Do you ever find yourself thinking something like “I always mess this up” or “I never say the right thing”? I recognize thoughts like this in myself. Negative self-talk is an easy pattern to fall into, but these thoughts can be unrealistic. Generalizations like always and never can make an issue seem bigger than it really is. It is often helpful to treat each situation on its own. Your thoughts and actions are unique to the situation you are currently in, no matter how often you think you encounter similar circumstances. Wouldn’t it be more grace-filled and truthful to replace “I never …” with “This time I didn’t …”?

Avoiding generalizations such as always and never is also a good test-taking tip. Critical care practice is nuanced and complex, with exceptions to almost every rule. For example, if a test question were...

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