July 3, 2019

Custom Learning Tools | Nursing Hacks # 15

Learning is a beautiful process, but boy can it be annoying as hell sometimes. Those moments where things aren't clicking, and you forget the same things over and over can be disheartening. And in nursing, there are so many elements to remember. I know, it's a process and blah blah blah, I get that part. The part I struggle with is the in-between. The in-between is a phase where you've been there for a few weeks, you "should" know certain things but they just aren't sticking. When you're brand new, folks will let you get away with not knowing most things. But as time goes on, I feel people internally evaluate your knowledge base. They love answering tons and tons of questions for about a month. But after that month mark hits, I think some people get annoyed if you haven't picked up the "basics" or things they find to be concrete concepts. There is so much to learn in the beginning. I feel as though some people don't grasp just how overwhelming it can be in the early months. It seems like the timelines get shorter and shorter, and institutions want you to learn at lightning speed.  With my experiences, I've found that creating a learning tool has helped me, and I recommend all learners create one.

I carry around a notebook, a little one. Each day, I write down the answers to my questions. It requires commitment but helps tremendously. Once I'm home, I add and modify my learning tool based on what I learned that day.  It's an ongoing project. The goal is that the number of questions will lessen because I have created an aid for myself. Asking questions isn't a bad thing. The tool simply helps you retain the information by reinforcement. Seeing it in print does something in my brain, I can't explain it. But within a few days, concepts stick and become second nature. You might ask, how do I know what is important? I ask my colleagues and managers for guidance. I never want to assume what my role should be. I ask directly, and I ask for specific examples. Many conflicts involve communication or lack thereof. I want to understand clearly and wholeheartedly what I should be doing and what I need to know. This tool has kept me organized and provides me with a printed roadmap. I've used this type of tool throughout my entire nursing career. From nursing student to RN to APRN. It keeps my thoughts together and allows me to see patterns. You have no idea how many times someone has asked me something and bam, the answer was on my paper. I print the same page (twice), on one page and fold it down the middle - great compact resource. This method will allow you to have two patients on one page.

Download Medical ICU Template @ http://bit.ly/2XoXkmb
Download CT Surgery ICU Template @ http://bit.ly/2KUpEWQ

Note: This tool is a road map and will require updating throughout your shift. With time, you probably won't need such a detailed and extensive form (like the ones shown below). Sometimes, I carry the form around to simply remember things. It doesn't have to be filled out to assist you. I'm an APRN, this form works for me. Each position and floor is different. Make the form your own, you don't have to use it exactly as is. The goal is to help you learn, each journey is different. More tools @ http://bit.ly/1jn9L1f

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