Friday, August 18, 2017

Role of Substance Abuse Nursing in the Opioid Addiction Crisis

As you know, I don't often include infographics, but opioid addiction and substance abuse is such an urgent issue and this document captures how it affects the nursing profession...

"Drug abuse is a crisis for people in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2015-- alone-- more than 15,000 people died from opioid overdose. reports that 80% of those addicted to opioids first took an opioid as a prescription. Nurses play a vital role in diminishing this crisis. To learn more about how important nurses are in helping people with substance abuse, check out this educational graphic from Duquesne University."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Nursing Community Comes Together for One of Our Own

The nursing community is huge, but it's also a very small world. I've been off tending to some family business, so I'm a little slow to get this posted, but it's an important matter and I want to be sure to spread the word. We need to come together to help our own.

One of our own, Keith Carlson BSN, RN, NC-BC, who you may recognize from RN FM Radio, Digital Doorway, and Nurse Keith Coaching, was severely injured in a gym accident recently. He details his ordeal brilliantly in his recent post, "When the Nurse Becomes the Patient." This is a must read for ALL nurses. We MUST prevent this type of horrible care! There is simply NO EXCUSE!!

At some point in our lives, we or a loved one have already, or will become the patient and we need to be prepared to advocate from the start of care through discharge and beyond. Keith certainly had to do this for himself, and thankfully he was alert enough to do so because it was essential to his well-being and recovery!

I hope you will all also be inclined to follow the Meal Train established to help Keith in his recovery process. Imagine if you will, yourself in his position. Meals and assistance from your local community would be invaluable and essential even if you are not inclined to ask for any help. For those of us who aren't local to Keith and Santa Fe, the Meal Train allows for us to donate so that meals, assistance and other needs can be met.  You can read more about this at Beth Boynton's Confident Voices post. 

photo borrowed from Nurse Keith's Digital Doorway  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New Grad Programs Grow But Not For Everyone

I've been hearing a lot lately about new grad nursing programs. I'm pleased to know there are more of them cropping up. It will hopefully help us to keep new nurses in the profession. We continue to lose far too many in the first 3 years because nursing isn't what they expected it to be. Combined with increasing workloads, nurse bullying and physician bullying as a continuing issue, we are losing too many nurses period.

New nurse grad programs are an essential part of the future of nursing and curtailing the nursing shortage,
but they're not necessarily there for the top graduates. These programs are also highly sought after and have far more applicants than the programs can take on at any given time. The competition is stiff and top nurse grads are primed to compete.

Top Grads May Not Be Accepted

However, if you graduated at the top of your class and/or have some nursing experience already, it becomes nearly impossible to get into a new nurse grad program. This can be emotionally devastating and frustrating. In reality these nurses should feel honored to be turned down even though they value the opportunity to learn even more.

Many new grad programs are designed to boost the confidence and skills level of new nurse grads who perhaps didn't have the best opportunities, or didn't avail themselves of them. If you're shy and stand to the back of the crowd in nursing school you're not going to get the clinical opportunities unless your instructors are vigilant in making sure each student demonstrates proficiency. That isn't always possible given the populations of patients at any given time.

Even if you had all the best opportunities, but you struggled in certain areas and/or were in the middle to lower end of your class, a new grad program can offer extended education and supervision opportunities to make you a great nurse.

New Grad Programs Help Reduce Bullying

This creates another scenario for not accepting the top of the class grads; boredom and the possibility of encouraging nurse bullying of the grad who takes a little longer to catch on. These programs help these new nurses need a little extra time and preceptoring them with nurses dedicated to help them helps to reduce the nurse bullying by not throwing them into the water and expecting them to sink or swim in a pool of experienced nurses who don't have time or desire to help them.

New grad programs are also designed to build the workforce in that particular hospital. This is why they are often called residency programs.  They are looking for nurses who will be dedicated to staying on for at least 3-5 years and possibly working in certain areas of high turnover. Nurses at the top of the class are quite often energized and looking towards higher education in the near future. These nurses frequently want to be nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. This may not be a need for the hospital offering a new nurse grad program. And investing their time and money on nurses who will quickly move along is just not economically feasible.

This is NOT to say you shouldn't apply. Look for every possible opportunity to continue your education while working and soak up every ounce of knowledge to make you the best nurse ever! But if you get turned down, keep looking for other opportunities.  Even new nurses who really need a little extra help should do well in the right place. Be honest and willing to learn. DO some homework so you're ready to learn a new skill. You Tube, for instance, has a multitude of instructional videos. Sites such as offer many forms of media for learning about conditions and treatment modalities and they have a You Tube site as well. Be willing to help a co-worker with tasks in exchange for preceptoring.

Nursing is a lifelong journey of learning, but it's not a one-size fits all situation. Nurses of all levels need to continue to be sponges and absorb all the information they can. Health care is constantly changing and nurses are expected to be the backbone. More and more responsibilities become part of the nurses everyday world. We all have to be prepared and willing to learn and to teach. Explore your opportunities and never feel stuck in something that isn't right for you.

Image from Bing images 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Budweiser | A Dream Delivered | Folds of Honor


Friday, May 19, 2017

Thanks for the Nurses Week Give-Aways!

Well Nurses Week was great. I hope you got a chance to listen to the ANA webcast, partake in some of the free items businesses offered, and took a moment to thank your co-workers and colleagues!! We had fewer Give-Away entrants this year than in the past, but prizes are being prepared and the recipients should have them soon. I have notified each winner. (Some asked no to be identified, so I'm keeping them all confidential. )

I want to take the time to again THANK those who generously donated prizes for our Nurses Week Give-Aways. We had some great books offered from talented writers, most of whom are nurses as well.

Thanks again to Beth Boynton for her newest book, Medical Improv, A New Way to Improve Communication; Elizabeth Scala for her book, Stop Nurse Burnout; and Lois Gerber who is offering a choice of Kindle version of any of her books; and to Carmel Sheridan's Kindle version of The Mindful Nurse.

I'm also sending out a copy of my books, The Everything New Nurse Book, 2nd Edition and Exploring the Home Health Experience: a Guide to Transitioning Your Career Path. And sharing the Zebra Pens I received. In addition, each of the winners will receive a free copy of my Ebook, Time Management Skills for Nurses.

All of these writers present fabulous ideas in their books, their blogs and websites that truly embody the theme for Nurses Year Nursing the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

I hope each of you had a good experience during Nurses Week. Unfortunately, some employers did nothing. And, not to make excuses, but I have worked for people who are TERRIBLE at planning any kind of celebration, and instead of asking for help, they just ignored the event unless others stood up and volunteered to do it. I've also experienced some pretty BAD celebrations when the wrong people said they'd do it. But seriously.... So my advice is for you to speak up next year about January or February and volunteer to lead a committee for Nurses Week.

In a perfect world, we'd all have a huge bonus, or an extra paid day off or another week of vacation. In the real world, the economics of your job won't support that. So it's about being recognized for what you do every day! Someone taking the time to say Thank You, and recognize the job you do everyday!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Sadly, I heard from some readers and social media friends that some of the vendors who kindly offered free items or food to nurses turned out to be bad experience. Their employees demanded to see not only nursing licenses (as they should) but work badges or other proof as well. Not every nurse will have a work badge and some were harassed. This is unfortunate.Better communication and training needed here!!!

Another issue that has been raised in some of my social circles is employers who didn't single out nurses to honor them alone, but rather honored everyone in the company. This left some nurses shouting It's Nurses Week, not Hospital week! When there are so many weeks or days designated for health care workers such as CNAs, Social Workers, Therapists, Hospitals, Home Health Agencies, Hospices, etc., it seems like no one should feel so left out that we can't just take the week to honor NURSES!!! I know the gesture wasn't meant to offend, but we can go too far to try to be nice to everyone!! Again a little more communication and consideration would be helpful.

Let's make it better next year. Again THANK YOU for ALL you do!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Nurses Week 2017 - May 12

Today marks the end of Nurses Week 2017. May 12 is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale who some feel is the founder of the nursing profession. If we search into the history of nursing, the profession started long before Florence, but she brought strong clinical skills and universal precautions to nursing and helped save many many lives during the Crimean War.

So as part of Nurses Week celebrations, many stop for a moment to recite the Florence Nightingale Pledge which is also known as the Nurses Oath.

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

UPDATE: Carmel Sheridan has just told me she will be hosting a FREE 7Day Mindfulness Challenge next month. Stay tuned to her website The Mindful Nurse for details. Sounds exciting!!!

Today's Nurses Week #Give-Away(s)

1) I recently received a package of Zebra pens. Knowing how nurses have a love for pens, I'd like to share them.  So if you enter and win you'll receive this entire collection.

2) My contribution to this week about mindfulness and healthy nurses is an autographed copy of my latest book, Exploring the Home Health Experience; a Guide to Transitioning Your Career Path.

When I found myself totally disillusioned with the nursing profession and hating nursing after only 3 years, I took a leap of faith and discovered home health care and eventually hospice. I loved it and my love for nursing was restored.

There are so many different roles in nursing, you should never find yourself quitting to profession. Search for another role and find your niche. 

I'm developing a course to accompany the book and it should be available on Teachable this summer.
One last time, Comment here OR on the Facebook page, and then email me your contact information.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nurses Week 2017 -- May 11

I hope you have been enjoying Nurses Week. Have you had some of the free food and discounts we listed on Nurses Day? Please be sure to avail yourself of these. It helps to spread the awareness of nurses in your community and just might encourage someone to join our profession.

The other thing is to remember always that as nurses we make a difference in someone's life everyday! We may never know how or when with some of our patients or families, but there will be those who touch our hearts and leave a lasting impression.

It's easy to grumble that Nurses week means nothing and your employer gave you yet another water bottle with the company logo. Or maybe nothing at all and no acknowledgement of the event. But what we have to remember is that if they gave us those fantasy items such as another week of vacation, a huge raise or bonus check, etc., we'd find ourselves lacking definitively in another important area. Stop and take a moment to honor yourself, your colleagues and all nurses!

Safe Patient Staff Ratios
Patient staff ratios was the point Nurses Take DC on May 4 & 5  were trying desperately despite horrible weather conditions and daily events happening in the govt to make known the cause of Safe Patient-Nurse Ratios.

We know that medication errors, mortality rates and quality of care are directly related to these ratios. Some states have stricter ratios than others and it's in everyone's best interest to make it a national law with protecting patient's lives at the helm of the legislation.

We also know that poor staffing ratios play a huge part in nurse burnout and contribute to poor health habits for all nurses. As we celebrate mindfulness for nurses and promoting healthy nurses, we must stand with our colleagues in supporting Safe Patient-Staff ratios. View the event on YouTube.

Today's #GiveAway

Today we have a great #GiveAway from nurse author  Lois Gerber RN, BSN, MPH who "believes in the spirit of community health nursing - its focus on wellness, relationships, families, and communities. Her BSN, MPH in Nursing, and Specialist in Aging certificate opened many professional doors. She’s worked in home health agencies, public health departments, and an Area Agency on Aging. She’s taught nursing students on the university level and has counseled families dealing with elder care issues. For forty some years, Lois has helped people of all ages, various religions and ethnicities, and different socioeconomic levels. These stories reflect her experiences."
In addition to several great books about nursing, Lois has written 2 novels. She is generously donating a Kindle Version of Your Choice from her books.  Thanks so much Lois!!!
Once again, please Comment here or on our Facebook page AND email me your contact information to be entered into the random drawing for one of our Nurses Week #GiveAways.

Happy Nurses Week!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

NURSES WEEK 2017 - May 10

Today as the Wednesday of Nurses Week, is School Nurses Day. School Nurses play a huge role in managing the health care of our children. They conduct eye and hearing tests, instruct teachers and other lay people how to handle situations when faced with students with conditions such as seizures, mental health challenges and diabetes.  They oversee and instruct techs in administering medications during the school day and assessing for urgent needs.

Unfortunately, more and more school districts are moving to use lay people as health clerks and having the minimum number of school nurses to meet the bare necessities of the school district. This has proven to has be a dangerous situation. Playground injuries for one are all too often treated inappropriately due to a lack of education and skill in assessment. Notification of parents is delayed or non-existent and diagnostics, and treatment delayed to a dangerous level. It is important for parents, and all health care professionals to advocate for more school nurses. Celebrate National School Nurses Day by campaigning for MORE school nurses in your local district.

Today's #GiveAway continues the theme of mindfulness and balancing mind, body and spirit. Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN is a very busy woman as an author, keynote speaker, reiki master, podcaster, and blogger. Her focus is on helping nurses rediscover their love for the nursing profession, deal with and avoid burnout, and how to use self help techniques such as reiki to replenish and repair when work takes too much from us. "Before you quit nursing,"find your way back to the passion and love for nursing!
Elizabeth also spearheads The Art of Nursing, A Nurses Week Event seminar along with 12 nursing expert presenters this year. 

Many Thanks to Elizabeth who has kindly donated a copy of her book, Stop Nurse Burnout, for our #giveaway today.
Once again, please comment here or on our Facebook page and then email me your contact information so I can notify you of your prize ASAP.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

NURSES WEEK 2017 -- May 9

Beth Boynton RN, MS has written a new book Medical Improv A New Way to Improve Communication! The book teaches the user to train others in an emerging skill using Improv to help educate patients as well as health care professionals. Beth is also the author of Successful Nurse Communication: Safe Care, Healthy Workplaces, & Rewarding Careers (F. A. Davis 2015).

Beth blogs at Confident Voices in Healthcare, where you'll find fabulous information and resources for nurses and a Code for 20% off when you purchase her Medical Improv book through 5/14/17.

She has generously donated a copy for us to #GiveAway today. (THANKS BETH!!) Remember to comment here OR on the Facebook page. Then Email me your Contact Info to be officially entered in the random drawing. Winners will be announced May 20.

Check out this great new book for yourself....
"Welcome to the emerging field of Medical Improv! Medical Improv is an exciting new teaching tool! Its experiential activities hold great promise for persistent challenges we face in healthcare by promoting the 'soft' skills involved in emotional intelligence, communication, collaboration, and leadership.
This train-the-trainer resource is designed to help educators teach the "soft" skills that healthcare professionals need to positively impact patient safety, patient experience, workforce health, and the efficient use of resources. Because these skills are not intellectual, they require a non-traditional approach that fosters new behaviors. Medical Improv is a fun and effective strategy."

Happy Nurses Week. Don't forget to COMMENT and email me your contact info. I won't spend days trying to track you down!!!

Monday, May 8, 2017


Today, May 8, is National Student Nurses Day and we have a special guest post to help provide some useful financial tips for nursing students from an aspiring freelancer writer Lauren Davidson.
Today's Give-Away is an autographed copy of my Amazon Best Selling book, The Everything New Nurse Book, Second Edition. And I'll throw in a copy of the latest update to the book, The New Nurse Handbook.
Remember to comment here or on the Facebook page. THEN you MUST email me your contact info to be entered in to the drawing. 
And now for our guest post....

Managing Finances and Lifestyle While Attending Nursing School

Being a nurse is a rewarding career, allowing you to take care of others in many different environments. Nurses are in demand across the country, giving nurses incredible job security. But while nursing is an attractive job option, getting through nursing school can be a challenge — both in terms of stress and finances.

Nursing school keeps you incredibly busy, between clinical rotations, lectures, labs, simulations, and standing on your feet all day. On top of the actual time spent in class and at school, nursing school students spend quite a bit of time in study groups, doing homework, reviewing lessons, and preparing outside of class for the next day’s work.

In addition to the stress of nursing school, paying for your education can be costly. Many are required to take out loans, but there is a pretty common solution to this such as finding scholarships. While that is a go-to for handling tuition, nursing students are expected to pay for text books, scrubs, study guides, basic equipment such as a lab kit and stethoscope, and more. Combined with the hectic class schedule, managing finances can be incredibly difficult for any nursing student.

But there are ways that nursing students can save money while getting their degree. Read on to learn how you can save money while in nursing school — and come out ready to take on the world!

Buy Smart, Borrow When Possible

When it comes to nursing school supplies, one of the biggest expenses that you will likely face each semester will be your textbooks. Your books will easily cost four or five hundred dollars each semester — or more, if the professor decides to order a new edition of the book. One way around this dilemma is to get smart when it comes to buying your books.

Start by getting to your campus bookstore as soon as possible after the class book list is released. Look for used copies of the books that you need. If they aren’t available, check for them online on sites such as Amazon. You may even be able to rent your books from Amazon or other sites. Otherwise, check with older nursing students or even nurses at your local hospital. They may still have copies of their old nursing books that will work for your needs. Just be sure that these books are accurate and up-to-date so that you aren’t using old information in your classes.

For NCLEX review books, consider pitching in with your study group to buy one copy of the book to share. Since you’ll be meeting together to work and prep for these exams, it makes sense to share one copy of these pricey books. If you buy your own NCLEX review books, limit yourself to just one or two books rather than buying multiple review books.

When it comes to nursing supplies, you’ll be required to buy a new lab kit each semester. But for items such as a lab coat or stethoscope, you may be able to borrow this gear from an older student or a nurse if you are particularly cash-strapped. That way, you’ll be able to hold off on getting them when you are in school — and then use the gear provided by your employer once you are employed after graduation. Alternatively, check online for nursing supplies — blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and other needed items will likely be far less expensive than those offered in the campus bookstore.

For scrubs, even though your nursing school may offer a discount for a local scrub shop, be sure to shop around to make sure that you are really getting the best deal. Online retailers like My Nursing Uniforms and All Heart may have lower prices than those offered by the local store.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Whether you’re a nursing student or any other type of student, many stores, restaurants, and other businesses offer discounts to anyone with a student ID. These discounts may help you say a few dollars on a movie ticket, $10 on a new shirt, or 15% on a meal at a restaurant. It’ll all add up in the long-run — and help you balance your budget more effectively!

Guest post by Lauren Davidson, a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and aspiring freelance writer