Self Care During Your Shift

Want to listen to a podcast about self care during your shift? Check out the NSN Shift Support Podcast!

Hey, friends! It’s been a while. I have had a rough end to 2023/start to 2024. I ended up spending Christmas and New Years in bed with Covid. Then, the end of January I had what I thought was a small bug bite that ended up being a brown recluse spider bite that landed me in the hospital for IV antibiotics. Needless to say, it’s been a rough two months. However, I’m hoping things are finally on the upswing! Although, I still have a wound requiring daily care from my spider bite.

The time off had me thinking about self care and how a lot of time we focus on the self care we need to do before and after our shift, but what about taking care of ourselves during our shift? We work in high stress environments, with high emotions, and long shifts. We deserve to care for ourselves during our shifts as well as after. Below I’m share some simple ways to take a moment to care for you during your next shift.

Self care during your shift

Deep Breaths

I am always amazed at the power of breath. Before I go into a room, when I’m in the supply closet- wherever it may be- taking a moment to take a few slow, deep, controlled breaths can have so much power in bringing down anxiety and stress and allowing you to think more clearly.

Pause at the pump

This is something I use to do when I was getting overstimulated or overwhelmed in a room. Maybe the pump keeps beeping, there is a large mess to clean up, the patient is agitated- whatever it may be- taking a moment to “program” the pump was a way I could take a moment to take a deep breath and gather my thoughts. I walk up, put my hands on the pump (silent if it’s beeping) and take a deep breath while deciding what I need to get done and in what order. You also could stand at the computer “looking at the chart” to gain a moment to breath and think. It may seem silly, but it really is helpful when you are overwhelmed in a room! Especially if it’s a precautions room and you don’t want to remove your PPE to step out.

Hydrate/Eat something!

You cannot be a good nurse without hydration and food. Your brain will not function as well. I have gone shifts without eating, I have walked out with a full water bottle. I totally understand how short staffed we are and how sick patients are. However, you deserve to take care of yourself. Scrub Snacks are one of my favorite hacks- a small snack that can fit in a scrub pocket that I can eat on the fly. I know- no food at the nurses station- but if I don’t get a break, I’m grabbing a snack! These are even great to duck in a bathroom, break room, or empty patient room to sneak a bite. Think granola bars, beef jerky sticks, square of chocolate, cheese sticks, mixed nuts..


Repeating positive affirmations has been show to reduce stress and anxiety. Below are a few affirmations you can use to help support you during your next shift!

  • I am strong in times of challenges.
  • My work and care matters.
  • I am knowledgable.


I have a neck and back injury that have caused me pain for years, but even without that, the magic of taking a moment on your break or stepping into the supply room to stretch can help relax your body and ease the pain of a 12 hour shift.

These are just a few ways you can work to take care of yourself during a shift! Nursing and health care are hard. They require so much of us. It is important we care ourselves before, after, and during our shift.

Sending you love for a smooth shift and a great week! What do you during a shift to care for yourself? please share in the comments!

Nurses Supporting Nurses

Nurses Supporting Nurses:

Guidance, Support, Community.

In the challenging world of healthcare, finding a supportive community can make all the difference. That’s where Nurses Supporting Nurses comes in. This community is a haven for nurses, nursing students, advanced practice nurses, and CNAs from all specialties. It’s a place to find support, community, and inspiration, with a focus on self-care, mental health, and education.

To Join Visit Nurses Supporting Nurses

Why Join Nurses Supporting Nurses?

The healthcare field can be emotionally taxing and stressful. Nurses Supporting Nurses offers a safe and healing space where you can share your experiences, process the trauma of working in healthcare, and find solace in the company of those who understand your journey.

The community offers online support groups facilitated by experienced professionals who hold space for you and your peers. These one-hour sessions, held weekly on Google Meet, provide an opportunity to share your story and hear from others in the nursing community.

But that’s not all. Nurses Supporting Nurses also offers free learning resources, blog posts, and more to help you on your professional and personal journey. Plus, you can tune into the NSN Shift Support Podcast, which publishes three episodes each week discussing self-care, mental health, nursing, healthcare, and more.

Ready to Join?

If you’re ready to join a community that supports, uplifts, and understands you, then Nurses Supporting Nurses is the place to be. Click the button below to explore the community and see how it can help you in your journey.

Go to Site


Happy NP Week 2023!

Updated November 13, 2023

Happy Nurse Practitioner Week 2023 to all the amazing NPs out there! I love working with NPs and I appreciate for the care you your patients and those who work with you. Thank you for all you do!!

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A nurse practitioner or “NP” is an advance practice registered nurse that has completed a masters or doctoral degree. They have advanced clinical training to perform and interpret diagnostic tests; diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions; prescribe medications; and help patients make healthier lifestyle choices. They provide care in many clinical areas including primary care, acute care, and long term care settings. Studies have shown that NPs provide equivalent care to physicians with higher patient satisfaction rates.

What is NP Week?

National Nurse Practitioner Week is held annually to celebrate the exceptional care that NPs provide and to showcase the importance of removing outdated barriers to practice so NPs can practice to the full extent of their experience and education. Take this week to acknowledge the NPs you know and work with and thank them for the amazing care and collaboration they are a part of!

A Few NP Facts:

  • 81% of full time NPs are seeing Medicare patients, 78% are seeing Medicaid patients.
  • 88.9% of NPs are certified in primary care, and 70.2% are delivering primary care.
  • 96.2% of NPs prescribe medications, and those in full-time practice write an average of 21 prescriptions per day
  • 26 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S.territories have adopted Full Practice Authority, giving patients full and direct access to NPs.

I personally see NPs as my primary care providers and I love them! They always take the time to listen and explain things and for that I am so thankful. NPs are an integral part of the healthcare team and we are doing a disservice to our patients and community by not giving them full practice authority in every state. NPs are filling the gaps in areas like primary care where there is a shortage of physicians. Creating a new healthcare system that utilizes NPs to their full practice ability who collaborate with physicians and other members of the healthcare team would help increase the quality and accessibility of healthcare in our country immensely.

Thank you for everything you do for your patients and community. Your knowledge, skills, and collaboration are very much appreciated.

NSN Shift Support Podcast

Happy Wednesday! Monday was the official launch day of the NSN Shift Support Podcast! THANK YOU to everyone who has listened and/or subscribed! It means so much to me! The podcast already has over 70 downloads in 3 days- which is way more than I anticipated honestly! If you haven’t listened yet- I would love for you to join our community!

Subscribe/Listen to the Podcast!

The NSN Shift Support Podcast will publish 3 episodes, all 20 minutes or less every Monday to help prepare and support you before each shift. We will discuss healthcare, self care, mental health, and more! This is designed for nurses, CNAs, nursing students & any other healthcare professional that needs a little extra support before each shift!

Thank you so much for your support of the blog & the podcast! Have you listened to the podcast? If so, I’d love to hear any feedback!

Ten Fall Self Care Ideas

If you read Monday’s post or you have been watching my IG stories- you know I am very happily in the mountains of Western NC enjoying the gorgeous fall leaves! I will say, the weather took a turn with a cold front coming through over the next few days. We went from 60s and sunny to 30 degrees with a windchill in the teens… BRRRR. I’m not sure who ordered winter, but they can have it back. Thankfully, we will be back to the 60s for the weekend.

We know we love self care over here. It is so important for nurses and nursing students, but honestly everyone needs self care. Fall is in full swing and it’s time to get in all the fall activities before winter arrives (it’s definitely reminding me it’s coming here in NC this week!) So today, I’m sharing some ideas for some fun, festive, and rejuvenating fall self care.

Go to a pumpkin patch or pick apples

Cliche? Maybe. Fun? Yes. I love walking around an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch in the fall!

Go on a walk or hike in nature

Time in nature and sun exposure are excellent ways to life your mood and practice self care, especially as the days get shorter. It doesn’t need to be strenuous and it doesn’t require a lot of travel. Go to a near by state park or city park and enjoy a walk. As you walk, take the time to really be present. Notice the smell of the fresh air, the feel of the wind, the sounds, and the colors and around you.

Sip a warm beverage

Hot apple cider became a favorite fall beverage for me when we first got the camper and had our first fall in Washington, D.C.! Now, any time the weather is crisp and fall/winter roll around- it is a must have! Hot tea is always another favorite- especially with some local honey! And of course, I have to have a couple pumpkin spic lattes!

Enjoy some aromatherapy 

A nice candle, essential oil, bath oil- whatever it may be, aromatherapy is a great way to relax.

Bake a fall treat

I personally enjoy baking and really enjoy the finished product! If baking doesn’t bring you joy, consider purchasing a treat from a bakery! If you are up for some baking, these  pumpkin spice blondies from Brittany are delicious and easy to make!

Cook (or purchase) a cozy meal

There is something soooo comforting about a bowl of soup or stew in the fall. Made even better if you let it simmer all day on the stove top or in your crock pot! I made white chicken chili Monday night and it really hit the spot when we ate the leftovers for lunch on this cold day! It was also a super easy recipe and came together quickly. I did sub out the rotisserie chicken for some chicken breast I made in the instant pot.

Go on a drive to see the fall foliage

There is something so relaxing about the beauty in the colors of fall. If you aren’t up for a hike, or you want to cover more ground, head out for a drive to see some colors! We are close to the Blue Ridge Parkway where we are housesitting so I hope we are able to get out for a drive to see the leaves in the next couple days!

Journal a daily gratitude while snuggled under a blanket

Journaling can help decrease stress and anxiety. My One Line a Day Journal  is great to use as a daily gratitude journal, includes a weekly guided reflection, and the money I receive goes to support Nurses Supporting Nurses.

Make your space cozy

A fall candle, dimmed lights, a soft blanket, clean sheets- whatever will help you relax and feel cozy in your space- treat yourself to it! I love having a cozy space as the weather gets cooler to sip a cup of tea, journal, or take a nap.

Watch your favorite scary (or not so scary) movie and enjoy a spa day

Choose your favorite Halloween (or not!) movie, pop some popcorn, grab a favorite beverage, and enjoy a little relaxing spa day. I love using a nice hand and face mask while I watch my favorite movie or show.

What fall self care will you do this week? I have been enjoying cooking cozy meals, walks with the dogs, fall foliage, and I plan to make some pumpkin bread this week!


Nurses, Be Kind to Our Nursing Students

I’m not sure why this has to be a constant conversation, but it does. I have seen it as a nursing student and ten years as a nurse. I recently spoke to a nursing student who was upset after a clinical with a difficult nurse. This nurse went as far to give her a poor review, which thankfully her instructor corrected. But to treat any human like this. Yet alone the future of our profession. My heart broke for this very kind person being hurt by someone from my profession. A profession that is support to support and care for other. Yet, we can be so mean to our own.

The Stress of Nursing

Nurses, I get it. Nursing is becoming more and more stressful as we continue to work through a pandemic and higher acuity patients. Nurses are taking on more tasks, responsibilities, patients while working with less and less staff. Then, you probably aren’t even told until the day of your shift you will have a student with you. And I get it, I have precepted new nurses, travel nurses and students. They can slow you down. Teaching slows you down. When the shift is crazy, it’s overwhelming to have someone right beside you.

However, this is NOT the students fault! They need us to be kind and help them to learn, so they can grow into competent nurses. We need nurses to want to stay in the field, so we can finally have staff again! Abusing a nursing student is not okay.

Nursing Students

I know I was a kind and appreciative nursing student. I know this person I spoke to is a great student. I know plenty of kind nursing students who were bullied by nurses in nursing school. I will say, I also know nursing students who come to clinical unprepared and act like they don’t want to be there. This is not okay either. Come to clinical ready to learn and help-whether you are interested in the speciality or not.

If you do get paired with a less than kind nurse, take a deep breath. Do not take it personally. Because it’s not about you- it’s about the nurse and the broken system they are working with. Treating you poorly is not okay, but unfortunately that happens sometimes. If you really are being mistreated, please tell your instructor. If they are just not pleasant, try to make it through. Be as helpful as you can, give them some space, and if they don’t feel up to questions- skip questions this clinical unless really necessary for school or patient safety.

Something I noticed when I was in nursing school (and even a nurse), when you have a terrible shift/clinical/class- where you feel like it’s the end of the world and everything is awful- a better day is coming. You just have to get through the hard day, but it won’t stay this way forever. I would have a terrible clinical with a mean nurse and then the next clinical I left on cloud 9.


Nurses, like I said before, I know sometimes students can be unprepared and act not interested. This is frustrating. Instead of being rude, try privately and kindly encouraging the student. I also know, I personally have had nurses in clinical be awful to me- as well as witnessed them be awful to students. This is not okay. We have to do better. These are our own, and they deserve kindness and support. If you see this type of behavior from a coworker, talk to them in private. If it doesn’t get better, talk to your charge nurse or higher up about this person no longer taking students. It’s truly not fair to the student nurse and not a good learning enviorment.

Be Kind

All in all, remember we are all human with lives outside of the healthcare setting. Be kind to each other. Support each other. We are all on the same team.

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!


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 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.


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.


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.