Mindfulness Meditation For Nurses
During the coronavirus pandemic, managing nurse stress has become more important now than ever before. COVID has brought extra hours on the job, required moves for some, and caused additional stress due to fears of contracting the virus at the workplace. The behind-the-scenes things nurses deal with bring stress levels that most people cannot begin to relate to.
Fortunately, there are a few stress-relieving modalities that can be done quickly and from almost anywhere (including a nurse’s break area). One of the most important being mindfulness meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
After a long, stressful day dealing with a pandemic, nurses still have to go home and do the same daily tasks everyone else does, such as grocery shopping, cooking, raising a family, and taking care of the home. Like many busy professionals, finding time for self-care as a nurse usually goes on the backburner.
According to the National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.”
In other words, the goal of mindfulness is to place your attention on the present. That is also the only thing we have control of at any given time – not what happened in the past or what might happen at some point in the future.
By tapping into our selves and being more mindful, we can decrease our own stress and anxiousness to handle each moment as it comes.
Additional Recommended Reading: 8 Ways Nurses Can Take Better Care Of Themselves
Mindfulness meditation for nurses
Mindfulness Meditation For The Beginner: How Do I Start?
When someone hears the phrase, “I’m going to practice meditation,” a common thought is, “What do they mean by practice?”
But that is exactly what it is – a practice – even for those experienced in meditation.
For nurses who already have a ton on their plates, a practice can be as little as 3-5 minutes. The more you make mediation a regular habit, the longer you will be able to sit in meditation.
Find a space, sit in a comfortable chair, or cross-legged on the ground. As you better your practice, you may start to lose track of time (ultimately a good thing), so be sure to set a timer if you are at work. Start your meditation by taking deep breaths and really focusing on each breath, as each breath epitomizes the “now.” Your mind will almost undoubtedly drift again, but catch yourself without any feelings of negativity and focus on the breathing again. Find your center for as long as you can during your allotted time.
If you continue to struggle to find that peace, you can also try guided meditations, which are available as apps or even on YouTube, and with these, calming music and a soothing voice lead you through the steps of breathing and focus and help with your practice.
It’s important to try to do this every day, but just as important to not get down on yourself if you can’t find the time on a given day, or are just too overwhelmed with stress to maintain focus for any amount of time. Pick it up the next day, and if you do it as often as you can, the world around you will seem more at peace and more bearable as you continue to take on your stressful-yet-extremely rewarding job as a nurse.
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About the Author
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she’s not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.
Nurses are a critical part of the healthcare system during public health emergencies. They are highly trusted, compassionate, and willing to go to great lengths to protect their patients. However, with no clear endpoint, COVID-19 is not a typical public health crisis and has created a range of mental health challenges for nurses.
Today’s nurses are working under a cloud of fear and stress, which can lead to physical and psychological symptoms. However, there are steps that nurses can take to minimize the effects of high-stress levels and keep themselves and their families balanced.
A Two-Pronged Approach to Managing Stress
Stress levels cannot be managed through mental health strategies alone. Making healthy lifestyle choices can directly affect an individual’s outlook on life, energy levels, and mood. These five tactics can create a positive impact on mental health:
- Eat regular meals – focus on whole foods that decrease inflammation and build immunity
- Stay hydrated – choose water instead of caffeinated beverages, which can cause headaches and mood swings
- Exercise regularly – a simple walk with the dog can keep anxiety and depression symptoms at bay
- Limit alcohol consumption and refrain from smoking
- Make sleep a priority and practice good sleep hygiene
When it comes to managing stress levels, a nurse’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. Incorporating these self-love strategies into your daily routine can help:
- Practice meditation and/or mindfulness exercises
- Make time for relaxation
- Take mini-breaks throughout the workday to practice deep breathing
- Keep in touch with friends and family
- Limit exposure to media coverage of the pandemic
- Lower expectations of yourself and others, reminding yourself that “done” is better than “perfect”
- Practice positive self-talk, such as “nurses have a purpose and make a difference”
- Talk it out with colleagues or a supervisor, because nurses don’t have to walk this road alone
- Accept help when offered, and ask for support when needed
Help Children Manage Stress
Nurses with children at home have a responsibility to help them understand and respond to our changing world. Children may pick up on the stress that a parent is feeling and struggle to understand what is wrong. Children need to receive reassurance and guidance that’s centered around safety, consistency, and love.
Here are some tips to help children manage stress:
- Maintain a consistent family routine – establish set bedtimes and meal times
- Include children in conversations about the pandemic, but keep their age in mind and help them navigate their feelings
- Set family rules for proper hygiene
- Make routines fun for kids – consider singing during handwashing or developing games for wearing masks
- Remind children that the situation is temporary
- Allow children to help out around the house to give them a way to contribute – young children can carry dishes to the sink and help tidy up, while older children can take on bigger chores such as cleaning and yard work
- Reassure children that the parent is safe in their job
Additional recommending reading:
Symptoms of Excessive Stress
Nurses should self-monitor their mental health status on a regular basis and take action when necessary. Symptoms of depression can include:
- Sleep difficulties
- Persistent crying or sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
Nurses who are forced to make clinical decisions that conflict with their ethical training may experience signs of moral distress, such as feeling guilty or ashamed. Other symptoms to watch for include:
- Difficulty with decision-making or memory
- Emotional outbursts
- Risky behaviors
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, palpitations, and gastrointestinal issues
Nurses experiencing moral distress or consistent symptoms of depression should talk to their supervisor and seek professional help. Early intervention can be critical to working through moral dilemmas and extreme stress. Nurses seeking to connect with a mental health professional can contact their insurance provider for options in their area.
Mental Health Resources
Anyone experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts should call 911.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association lists the following crisis hotlines:
It’s Okay to Take a Break
Nurses who have decided to step away from bedside nursing amid the pandemic should keep in mind that they are not alone. Taking a break and hitting the reset button can be the difference between a nurse developing serious mental health problems and a nurse maintaining their sanity. Some nurses may use this time to further their education from the comfort of their home by enrolling in an online nursing program. An online program can keep the nurse’s knowledge current while potentially offering a pathway to a better position and higher future earnings.
Self-care is vital to a nurse’s health and well-being, especially in the face of a pandemic. Nurses can fill their mental health “bucket” throughout the day using tools of the trade, and perform regular mental health gut checks to ensure that they get the help they need when they need it.
Cindy Blye, RN
Cindy Blye is a nurse-turned-writer with experience in Newborn Intensive Care, Pediatrics, and Case Management. Her works include pediatric nurse certification review materials, policies and procedures, training materials, nursing blog articles, health and wellness articles, and local business reviews. Cindy has three grown children and lives with her husband in North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and cooking.
What is diversity in healthcare?
Healthcare providers with different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, age ranges, and/or sexual identities — can have a significant impact on the availability and quality of care patients receive.
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Physical Handicapped
- Mental/Emotional Handicapped
Why diversity in healthcare matters for patients
Patients from underrepresented, underserved, and at-risk communities benefit from having informed and diverse healthcare providers. It’s essential that patients feel respected and protected to break through resistance that might interfere with treatment.
Educational efforts and inclusion practices are imperative in providing the very best care possible.
Additional recommended reading: Online Nursing School Tips For Success!
The Treatment Gap
Currently, minority populations develop more chronic illnesses, both mentally and physically, because of decreased access to preventative care. Socioeconomic factors that create barriers between minorities & wellness:
- Education level
- Proper housing
- Adequate nutrition
Patients are also more likely to seek preventative care from a medical professional of the same race that they trust. Research shows that members of underrepresented minorities are more likely to practice medicine in geographical areas where there are fewer practicing caucasian physicians, making care accessible to communities previously lacking in medical resources. An increase in preventative care means saving thousands of lives each year.
Changes in ethnic & cultural diversity in healthcare:
Diversity in healthcare & diversity in nursing
In the next thirty years, minorities will constitute 50% of the US population. However, as of 2017, only 19.2% of RNs come from minority backgrounds. Fortunately, this percentage is on the rise, which is good news for nurses and patients alike.
Nurses are making a difference among diverse populations.
The field of public health & community health nursing concentrates on the health of entire populations. It compensates for part of this treatment gap by creating readily available programs for at-risk communities. For example, the North Carolina Minority Diabetes Prevention Program aims to help community members make sustainable lifestyle changes and provides support groups to lean on throughout the process.
According to the US Food & Drug Administration, “racial and ethnic minorities have a higher burden of diabetes, worse diabetes control, and are more likely to experience complications.” Public health nurses are working at the government-level to expand healthcare to the entire population. The field is increasing, and RNs interested in this career path should investigate higher education programs focused on public health to see if it’s the right choice for them.
Why diversity in health care matters for nurses.
Nurses make up the largest portion of the United States’ healthcare system; there are nearly 4 million nurses in America, and we are still at a shortage of one million more. Nursing’s high turnover rate is due to baby boomers retiring, burnout, and subsequent job dissatisfaction, among other factors. A more diverse health care workforce means more nurses to share the workload, a solution to the national nursing shortage, and the job satisfaction all nurses deserve to experience.
Nursing gender gap
Nursing has long been thought of as a career for women, creating a societal block for men to become nurses.
- Presently, just under 13% of nurses are male — a percentage that continues to grow slowly year over year!
- There over 2 million female RNs compared with only 300,000 males.
Recruiting more men into nursing could alleviate the burden of the national nursing shortage, creating a more balanced and homogenous workplace.
Achieving a more diverse health care system
The same socioeconomic factors keeping minorities from quality healthcare are keeping minorities from entering into the healthcare workforce. Thankfully, as society shifts to more diverse demography, efforts are being made across the country to level the playing field and create a more inclusive system for all.
With the expansion of inclusion and retention programs, both medical workers and their patients will benefit. Additional recommended reading:
Guest author Pamela Mahler is a content specialist for Aspen University. She is passionate about learning and producing valuable resources that empower others to enhance their lives through education. Aspen University offers CCNE accredited programs at every degree level. Aspen created affordable degrees and 0%-interest payment plans with transparent pricing so that nurses can focus on courses, not the fine print.
Nurses are working than ever to give the best patient care they can – especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is why it is more important than ever that nurses wear shoes that support their challenging and often arduous nursing shifts, and protect them from slipping as well.
Feeling good after a busy nursing shift has a lot to do with the nursing shoes that you wear. Foot pain, achy joints, and back pain are just a few of the side effects that many nurses deal with regularly—especially those working back-to-back shifts to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Having the proper footwear can make all the difference in how you feel each day. It is so important to take care of yourself first as a nurse!
What Makes A Great Nursing Shoe?
This is what your nursing shoes need to do for you as a nurse:
- Give good support
- Be slip resistant
- Be comfortable
- Protect your back
- Reduce stress on joints
- Look professional
Nurses must wear non-slip-resistant nursing shoes.
The hospital setting has hard and often wet surfaces. Especially since the floors are regularly being cleaned in between patients. Occasional spills can result in unintended nurse falls. Nursing shoes must be slip-resistant – it is a non-negotiable.
Some facilities in the US even pay for nurses to receive a new pair of nursing shoes every six months! This can help protect nurses from injuries that could have resulted in disability from work.
Here are the top ten best white nursing shoes for durability, style, comfort, and safety. Our jobs are highly physical, and we need all the help we can get.
Here are the ten best white nursing shoes in 2021 (in no particular order):
- Fabric and synthetic
- Rubber sole
- Printed leather upper
- Cushioned, removable comfort footbed
- Slip-resistant rubber traction outsole
- Soft toe; no safety toe cap
This Skechers work clog keeps you comfortably supported and stable during long shifts and on wet surfaces. They have a smooth upper layer and have a slip-on style for easy on and off. Lightly padded, with a roomy, rounded toe. Also, they have a removable textile insole that supplies underfoot comfort and support.
Fully-molded material treated to minimize the growth of bacteria that cause odor, designed for custom fit slip-resistant, lightweight outsole for better wear and cushioning.
- Synthetic sole
- Durable and lightweight material: These classic sneakers feature a leather upper for soft support with stitched overlays.
- Great food support with lightweight cushioning which lasts many nursing shifts
- Comfortable and study – these shoes have a low-cut design that provides mobility at the ankles
- High performance: Ideal for long days of work, running and hiking
Reebok Women’s Classic Renaissance shoes have a soft leather upper and premier-quality liner on the inside of the shoe. These sneakers have a padded tongue and collar, and the memory tech footbed provides support.
Here is a little Reebok history: The company was founded for one of the best reasons possible: athletes wanted to run faster. So in the 1890s, Joseph William Foster made some of the first known running shoes with spikes in them. By 1895, he was in business making shoes by hand for top runners and before long developed an international clientele of distinguished athletes.
One nurse’s review on Amazon said:
“I have been working in Dialysis for 22 years and was so happy to find the only shoe that was comfortable to work for 8 to 12 hours on my feet. They are lightweight with great arch support. I switched to these because I was having pain from other shoes. So I have found these shoes on Amazon, and I will continue to purchase them until they run out of them. I hope this was helpful to whoever needs to know about the Reebok Classic Renaissance.”
Great for nurses who need a waterproof, non-stick shoe.
- Rubber sole
- Platform measures approximately 1.00″
- Super comfortable and lightweight shoes! Typically run true to size. If you usually wear half-size, the company recommends you to order these a half-size smaller. The letter M on the size means medium width for women.
- Made with a powerful non-slip outsole. The upper and outsole are waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about your feet getting wet.
- The footbed is made with an absorbent material to keep your feet dry all day long
- The sole has a shock absorber and anti-torsion system. Your entire body will feel the difference
- Made with great support for your arch and full foot.
These shoes are great for busy nurses. They are waterproof with non-slip outsoles so you can work in different environments without getting wet. The outsole will keep you protected even on extra slippery floors. Sometimes, for waterproof shoes, your feet can’t breathe properly, that’s why these shoes are made with an absorbent footbed to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Also, they are made with a shock absorber and anti-torsion system.
- Rubber sole
- Vegan upper
- Stain-resistant upper
- Double elastic gore for easy on-and-off
- Padded collar
- Dual-density polyurethane outsole
These Alegria Footwear nursing shoes have an elastic core for easy on-and-off wear. They have a removable and replaceable Alegria footbed. Enhanced shock absorption and excellent rebound. They also have a slip-resistant outsole.
One nurse reviewed on Amazon and said:
“These shoes are awesome…I have worn Alegria shoes for years and thought I would try these…they are so comfortable…I normally wear a 10 or 10W depending on the shoe so was a bit nervous about size, but they fit perfectly. I also have a high instep, and these felt a little tight at first, but then were great. I will be buying more of this style. I am a nurse who routinely walks 12000 steps or more in a day and I weigh 275lbs. These are sturdy shoes.”
- 100% Synthetic
- Great work clogs for nurses who need comfort for all-day and night shifts.
- Extremely easy to clean by just using soap and water and allowing for a quick dry
- These Crocs slip-resistant shoes offer a generous, roomy fit with heels that meet workplace standards.
- These Crocs nursing shoes have thicker toe regions to protect feet from spills.
Nurses will be ready to make patient rounds with protection and comfort every step of the way. These nursing shoes are designed for a relaxed fit, and this updated style includes removable, washable footbed liners Perfect for healthcare workers in an “on your feet” industry.
- Textile and Synthetic
- Rubber sole
- Durable and lightweight material: These sneakers feature soft leather and synthetic upper with a mesh lining for supportive comfort, protection, and breathability.
- Efficient foot support
- Comfortable and sturdy: features low-cut design for freedom of motion and beveled heel enhances walking stride efficiency
- High-performance nursing shoes: High abrasion rubber outsole adds durable traction and resists oil
Reebok Women’s Work N Cushion 3.0 Walking Shoes have a leather and synthetic upper for durability. Mesh material around the collar allows airflow, and a beveled heel enhances walking stride. A memory tech sock liner and the EVA foam midsole provide excellent cushioning. A rubber outsole adds grip to these slip- and oil-resistant shoes.
- 100% Leather
- Synthetic sole
- Heel measures approximately 2″
- Platform measures approximately 0.75″
- Leather and or fabric uppers
- Padded instep collar for comfort when walking
- Roomy reinforced toe box for protection with plenty of “wiggle room” for your toes
- Rocker bottom to propel foot forward and provide shock absorption
- Wide heel strike for greater stability
- Synthetic sole
- Heel measures approximately 1.75 inches”
- Accommodates most standard and custom orthotics.
- Biodewix linings and Microbe Shield odor control.
- Durable, easy-to-clean leather uppers.
- Removable PU foam footbed for shock absorption and energy return.
- Lightweight EVA midsole for shock absorption and support.
The coral slip-on features moisture-wicking linings with odor control, easy-to-clean uppers, flexible twin-goring for easy on/off, and a slip-resistant rubber outsole. Many users on Amazon suggest ordering a half size down.
One nurse review on Amazon said:
“So I read reviews first about ordering half a size down and it was spot on! These shoes are soooo comfortable! I am on my feet all day on hard floors and my knees would constantly ache. The first day after wearing these, I instantly could feel a difference. Now my knees don’t even bother me after a week of wearing these shoes! I get compliments on them all the time as well. You won’t regret it if you get them!”
- 100% Leather
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
- Shock-absorbing heel
- Ethylene-vinyl acetate footbed
- Non-marking outsole
- Leather Upper
Product description: These shoes can give nurses all-day comfort in a durable athletic silhouette. They have a larger absorbing heel capsule, with reinforced collar foam.
From the company: New Balance, is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their goals. It’s been their mission for more than a century. It’s why they don’t spend money on celebrity endorsements. They spend it on research and development. It’s why they don’t design products to fit an image. They design them to fit. New Balance is driven to make the finest shoes for the same reason athletes lace them up: to achieve the very best.
- 100% Leather
- Synthetic sole
- Slip-on work clog featuring concealed goring insets and Scotchgard protector for stain resistance
- Anti-fatigue technology
- Anatomically shaped toe box
- Heel-to-toe rocker sole
Per the manufacturer: Thanks to Timberland Pro’s Anti-Fatigue Technology, heel-to-toe rocker soles, anatomical toe boxes, and slip-resistant outsoles, these women’s nursing shoes are healthcare industry favorites. Designed to provide maximum comfort during long days on your feet, these slip-on shoes take some pressure off so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
I hope we helped you find the perfect white nursing shoe for work. Remember to take care of yourself first, and that includes wearing quality shoes when you will be on your feet all day long.
Additional recommended reading:
Nursing is an exciting and fulfilling profession – and recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the world just how valuable nurses are.
If you have been considering the idea of starting a career in nursing, you may have fears standing in your way. Embarking on a new career can be overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dream career as a nurse.
Here are 3 of the biggest challenges many prospective nursing students face when considering a career in nursing, and how you can get past them.
Additional recommended reading: 9 Tips For Working As A Nurse While Pregnant
Nursing career challenge 1: “I have a busy schedule.”
Nurses lead busy lives, and their careers can often become a central part of them. When you’re researching how to become a nurse, you need to think about ways to balance it with the rest of your life.
Here’s a solution: Talk to your partner or family about ways you can work around each other’s schedules, and consider possible alternative schedules.
One great aspect of having a nursing career is that nurses work many different kinds of shifts, at all times of the day and night. Some possible schedules include eight or 12-hour shifts, day shift (7 am-7 pm), mid-shift (12 am-12 pm), and night shift (7 pm-7 am). Also, many nurses only work on the weekends. There are not many professions that offer that kind of work flexibility!
Also, many accredited nursing programs are almost entirely online, and you can fit your studies at any time that works for you.
Nursing career challenge 2: “School is expensive.”
Money is always going to be a factor when you’re trying to figure out precisely what kind of career you want to pursue, and nursing is no exception. Whether you will have to take a pay cut or you’re worried about the costs of getting your qualifications, there are always things that you can do to get a grip on your money concerns.
Here’s a solution: There are plenty of grants and loans available for those studying, and there are plenty of adjustments you can make in your life to balance out a drop in your pay. Also, you don’t need to worry about paying your student loans back until after you graduate from nursing school, and there are many low rates available.
Here are four types of loans to help you pay for your nursing degree.
Nursing career challenge 3: “I’m afraid to make a big life change.”
The idea of changing your career can be scary, and getting a nursing education can seem intimidating. However, if you let fear dictate your career decisions, you are only holding yourself back. It might sound cliche, but keep in mind: fortune favors the bold. Don’t let fear hold you back from something so important to you.
Here’s a solution: Think about everything you have to gain from achieving a nursing degree and entering the profession of your dreams. Making a shift into a nursing career is much the same as any career change in a lot of ways. It’s a big step and one that you definitely shouldn’t take lightly.
Think it over carefully, but if fear is the only aspect that is holding you back, then maybe it is something that you really should consider. After all, moving forward despite feeling afraid is when we have the opportunity to grow the most – both personally and professionally.
What is holding you back from your dream career? How can you move through it? Good luck!
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*This article about the best compression socks for nurses contains affiliate links.
If there is one profession that needs to be wearing compression socks, it’s nurses (or anyone who is on their feet for 12+ hours a day). Compression socks are beneficial for leg health for the following reasons:
- Preventing or reduce varicose veins
- Improving blood flow and decrease the risk of blood clots
- Decreasing swelling of the legs and ankles
Since I started wearing compression socks, my legs feel noticeably better and more energized at the end of a shift. I started wearing them out of necessity when I was pregnant and was able to continue working as an ER nurse until I was almost eight and a half months pregnant.
I have always appreciated that my job is not sedentary. But as it turns out, being on my feet for such long hours can be worse for your health than sitting all day. Wearing compression socks is the best way for busy healthcare professionals to prevent some of these insidious, chronic leag health issues.
Medical compression stockings for the treatment of varicose veins.
How do compression socks keep legs healthy?
Compression stockings help increase the circulation of blood flow and oxygen by helping increase the velocity or speed of blood flow. By squeezing on the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed.
Think of how when you squeeze a hose; it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood can move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.
Understanding compression sock levels:
Choosing the right compression socks can be difficult if you do not understand what the levels of compression mean. Compression socks have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has. Here is a quick and dirty breakdown:
- 15-20 mmHg
- Suitable for everyday wear to help with welling and fatigued legs due to long periods of travel, sitting, or standing.
- 20-30 mmHg
- Medical grade compression. Useful for managing swelling, spider veins, travel, sports, and after some surgeries. Also suitable for pregnant mothers to alleviate swelling and achy legs.
- 30-40 mmHg
- Recommended when you have a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis DVT, or lymphedema.
- 40-50 mmHg
- robust compression for severe venous stasis, wound management, and lymphedema.
(The unit of measurement (mmHg) is called “millimeters of mercury,” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure. It is a measurement for how tight the compression on your legs is.)
The sweet spot for medical professionals on their feet all day usually falls in the 20-30 mmHg range depending on how much compression you are looking for. You should discuss compression stockings with your doctor, especially if you have any medical issues.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to good compression stocks. Generally speaking, with all products, if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Trust me when I say I learned this the hard way.
Sacrificing your leg health is just not worth it.
Nurses experience enough occupational hazards during a nursing shift as it is. Make sure you wear compression socks or stockings during every single shift. You can help to prevent future circulation and venous issues and still have a long, rewarding career as a nurse.
Check out this list of best compression socks for nurses:
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
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