Turning Nursing Podcasting on Its Ear

5 Tips for Baby-faced Nurses: Be Taken Seriously

I’ve always looked younger than I am by many years. Even people younger than me are fooled at times. Once in awhile, it has posed a problem with my patients – adults who have a hard time, as one put it, “taking orders from a damn kid”.  To someone who’s lived 60 or 80 years, I must look like I belong outside playing hopscotch.  So how do you get adult and geriatric patients to put their faith in your young, capable hands? I’ve got a few tips that have helped me out in these situations. Hear me out, guys.

Here are 5 ways to be taken more seriously when you look very young.

 

  1. Tighten up your aesthetics, folks. I aspire to live in a world where people of all gender identities are not judged by their appearance, but I’m not talking beauty standards here. To be treated like a professional, you must look like one. Get the nicest scrubs you can reasonably afford, lose the sloppy top knots, trim the beards, clean your nails and don’t cover your badge holder with stickers of your favorite cartoon character (even though there’s nothing wrong with adults watching cartoons). If you’ve already got a baby face or smaller stature, you don’t need anything else to make you look more juvenile.
  2. Your mother told you to stand up straight. Posture and body language are important. As a nurse, it’s tough to find the right balance between being perceived as a kind and approachable advocate and being the expert, in-control caretaker. Generally, stand or sit up straight and avoid looking like a shapeless blob of insecurity. This doesn’t mean you should tower over your patients in a Superman stance, but look confident and invested in the patient. Look at them when you are talking, don’t fidget, rock, or look nervous. They’ll pick up on your nervousness and before you know it, you’ve got a freaked-out patient on your hands. Gentle confidence in your posture will help you look like you know you know what you’re doing.
  3. Deepen your speaking voice This clearly doesn’t apply to people with already deep voices. This is directed toward the nurse whose instinct it is to raise their voice like they would with a child, attempting to seem friendly and happy. Not only is it infantilizing to your adult patient but it makes you sound like a 12-year-old anime character, not an experienced RN. Bring your voice down a bit. This may take some conscious effort on your part at first, but it’ll be worth it. There may be an added benefit. I learned in a class that as adults lose their hearing, they lose the ability to hear high tones first. Deepen your voice and you may find they’re asking “Eh, what did you say?” less often.
  4. Like, totally limit slang, man. It’s true that we speak differently today than our parents’ and grandparents’ generations did, and it can be a barrier to communication sometimes. Limit colloquial language unless you and your patient have a rapport that allows it. Say yes, not “yeah”, and “no” instead of “nah”. Avoid statements like “I know it totes sucks to take your meds, but, like, bottoms up dude!” I shouldn’t have to tell you why this is discrediting to your image as a professional. *Note: I have lots of patients I joke around or use slang with and they are a smart-ass right back…but it’s our established dynamic and I let them initiate this. Use your great nursing judgment.
  5. Show up knowing your stuff. Be prepared to take care of your patients when you clock in. Know your basic meds, especially if you’re working in a specialty area, and more importantly, know how to look things up. If your patient asks you questions about a med and you’re caught off guard, frame it as an opportunity for education. Print off some patient medication info sheets and take 2 minutes to go over it with them. It’s their right and it’ll teach you something. You don’t need to know everything, but you need to know how to learn on the fly. If they have a diagnosis you’ve never heard of before, please, Google that shit before you go into their room, if you can help it. You’ll be more knowledgeable and maybe it’ll earn you some trust points.

Take heart, my baby-face nurse brothers and sisters. While the struggle to be taken seriously is real, it’s not hopeless.

And when all else fails you can always tell them the truth -you’ve studied diligently for years to be able to take care of them safely. The baby face is just a genetic bonus.

Like my list? Tell me so!
Got your own tips for upping your credibility game? Leave a comment.

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XOXO

-Adrianne

My Favorite Healthcare Podcasts

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a podcast hoarder. I am constantly listening to them, subscribing to new ones and unsubscribing from the ones that just didn’t grab me. Or maybe I just fell out of love with them. I have podcasts for different moods and circumstances. And, yes, they’re all sorted in my phone by category. Today my focus will be on those related to medicine, healthcare, nursing, and the allied health professions.

I am not affiliated with any of them, none of them are paying me (though I’m not opposed to the idea), and none of these podcasters even know who I am. You’ll notice that many toward the end are focused on palliative, which happens to be one of my specialties. I’m sure there are other specialty-specific podcasts out there. For now, check out my list of must-listen shows.

1. Weird Medicine. By far my favorite of all the healthcare shows. Totally uncensored, a healthy mix of humorous BS and actual helpful information from Dr. Steve and his crew. Lots of old episodes might be behind a paywall now, but they’re worth every penny. I literally binge-listened to this show while I was commuting to and from nursing school. Be warned, NSFW or kids. Lots of penis and poop questions as well as some other racy stuff. But I swear I learned a lot from these folks.

2. ALL of the channels from NSRNG: MedMaster Show, Lab Values, Nursing Mnemonics…the list is long. I use them like reference books rather than listening to them consecutively for entertainment. Great for reinforcement of material for nursing students and working nurses alike. I would listen to these short episodes while driving up to school to take a test, or before returning to work to take care of a patient with meds I wasn’t familiar with.

3. FreshRN. Kati Kleber can do no wrong in my eyes. I adore this show. These episodes are PACKED with information I’ve found incredibly useful…especially since I’m still in my first year of bedside nursing. I love her guests, her topics, and the casual conversational style of this podcast. Great casual listen to reinforce skills or to learn how to thrive in a complicated workplace.

4. Incident Report. Many of you may know ZDoggMD from his musical medical parody videos. I was introduced to him in my first semester Fundamentals of Nursing class when a teacher played his Hank Williams parody “I’ve Got Friends with Low Platelets”. I was hooked and his spoof songs became my class’ soundtrack for clinicals. Now that I’m a grown-up real nurse, I love his podcast for all the silliness and seriousness it contains. He also puts the podcast up on his YouTube channel in all the visual glory. As a bonus, he’ll do some NSFW Tribe Talk vids where he’s a bit edgier in his commentary.

5. The Report Room. To be honest, I’ve not spent much time listening to this one, but it’s on my list because they have many episodes covering topics I find interesting. I’m open to feedback on this one if you’ve spent any time with it.

6. The Nurse Keith Show. Oh man, there are so many Nurse Keith episodes. This is another one that I’ve only just begun to dig into. The topics are varied and relevant, and he appears to put out content on the regular.

7. RNFM Radio. I’ll be honest, I subscribed to this one because they did a two-part interview with one of my online Nursing mentors, Sean Dent. Their list of episodes spans the spectrum from social media use, leadership, education, and everything in between.

8. NurseStudy.net. This is another channel that I use as a reinforcement of learning. Short episodes are great as a reference tool for nurses and students.

9. Science Vs. This is not a healthcare-specific podcast, but they have some great episodes on things like zika virus, antidepressants, the G-spot, and acne.

10. Good News with Nurse Heather. The focus is cannabis and health care, holistic medicine, and legislation. As policy reform sweeps our country and our industry, information on this topic will be more important than ever.

11. Your Next Shift. These episodes highlight interviews with nurses of all kinds, giving insights and advice on successful career navigation.

12. Dance to Death Afterlife. Episodes about experiences with death, end of life care and a variety of burial options and death rituals. This is both a personal and professional interest of mine.

13. Dying Well, the Final Stage of Survivorship. This is a 12-part series on resources and thoughts on cancer survivorship and dying. While I’ve not listened to all of the episodes, this may be an excellent resource for patients and family members facing a life-limiting illness.

14. Palliative Care Chat – U of MD. This podcast was created for grad students at U of Maryland. It may be geared more to the physician role, but it’s loaded with information from researchers and educators from across the country.

15. Perspective in Palliative Medicine. This is another I’ve not consumed all of yet, but the few episodes that exist cover topics that I find interesting, like geriatric pain management, religion and end of life care, and delivering difficult information.

16. American Nurses Association podcast. It’s the ANA. Of course I’m gonna listen. 😉 There are only a few episodes as I write this, but they’re relevant and useful topics. There’s a series on workplace bullying and episodes on nursing delegation. I hope there are more eps in the hopper.

17. The Nurse Niche Podcast. This is one of NP Sean Dent’s old podcasts. Though he’s not making new episodes of this one, they’re worth a listen. It’s also interesting to see the online growth of the prolific social media nurse.

18. Change of Shift Podcast. Sean Dent’s podcast after Nurse Niche was put to bed.

19. Weekly Infusion. For those of you familiar with Dr. Drew, you’ll be interested in his latest podcast endeavor. I hate to play favorites but I especially love his episodes featuring forensic pathologist and gory Instagram star Nicole Angemi. You’ll hear about her later when I blog about my fav IG accounts. (That one’s gonna be fun!)

20. I don’t have a 20th, but I can maybe leak that I have the itch to start a podcast of my own….so maybe I’ll save this spot. 😉

Are there podcasts on this list you listen to and love? Give me a like if you found this list helpful. Comment below if you have favorites you want to share!

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