Nursem skincare review

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*DISCLAIMER* *AD*

I was kindly gifted these from Nursem to use and post about if I wanted to, here is my blog post review with a discount code and there is also an Instagram post.

About Nursem

Nursem was set up by Antonia, a paediatric nurse, and her husband Jonny after Antonia encountered problems with cracked and sore skin on her hands due to extensive hand washing. But this is a product with a difference: Nursem provide a promise – for every product sold they give a months worth of Nursem to a nurse or midwife who have been registered onto their waiting list (products are sent to UK health centres or ward addresses).

I have to admit that I am really lazy when it comes to moisturising my hands. And I know that I should do it regularly, especially considering how many times we wash our hands every day but I have never really considered the importance of this. I’m fortunate enough to have not experienced any problems with my skin due to handwashing but I know plenty of other student nurses/nurses who have. I am currently on placement and wanted to use the product for a few weeks to fully see any benefits from moisturising regularly.

I received the caring hand cream and the caring hand fix. I have taken the caring hand cream with me to placement and applied throughout the day, using the caring hand fix on a nighttime before bed. I didn’t think my hands were dry before but I have noticed a difference in the way they feel since I started using this product regularly. The skin around my nails is a lot softer and I find that I am not experiencing any dry cuticles which was an issue I had encountered before. The cream is non-greasy and does not have a strong smell. The packaging is simple but eye catching, you would easily spot it on a shelf in a store. The colours stand out and work well together.

I love the idea behind the Nursem promise and would encourage everyone to nominate a nurse/midwife or a placement that you feel should be on their waiting list!

If you would like to purchase any of the products yourself, Nursem have kindly set up a 25% discount code for you to use.

Enter FLAMINGCOPPER at the checkout!

Let me know what you think to the product if you do purchase some!

Love,

T x

*Book Review* Being a nurse by Lauren Philpott

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*DISCLAIMER* This book was gifted for me to review, I have previously worked with the publishers before which you can see here and here.

Lauren is a children’s nurse who qualified in 2014. Lauren runs a blog called Graduation to Revalidation which talks about how to survive your first 3 years as a qualified nurse and you can find her on twitter at @grad2revalnurse. Lauren wrote the book after looking for other books which described the way newly qualified nurses feel and finding there were none available.

Lauren writes in a way that is like talking to a friend or mentor, making you feel comfortable and supported. The book contains sections on how to cope with a bad day and first day nerves. As a third year student nurse, I worry about first day nerves especially as I am going to work in a trust that I haven’t had a placement in and this section of the book really resonated with me as I’m sure it will other third year student nurses.

The book is written in an informative way without using jargon and confusing language, containing hints and tips from Lauren herself on each section. My favourite section is how you know when you’re ready to progress, I have a career plan which I would like to stick to and this section was really interesting to read.

This is a book that would be good for all student nurses to read, especially third years who are close to qualifying or newly qualified nurses!

Love,

T x

*Book Review* Leadership for Nursing, Health and Social Care Students

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DISCLAIMER: This book was gifted to me to review. I have previously reviewed other books from the same publishers, which you can read here and here.

 

Beginning year 3 was daunting for me, especially after talking to my mentor on my last placement of year 2 about developing my leadership skills ready for my management placement in the second half of year 3. I really looked forward to reading and reviewing this textbook as I wanted to see if I could gain some tips that would aid my leadership and delegation skills going through year 3. The book itself is part of a new series of books called Essentials and aims to provide an insight into the world of leadership.

The book has a number of chapters, all focusing on different areas regarding leadership. One chapter focuses on theories of leadership, with the next chapter focusing on the skills and qualities needed to be an effective leader.

 

In chapter one, the authors discuss what leadership is and why it is so important in health and social care. I find this chapter a good insight into what the whole book will discuss and would be useful to use in any leadership or management module as well.

Throughout the book, there are scenarios which allow you to explore your own thoughts and ideas around leadership and how you would approach different situations within practice.

At the end of the book, there are full references used within the book which students may find useful for further reading and as sources of information for leadership modules at university.

In chapter 7, the history of healthcare and social care within the UK is discussed. I found this chapter really interesting to see how healthcare has changed and developed over time. The chapter also describes why having knowledge of government policy is important in today’s healthcare environment and I would suggest this is a must-read section for any student nurse, especially third years preparing to qualify and take their first newly qualified post.

The learning outcomes before each chapter are recapped at the end, which allows anyone reading the book to utilise each chapter and ensure they have understood the information contained within the chapter. I believe this book will help me to develop my leadership skills and give me a background knowledge on how leadership can be influenced by other factors and the skills needed to be an effective leader within my own career, which I feel every student reading this book would benefit from.

The book is written in an easy-to-read way, whilst containing a good amount of knowledge and information for students in any year of a degree course.

Love,

T x

Nursing isn’t all about grades…

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‘Your grades do not define the kind of nurse you are’ and ‘You do not need a first class degree to be a good nurse’ are some of the things I see on twitter on a day-to-day basis.

You know what? They are correct.

Grades do not define the kind of nurse you are out in practice, in fact some people are very open about ‘struggling’ academically but thriving out on placement. We all have our strengths. You also do not need a first class degree to be a nurse, completing the degree is what ultimately matters not the classification.

BUT….here is where I harp on about my own opinion on this subject.

I often hear ‘you cannot be good academically and out on placement’. WRONG. You can be good at both, without blowing my own trumpet I am reasonably strong academically and receive fantastic feedback on placement, something which is similar with many student nurses I know. People need to stop pushing this narrative where you have to be good at one or the other. You can be both, please stop saying that people who are good academically make rubbish nurses. And yes I have seen this more than once. It is simply not true.

Grades do not define you as a nurse. BUT there is no shame in owning the fact that you want to achieve a first class degree. If you want this and you know that you are capable of it, do not let anyone shame you into thinking you should not be talking openly about this. For those of us who already have a future career plan mapped out, it is important for us to achieve the highest degree classification we can, just as I’m sure it’s important to many others. I will not be made to feel embarrassed about admitting this because I will have worked hard to gain whatever classification I receive. We should all be striving to achieve the best that we can do, not just aiming for 40% ‘as long as we pass’.

People all have different academic levels, I can write a good essay but that doesn’t mean that I am more intelligent or better than another student nurse. I often feel ‘inferior’ in lessons because there are members of my cohort who know more about the clinical side than I do, based purely on our different placement experiences. Someone may know lots about respiratory conditions, having spent 13 weeks on there. I know very little because my placements have not included that experience…however, give me a cardiac situation and I’ll be on it. We shouldn’t feel inferior to our other student nurse colleagues just because they received a ‘better’ grade or know more about a condition than we do, we should be sharing our knowledge and experiences with each other. Acknowledging each other’s strengths and pushing each other kicking and screaming to the end 😂

We shouldn’t be knocking people down who have a plan in mind and are honest about this. We should be supporting everyone around us, regardless of end goal or future plans.

Nursing isn’t defined by grades…but that won’t stop me being here striving for that first class honours degree 👍

Love,

T x

How to survive long shifts on placement

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Comfortable shoes – this would probably be my number 1 tip for placement! Most ward shifts will be 12+ hours and there is nothing worse than sore feet when you’re on shift. I have Clarks Unloops and find them to be very comfortable, I wear them for placement and 14 hour shifts at my care home job and my feet are always fine. Some people don’t like Unloops, it’s just about finding what shoes work for you. Others recommend Sketchers Go Walks.

Compression socks – standing up for most of a 12+ hour shift can cause achy calves and lower legs, wearing compression socks can really help to avoid this.

Plenty of water – keep a water bottle close by if you are able to do so. Some wards allow water bottles at the nurses station or in a cupboard out of sight. If you are not able to do so, you are allowed to use quiet times to quickly nip for a drink of water. It’s important to keep hydrated especially on long shifts.

A good nights sleep – this helps concentration and also helps you to feel ready for the day. Try to get an early night before a placement shift.

A good breakfast – being hungry doesn’t help concentration or mood (I find this anyway 😂). Try to have something filling such as porridge or toast, this will keep you going until you go on your first break.

Ask your mentor for 5 minutes if you need them, especially on your first placement your mentor will be understanding if you haven’t done long shifts before.

Prepare uniform, bag etc the night before to stop morning stress – you don’t want to be rushing around in the morning getting all your things together and running the risk of forgetting something, prepare your things the night before and you can take your time getting ready in the morning without the stress.

Baby wipes and deodorant – you can use these on your break to freshen up and wipe your face on a night shift if you are feeling tired. Wards can be warm and having deodorant in your bag can be useful for freshening up as well.

You do adjust quickly – after a few long shifts, your body will start to adjust to them and you will start to find them easier.

Don’t over-rely on caffeine – this applies more to night shifts. It can be easier to think that drinking caffeine all night will make it easier to stay awake, this is often not the case. You can ‘crash’ and feel more tired , try to keep hydrated with water and stop drinking caffeine around 4am to help you get to sleep when you get home.

Speak to your mentor if you are struggling – if you are finding the shifts difficult or struggling to cope with 2 or 3 in a row, talk to your mentor. They can split your shifts up (where possible) or possibly spilt a shift so you can do 2 1/2 shifts instead of long days all week. Most mentors will be understanding, especially if it’s your first placement and you are not used to doing long shifts. Ward shifts do tend to be 12+ hours but you do have plenty of placement time to adjust to them.

A long, relaxing bath – I find there is nothing better after a long shift than a red-hot bath with plenty of bubbles and a face mask! This might not work for everyone but find the one thing that helps you to unwind after a long shift.

Mints/chewing gum – I always keep these in my pocket just to freshen my breath after a break (not recommending that you chew gum on placement, just to freshen your breath and then dispose before returning from break). You can even take your toothbrush and toothpaste!

Utilising quiet time – I know this may be rare on some placements, but if you do get a quiet hour in an afternoon use the time wisely. I like to get the BNF out and make notes on common medications used in that placement area, or speak to a patient with a condition you don’t know much information about – patients will often be very knowledgeable about conditions they have managed for years.

Let me know if you have any other good tips!

Love,

T x

How to use Discord

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As you may have seen, I have created a server on Discord called the Student Nurse Academy. This server is for all student nurses and newly qualified nurses to get involved with. There are text chat rooms where you can ask advice and support on things such as assignments and placements, allowing you to receive real-time support from other student nurses. You can also chat socially with other student nurses from around the world! I know that many of you may not have been on Discord before so I have created this step by step guide on how to use it that I hope you will find useful!

  1. Create a Discord account – download the app on your phone or computer and choose a username (you can change this later on). Remember to verify your email to allow you full access to the servers chat rooms.
  2. Customise your account – you’ve verified your email address and now you’re good to go! Add a profile picture of your choice and connect apps such as Facebook or Spotify if you wish to do so! blog picture 2
  3. Join the server – you can join the server through the invite link, this takes you straight to the introductions chat for you to tell us a little bit about yourself! Your servers will appear on the left hand side of the screen.blog picture 1
  4. Start chatting! – join one of the chat rooms on the left hand side of your screen and write a message. All the chat rooms are text chats, except coffee club which is a voice channel. You can jump in there and chat with other student nurses, kind of like a big Skype call 😂 If you don’t feel comfortable using the voice channel, stick to the text chats! If the chat names appear in bold, this means there are messages in there you have not seen.blog picture 3
  5. Build friendships – the main aim of this server is to bring student nurses together and to create friendships. Asking for advice is important and a part of this server, but gaining a support network is the main aim. You can chat about anything you want to in the general chit-chat ward, from what pets you have to what Harry Potter house you belong to (I’m a Slytherin for anyone interested 😂). I’ve made many friends through social media and want to help make this a possibility for other student nurses.

Why not use Facebook/Twitter/Instagram like we are now?

I wanted to create an area where student nurses can just chat, a little bit like a Whatsapp group but without needing to share your phone number with ‘strangers’. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram require a little bit of work from yourself to start conversations, you need to post a status, tweet or picture for people to interact with, that’s if your friends see them with the current algorithms. Here on Discord, you can just jump into a chat and join in. Discord is a safe place where you don’t even need to divulge the university you study at if you do not wish to. Discord is easy to use and you don’t even need to receive notifications if you’re easily distracted like me. Pop in and out of the chats whenever you want to and interact with people. You can @username to direct a message towards a specific user and react to people’s messages. You don’t even need to download an app, you can just use this when on a computer through the web interface.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Love,

T x

You must work on a ward…..

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This age-old narrative is rearing its head again and again. ‘I want to work in the community but people say I must work on a ward for at least a year’, ‘I want to specialise as a newly qualified nurse (NQN) but some say I should work on a ward first to hone my skills’ and such nonsense is heard and seen every single day in university or on social media. I feel that statements like this are dampening the dreams of student nurses for no real reason.

NEWS FLASH!

There is no reason to work on a general medicine ward first before moving on to another post if you do not want to. Yes you will develop your skills as a NQN and build your confidence during your preceptorship. BUT…the skill sets used in areas such as the community, in a GP surgery, theatres, a nursing home or in specialist areas such as critical care are very different to the skill set used on a general medicine ward. Contrary to belief, you will not ‘de-skill’ going into these areas!

So you spend a year on a general medicine ward and then move to the area you actually want to work in…and guess what? It’s like starting over again. You need to develop all the new skill sets and hone the ones you already have to your new area. Why not cut out the middle man and develop these from the beginning of your time as a NQN?

We spend a long and hard three years at university…why should we ‘settle’ for an area we know we don’t actually want to work in when we have fallen in love with an area that is right up our street? As a student nurse, or even a qualified nurse, the world is our oyster and we can apply to work in most areas now as a NQN, so if you have dreams of working in an area like critical care or a GP surgery there is nothing stopping you. There are more and more areas accepting applications from NQN now and I can only see this increasing in the future. If general medicine is your thing that’s fab, but for a lot of us working on a ward is not what we want to do and that’s fine as well. You are at work for a large portion of your week, why spend the time unhappy?

I am often criticised for wanting to go straight into critical care, I hear things like ‘it’s too specialised you’re not a good enough nurse as a NQN to work in such a specialist area’ or ‘why would you want to start in a place like that when you could spend a year on a ward first’. Working on a general ward is not for me, I’ve known this for a long time and it won’t change. Yes critical care is still a ward, but its a different kind of routine and style of nursing to general medicine wards.

Don’t be afraid to talk about where you would like to work, if someone attempts to shoot you down don’t feel like you need to explain yourself. The most important thing is finding the job that suits you and if this is in an area other than a ward, hold your head up high and know that you are making the right choice for you. Ultimately this is all that matters.

Nursing is not one size fits all and that’s the real beauty of it.

Love,

T x

Quantitative Research

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Quantitative research is used to answer questions that have numerical value answers. Quantitative research is also used to establish cause and effect relationships  between variables.

Quantitative research designs

  • Randomised controlled trial – considered to be the best design to establish cause and effect relationships. Key features of a RCT include a treatment arm/group and a control arm/group.
  • Quasi-experimental – similar to RCTs with no randomisation.
  • Cohort studies – follow a predetermined sample group to measure the incidence of outcomes. The purpose of cohort studies is to link an exposure to an outcome. Purely observational with no intervention from the researcher.
  • Case control studies – the retrospective form of a cohort study. Individuals with the desired outcome are chosen, with the researcher attempting to discover the exposure that the outcome can be attributed to. Highly prone to recall bias.
  • Cross sectional studies – used to determine the prevalence of an outcome within a specific group. Often conducted using surveys, cross sectional studies are common in healthcare due to being cheap and easy to conduct.

Types of data collection within quantitative research

  • Biophysical
  • Pre-existing data
  • Observation of behaviour
  • Self-reporting

Strengths and limitations of quantitative research 

Strengths:

  • Data can be interpreted using statistical analysis
  • Can establish cause and effect relationships
  • Computer software available to analyse data – saves time and helps to minimise risk of human error
  • Easy to replicate and generalise

Limitations:

  • Do not reflect real life due to the high control applied.
  • Reductionist – simplifying complex situations into simpler versions
  • All confounding variables cannot be controlled
  • Lacks breadth within data

Terminology associated with quantitative research

  • Internal validity – whether the results are based on the intervention or an unknown variable.
  • External validity/Generalisability – how well what is being measured can be generalised to the wider population.
  • Confidence interval – usually expressed as a percentage. Represents how certain the researchers can be that the mean for the entire population would fall within the identified range.
  • Hypothesis – a theory or idea that needs to be tested.
  • P value – a measure of the strength of evidence against the null hypothesis. a small p value < 0.05 indicates evidence against the null hypothesis, this is then rejected and an alternative hypothesis developed.
  • Independent variable – the variable manipulated by the researcher to measure its effect on the dependent variable.
  • Dependent variable – what the researcher is interested in measuring in the study.
  • Confounding variable – an outside influence that can affect the results of a study.

 

Love,

T x

 

Qualitative Research

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Qualitative research aims to answer questions about individual beliefs, opinions and experiences. The data collected within qualitative research is in text form and is used to grasp emotions and attitudes – essential to person-centred nursing and healthcare in general.

Qualitative research designs

  • Ethnography – where researchers seek to understand a group experience, focusing on behaviours and norms within the selected group. Often used to study social relationships between humans. A key feature of ethnography is the long-term study of participants, with the researcher both observing and participating within the group.
  • Grounded Theory – where there is no available theory for the topic, the researcher attempts to create one. Grounded theory is used to generate new theories around practice and understanding within healthcare, making it one of the most popular forms of research methodologies used by nurse researchers.
  • Phenomenology – aims to understand the lived experience of individuals. Can be described in two ways: descriptive phenomenology (credited to Edmund Husserl) or interpretative phenomenology (credited to Husserl’s student, Martin Heidegger). There are slight differences between the two, you can read more about those here.
  • Case study – based on in-depth studies of an individual or group. Case study research is seen as highly flexible and often uses multiple methods of data collection.

Types of data collection within qualitative research

  • Interviews – can be structured, semi-structured or unstructured.
  • Focus groups
  • Observation
  • Diaries

Strengths and limitations of qualitative research 

Strengths:

  • Ability to explore the cultural and social aspects of living with an illness or disability.
  • Rich, detailed data is collected and analysed.
  • The structure of qualitative research data collection can be flexible, allowing the researcher to follow any tangents that arise within the study if needed.
  • Smaller sample sizes are used, possibly maintaining low financial input and being completed quickly in some cases.
  • Allows for greater understanding of patient care experiences.

Limitations:

  • People’s opinions and experiences are hard to replicate as they can differ over time and in different situations – due to this, findings are subjective and context bound, making them hard to transfer to other settings.
  • Lacks rigour and credibility due to focusing on individual beliefs and experiences.
  • Can be time consuming due to the amount of data collected and analysed.
  • Researcher/interviewer influence on the participant.
  • Results do not have any statistical representation.

Terminology associated with qualitative research

  • Credibility – representation of the truth.
  • Transferability – would the findings apply to another individual within the same context?
  • Dependability – if the research was conducted again, would you achieve the same results?
  • Confirmability – results are able to be traced back to the data collected.
  • Reflexivity – the questioning of one’s attitudes, values and prejudices and to appreciate how these could affect the outcome of the research.
  • Rigour – overall quality of the study ie strength of the research design, how well it fits the original aim etc.

 

Love,

T x

 

Research methods – common terminology

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Here are some of the most common terminology used that it would be useful to understand for your research module.

critical appraisal – examines the practical application of research, assessing how valid and relevant it is to the practice area.

intervention fidelity – how well an intervention is delivered as intended

generalisability – attempting to apply study findings to settings/contexts other than the ones they were originally tested in. Applies to quantitative research.

transferability – how findings can be transferred to another setting/context. Applies to qualitative research.

standard deviation – the spread of results occurring around the mean. For example, the mean age of participants may be 40 with a standard deviation of 25 – 55. Often represented as S.D. A smaller S.D is preferred as this shows a small spread of data around the mean, a large S.D shows a wide spread of data, meaning it is less reliable.

confidence interval – usually expressed as a percentage. Represents how certain the researchers can be that the mean for the entire population would fall within the identified range.

hypothesis – a theory or idea that needs to be tested.

null hypothesis – no significant difference apparent between two groups.

alternative hypothesis – results are the result of a difference between two groups.

p value – a measure of the strength of evidence against the null hypothesis. a small p value < 0.05 indicates evidence against the null hypothesis, this is then rejected and an alternative hypothesis developed.

quantitative – research where the results are numerical such as statistics, percentages etc. Studies cause and effect relationships.

qualitative – research where the results are text based and may follow themes. Includes thoughts, feelings, descriptions etc.

mixed method – where researchers use both quantitative and qualitative data within the same study.

rct – randomised control trial.

randomisation – making something random ie the allocation of participants into a treatment or control arm. A good way of minimising the risk of bias.

treatment arm – where participants receive the treatment/intervention. Characteristic of a rct.

control arm – participants receive no treatment/intervention or they receive a placebo. Characteristic of a rct.

internal validity – whether the results are based on the intervention or an unknown variable.

external validity – how well what is being measured can be generalised to the wider population.

independent variable – the variable manipulated by the researcher to measure its effect on the dependent variable.

dependent variable – what the researcher is interested in measuring in the study.

Reflexivity – the questioning of one’s attitudes, values and prejudices and to appreciate how these could affect the outcome of the research.

homogenous sample – when participants have similar or identical traits ie same age, gender, employment etc.

heterogeneous sample – where every participant has a different value for their characteristics ie different ages, gender etc. Indicative of diversity.

blinding – where participants or researchers are prevented from knowing which intervention group participants are allocated to. Can be single blinded or double blinded.

T-test – used to determine if there is a significant difference between the means of two groups.

bias – a form of error that can affect the outcome of studies.

triangulation – using more than one method to collect data. A way of assuring validity within the research.

primary research – new research studies, carried out through experiments, trials etc.

secondary research – analysis or interpretation of existing research studies.

cause and effect – where one event (the effect) is the result of another event happening (the cause). Randomised control trials are the best method able to establish a cause-effect relationship.