Life as a Student Nurse

Why isn’t this taught in the nursing textbooks? Where is the skills test for this in nursing school? Making good coffee as a nurse is that important. We’re talking patient safety here!

I ditched my automatic drip coffee maker years ago and traded it in for the pour over method. The equipment involved never fails (ceramic or glass dripper, electric kettle, and a grinder). And with just a little practice, it takes the same amount of time AND tastes 100 times better. I am not kidding.

Try it for yourself and ditch the Folgers!

  1. Determine the type of roast that you prefer and purchase whole bean coffee. Light roasts retain the most coffee flavor and the most caffeine. It is my favorite roast, but can be too acidic for some taste buds. Dark roasts are roasted for a longer period of time and have the least amount of caffeine. Dark roasts usually bring out the flavor of the roast rather than the bean, and they tend to taste smokey, bitter, or even burnt. Medium roasts strike a balance between the two, which appeals to many coffee drinkers.
  2. Grind beans immediately before brewing. Beans contain oils that will go rancid once they are exposed to air. For the freshest tasting coffee, grind immediately before you brew!
  3. Use enough coffee. A general rule of thumb is to use two heaping tablespoons of ground coffee for each six ounces of water. Measure it out the first time and you’ll get a good feel for how to eyeball it in the future.
  4. Add a pinch of salt. I’m serious. Salt brings out the flavors of whatever you are making. If you want your hot chocolate to taste more chocolatey, add a pinch of salt! Want a more savory chicken noodle soup? Add a pinch of salt. Same for coffee! It won’t taste salty, I promise!
  5. Set up your equipment. Place a filter in the dripper. Add the grounds and salt, and place the dripper over a carafe.
  6. Use an electric kettle to heat the water. This is important because you want the water to be at just the right temperature. If it’s too hot (boiling), it will burn the coffee. If it’s not hot enough, it won’t extract the beans properly. Best way to ensure the appropriate temperature is reached is to use an electric kettle and turn it off when you hear the water quiet down just before the boil.
  7. Pour the water. Take 15 seconds to pour just enough water to cover and saturate the beans. When the water drops to the bottom of the filter, pour more water over the beans. Repeat until you’ve used up your water.
  8. Enjoy! And kick that next shift in the butt!
Read more

What do you think about me doing weekly posts with updates and my plan for the week? I’m thinking about it…mostly because I’m addicted to planning. The accountability helps, too. 😉

Friday tends to be the first day of the week for me, so these posts will likely show up on Fridays. I have class on Thursdays, so I usually spend Thursday afternoon relaxing from all of the preparation it took to get to Thursday. I use Friday as a day to look ahead and plan for the following Thursday’s class.

This week…I need to focus on really getting this content down. The tests have been more difficult this semester, and I need to figure out what I need to change in order to improve. I’m doing fine. I just know I could do better. Please leave your tips or encouragement in the comment section. 🙂

In other news, I received my nursing pin in the mail today. I purchased it on Etsy…you can find it here if you would like to purchase one for yourself!



  1. Take one Kaplan test (I’m trying to be better about answering NCLEX questions daily).
  2. Read pharmacology content for Thursday (we have a case study on infectious diseases).
  3. Clean the house (I had a test yesterday…’nuff said).


  1. Take one Kaplan test.
  2. Read about infection control precautions.
  3. Read about infectious diseases in the Med/Surg book.


  1. Create two tables. One for infectious diseases and one for medications to treat infectious diseases.
  2. Hang out with Mark & Kass!


  1. Complete case study for Thursday.
  2. Take one Kaplan test.


  1. Finish creating tables from Sunday.
  2. Review notes.


  1. Meet up with my study group to go over Thursday’s case study.
  2. Take a long nap. 🙂
Read more

The time I’m in class or clinical during the week is pretty minimal this semester. I have class once a week for three hours, and I have clinical on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of February. I’ll be starting my preceptorship later in the semester, but my schedule is pretty light compared to previous semesters.

My instructors have warned us about the dangers we face with this level of freedom in fourth semester. Plus, there is this thing called senioritis (related to studying too much in the previous three semesters as evidenced by exhaustion and an f*** it all mentality). So, I’m trying to fight against senioritis the best way I can…with a (care) plan. I’m all about making plans and checklists.


  1. Finish typing my journal for clinical about patient education.
  2. Read the material for Thursday’s case study lecture.
  3. Type agenda for Monday’s nursing club officers’ meeting.


  1. Complete case study for Thursday.
  2. Attend nursing club officers’ meeting.
  3. Complete service learning hours at Union Gospel Mission.


  1. Study the case study with my study group.
  2. Review the diabetes mellitus content from previous semesters.


  1. Answer 100 NCLEX questions related to Thursday’s content areas (diabetes mellitus and renal).
  2. Write my journal for clinical regarding my service learning experience.


  1. Attend the case study lecture.
  2. Attend the study session with the fourth semester tutor.


  1. Celebrate Friday by having fun with my sister, Megan, and her family!

What’s your plan for the week?

Read more

My last semester of nursing school begins in a week, and I am busy creating my calendars, preparing another batch of freezer meals, and soaking up as much family time as possible.

Here’s a look at my winter break in pictures:

Believe it or not, the Twin Cities has not gotten much snow yet. But these two turkeys seem to be hanging around a lot…


I was the idiot who thought she could make a Christmas gift for someone on her list. After a lot of seem ripping and tears, I decided to give up…


This is our niece. Love the look. 🙂


I won several personal training sessions at my gym, so I am getting pretty buff again. Watch out…


Grant and I hosted a New Year’s Day Party, and we got to play Ticket to Ride for the first time! I highly recommend it…

I’ve been spending some time organizing for my last semester. My lecture only covers one topic per week this semester, so instead of writing “Week 1, Week 2, Week 3,…” on my binder tabs, I get to write the name of the topic that will be discussed. I’m kind of excited about that. I think that it will be easier to find what I am looking for when studying for an exam…


Best of luck as y’all start your semesters! I can’t wait to hear about them!

Read more

Daylight savings time ended today, and that means we have an extra hour in our day! I need it!


I spent the last four days in Chicago visiting one of my friends and attending a conference with the hubster. We listened to amazing speakers who shared what makes their stories special like Glennon Melton Doyle and her story of vulnerability and truth-telling, Donald Miller and his passion for showing others how to live a good story, Joshua Becker and his simplicity in possessions and life, and Bob Goff and his radical love-doing. Needless to say, it was inspirational, and it made me want to live out a story of great meaning with purpose.

I did not study much while I was in Chicago, so I will be using my extra hour trying to distinguish between left and right heart failure for my exam tomorrow! I better get back to the books before I use up my hour on my blog. Eeeek!

How will you be using your extra hour today? Tell me all about it in the comment section! 🙂

Read more

The story of my day begins at 6:12 AM. Of course I wake up before my alarm goes off. I didn’t really need those extra 3 minutes after all, right? Wrong.

I made the coffee, took the shower, and ate the Wheaties. I came back to my desk (which won’t be a dining room table for another 9 months) to review the common medication dosage conversions for my med dosage exam at 9 AM.


My desk after a frantic night of studying. It’s not very pretty, I know.

I fed the whining cat, grabbed a snack for class, and ran out the door. I spent the 20 minute car ride to school singing at the top of my lungs. This time it was with the Cranberries. Who cares what people think, right?

I had an 8:30 meeting with the Nursing Club officers. Look at us getting stuff done!


Not posed at all.

The meeting concluded at 8:56, giving me 4 minutes to empty my bladder and get to the first floor for my medication dosage exam! I made it, and I even had time to pick a wedgie before I sat down (I’m sorry you had to see that, Dave).

I answered the 15 questions carefully and slowly handed the exam to my instructor. I needed to get all of them correct to pass the exam (our school is not okay with medication errors…at all). I watched her as she went from answer to answer. My heart rate and blood pressure were skyrocketing. Can you go any faster? She looked at me and nodded her head slightly. I passed. Phew!


A look of relief.

After passing the first exam, we were all ready to learn about postpartum care. I mean, who doesn’t want to talk about the uterus, breasts, lochia, and afterpains at 10 o’clock in the morning!?


At least I get to see these lovely ladies!

I guess it was too much for Bri though…


I got home around 1 PM and put the BBQ chicken in the crock pot. I re-listened to my lecture, created a Facebook page for the blog, and I ended the day by pumping some iron at the gym!

I’m curious if others started school this week. Is this your first year as a nursing student? Final year? Please comment below! Tell me what you are excited about in the coming year.

Read more

I am not one of those individuals that knew they wanted to be a nurse since they were in diapers. In fact, when deciding which career path to take, I completely ruled out nursing (mostly because of the blood factor…eww, right?). Well, I have gotten over my fear of blood, and I will be starting my second year in the nursing program this fall.

My path to nursing started in high school, when I had an interest in health and nutrition. I met with a Registered Dietitian after struggling to gain weight, and I immediately fell in love with her job. I thought being an RD would be the perfect health care career for me because I could make a positive impact on my patients’ lives and never come close to blood and guts. So that’s when I decided to pack my bags and put my pencil to the grind as a student at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics in 2010!


My best friend, Ashlea, and me after our graduation ceremony.

It was towards the end of my career at Stout that I had to make a decision regarding an internship. In dietetics, one must complete a 6-12 month internship prior to sitting for boards and becoming a Registered Dietitian. I had a few friends in the dietetics program that decided to go to nursing school after graduation instead of completing an internship, and I began picking their brains. It was then that I began to see the nurse’s role more clearly.

A nurse is not someone who just pushes meds. A nurse’s main purpose is to look out for the patient’s well being. As a nurse, I will be the one spending the most time with a patient, and I am in the best position to advocate for my patient’s needs. It did not take me long to realize I found my passion, my art, and my purpose.

The application process was fairly simple for me because dietetics and nursing are closely related. All of the prerequisites that my nursing school required were transferred successfully from Stout, which made me a very happy camper. Who really wants to take organic chemistry, microbiology, or anatomy and physiology over again?! Not this girl!


My clinical group from Spring 2014.

I will be entering my third semester of nursing school in the fall, and I am beyond ecstatic about the future! I would love to hear how you stumbled upon nursing (or any other career for that matter). Please share your journey in the comment section below!


Read more