Thursday, January 29, 2015

NCLEX-RN Triage: Examining the Fears of Canadian Nursing Students

Canadian and American nurses will now be writing the same exam for entry into the nursing profession. The NCLEX-RN will be measuring the preparedness of nursing students in both Canada and the United States. While some nurses are excited about being certified under the broader umbrella, others are worried that the American testing format may jeopardize their potential for approval.

One of the early fears was that the test would be administered in an imperial format. This, of course, would be completely unfair for Canadian nursing students. Rest assured, the Canadian format of the NCLEX-RN uses metric measurements.

Another fear of Canadian students is that the test will be biased towards a private healthcare model. Canadian nursing boards promise this will not be the case.

Bill Clarke, from the College of Nurses of Ontario, stresses that the test is in place to evaluate the skill, knowledge and judgment of Canadian nurses. "This exam does not test the writer's knowledge of different legislation or policies, cultural values or health care environments. It only tests what is required for entry-level nursing practice, and helps ensure that applicants will be able to provide safe care as they begin their nursing careers."

The most obvious change will be the exam question format. The NCLEX uses a computer-adapted test that varies questions depending on the answers given during an initial question period. This change does not favour an American education.

Some nursing schools in Canada have started to workshop NCLEX exam taking scenarios that mimic the adaptive test format. Many nurses are looking to private education training like the classes being taught by PRIMED Educational Associates. PRIMED offers NCLEX review sessions that focus on specific material while providing students with valuable test-taking strategies for computer-adapted testing.

The first round of tests is this January. It will be interesting to see how Canadian students fair against their American counterparts. There are already plans in place to audit all of the Canadian nurses that were tested in 2015 at the end of the year. This process, along with other checks and balances, will help Canadian nurses and educators gauge the effectiveness of the exam.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Working on Those Night Moves: The RN Night Shift

The Night Shift

The nursing field is one of the few careers where working shift work is almost guaranteed. Most nurses know this going in, but not all are prepared for the grueling schedule of the night shift.
As nurses, our patients' health is our number one priority. But before we start to offer care to others in need, we should always remember to take care of our own bodies. Below is a short list of ways nurses can maintain a healthy lifestyle while working nights:

Before Work
-The night (day) before your shift, make sure to prioritize your sleep time. Eight hours is the suggested time for mental and physical recuperation.
-Arrive at work with a healthy meal inside of you. Don't overload on one particular food group. Try to have an even spread.
-Schedule your week before it begins. Ask to have your days off together. Make a plan to meet with your friends and loved ones. It is extremely important for shift workers to keep their connections with their private life. Make the effort and plan to socialize on your days off or before a shift.
-Schedule regular checkups with your doctor. You need to pay even more attention to your body and overall health when working against nature's natural rhythms.

During Work
-Drink more water. Water flushes out toxins, ensures hydration and keeps you awake.
-Get your tedious tasks done early. You don't want to be stuck with a mound of paperwork at 4 a.m., the time most nurses feel a considerable drop in energy.
-Avoid the quick boosts. Donuts, cookies and cakes are not your friends. At least while you're working. They are wonderful treats to indulge in after hours, but during work, they only offer a temporary spike followed by a greater dip.
-Some experts suggest grazing, small snacks of healthy food throughout your shift.
-Be safe on your break. When you work nights, your breaks are usually taken in the dark. If you do plan to leave your facility, make sure to tell one of your colleagues.

After Work
-If possible take public transit or get a ride
-Wear dark sunglasses driving home, so the morning sun doesn't disrupt your melatonin production.
-If you feel tired on the drive, pull over immediately. Car pooling is one way you can increase your safety on your commute. Keeping a conversation will keep you stimulated and two pairs of eyes on the road is always better than one.
-Have a light meal before heading to bed. Some experts suggest sticking with the meals consistent with day work.
-Make sure your room is as dark as possible. Black out blinds or black paper over your windows will limit the amount of sunshine entering your bedroom. This will help your body nod off.
-Use fans to drown out the noises outside of your room.

-Always remember to turn off all your electrical devices, or at least turn them to silent.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NCLEX Prep Flashcards

NCLEX Prep Flashcards - How they Help With Knowledge Retention

PRIMED Educational Associates offers an intensive two-day NCLEX-RN prep workshop. PRIMED tackles clinical scenarios and discusses what best nursing practices fit the situation. PRIMED reviews the fundamental concepts covered on the NCLEX-RN and assists students in their studying habits.

At the end of the course, PRIMED offers additional tools to support their NCLEX-RN prep graduates. One of these tools is the flashcard set. Flashcards have always been a tried-and-tested study supplement for exam-takers. They provide the perfect tool for self-assessment and promote active recall for a variety of different learning styles. PRIMED's cards are online, so students can bring them everywhere their laptop or tablet can go. The flashcard addition is the ideal course takeaway to keep the finer details fresh.

The metacognitive engagement of flashcards helps students create an accurate measure of their exam preparedness while strengthening their overall knowledge. Students who work with flashcards are constantly assessing their own skills. A right answer is coded into knowledge. This creates a confidence level that eliminates anxiety and brain blocks. Research shows that Incorrect answers, especially ones where a student strongly believes they know the answer, results in the right answer being firmly set in the memory of the student. 

Flashcards work the best with visual learners. These are often students who take an abnormal amount of notes in class. They learn best when the source material is displayed in a visual format, such as a diagram, map, book or model. Flashcards offer visual leaners a perfect format for knowledge retention.

Auditory learners are most engaged when in a classroom setting. For private study, auditory learners can read aloud the flashcard question and then respond. Their own auditory clues will help them remember the answers. Auditory learners are easy to spot in a exam room. They are the ones mouthing the questions, trying to use barely audible sounds to trigger their brain's active recall.

The last learning style is kinesthetic. Flashcards are of little use for these learners. They learn best when in the lab, employing tactile learning techniques. They need physical interaction for optimal retention.

While flashcards are a valuable tool for most learners, there is no substitute for classroom engagement. Signup for your NCLEX-RN prep session today and keep your self-assessment score at its peak.