A Note to the New Grad Nurse Part 2-Things we wish we knew as new grads

I can still remember the day I got my acceptance letter almost 4 years ago like it was yesterday.  It was a crisp fall day when that letter arrived in my mailbox. While in many ways it feels like just yesterday, in reality it was almost 4 years ago.  Since then I’ve finished my masters, gone through an accelerated nursing program, and now have 2 years of nursing under my belt.  Every day I am still learning a ton, but there a few things my now “experienced” nursing friends and I wish we had known when we first put on those scrubs and proudly put on that badge saying boldly and loudly “RN.

27 Things We Wished We Knew as New Grad Nurses

1. If you feel like you are going to puke before every shift or drive to work in tears… don’t worry you aren’t alone. Same thing if this is what happens after your shifts. You are most definitely NOT alone.

2. Don’t accept just any job.  While it is hard as a new grad to find experience, you will be spending  A LOT of time there it is ok to wait for the right fit.

3. On that same note though, your dream job may take time, but a good fit is a GREAT place to learn.

4.  Confidence in yourself. It takes TIME. And that is ok.

5.  Sometimes SBAR isn’t all you need to tell the MD, PA, or NP.

6.  Those silly code runs that are fake and make you feel ridiculous. They actually are REALLY helpful!

7.  The field of nursing is wide and broad. Don’t limit yourself to just bedside nursing if it isn’t your passion, that is ok.

8.  You DON’T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING. It is ok to say “I don’t know” and learn for next time.

9.  Asking questions doesn’t make you a bad nurse or make you stupid, it makes you SMART. That is the absolute best way to learn.

10.  Every place has its own “Policies and Procedures”.  Realize that how you learned something in nursing school may change during your first job… and your second… and your third… and so on.

11. You aren’t going to like every patient you take care of and that is OK. You just have to give every patient the best quality care you can.

12.  Driving home from work… crawling into bed after a long night shift you’re going to realize “OH MY GOODNESS I DIDN’T CHART THAT 300 mL OF URINE!”. You aren’t perfect. If it is something that needs attention you can call in to the nurse who followed you, but if it is something that can be let go… let it go. Learn from your mistakes of not charting in the moment and figure out a system of remembering that works for you.

13.  You have to come up with your own system of writing things down, charting, doing assessments, and managing your shift. It is perfectly ok if it isn’t like anyone else’s as long as it works for you and you can get everything done.

14. The first few shifts on your own you’re going to feel like a truck hit you and you’re never going to make it. But you will.

15.  Don’t be afraid to go in the bathroom, sit on the toilet, and take some deep breaths.  In the end every nurse has taken extra time in the bathroom just to catch their breath for a minute.

16.  When possible…. waste the medications that needed wasted right then and there.  That is just something you don’t want to even chance forgetting.

17.  You are your patients’s ADVOCATE. Don’t be afraid to stand up for them.  And if you’re wrong… oh well… at least you can leave knowing you fought for your patient.

18.  Keep your social life.

19.  Try as best as possible to lead a healthy lifestyle outside of work.  13 hour shifts are brutal.

20.  If you’re in MedSurg… we feel your pain. But know this. YOU ARE GOING TO LEARN A TON!

21.  There is a person beneath that rude and frustrating patient.  Do the best you can to find that person and care for their soul too.

22.  Find hobbies outside of work that help you unwind.

23.  This is a 24 HOUR institution if you are in a hospital.  Leave the patients with the other nurses. They are trustworthy and capable :-).

24.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.  You went to school for this. You’ve done your training. You’ve come this far. You don’t need to be walked all over.

25.  As you learn your area of specialty things will really start to fall into place. You’ll understand things better and you’ll be able to tell earlier and earlier when something is wrong in a patient.  Never underestimate the little things. They can in the end be warning signs for something much much bigger.

26.  You are only one person. Do not be afraid to ask for help! And one of the best things you can learn how to do is delegate appropriately… but don’t forget to double check that things that have been delegated are done.

27.  When you’re tired, warn out, smelly, dehydrated, not sure what is on your shoes, and squinting at the sun light as if you were a vampire know this. YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT! You are an incredibly intelligent person who has fought hard to get this far in your dream.  Keep running after it with your whole heart!  And don’t be afraid to try a few different areas until you find your passion (but make sure you give each area an ample amount of time before moving on).

We hope this helps,

Some slightly more experienced nurses

P.S. It is true the more you know… the more you realize you don’t know anything :-).


A penny for your thoughts


My name is Ruth and I am a “wannabe” stay at home mom. I am a newlywed (with 3yrs under my belt-woot woot!) and mom to a beautiful 10 month old girl. I will be posting here and there about ways I cut costs at home on my quest to quit my day job. 

I am a RN, working at a plasma clinic but have a passion for anything DIY and am always on the look out for ways I can save my family money. While nursing is a wonderful profession, my goal at this stage in my life is to find away to stay home with my baby. A little history about me, I was raised by a very frugal family. Growing up with four siblings, we HAD to be careful about money. My mother stayed home and was always finding ways here and there to bring in some extra cash. Meals were usually from scratch, we shopped the sales and thrift stores, and we were always finding ways to make things ourselves. My mom did sewing work for others, babysat, and made bread for a local farmers market.

I love a good deal. I love it when I see something in the store, then go home and make it for half the price. While some may not agree with me, I would much rather give my time than my money. I might be called a penny pincher, but that’s okay; I know that with every penny I save, I am that much closer to being rid of school debt (ugh!) and one step closer to my dream 🙂 

In an effort to bring in some extra money, I started an Etsy business recently (You can check it out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BoundWithHope !!) You can read about how it all got started on my Etsy shop info page, but I’ll share a quick blurb here too. “Bound With Hope” was born through conversation with Erica about cancer awareness. I had made her a wallhanging with a cancer poem before she moved to Chicago and she suggested that I sell them. She works with cancer patients daily and knows how much a simple word of encouragement can brighten their day. My hope is that my quilts can not only encourage those battling cancer, but also comfort those who lost loved ones to the deadly disease. It is exciting to be able to join my two worlds of nursing and sewing into a productive outlet. 

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my discoveries of how to cut corners and save some cash! 


Tailgating Fun…

Happy Friday the 13th!  I hope everyone has had a great week thus far.  Today’s post is dedicated to TAILGATING in honor of the beginning of the College Football season!  This means it is officially OK to whip out the face paint, temporary hair color, and attire supporting your team.  There is nothing like having team spirit.

Tailgating is a great way to bond with fellow fans and friends.  It is also a great way to make friends.  The atmosphere is full of energy, food, games, drinking and music.  Everyone is trying to get pumped up for a victory!  Victory! (as inserted from the movie 300).  Whether you are one that takes things to extremes or you are the kind of person that is just alright wearing a sweatshirt to the big game, there is something for everyone there.

I have just a few things to consider when you are tailgating that might just save you in the end!

1.  Temporary Color might not always stay temporary.  I cannot tell you how many times someone has come into the salon and they have to get a corrective color due to temporary color.  Yes, if you read the labels–it claims to be removable;  washes out!  Well if you have extremely porous hair (blondes especially), it can soak it up which makes it stay longer.  The color can fade in a few washes but once it is there, it takes a professional to remove.


2.  Face/body paint has a lot of wonderful attributes and is easy to use, but make sure you are not allergic to it before applying!  I have a good friend who is extremely sensitive.  She has some trouble wearing certain eye make-up colors and most definitely has to watch what facial products she uses.  This friend decided to tailgate but paint her face first.  Bad news bears!  She broke out in hives.  #bodypaintfail  It is always a great idea to test what you are using before the big day.  There is nothing worse than having to wash it off, take a Benadryl and sit in discomfort at home.  If you need more information on allergies regarding face or body paint, this website was pretty all inclusive: http://flyingcolorsfaces.com/?page_id=257.

3.  Attire.  Now I don’t know a lot of people that have trouble with this one.  But, if you are a Southern Belle and you would like to look the role, here is a great find for you!  I must confess, I am appalled that they wouldn’t include any of the Big Ten in this list!  http://tailgatequeen.com.  It is perfectly appropriate to wear your school colors proud.  Whether you bought a jersey or a t-shirt, or are wearing long johns and an oversize coat for the game…the attire is where it is at!  I am more of a practical person I must confess–if it is remotely cold, I have my hat and gloves ready.  This website is more up my ally: http://fiestafive.wikispaces.com/Tailgating+Attire.  I love seeing the game day goofs in full blown costumes though!  Who doesn’t love seeing Gumby or Big Bird floating around the tailgating fields or in the stands?
Here are a few friends of mine who were willing to share their tailgating pictures!  Keep in mind, we are Indiana girls through in through.  GO IU! (and ND I suppose….)  🙂  Enjoy.
Provided by Jenna Gabet; This is “The Walk” as started by Coach Hep.  Pre-game IU festivities.

Provided by Jenna Gabet; “The Walk” beginning procession which includes the introduction of the players entering the premises and stadium.  These are the escorts! 

Provided by Jenna Gabet; The roommates  🙂

Provided by Cyndi Wolf;  Game Day–Irish style that is– is never  fully complete unless you have a Guinness in hand!

Provided by Cyndi Wolf; Pre-game photo opt!

Happy, Healthy Tailgating!

Senior year at IU when we beat Purdue!

I’m a Hoosier. I was born in Indiana and went to Indiana University for college. This means I was raised to be a football fan and to love tailgating. Anyone who knows anything about Indiana knows that we, as a state, love football and basketball. There are two large Big Ten schools in Indiana: Purdue and Indiana. Naturally, because they are in the same state, they are fierce rivals.
Growing up you are either a Purdue fan or Indiana fan. Of course you have the occasional split household. We also have Notre Dame, which it seems that everyone in Indiana supports – even around the country, unless you are a Michigan fan (I however, am not included in that “everyone”) Finally, you CAN’T forget about the Colts (I’ll be fair and include northwest Indiana residents with the Bears).
Football. Saturdays and Sundays in the fall plans are centered on the great American pastime of football. Whether it is on the TV or actually at the game, flowing drinks and excessive food are staples of a football weekend. And this isn’t just in Indiana.
So how do we, as health conscious people, still enjoy the wonderful world of football and tailgating? This is a blog devoted to being health conscious and still having fun during this wonderful thing we call football season! Follow, or at least keep in mind, the following tips and tricks as football season gets underway:
1. Eat healthy throughout the week. Making healthy food choices throughout the week is going to change your taste buds and influence what you crave. By eating healthy throughout the week, the “junk food” often served at football festivities will be less appealing.
2. Be conscious of what you are eating and plan ahead. A great alternative to cheap burgers and hot dogs is fish. You can also use a healthy veggie burger – black bean burgers are great alternatives. Take a night to make your own homemade veggie burgers or black bean burgers and freeze them. If you’re choosing to go with the meat, make sure that you are getting grass fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics that is less than 10% fat content. Another thing that you can make ahead of time is the beef. If the beef is on sale, buy enough to make burger patties to freeze. Add onion and garlic to your burgers for flavor and health benefits. As far as hot dogs go, let’s not get into the details of what goes into those cheap hot dogs. Applegatehas a great option out there for all beef hot dogs that have hormone and antibiotic free meat. It isn’t the best option, but is definitely a better option. The key when looking at any hot dog of any meat is to look for key words like uncured, antibiotic and hormone free, and grass fed. Be conscious of what you’re buying.
3. Sweet potatoes are a power food and a great substitute for the other fried potatoes we often eat. You can make your own sweet potato fries by peeling, dicing them into strips, and using olive oil and things like garlic to add flavor. Toss them on the grill for a delicious side! 
4. Be aware of the beverages you are drinking. Look at the calories in the alcohol and realize that drinking too much doesn’t just leave you feeling bad the next day. It also slows down the metabolism. Furthermore alcohol has a more calories than one may realize. Make sure you’re staying hydrated and not drinking too much alcohol. At the very least, stay away from sugary drinks such as sports drinks and pop; they’re packed with sugar and calories. This is not the way to spend your calories and you definitely don’t want that insulin spike.
5. Pinterest. It is a great resource for converting unhealthy recipes into healthy ones (there are also plenty of unhealthy ones on there too.
6. Don’t be afraid to pack the veggies and fruit. It is apple season and they are a very portable fruit! Also, carrot and celery sticks travel well. You could also make veggie kabobs to grill. If you want to spice it up a bit, make fruit kabobs and grill them with some cinnamon!
7. Most importantly be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Be conscious and deliberate. Remember that everything you consume either honors or dishonors our body.
Happy football season everyone! We’d love to see your favorite football fan pictures!

Just because you are a nurse…

Today’s post is dedicated to the nursing crew today!  Although this post is applicable for anyone.  I have had a few nursing friends that were specifically asking me about hair styles that they could try to shake it up when they are working.  They were tired of the same old drab ponytail.

Usually when you are working, you typically want your hair to stay out of your face.  It needs to be low maintenance and easy to do or else you aren’t going to want to do it.  It needs to be pulled back and last for hours at a time.  Typical shifts for my nursing friends could be anywhere from 8 to 12 hour stints with limited breaks.  Clearly, the last thing they need to worry about or should be worrying about is their hair.

1. Ponytail with hair wrap
This is so very simple.  Pull your hair into a ponytail.  It is your preference of whether you want this to be a low ponytail or if you want it up a little higher.  I would recommend using a thicker elastic band even if your hair is fine and thin it will make a huge difference in stability.

Then take a section of hair (as seen below) and you will wrap it around the elastic band as a covering around it.  When you get to about an inch or so of hair left reach under and tuck the end of the hair through securing it.  You will still have a little bit of hair left, you can tuck it in the lower part of the ponytail where it magically disappears.


2. Braids
French braids are great for keeping your hair back and out of your face.  There are many variations to which all ages can wear.  You can secure your hair in a ponytail first, then braid the remainder of the hair.  Secure with a secondary elastic band.

Another variation which is really fun is creating a braid across the front of your hairline as seen below.  If you need your hair more so away from your face, pulling it into a low ponytail is always a good option.


Or you could always do two french braids:


3. Buns

Here is a bun with the front braid idea:
Now, you can also wear a stylish traditional bun.  If you are worried about having enough hair to do this style that is no problem.  There is also a lot of variety seen with wearing buns.  You can wear a high bun, low bun, messy bun…the possibilities are truly endless.  
If you have long hair, you can buy this beautiful little tool called a hair donut.  Here is how it works!  This is so easy to use and makes your bun look flawless every time.


4. Shorter Hair
If your hair is not long enough to try any of the above, sometimes it is just easier to invest in some cute headbands.  I have found some that don’t squeeze my head and are very chic.  They hold my bangs back without fail and allow me a little bit of flair. 

All in all, there are ways to look and feel good at work without spending a ton of time on it.  A little effort goes a long way!  These are just a few suggestions but you know it could be infinity and beyond…
Beauty knows no limits….
Catie Manning

A Note for New Grad Nurses


I recently ran into a girl who I cheered with in high school.  There is a bond between athletes from any sport that never seems to fade.  It is a pretty incredible thing of what working together as a team can do to bond people together.  As we were catching up, there was another bond that was found. She is a brand new nurse.  She is exactly where I was 2 years ago. No matter what area of nursing or what path you have taken, the letters RN will bring you into an incredible community of people who you will forever have a bond with.

Since 2 years ago I’ve come a long way.  Recently there was a blog that went viral Not Just a Nurse. I encouraged this new grad RN to read this. I can’t tell you how many times “I’m just a nurse” has come out of my mouth. There is such a vulnerable truth that is spoken in this nurse’s blog. A truth that needs to be heard.  But it also brings up another truth about being a nurse, it is incredibly hard to be healthy in most nursing jobs.

I started my career 2 years ago as a nurse at the bedside.  I had spent the last 7 years in school. And the summer before working at a teen weight loss camp.  Here I was in my first full time big girl job. Little studying to do, but a ton to learn on the job. I had a brand new schedule that for the first time in my life had no sort of consistency. And I came home from work at least 13 hours after I had left for it. While at work I was constantly stressed and terrified of making a mistake.

Being a new grad nurse was probably one of the absolute HARDEST things I have ever done in my life. All day long my brain was going and my body was moving. You are constantly worried about what you could do to lose your license or worse, lose a life. You have to learn how to best communicate with different types of MDs, PAs, and NPs. You have to learn how to delegate to the nursing assistants and how to keep track of their work along with yours. Your brain doesn’t stop going.

On the outside of work it is hard to get patients off your mind. You wonder if you wasted all the medications you needed to. You wonder how you can manage time better. How are you ever going to be fast enough to get all your things done AND all your charting done?

Nursing takes a HUGE emotional  and physical toll on your body. You’re going to struggle to figure out how to stay healthy during your shifts and days off. Here are a few tips.

1. Remember to stay hydrated. You have a very physically active job. Your body needs water not just caffeinated beverages.
2. If writing helps, journal. You have a lot going on in your heart and head after each shift.
3. Make your meals ahead of time. Before a long stretch of shifts make your food so you aren’t tempted to eat just fried food.
4. Keep a healthy snack in your pocket.
5. Remember you CAN’T do it all.
6. Listen to your body and how much sleep it needs.
7. Find ways for you to unwind when you get home
8. Don’t forget to be social
9. Exercise on your days off
10. Develop a support system both inside and outside of work. Do not be afraid after a long shift to call that nursing friend and vent for as long as you need.
11. Don’t bee too hard on yourself

You are entering into one of the most amazing careers. You will struggle. You will doubt. You will look at your fellow nurses and ask “why did we choose this?” My dear friend, you are going to see things you never thought possible. You are going to do things that most people would never be able to handle. You were created to do a very unique and incredible job. It is perfectly ok to feel overwhelmed.

But there will be moments when the patient breaks down in tears and you are there holding their hand. When the family member hugs you after their loved one has passed and says “I’m so glad you were their nurse”. When the new baby is born and you get to help see that beautiful life come into the world. When the patient goes into remission and you are the one rejoicing with that patient as if you were in remission. When the patient hears they are getting the organ they’ve been waiting for.  You are there to walk through the valleys and mountains with these patients and their families. When it gets tough, remember the reasons why you chose nursing.

That RN is an incredible gift that means more than you could ever imagine. My dear new grad nurse, its your time to shine! Take it one step at a time. You. can. do. this!


Into the mind

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It’s Back to School Time!

In the salon, we have been slammed with children needing their ‘ears lowered’ on account of this minor phenomena called school.  GASP!  It is that time already!!  Where on earth did summer disappear to?!

Today’s post is devoted to the ‘Back-to-School hair’ and how you can start your new school year off fresh and feeling great about your appearance.  Everything seems to be last minute and you might feel unsure if you want to make a major change or a slight trim.  It is a big deal!  And most of the time, school pictures shortly follow the beginning of the year so everything hinges upon your appearance in that regard.  No one wants to have a picture where they regret the style or the haircut your mom just made you have.  For me, it was the big bangs.  I don’t care how fashionable those bangs were; I am pretty sure that they just were a fab thank goodness.  I have graduated in creating height in a more socially acceptable fashion over the years.  That was an easy fix.

For the Ladies:
A new cut can make a huge impact.

A color can be a subtle way to enhance.

Accessories are awesome!


And for the Gentlemen:
The simple cut and comb over is still in fashion.

A fade with a little length on-top is very complimentary for those who want to use a little product and go.  Looks carefree and is very low maintenance.

As pinned by http://paulmitchell.edu on Pinterest

Texturizing is always a great option for those with a lot of hair.


A little spike never hurts!


Back-to-school hair can be a fun endeavor.  You are relying on the cooperation of your child or teen, but nothing is wrong with starting the year on a positive note!  As a stylist, we make the experience fun for them…or at least we should!  The more they see it as a fun enjoyable experience the less likely they are going to oppose the annual hair cut.  Take everything in stride and have a great new school year!!

Catie Manning

The Updo: I don’t know what I want!

Wedding season upon us and there may be a need to style our hair that is a little more than our everyday fashion.  It is not out of the question to add some curls and frills for something important like a banquet, wedding, or another important life event.

At your scheduled hair appointment, it helps if you bring in pictures of what you are thinking to at least give your hair stylist a starting point.  Even if the whole style is not what you are looking for, you can tell us what you like and don’t like.  I always seem to be inspired if my client has a picture of the outfit they are wearing to the event.  It is much easier having more information than not.  If you just have no idea what you want, this post is for you!

Here are some questions/items to consider:
1.  Schedule a little extra time around your appointment as a buffer.  Before any service, your hair stylist will conduct a consultation.  If you don’t know what you want, it may take a little longer until you are able to decide on a direction to which you want to go.  This is just something to be aware of so you do not get in a pinch for time.

2.  What event are you going to?  A casual wedding verse a very traditional wedding will make a difference for your updo.  A graduation is different than a conference where you are winning a highly noted award.  Are you going to be outside or inside for this event?  This will be the perfect starting point.

3.  Simple is always best.  Keep your thoughts basic.  Do you like curls?  Do you like straight and sleek?  Do you want something a little bit trendy?  Do you want bangs or hair around your face left down or will that drive you nuts?  Do you like volume or would you rather a slightly sleeker design?

4. A basic style can be enhanced by curls, braids, twists or other designs.  These are the perfect accent to any style.  A simple rope braid or twisty can add a elegance and flair to any simple updo.  Do you have any hair pieces like clips or headbands that you want us to incorporate?

5. Never be afraid to ask your hair stylist to tweak a section if you aren’t feeling it.  I have had clients that call themselves picky.  And they are, but in the end it is about making YOU happy.  I will do my best to cater and work hard in creating a beautiful look that suits you and the occasion.

Coming in a day early for her client consultation made a huge difference in how I approached this hairstyle.    My client has naturally curly hair.  Since we highlighted her hair prior to the updo–we washed and blew her hair straight.  Her mom had an idea in her head of how she wanted her daughter’s hair to look for her graduation.  She explained it to me and then I was able to translate that just as she wanted.  I did add my own flair in the back section in the movement of curls and how I pinned them. 
My dear friend Jessica had a wedding to attend this past Saturday.  Prior to me doing a consultation, she sent me a picture of a style she wanted to do.  I had a good idea before seeing her hair of what style she was wanting to achieve.  In the picture, the front was parted and left some hair down framing the face.  After seeing her dress, I asked if she would be willing to try something different.  She was open to it bringing the front of her hair out back instead of parting it.  Her dress was very classic style and by eliminating the part and moving it off to the side, we were able to keep consistent with the theme of her outfit and soften the updo’s design.  

Coming to get your hair done should be a fun and exciting trip to the salon.  I hope this helps give you some direction when you are uncertain of the look you are needing/going for in your style.  There is nothing I love more than a client who participates actively in the consultation, is open to me suggesting and creating some variation, and in the end seeing a big smile on their face.  It is rewarding as a client and as a hair stylist.

Beauty knows no limits…..
Catie Manning, Hair Stylist

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