My Best Tips for Pregnant Nurses

My Best Tips for Pregnant Nurses from a new mom and med-surg RN.

During my pregnancy, I worked up until the very last minute. Literally. My water broke at 38 weeks, 6 days while in a patient’s room! The shift before my water broke, I was performing CPR in order to save a patient’s life! It was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but I feel like I had a healthier pregnancy because I continued to work. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before following any advice because each and every pregnancy is unique!


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1 – Rest on your days off. Pregnancy makes you so exhausted and nursing is a physically demanding job. Don’t worry about a clean house and get some extra rest! I used my days off to lay around the house, and once at 37 weeks, spent the evening floating in the lazy river at a nearby water park! Seriously, your body needs to recover from working long hours with the extra weight of your baby, placenta, and all those fluids that keep your little one healthy in utero. If you’re determined to work until the end of your pregnancy, take advantage of those glorious off days to rest and relax!

2 – Don’t wait to get maternity scrubs. When I was pregnant I put off buying maternity scrubs because I felt they were an unnecessary expense until I was popping out of my regular scrub tops. So instead, I waddled around the hospital with my bump busting at the seams of my scrubs. When I made the switch to maternity scrubs, I was so much more comfortable! It even made doing my job easier. The expense of maternity scrubs was definitely worth the extra space for my growing belly. I felt like I could bend, breathe, and stretch so much better in my new scrubs. I really loved this maternity scrub set. The bow around the top of the bump was so cute to accentuate my changing belly! I also bought an extra pair of scrub pants so that I always had comfortable pants clean for work. Trust me on this, the sooner you switch, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Maternity pants are the best!

3 – Wear compression socks! My feet and legs would ache after a 12 hour shift! I remember getting in the car after working all night and feeling like my toes were throbbing. At the end of my pregnancy, my feet also became very swollen. Compression socks made a huge difference with the swelling and gave my tired feet some relief after long shifts. My sweet husband bought me these compression socks as a Mother’s Day present. They are a little expensive, but I plan on wearing them when I return to work after maternity leave to prevent varicose veins and protect my feet, so I think they’re worth it!

4 – Tell a coworker you trust. Before you feel like the time is right to formally announce your pregnancy to your supervisor or manager, consider telling a trusted coworker. That way if there is an emergency, someone is aware of your situation. One of the charge nurses that I work with realized I was pregnant even before I had told my parents! I was a little self conscious that she had found out so early in our pregnancy, especially because she found out when I became really nauseous at the nurse’s station. Looking back though, I’m glad she knew so early. If I had become injured or ill while at work, someone knew that I was carrying our baby and would be able to advocate for me if I was in a position where I couldn’t advocate for myself.

5 – Ask for help. Nursing can be a physically demanding job! Nurses who aren’t pregnant should ask for help lifting and moving patients, but you should be especially careful to request help with heavy lifting while you’re pregnant. You definitely don’t want to injure yourself or put your baby at harm.

6 – Bring extra snacks. I was so hungry throughout my pregnancy! It always seemed like I would be especially hungry in the middle of the night while documenting my patient assessments. There is always the temptation of splurging on something from the vending machine, but those salty snacks aren’t great for pregnancy because of the risks of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. I highly recommend bringing a variety and an abundance of foods from home. This will save you money and be much healthier for your pregnancy.

7 – Avoid contagious illnesses and avoid administering unsafe drugs. This one is a little harder, but some patient illnesses aren’t safe for pregnant moms to care for. Shingles is a big one, as well as patients who are receiving radiation treatment. Some drugs are unsafe for pregnant women to handle, so be careful around those as well. I know Coumadin is one drug to be cautious with, as well as chemotherapy drugs. Like always, talk with your doctor about their specific concerns, what to avoid, and your pregnancy.

8 – Stay in close touch with your doctor. My doctor knew I was a nurse and the demands that my body was going through at work during our pregnancy. Her and her staff were phenomenal about answering my questions and addressing my concerns, especially at the end of our pregnancy.

Congratulations and good luck, Nurse Mama! Take care of yourself while you’re taking care of others!

Just before my very last shift, 38 weeks, 6 days.
What advice would you share with pregnant nurses?

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
-Psalm 139:14

Love,

How to React When A Patient Becomes Angry

Nursing is a profession that is at the forefront of dealing with the public. Frequently, when nurses interact with patients and families, it is in their most difficult, scariest, and emotional days of their lives. As you can imagine, with emotions running high, patients and family members can often lash out and become irate. As a new nurse, I’ve found it difficult to deal with angry patients the first couple times I’ve encountered them. Here are some tips that have helped me learn to react when a patient becomes angry, maybe they’ll be helpful to you as well.

Helpful Article for Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals, tips and advice on how to react when a patient becomes angry.

1 – Empathize with your patient. Put yourself in their shoes! If you were in their circumstance, would you be afraid? Or annoyed? Or angry? Maybe their emotions are appropriate for the situation, even if it isn’t appropriate for them to lash out at the people who are trying to help them. Seeing things from your patient’s perspective will help you move the toward a positive outcome.

2 – Don’t take it personally. This is my biggest challenge when a patient expresses anger or frustration to me. I always feel like they are angry at me when in reality, they are angry with their situation. When I remind myself it isn’t me that has caused negative feelings, I can handle the situation better. I typically dwell on the conversation until I’ve convinced myself that it wasn’t my fault, so the sooner I remind myself not to take it personal, the better.

3 – Kill them with kindness. (Code Blue!) Sometimes just returning hurtful words with words that are kind and caring can completely alleviate a situation. Return their frustration with kindness and you might just get kindness back! And even if that doesn’t change your patient’s disposition, at least you tried.

4 – If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If you are unable to open your mouth without spewing venom in a situation where a patient becomes irate, it may be better off to not say anything at all. If your words could possibly make the situation worse instead of better, it’s probably best to keep them on the inside. This advice is one of the hardest tips to use in practice, but can definitely save yourself some trouble.

5 – Set some boundaries. Everyone has the right to feel angry, frustrated, confused, hurt, and sad. However, no one has the right to use these feelings as an excuse to be a bully. If a patient or family member continues to speak to you in a disrespectful manner, it may be time to set some boundaries. If a simple, “Mr. Smith, the way you are speaking to me is disrespectful.” doesn’t help the situation, consider asking your supervisor for some guidance.

6 – Remember how they made you feel. The sad, hard truth of life is that at some point, we will likely all experience a time when we, or a loved one, are the patient instead of the healthcare professional. In those difficult times, when you are upset or angry, instead of lashing out at your healthcare team, remember how it felt when you were on the other side of ugly words. And let me remind you, typically things don’t suddenly get accomplished just because you raise your voice.

Have you ever been in a situation where a patient became angry? How did you react or respond to them? Let me know in the comments!

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Love,


Cassie, RN




To the Kind of Nurse I Want To Be:

shiplap

To the kind of nurse I want to be:

I see you. I see you clogging through the halls in your danskos.  Your hair perfectly styled at the beginning of the shift has since been pulled into a messy bun. I see your pocketful of pens and highlighters. I see you analyzing labs and planning interventions. I see you predicting outcomes and calling doctors. I see how you interact with patients and make them laugh and smile. I see you.

And in you, I see the kind of nurse I want to be. I see my own pair of scuffed white nursing clogs, my own ponytail, my own pockets filled with my own favorite pens. I see you and I dream of having the instincts you have to analyze labs and predict outcomes. I pray that one day my hands won’t shake when I dial the number of a physician in the middle of the night. I hope that my patients respond as well to me as they do you. I see you, and I want to be you.

I see you, and I hope you see me too. I hope you see that this world is so new to me, so startling and surprising but somehow also magical. I hope you see that my eyes are wide in anticipation to learn and grow. I hope you see me trying my hardest and doing my very best. I hope you see that I’m still learning, but that I never want to stop learning. I hope you see that I care. I hope you see me.

I hope you see me, and I hope when you see me, you see yourself. I hope you see your own brand new scrubs and new danskos. I hope you see the first time you ever truly understood the meaning behind lab values. I hope you see yourself the first time you didn’t have to google the name of a generic drug to remember it’s trade name. I hope you see me and see your own first victory dance after a series of successful IVs.

So to the kind of nurse I want to be, when you see me, I hope you’ll smile and encourage me. Teach me something that will make me better. Don’t expect me to know it all, but do have high expectations of me. Let me take the lead every now and then. Let me show you how much I know. When you correct me, do it with kindness. When I make a mistake, show me the correct way to do it for next time. Share with me everything this profession has given to you, I’ll hang on to every detail. Don’t leave out a thing, I’m listening.

I see you, and I hope you see me, too. You’re the kind of nurse I want to be. Don’t forget that.

 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Love,

cassie