Nurse Spotlight: Ashley Sayles, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC

Hey Guys! Everyone meet Ashley Sayles! 

 

Check out her feature interview with Not Just Nurses founder Brianna Bradley below:

When asked, “How do you live the mantra of Not Just Nurses each day? Ashley replied, “Just a Nurse” is an oxymoronic phrase. On any given day, a nurse is your social worker, a pharmacist, a chaplain, a parent, a chef, a housekeeper, a therapist and/or a physician- and that just during their shift! When we go home, we’re spouses, children, caretakers, students, hikers, runners, parents/ grandparents, travelers, fashionistas, social media personalities, bloggers, models, the list goes on.  Ashley Sayles is a pediatric nurse practitioner from Jamaica Queens, NYC.  She started her nursing journey a few years back.  She graduated with her BSN in 2014 and started working in the nursing field in 2015.  Ashley also obtained her Master’s degree in 2017, both from John’s Hopkins University.

 

Ashley goes on to say, “For me, I remind myself everyday that being a nurse (or nurse practitioner) means so much more than the duties described in my job description.”   She reminds herself that there is always room to learn and grow and that she would be limiting herself if she buys into the “just a nurse” mindset.  Ashley went back to school to become a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner because she values the impact a nurse practitioner can make in preventive care for children.  She started to teach pediatric clinical to help mold future pediatric nurses be independent thinkers, empathic providers, and to acknowledge how much they have to offer our profession in their own unique way.  Lastly, Ashley shares her journey to and through nursing to help inspire other people with great life experiences to consider nursing no matter what reservations they may have about their ability to do well.

 

One piece of advice that Ashley would give to nursing students or aspiring nurses is, “nursing students and aspiring nurses bring a lot to the table and should always remember that! “ Nursing is a profession that thrives off each nurse’s individual experiences, talents and interests and our ability to collaboratively integrate our difference into excellent patient care.”  She adds, “While some aspiring nurses will have experience in the medical field they can apply to their nursing practice, many, like myself, will not and will need to find ways to apply the experience they do have to nursing.” Ashley has always wanted to work with children.  She used her experience working with a mentor-ship program for young girls in college as a way to help her relate to young female patients that she may encounter in her practice.  She also tapped into her personal experience as a pediatric patient to remind herself how to care and be empathic towards a hospitalized pediatric patient in ways she would have liked to be cared for. She goes on to explain, “If you’ve ever worked retail, tap into your customer service with smile skills to work through difficult patient and family situations. If you were a server, remember your multitasking skills and keeping orders straight in your head.  You’d be surprised how much you learn about being a nurse through every other experience you’ve had in life- don’t be afraid to show them off!”

I asked Ashley how she uses her journey to inspire others and spread love.  Her response left me in tears! She replied, “This past year, I decided to be a bit more candid about my life on social media.  I shared my personal and professional journeys with my small but loyal following to let them know I am not perfect by any means and that I make many mistakes.  I shared details about my failed marriage and being a domestic violence survivor while working full time as a PICU nurse, pursuing my master’s degree.  This was not to show how amazing I am, but to show how possible it is for anyone who may be second guessing themselves.  I find that on social media we see LOTS of ups and we fail to celebrate overcoming downs and I want to change that.  I want to show the fabulous life of nursing- the financial freedom, the amazing medical successes we witness everyday, but I think it’s important to talk about the days we dread as well.  Returning to work after being bullied by a peer deserves just as much praise and acknowledgment as graduating with your bachelors or passing NCLEX! While some things just “come with the job,” I feel it’s important that we create a space to discuss those things in order to prevent nurse burnout and increase our morale.”

 

Ashley is the epitome of what Not Just Nurses embodies! We value our downfalls just as much as our success.  We want to continue pushing the narrative that anything is possible and showing how we overcome our lows helps others with their journeys as well! Because let’s face it we don’t overcome things to keep how we over came it a secret!

How I Passed the NCLEX in 75 Questions

Hey Guys!

So I always get asked a few questions all the time! “How did you pass the NCLEX in 75 questions,” “How did you study,” and most of all “what materials did you use to study?” So since it is the summer time and I know the nursing students out there are currently studying to sit for boards I wanted to share with y’all how I did it and hopefully it will help you guys!

 

Scrubs by HeartSoul Scrubs

Studying for the NCLEX… How did I do it?

The way I chose to study was rather unconventional and not the normal way nursing students usually study for the NCLEX.  The NCLEX also known as the National Council Licensure Examination.  This is required before practicing as a nurse in any state after you have successfully graduated from your nursing program. As you guys know, I failed my first nursing program it was tough and I wasn’t mentally ready!  I had to change my major to Psychology, which is what my first Bachelor degree is in.  After that, I was accepted to Bryant & Stratton College, which is a school geared towards working adults that offered an associate degree nursing track.  This program was about 20 months long. After I graduated, I studied for about 3 weeks and passed the test on my first try in 75 questions! Jesus was on my side okkkuurrrr *Cardi B voice*  The NCLEX is set up to test according to proficiency. So the more proficient you are the harder the questions get!  I myself literlly had majority select all that apply, which is torture lol!  But when that screen turned blue after my 75th question I knew I was in good shape!

 

Study Tips

Okay so first things first…. I paid for zero study materials! What a blessing right lol Like most schools, my school used ATI throughout our coursework so because of that we were offered a week long ATI review session that was taught by an ATI representative.  I found this quite helpful.  We were also able to take a practice test that showed our strengths and weaknesses.  That is actually what I used to gear what I would study.  My school also offered the Hurst Review for free as well.  That was also a week long.  We could choose between one or the other or both.  I didn’t think both were necessary so I stuck with ATI.  I also used the Saunders review book for study questions as well. From my practice test results I chose my weakest points to spend the most time on.  I also went over my strong points too. I strategically made a schedule for three weeks on when I would study, eat, sleep, take a break, etc.  I also still worked during this time….. WHEW CHILE!

 

Study schedule went something like this yall lol….

Monday: Work 7p-7a

Tuesday: Work 7p-7a

Wednesday: Rest until 4pm

5pm: Eat Dinner

6pm-8pm: Study Endocrine and Gastrointestinal Systems

8pm-845pm: Break

9pm-10pm: Do study questions in Saunders for Endocrine and Gastrointestinal systems

Rest!!

Thursday: Wake up at 8am and have breakfast

9am-11am: Study Cardiovascular and Respiratory systems

11am-1145am: Break

12pm-1pm: ATI practice questions for Cardiovascular/Respiratory systems

1pm-2pm: Eat Lunch……………..I think you guys get the point lol!

Where are these review books you speak of?

You can buy the Saunders review book at places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.  Shoot if I were y’all lol I would google to find the best price of the book and go from there! Another added resource I used was the Hurst Review book!  I’ll post some pics of the books below as well. You can also use flash cards, which is what I used to study pharmacology.  Honestly, it just proved to be easier.  I’m not a song person so I didn’t make any up, but I know nurses who thrive off of mnemonics and if that helps you… Go For It!  I also drew some diagrams! Understand, I am not the best artist but this really helped me with the identifying the different symptoms of right and left heart failure, the flow of blood through the heart, etc!  I just like to visualize things you know!

Image result for saunders nclex comprehensive review    

 

Major Key Alert!

The last tips I want to give you guys is about planning when to take the NCLEX, costs, and some suggestions on how you may want to set this all up.  First I would ask your school if they cover the cost of the NCLEX.  My nursing school had an incentive for us.  Once we were determined to be ready to take the NCLEX this was done by the Dean of the school.  She scheduled appointments with us individually and went over our ATI results to see where we were.  If she didn’t think we were ready she would have us go back and review for a few weeks and meet with her again.  Each time we had to take a comprehensive review to show our strengths and weaknesses.  This helped me a great deal because I was able to see where I was with everything.  Once the dean determined you were ready.  She gave us a gift card that would cover the cost of the exam.  Since I was in a city where there were many nursing schools I had to travel an two hours out to take my test!

Tip: Set your date if time and finances allow you to do so.  You can always change it if you need to!

I think this is a good way to give you a layout of how much time you are giving yourself to study.  This can also help you plan the next couple of months of your life, or however long you plan to study for.  This way you are not fighting or having to wait for a date to take the exam!  Once I had my date I continued to study and the day before the exam I did not pick up one book I just relaxed and let my brain rest.  I know you’re probably asking did I have to give the money back the school paid? The answer is NOPE lol! Even the students who weren’t successful the first time didn’t have to repay the school they were just responsible for covering their cost for retaking the exam. So if your schoolhas any incentive please take them up on it!  I know many who want to sit for boards but cannot afford to!  So an incentive could definitely help!

The next day when I woke up at 9:30 am I was officially a registered nurse!  It was one of my proudest moments to date!  So I hope these tips can help you guys on your journey to the NCLEX!  If you guys have any questions please comment below I am so here to help all of you!

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Nurse Spotlight: Celestine Jean

Hey Guys! Meet Celestine Jean!

 

Celestine is the founder and CEO of Scrub Addict. Celestine Jean was born in Nassau, Bahamas. After a brief stop in Freeport, she and her family moved to Miami, Florida in 1993. She is the daughter of a hard-working single mother, and she grew up understanding the meaning and benefits of a diligent work ethic. Even with a grueling work schedule, Jean’s mother made time to ensure that her daughters focused on school and were active participants in their church. At seventeen, however, Jean became a mother herself.

Determined to provide for her young son, Jean refused to become another teen mom statistic.  After a short career as a model and an attempt at starting a modeling agency, Jean turned to nursing as a career option. Jean enrolled at Sheridan Technical Center and successfully completed their Certified Nursing Assistant program. Not satisfied with that achievement, she added a certification in Phlebotomy and eventually became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Inspired by her continued educational and professional growth, Jean effectively balanced motherhood, her nursing responsibilities and academic requirements to earn the credential of Registered Nurse and subsequently, a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

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Working full time in hospitals, Jean was recognized by colleagues as being fashion forward in the way that she presented herself. Jean made a fashion statement on every shift that she worked despite being limited to the traditional attire of the nursing profession: Scrubs.

Jean’s experience as a model had afforded her a certain fashion sense that she translated into her professional appearance as a nurse. According to Jean; “I was addicted to scrubs” and her appreciation of the versatility of the bland and baggy nursing uniform led to an idea. Why not design a better fitting and better looking version of the traditional scrubs? After all, a well put together nurse is aesthetically pleasing to patients and can do wonders for the self-image of the nurse wearing them. The Scrub Addict concept was born, and now it had to be nurtured.

Jean’s keen eye for fashion made designing the Scrub Addict line relatively easy, the challenge came when she attempted to find a local manufacturer equipped and willing to produce her designs. Though she was met with some resistance from manufacturers who attempted to place financial barriers in front of her, in her customary style, Jean just went around them. Fueled by the persistent nature that helped her excel in the nursing profession, she was able to secure a manufacturer! Jean officially launched her scrub line and website in late Spring of 2016.

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Scrub Addict is poised to change the look of medical professionals, male and female. Jean’s scrub offerings don’t only address the aesthetics of fit and design, but issues of functionality. Customers will have the option of purchasing insulated variations of the Scrub Addict ensembles to keep them warm even in the coldest facilities or during the most frigid of winter weather. With the debut of Scrub Addict comes the realization of another accomplishment for Celestine Jean, and a “cure for the common scrub” for medical professionals throughout the world.  Jean has also headlined her own fashion show for the last three years!  She is a speaker, panelist, and encourages anyone who comes in contact with her. She is a pillar in her community, an awesome mom, and, a role model for nurses and new entrepreneurs.  Celestine Jean is Not Just A Nurse!

HOW TO GET A JOB AFTER NURSING SCHOOL…

 

Hey Guys!

So I wanted to give you guys some tips on how to land a job after nursing school! The beauty of Nursing is its versatility. Nursing has so many different facets to it; You could be a school’s Nurse or a clinical professor, you could work in a clinic, or do research. The options are limitless, except when you are a new grad. Unfortunately, because most nursing jobs require a year or two of experience, it might seem a little difficult or overwhelming to find a job as a new graduate.  After months of job hunting, and so many rejections later I learned a thing or two here are some of the most helpful tips I have found & applied.

7  TIPS TO HELP YOU LAND YOUR FIRST NURSING JOB.

  1. FIND YOUR NICHE: What are you passionate about? What area of Nursing peaks your interest?  Like I said in the beginning Nursing is a very versatile field. Finding your Niche or passion makes job searching a little easier. Knowing what areas of Nursing peaks your interest would help you create a career goal. So, say for example your goal is to become a flight Nurse: to attain that goal you would first need to have at least 2-3 years of critical care experience (ICU, & ER), so you can start your hunt looking for jobs in the critical care field.  Understandably it might take time, and experience to find what you are passionate about. Some people know even before starting Nursing school exactly what they want to do, and if you are anything like me I figured out what I wanted to do my very last semester in Nursing school, and some people figure things out while they are on the job, and that is okay too. However, if you already know what you are passionate about, use that to your advantage, and create strategies that would help you attain your goals while you are on the hunt.
  2. START EARLY: It is never too early to start job hunting or at least looking to see what kind of jobs are out there for you. I started seriously searching toward the end of February, even though I graduated in May. Most hospitals offer new graduate nurse opportunities, and since graduation usually falls in December, and May, hospitals are more inclined to put up job positions and start interviewing a couple of months in advance.
  3. APPLY TO NURSE RESIDENCY OR INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS: Many hospitals now offer residency or internship programs for Nurses in different clinical areas (labor, and delivery nurse residency program, or critical care nurse residency programs). These programs aim at helping the new nurse transition smoothly into bedside Nursing, or they help a Nurse transition from one area of nursing into another (e.g., a medical, surgical nurse transitioning into the critical care field.) The program aids transitioning by providing mentor-ship, longer teaching, and orientation periods, more advanced, and comprehensive education tailored to that specific area. In my opinion, and from my experience every new graduate should start out in a residency, and or internship program. They provide support for the New graduate nurse for about a year. I have not found a major difference between, internships, and residency programs. They offer the same benefits, and support.  I have found that the internship programs in most facilities are usually a little longer, and slightly more intense. Depending on the area you reside getting into an internship or residency program can be slightly competitive, it is advisable to start looking, and applying early.
  4. CREATE AN IMPRESSIVE RESUME: A resume should be short, and sweet, highlighting your strongest assets. When creating a Nursing resume as a new graduate, be sure to include clinical experiences, externships, or shadow experiences, nurse technician experiences if any.
  5. NETWORK, AND MARKET YOURSELF: You are your best advocate and hype man. A handful of my classmates got job offers while still in school, and during their clinical experience. If you find yourself in a facility, an area that you are interested in during your clinical rotation, find the manager and discuss job opportunities available. Be on your very best behavior, ask questions, find an opportunity or an area of need, and offer to help, do things that would distinguish you from your peers.
  6. GET A GRADUATE NURSE PERMIT: Unfortunately, I do not know the laws of Nursing in all 50 states. However, I know some states let you practice with a graduate nurse permit. “GN permits are issued for first time RN Candidates for temporary authorization to practice as a graduate nurse, under the direct supervision of a registered nurse.” To obtain a GN Permit, you have to be a graduate of an accredited Nursing school obviously and turn in all the necessary paperwork to your board of Nursing, e.g., background check, transcript, letter from the dean. (These are things you should have already sent to the board, to get approval to register for the NCLEX, so you do not have to send it in again). Some facilities let you work with GN Permit with a time frame for you to take the NCLEX.
  7. TAKE THE NCLEX AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: Studies show that the sooner you take the Nclex after graduation, the greater your chances are of passing it on the first try. Give yourself about a month of studying, and then take it. Managers are more inclined to higher you if they know you plan on taking your Nclex as soon as you get the chance.

I hope these tips help you guys!

-Nurse Chi Chi

 

Why Self-Care Will Help You Live Your Best Life!

 

For those who may not know, I am a huge self-care advocate. To love yourself is not an act of selfishness, it’s an act of self-care and should be done so unapologetically. Taking the time to address your body’s needs physically, intellectually, and spiritually is the key to how you live your best life!  When you practice self-care, you emit self-love. The act of self-care improves your effectiveness, relieves stress, and produces positive energy, refining your confidence and self-esteem.

Here are some beneficial self-care tips that I practice that will help your well-being:

  • Give yourself some regularly scheduled “Me time.” And in this time do things such as getting your hair or nails done, a massage etc.
  • Set small goals and praise yourself when you reach them.
  •  Journal your thoughts. Anything you are thinking, feeling write it down! Accept it, realize it.
  • Write positive affirmations. My personal favorites are I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH, I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MYSELF, I CHOOSE TO CREATE THE LIFE THAT I WANT. Recite them daily.
  • Learn something new or research something you’re interested in.
  • Meditate and learn mindfulness.
  • Take a warm bubble bath or long shower, lounge in your bathrobe, and read.
  • Help someone whether it’s carrying a bag or opening a door.
  • Stretch. 5-10 minutes to get out the crooks and kinks helps your body and mind.
  • Spend time with real friends and other people who uplift you. Happy Hour is a must for me!
  • Set appointments and go to the doctor, dentist etc., to stay current on your physical health

 

To do everything right and still feel unworthy, I know exactly what that feels like. I know what it feels like to lose confidence and the ability to love myself unconditionally. To lose confidence in my career, my business, my spirit, everything! Because for so long I sought after the need to be loved by someone else, not realizing that the ideal love was inside of me all along. So during the process of fulfilling that ideal love I realized how important self-care truly is. I have always been a self-care advocate, especially for those in healthcare. The act of self-care is what inspired me to start my business, The NurseBOX in the first place. But to undergo transition of growth outside of the workplace, self-care practice is what truly helped me in my overall process of healing. It was taking the time to love myself and using self-care to help me live my best life!

I hope you find these self-care tips useful and remember to love yourself!

-Taylor, creator of The NurseBOX