Introducing the Alex & Whitney Store!

We are really rolling in 2017. So much so that we basically decided to open up a shop. “Wait, what? Don’t you already have an Etsy shop?”  Well, the Etsy shop and this blog simply share a name. Which is why we decided to change the name of our blog since Whitney’s Etsy shop and this blog have morphed into 2 entities. Since both Alex & Whitney contribute to this blog and it’s really about them fighting through the early stage of adulthood, what better name than Alex & Whitney!

The shop consists of mainly typography, featuring our favorite sayings. We may branch out of the business of “words” but for now, we hope you grab a shirt and have a laugh. So go ahead. Check out our shop! And share it with all your friends.

Alex&Whitney Blog Shop

 alex&whitney

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Night Shift Essentials

Oh hi! It’s been like….. forever since I had enough energy to write out a decent post. If you saw our drafts section, you’d realize just how much I tried to write a post at least once a week. Anyway, exciting news. I’m finally off night shNight Shift Nurse Quotesift! (I still have the same job, I just work PRN right now so I get to work whenever
*yay*) With the start of intermediate nursing classes, I just could not juggle the night shift and trying to study. Bless those of you who can! I wish I knew how you did it because I almost did not survive it. While I am 100% sure I will work a night shift again in the future, for now I can enjoy the sunshine & normal sleep.

I wanted to share some night shift essentials that helped me get through these past 8 months. To be quite honest, I actually fell in love with working night shift! For those weeks I didn’t have school, working night shift was easy to adjust to and I was able to get the proper amount of sleep the next day so all was well! If you have the right stuff, night shift is definitely manageable for anyone!

 

Nourishment:

  • snacks, snacks, snacks! The easiest way to stay awake is to fuel your body with food. Remember to choose healthy snacks or you will see the pounds (very) quickly. Check out my post about eating while on night shift.
  • WATER! It is vital that you keep yourself hydrated throughout the night. My favorite go-to water bottle is a Nalgene style because it’s the only one that fits under our water machine…. but also it holds so much water that you don’t have to run back & forth filling it up.

Clothing:

  • Stay warm! Always bring a jacket. When that clock hits 3am, it’s as if the AC is on full blast and you’ll find yourself freezing to death. For me, I prefer a lighter athletic style jacket just because they are easy to wash after every shift and they breatheeeee. Nothing is worse being stuck in a patient’s room which is normally always stuffy & getting super hot because you forgot to take your jacket off before you entered the room.
  • Shoes! The right shoes are extremely important. I will write a more thorough post on the types of shoes to wear for 12 hour shifts, but in short, find comfortable shoes that won’t make you feel like your feet will fall off. Nothing is worse than coming home & having swollen, throbbing feet. My go-to shoes are Asics gel running shoes. Asics are particularly amazing because different styles are for different types of pronation which basically means more comfort, less injury, etc.

Body:

  • Eye drops! My contacts never get dry during the day, but if I’m working a night shift, I feel as if my eyeballs are shriveling up and about to fall out onto the floor. Purchasing lubricating eye drops for contacts was the most saved my life. Remember, there are different types so if you have contacts, be sure to find the ones specifically for contacts!
  • Lip balm! Just like my eyes, I found my lips getting super dry during night shift. I always had some form of lip balm in my pocket. Some of my favorites are Burt Bee’s, Nivea, and Vaseline.
  • Perfume stick! Depending on where you work, you may or may not be allowed to wear perfume. No one ever said anything to me, so I always wear some form of light perfume to work. I discovered TonyMoly’s perfume bar which is super cute, but also smells amazing. I have the green tea one (not shown on their website, I got mine at Urban Outfitters) and not only does it make me smell good, but whenever I have a stinky room (and with sick babies, there are always stinky diapers which means stinky rooms) I am able to dab a little under my nose and inhale.

Other Very Important Stuff:

  • Kindle! or rather any tablet that allows you to read. Sometimes I use my phone if I happen to leave my Kindle at home. For those super slow nights, it is great to have a book on hand to read. Tablets are great because you can store so many things & the size is perfect to tuck away if you do get busy.
  • PENS. PENS. PENS!!!!!! For some reason, the hospital is the black hole of pens. No matter how many pens you have in your pocket, you always walk out at the end of the shift with no pens. Go ahead and buy yourself a 20homoglobinopathy:  We all know the struggle.: pack of black clickable pens (no caps…. that’s just unsanitary) and leave
    them in your bag. You will lose them all, but at least if you happen to lose one, you’ll have some more in your bag. Be sure to restock if the number in your bag begin to dwindle.
  • Sunglasses! Nothing is more painful than walking out in the morning and having your eyes burn out of their sockets because of the sun. Always carry a pair of sunglasses and be sure to put them on before you step outside. Trust me. I’m telling you this from experience(s).

There are so many other things I shove into my bag before work that I’m sure I forgot some important ones, but these few are the absolute must haves! If you work night shift, share some of your essentials in the comments below!

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Phases of the Night Shift

Night shift doesn't suck. It's what it does to the rest of my life that sucks.:

Anyone who has ever worked the night shift, especially in healthcare has undergone the various phases of the night shift. It is no secret that there are moments during the night where you physically feel like you are going to die. Here are the 7 phases I have personally experienced working the night shift in the ER.

  1. Denial.(5pm-8pm): I love my job. I really do, but when 5pm rolls around and I have to get ready for work, I hate every ounce of my job. Sleeping during the day has never worked for me so by the time 5pm rolls around I am suddenly extremely sleepy and have the urge to take a nap, something I should have done 7 hours ago….. It feels like I’m trudging through quicksand as I get ready for work, roll into my car, & clock in. The first hour I am usually a zombie, waiting for my coffee to kick in. This is also shift change which is ridiculously stressful. Often times I pray there is no trauma coming because the last thing I want to do is try to figure out a manual blood pressure on a screaming child….30 Funniest Memes #Funny #Memes:
  2. I got this! (8pm-11pm): Once the coffee kicks in and I get into the groove,
    all the energy of the sun hits me. I am unstoppable. This is usually the busiest time at the ER so we are constantly on our feet, running from room to room, channeling our inner Grey’s and Yang’s. Time flies by when you are crazy busy and have lots of crying children.
  3. I don’t got this….(11pm-1am): After 11pm, people stop checking in, those
    already in rooms are settled, those in the wait room have probably (usually not) accepted their 5 hour wait and enjoy the movie we have on constant repeat (this week it was Finding Nemo). This is when it hits me. The effect of my coffee has gone, my adrenaline has left me in a state of exhaustion, and the reality that I hadn’t slept since 7am the previous day kicks in.
  4. I will die from starvation, right now. (1am-3am): I’m usually hungry all night because when I’m sleepy, I’m hungry. However, whenever 1am rolls around, the hunger monster appears in my stomach and I feel like eating the entire cafeteria. It never helps when coworkers order pizza or someone gives us cake because we’re celebrating someone’s something. It also doesn’t help that we are on the same floor as the cafeteria which has started offering quesadillas…… 
  5. I am already dead. (3am-5am): At this point, I am in a food coma/real coma because I am one blink away from passing out into a deep sleep. The ER is usually absolutely silent at this moment. Usually we have 1 or 2 rooms with itty babies who haven’t pooped. Traumas are rare since this is a children’s ER and kids are usually asleep during this time (although you’d be surprised….) We are all usually kicking each other to stay awake or searching for something ridiculous on YouTube to make each other laugh. The Keurig works overtime and nothing makes sense.
  6. Life after death…. aka the clock stops ticking (5am-7am): Nothing is slower than the last 2 hours of a 12 hour night shift….. Time literally stops. 30 hahaha oh 12 hour nursing shifts...: minutes surely must have passed! Just kidding, it was 45 seconds. Luckily around 6:30 day shift arrives and the last few minutes fly by.
  7. FREEDOM!: All of a sudden I always get a burst of energy. It’s time to go home! It’s time to shower! It’s time to go straight to bed! Just kidding, Netflix just added the new season of HTGAWM…. repeat.

Have any of you worked the night shift, whether in a healthcare setting or any other setting? Share your experiences below!

Stay Away From the Fries

Oh hello, it has literally been 4 months since I have had time to sit down and write. To be honest, I don’t even have the time but I slept all day (thanks night shift) and now I’m up at an awkward time unable to really do much. So I set aside the knitting needles, the flash cards on electrolytes & decided to emerge from the depths of nursing school to tend to this little blog. Alex is also crazy busy with her mortgage school stuff  & working all the time. I promise we are still alive and we are still here! If you’re reading this, thanks for not leaving us!

Anyway, since my life has been consumed by clinicals and work, what better topic to touch on than night shift life? I have officially made it past my 90 days (yay!) so I basically feel like a pro at night shifts, but really I’m not because like I said I came home this morning and passed out until 8pm which is terrible. Don’t do that if you want to maintain some normalcy with your day life.

If there is one thing I have truly mastered (maybe, sometimes, really depends on how many traumas we got that night) is staying away from the fries, the mac & cheese, the pizza… all the warm, greasy, foods that smell so good at 2am. I type this knowing full well last night I ate some mac & cheese, but I had blood all over my scrubs so whatever. It was that kind of night. Anyway, nothing puts on the pounds that consuming those sodium filled, carb loaded foods that lurk in the cafeteria. Also, can I mention how good Dr.Pepper is at 3am? It’s really good… and also really bad.

I have made a list of some of my favorite go-to snacks & drinks (since anyone who works in the hospital, especially the emergency room doesn’t have even 2 seconds to pee some nights so meals are a thing of dreams). These are not only delicious, but full of healthy nutrients and cure even the worse appetites. Nothing like taking a rectal temperature to have your stomach growl…. -.-

The Noms:

  • Fruit, cheese, & whole wheat crackers– Sweet, salty, & wonderful. I seriously eat this every night because the cheese cuts my appetite so fast, the fruit (usually grapes or apples) satisfy my sugar craving but gives me all those good vitamins, & the whole wheat crackers give me that carb loaded energy without the guilt.
  • Hummus & pita chips– The hummus does wonders for filling up my stomach fast & holding off hunger for hours! Plus, protein!
  • Salad– My favorite combo is romaine lettuce, kale, tomatoes, low fat cheese, green onions, cucumbers, & carrots. I always hold the dressing because that is where the most calories come from!
  • Toasted edamame (or any kind of bean)- I love, love, love snacking on these throughout the night. They’re salty, crispy, and the perfect solution to those late night potato chip cravings. I absolutely LOVE eda-zen (which I have found at Target). A 3.5 oz bag usually lasts me 2 or 3 nights.
  • Greek yogurt & granola– The key to ensuring you don’t have the sensation that you are starving 6 hours into your 12 hour shift is to eat enough protein filled foods. Greek yogurt usually has around 15g of protein in a standard yogurt cup which means your belly won’t feel neglected. Plus yogurt is GREAT in regulating your stomach especially since switching to night shift almost guarantees an upset stomach and changes in your bowel patterns.

The Slurps:

  • Coffee– coffee, coffee, coffee. Nothing gives me more life than coffee. I usually always start the night off with a coffee, usually iced with soymilk. If I’m feeling fancy, I buy myself a caramel latte. If I’m feeling extra dragging that night, I will opt for a second cup but I usually stop myself before I start consuming an entire pot. Coffee is a great drink to start off my night but not something I continuously drink throughout the night. Coffee is not my friend after midnight. For some reason, it makes me bloated & my stomach starts to hate me.
  • Iced green tea– No, not the sugar filled one you get at Starbucks. I’m talking about brewing your own green tea, sticking it in the refrigerator, & pouring over ice in your to-go cup from home. You need nothing more than caffeine to fuel your way through a shift, but you don’t need to shock your body by gulping down those energy drinks or double espresso shots. I have found that steadily drinking green tea throughout the night has kept me alert and oriented and best of all, not bloated!
  • Water– It is so, so, so important to keep yourself hydrated while you work especially if you are consuming caffeine which ironically can dehydrate your body. If you are able to step away and take a pee break, water does a great job giving you that urge to pee which usually helps a person stay awake. If you aren’t able to step away as often as you like, then you may not want to drink TOO much. However, always choose water over any other liquid. I tried Gatorade one night, but eventually the sugar made me feel sick, not to mention all those empty calories. (I am a huge fan of Gatorade though when I am sick or feeling dizzy! Yay electrolytes!)

The key I have found is to snack smartly. If you are able to sit down and have a meal, then stay away from the snacking because that could introduce those extra calories. However, as mentioned before, if you struggle to find a second to breathe for yourself, snacking is the only way you will survive. For those extra long nights, I often sneak a couple chocolates into my scrub pockets for that little sugar boost!

Do you have any favorite night shift yummys you would like to share? Comment below!

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Preparing for the First Night

It’s 7am. My pug woke me up because he’s hungry and he has to pee. I get up, feed him, let him pee, realize it’s 7am and cry. Why? Because tonight I am starting my new job as a coffee and chocolate. #Nursing: nurse aide in the children’s emergency room… and it’s a 12 hour night shift. It’s 7am and I’m wide awake. I have to clock in a 7pm which is 12 hours away. If I don’t go back to sleep now I will have to stay up for over 24 hours. I haven’t done that since high school (I never even did that during college). Spoiler: I didn’t go back to sleep.

Thus begins my night shift saga.

As a nursing student, it was important to find a part time job that was relevant. I have previously worked at a library while was extremely low key, good pay, yet had nothing to do with what I was going to school for…. Somehow (likely by the grace of God) I landed a position at the children’s emergency department. It was perfect. My goal is to become a critical care/trauma nurse when I graduate so this was the first step towards my goal. Not only do I get to work at one of the best children’s hospitals, but I actually get to work in peds while at the same time working in emergency/trauma. Double win! I was (still am) elated! I didn’t care that it was a night shift position because I finally had my foot in the door.

However, it is 1pm as I am typing this. 6 hours until my shift begins. I haven’t fallen back asleep plus I’m so nervous/excited for my first day that I have completely given up hope on going back to sleep. Instead, I have prepared a night shift survival kit (post coming soon), packed my snacks for the night (post also coming soon….), laid out my super sweet Grey’s Anatomy scrubs, and decided I was going to write about my experience working the night shift (while going to nursing school…. haha, joke’s on me).

fast forward 3 hours

At this point I have tried napping, but to no avail. I accept my fate and decide to begin my “day”…. or rather evening…. I take a long shower and begin to get ready. I put on a pot of coffee and stare at the clock. I’m feeling alright at this point, but definitely regret my lack of preparation. Eventually, 6pm rolls around and I decide to head to the hospital since it is my first night. I double check my bag and make sure I have everything including orientation papers and lots of *healthy* snacks. And I’m off!

signatureAre you a night shift worker? What are some tips that help you stay awake during the grueling hours? Leave a comment below!