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8 Steps to Mastering Virtual Meetings

By Posted on 0 Comments 4 min read 82 views

Working from home means virtual meetings. These days, with platforms like Zoom enabling conferences, seminars, office hours, even lecture all online, knowing how to successfully attend virtual meetings is more important than ever.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a full-time company executive, preparation for an excellent virtual meeting is the same. Keep reading for some pointers that will help you understand how to conquer your virtual meetings. 

1. Wear appropriate attire from the waist up.

One of the benefits of #WFH is that we can get away with wearing sweatpants during a work meeting, class, or whatever it may be. (Of course, don’t make the mistake of standing up and revealing this secret to others.)

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the top half of our bodies. If you’re in a more formal meeting, try wearing a polished, proper top, blouse, or sweater. That’ll give off the impression that you’re serious about the meeting, despite it being online.

Pro-tip: collared necklines and blazers look great on Zoom.

2. Apply some light mascara, lip gloss, and powder/concealer.

Of course, these things are optional – but recommended. With the camera’s focus on your face and neck, a little makeup and jewelry will go a long way towards making you appear more polished and put-together. Now, the key is that less is more.

I’m not advocating for a full face of foundation, contour, eyeshadow, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner for these virtual meetings. After all, you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing makeup at all.

Pro-tip: keep the makeup low-key.

3. Know how to work the virtual platform.

This means figuring out all the tech stuff before the meeting begins. If you don’t know how to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, share your screen, etc., spend a few extra minutes sorting out these details so that your meeting can go as smoothly as possible.

Pro-tip: always mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.

4. Look at the camera to make “eye-contact.”

It’s well known that eye contact is fantastic for the psyche. Good eye contact equates to confidence, trust, engagement, curiosity, respect for yourself and the other person. Since we’re all looking at a screen these days, the new way to make eye contact is to look at the camera.

According to Business Insider, “whether or not other people make eye contact with us changes the way that we think about them and their feelings. For example, we are more likely to remember faces with which we’ve experienced mutual gaze, and we consider displays of anger and joy to be more intense when shown by a person making eye contact.” 

Pro-tip: hide your “self-view” if you tend to look at yourself and not at the camera.

5. Be mindful of your facial expressions.

Virtual meetings are not the time for RBF. As I’ve stated before, the focus is all on your face with these virtual meetings. Be extra aware of the facial expressions you’re displaying. If you feel bored or uninterested, it will show unless you make it a point to look otherwise. 

Pro-tip: nod now and then, and smile periodically. You may be engaged, and you may be in a pleasant mood, but it’s harder to tell when we’re all behind the screen. Show this with your facial movements and gestures!

6. Prepare your background, lighting, and surroundings.

Unfortunately, there is no point in following steps 1-5 above if your background is sloppy. With virtual meetings, one needs to pay careful attention to their environment. Are you revealing an unmade bed? A pile of laundry off to the side? The sound of your kids’ playing with Legos behind you (cute, but not professional)?

If so, do what you have to do to make the setting as non-distracting and professional as possible. The best setup is generally a simple (white) wall next to a window. That way, you’ll get natural lighting from the sun, and your background will not distract from your face.

Lastly, gently remind anyone in the proximity of your upcoming meeting and to keep their noise level as low as possible. (Perhaps it’s worth investing in noise-proof earbuds if you find yourself unable to hear the discussion clearly due to your environment.)

Pro-tip: if you are stuck with a messy background, try using a high-quality virtual background instead.

7. Get enough sleep.

Eye bags are a natural part of life, but the best treatment to feel and look well-rested is sleep! People are different, but most generally require 6 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Make sure to hit the hay early enough the night before your meeting so you can showcase your best self – physically and mentally. Your body will thank you! 

Pro-tip: check out this article on self-care.

8. Be present.

Try refraining from browsing Pinterest, scrolling on Tumblr, or taking any Buzzfeed quizzes during your virtual meeting. I repeat: try NOT to take these insanely awesome quizzes while you’re in your discussion (:P). In all seriousness, it really can wait until after the meeting is over.

Not only is it self-evident when someone’s on Facebook instead of giving their full attention to the meeting, but it’s also not a great look. As harmless as it may be, it can come off as offensive or rude to whoever is speaking at that moment, as well as to your fellow virtual attendees.

Pro-tip: keep your phone away from you if you don’t need it for the meeting, and avoid opening up Safari or Google Chrome in the first place

If you got this far, you’re definitely on the right track for having the most smooth, productive, and respectful virtual meetings. I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors, and remember to stay safe and healthy while working from home. We’re all in this together!

Thoughts or comments? Leave them down below!

For similar articles, check out this page.

Girl Boss Q&A: Ask a Cosmetic Nurse

By Posted on 0 Comments 8 min read 41 views

Nurses make a difference in people’s lives in many different ways. They’re the eyes, ears, and voice of healthcare, especially in a hospital setting, identifying and alerting doctors of critical situations and the holistic perspective to advocate for their patients. And cosmetic nurses are no different. Through the use of non-invasive, in-office treatments such as injectables and skin treatments, aesthetic nurses often assist plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists, providing pre-and post-operative care related to plastic surgery and delivering care to patients under the supervision of a physician. So, without further ado, to gain some raw and genuine insight into what it’s like day-to-day as a cosmetic nurse, keep reading for my interview with registered aesthetic nurse Serene Obagi.

Why has it taken until 2020 for people to say, “Hey, I got filler!” and be open about it?Like, if God is judging you, it’s not because you got lip injections.

Serene Obagi, RN
Work #selfie

What kind of nurse are you? What sort of patients do you see?

“I’m an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse. I see people with skin problems or problems with their appearance, people who are curious about enhancements that we can do to their face or body, and people who have been referred by friends who had gotten cosmetic work done. Everything from the face, butt, boobs… We have many older women who come for work on their hands (i.e., making them look younger) to give them filler there. “

When it comes to patients in the clinic, do you see mostly women?

“Mostly women now. But as the years go on, men are coming in more. The number one thing men are doing is their jaw – they want accentuated jaws, like Superman. It’s pretty equal for men and women when it comes to acne treatment.”

How did you know you wanted to become a cosmetic nurse?

“Well, I’ve always wanted to become a cosmetic nurse. I was working as a medical assistant [MA] at a medical spa – and I already had my esthetician license – and I was watching the doctor do many things that I regretted not going for medical school for because I knew I’d be so good at them. Then I realized: wait, I don’t have to go to medical school to still do these things. I just had to put the work in, and once I finished, I could come back and learn about I wanted to do. Sure, when I was in nursing school and experienced the various departments, whether medical surgery, or the emergency room, or cardiology, I found many things to be interesting – especially OB and Pediatrics. But, even while I loved them, I knew I wasn’t going into that. My first goal was always to do aesthetics. “

While in nursing school, did you learn about aesthetics?

“No, unfortunately. We didn’t even talk about it in nursing school. The one second we went over the skin in nursing school, I, like, shined. But that was over pretty quickly. I think it’s because when you hear the words cosmetic or aesthetic, people automatically think of vanity. And it’s ingrained in our minds, perhaps way back from the Bible even, that vanity is bad.

Why has it taken until 2020 for people to say, “Hey, I got filler!” and be open about it? I think that as people become more and more lenient when it comes to religion, the normalization of aesthetic and cosmetic procedures will parallel. Like, if God is judging you, it’s not because you got lip injections. And it’s so different in other countries, like Korea. I had a Korean roommate back when I was in school, and she would tell me all about how it’s sort of unusual not to get any work done. It’s so different.”

Did any of your classmates in nursing school also want to do aesthetic nursing?

“I don’t recall anyone else wanting to do it. Maybe there was one girl, but I can’t remember.”

How did you prepare for the final exam (NCLEX)?

“The NCLEX was one of the hardest tests I’ve ever taken, and I couldn’t believe I passed. It’s a test that, if you get a question right, the next question is harder. Adaptive, they call it. So, if you’re going through the test and saying, oh, this is so easy, that’s probably a bad sign. So the fact that I was like, WTF is this question asking, I’ve never learned this… I knew I was doing okay.

And most of the questions were “select all that apply,” too, so say the correct answer is A, B, C, and E, and you select A, B, C, and D, they mark it as all wrong, and the options went from A until F sometimes. I know most people shut off at 75 questions because the test can go on until 200 or 300 questions. I had 111, and I literally thought it was a [angel] sign because I had seen 11:11 up until my test day. “

Is there anything during nursing school that you would have done differently?

“Oh, time management. Always. I had a system, and it still wasn’t enough. Or it was, but I don’t know why. I basically had no social life, it felt like. I even think I got my first gray hair. I managed my time where nursing school got completed, but everything else was on the back burner. Also, maybe, I wouldn’t have woken up so early every day, because now I can’t help it. Like, I still wake up at 5 am every day. Sometimes I had to get up that early for school, but waking up at 5 am as part of my system. I liked to study early in the morning and get it out of the way when my mind is the sharpest.”

What is your favorite and also least favorite part of being a cosmetic nurse?

“My favorite part is the fact that there’s so much that I can do to help the patients, and I have a lot of autonomy. You know, I can be a hospital nurse, I can be a nurse who works for an insurance company, or I can be an aesthetic nurse. I love that I can do all that. Nurses are so critical.

My least favorite part of being a cosmetic nurse – and I think most nurses would agree – is that I’m limited as well. The fact that we nurses will always need another person to diagnose me even when I am sure of what it is myself. This is part of why I’m thinking about getting my Nurse Practitioner (NP) license because in California now, they have much more independence. 

Another thing about being a nurse that is difficult is being the last in line to the patient give a drug. For example, say a pharmacy makes a mistake and sends the drug. The doctor orders the wrong drug, etc. Who’s the last person to administer the drug, and who should have checked, etc.? Pharmacy is off the hook; the doctor is off the hook, I’m the one to blame, legally, if I administer the wrong drug to the patient, even though it’s them who incorrectly ordered it. Like, it’s not the doctor’s fault that he wrote an extra 0; it’s the nurse’s fault for not calling and being like, “did you mean to write 100?” It’s so weird.”

Do you feel as though nursing school prepared you for the “reality” of the job?

“I have to say no. In my opinion, all nursing school does is make sure you are well-equipped enough, now, to at least work in a hospital, learn from whatever the hospital teaches you, and know how not to kill someone, and maybe, to save someone minimally. Some nursing schools may have more emphasis on technique, for example, but other than that, all nursing schools focus on interventions, NANDAS, side effects, and medications.”

Tell me the weirdest thing that has happened to you as a nurse.

“A guy was definitely touching himself under his bed and was like “ma’am, ma’am” and wanted me to change something that was unnecessary. I was like, “sir, if you can do that, you can change this yourself. There are definitely some perverted patients in hospitals. Also patients who we call “frequent flyers” because they always come back for shelter, food, and water.”

Do you feel supported by fellow nurses?

“Oh yeah. Nurses are always on each others’ side. Totally. And there’s a total “nurse way” to do things. Even once you go on to be an NP, for example, the core nurse in you still shines. Even with a coworker of mine – she’s an aesthetic NP – I always see her inner nurse come out. It’s like, once a nurse, always a nurse. I also feel like I’ve always been a nurse. I think there’s, like, a fine line between being maternal and being a nurse.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“Running around making sure someone’s not bleeding out. Just kidding. I get the consents; register people on iPledge if they’re going on Accutane. see patients; I educate them, I administer mediation, I do extractions. I can do laser treatments. Sometimes, my coworker NP will sometimes ask me to be in the room because she’s injecting Botox and wants me to make sure there’s no bruise forming. One of my classmates’ typical day would be a 12-hour shift, with 4-5 patients you are responsible for, and you need to prioritize. “

Do you have favorite scrubs or shoes to wear at work?

“For scrubs, definitely Figs. As for shoes, I bought this Amazon pair that continues to surprise me with how comfortable and stylish they are. I got so many compliments on these shoes; everyone was asking where I got them from. It seems like now everyone I work with has purchased them for themselves too.” 

Knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again?

“Yes. I’m so proud of myself. When I went in, I did not know how hard it was going to be. But now that I’ve finished it, of course.”

As a nurse, is it possible to have time for yourself outside of your job?

“Yes, but I am trying to figure out how. Right now, I feel like I have no time for anyone or anything, but I am sure one day I will once I know how to balance.”

gratitude message for nurses with red hearts
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

There you have it: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome of being a cosmetic nurse. I hope that this article gave you some personable inspiration and motivation to pursue aesthetic nursing or a career of similar nature. Of course, a huge thanks and shout out to Serene for her time, honesty, and information.

Leave your comments down below and DM Serene with any questions.

Liked this article? Stick around – more #GirlBoss Q&A’s are coming soon.

(An incredible story about revolutionary self-taught nurse here!)

Girl Boss Extraordinaire: Rupi Kaur

By Posted on 3 Comments 1 min read 57 views

Rupi Kaur is shaking the world of poetry. Although she might not be for everyone, she doesn’t claim or try to be – I love that. Whether you enjoy her poems or not, you’ve got to admit you’d never read anything like it before. Like a breath of fresh air, her art combines visuals and rhythm in a simplicity that rejuvenates our minds.

outlook – milk and honey

Ever since reading milk and honey, I was personally blown away by the amount of wisdom and magic in such a tiny poetry book. By the time I reached the last page, I was in love with Rupi’s writing style, life outlook, and strength. And couldn’t wait for more of her poems.

At just 21, Kaur has already published three poetry books that use repetition, consonance, and alliteration to stunning effect. She understands on a visceral level something elegant about the shapes of letters, making our ubiquitous Times New Roman font surprising again by playing with its roundness, its potential for contrast. It is no surprise that each of her books has earned New York Times Bestseller notoriety.

So, it is with overwhelming admiration for her genius that I share some of my favorite poems of hers with you readers today. Enjoy!

I know, right? I want more too.

Thanks, Rupi,

For more #GirlBoss, check out this article.

Sister Kenny: A Forgotten Medical Hero

By Posted on 0 Comments 5 min read 24 views

It’s time for a #GirlBoss story – one about an incredible self-trained nurse who discovered a new, less-invasive treatment for Polio around the time of WW1: Sister Kenny

But, before starting this inspiring story, let’s begin with a refresher of Polio for those who need a reminder:

Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease that spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. The disease caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis a year in the U.S. It was the most feared disease of the 20th century that became prevalent exponentially around the time of WW1.

A child suffering from Infantile Paralysis learns to walk with the aid of a special support, 1947.
(George Konig/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Fortunately, a vaccine was invented and administered in the 1960s. And since then, there has been a 90% reduction in the number of Polio cases worldwide. And no cases of Polio in the U.S. since the 1980s.

With that said, read on for the incredible story of Elizabeth Kenny.

Born in Australia in 1880, Ms. Kenny was a self-taught nurse in rural Australia. She portrayed immense skill in her job and was adored by most of those in her care. Once WW1 began, she worked as a British army nurse on troopships.

(Due to her exemplary work on these ships, she earned the title of ‘Sister” for her service. Thus, contrary to popular belief, Ms. Kenny was not, in fact, a nun.)

Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Around the time of WW1, Polio was rising around the world. Most of its victims were children and young adults. Severe cases meant fever and body aches that progressed to varying degrees of paralysis in just hours to days.

5-10% of paralyzed polio victims died, and as many as 50% suffered from persistent, partial paralysis.

The conventional treatment at the time, advocated by doctors and physical therapists, was immobilization. Polio victims were given splints or casts to restrict the affected limbs’ movement and prevent further deformity.

Child in a double Thomas splint with the head positioned with ‘blinkers’. Picture: Royal Children’s Hospital Archives

One night, Ms. Kenny was called to care for a child whose symptoms included contorted limbs and a stiffly curved spine. As a self-taught nurse who practiced most of her career in a rural Australian village, Ms. Kenny had not encountered such symptoms before. She sent a telegraph to her friend Dr. McDonnell, who lived in a nearby Australian community, for a diagnosis and guidance. The diagnosis of Polio was made by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brack via Dr. McDonnell, who, in his telegram reply, told Kenny to treat the symptoms as best she could. He didn’t provide her with any further direction.

Thus, in doing so, Sister Kenny began wrapping the child’s stiff limbs in hot, woolen sheets, hoping to relieve what she called ‘spasms.’ She sighed with relief when the treatment seemed to work: the child’s limbs straightened. Yet, she soon discovered that the child could not move his legs. She assumed that the child’s muscles have forgotten how to move on their own. In an attempt to ‘re-educate’ them, she began gently massaging and exercising the child’s paralyzed muscles, enabling passive movement. She also guided him with active coordination. Soon, the child benefitted from her treatment and achieved a miraculous, full recovery.

Sister Kenny demonstrates her revolutionary treatment for infantile paralysis.

After this patient encounter, she learned of five other similar cases in her town and administered the same technique to each diseased child. Almost inexplicably, they all recovered to the same extent as the first child. Kenny was able to cure all her cases to the point of the children being able to walk unaided.

Ironically, Sister Kenny was unaware of her immense discovery. It was not until she decided to visit her friend Dr. McDonnell that she learned about the recent Polio outbreak and its ‘proper’ treatment. Polio victims were generally treated by immobilization of the affected muscles, which requires splints, braces, and aids to assist in walking.

Ms. Kenny was shocked. She informed her friend of the six Polio-infected children that she had treated to full recovery and how she did so by mobilizing their limbs, not immobilizing them.

Elizabeth Kenny Papers, Minnesota Historical Society

Of course, in realizing what Ms. Kenny has accomplished, Dr. McDonnell immediately takes her to see a colleague of his – an orthopedic specialist named Dr. Brack – at a local hospital.

When Brack hears her story, he quickly disregarded it as nonsense, fiction, impossible. He claimed that the children that she ‘cured’ must not have been suffering from Polio in the first place. Dr. Brack refuses to allow Elizabeth to demonstrate or treat acute cases in his hospital to fear the patients’ safety and well-being.

As Elizabeth begins to be convinced by Dr. McDonnell that she has discovered a new, more effective treatment for Polio, she begins to butt heads with Dr. Brack. Brack is convinced that she is a quack, primarily because she is not a physician, let alone not one specializing in orthopedics. Dr. Brack ultimately convinced the same to the entire orthopedics community in Australia and continued to be ridiculed.
Despite this, Sister Kenny fought back. She opened up her clinic to gain notoriety and further prove her point.

Elizabeth Kenny lecturing a group of physicians in a corridor of the Minneapolis General Hospital in 1942. Credit: Minnesota Historical Society

Ms. Kenny’s legacy still lives on. Not only was she a nurse questioning physicians’ authority, but she was also a woman – and a very outspoken one, with no problem challenging the overwhelmingly male medical profession. But most importantly, in my opinion, it was Ms. Kenny’s fierce adherence to what was observed at the bedside that holds the most relevance today.

She thought that she could see and feel muscles improve as she ministered to her patients. She saw her patients recover at rates she believed were much higher than those treated conservatively. Who needed clinical trials when the proof was right in front of her? Her doctor-friend wrote, “the empirical evidence embodied in her patients’ recovery proved her therapy worked.”

Elizabeth Kenny, a self-trained nurse, successfully treated polio with strengthening and flexibility exercises. Minneapolis’ Kenny neighborhood is named after her. September 1940. Courtesy of the Minneapolis Star

Was Ms. Kenny correct? It is debatable. Her emphasis on early mobilization has come to be a mainstay of polio treatment and physical therapy more broadly. Yet, some of her claims about the nature of the disease and how patients recovered were eventually proved wrong. And the successful development of a polio vaccine in the 1950s made these debates much less pressing.

Yet, in an era of evidence-based medicine and reliance on large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of patients, her emphasis on bedside clinical observation flourishes. Ms. Kenny once wrote, “[her opponents] have eyes, but they see not.”

For more #GirlBoss stories, check out this page

My MCAT Study Plan

By Posted on 0 Comments 3 min read 89 views

The MCAT stands for the Medical College Admissions Test. That’s precisely thatan admissions test. So, as long as you hit the average score of the schools you’re applying for, I believe you’re in good hands. Remember: there’s much more to your medical school application: your extracurriculars, your interview, your grades

I took the MCAT on September 4th, 2020. It is a shortened exam for the remainder of this year because of COVID-19 (so, I guess that’s the only good thing to come out of this pandemic?). I scored a 513, which is about 87-88% – this was within my goal range (510+), so I’m okay with it.

A graph of MCAT scores and their percentiles

Now, with the test over with, I reflect on what I could have done more and what I am glad that I did. Keep reading for my study plan. I would repeat these steps if I, hypothetically, were to retake this test (but not planning on it…).

1. Sign up for a date (ex. 3 months from now).

Go on the official AAMC website.

2. Grab your calendar, and divide up however many days into 3 phases:

  • CONTENT REVIEW – PHASE 1
  • PRACTICE PROBLEMS – PHASE 2
  • AAMC TESTS – PHASE 3

3. Purchase your materials:

  • A set of textbooks to review (I recommend Kaplan or The Princeton Review)
  • UWorld (the BEST!!!)
  • Third party full-length practice tests (I recommend Altius)
  • AAMC materials:
    • Practice tests
    • Question packs
    • Section banks
    • Flashcards

4. Join and become familiar with using r/MCAT.

The community r/MCAT is extremely helpful for any questions you may have. From this place, I learned about the Khan Academy 98 Page Psych/Soc document that can replace reading any prep textbook for P/S. From personal experience, UWorld and reading this document were more than enough to score a 130 on the P/S section. 

5. Take one practice exam on the same day every week.

And do your best to simulate testing conditions (no phone, don’t google answers you don’t know during the test, only pee during your break, etc.). Then do nothing for the rest of the day; your brain will thank you for the rest. Make sure you take third-party FL’s until the last month before the exam. You will want to take only AAMC material to prep your brain for their question style and logic during this time. 

6. Review your entire exam the next day.

Go over every question and understand what they’re asking and why the right answer is right. Bonus tip: all AAMC full-length questions have been asked and explained in detail on r/MCAT. Check it out. If you’re still confused, post on there as well, and someone will help you out ASAP. I love that community and am forever grateful. 

7. Do 2-3 CARS passages daily.

Check out Jack Westin or Khan Academy for some great free practice passages.

8. Use only AAMC material for the last month before the test (phase 3).

This is a good idea because no third-party exam can completely replicate AAMC logic; only the AAMC material can. Saving these precious resources for the last month will prime your brain at the perfect time for the approaching test day.

e x a m p l e:

PHASE 1 – CONTENT REVIEW (4 WEEKS)

  • Read (skim) through all of the Kaplan prep books (except P/S).
  • Read the KA P/S doc and make flashcards for unfamiliar terms.
  • CARS daily

PHASE 2 – PRACTICE PROBLEMS (4 WEEKS)

  • Thoroughly complete all UWorld MCAT questions
  • CARS daily
  • One 3rd-party FL weekly

PHASE 3 – PRACTICE EXAMS (4 WEEKS)

  • Complete all AAMC Question Packs and Section Banks
  • Do all four practice AAMC full-length exams & review

ALSO, KEEP IN MIND:

  • Two days before the exam: light review and CARS.
  • The day before & day of the exam: no studying! Have confidence. The hardest part is over, now just execute!

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns by leaving a comment below. Good luck, deep breath, you will do great! Make sure to keep taking care of yourself and stay healthy during your studies. For some self-care tips, check out this article.