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10 Tips To Help You Ace The NCLEX Exam

Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article. Now, here are 10 tips to help you ace the NCLEX exam!

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Preparing for a test that is as important  as the NCLEX can be pretty nerve wracking. However, getting ready  for this test may be simpler than you might have originally believed. Like studying for exams in nursing school, studying for the NCLEX should be done over time, which helps with taking the pressure off. Here are 10 tips to help you ace the NCLEX exam.

1. Know How It Works 

Our first to on our list of 10 tips to help you ace the NCLEX exam is knowing how the test itself works. Knowing how the NCLEX works will help you to  prepare better while studying. It will also help with easing some of your nerves on test day. Everyone has an allotted time of six hours to take the test unless otherwise specified, and the number of test questions varies between which NCLEX exam that you take. The NCLEX PN test has 85 to 205 questions, which includes 10 unscored practice questions. Meanwhile, the NCLEX RN test has 75 to 265 questions. Both exams are computerized adaptive tests. This means that the questions start off easy and increase in difficulty the more questions that you answer correctly. There is a ‘pass line’, so you just need to get above this to pass the exam. When you begin you are on the line, and every question you get right or wrong will put you higher or lower on the scale respectively. You can find out more about computerized adaptive testing here

2. Don’t Procrastinate 

Procrastinating is not your friend when it comes to preparing for this exam. The NCLEX tests the knowledge that you have accumulated over years of studying, so it is only natural that you will need plenty of time to brush up on old concepts to perform well. Creating a long term study schedule can help you to avoid procrastination. 

3. Create A Long Term Study Schedule

As mentioned before, creating a long term study schedule can help you to avoid procrastination. This step may seem daunting, but it is much easier than you may think. All you need to do is set aside days of the week and times that you will study consistently over an extended period of time. This is entirely customizable to how much time before the exam that you feel you need to prepare and how much time that you think you need to study each week. 

4.Make Study Goals 

Having a goal for each study session will make your studying more productive. These goals can be anything you want from memorizing  a certain number of flash cards to mastering broad concepts. It will make you feel more accomplished after studying as well. We have another great article on study tips if you are looking for more ways to optimize your study time. 

5. Know Your Learning Style 

Knowing the way that you learn best is another way to get the most out of your study time. Considering you have already gone through nursing school, you probably have a pretty good idea on what kind of learning strategies work best for you. If you do not know how your learning style, however; here is a quiz to help you figure it out. 

6. Do Practice Questions 

Practice questions are essential for helping you see what you have and have not mastered yet. This will help you to focus your studying on your weaker areas. Doing lots of practice questions close to the exam helps you better prepare for the test as well. 

7. Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Some Study Materials 

Although there are many free study materials for the NCLEX out there, don’t be afraid to purchase some materials as well. There are many beneficial books and practice questions that need to be bought, but they are definitely worth your while. 

8. Remember Your Test Taking Skills 

The NCLEX is an extremely important test, so it is crucial that you remember some test taking skills. For example, don’t psych yourself out over specific questions. If a question seems easy that does not necessarily mean you are failing. Just focus on the question at hand, use deductive reasoning, and read the questions fully. You can find more test taking tips for CAT exams here

9. Don’t Psych Yourself Out Before The Exam 

It is crucial that you don’t psych yourself out too much before the exam. Although it is normal to feel nervous, you should not spend your time the night before the exam cramming. Instead make sure that you are well rested and completely ready for the exam. Going to bed early, putting gas in your car the night before, and making yourself a nice breakfast are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success while also calming your nerves. 

10. Remember, You Got This!

Throughout all of this it is important to remember that you got this! You have already made it through nursing school, and this is just one more test before you get your license. The finish line is so close, and you will make it there! 

Healthy Lifestyle Tips That Every Nurse Should Know

Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article. Now, here are the healthy lifestyle tips that every nurse should know! 

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Nurses are some of the best people to go to with health advice. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they live the healthiest lifestyles themselves. In fact, nursing can be a very stressful and demanding career, so falling into unhealthy habits is unfortunately an easy thing to do. However, living a healthy lifestyle as a nurse is definitely possible. Here are some healthy lifestyle tips that every nurse should know. 

1. Eat A Healthy Diet 

Eating a balanced diet is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. If you exercise, but you eat junk food everyday, you are still likely to feel sluggish and unwell. Therefore, it is important that your diet includes plenty of vitamins and nutrients. Packing lunches for work and planning healthy home meals ahead of time are good ways to make this part of your life more healthy if you have found yourself eating lots of fast foods. As a nurse, we are sure that you have learned all of the elements of a healthy diet, but here is a breakdown of a balanced diet if you would like a refresher. 

2. Have an Exercise Routine 

Similar to a balanced diet, there are plenty of health benefits to having an exercise routine. It can be hard to have a daily routine with changing schedules and long shifts. However, you can see health improvements from exercising even only a couple of times a week. It is important to remember that everyone’s bodies are different, so exercise routines can be highly individualized. You may benefit more from certain workout types that others do not. For help with creating an exercise routine that is right for you, here is an article on how to create an exercise routine for beginners

3. Try to Get Enough Sleep 

In the nursing field it is infamously known that nurses get little sleep during the work week. Although this is sometimes unavoidable, it is important that you get a good night’s rest whenever you can. This will make you feel better, be more productive, and get more enjoyment out of life in general. It also tends to make it safer for you to practice medicine as well. Although it can be hard, it is important that you get your much needed sleep. 

4. Manage Stress 

As mentioned before, nursing can be a very stressful and demanding career, so learning some skills about managing stress can be very beneficial. Exercising can be a great way to relieve stress. Another option for stress management is meditation. By combining meditation and breathing exercises, it helps to calm you down after a stressful day. You can even practice breathing exercises during a stressful or anxiety inducing event as a healthy coping mechanism. You can combine exercise and meditation as well through yoga. Yoga is a particularly excellent choice for those who are looking for low intensity workouts. We have an excellent article about how yoga can help with stress management here

5. Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance 

Although it is normal for a career to be a big part of a person’s life, it is important that you create a healthy work-life balance for a healthy lifestyle. If work is too much of a focus, then stress and anxiety are more likely to be a focus in your life as well. However, if work is not a big enough focus in someone’s life, then they are less likely to be successful in their career. We have a great article on how to create a healthy work-life balance here if you are interested in learning more! 

6. Advocate for Yourself 

The final, and possibly most important, tip on our list of healthy lifestyle tips that every nurse should know is advocating for yourself. If you come to find yourself feeling burned out with your job, then there are things that you can do. Changing your area of specialty, trying out travel nursing, or even taking a break or making a career change can help you to improve your happiness. It is important to know that it is completely ok to make life plan changes after discovering that you are too stressed and/or unhappy with your current situation. Sometimes even just experiencing a change in management can make you feel better. It can be difficult to see the signs and symptoms of burnout. However, we have another great article on how to spot the signs of burnout

10 Great Nurse Gift Ideas That Are Sure To Leave Them Smiling

Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article. Now, here are 10 great nurse ideas that are sure to leave them smiling. 

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Buying gifts can be a stressful and tricky process, especially when you don’t know the person you are buying a gift for too well. This is why we have compiled a list of gift ideas that are tailored to nurses and nursing students specifically. These gifts are great for nurses of all ages and specialties, and they are sure to make nursing school graduations, birthdays, the holidays, and all other gift giving occasions much easier for you. From coffee mugs to compression socks, here are 10 great nurse gift ideas that are sure to leave them smiling. 

1. Compression Socks 

Nurses are typically on their feet for their entire shift, which can cause pain and swelling due to poor circulation. Compression socks help with improving circulation and making those 12 hour shifts more bearable. This is great for any nurse, because everyone could always use a new pair of socks. You can also order custom compression socks to make this gift extra special. 

2. Hand cream or Lotion 

Like poor circulation, long shifts can cause dry skin due to a lack of moisturization. Hand creams and lotions are a great way to remind the nurse you have in mind to take care of themselves. As an added bonus, many scents are also calming agents. Just make sure that they don’t have sensitive skin before you make any purchases. 

3. Badge Reel 

Nurses don’t often get to express themselves through their scrubs at work, especially if their workplace has strict dress codes. However, a personalized badge reel will give a splash of color to their scrubs Etsy is a great website for ordering personalized products. You can also visit sites like Pinterest for inspiration if you are interested in creating this gift yourself too. 

4. Stethoscope ID Tag 

Like a badge reel, a personalized stethoscope ID tag can allow for nurses to express themselves. More importantly though, it can help with distinguishing stethoscopes. This can be an annoying part of work life in the medical field. As an added benefit to this gift, this is another safe option for all nurses that you know.  As mentioned, you can find these personalized items on sites like Etsy, and you can look on Pinterest for inspiration if you want to make this yourself. 

5. New Stethoscope 

This is a great gift for a new nurse that has just completed nursing school. All nurses need stethoscopes. There are also stethoscopes available in fun colors for nurses who are already equipped with one. 

6. Travel Mug 

Coffee is an essential part to most nurses’ lives, and they are typically always on the move. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with giving a nurse a travel coffee mug as a gift. This is great because it is functional, can be used everyday, and can be personalized for the gift receiver. It is also a great gift idea for nursing students!

7. Fun New Coffee Mug 

If you don’t think that a travel mug is necessary then you could also go for a basic mug. These can also be personalized and are great for both nurses and nursing students. You have the option to order this custom or go to a store with a wide selection. 

8. Wine Glasses 

This is a great idea for nurses who enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long work day. These can also be personalized for the nurse in mind. Many stores also have a large selection of fun wine glasses available. It is important that they recognize the difference between average work stress and burnout, however. We have a great article that explains the signs of burnout that can be found here.  

9. New Pens 

This is another great gift for both nurses and nursing students. Nursing students take a lot of notes, and many people like to color code these as well. For these people colored pens are a great option, because frequent note taking can dry pens out pretty quickly. This is also a great option for nurses that do a lot of paperwork or hand written charting. 

10.  School Supplies (nursing Students) 

As mentioned before, nurses take a lot of notes. They also do a lot of highlighting. For this reason, it is not uncommon for nurses to be running out of school supplies all the time. School supplies can be a great gift or gesture for nursing students. If you are a nursing student yourself then you may be interested in our article about helpful study tips. 

10 Questions to Ask During a Nursing Job Interview

Nursing Interviews can be intimidating no matter if it’s your first interview out of nursing school or if you are looking to branch out after working in the same unit for a while. However, many people forget that an interview not only sells you as a potential future employee but also the workplace as well. Here are 10 good questions to ask to make you appear qualified and prepared while also giving you an idea of whether the open job is a good fit for you. In addition to this, doing research on the institution itself will make you seem even more knowledgeable and put together. 

1. What is Your Average Nurse to Patient Ratio?

Asking about patient ratios is very important. It gives you insight into the patient safety of the institution and what their staffing looks like. Hospitals and clinics with normal patient ratios will likely make mandating and mandatory overtime less common. Many states have laws on the highest legal amount of patients per every nurse, and these ratios change depending on the unit type. For example, in the operating room the ratio is 1:1, but in many other units the average ratio is 1:5. This is a particularly good question to ask if you have experienced problems with this in the past. 

2. How often is Floating Required, and Where Would I Float to? 

Depending on the hospital, you may need to float to other units when staffing in those areas are low. It is good to ask this question in a nursing interview in order to get an accurate idea for what the working environment is like, and it helps you to prepare for it if you get the job. Depending on if this is important to you, it can let you realize whether or not you want to work at that unit early on. 

3. What Self Care Strategies do You Encourage Your Staff to Practice? 

Although nursing is an extremely rewarding profession, it can also be very stressful and demanding. Self care can really make the difference, however; and having a self care routine can greatly reduce your chances for burnout. Asking an interviewer about what self care strategies they promote for their nurses can provide insight on how well they protect and treat their staff on a daily basis. 

4. How do the Staff Collaborate Here? 

This is a great way to get some insight into workplace culture. Collaborative nursing has numerous benefits including improved patient outcomes, boosted morale, and overall reduced healthcare costs. It is only natural to want to work in a healthcare setting like this, and you might be able to see if this important trait is present even during the interview. 

5. How do You Provide Feedback? 

Knowing how management and other staff provide feedback and constructive criticism is crucial. This nursing interview question paints a picture of how the medical staff is treated, how mistakes are corrected, and the quality of patient care in a particular healthcare center. Providing good constructive criticism and recognizing outstanding work are key elements to a productive and content medical staff. 

6. Do You Like Working Here? 

This is a good question to ask during a nursing interview. No one wants to work in a place where the current employees are unhappy. It may be a good idea to ask the other staff members how they like their work environment as well if you get the chance. This will give you better insight into whether you want the job or not. 

7. What is This Units Turnover Rate? 

This also gives you a pretty good idea about the quality of patient care and work environment. Asking about staff turnover lets you know how many nurses are either let go or quit, and a high turnover rate is a huge red flag. Nurse burnout is a very serious and real phenomenon and the workplace environment can be a large factor. 

8. What is Your Management Style? 

Everyone reacts differently to different management tactics. Although this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker if a unit doesn’t follow your ideal management style, it can help you to see if a position is a good fit for you. It could also greatly affect staff morale and stress levels. 

9. Are There Opportunities for Continued Education? 

Medicine is a field that is always changing. No matter if you are an LPN, NP, or anything in between continued education in the medical field is extremely important. Depending on the unit and position, a medical center may offer things like nurse workshops and conferences to keep your skills sharp. It might also be a good idea to ask about bridge programs such as RN to NP programs depending on your situation and aspirations. 

10. What are Some Tips That You Have for Succeeding in This Position?

Asking an interviewer how you can do the best at your job shows your dedication as a nurse. It also lets you know what the general expectations are in the position that you are applying for. Showing your initiative and your commitment to patient care make you seem more qualified, and interviewers are more likely to remember you.

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Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article.

The Travel Nurse Assignment Checklist Every New Travel Nurse Should Follow

Travel nursing is a great and exciting way to develop your nursing career and gain experience. It might also just be the change that you need if you have been experiencing burnout. However, we have all heard horror stories about inadequate housing, confusing paperwork, overly stressful work environments, and much more. Here are some helpful tips to know before you start the process to ensure that you have a good experience. Knowing these things might also help you to decide whether or not travel nursing would be right for you. This is your travel nurse assignment checklist.

1. You Will Likely Need Some Experience 

Sadly, it is difficult to jump into travel nursing right after nursing school, and travel nurse positions will likely require that you have at least some experience. This experience may involve specific training or have broad requirements depending on the assignment. If you are brand new to the field and are looking to gain experience that will be good for travel nursing, ICU and ER experience are among some of the best options. Travel nurse agencies will help you with finding the right assignment for you if you get overwhelmed or confused though.

2. Do Your Research 

After having experience, doing relevant research is the first item on your travel nurse assignment checklist. If you have been looking into travel nursing for a while then you probably already know that there are plenty of both good and bad travel nurse agencies. As a result, it is important that you do thorough research before you sign on with one. You can do your research by looking for reviews on the internet or asking other travel nurses about their experiences with the company. Luckily, we live in an era that is full of social media groups. This is an excellent resource for you to get the full scoop on a travel nursing agency that you are interested in. 

3. Get EVERYTHING In Writing 

Nothing is ever set in stone until you get it in writing. Therefore, it is crucial that you make sure that verbal agreements make it onto your contract and don’t get forgotten about. It is unfortunately not unheard of for certain travel nurse companies to make false promises in order to get you to sign a contract. Therefore, you should make sure that the important perks of your assignment are actually possible. Some agencies might be more notorious for this than others, so this could be a good thing to keep in mind when doing your research on travel nursing companies. 

4. Go Through Your Contract Thoroughly 

You may be already looking closely at your contract to make sure that your previous agreements are present, but you should be extra careful to go through and look at the whole thing closely. This is important for a couple of reasons. Possibly the most obvious thing is that you definitely don’t want to have unknown or surprise work requirements and policies that you discover last minute. This adds a lot of unnecessary stress and potential problems. Another thing to keep in mind when going through your contract is to make sure that everything to do with compensations and stipends are correct and accounted for. This should be done before you start getting ready to go for your assignment. 

5. Find Your Own Housing If You Can 

You may already know some of the horror stories circling the internet about problems with housing assigned to travel nurses by their travel nurse agencies. A way to avoid this is to find housing yourself and just ask for the housing stipend to cover it. This will help you make sure that your temporary housing is safe and comfortable, and you might even have the chance to save some money this way as well as an added bonus. 

6. Hire Someone To Help You With Taxes If You Need Help

A common misconception is that your salary as a travel nurse is much higher than the average RN’s salary. It may come as a surprise that this isn’t the case, and all of the extra money you earn comes in the form of stipends and tax returns. Taxes can feel overwhelming even without complex additions like travel nursing compensation, so it may be beneficial for you to hire someone who specializes in filing  taxes for travel nurses. This will ensure that you get all of the money that you earned, and it will save you a lot of hassle. 

7. Talk To Seasoned Travel Nurses

Although all of the above tips are very important to remember and are sure to help you along your travel nursing path, there may have been some things that have been forgotten or overlooked when making our list. For this reason, it is important that you include some other sources while doing your research. There is possibly no better source than nurses who have done travel nursing in the past. As mentioned before, there are numerous groups over social media that can get you connected to these nurses, and it is a great space for you to ask questions, get advice, and hear travel nurse stories before getting started yourself. Even if you have already talked to a travel nurse, it is a good idea to do this at least one more time as an end to your travel nurse assignment checklist.

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Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article.

How Recognition Can Improve Healthcare Workplace Culture

The medical field can be stressful for multiple reasons. You work long hours, it is a high stress environment, and you are likely responsible for other people’s lives. Although personal changes may be needed in addition to workplace changes in order to be happy at work, recognition can improve the healthcare workplace culture by raising productivity and preventing burnout. Here are some ways to practice recognition effectively and some of its proven benefits. 

3 Tips for Using Recognition Effectively 

Workplace recognition is a great and extremely important element of a healthy and productive work environment. However, if not done properly a good thing can easily turn into a problem. Here are some tips for using workplace recognition effectively. 

1. Be Consistent 

In order for recognition to be effective, you need to be consistent with it. If you only acknowledge some good work performance it will likely cause frustration among staff. Therefore, it is best to just let a medical worker know when they are doing something right whenever you see it every day. You should apply this rule to constructive criticism as well. Following this rule will also help to ensure that all staff are being treated equally. 

2. Implement a Reward System 

Employee of the month is not a new idea, but in healthcare settings this might not always be present. Incorporating a reward system for nurses and other staff might be a good way to apply recognition and boost morale. It might also be the motivating push that a healthcare worker needs to succeed in the work environment. The same consistency and equality rules should be applied here in order for this method to be effective. However, this should not be the only form of recognition put in place. Here is an interesting study that found rewards to be a less motivating factor for nurses than many have believed previously. This does not mean that this recognition tactic should be removed all together, but that hospitals should combine this with other forms of recognition as well. 

3. Treat Everyone the Same

Equality is extremely important, but this is especially true when it comes to workplace recognition. Everyone should be treated the same no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. The same is true for those with personal relationships outside of work. No one should be favored or punished for a personal relationship. Applying this rule is easy when also following the tip of consistency. 

5 Benefits of Recognition for Healthcare Workplace Culture

We know about how to apply recognition and constructive criticism productively, but what are some of the benefits to the healthcare workplace culture? The following are some reasons why every healthcare setting should recognize when their nurses, and also other staff, do a good job. 

1. Increased Productivity 

Having your hard work recognized tends to motivate people to do more. This is especially true for particularly stressful career fields like nursing. It is always nice to be reminded when you are doing something right, and when it comes to nursing you may need this motivating push to keep up the good work. Similarly, constructive criticisms can help to make improvements or correct mistakes. This tends to keep both productivity and motivation high while reducing mistakes. 

2. Reduces the Chances for Burnout 

Having a work environment that encourages recognition tends to make people feel more accomplished and good at what they do for a living. Therefore, hospitals and clinics that practice this usually see less cases of nurse burnout. This is good for both the nurses themselves and the medical center as a whole, because reduced staff turnover means less incidents due to lack of training. 

3. Improved Communication 

Applying frequent recognition and constructive criticism opens up productive communication among medical staff. This contributes to both improved patient outcomes and a better work environment. Communication is key in every healthcare setting, so opening up communication in this way will greatly improve the way that a hospital runs. 

4. Creates a Good Workplace Environment 

As mentioned before, having an environment that recognizes good work and achievement also improves overall morale in the workplace. Nursing can be a very stressful and demanding field, so a good work environment is an important factor when it comes to preventing nurse burnout. Everyone should genuinely like where they work, and those in the medical field are no different from anyone else. 

5. Improves Patient Outcome 

The previous benefits of recognition such as improved communication, reduced burnout, and improved productivity and motivation also improve patient outcomes. Less mistakes tend to be made in a productive work environment that applies constructive criticism and recognition, and in the medical field mistakes can be deadly. The patient is always the first concern for any healthcare professional, so this benefit alone is often motivation enough for medical work environments to incorporate recognition.

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Fabiah Blog is supported by Fabiah.com, where you can purchase affordable, comprehensive malpractice insurance for nurses and healthcare professionals. If you are not already insured, you are uncertain about purchasing a personal policy, or would simply like to learn more about personal medical malpractice insurance, then please read this article.