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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.

How Corporations are Supporting Nurses During the COVID 19 Pandemic

First responders, nurses, and other healthcare workers have endured a lot while saving lives during the COVID 19 pandemic. To help with supporting nurses and other frontline workers, companies around the US have been doing their part to get medical staff the food and resources they need to get through this crisis. Corporations from retailers to hotel chains have been either donating their goods and services or offering discounts to essential medical workers. Here are just a few of the many companies offering these services to nurses.

Providing Resources

supporting nurses with resources

Resources have been running low in many areas during this time of crisis. Companies like Mask Match and Print for the Cure have been supporting nurses by donating crucial masks and PPE to those on the front lines. Supplies like these are necessary for nurses to work safely. Similarly, Crocs, Headspace, and Care.com have been offering their memberships and products to help nurses as well. There are also many stores that have discounts for nursing students. 

Mask Match: The organization Mask Match has been providing masks to nurses and healthcare workers without the proper gear. All you need to do is complete the I Need Masks form to get yours. 

Print for the Cure: Similar to Mask Match, Print for the Cure helps medical staff get necessary PPE. You can enter a request here. 

Crocs: Crocs has been giving away 10,000 pairs of shoes to nurses daily. To get yours all you need to do is get in line at 12pm ET on the Crocs website

Care.com: Care.com is offering a month of free premium care through their services. This includes care providers for children, the elderly, and pets. 

Headspace: Headspace is a meditation app that promotes improving mental health. To make an effort to help nurses during this difficult time, headspace is offering access to their membership. 

Glowforge: Glowforge is a 3D printer company. They have been donating their product Ear Savers to healthcare workers that need to wear a mask. These Ear Savers have been designed to reduce pressure on the ears while wearing masks for extended periods of time. 

Curie: Curie is currently offering 20% off of their hand sanitizer to all essential workers. This includes healthcare workers, first responders, grocery clerks, etc.

Providing Food and Drinks 

supporting nurses with food and drink

Numerous restaurants, food delivery apps, and coffee shops have been supporting nurses by donating their products or providing discounts for their services. Here are just a few of the many promotions available to nurses and other healthcare workers. 

Starbucks: Starbucks is providing a free tall coffee (hot or iced) to those on the frontlines until May 31st. Make sure that your nearest Starbucks is open though. 

Pizza vs. Pandemic: Pizza vs. Pandemic has been providing pizzas for the medical staff at healthcare centers. All you need to do to have your medical center considered for donation is fill out a form on their website

Little Caesars Pizza: Little Caesars promises to donate one million pizzas to healthcare workers and first responders. Customers are even able to donate pizzas to their local medical centers through the Little Caesar app. 

DoorDash: DoorDash has been offering free 60 day corporate DashPass to all medical staff. They have also initiated free and reduced delivery costs. To see these promotions just download their app!

Thorntons: Thorntons gas stations have been handing out free 16oz coffees and 20oz fountain drinks to medical workers and first responders.

Panda Express: Panda express is offering a 10% discount to healthcare workers until the end of 2020. All you need to do is show your hospital badge!

Long John Silvers: “Wellness Wednesdays” is a new promotion launched by Long John Silvers where they promote a 20% discount to healthcare workers. 

Providing Travel and Housing 

supporting nurses with car and room

Finding transportation while volunteering in a new place can be stressful. During this time, transportation providers have been supporting nurses by offering free or discounted flights or rides to medical staff and volunteers. In addition, hotels and room booking sites have also been having promotional donations and discounts. 

Hilton Hotels: Hilton is providing 1 million free rooms to essential medical workers. This way they will have a safe place to quarantine themselves from their friends and families or stay while volunteering. This offer is available until May 31. 

Uber: Uber has been giving free rides to medical staff for transportation to both healthcare centers and house calls. They have also been providing free rides to patients with Uber Health. All you need to do to check this out is download their mobile app. 

Delta Airlines: Delta Airlines have been flying volunteers to and from their medical centers. The eligible locations are specific and vary, however. You can check the Delta Airlines website to see what destinations are included. 

JetBlue: JetBlue has been flying medical workers and needed resources to areas in need. For more information, you can visit the JetBlue website.

Greyhound: Greyhound is offering up to 2 free one way tickets to healthcare volunteers. This ends May 31. 

Lyft: Healthcare workers can get a free 30 minute Lyft Scooter ride. This is only available in Austin, Denver, LA, San Diego, Santa Monica, and the metro DC area. 

AAA: The roadside assistance company, AAA, is offering free breakdown, battery issue, and flat tire assistance for essential medical staff.

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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.

Why You Should Go for Your BSN

Some people think that going for a BSN over the ADN isn’t worth it due to the amount of time it takes to obtain and the cost of the program. Some may even hesitate just because of the prospect of going back to school. After all, it feels good to graduate! However, getting your BSN has numerous benefits in that it promotes both career and personal growth. Many employers even offer to finance and support this career development from an ADN if you agree to continue working for them. Here are four main reasons why you should take the initiative and work toward your BSN. 

Better Hiring Opportunities

You are more likely to get the job that you want if you have a BSN. Many employers will hire a nurse with a BSN before a nurse with an ADN, and some will require that you have a BSN to even apply. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing you simply have more hiring and career growth opportunities in a wider array of fields. For example, you are more likely to get a job in a hospital or private practice the more education you have. It is not uncommon for hospitals and clinics to have a quota of BSN nurses. Research shows that hospitals with more BSN nurses have better patient outcomes. This is why magnet hospitals have higher ratios of BSNs. So, having your BSN also helps when you apply for jobs at establishments with these requirements. 

As mentioned before, your employer may encourage you to get your BSN by offering to compensate you for it if you agree to continue to work for them. Although going for your BSN is a good idea even if your workplace does not offer this type of program, you should definitely go for it if they do. Furthering your education is always a great way to make life improvements, and having an employer offer to help with this is a great opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up. 

You Are More Prepared

Getting a BSN will diversify what you are prepared for in the nursing field. Some useful classes such as nursing ethics, nursing leadership, psychological nursing, pediatrics, and nursing research may not be offered in an ADN program. This will allow you to feel more comfortable in a larger variety of nursing positions, and it will make specializing your practice much easier. It also prepares you for a possible management position. 

The fact that having a BSN tends to make nurses more prepared for the job has been the driving force behind hospitals and clinics encouraging their employees to take this extra mile. Although the pros and cons about a nursing bachelors degree can be debated, having a BSN definitely looks better than an ADN on a nurse’s resume. 

It’s the First Step for Advanced Practice

Getting your BSN is often the first step when it comes to advancing your career. For example, maybe you’ve thought about becoming a nurse practitioner or opening your own practice. Well, in most education programs you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree before going for your masters or doctorate degree, and nursing is no different. Having a BSN may make furthering your nursing career seem less intimidating as well, which might be the motivating push that you need to further your education. Going for your BSN is a crucial stepping stone to further evolving and developing your career, even if you decide to stop your education after achieving your bachelor’s. 

The more education in nursing that you have, the more prestigious nursing jobs will be available to you. You will also be more likely to be eligible for management nursing positions or jobs with greater leadership roles. Those with BSNs usually make more money on average than nurses with ADNs as well, and they tend to be given more opportunities to grow and experience new things. 

Leadership Roles

You often need to have more than an associate’s degree to hold any kind of leadership position. Unfortunately, you most often need more than even a BSN to be in a management job. It may be possible depending on your location though, and, as stated before, getting your BSN is a great motivator and starting point for expanding your career. 

If you desire to hold management and leadership roles at work, then you will be more likely to accomplish this goal with more education. Luckily, there are many bridge education programs from ADN or LPN to BSN or even MSN available. Many healthcare facilities will promote these, and even make offers to convince nurses to join them.

Conclusion 

A BSN has many benefits over an ADN. These mainly include increased hireability, more diverse career opportunities, and more chances to fill leadership or management roles. It also has the added benefit of being a starting point for higher education by being a major motivator for evolving your career even further. Therefore going for your BSN is definitely worth your while, especially if your employer is offering to assist with the costs of education and are understanding about you taking the time to take classes. 

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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.

4 Ways Nurses Make Human Connection During COVID-19

Right now face masks and social distancing are essential for nurses, but that makes human connection during COVID-19 more difficult. Many nurses have recently gotten creative while working through this challenge and have come up with various ways to make personal connections with their patients. In addition, these tactics can also help maintain the patients’ relationships with friends and family.

Here are 4 ways nurses are making human connections during the COVID-19.

1) Facetime With Friends and Family 

Nurses in Indianapolis have specifically been encouraging their patients to video chat with their loved ones during this challenging time. Everyone can benefit from seeing their close friends and family. This is true even when you are unable to speak due to a ventilator. This is especially true during any difficult situation such as a life threatening disease or injury. Acknowledging this fact, many nurses around the country are helping their patients use video call platforms like Facetime, Zoom, and Skype to boost morale and emotional well being. 

There are numerous benefits to keeping patients in contact with those close to them. This outlet has proven to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, improving mood also tends to increase motivation. All of these positive consequences tend to provide patients with a swift recovery, which is the main goal during any hospital stay. No one wants to be alone during a scary time, and luckily due to modern technology, there is this new way to see and connect loved ones during social distancing.  

2) Taping Pictures of Their Faces on Clothes 

The necessary full face and body protective gear that medical staff working with COVID 19 patients must wear have created unforeseen problems. Face masks, though protective and mandatory, also hide medical workers’ faces. This unfortunately often makes those with the novel coronavirus feel isolated. To help with this complication, nurses around the United States have been taping full faced photos of themselves onto their uniforms. 

Even just showing patients a picture of their smile can make the treatment experience feel less lonely and unwelcoming. It’s a way nurses (and others) make human connection during COVID-19 protocols. Creating a more personal and friendly atmosphere can make this emotional and difficult treatment a little easier for COVID 19 patients, which is the least that we can do for those in coronavirus treatment and recovery. 

3) Arranging Window Visits With Loved Ones

Many friends and families have arranged window visits with their hospitalized loved ones by having nurses bring patients to a window where they will be waiting across the street. Oftentimes, they will also be carrying signs with words of comfort and optimism. This, like many of the other outlets for forming and maintaining personal connections, has greatly improved the morale and motivation of patients with COVID 19. 

Although video chatting also allows for friends and families of coronavirus patients to communicate, physically being close can be very meaningful on both sides of the window. In addition, employing multiple outlets of communication and distanced human contact can be even more effective than only using one during this time. It is always nice to know that those close to you are there to support you during tough times, even if it needs to be from across the street. 

4) Speaking to Patients, Even When They’re on Ventilators 

Patients are sedated and unresponsive on ventilators. Still, nurses want to care for them just in case they have some awareness. This is why some nurses have been making an effort to talk to patients on ventilators even when they are unresponsive. In addition to scheduling video calls and window visits with patients’ loved ones, words of encouragement given from the medical staff themselves are meant to lift a patient’s spirit in an extremely trying time. It’s amazing that during COVID-19, nurses remember that even sedated patients still deserve human connection just like anyone else. It’s a great example of nurses’ capacity for empathy.

Although providing words of encouragement and sympathy can benefit any patient, this is especially helpful for patients that cannot visit with their families and friends. Even with outlets like video calls and window visits, treatment of the novel coronavirus can still feel isolating. Forming close personal connections with the medical staff can help make this recovery process feel less lonely, even when on a ventilator.

Conclusion 

The work that nurses have been doing during this time to make patients feel comfortable during their hospital stays throughout the COVID 19 pandemic is amazing. A main way this is happening is by nurses finding ways to make human connection during COVID-19. Providing outlets for friends and families to keep in contact with their sick loved ones and encouraging and sympathizing with their patients themselves has done wonders in making some positives during this trying and tragic pandemic. The fact that all COVID 19 patients are people deserving of human contact and empathy can not be stressed enough, and medical staff across the country have made important steps to maintain this element of their patients’ human social and emotional needs.

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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.

4 Ways Nursing Graduates Celebrate During COVID Lockdown

It’s that time of year again, when students graduate and families celebrate. Speeches, names called . . . and called and called. Lawns are packed with folding chairs, and the sun beats down and makes everyone sweat.

People gather despite the discomforts because they want to celebrate what students have accomplished and their careers ahead. The graduation ceremony honors the years of hard work, dedication, and determination that students put into their studies. It also marks the moment students turn their knowledge and skills to serving the world.

What about nurses graduating during COVID?

The desire to honor and celebrate graduates is nowhere more intense than for students in the healthcare fields. They will use what they have learned to save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the value of their work more clear. Now more than ever their family and friends want to celebrate their accomplishments.

Unfortunately COVID-19 has meant that many schools have cancelled traditional graduation ceremonies. But nursing schools and their graduates are finding creative ways to celebrate anyway, to graduate in style, and to capture some of that commencement magic. Here are four ways nursing graduates have found to celebrate during the COVID lockdown.

Virtual ceremony – State College Florida

The State College of Florida decided to hold it’s graduation virtually, where anyone could tune in to witness the event. At one point during the commencement ceremony, graduates of the nursing program were acknowledged. Sarah Cloud, one of the nursing program’s faculty, addressed the graduates by video call. She spoke about the many nursing students who have been working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic while wrapping up their coursework.

Cloud has heard directly from many of these students and shared some of their experiences. From one student’s account, Cloud read, “I’ve held the hands of patients as they passed, and I have rolled patients out the front door to their loved ones, whom they had not hugged in weeks.”

“I have endured painful marks on my face from wearing an N95 mask for 13-plus hours, and scrubbed myself with hot water to hopefully protect my family from this virus. I had seen and felt fear and anxiety like I’ve never felt before.”

Words like these added to the celebrations a note of poignancy. These students have already made difficult choices about how to use their education. Graduates were not able to gather in person, but virtual graduation still brought them together. They were able to hear these stories, honor nursing students, and be inspired to ever higher levels of service.

The president of the college, Dr. Carol Probstfeld, told students, “This is the most unique commencement ceremony in the history of our institution and perhaps one of our most important.”

Drive-thru ceremony – John Brown University

Some have found in-person ways for nursing graduates to celebrate during COVID lockdown. At John Brown University, the traditional graduation was postponed instead of being replaced. The president, Dr. Charles Pollard wrote, “It deeply saddens me to tell you that we must postpone our Spring 2020 commencement ceremony until this fall.”

Fall, however, is a long way away. So, the faculty at the Department of Nursing decided to take matters into their own hands. They came up with their own way to celebrate hard-working graduates: an improvised drive-thru ceremony. Nursing faculty dressed up exactly as they would for a traditional graduation – robe, hat, tassels, and all – and took signs out to the street. As nursing graduates drove by, their teachers cheered them and held up messages celebrating their accomplishment.

Drive-in celebrations – Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Other schools, like Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, are holding drive-in ceremonies. These are different from the drive-thru celebrations at John Brown University. For the drive-in graduations, think drive-in movie. At a drive-in graduation there is still a stage to walk across and physical diplomas to take home. The main difference is that instead of rows of chairs on a lawn, there are rows of cars in a parking lot.

This is a creative way schools like Christ College are doing in-person graduations while maintaining social distancing. Students seem happy with the result. Families get to celebrate graduates as loudly as they want. Who hasn’t wanted to honk a car horn as a loved one walked across the commencement stage?

Dr. Gail Kist-Kline summed it up: “Because of everything going on, we really just thought this was an important opportunity for our students to come together, to be appreciated for all the hard work.”

Nursing graduates celebrate at home – Viral Video of Florida International University student.

If you want a graduation done right, you have to do it yourself. That seems to be what many nursing graduates and their families are thinking. They have found sweet and surprising ways for nursing graduates to celebrate from home during the COVID lockdown. For some, it’s a compilation video where friends and loved ones send their congratulations and well wishes. Other families are finding ways to set up decorations and give that graduation moment – even if it’s at home – a little pomp.

Dancing across the stage

One celebration, however, took the home graduation to another level, and the video has been getting around on social media.

Anabelle Petisco, a nursing graduate of Florida International University, decided to recreate her graduation ceremony at home. Video of the event went viral.

She and her family set up a stage and chairs for the audience. Her brother acted the part of FIU president Mark Rosenburg, even taping a picture of the president’s face to his own and wearing a black robe. The audience was half a dozen family members.

The home-graduation setup was thus complete. In the video that went viral, Petisco is dressed in her academic robes. She processes in front of her family as if crossing a stage. Her brother is waiting for her just like the FIU president at a traditional ceremony. What happens next is what caught everybody by surprise. After Petisco takes her diploma and hugs her brother, they both start dancing! The family cheers and applauds. In the end Petisco pulls off a graduation ceremony like no other. Next up for her is an internship at Niklaus Children’s Hospital where she’s working on the pediatric oncology unit.

Celebrate, nursing graduates!

However it happens, it’s good to see the accomplishment of nursing students being celebrated by family, friends, and faculty. During this time many nursing students have already or will soon be serving on the COVID frontlines. We are all feeling deeply thankful for the knowledge and skills they have worked hard to gain during nursing school.

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