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5 Tip for Dealing with Dyslexia as a Student Nurse

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5 Tip for Dealing with Dyslexia as a Student Nurse

It’s a common story – you do well in school and don’t have too many problems but you get to University and suddenly your grades slump. In some cases it could be a sign that you have a learning difficulty. This could be dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia (among others). Having a learning difficulty is nothing to do with intelligence; it simply means that you have more difficulties in one or more areas of your learning than other people might have. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the things you want to, for example, becoming a nurse.

RELATED: 10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW AS A STUDENT NURSE

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I discovered my learning difficulties in the 2nd year of my nursing course. I developed strategies to aid my work and got the help I needed – I’ve been there, done that and have some recommendations for students with similar difficulties.

1.    Don’t leave things until the last minute.

Now, I have to admit – I’m not great at this first one, but some of my best work was produced when I did start early. This might have been in small doses, reading around the subject or conducting and saving literature searches for later review – but it helped and was reflected in my feedback.

2.    Don’t be embarrassed

There is no need to be embarrassed by having a learning difficulty; one university found that 14% of their student nurses had a formally diagnosed learning difficulty (RCN 2010). If you talk about it you are more likely to get help and to become the best nurse you can be. Your learning could benefit from telling your lecturers, mentors and personal tutor of your specific learning needs.

3.    Do find out what your University can offer

Most university websites will have a page dedicated to educational support. If it’s not easy to find the information simply ask a lecturer or your personal tutor who can point you in the right direction. There are other resources you could use too – like this one from the RCN.

4.    Do find what works for you

This might take some time – my most effective strategy (using matrixes when reading research papers) I didn’t discover until my final year of my undergraduate course. But it’s good to keep trying new things – what works for others might not work for you, and likewise what used to work for you might not a few years down the line.

5.    Don’t give up

It’s easy to think about giving up on a university education when it takes you twice as long as your classmates to complete a piece of work or you get a lower grade than you were expecting. But with that little bit of extra work you could have a long and rewarding career!

If anyone else has any more tips please comment – it’s good to discuss each other’s strategies so we can all get new ideas!

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Education

NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities.

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by Ian Snug.
NMC launches new educational standards to 'shape the future of nursing'

Student nurses will start to train against the new standards from January 2019.

Last week the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched 'ambitious' new standards of proficiency that set out the skills and knowledge the next generation of nurses need.

Alongside the new proficiencies, the NMC has introduced a more modern and innovative approach to the way universities and their practise partners train nurses and midwives - the NMC claim these changes will allow greater independence of assessment, and greater innovation by placement providers.

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The NMC has also removed its standards for medicines management and instead encourages employers to instigate rigorous medicines management procedures.

Unlimited simulation.

Finally, part of the changes includes the removal of the cap on the number of hours students can spend on simulation activities - despite concerns this could reduce the total amount of time student nurses could spend on placements.

The new standards represent two years’ work and have been developed alongside nurses - as well as students, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups from across the UK.

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Our new standards represent a huge leap forward. They raise the bar for the next generation of nurses and not only match the demands of the role but the ambition of the profession. This is vital as in the coming years many thousands of new professionals will join our register, delivering care to millions of people.

“We’ve also overhauled the way universities train nurses and midwives. They’ll be given more flexibility to harness new ways of working and embrace technology so they can equip the nurses and midwives of tomorrow with the skills they need to deliver world class care for years to come.”

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Education

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

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by Matt Bodell.
Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

Some staff feel that sixty seconds can be better spent.

It is well documented that the respiratory rate is the least accurately recorded vital sign but yet it can be the most important.

Reseach suggests that many students and registered nurses believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds.

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The research, completed by Flenady et al, suggests that this debate isn't rooted in laziness but instead staff believe they are enhancing patients' outcomes by performing tasks other than counting a patient's respiratory rate.

Do I really need to count for a whole minute?

Yes! It is vitally important you count a patients respiratory rate for the full sixty seconds rather than counting for a shorter period and multiplying, or worse, estimating.

Respiration has differing patterns and without observing these for a whole sixty seconds you are unlikely to obtain an accurate measurement.

Do I really need to count a patients respiratory rate for a whole minute?

The critically unwell patient also sometimes tend to have apneic episodes and counting for a short period may not reveal these until a patient is in full respiratory arrest.

Just four breaths either side of the normal range could be indicative of impending clinical deterioration.

Finally, documenting an inaccurate respiratory rate could, potentially, have legal implications.

How should I count a respiratory rate?

You should count each full cycle of inspiration and expiration for a full sixty seconds.

Anecdotally, it is better to count a patients respiratory rate when a patient when they are not aware you are doing so - this ensures a patient is less conscious about their breathing and thus their respiratory rate is more natural.

Why is respiratory rate important?

Haemostasis and the bodies compensatory mechanisms mean that a change in respiratory rate could be one of the first indicators of deterioration in physiological condition.

Changes to a patients respiratory rate can indicate a number of things such as hypoxia, neurological or metabolic changes.

Picking up on these changes early should lead to earlier medical intervention and therefore better patient outcomes.

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Education

Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

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by James M.
Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

Nursing students will learn how they can work with MPs to promote the nursing profession in a new training session organised by the RCN.

Members of the RCN’s student committee and student information officers - the RCN’s representatives in universities - will learn their way around the UK parliament and the government from the UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service.

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

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The RCN’s public affairs team will talk through the college’s approach to engaging with parliamentarians, especially the crucial role members can play. The team will explain different tactics and approaches students can take as well as what they can ask MPs to do to show their support for nursing staff in their constituencies.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “To work effectively, any union must be able to engage MPs and ministers.

“We know our members make the most powerful advocates for the profession. When frontline nursing staff sit in front of parliamentarians, you can see they listen.

“It’s through the hard work of members that vital issues such as safe staffing, harassment and health policy reach the top of the agenda.

“When nursing faces challenges on every front, the RCN wants to make sure our advocates are fully-equipped.”

Charlotte Hall, chair of the students’ committee, said: “Student nurses represent the future of the profession. Learning to engage with MPs is vital if we are to effectively shape that future and ensure the best possible care for patients.

“With these skills, committee members and student reps will be able to help other nurses make their voices heard on behalf of the profession and patients.”

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