Thursday, March 24, 2011

Medical Scrubs and Their Role in Treatment

A guest post from Josh Weiss

Every nurse wants to be the best she can be, and is constantly working to improve her service to patients and the medical community at large. One aspect that is rarely touched upon is that of the medical scrubs worn on the job. Although it may sound mundane, studies have shown that the medical scrubs worn by doctors, nurses, and those in the medical community affect the way patients view them, and may even interfere with treatment.

Nursing scrubs used to be restricted to white, with a few styles that were worn by the entire medical community. Today there are many manufacturers of medical scrubs, with countless styles and varieties to choose from. It is the responsibility of every nurse or doctor to choose medical scrubs that will help comfort their patients, and provide the best possible care.

A study in the April 2009 Journal of Clinical Nursing supported this theory through the use of a study that was conducted at the Meyer Children’s Hospital in Florence. Patients between the ages of six and sixteen and their parents were surveyed by means of open ended questions and semantic differential scales (SDS). Their reactions to nurses in multi colored scrubs, as opposed to conventional white scrubs, were studied. The results showed that multicolored, unconventional medical scrubs improve how children perceive nurses. This in turn makes the children, their patients, and patients of any age more comfortable with their surroundings and the treatments being given.

Some medical scrubs manufacturers produce lines specifically to suit this need, such as a line of Cherokee scrubs called Tooniforms. These medical scrubs feature well-known characters such as Hello Kitty, Betty Boop, Paul Frank, and others. Scrubs can also be obtained in a variety of different patterns. Dickies scrubs also cater to this need, with an assortment of colored and printed scrubs. Nurses should, however, be careful to adhere to the dress code of their office or department before purchasing unconventional medical scrubs.

In opposition to this, a study conducted by Ohio State University came to conclude that patients and medical caregivers alike appreciate the professionalism conveyed by white medical scrubs, or scrubs in muted colors. The leading colors selected after white were light green, light blue, and dark blue. To this end, both Dickies scrubs and Cherokee scrubs offer all of their different styled scrubs in these universal popular colors.

In some cases, hospitals and large offices set the regulations for medical scrubs. For those nurses who are free to choose their own scrubs, it may be a worthy investment of time to ask opinions of patients and fellow nurses before investing in new scrubs. The preferences they show may be surprising.

Josh Weiss is a style consultant for Medical Scrubs Collection. He recommends Cherokee scrubs and Dickies scrubs for a wide variety of medical scrubs that will fit any need or preference.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Nurse Act of 2011

The National Nurse campaign had some good news last week when Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-9) introduced HR 1119 the National Nurse Act of 2011 to the 112th Congress. HR1119 has already garnered sponsorship from several members of Congress.

Please contact your Congressional representative to consider sponsorship an support of this important, bipartisan, cost neutral legislation. If you need a packet of information to take to your Congress person, contact the NNNO Board.

A few weeks ago The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health was published. This was a collaborative effort of The Institute of Medicine and the Robert J Wood Foundation. According to this report, the future of nursing needs to include much more nurse leadership.

As we move from a disease/sick model for health care to a wellness and prevention model, patient education becomes paramount. This paradigm shift will reduce the soaring costs of health care and improve the overall health status of our nation. Nurses will lead this charge.

Nurses need to be present at the table when decisions are made and allowed to take ownership of many of the processes. In so doing, nurses will bring a renewed energy and creativity to tackling issues facing the health care industry.

One of the most important ways we can ensure more nurse leaders is to establish a National Nurse to lead all nurses and work alongside of the Surgeon General to promote prevention and wellness.

Please join this grass roots campaign on Facebook.

Friday, March 18, 2011

5 Tips for Effective Writing That Any Nurse Can Learn

A guest post from Katheryn Rivas

Learning to write well is not impossible for nurses. In fact, nurses already possess a fundamental writing skill just from successfully completing their medical training: writing concisely. Nurses regularly synthesize information, such as patient symptoms and treatment effects, and condense all of this data down into short and to-the-point sentences and descriptions on patient charts. This ability is valuable in effective writing, and is a great foundation to have on which to build up more writing skills. This means that most nurses only need to learn a few more tips and skills in order to utilize their existing knowledge so that they may write effectively outside of the hospital.

Use active voice whenever possible. The active voice is a sentence structure where the subject of the sentence is doing something, whereas the passive voice is a sentence structure where the subject does nothing while something is happening to it. For example, this sentence would be active: The dog barked at the cat. This sentence, however, would be passive: The cat was being barked at by the dog. Passive sentences typically sound clunky and wordy in comparison to active sentences, so try to always structure your sentences in the active voice when writing. This will make it sound more lively and clear.

Use more powerful descriptive words. Certain words pack a lot more meaning and imagery than others. For example, simply saying that someone "ran" is much less evocative than saying that someone "sprinted." This is because the word "ran" is bland and generic, whereas the word "sprinted" indicates not only that the subject was running, but also the manner in which he ran. You can make your writing more intriguing by selecting words that are inherently descriptive. Doing this will eliminate the need to add multiple adjectives to a sentence, which can weigh a sentence down. Instead, using only strong, vivid words will make your writing descriptive without being overly wordy.

Eliminate unnecessary words. Some words simply do not add anything of value to your writing. Every time you find yourself writing down the word "very" or "really," delete it. Chances are you will find that your sentence will not suffer from the omission. While you may use it in everyday conversation to emphasize a point, in writing, these words are empty and only serve to get in the way of your point.

Show, not tell, what you are trying to say. It is one thing to simply state that it is raining outside, and another to show that it is raining outside. For example, this sentence would be stating that it is raining: It is raining outside. On the other hand, this sentence would be showing that it is raining: The streets are slick with rain, and businessmen parade down the street with their umbrellas deployed. The idea behind "showing and not telling" is that writers should strive to describe an event so that the reader will come to a conclusion on his own. This is preferable to having the writer blatantly tell the reader what to imagine or think all the time. Allowing the reader to see or understand something on his own is much more powerful, and more likely to help emphasize a point or argument.

Read more. This writing tip does not involve writing at all, but it will likely aid many nurses into better understanding the mechanics of effective writing. Whenever you have free time which is admittedly rare for busy nurses! consider picking up a book that you enjoy and reading through it. Explore more books in the genre you like or from a favorite author. The more reading you do, the better writer you will become because you will grow accustomed to knowing how complex and simple sentences should sound.

This guest contribution was submitted by Katheryn Rivas, who regularly writes for online universities. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What to Look for in a Good Nurse Education Program

Guest Post By Patricia Walling

Recently there have been dramatic shifts in the healthcare industry. As the largest generation of Americans, the baby boomers, ages, the emphasis of healthcare is shifting from physician-based care to nursing. As a result, nursing has become one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. The Department of Labor projected a 22 percent increase in nursing jobs between 2008 and 2018. However, to take advantage of this boom you need a nursing degree, and unfortunately there are many diploma mills out there just waiting to take an unsuspecting person for granted. Therefore if you wish to get a degree in area like nursing, it is important that you look for several key things while searching for the right school.

Is the School Accredited?
Whether or not a school is accredited is of key importance whatever sort of degree you're after. Accreditation is not only crucial for continuing education, but also for employment; many employers are hesitant to hire graduates of non-accredited programs because they have no accountability. In short, a non-accredited program considered inferior and should be avoided. To find out if your school is accredited, visit Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), which are two of the premier accrediting agencies for nursing schools in the country.

What is the NCLEX Pass Rate?
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is the yardstick by which nursing schools are measured. All nurses have to take the NCLEX before they are licensed to practice in the state in which they are trained. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing the average pass rate for a first time tester is around 90 percent. The school you choose should have a passing rate of 85 percent or higher. This is a good predictor of how many graduates from the school are actually able to find employment and will also inform you of the caliber of education that students receive. Check with the program’s admissions office to find out if their passing record falls within your criteria.

Can You Get References?
Your school’s job placement office should be able to give you information on people who have graduated from the program, passed their exams and landed a job. You should also obtain the contact information of people who have recently completed the program. Get in touch with them and ask them if they would recommend the program, and if they wouldn't: why. Also ask them how long it took them to find their first job in the field. Nurses are in high demand: if the program has done its part they should have been able to find related employment easily.

Nursing is an exciting profession, but jumping into anything new can be scary. With a little time and research, it is possible to find the school that is the best fit for you and will provide you with the education that you need for your new career.

Patricia Walling is a graduate student working toward her Masters in Conservation Biology. She has both professional and volunteer experience in a hospital environment and currently resides in Washington state.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake Hits Japan

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the earthquake in Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Some Great Articles and Sites to Check Out...

It has been awhile since my last post. I recently completed an online interview with about home health, hospice and nursing in general. (I'm not the best public speaker, but I really hope you'll enjoy the information!)

I have also bee very busy editing and writing-- working on the second edition of The Everything New Nurse Book for Adams Media. The first edition has sold so well they want to update it. Hurray! [It has been updated and published.See the link for the Second Edition.]

Recently I have received notice that The Nursing Site Blog as been listed on a few other sites. Check these out. Here's the links:
50 Resources for Students Attending Online LPN to BSN Schools

50 Resources For Nurses Attending Online RN Schools

Here's another blog you might enjoy. It's a list of 10 Greatest Novels for Nurses   Do you have others to add to the list?

Interested in an online NP program? You might want to check out this article:  MSN vs. DNP Nurse Practitioner Programs -- which Degree is Right For Me?

And here's another good article: 10 Unexpected Careers For Nurses

Do you have a favorite article to share? Leave a comment or send me an email at thenursingsite [at] gmail [dot] com.