Both male and female nurses experience higher rates of suicide than non-nurses, according to a national study from last year. The study, conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, showed that the rate of suicide for female nurses was 11.97 per 100,000 and the rate for male nurses was 39.8 per 100,000. Both are statistically much higher than the suicide rate for non-nurses (7.58 and 28.2 per 100,000 respectively).
Especially in the wake of COVID-19, when many nurses are confronted with war-like emergency rooms, challenging and uncertain medical quandaries and a lot of death, it’s even more important to check in with yourself and others about your mental health.
“Nurses are known not to care for themselves as much as they care for others. It’s just a part of who we are,” RN Nurse Judy Davidson told MedPage Today. Davidson spearheaded the study after three nurses at UC San Diego died by suicide within a short period of time. “But now with this whole movement towards preventing burnout, increasing joy in the workplace, increasing resiliency, this is a piece of that puzzle … sadly it took a tragic event to get the ball rolling.”
In support of Suicide Prevention Month, we’re providing resources and information about depression, where to go if you need to seek help, how to recognize the signs of suicide risk in your colleagues and how to talk to them about it. This week’s blog is all about how to check in with your coworkers and understand depression so that you can be an empathetic advocate for those who might be struggling around you.
Checking in on your friends and colleagues
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: You never know what the people around you are going through. Someone could have a bubbly and bright personality all day long and still have a life-long struggle with depression. So first and foremost, always be kind when you can, even if that kindness isn’t always reciprocated.
But also, check in with your friends and colleagues at work, especially on busy weeks or even difficult news weeks. Saying “how are you?” doesn’t always cut it. Often, there is shame associated with depression and suicidal thoughts and for those who are struggling, it can be hard to answer a question like that honestly. Instead, try some of these alternatives when you want to check in.
Recognizing the Signs
It’s important to think preventatively about mental health, for both yourself and those around you. And prevention often involves access to mental health resources, being kind and paying attention to those around you, looking for ways you can do things together and encourage each other. But it’s also important to recognize if someone has reached a certain threshold with their mental health that is concerning and possibly life-threatening. While it’s true that a lot of people conceal their depression, and are able to function well even though they are struggling, there are some signs to look out for that might indicate a friend or colleague is considering hurting themselves.
Some of these signs include an increase in drinking or drug use, talking about being a burden to others, asking existential questions like “why does any of it matter?”, extreme mood swings, behaving recklessly or without concern for consequences and strong amounts of negative self-talk. Here are additional warning signs to look for.
In assessing whether some of these signs might be indicating that your friend or coworker is in danger, you could always use this list of suicide risk assessment questions from the Lippincott Nursing Center:
* How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
* Do you ever feel like just giving up?
* Are you thinking about dying?
* Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
* Are you thinking about suicide?
* Have you thought about how you would do it?
* Do you know when you would do it?
* Do you have the means to do it?
* Have you ever attempted to harm yourself in the past?
It may seem weird to use your nursing skills on other nurses but even if your colleague catches on to what you’re doing, it might indicate to them that someone else cares about their wellbeing.
What to do if you suspect someone you know is suicidal
If you’ve recognized a few warning signs and perhaps have even confirmed that a coworker or friend suffers from depression and has considered self-harm, what do you do now?
There are three things you should do right away if you seriously think someone might harm themselves.
The first is not to leave them alone. Invite them over for dinner and insist on them coming if they decline the first couple of times.
The second, if you really think they are in immediate risk, is to call a local emergency number or contact a trained professional right away. Fortunately, you both work in healthcare, so you should have even more access to someone who is qualified to help. If you’re concerned for a friend but don’t think they’re an immediate danger to themselves, you might decide to instead encourage them to call a suicide hotline, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) which will put you in touch with a trained counselor.
And the third is to tell a family member what is going on as soon as possible.
After you have responded to someone’s immediate risk, here are a few things you can do to continue supporting them:
- Get their insurance information and make a list of licensed therapists in their network. Offer to set up initial appointments for them to get the ball rolling.
- If they have to undergo emergency treatment, make future plans with them doing something normal like going to the farmer’s market or an exercise class. Make it clear that just because they’re going through something doesn’t mean that your friendship will change or that you’ll start treating them differently.
- Make sure to acknowledge their feelings and be careful about not dismissing anything they confide in you as irrational. Emphasize that they’re not a burden to you and that you want to hear from them about what they’re going through.
For more info, check out this guide to supporting your depressed friends.
You’ve done it! Cap and gown, diploma, everything. You’re the freshest nursing school grad on the block, licensed and all, and you’re ready to hit the hospital or clinic floor running.
Maybe this is actually you or maybe you’re in the throes of fall semester and you’re manifesting this dream. But either way, you’ve done the hard work and now it’s time to talk about the fun stuff: SHOPPING.
There’s a lot you need to start your first nursing gig. Scrubs are a given, but here are five other essentials you don’t want to forget about before your first day.
#1: Comfortable shoes
Especially for new nurses, this one is an essential. Working those 10 hour shifts on your feet is a great time to discover that your favorite comfy shoes are maybe not as reliable as you thought. Not to worry though, there some are brands of kicks that have held tried and true for nurses and they have a lot of cute options.
Nursemates sells tennis shoes, slip-ons and clogs that are custom designed to keep you standing for hours on end. They also come in dozens of cute designs, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. Seriously, some of these are so cute, you’ll have no problem wearing them to the bar at the end of your shift.
Naturalizer is another brand that’s affordable, stylish and designed to be walked in all day long. They come recommended by podiatrists for having a sole that supports your heels and the balls of your feet, while also coming in several different width sizes and keeping you cool on the outside. And they’re cute! There’s lots of options on their website. But you can also buy them for a little cheaper on Amazon.
Another shoe that comes recommended by podiatrists is the Nike Tanjun Sneaker. These are a classic style that won’t get scuffed up easily and are roomy and comfy all day long. You really just can’t go wrong with the right sneakers.
No matter how good the brand is, being on your feet all day long will wear out the soles on any shoe you buy. So to take care of your feet, make sure you stock up on a couple different shoes to wear throughout the week. And also feel prepared to restock on your fave sneaks about twice a year. Here’s a good guide to knowing when it’s time to replace your shoes.
#2: A watch
This is an easy one to forget about, but essential. A watch that indicates seconds is crucial for patient care. Whether you’re monitoring vitals or injecting medication, you need to know you can count the seconds. Scrubs and beyond sells watches specifically for nurses. So does Speidel — theirs are a little more expensive, but really cute.
#3: A good stethoscope
Are you actually a nurse if you don’t have a stethoscope hanging around your neck? You might already have a few of these from your clinicals and classes, but it’s good to start fresh on your first real job. High quality stethoscopes can last your whole career. Reliable brands like Littman can be expensive, but worth your while. In fact, this might be a good thing to have on your register of graduation presents if you haven’t had your big day yet.
These little reference cards carrying helpful tips about anatomy, pharmacology, heart rhythms, lab orders and more, will be a life saver for you your first couple of weeks on the job. ScrubCheats sells pocket-sized cheat sheets in packets of 150 and more. Wade through them and pick the essentials to carry around with you so you can double check yourself.
#5: A Badge Reel
The one thing you should really avoid doing in your first week (aside from killing anyone) is losing your hospital or clinic badge. It’s not a good look to need a replacement early on, but as hectic as your first week will likely be, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Sure, your clinic or hospital might give you a basic badge reel to keep on your person, but if you come prepared with one you like, you might be more likely to notice if it’s suddenly gone. Plus the hospital ones are cheap.
There are a ton of fun options out there, but here are a few we love.
Boojee Beads has a ton of fun options from pretty brooches, to funny designs to very classic and chic reels.
Uniform advantage also sells some sweet reels, and cute lanyards too!
And of course, if you’re looking for something artistic or quirky, Etsy shops will always be around to fill your shopping needs. Here are a few of our favorite reels on Etsy:
This sunflower reel you can personalize with your name or “RN” (*crying emoji* so cute).
These rose floral reels are adorable and cheap.Read More
On average, a registered nurse earns about $80,000 a year. Of course, this does depend on your credentials, experience, education, and a number of other factors.
Even so, if you’re thinking of getting your own RN license, know that a decent income is a definite possibility. And although the journey to becoming a nurse isn’t the same for everyone, there are a few things that anyone can do to get the most out of their learning experiences.
Do read our carefully outlined steps to getting your license below for more insight.
1. Studying the Requirements Specific to Your State
The very first thing you ought to do is look up the requirements specific to your state. Some states are a part of the nurse licensure compact which enables you to practice across multiple states with the same license.
Additionally, be on the lookout for other necessary requirements in the form of education, background checks, and more. Once you’re familiar with the rules within your state, you can then move on to getting the education you need.
2. Complete an Accredited Program
Find an accredited nursing program that’s approved by your State’s board of nursing. Since you want to pursue an RN license, you have to take a course that caters to that kind of training.
Make sure that whatever course you take is accredited and recognized. Your education will ultimately determine your job opportunities and salary to a large extent. When an institution is accredited it means that it meets that bare minimum standard set by the state board.
Find a good nursing school with a good track record, reviews, and credentials. Also, be on the lookout for scholarships or financial aid if you need it.
In addition to the usual program getting other nursing certifications are a great way to boost your employability and resume.
3. Get Experience Working Under an RN
During your course, you will have the opportunity to intern or work under an RN. Do take it to earn experience in your field and get on-field, practical knowledge about your job.
Supervised clinical experience is how everyone starts their careers, and it’s an important stepping stone to getting your own license to practice.
4. Apply for an RN License
You can apply for your license during the final months of your course, or after your course. If you want to expedite the process, apply towards the end, before your graduation.
Most states will allow you to access the application online. You may be asked to provide transcripts and pay a standard application fee. Once again, do note that the exact requirements will vary from one state to another.
Depending on your state policy, you may even be able to get a temporary license to practice.
5. Pass the NCLEX
Every one of the United States has the same licensing exam. This is the NCLEX. If you’re applying for an RN license, you’ll need to take the NCLEX-RN which might cost you approximately $200.
Your application is usually reviewed, and if accepted you’ll get around ninety days to schedule a test. Now, you can only take these tests once a year, so be sure to study and practice with the assistance of practice tests and other available material.
You can find good practice tests at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. These computerized tests are designed to mimic what the real NCLEX is like. Once you’ve taken these, you’ll definitely feel more confident about taking the NCLEX.
Of course, this is not mandatory, but it does help if you’re someone who experiences test anxiety and would like to feel more prepared.
You have around 6 hours to complete your test, which follows computerized adaptive testing. This form of testing is one that adapts to the user during the test. If it senses that you are knowledgeable and well versed with your material, it may progress to more challenging questions.
The test stops when the algorithm determines your results with certainty or if you run out of time or questions. Depending on what state you’re in you will have to wait a few days until you get your final results. This usually takes around six to eight weeks.
6. Make Sure You Meet All Other Additional Requirements
Once you’ve cleared your exam, you have clear additional requirements required by your state. This could range from criminal background checks or an examination of professional and legal past. While having some sort of criminal history by itself should not automatically invalidate your license, withholding information could have different consequences.
It is advisable to be upfront and honest at the very beginning, rather than get found out later on and have your license suspended. You may also be required to sign waivers or other documents that give access to personal background information.
7. Getting a License in Another State
It isn’t necessary for you to go through this entire process again if you want to practice in another state. You will need to get your license verified by the state you used to practice in, and in some cases, you might have to take a refresher course.
However, as far as education or taking the NCLEX goes, you can skip them for the new state license.
Follow These Steps to Getting Your License
By following the above steps to getting your license, you should be an RN in no time. You can then explore various opportunities like working with a clinic or finding travel nursing assignments that work for you.
Once you get your license, be sure to check our website for the best travel nursing jobs available to you. We bring you the best assignments with the best pay rate around!Read More
Despite the grueling nature of working as a nurse in the middle of a pandemic, many students are flocking to the career. Some nursing schools have reported more than a 30 percent increase in applicants since COVID-19 broke out.
This is likely because in an uncertain economy, nursing jobs are really needed. In a report, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) said there will likely be a need for 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026, and those numbers will be even higher amid the pandemic.
But for those who are already in nursing school, on the path to gaining their RN license, the future might feel a little uncertain. While all college students are adjusting to online classes, nursing students have it a little harder. There are 500 hours of direct patient care and 1,000 hours of clinical hours required to complete a nursing program certified by the AACN. And the association has made it clear that these hours are still required, despite some hospitals that have been hesitant to invite a class of undergrads into their clinics and emergency rooms.
Nursing students face challenges on two ends of a spectrum: Some are struggling to get the clinical hours they need without proper licensing to work in a hospital, and others are being propelled onto the front lines of fighting this virus, as hospitals in particularly affected areas are struggling to maintain their staffing needs.
For those who might be feeling in over their head, we’ve interviewed a nursing student at the University of Portland about how her program is adjusting amid the pandemic.
Q: Are you still expected to do clinicals? Is that scary for you?
My clinical was in an assisted care facility so our rotation ended early to protect the residents and limit exposure. The abrupt ending was scary because we were worried about meeting our program’s clinical hour requirement but luckily we were able to do so through additional assignments.
Q: Do you feel like nursing students are getting thrown into work early because hospitals are understaffed?
I have not experienced this where I am, but I definitely heard talk of that being a possibility if hospitals turned chaotic.
Q: Has a lot of what you’re learning shifted to treating COVID-19? Or how has your curriculum changed at all during this time?
The content of my curriculum remained the same with additional lessons that incorporated emerging information about COVID-19. My cohort was supposed to start our summer semester and clinical rotation in May but for many reasons, it was canceled. Our curriculum for our senior year has been shifted and we will graduate in August of 2021 rather than May of 2021.
Q: How are you feeling during all of this? Is there something that helps keep you calm, sane?
The transition to online learning was very stressful. The shift in our curriculum and graduation date was very upsetting, but knowing that I will be able to start my senior year in the fall has kept me sane and given me something to look forward to.
What’s been the hardest part of nursing school during the pandemic for you?
Being in nursing school in the middle of a pandemic and having to switch to online learning was extremely overwhelming. The hardest part was finding the same motivation to study and focus on school, being at home with a big family rather than on campus. Although this situation has been scary and difficult, it has made me even more empowered to join this profession.
If you’re a nursing student in your final two semesters and you’re struggling financially, the AACN Foundation announced in April that they are launching a COVID-19 Nursing Student Support Fund. Students selected will receive $500 awards to help support them as they work on gaining their nursing degree. You can apply for aid here.
And if you’re considering working as a travel nurse once you graduate, check out Stability’s myriad of placements here.
The first step to becoming a travel nurse is of course getting your degree. To help you get started, this week we’ve decided to highlight some of the top options for nursing schools in California.
While UCLA is commonly known for their athletics and other programs, they also boast an award-winning nursing program. Not only is UCLA ranked for being one of the best nursing programs in California, but is actually ranked as one of the best nursing programs in the country by US News and World Reports. Among the many highlights of the program, the university prides itself on their faculty and their student-faculty relationships throughout the course of achieving a degree. With half of their faculty members being fellows in the prestigious American Academy of Nursing, you can trust that you are in good hands!
Recently ranked the 13th best nursing program in the world by QS World University Rankings by Subject, University of San Francisco has an incredible nursing program. Thanks to its location, the learning experience span all throughout the city and its resources are available to students as they learn in and out of the classroom. The program emphasizes problem solving, leadership, and the importance of preparing for challenges in an ever-changing health care system.
Unlike many nursing programs, CSU- Long Beach takes four years to complete rather than two. This is ideal for someone who wants to dive into nursing right at the start of their college education with clinicals taking place all eight semesters. With a comprehensive nursing program, CSU- Long Beach is known for its extremely high NCLEX passing rates.
Keep checking in on the Stability blog for more inspiration and for fun tips.
If you’ve graduated and are ready to start your travel nursing journey, head to Stability online at stabilityhealthcare.com to request a quote and see what placements are available.Read More