You ARE Going to be a GREAT Nurse (Introducing Nichole Weaver MSN, RN, CCRN)

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I am so excited to introduce the new Director of Content at NRSNG: Nichole Weaver MSN, RN, CCRN.

I wanted to bring Nichole on to introduce herself and say “HI” as well as discuss how you can believe in yourself.  Enjoy!

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Podcast Transcription

Jon Haws:                     All right. What’s going on, guys? This is John Haws, RN with, and I have a very special guest today. I’m joined today with Nichole Weaver, MSN, RN, CCRN. Thanks for coming on, Nichole.

Nichole  Weaver:         Hey, thanks for having me.

Jon Haws:                     You bet. I’m excited to introduce you guys to Nichole because Nichole is the newly minted director of content at NRSNG and nurse educator here. I really wanted to just kind of introduce you guys to Nichole because I’ve been working … I know Nichole now for a few years, but we’ve been working really close for several months now together. Nichole, tell us a little bit about you and tell us why you became a nurse. Tell us about your nursing journey.

Nichole  Weaver:         Yeah. Hi, guys. Nice to meet you all. I’ve been a nurse officially for nine years this week actually. I decided to become a nurse after deciding not to do biomedical engineering. I wanted to cure cancer and realized that I like people and I don’t want to be in a lab. After having surgery at the age of 17, my night nurse was just hilarious. She made my night so much easier. I was like, “Oh my gosh. She gets to go do this cool medical stuff, but also gets to like help people and take care of people.” It hit me right then and there that that’s what I wanted to do.

Nichole  Weaver:         I graduated with my bachelor’s of nursing from Texas Christian University, go Frogs, in 2009 immediately started working in critical care. I’ve been doing critical care every since. I’ve also done some emergency medicine. I’ve done some home health, some complex home health. I’ve just really enjoyed learning and growing as a nurse. I’ve gotten to work in the UK. I actually lived in England for three years and got to work there as a nurse, which was fascinating and just a really cool experience. I learned so much about respiratory care specifically because they don’t have respiratory therapists over there.

Nichole  Weaver:         That was just a really cool experience. I’ve really loved my nursing journey thus far.

Jon Haws:                     More recently you’ve been working in education as well, right? I mean you’ve taught … What levels of education have you taught and what have you done there?

Nichole  Weaver:         I got my master’s in nursing education in 2014, so four years ago. I have taught online at the master’s level. I’ve taught an LPN course. I have taught in person at the bachelor’s level. I’ve taught clinicals to baccalaureate students. A wide variety. I’ve also been a preceptor, and I’ve done some orientation and training in different jobs for new hires and new nurses. I love to teach. Even in nursing school, I was tutoring other nursing students because teaching is just such a passion of mine. It has just become kind of a natural progression for me.

Jon Haws:                     Sure. You worked in the UK for a little bit and you worked here. What would be like the biggest difference aside from the RT thing that you noticed between the two countries?

Nichole  Weaver:         You know, the socialized medicine really does change things. It changes kind of how things flow. The cool thing is some of their drugs have different names, but ultimately it’s the same drugs. The good example is acetaminophen and that here, that’s our Tylenol. There they call it paracetamol, but it’s the exact same thing. Kind of just learning new drug names was interesting, but ultimately nursing is nursing. You’re still taking care of the patient. Your priorities are still the same. You’re still focusing on keeping them safe and ABCs and skincare. I mean it’s all still the same, but I think the dynamic is a little different. They’re still kind of a Florence Nightingale-ish over there.

Jon Haws:                     I mean the nurses that I’ve spoken to from different countries have said something similar to that too that like when they come here to the US and they work in ICU, they’re like, “Wow. You guys get to do so much stuff that maybe we didn’t get to do as much as those procedural kind of things.” I remember too you reminded me when my family and I with our kids and my wife, we lived in Croatia for a few months a couple of years. At one point, one of our kids got a fever and we needed some Tylenol, right? We went to the pharmacy. We’re like, “Do guys have Tylenol?” They’re like, “What’s Tylenol?” We’re like, “Oh man.” They don’t speak English either and we don’t speak Croatian.

Jon Haws:                     We’re trying to explain what’s going on, so I opened my Google Translate app and I’m like fever. I just put fever in there and like showed the pharmacist. You couldn’t get it just over the counter there either, so we had to like talk to the pharmacist and stuff. The Google Translate was like “my kid has a fever” and showed her what it wrote. She’s like, “Oh.” She gave us that … I forgot what it was called again. What was it? The Tylenol over there?

Nichole  Weaver:         Paracetamol.

Jon Haws:                     Yeah, it was that. She gave it to us and all the instructions were in Croatian and stuff so we kind of asked her. We’re like, “Okay. What do we do? How often do we give it?” Same kind of thing, but yeah, things definitely changed. I hadn’t thought about that when we first went over that like if our kids had issues, I was going to have to do different drug names and stuff. That was kind of cool.

Nichole  Weaver:         Yeah. It was so fun and it was so cool to see a different world, but to also just realize nursing is nursing and it’s universal. Also, I mean I was looked at … I had been a nurse for three and a half years by the time I moved to England, and they just thought I was just this most amazing wonderful nurse because I had so much knowledge of how the body worked. I literally taught … I did like a little in service for the staff on ventilator management and pulmonary function because that was something that they weren’t taught. They just had to learn it once they got on the job, and they weren’t taught IVs and Foleys. Those are things we learned in fundamentals.

Nichole  Weaver:         It was fun to kind of get to encourage them in those skills and encourage them to learn. It was really fun.

Jon Haws:                     What has been your favorite part of teaching? You’ve taught online. You’ve taught in class. You’ve taught clinical. Which one of those do you enjoy the most?

Nichole  Weaver:         Oh, that’s so hard. I enjoy my interactions with my students. Even in my online courses, I’ve had a couple of students that I’ve really connected with and really interacted with. Really it’s those interactions and getting to know my students and kind of seeing them grow not only as a nurse, as a future nurse or a future nurse educator, but also grow as a person and how they start to trust themselves and they start to get more confident. I don’t know. I love my clinical groups. They’re like my babies because I have personal relationship with them when you spend every week with them for a whole semester. Any time I can make a personal connection, I just really enjoy it.

Jon Haws:                     While we’re on this subject, I had something popped to my head to ask. Let’s see what your response is. As a clinical instructor, right, there’s that first time that the student meets the clinical instructor. They’re all scared. They’re like, “Is Miss Weaver going to be mean? Is Nichole going to be easy?” What would you suggest to a student on that introduction to a clinical supervisor?

Nichole  Weaver:         Okay. I will be honest, all of my students would tell be that within the first week or two, they just weren’t sure if they were going to like me or not because I have really high expectations, but what it is is I tell them my job this semester … I have seniors and next semester after me they go to capstone and they do their final practicum. I tell them, “My job is to get you ready for that. Everyone’s going to start in a different place, but everyone’s going to end in the same place because I’m going to get you ready.” They’re all kind of like, “Oh gosh. Is she going to be really hard?” Once they start interacting with me, they realize that I am for them.

Nichole  Weaver:         My best advice would just be to go in with an open mind and not let your first interaction decide how you feel about your clinical instructor. Stay really open because over the next few weeks you’re going to learn how they teach. You’re going to learn how they interact. You’re going to learn what their priorities are, what they care about. It’s going to be a lot easier to kind of move forward if you don’t take your very first interaction and decide that you don’t like them.

Jon Haws:                     When I think back to my clinical experiences and my preceptor on the floor as well when I was a brand new nurse, I really appreciate the ones who had high expectations. They knew what I was capable of. They knew what it took to become a skilled nurse. It’s different than in a classroom. The high expectations in the clinical, like this is the actual … You’re in there touching patients and having those high expectations I think is good. I think at NRSNG, we have high expectations too. We want nurses to come out of NRSNG believing in themselves and knowing that they can take care of patients and do a good job.

Jon Haws:                     With that, tell us how did you first learn of NRSNG? How did you first learn about me and NRSNG and everything that we’re doing?

Nichole  Weaver:         I went to work as a travel nurse at the same hospital that you worked at in 2014. You all, Jon was my preceptor when I was orienting as a travel nurse. He was awesome. I think Jon, correct me, you’ve been a nurse for a year and a half or something at that time.

Jon Haws:                     It was not very long. Yup.

Nichole  Weaver:         I had been a nurse for five years, five and a half. He looked at me and he was like, “Okay. I’m not going to tell you how to be a nurse. I’m just going to show you how to document.” We ended up having a lot of fun together because it was a little bit more laid back. We had crazy patient pull out her art line, which was hilarious. That’s how I met Jon. I think at that time you just started the podcast. I think you even had the ScrubCheats. I remember you being like, “Yeah. I have these little cards. They’re kind of cool.” I was like, “Oh yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool.” I did. I generally thought it was really cool. I thought it was awesome what you were doing.

Nichole  Weaver:         I was passionate about education. I don’t think at the time it hit. I didn’t realize how much of an impact that it was going to have. It’s been super fun to see over the last few years the kind of impact that you’ve made and the kind of impact that NRSNG’s had. I think it was at the beginning of last year sometime I was like, “Hey, this is really cool what you’re doing and I totally want to be a part of it.” We were able to kind of start working together last year. It’s just kind of evolved from there.

Jon Haws:                     I wanted to say two things going back to one word that I thought about yesterday, but one thing you talked about there is you kept following us. You kept asking if there was work to do. I remember like you said, like in 2014, I had no idea it was going to get to here either. I would just start podcasting about some of my frustrations and some of the ways I think that nursing education should be different. Now we’ve built the academy. We’ve had nurses from all over the world use us. Now you’re the director of content here. Who would have thought, right?

Nichole  Weaver:         Yeah.

Jon Haws:                     As I was writing some stuff yesterday, I remembered back in high school I used to play football. I wasn’t a big guy. I mean I’m only 5’8. I only weighed about 145 pounds, but I played running back in Texas Football. My job was to run through two lines of guys that were twice my size. Everyday after practice the running back coach would get us together and we would do a little cheer. The word he made us say was relentless, relentless, relentless. I went home. I remember going home and looking at that. What relentless means is it means you just don’t stop. You’re incessant. Like you just never ever quit. Even being a small guy, I was relentless as a running back.

Jon Haws:                     I just didn’t stop. I got up and kept going. Back in 2014, I didn’t know what this was going to be, but I was confident that nursing education could be better for students, and so I’ve been relentless ever since. You, Nichole, have been relentless in trying to be a part of this mission. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that in a good way. When we first brought you on to do some work with us with the ScrubCheats, it was like a breath of fresh air. It was like someone else gets this, a nurse educator. Someone with an MSN who’s been experienced in teaching gets this mission. I remember I gave you the first assignment.

Jon Haws:                     It was supposed to take a couple days and it was back within a couple hours. I’m like, “Yeah. Okay. Great.” When it was time to start looking at hiring an educator, it was like it was an easy choice. We had over 200 applications from all over the country. People with DMPs. People with MSNs. People with BSNs. People with management experience in a hospital, but it was an easy choice. When it came down to it, it was an easy choice because of your passion and your relentlessness in trying to improve nursing education. That’s what we are at NRSNG. You just embodied that without being with us yet, you know.

Nichole  Weaver:         Yeah.

Jon Haws:                     That’s my story I guess.

Nichole  Weaver:         It’s good. It’s a big passion of mine. It’s something that it’s kind of lit a fire in me even without NRSNG, but this has just given me a platform I think to be able to actually make a change. This is my story that I … Last semester, I had students tell me that I was the first instructor they ever had who didn’t make them feel stupid when they didn’t know something. They’re seniors, guys. I was like, “That’s not okay. It’s not okay that you’ve gone this far in nursing school and that when you didn’t know something, someone made you feel stupid for not knowing it.” Like that’s like the whole thing. You’re there to learn. You’re here because you don’t know this stuff already.

Nichole  Weaver:         You’re here so that I can teach it to you. It broke my heart. I was glad that I had made them feel that way. I was glad that I had made them feel like they could do it and that they weren’t stupid, but it just broke my heart that nursing students are having those kinds of experiences with the people who are supposed to be there to teach them. They’re supposed to be there to lift them up.

Nichole  Weaver:         It’s something that I feel so strongly about, so passionately about that now being able to have this platform where I can get in here, be a part of the NRSNG movement, be a part of not only giving nursing students the tools that they need, but also the confidence to trust themselves and trust their knowledge and move forward with that and move forward like powerfully. I mean I even had a student tell me once that I was the first instructor since coming to that school that actually made her feel like she could be a nurse. I’m just like this is not okay that people are feeling this way. It’s not okay. I don’t know.

Nichole  Weaver:         I love that I actually have a way to practically be a part of making that happen now.

Jon Haws:                     Absolutely. I mean you’re an awesome addition. Tell everyone what you’re working on right now at NRSNG.

Nichole  Weaver:         I can’t.

Jon Haws:                     Without saying too much.

Nichole  Weaver:         I’m working on making the experience for our NRSNG academy members and people who enjoy our content even better than it already is. That’s all I can say, but it’s going to be awesome.

Jon Haws:                     It’s pretty incredible, guys. There’s a few students out there who have been involved in the process of what we’re doing. I can’t say the words they used to say how excited they are on blood test because we don’t use those words, but they’re pretty excited, you guys.

Nichole  Weaver:         They’re really excited.

Jon Haws:                     They’re really excited. I’m excited. This is just so cool what’s going on here. Just this year, we’ve doubled the size of our company. We’ve brought in new educators. We’ve brought in new people to make, like Nichole said, make this experience better because you guys deserve it. Nursing school is rough like I remember and I’ll never forget that. I’m excited for what’s coming. You guys will know about it for sure soon-ish.

Nichole  Weaver:         Soon. Soon enough.

Jon Haws:                     Yes. Nichole, what else should we know about you, your experience, maybe tips for students in clinical. What else should we know?

Nichole  Weaver:         I guess the biggest thing that I try to instill in my students and I want to instill in you guys is that you are capable and you are smart and you are hard workers. A lot of professors, if you fail one test, they’re like, “Maybe nursing’s not for you.” I’m like, “Whoa. Let’s back up. You failed a test. It’s okay. Let’s figure out what we can do to not fail the next one.” I’m really passionate that anyone can finish nursing school. Anyone. Is nursing for everyone? Maybe not, but that has nothing to do with whether or not you are capable of finishing nursing school. I want you to know how capable you are, and I want you to believe in yourself.

Nichole  Weaver:         If you go into clinicals and you go into a patient’s room and you are convinced in your mind that you are terrible and you’ll never figure this stuff out, that patient’s going to feel that. If you go into that room and you’re like, “Hey, my name’s Susie and I’m going to be your student nurse today. I’m super excited to take care of you. Can I just take your vital signs,” they’re going to be like, “Oh great. Okay. That’s awesome.” There’s something to be said for how your confidence level changes your experience. It makes your professors look at you differently. It makes your instructors look at you differently. It makes your patients look at you differently.

Nichole  Weaver:         It also makes you feel better about what you’re doing. If nobody else has told you that you can do this, then we’re telling you that. You can do this. You can do this. You can find your best study style. You can find what study habits work for you. You can find the things that you need to be able to be successful. You’re capable of doing it. I even had a student tell me this last semester. She said, “You believed in us before we believed in us.” That’s what we want to give you guys is we want you to know that we believe in you, and we know that you can do it, and we’re here to help.

Jon Haws:                     There’s so much in what you said that I love. It’s a lot of the things that we try to share all the time. I think that if anything, I’ll just echo what you said there. It’s not like fake it until you make it having confidence. It’s be confident in what you know and be humble and confident in what you don’t know too.

Nichole  Weaver:         Right.

Jon Haws:                     Walking there and say, “Yeah. I’m here to take care of you.” If they ask you a question, say, “You know what? My clinical supervisor’s out there. I’m going to ask them on that just to be sure,” and that’s okay to admit that you don’t know something.

Nichole  Weaver:         For sure. Yes.

Jon Haws:                     Hopefully you’re surrounded with instructors that respect that, but it’s okay. Showing confidence doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. How about that?

Nichole  Weaver:         Thank you. That’s something honestly I tell my students every semester like I would rather you tell me, “I don’t know. Please explain it to me,” then to try to pretend like you know it or pretend like you just forgot or to just like make something up and guess. I literally look at a student and be like, “You’re guessing, aren’t you?” Don’t guess. I want to know because if you don’t know it, I need to teach it to you. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Actually, I really don’t understand that. Can you explain it to me?” To me, there’s nothing scarier than a nurse who will not admit when she doesn’t know something.

Jon Haws:                     Yes.

Nichole  Weaver:         It’s scary if you have a nurse out there who won’t admit when they actually don’t really know what they’re supposed to be doing.

Jon Haws:                     It’s scary and that’s the best word for it. I did have the chance to precept a lot on the floor. There was one new nurse in particular that scared me the most. I never felt like I could step too far away from her because she was afraid or she didn’t feel like she could or whatever. She wouldn’t come to me when she didn’t know what to do. The only reason I know she didn’t know what to do is because mistakes kept happening. I wanted her to just tell me because then it’s like I can step away and give her more autonomy when I know she’s going to come to me when there’s a problem. That’s okay. This is a hard career.

Jon Haws:                     This is a hard educational experience. It’s very hard. You’re not going to know it all and that’s okay I guess.

Nichole  Weaver:         For sure. It is okay. It’s okay to not be okay. I’ve had students struggle with anxiety, and I’ve sat and cried with them. This is hard, guys. I feel like some nursing schools make it hard for the sake of making it hard. Even the ones that do a good job, it’s still hard. This is a hard profession to be in. It’s a lot of information to take in. We’re trying to simplify it a little bit for you and make it easier to pick up, but it’s hard and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel stressed. It’s okay to feel like this is really hard and you’re not sure if you’re going to get through it. We’re here to tell you that you will get through it. It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.

Jon Haws:                     Absolutely. Well, Nichole, I think we’re going to definitely have to have you on the podcast more especially as we get closer and closer to revealing the thing. If you guys aren’t subscribed to the podcast, make sure you do because we are definitely going to be talking more and more here. Like I’ve said in the couple past episodes, I missed coming on here and talking in the podcast. I think everyone around the office and Nichole was sensing my anxiety of not been able to be making new content as much as I’d like to because this is what I enjoy doing. We’re going to start doing that more and more and more, you guys, because want to be talking to you guys.

Jon Haws:                     It’s just that our heads have been so buried in the thing that it’s been hard to get on here and talk as much as we’d like to. Make sure you’re subscribed because we’re going to be talking more and more and giving you guys a bunch of great tips coming up and revealing the thing to you.

Nichole  Weaver:         Woo hoo.

Jon Haws:                     Nichole, is there any last bit of tip or one takeaway that you would offer to people?

Nichole  Weaver:         I was going to say just watch this space because there’s so much coming down the pipe from us. We’re here for you guys. [email protected] if you need anything. They can pass it forward to us if we need to answer something for you. We’re here for you. That’s the big thing I just want to make sure everybody knows. I know I’m a new face and a new voice on the podcast, but I’m here to stay. I’m here for you if you need anything. Let us know.

Jon Haws:                     Absolutely. Guys, with that, we want you to go out and be your best self today. As always, happy nursing.

Nichole  Weaver:         Happy nursing.

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