortion Pills

These can be ordered on the Three for Freedom website and you do NOT have to be pregnant to order any of this. You can order to protect yourself (or others) and have on hand.

Vote

I feel our politicians and government have failed us by setting us up for this system failure and not putting it into law. However, things will get worst if we do not vote. We have to vote to have a hope at overturning this. Please ensure you are registered to vote and learn about your Representatives political stance before voting.

Vote.gov gives information on registering to vote and requirement for each state.

Treatment of Medication Abortion

One thing I think is important to note as anti-choice laws go into place across the country, you do NOT have to disclose if you are having a medical vs spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). Healthcare workers cannot tell, and they are treated the same. If you have complications from a medication abortion- please seek medical treatment. And do not feel you have to disclose you took the abortion pill.

It breaks my heart to have to tell people they can and possibly need to withhold information from healthcare workers. We are suppose to be a source of support and non-judgment. But I want you to feel safe seeking help. And please know a majority of healthcare workers are adamantly against this ruling and we support you and your autonomy over your body.

Emotional Support

NSN Support Group

Nurses Supporting Nurses is an organization I founded to provide free and low cost support groups and other mental health resources to nurses and CNAs. On Thursday June 30 at 8 pm EST I will be hosting a support group for those who are looking for a safe space to come and process their feelings about Roe v Wade being overturned. It does not feel right to have this be for only nurses, so I have opened this to anyone who needs a safe and healing space. Please fill out the form below to receive the Google Meet link on Thursday for the support group. This will be a confidential and safe virtual group.

I would also like to have a NSN support group for healthcare workers who will experience trauma and distress over this ruling. If this is something that would interest you, please reach out.

Join Us

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Share Information

Even if you cannot get pregnant, please share this information. We have to let people know they can still get this essentially healthcare. They can donate and make a difference. We have to help each other.

Also, healthcare workers, we are NOT mandated to report abortions. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REPORT. You should NOT be giving information without a court order. Please continue to protect our patients right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

Please share this post and place any resources you have in the comments

(or email if you are more comfortable)

 

If you would like to support me and Nurses Supporting Nurses- an organization I founded to provide free and low cost support groups and mental health resources to nurses, please consider a small contribution. This is never expected, but always appreciated.

Support NSN with a Small Monetary Gift

Happy CNA Week 2022!

Happy CNA week to all the CNAs, STNAs, HHAs, PCTs, and any other title for the amazing work of being a nursing assistant!

You are an integral part of the nursing team

The care you give is important

You provide people with respect and dignity

You are a light in a person’s darkest moments

You make people feel safe

You help to save lives

Thank you for what you do!

Head over to  @nurses.supporting.nurses on Instagram to enter our CNA week giveaway! To show my immense appreciation of you and the work you do I am giving away an “One Line a Day Reflection Journal” and a $10 Starbucks e-gift card! Check it out on Instagram to learn more!

Thank you for all you do. I appreciate you so much. 

Megan

One Line a Day Communication: Text Support Line

 

I am proud to introduce the newest offering of support from Nurses Supporting Nurses, our “One Line a Day Communication: Text Support Line.” This subscription is designed for nurses, CNAs, and nursing students, but it will be beneficial to all healthcare workers or any person looking for a daily text of support.

Your monthly (or yearly for a discount!) subscription will include:

  • A daily graphic with love and encouragement/affirmation. This is sent by me, founder of NSN, blogger, and Registered Nurse. It’s not an automated text. (see example below)
  • Respond to me in real time for additional support. It can be nursing related or personal- a nurse is waiting to listen and provide you with love and support.

Example of the daily text you will receive with the text support line.

Your subscription will go to supporting Nurses Supporting Nurses- an organization founded by me that provides free support groups and other mental health resources to nurses and CNAs.

I am excited and thankful to offer this offering of love and support. I think text is a perfect place to receive a daily dose of encouragment as well as a comfortable place to receive additional support. You don’t ever have to respond, but the option is there if you feel you want to.

To Subscribe (there is both a monthly and yearly option) : Please visit the NSN shop: https://nursessupportingnurses.com/shop/

Thank you for your continued support of the blog and Nurse Supporting Nurses.

PLN Blog’s 6th Anniversary!

I’m excited to share today is the 6th anniversary of the blog! Hard to believe I have been writing on my own little corner of the internet for the past 6 years. I have learned and grown a lot during my time on the blog. I love writing post about my experiences as well as researching and sharing.

Today I’m share a blog post from each year I have had the blog as a little trip down memory lane. Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you!

Hello World!

2016- My first blog I ever posted. I was working PRN as an LPN and a full time RN student. Life was busy, but good. 🙂

The History & Meaning Behind the Pinning Ceremony

2017- This is one of my most viewed post on the blog! I share about the history and meaning behind the nursing pinning ceremony. This was also the year I graduated nursing school and received my pin for my RN program.

2018- Sadly, I have nothing to share from 2018! I was a  RN working at the hospital and worried way to much about what people would think of my blog. I was so worried about someone I worked with finding the blog, I didn’t blog for over a year. Luckily, I worked through that anxiety and got back to blogging.

A Look Back at 2019

2019- This year I got back to the blog and it was one of the best (and sadly worst) years of our life. We both had good jobs, we got married, had amazing celebrations with family and friends, and went on an incredible honeymoon. Sadly, we said goodbye to our dog Southpaw after a four month battle with cancer. I still miss him everyday. I shared a look back of the high and lows of the year in this blog post.

Culbertson’s Go Tiny

2020- The year the pandemic hit and the world changed. We purchased an RV, packed up our family, and went to Washington D.C. for me to work as a travel nurse. It was the year of staying home but also the year of adventure for us.

Stepping Away from Nursing

2021- This year we spent in the sunshine state and I worked at a hospital less than a mile from the ocean. We loved being close to the beach and water, watching rocket launches, and continuing our adventure of living tiny. My mental health took a turn through the delta wave and I decided to step away from nursing for a bit. I shared my thoughts on this blog post, it’s another one of my most read to date.

2022- This year has been a year full of ups and downs as well. I tested positive for Covid in January and have been having long haul symptoms since. It’s not the year we hoped for, but the blog has been making a lot of progress and I started the Nurses Supporting Nurses: Support Group.

Behind the Covid Unit Doors- One Nurse’s Perspective

This was a deep post, but one that I am most proud of. I think it’s important to share our experiences to help others find comfort and healing in the cumulative trauma that has occurred the past two years.

Future of the Blog- I look forward to seeing how PLN grows in the future. I have a lot of ideas for both this blog and expanding Nurses Supporting Nurses beyond the support group. Thank you to anyone who has supported my blog and writing and taken the time to read, share, or comment on my posts. It really means so much to me.