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Neonatal Nurses Role in the Health Care System & Our society

Types Of Nurses

Nurses are known to be flexible as they care for different persons from different walks of life. Some nurses are trained in the operating room, while others gain experience in the emergency or acute care setting. Some would care for the elderly and critically ill adults, some in the long-term care setting. There are also nurses who are trained to deal with and provide care for delicate little humans or newborns.

The Neonatal Stage

The early stage of a human’s life is known as the neonatal stage. We simply called them neonates or newborns. When a mother is about to give birth, she is surrounded and supported by a special health care team dedicated to administering care to a pregnant woman beginning from pre-conception up until post-partum. While giving birth is a natural and delightful experience, it may sometimes be accompanied by complications. Some mothers luckily give birth to a healthy baby or babies (in the case of multiple births), while some unexpectedly encounter birth complications or newborn complications, such as premature birth, birth defects, an infection, cardiac malformation, conditions that require surgery, multiple births, and a lot more complex conditions that would need special and intermediate or advanced intervention. Because giving birth does not end when the baby is born, we need specially-trained nurses who are capable of providing care to our precious newborns, in whatever condition they may be in. These nurses are called Neonatal Nurses and they work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU.

RN Certification

Neonatal nurses must be an RN and pass the NCLEX-RN before they can apply and practice nursing in a hospital where there is a neonatal setting. A neonatal nurse has many responsibilities and these responsibilities will require the nurse to have years of experience dealing with critically ill neonates. Their job can be pretty tough as they provide care to delicate little humans, it can also be emotional and stressful at times. Not only do they need to be medically-equipped and knowledgeable, but they also have to deal with families and help alleviate their anxieties, while also informing them of the best or sometimes, even the worst possibilities that may happen. These delicate little humans need experienced hands for them to thrive. In addition to that, these babies also need to feel that they are loved and valued because just as much as adults, newborns also have emotions, and the feeling that they are well taken care of can contribute a lot to their recovery.

Become Essential

Neonatal nurses are essential in our health care system, as their excellent care helps medically-challenged neonates to survive. Being a neonatal nurse is very rewarding, knowing that you have been in the life of a human being from day one until the day they thrive and were sent home to their families. For aspiring nurses who would love to care for infants and help them reach their optimum level of health, neonatal nursing is the right career path for you!

-Written by Rosirene Rendar

References:

https://nurse.org/resources/neonatal-nicu-nurse/

http://nann.org/about/what-is-neonatal-nursing

Support In Times Of Grief & Bereavement

The Five Stages of Grief

At some point in our lives, we may experience unexpected and sometimes tragic events. These events can be in the form of loss. Loss of a job, a home, a pet, loss of good health, and the loss or death of someone dear to us. It can also be in the form of divorce or break-ups, transfer from one state to another, graduating from college and being faced with the real world, not having enough support from significant people in your life. It can also be by just being merely away from family and friends that you get to experience extreme sadness.

Dealing with these kinds of losses causes a person to grieve for a while. What is grief? Are we allowed to grieve? Is it normal to grieve? Grief is defined as an extreme sadness or sorrow that a person feels whenever he or she is faced with a loss, especially the death of a loved one. It is normal for a person to grieve when he or she had just experienced a loss. Grief is a healthy part of healing because you get to release all the painful emotions you are going through. Bereavement, on the other hand, is the condition of being in grief, especially when a person is being deprived of a loved one through profound absence, like that of death.

As you may see through the definition of grief and bereavement, both focus on the sorrow that a person feels after a death of a loved one. But let us talk about it in a general way, because as we have stated, there are a lot of events that can cause someone to grieve. Loss can cause you to feel a great wave of emotions, such as anger, shock, disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. It may also disrupt your normal daily routines, such as eating, taking a shower, having enough exercise, and a lot more activities that you usually do before the loss took place.

The grieving process takes time. Let us take into consideration the stages of grief according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She based these stages while she was observing patients who have terminal illnesses, however, it was soon generalized to other types of negative life changes that a person may go through, including loss. What are these stages and how to deal with each stage healthily?

DENIAL

The first stage is Denial, in this stage, a person denies the loss, he or she is in great disbelief of what is happening or what has occurred. This is the hardest stage because a person will have to, at some point acknowledge the loss and the pain that comes with it. This is the first struggle that a person should overcome. In this stage, support is very important, and validation of the person’s feelings from a significant other, family, or friends, or even a health care provider is essential. It is normal for them to undergo denial. However, acknowledging the feelings of this person can help them to absorb and understand what is happening, and eventually, it can help them empower themselves to accept what happened and overcome the grieving process.

ANGER

Anger is the second stage of grief, according to Ross. Again, this is a normal feeling. A person may burst his anger and ask “Why is this happening to me?” In this stage, allow the person to cry if he or she must. Allow them to express their anger but at the same time making sure that they are okay and do not predispose themselves to any harm. Some people may also not cry and that is okay because grieving is an individualized process and experience. It is just important that in this stage we allow them to express their anger. Actually, in all stages, it is important to allow them to express their emotions and acknowledge that what they feel is normal. The person, at some point, may also feel guilty about what happened. If this is the case, assure them that nothing that had happened is their fault. Make them realize that after the loss, they are still worthy of good things to come their way.

BARGAINING

In this stage, a person coping with loss may feel desperate and willing to do anything just to get back what was lost. When bargaining, a person directs his or her request to a higher power or something bigger than they are, which may be able to give them a different outcome.  This may be because a person feels helpless. A person may state “God, please take away this illness and I promise to always be kind!” or “Please don’t let me lose my job, I will be more productive.” So a person tries to bargain what he or she can do in exchange for getting back the things or person they’ve lost. In this stage, again, you have to acknowledge how the person feels. If the loss is inevitable like a death of a loved one, support is important, acknowledge the feeling, but do not acknowledge the person’s request that the loss will eventually come back. It is important that you shift them back to reality and remind them of how life can still be purposeful after the loss.

DEPRESSION

Yes, according to Ross, depression is part of the grieving process. At this time a person starts to calm down and realize the loss. They start to realize the reality of what is happening and they start to face the situation. Oftentimes, sadness will fill up their emotions because they have come to realize that the loss took place and it is inevitable. At this stage, a person may want to be just alone, and as a health care provider, we have to respect that. We can advise this person’s family and friends to give them space because that will help them to recover. However, making sure that they are free from self-harm, especially committing suicide is essential. It is important that you also talk to the person and advice him or her that it is okay to seek help.

ACCEPTANCE

Finally, after all the struggles, the last stage is acceptance. In this stage, a person is now ready to accept what happened and move on with life. At this stage, commend the person and still provide support. Acceptance does not mean that the person forgot the pain of the loss, but rather the person has already faced the reality of the situation and that he or she is ready to embrace new beginnings.

These stages as theorized by Ross may or may not happen to all, a person may reach the acceptance stage without going through bargaining or depression, someone might stay longer in the denial stage than another, because again, grieving process is different for every person. What’s important is we recognize and acknowledge what the person feels and we provide support and shift them to reality if needed. Don’t provide false hopes as this will just exacerbate how they feel when these hopes are not met. Respect each person’s way of grieving. Do not impose a timeline as to how long they should grieve. Do not force them to move on. Advise them that it is okay to seek help when needed and remind them of how worthy they are of all the best things in life.

  • An article by Rosirene B. Rendar

References:

https://www.verywellmind.com/five-stages-of-grief-4175361

Introduction

Without a doubt, it takes quite rigorous work and studying to become a fully registered nurse. Every student encounters stressful situations daily, from when they start their education to when they retire. Although, stress might provide motivation, when continuous it disrupts learning and can result in physical illness. These stressors include the number of patients and cases they have to observe, the limited time to work, conflicts with colleagues, and so on, which have been linked to accumulated stress and “burning out”.  Stress has numerous adverse effects on a person’s concentration and productivity. It causes fatigue, exhaustion, and even in some cases, infrequent periods in females. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that measures are put in place to adequately manage stress for all nursing students, especially those in advanced programs with more workload and stricter deadlines. If you need a comprehensive guide on effective stress-relief methods and how to build healthy coping mechanisms, this article is perfect for you.

Putting You First

A nursing curriculum is choked with activities that students must mostly compulsorily participate in. Schools offer nursing theory work, skills and simulation land, project work, and clinical rotations. As soon as you enroll and the program begins, you have really limited time outside school. Therefore, it is essential to create a standard self-care routine that keeps you emotionally and physically healthy. To live healthily, you should have a dietary plan that involves eating fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, and avoiding fast food. Also, it is good practice to exercise regularly through any physical activities you enjoy. It could be brisk walking, yoga, tennis, playing football, dancing, etc. Many suffer from sleep deprivation in coping with the hectic schedule, so you must endeavor to have a regular sleep pattern. Finally, you should identify your stressors and develop means to cope with them.

The School’s Stress-Relief and Student Support Programs

Before making the choice on your preferred nursing school or program to enroll in, you should consider the stress management options they offer for students. A good school cares about its students enough to put appropriate measures in place. Many schools structure their curriculums with time for students to recover from stress. Some even provide counselors and psychologists that students can talk to when in crisis.

Johns Hopkins University

John Hopkins University wellness program encourages students to engage in exercise, meditation, and offers a 24/7 hotline for students to call.

A proper example is The Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program (JHSAP), which was created to help students over the years to cope with the daily rigors of getting quality nursing education. It is a life management resource that has benefited countless students in identifying and addressing their issues through healthy means.

Duke University

Duke’s Student Success Center program offers free consultations and workshops for students experiencing high levels of stress.

Another school with a distinctive student stress-relief program is the Duke University School of Nursing. Led by assistant professors, Dr. Brandon Knettel, a doctorate-level psychologist, and Dr. Sean Convoy. The program dubbed “Student Success Center” provides students with mental and emotional support; and the meetings cover important conversations like mental health and well-being, stress management, academics, interpersonal relationships, etc.

University Of Pennsylvania

The Penn Program for Mindfulness offers a wide range of courses in mindfulness geared towards helping students manage stress and uncertainty.

The Penn Program for Mindfulness is an amazing program developed by the University of Pennsylvania to equip advanced degree students with powerful tools for coping with stress. The program teaches the students a combination of modern cognitive science and ancient mindfulness techniques that help shape how they experience the world and react to difficult situations.

Emory University

Emory University hosts a program called 30-day inspiration to enhance the emotional health and well-being of its participants.

The Emory University has a special program that provides students with a chance to engage in 30 simple steps that are sure to improve their emotional health and help to cope with stress. This program called 30-Day Inspiration teaches daily activities that prioritize personal care, mindfulness, and building meaningful relationships. It has equipped several students with the ability to refresh after stressful schoolwork and greatly increased their resilience.

Ohio State

Ohio State College of Nursing has a 7-week program to help students deal with stress based off positive findings from 16 research studies.

Every student of Ohio State’s prestigious College of Nursing can testify to the effectiveness of MIND STRONG, an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral skills-building program that is tailored to help students learn positive coping mechanisms and generally improve their overall wellbeing. The aim is to ensure every student practices healthy behaviors in dealing with their hectic schedule, instead of resorting to substance abuse and other maladaptive measures. The MIND STRONG program is structured as weekly sessions that run for seven weeks. Each session teaches students the strategies for developing healthier behavioral patterns that support positive adaptation to stress, anxiety, and depression. The program provides unaffected participants with preventive techniques, while those already suffering from anxiety or depression are taught methods that build their resilience.

University Of Washington

The University Of Washington hosts The Whole U program which includes online classes in exercise and mindfulness seven days a week.

There are many ways to relieve stress. You could become part of a knitting group, learn how to cook new recipes, perform some yoga, etc. University of Washington’s stress relief is known as The Whole U. This features free events, virtual handouts, workouts, and many other activities all geared towards dealing with stress and connecting with your colleagues. Students are provided with meditations, encouraged to exercise in between studying, cultivate good posture and listen to playlists while doing yoga. Participating students are followed up to ensure compliance as these significantly affect your health and productivity.

University Of Virginia

The UVA Mindfulness Center offers a series of intense online courses in mindfulness designed to help students develop better mind/body connection.

The University of Virginia Mindfulness Center organizes intensive training courses that are sure to develop mindfulness skills, which is the practice of focusing on how one experiences a moment while it is happening. This helps students to be more attentive to the details of their daily dealings and easily identify their stressors. Having this level of insight is the first step to recovery, making these courses an essential tool for every nursing student at the University of Virginia. Practicing mindfulness is a good way to encourage the habit of making conscious decisions, which is a skill every student must possess in abundance.

Their efficient and inclusive students’ stress-relief programs are one of the reasons these are some of the best nursing schools in the world.

Join A Support Group of Co-workers

It is true that no one can understand the stress of being a nurse than another nurse. Therefore, a colleague is in the best position to identify with your problem and procure a viable solution, if they have encountered it before. It can be very helpful to have therapeutic vent sessions to not only share your problems but also rub minds on possible ways of improving the situation. This can even be organized after work, so as not to disrupt the work schedule. Using a more comfortable environment makes everyone more relaxed and eager to outline their issues.

Seek Help

Despite being a nurse, you should know that it is normal to seek professional help, if necessary. It is possible for the stress levels to get so high that it shows physical symptoms and strains relationships outside and within your workplace. At some point, stress might even affect your performance at work which puts patients at risk. If you find yourself in this dilemma, do not hesitate to visit a psychologist or counselor. You can even access the school’s relief program.

It is commonplace for nurses to care for others without looking out for their well-being. However, this is really unhealthy and should be discouraged. There’s no way you can adequately care for a patient if you are unwell yourself. So, endeavor to keep in touch with your feelings, recognize stress and reach out for help in case you find things overwhelming. This is integral to building a successful nursing career.

Don’t lose sight of your “why”

It is easy to lose sight of the prize when the stress builds up. But the prize is to be the best nurse you can be. The profession is a call to serve others so, irrespective of what you might be going through, it is very helpful to keep your focus on why you started in the first place. It might be a passion to help others, an interest in healthcare, or even a childhood dream, but your reason should be strong enough to keep you floating through the waves.

Conclusion

Nursing school shouldn’t be so challenging. However, the weight of the human lives in their care leads to high levels of stress. Although this cannot be eradicated, it can be effectively managed so you enjoy your education, while living in good health. Learning stress-relief techniques is also very important. Successfully reducing the effects of stress to the barest minimum is sure to make getting your advanced degree a walk in the park. You would get through any hard time by understanding that nothing good comes easy.

Factors Matter When Choosing A Nursing School

It might seem like a really stressful process to pick the perfect nursing school to attend, but if you know the necessary factors to consider, it doesn’t have to be. While actively researching nursing schools, there are three significant questions that you have to ask.

1. “What should I look out for?”
2. “How much does it cost?”
3. “Do they offer the specialty I want?””

Properly vetting a school before applying is very important because a quality program could set the tone for a great nursing career. Your friends at AspiringNurse.com are dedicated to helping nursing students in enter into this vast field of study.

Other Important Points To Consider

Cost of Nursing School

Although this should not deter you from picking a nursing school, you should have a good idea of the cost of obtaining a nursing education. Every student deserves a shot at getting the nursing education they dream, no matter their financial capacity. You should know that the cost varies based on the type of institution, where the school is situated, the availability of scholarships and more. Schools also provide nursing scholarships to help students with a percentage of the tuition fees. These schemes are created to lend a helping hand to potential students. Other options for nursing students include work-study programs, federal financial aid e.t.c. Therefore, a student should consider the amount they can get through scholarships, with how much they personally afford and the amount of debt they can take on before choosing a nursing school.

Approval and Accreditation

Do you know it is very important to find an accredited nursing school? Here’s why! If the nursing school you attend is not approved by the state board of nursing, their students would not be allowed to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam, which includes you. By now, you should know that every nursing student has to pass this exam to become a registered Nurse. Therefore, if you cannot sit for it, you would not be able to receive your nursing license.

Also, the easiest path to attending accredited schools for your advanced studies is graduating from another accredited one. You need to complete advanced courses to become a nurse educator, practitioner, nurse midwife or nurse anaesthetist.  The schools who offer advanced studies do not accept transfer of credits from an unaccredited program. Some institutions even only consider applicants that graduated from a CCNE-, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)-, or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA)-accredited program. Generally, healthcare employers are more interested in hiring graduates of an accredited school with national-standard training.

Passing the NCLEX

This is an important step in grading how your preferred school compares to the national average first-time pass rate of the nursing licensure exam. Based on a survey, it was established that in 2017, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree had a national average first-time pass rate of 90%. These are the schools to watch out for as an aspiring nurse.

The NCLEX is a highly rated qualification exam for nursing students and passing this exam in one sitting should be everyone’s priority. However, you should note that passing your NCLEX is totally up to you irrespective of what a nursing school’s first time NCLEX pass rate is. NCLEX is the acronym for National Council Licensure Examination and is a requirement for every nurse in any state. The cost of the exam is at least $200 with additional fees based on the state you live in. It is most economical to pass your exam at your first take. You can find out the pass rates of the best rated nursing schools around you and beyond. Those with the best rates have been said to be most successful in getting their students ready for the nursing practice.  

Rigorous Curriculum Standards

It takes a lot of intensive to train nursing personnel and you should pick a school with a rigorous curriculum that enables you get all the skills you need to succeed. A good nursing school should have a standard curriculum with activities as you move along the classes. Therefore, you should choose a program with NCLEX preparation integrated into their curriculum. Taking standardized tests before the exam can help with learning the tips and tricks of writing it. After graduation, a review course is a good way to facilitate an understanding of strategies specific to solving NCLEX-style questions. You can even try tests that are modelled like this national exam to help you create the feeling months before you sit for it.

Selecting a Specialty

There are students who already have their minds made up on the scope of nursing to specialize in. While some others are still looking to keep their options open. It is good to have an idea of your most likely specialty because this could have a bearing on the kind of program you would be choosing. You might want one with extra classes and more clinical time in specialties like acute care, cardiovascular, pediatric, surgical or neonatal nursing. A program with a wide array of courses would be better suited for students without a clear path. A student has to be in an advanced-level program before he/she can specialize. In nursing, advanced practices require a certain degree or qualification before they can be licensed. Therefore, endeavour to complete a basic course before applying for a specialized training program. You can consult AspiringNurse.com to find out more about nursing programs and ask questions on topics you find confusing.

Criteria for Selecting A School

The criteria for selecting a nursing school to attend almost never change. If you have an active interest in being a healthcare professional, helping people and working in a medical unit, building a career in nursing is an amazing way to channel your passions into making a positive impact. To be able to work as a nurse, first, you should obtain an education to learn the necessary skills for the job. These are some criteria to consider when selecting the best nursing school for you:

  • Is the program accredited?
  • Does the school’s program align with my career path?
  • Does the school focus on a broad range of nursing specialties?
  • How much clinical rotation time is offered?
  • Does the school have access to the latest equipment?
  • NCLEX and other licensing pass rates?
  • How is the schools career placement program?

Once you meet their prerequisites and admission requirements, you simply have to apply, carry out the important admission procedures and wait for a positive response. Believe in your abilities to become a top-rated nurse. You can do it!