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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why US Nurses Might Consider Practising in the United Kingdom

By Brit Peacock

While you’d never come to the UK for the weather, spending some time nursing over here can be enlightening and ultimately rewarding, whether you opt for private sector or the National Health Service (NHS).

Whatever your thoughts on Obamacare, the UK’s NHS is widely seen as the benchmark for a ‘free’ healthcare system. Born in 1948, it was the first time that hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella organisation.

The central principle being that quality healthcare would be available for all, financed entirely through taxation, which meant people paid according to their means. While some things have changed, it’s still an amazing environment to work in.

Making the Move
Prior to October 2014, it was, quite frankly, a nightmare of bureaucracy when applying to nurse in the UK from outside the EU. Even well-qualified nurses, working in top US hospitals found it challenging to gain entry onto the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks was having to prove that you’d accumulated 4,600 hours in nursing-relevant classes, when American colleges use a different system of accreditation. Many who did manage it only did so with the help of an experienced nursing agency. Fortunately, it has recently become much easier to practise in the UK for overseas nurses.

Current Requirements
In order to come to the UK from the USA, you must have had at least twelve months’ experience working as a general nurse, plus you’ll need to:
• Pass an on-line multiple-choice exam, which you can take in your home country.
• Pass a practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), taken in the UK.
• Score an average of 7 in the International English Language Testing System

While the English exam might seem unnecessary for US nurses, it is still mandatory, and hopefully one you’ll pass with flying colours. Interestingly, while nurses from countries where English is the primary language must take this test, applicants coming from the EU do not.

A Helping Hand
To assess whether you will have the necessary theoretical and practical experience to pass the nursing exams, you can seek advice from a reputable nursing recruiter, who will have advisers to help. And of course they’ll also be able to help you find suitable RN vacancies that are matched to your specialisms and experience.

Whichever nursing role you enjoy, with the UK having an almost constant shortfall of well-qualified nursing practitioners, you should find excellent opportunities for employment and career advancement across the pond. Just remember to bring an umbrella!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Please Don't SHOUT, Try Writing it Down

One of the things I find most annoying as I listen to, or overhear, nurses discussing a patient who is "profoundly hard of hearing" and the fact that they find it almost impossible to communicate with the patient.

From the other side of the scenario, I have had too many experiences with family members who are moderately hard of hearing to totally deaf. It's even more frustrating for the patient to be unable to communicate with the medical professionals! Walk a mile in your patient's shoes.

WRITE it Down
What ever happened to pen and paper? These patients are not blind and dumb! Use a pad of paper, your smart phone notes app, a white board, SOMETHING! Don't just give up and say you "just can't communicate with the poor guy!" Of course you can't if you think the only way to get your point across is to SHOUT so you can be heard 5 blocks away!

Indeed shouting may be required, but most times just ENUNCIATING clearly and speaking SLOWLY, especially if you rattle off words off at rapid fire speed. Try changing the pitch of your voice too. Tip your chin down, take a breath and speak slowly in a deeper voice. If that doesn't work, try raising the pitch towards a soprano level. Again, enunciate and speak slowly, and DON'T SHOUT!

Why Hearing Aids Don't Always Help
When human beings lose their hearing, one of the reasons hearing aids don't always work is that the person waited way too long to try them. By then the brain has forgotten what specific sounds are and the hearing aids only amplify sounds that are foreign to the brain. This causes more confusion than trying to eek out what little sound they can hear.

Think about a baby learning to speak. It has to hear sounds repeatedly and associate the sound with a person, object or action to learn to speak and understand speech. An adult who has lost their hearing doesn't usually understand they have to retrain their brain so their hearing aids will actually help them.

Consequently, many people choose not to use their expensive devices and sink into isolation. But they didn't forget how to read. So use some sort of written communication tool and see how much more you can accomplish without SHOUTING and becoming overly frustrated.

Pictures, videos, even charades or other visual cues can help when communicating with a person who is hard of hearing; and will work to enhance your written information.

Get Creative
Borrow a trick from trying to communicate on a very basic level with those who speak another language. Write out some of your frequently used questions, statements, directions, etc., on a sheet of paper or use 3X5 index cards. Keep them together and USE them when you have a patient who has diminished hearing. Laminate them to keep them clean and fresh.

Next time you have a patient who is hard of hearing, don't just write them off… WRITE IT DOWN! And teach your patients to ask others to do so. Feeling stigmatized, they don't always remember to suggest this solution.

For further reading....

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Travel Nursing Tips for New Grads from Highway Hypodermics

Hope 2015 is starting off well for everyone! It's been a little crazy for me and so I'm slow to get back to blogging.

Today, I want to share with you a great article (the first in a series) by a friend, Epstein LaRue RN, from Highway Hypodermics ® offering useful tips worth heeding for new grad nurses about becoming travel nurses.

As a travel nurse herself, Epstein has taken on the challenge to make Travel Nursing transparent for everyone. She breaks it all down and leads you through every step to make the transmission and become a successful travel nurse. This past year I gad the pleasure of meeting her face-to-face. We share a birthday and we celebrated our half-birthday. 

This wonderful series of articles (part two posted today) will help every new grad discover how they too can move towards a travel nursing career after they have some strong basic skills and experience under their belt.  

As a home health and hospice nurse, I of course, encourage anyone to explore these fields, but I'm always old school about it. You need to have at least a year of experience and preferably in a general zone such as med-surg. There is a correlation to transitioning to any nursing specialty especially the so-called non-traditional nursing career paths. Get the very best basic background you can to build upon as you find your niche.

To be brutally honest, nursing is not an easy choice in the first place. Nursing school is grueling and it doesn't get any easier after that. Nursing is challenging, and it's physically and emotionally draining. You have to love it and you have to have the drive to go back every day for more. You have to make your own rewards and you have to learn how to replenish yourself so you can continue to be there for your patients.

All that being said, you will absolutely LOVE being a nurse. And when you find your niche, you will LOVE it even more. Give yourself time to hone your basic skills and build confidence in yourself. Charting the best course to becoming the best nurse you can be will take about a year. 

Then travel nursing can be one of the most rewarding choices you will make. Follow Einstein's tips and understand her reasons for telling you to not jump in to travel nursing as a new grad. Be kind to yourself. You're going to have enough rough patches just being a rookie. Be kind to your patients too, they need you to be the best you can be!

You have a lifetime ahead of you to continue learning and making a difference in your patient's lives. Enjoy the ride!!!

Image courtesy of  artemisphoto at

Friday, January 2, 2015

Facts About Men in Nursing

More and more men are finding their career niche in nursing which improves the profession for all of us. Here's a great infographic with 5 Hyper-Masculine Facts About Men in Nursing from College America.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe that the year is ending. 2015 holds many promises for the future. As the bell tolls midnight, make your wishes and I hope they will all come true.

Have a very safe and Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Infographic: Dissecting Patient-Centered Care

From University of Arizona's College of Nursing

University of Arizona Online Nursing Degree

Friday, December 5, 2014

Great Products for Nurses

Well November came and went in a hurry and I was swamped with other projects. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying the whole holiday season! Try to not overdo and overstress. Stay well and take time to enjoy your family and friends during this exciting time of year!

I am way overdue in sending shout outs for a few products I have received for review. So
Respiratory Nuts and Bolts
let me take this opportunity to tell you about some really great finds!!!

Respiratory Guide
First off I was given the opportunity a few months back to read and review a great resource for Respiratory care. Michael J Fischer, RRT, has put together a fabulous resource book appropriately called Respiratory Nuts and Bolts a Quick Reference Guide for Medical Professionals.

I wish I would have had this book as a student! In 130 or so pages, he explains things like blood gas values and PaCO2 levels in a manner that makes so much sense. He also describes and illustrates everything you could possibly need to understand the anatomy and physiology of what should be and how disease processes affect the body and the respiratory system. Fischer gives you a great overview of the pharmacology and ventilators and anything else you need to know. This is a MUST own professional library book. Check it out on today!

nursewatches.comNurse Watches
Another terrific product I was introduced to is the a nurse watch from It pins on your top or lab coat so you can see without having to touch the watch or turn your wrist which as we all know is not always easy while assessing patients or providing treatments. The company touts the infection control factor for this watch which leaves you bare below the elbows.

The watch mechanism slips out of the decorative silicone FOB holder which can then be washed and disinfected. The numbers are big and even as blind as I can be, I can see them just fine! And one of the things I really appreciate is the 24 hour numbering as well. I never really learned "military time" and this helps me use it easily.  I love mine! I got the black and white polka dot design, but there are so many wonderful options to choose from. And there are some adorable metallic designs as well. HINT: This would make a great holiday gift or graduation gift.

Comfy Nurse Shoes 
I was asked to try out some funky shoes for comfort and wear-ability as a nurse. To be honest, my nursing job is primarily seated at a desk these days, but I am an active wife, mom and grandmother so I really appreciate comfort in shoes I can walk in easily.

Lems Shoes sent me a pair of their Primal Frost 2 shoes to try out and review. As I told them, I was reticent to try them as I've become very comfortable wearing a specific brand of shoe that gives me an orthopedic support for my back and legs. But I tried these, and I have to say they are very comfortable. In fact it's almost like being barefoot (which I love whenever possible). They are very flexible and have a natural alignment property to them so they didn't undo everything my other shoes have helped repair. The toe box is wide so your toes are in a natural barefoot-like position.  For nurses on their feet all day, I would think these shoes could be very comfortable and supportive.

I hope you will consider these items in your holiday shopping either as gifts for yourself, or your favorite nurse. Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Peer Recognition for the Blog

Concorde Career Colleges has included at #14 in their 45 Nursing Blogs to Keep you Informed, Entertained and In-the-Know. We are there with some very good choices and again appreciate the honor. Check out this list. 

National Nurse Practitioners Week

Happy National Nurse Practitioners Week...

"Brought to you by Nursing@Simmons"

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Career Paths for RNs

Brought to you by Nursing@Simmons: Nursing Career Paths