Archive for August 19, 2016

What NOT to Wear, Emory Edition

When I started nursing school last fall at Emory, one of the more confusing topics (aside from Pathophysiology) was the dress code for clinical and lab settings. I had heard from other students that it was allowable to wear certain articles of clothing or shoes, while the student handbook stated differently.

First thing’s first: When in doubt, GO BY THE STUDENT HANDBOOK! If you are ever questioning whether or not you are appropriately attired for clinical or lab refer to the written guidelines.

Below is your basic uniform for clinical and lab. Honestly, this is all you need (plus white socks!). The simpler, the better.

IMG_6635Here are some tips on what NOT to wear in the lab or clinical setting:

1. Nail Polish/Fake Nails. Trust me on this one, y’all. You will want to be able to see what is under those finger nails after a 12 hour shift of wound care. Also, fake nails are known to slice through gloves and get lost in patients’ bed sheets (yuck!)

2. Your Hair Down. Tie that hair back! The last thing you want is your hair dragging through a patient’s wound or blocking your eyesight while trying to insert an IV. It’s a good idea to always carry extra hair ties and clips.

3. Tattoos. Emory requires that you cover up any visible tattoos while you are in the lab and at your clinical sites. I’ve seen some pretty creative ways to cover up a tattoo, but I’ve heard that bandaids usually work the best. However, some people use makeup as well depending on the size and placement of the tattoo. It would be best to do some trial and error to discover what works before your first day of lab.

4. Long Sleeve Shirts Under Your Scrub Top. Coming from someone who is permanently cold, this can be very difficult. However, it is against the guidelines to wear a long-sleeve shirt under your scrub top for sanitary purposes. Instead, you can purchase a navy blue or white cuffed long-sleeved jacket to keep you warm in lab or at your clinical sites. Uniform Advantage has cuffed, long-sleeved jackets available and you can get our logo embroidered on it through them.

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5. Jewelry that Dangles….Or Jewelry in General. For the most part, wearing jewelry at lab or in clinical is not a good idea. Anything that dangles from your wrist, your neck, or your ears is bound to get caught on something or worse, caught IN something (*shudders*). Rings can also cause a problem as they can easily slice through gloves. A good rule of thumb is just to leave your jewelry at home where it is safe and out of the way. One small stud per ear is okay, and wedding bands are permissible. Do not, I repeat, do not wear your engagement ring to lab or clinical! I heard a horrible story about a nursing student who lost the stone from her engagement ring while changing a patient’s bed and it was never found.

6. Your Workout Sneakers. While at your clinical sites you are going to step in some gross stuff and even more gross stuff is going to spill on your shoes (I speak from unfortunate experience). You want to wear shoes that are durable and can easily be washed. Get some comfortable, solid white or black leather or vinyl shoes and leave your sneakers at home. Once again, Uniform Advantage has a great shoe selection, but there are other shopping options (such as Amazon) that you can explore.

7. Jeans. I know, I know, this one seems obvious, but it needs to be said. There will be times when you will need to wear your long, white lab coat and under that lab coat can be a) your Emory scrubs or b) business casual attire. NO JEANS! See below for some appropriate examples.

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8. Open-Toed Shoes. One of the most painful experiences that I have had is a gurney rolling over my toes, and I was wearing close-toed shoes. Imagine if they had been open….needless to say, all shoes must be close-toed in the lab and in the clinical setting.

9. Forgetting Your ID Badge. You need to have your ID badge with you AT ALL TIMES in the lab and at the clinical sites. That badge is your lifeline and it helps to identify you as an Emory student. It helps you get in and out of parking garages, medication rooms, and hospital units, just to name a few. It is costly to replace and difficult to go a day without, so be diligent about keeping it within reach.







Nursing school tips

Nursing school is all about time management. There needs to be time to learn, study and have fun!

I have realized that the best way to prepare yourself for nursing school is to have a planner or calendar where you can put all assignments, exams and events. This helps with staying on top of things once the semester starts to become hectic. Ensure that you incorporate time for what you love most such as family, friends and pets. This definitely helps ease the stress levels.

Also making or joining a study group is helpful, by keeping each other on track and making new friends. There are also clubs and organizations, such as Admission Ambassadors. You can join this and represent the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, by assisting with alumni events, open houses, tours, etc.

There are elective courses such as Research Residency that is a great way to stay involved with upcoming research, and interacting with Professors. I had the opportunity of working with Dr. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah on her Afro Cardio Metabolic Study, which focused on African immigrant health in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It was an amazing experience, I participated during the spring and summer semester. I was able to get CITI certification, learn how to operate RedCAp database, enter data and collect data from the volunteers.

Nurses are well rounded individuals and nursing school prepares us to manage multiple task at any given time.

Preventing and Responding to Venomous Snakebites

CopperheadMSN student Caitlin Cundiff participated in Dian Evans’ Environmental Emergencies lecture last month, which included information about patient treatment and monitoring after venomous snakebites. Little did she know how quickly she would be employing the evidence-based guidelines and management strategies for treating snakebites that she learned in class. While on her hospital medicine rotation in the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department, Caitlin was called to join a hospital medicine team that was in the process of treating a patient who had been bitten by a three-foot copperhead snake. Caitlin used her training to teach the Emergency Department nurses and hospital medicine staff about how to prepare and use anti-venom and how to monitor patients for progressive envenomation. While this particular patient’s bite was clinically mild and did not require antivenom, medical treatment is always advised to minimize tissue damage the risk of secondary infection.

Snakebites are common in the Southeastern United States, especially during warmer months when snakes are more active and people are spending more time outdoors. Copperheads are particularly abundant in the Atlanta area and are responsible for the majority (50 percent) of venomous snakebites. Copperheads have a copper-colored triangular-shaped head and are usually a tan to copper color with hourglass markings on their back. Their muted colors enable them to blend in well with leaves and bushes, increasing chances of an accidental encounter. While venom from a Copperhead snake is rarely fatal to humans, any venomous snakebite can become serious health emergency.

Keep the following tips in mind to protect yourself and your health.

  • Do not pick up or try to kill venomous snakes. If you see one, walk the other way and call animal control.
  • If you attempt to kill a copperhead, and they look dead, they can still bite and inject venom reflexively. Don’t pick them up!!
  • Copperhead bites are very painful and can cause progressive tissue swelling, bruising and bleeding.
  • The best treatment for a copperhead bite is to immediately get to the nearest emergency department.
  • If bitten on an extremity remove all constricting rings and jewelry, then elevate and extend the limb to reduce swelling and tissue damage around joints.
  • Do not cut a bite wound to try to get it to bleed more or to suck out the venom as this can cause a serious infection and won’t help reduce the venom effects.
  • Do not apply ice or an Ace wrap to the wound as this can worsen tissue damage.
  • Keep track of the time that you were bitten because once you arrive for care in the emergency department your wound will be evaluated for progressive envenomation by measuring the degree of swelling around the wound every 15-20 minutes.
  • Antivenom may need to be given based on how rapidly the bitten area swells and where the bite is located.

For more information on venomous snakes and treatment guidelines, click here.