Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Each  new year represents a blank page for us to begin a new chapter of our journey. This opens up many many possibilities. Take time to reflect on the past and think carefully about the direction you wish to head in for this new chapter.

Hopefully your path will bring you many new experiences and memories to cherish. Prepare to hit some bumps in the road and a few forks that will cause you to pause and question which way to go. Trust your gut feelings and once in awhile stick your neck out there and take a little risk.

Look for the good in things and know in your heart that when you reach goals and find new relationships you will understand why something just didn't come to pass. Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reflect Back and Reward Yourself -- You Are a Nurse, You Make a Difference!

As 2013 comes to a close in the next 12 days, it's time to reflect back on the year and find joy and rewards in the care you have given your patients. Take credit for making a difference is someone's life. Feel honored and respected and appreciated even though there may have been few "Thank You's" or little recognition of your efforts. This is part of being a nurse. More often than not, we don't see our patients through to the ultimate outcome of their illness or injury. They are long gone from our care when they feel better and would express appreciation. Nurses make their own rewards.

I'm not a believer in making New Year's Resolutions because all too frequently they set us up to fail.  I would rather set new measurable goals with baby step milestones so I can reward myself for accomplishing them, or to reevaluate and change direction if needed.

I also think it's terribly important to reflect back on time as it passes and basque in the love and the joy life brings us each day. Take things one month at a time and realize what you have accomplished. Set new goals to continue on that path or even find new paths to excel at what you do best.

Take time to smell the roses and the coffee. Live in the moment and thrive on the primary foods of your life. You will be happier, healthier and wiser. What better gifts for the New Year?

Slow down and enjoy the holidays and welcome in a new year with renewed energy and vitality.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

As the Holiday Season Takes Hold.....


Hope you will all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this Thursday. And a Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate as your special days overlap with Thanksgiving.

The holiday season will be in full bloom in a few short days. Remember, we nurses work in a highly stressful profession and when we add in the stress of the holidays and the typical overachiever personality of nurses there can be some explosive results. Stop and enjoy the moment. Smell the pine cones and the candles and enjoy the times you have with loved ones.

Make memories and give them your undivided attention as much as possible.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nurses Be Kind to Yourself

I have always said and will repeat it again: nursing is one of the most rewarding careers, but it is also one of the most challenging; both physically and emotionally. Therefore it is essential for nurses as the premiere level of caregivers to set the bar high to take care of you! Nurses are the worst at taking care of themselves so it's time to once again nag and encourage you to try again to make you a priority. Nurses be kind to yourself and set a good example for your patients, their loved ones and caregivers.
  • Always make sure your body mechanics are correct and if they aren't STOP and get them right! Your back is your most important tool! If you harm your back, you will never be the same again. Don't take chances.
  • Do no harm, means to you too! Your safety has to be a priority! Those of us who work in the community (home health, hospice, etc.) know this rule. Those who work in facilities have to take care as well. Listen to your gut. Make safe choices in parking, entering and leaving cars and buildings, driving, etc. If it's not safe, don't go! Drive around the block and find another way.
  • Pack snacks and a healthy, nutritious meal (or 2) for your shift. Make this the routine and not the occasional option. Plan ahead and get into the habit of shopping for your snacks and meals and packing the brown bag.
  • Take time to eat as slowly as possible. And if necessary, snack through your shift, but make sure you put nutritious foods into your body every couple of hours. Feed your brain so you can make the best decisions.
  • Take time to pee. I know it seems impossible sometimes, but you need to take a couple of minutes for YOU so that you keep your body healthy.
  • Drink fluids. Yes, you'll have to pee again, but you needs adequate fluids to function properly.
  • If you don't take care of YOU, you won't be in the best shape to give your patients your best quality care!
  • Organize and prioritize your chores at home so you can do the simpler ones during your workweek, and only have a few things to accomplish on your time off. This way you can play and refresh and replenish your soul! Make lists and designate a time and a place for all the chores. And delegate whenever possible.
  • Make a reward journal. Write little notes to yourself to remind you of patients (no identifying info please) and the things you did that made a difference in their lives. Read the entries often, and especially when you've had a bad day. If you're not a journal writer, try writing a few words on a small piece of paper and putting it into a nice box.
Do something special for YOU at regular intervals. Take are of YOU so that you can give your best at taking care of others.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top Career Tips for Nurses

The healthcare sector is in constant demand for nurses and it is one of the only sectors that is showing a constant demand for qualified personnel. Nursing is one of the areas where countless students are taking up studies and looking to begin their nursing careers. Understanding the job market and taking the right steps in your area of study will help you secure your nursing career. These are some tips you can use if you are planning to pursue a career in nursing.

Educational Qualifications

Obviously the first step in securing your nursing career is examining your educational qualifications. There are different educational qualifications required to become a nurse; one option is to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution, and the second option is for students to complete an associate’s degree in nursing, the third option is for students to get a diploma from an accredited nursing program. The third option is ideal for those who are unable to commit to being a full time student however, in the U.S. this option has become rare. The LVN/LPN route for bedside nursing is more common. All options have prerequisites and educational requirements beyond the realm of clinical nursing skills such as math, sciences, and general education courses.

Successful Nursing Career Tips

  • Stress Management – As a nurse you will be faced with tough situations and it is important that you manage your stress levels well. You can learn stress management techniques and use them regularly.
  • Time Management – To be successful in your nursing career, you must be able to manage your time well.
  • Avoid Nurse Burnout – Nursing is a demanding profession and you should take care not to burn yourself out. Take time off for yourself regularly and relax. If you are stressed out and physically tired, you cannot effectively fulfill your nursing obligations.
  • Stay Up To Date – As a nurse you need to keep up with your education and skills. Nursing is a constant learning process and you have to stay up to date with your profession and learn new skills. You can also learn something about other fields as well. This will give you a better chance of moving up or working in other areas if the need arises. Try not to get stuck in only one area of expertise.
  • Excellence – As a nurse it is up to you to strive for excellence. Set the bar high and work hard to achieve your goals.
  • Team Player – As a nurse, you need to remember you are a part of a team. Be a leader when you need to be a leader, and a supporter when you are required to be a supporter. Do not try to be the “I” in the team, be a role model for others and help others be good team players.
  • Limitations – You should know your limitations and how to say “no” if required. If you plan on saying “yes” all the time, sooner or later you will get burned out. Always be part of the solution and never the problem.
  • Strategy Planning – Get involved with strategic planning at your workplace and do your part in making it a better place.
  • Ask Questions – As a nurse you never can say that you know it all. Do not be afraid to ask questions as this will help you grow and be a better nurse.
As you pursue you nursing career, make sure you remind yourself why you became a nurse. This will help you stay focused and on track.

Author Info: Robert Harris is a blogger and content writer for www.jobs4medical.co.uk - a Medical Professional Recruitment Specialists in the Medical Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Sectors, enable employers and agencies to reach their target market.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

October is Breast Cancer Month and as such is an easy way to remind women to have their annual mammogram. Some prefer to schedule in their birthday month, or have some other way of remembering. What ever your choice, please be sure to schedule it and remind the other women in your life to have one as well.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers an abundance of information and resources such as educational materials about monthly self examination and how to find sources for those who need financial assistance with mammography.

image: http://pinkforoctober.org/badges.html

Friday, October 4, 2013

Career Advancement Opportunities for Medical Assistants

When considering nursing as a career, you might want to look at a few other healthcare career options and advancement opportunities for comparison. Here's a great post from Sandra Mills.
~ Kathy
You already know that you want to be a medical assistant, or maybe you’ve already been in the industry for a few years. Medical assistant schools can offer a rewarding career for life, but some professionals want to go above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe you’re considering specializing in a specific field or taking your education to the next level. Medical assisting is a fantastic career in and of itself, but what happens when you want to go to the next level?

The good news is that completing medical assistant programs lays the foundation for a myriad of options. Maybe you want to pursue an RN program, or maybe your experience working in an assisted living home has motivated you to specialize in geriatrics. No matter what path you’re considering, having your medical assistant certificate in hand gives you a leg up. Here’s a look at a few of the career advancement opportunities at your fingertips.

Medical Perfusionist
If you haven’t heard of this career before, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Medical perfusionists operate bypass machines and are critical in cardiology clinics or in the OR when someone is getting a bypass for heart failure. Depending on your location and your employer, a bachelor’s degree or a specific certification may be required. You might have to be licensed depending on the state, but all perfusionists must pass a test administered by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), perfusionists can make up to $100,000 per year. These professionals should be:

·       Very detail-oriented
·       Able to handle a high-stress environment
·       Have a knack for technology

Clinical Trial Manager
Well before a drug makes it to the market, numerous clinical trials are necessary—and these trials need managers. You’ll be responsible for ensuring everything adheres to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) standards and be at the helm of some exciting and potentially life-saving research. Forbes recommends being a Clinical Trial Manager as a great career path, and the average salary is $92,300. You might need a degree, or a certification may suffice. Clinical Trial Managers should exhibit:

·       Attention to detail, especially with FDA requirements
·       Empathy
·       The ability to see the big picture

Doctors need professionals to actually translate all of those x-rays and MRIs into something meaningful. Usually, it’s not doctors who look at imaging results, but radiologic technicians. Sometimes an associate’s degree is required, and the BLS reports that these careers are growing at 28 percent per year, which is much higher than other careers. The average radiologist makes $54,530 per year, but requirements vary by state. To be a radiologist, you should have these skills:

·       Incredible attention to detail, since you’ll be the one decoding the results of a patient’s scan
·       Compassion, since radiologists often administer scans as well as read them
·       A passion for technology

Physician’s Assistant
A natural advancement opportunity for a medical assistant is becoming a physician’s assistant. PAs practice medicine under the supervision of an MD. You can diagnose injuries, examine patients and even give treatment (under the physician's supervision). Depending on where you live and the employer, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required. The BLS reports that PA positions are growing at an impressive 30 percent rate and the average salary is $86,410. A good PA is:

·       Caring and compassionate
·       Has an interest in practicing medicine
·       Might be on the path to becoming an MD

Medical assistant schools are a great place to begin your medical career. Whether you want to be a medical assistant or advancement to another career, it’s crucial to start with a great education. Medical assisting can be your springboard to just about anything in the field of medicine.


Sandra Mills is a freelance writer who has a passion for healthcare and education. Sandra has written numerous articles on healthcare training courses like medical assisting as well as posts on new medical technology and health improvement tips.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stain Removal Guide

Nurses are the most trusted professionals year after year in the Gallup Poll. Nurses try hard to maintain that level of professionalism despite all of the spills and stains they are unable to avoid each day. It's not always easy to get those stains out! One of the sponsors of TheNursingSite.com, Uniform Advantage, has derived this terrific stain removal guide. I hope you find it useful! Anything that reduces laundry struggles for me is worth it's weight in gold!!
P.S. Check out the scrubs at Uniform Advantage too!

Friday, September 6, 2013

If Rosie Can Rivet, Why Can’t I Go to Nursing School?

By Linda Bright

It’s no secret that male nurses are more common than ever.
What many people don’t realize is that many male nurses still struggle with stigmatization as a result of their chosen career. It doesn’t seem to matter how many people male nurses help or how many lives they save—there’s always someone trying to argue that nursing isn’t a “masculine” profession.

For many people, the stigmatization that surrounds male nursing is so significant that it actually deters many them from pursuing nursing as a career. A study conducted by Duke University back in April discovered that most male undergraduates don’t consider a career in nursing since it is “typically viewed as a female profession.”

This is a huge problem, since there’s a current shortage of nurses that’s only going to get worse when the Baby Boomer generation finally reaches retirement. If we’re going to get our failing healthcare system back to where it needs to be, we need to be encouraging undergraduate students to consider nursing as a career—regardless of what gender they happen to be.

In order to do this, we first need to understand where the stigmatization surrounding male nurses comes from. If we don’t understand the ways in which gendered stereotypes perpetuate themselves, we’ll never be able to effectively call them into question. Here are a few things that contribute to and/or sustain negative perceptions of male nurses:

1. History—
When the U.S. Army Nurse Corps was formed in 1901, men were prohibited from serving as nurses—presumably to encourage those men to volunteer for combat-related roles.

The prohibition of male nurses wasn’t lifted until the early 1950’s, after the end of the Korean War. This means that, for a half a century, Americans were culturally indoctrinated to believe that nursing was a female profession. By the time the U.S. Army Nurse Corps finally decided to allow male nurses to serve, stereotypes about the gendered nature of nursing were already deeply embedded in America’s cultural consciousness.

2. The media—
When male nurses are depicted in movies or on television, they usually depicted in one of two ways—either A) humorously or B) in ways that indict their relationship to masculinity.

The movie “Meet the Parents” is a pretty great example of the way that male nurses are traditionally portrayed by the media. The main character, Gaylord Focker, is a male nurse. When other characters in the movie find out that Focker is a male nurse, they immediately question his masculinity:

Jack Byrnes: Greg's in medicine too.
Bob Banks: What field?
Greg Focker: Nursing.
Bob Banks: Ha ha ha ha. No, really, what field are you in?
Greg Focker: Nursing.

The problem isn’t just that there’s an overabundance of negative portrayals of male nurses. It works both ways. There’s also a lack of positive portrayals of male nurses. Think about it—when’s the last time you saw Hollywood alpha males like Samuel L. Jackson or Harrison Ford play a male nurse in a movie?

3. Gender stereotypes—
The dominant cultural discourse that surrounds the medical profession is also a contributing factor. In our society, certain characteristics are often labeled as either masculine or feminine. For example, in our society, aggression is often seen as a masculine characteristic. The flipside of this is that the willingness to nurture something is often seen as an inherently feminine characteristic.

Are these characteristics inherently masculine and/or feminine? Absolutely not—gender is a social construct, a cultural script that dictates behavior according to antiquated ideas of what it means to be a man and/or a woman.

There are plenty of sensitive, nurturing men. Likewise, there are many strong, assertive women. Nevertheless, people continue to insist that biological males who exhibit characteristics that are traditionally considered feminine (empathy, sensitivity, willingness to nurture, etc.) are somehow failing to live up to our society’s definition of what it means to be a real man.

As long as gendered stereotypes about nursing persist, male undergraduate students will continue to find excuses to not pursue nursing as a career. We’ll never fix the current nursing shortage unless we challenge the ways in which history, the media and our own understanding of gender shape how we categorize certain professions as inherently masculine or feminine.

Linda Bright is a mother, a feminist and a formal hospital administrator. She’s also a staff writer and public relations coordinator for MyNursingDegree.com. Given her experience in hospital administration, she writes primarily about patient’s rights, healthcare reform and other issues related to the healthcare industry. In her free time, she enjoys Sudoku, spending time with her family and playing with her poodle, Max.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Resources for Your Nursing Education

It's that time of year again when students start back to school and high school seniors begin to apply to schools to advance their education.

Those considering careers in nursing should check out some of my articles on TheNursingSite.com such as assistance in selecting accredited nursing programs and searching for ways to finance their nursing education with grants, loans and scholarships. 

For students who are still unsure about their choices, you might want to read some of these articles Before You Decide to Become a Nurse.

And for young men considering a career in nursing here are some resources just for you. 

Nursing is a fine and noble profession with growing opportunities for men and women of all ages. It is the fastest growing profession in the health care field and as older nurses begin to retire, the need for nurses will continue to grow. The Great Recession put a damper on hiring for some time, but that it easing now and nurses and new grads who are willing to relocate are finding multiple opportunities. The large metropolitan areas are also opening up opportunities for new grads.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Did I Ignore Your Query About Posting on My Site?

Dear Guest Posting Inquirer;

Sorry, but today I'm on a rant!!!  I've received one too many angry emails. Everyday I get at least a few emails inquiring about guest posting on my blog. Sometimes I get follow-ups to the follow-ups from now angry people because I didn't respond to their query. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to respond to all of these emails.

I will admit, I'm VERY picky about what gets posted on my sites!!! I value my readers most of all and I value my time. I very rarely allow guest posting on any of my sites and I ONLY consider it when I get an original, well-written query.

If I had more time in my day, I would write more of my own posts. Therefore I don't have time to re-write your posts to fix grammar, spelling and punctuation or to make them appropriate for my site when you clearly know nothing about the nursing profession.

Google doesn't like spammy sites full of poor quality postings and lots of links to sites that may or may not have any relevance. It's not easy to keep up with these issues and be able to provide a site that I hope is useful to nurses and those who are considering becoming nurses.

If your bottom line is to advertise your site, contact me about advertising. We can work something out. 

If you just want a link to your site, contact me about adding you to the Blog Roll page.

I found this terrific posting today,  7 Phrases That Make Me Ignore Your Guest Post Query, and I think it's important to bring to the attention of all who aspire to write for blogs, websites, print publications, etc. Read it, and learn from it. And before you send me another nasty email... read it again, please! Remember.... I didn't invite you to query in the first place.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Helping Others Beome Nurses

Ask any nurse about the reasons s/he became a nurse and somewhere in that conversation will be a discussion about a passion for helping others. Additionally, nurses are also known to be passionate about helping others join the profession of nursing.

Greg, the spouse of a loyal reader of this blog, recently told me about a project his wife has gotten involved in because her passion for helping others led her to help others become nurses. She has taken this passion to the global level where a team of determined people have a goal of financially assisting 5 Haitian students become nurses so they can help save lives in their country where there is a tremendous shortage of health care workers.

Kate is an ER nurse in LA and her passion brought her to HigherEdHaiti to help raise funds for full ride nursing school scholarships for 5 Haitian students. One year's tuition is $360. To date, the group has raised funds to cover full ride scholarships for 2 students. Find out how you can donate to this worthy cause or get more involved in making the dream of becoming a nurse come true for others.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wireless Nurse Call Systems Deciphered

By Rebecca Jones

The saying goes, “it’s a matter of life and death” and when someone’s survival and life is at risk, this is when things should be taken seriously. So often we worry about menial, insignificant things which, in the great scheme of things, when properly thought about are not important at all. However when it comes to our mortality, we more often than not forget to cast our minds over this subject and only really think about the fragility of our lives when it comes into question.

With an increasingly aging global population and numerous people taken into hospital everyday as well as care homes, it is essential that these individual’s safety needs are met with the utmost care, respect and attention. Caring for patients, whether it be in a hospital, care homes or privately at home is in no way an easy task to bear. However it is the crux of every single healthcare unit in the world.

Thanks to vast improvements and developments in technology, caring for patients is a lot easier than it used to be. Wireless Nurse Call Systems have become a vital tool in the medical and care industries and can be found in nursing homes, residential homes, hospices and hospitals throughout the world.

Key features include call tracking so you can provide absolute accountability of the service and care provided to the patient. These nurse call systems also come with touch-screen technology as well as two way call acknowledgement. Other functionalities include the multi-zone capability which means that these systems can be received in more than one area or vicinity and are also easily adapted to any organisational unit.

The systems are highly powerful, flexible pieces of medical apparatus. Not only are they functional, they are also highly versatile and reliable and can withstand the demands of any medical or healthcare environment. This is extremely important when the safety of someone’s life comes into play.

Wireless Nurse Systems are also extremely robust and are configured to suit each healthcare facilities requirements. As the system is wireless, this means that it will not cause any convenience to the unit or premises and therefore will not be a nuisance for patients and staff, a primary concern.

Other notable features of the Wireless Nurse Call Systems is that they are user-friendly and easy to operate. These high quality, innovative wireless nurse call systems are also available in
bespoke packages.

Easily installed within one day, causing little or no disruption to the environment, patient or staff in the healthcare facility as well as excellent after sales support means that these wireless systems are a welcomed addition to any medical unit. In a job which is physically and emotionally taxing, ensure you have peace of mind with a wireless nurse call system.

Author Bio: Rebecca is a health, wellbeing and lifestyle blogger. She frequently writes about her interests and new developments in these fields. Rebecca often writes content on behalf of Courtney Thorne, pioneers of Nurse Call Systems and other innovative solutions of healthcare facilities.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Support Growing for a National Nurse

As we continue to transition into a wellness model for health care and leave the sick model behind, we have to change our focus. In doing so we prioritize prevention and proactive measures to improve our health status and that of our patients.

Our job as nurses will continue to include more and more patient education and holistic care. Not only will we continue to educate patients about their current health status and diseases, but we will focus heavily on preventing disease and complications in order to improve outcomes and general health status.

A National Nurse for Public Health will help to set the tone and lead the charge to improve how we do this with better tools, shared information and as an example to all. The National Nurse will be the visible leader for the profession and help to elevate nurses in the eyes of patients who already trust us more than any other profession.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) recently signed on as co-sponsor of HR485, The National Nurse Act of 2013. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard said, "I was happy to sign on as co-sponsor to HR485 The National Nurse Act of 2013. Nurses are the heart and soul of our health care system and bring a holistic, preventative and compassionate lens to the system that has been stuck in a conventional sick care model for too many years. Imagine what the health care system would look like if nurses had been represented at leadership levels all along."

As of today there are now 75 co-sponsors for HR 485. You can find the list of co-sponsors and sort it to discover which Representatives from your state have signed on. The National Nursing Network Organization helps make it easy for you to call or email your Congressional Rep. There's a suggested script for you phone call, and a suggested email or snail mail message for you to copy or tweak with your own words. Please consider a donation to the cause as well.

When I left a voice mail message and sent an email for my own representative, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26), she graciously called me back and left me an amazing message saying she had just signed on to co-sponsor and said, "we need more of you and we need to fill the pipeline with nurses. I look forward to working with the nurses of California." 

Thank you to all who have supported this effort!!

Follow The National Nurse on Facebook and Twitter @ANationalNurse.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The NCLEX and Finding that First Nursing Job

Nurses never learn all they need to know in nursing school. It's just not possible. In a given graduating class you will find a wide variety of skills and knowledge base. Some of it is dependent on the students themselves and how aggressively they sought out opportunities, and some depends on the faculty and how well they assisted all students to find opportunities to observe and practice their skills and knowledge.

Nursing is also a lifelong learning experience. Technology changes, medical science advances, and new treatments and pharmacology become available constantly. What you have learned to date will change sooner than you might think.

For new grads the challenges at the forefront include passing the NCLEX and finding that first job. Try to take the NCLEX as soon as you can.

Remember that your first job isn't likely to be your dream job (not even close ) so keep an open mind. It may take a few years before you can actually move in to that dream position. And you might even surprise yourself by falling in love with a whole different area of nursing.

Open your mind and your heart to new and different opportunities to share your skills with great nurses and patients. One of the options often recommended is to find a residency or extern position where you can continue to hone and learn new skills under the tutelage of great preceptors and mentors. But how do you find these programs?

I recently received an email from the marketing director of a new website RNDeer.com where you can find a database of over 600 new grad friendly hospitals and healthcare facilities. Many of these employers offer residency and externship programs to new grads. The site is very user-friendly and you can search by region or by individual states. The blog posts offer some great advice just for new nurses.

A whole world of challenges and successes awaits you!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Welcome New Grads!

Wow where did the month of May go?!! It was one full of celebrations: NursesWeek, Mother's Day and graduations. Time flies when you're having fun - that's for certain. I hope you all had memorable times this month as well.

As we head right into June, the celebrating continues with more graduations and Father's Day. And summer will be upon us.  Hope the good times continue for you.

Speaking of graduations...
I had the honor recently of attending and speaking at a grad event at Santa Monica College. It was a fabulous event, and would have been something my own nursing class of many years ago could have appreciated and gotten a lot out of. I'm so happy to see these events taking place now to help students plan for their future education and vocation.

The students were quite impressive and I wish them all long and satisfying careers.i have to say that the admissions process  has greatly improved the prospects for graduating successful nursing candidates. This will help to diminish the drop out rate in schools and reduce the number of nurses who end up leaving the profession in the first couple of years.

Nursing is a challenging profession and it isn't for everyone. One of the most commonly asked questions from nursing grads is: How long does it take to become comfortable in your role as a nurse?

"Yikes!! I Forgot Everything I Learned!"
One of the points I made to those students was that in your first days as a nurse you're going to be certain that you have forgotten everything you ever learned in nursing school.  But another important thing to remember is that you didn't learn everything you'll need to know in nursing school. Nursing is a lifelong learning journey.

Give yourselves about a year to feel comfortable and confident. Don't be disappointed that even after six months you aren't truly comfortable. It will take time. Some of it will come quickly, and some things will just not be comfortable for a long time.

This helps new nurses to be extra cautious and learn the process of double checking everything so that you will DO NO HARM. Yes, you will make mistakes. We are all human and we make mistakes. But if you are always careful, those mistakes will be minor. They will nag at you forever as reminders to not get cocky and reckless.

First Job Won't Be Your Dream Job
New grads will quickly find that they probably won't find their dream job right away. And sometimes that dream will change many times over as they experience fields of nursing they never even considered. Give this process time as well.

Your first job is going to be more about getting your foot in the door and gaining some experience. Job seek with an open mind!!!! And be willing to relocate for awhile.  Look for new grad programs such as this one from Kaiser Permanente.

As the new kid on the block you're going to have to pay your dues. You won't get the best shifts, the best hours, the best case loads. You're going to have to be preceptored and mentored to ensure that your skills are solid and your level of practice is safe. You will be working all of the holidays for awhile. And weekends will be more about working than having fun with your friends and family.

It's all part of the process. Soon enough there will be a new group of newbies to take some (but never all) of that burden off your shoulders.

Advanced Degrees and Certifications
Always consider furthering your education whether it be with an advanced degree or through certifications. These will always give you the advantage when being considered for a job. Even as a new grad you can get a certification in ACLS  and you'll be ahead of the new grad competing for the same job who doesn't have this yet.  Throughout your career there will be opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge -- take advantage!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Nurse and the NFL Player

By Jenna Knight, Excite Education

Recent salary surveys show that the estimated annual increase in the salaries of nurses and NFL players is the same. This might come as a surprise to many. However, the nursing sector has gained importance and recognition over the years, both in professional as well as academic circles.

Many young students are now opting for a degree in nursing at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This has helped the country meet the ever-increasing demand for nurses in the healthcare sector. Now that nurse salaries have increased, the chances of growing professionally have also increased.

Many across the country and the world at large admire national Football League (NFL) players. With a fan following in millions, they have lucrative salary packages in order to maintain a lavish lifestyle. However, there are some interesting facts that make nursing an equally attractive area of work.

Professionals in the field of nursing have experienced exponential increase in their salaries over the past couple of decades. In the last five years, average annual increase in income in the nursing sector stands at approximately 1.5%.

Speaking of NFL players and nurses in the same breath, research shows that the projected average salary increase for both these professionals for the year 2014 will be approximately 3%. The satisfaction that one receives while serving humanity is surely equal to (if not more than) the jubilant fame for NFL players because of their fan following.

Not only those who practice it, but a significant number of laymen as well see nursing as a sacred profession. Monetary advantages in this area of study make it a perfect match for many people. Although people must opt for work according to their level of interest, nursing is something that gives inner peace and satisfaction. Most nurses do not enter this field simply thinking that it’s not that rewarding in terms of salary. This is false. And with the annual salary increase touching almost 3%, one can expect a very bright future for those who wish to serve mankind.

Thanks for this info Jenna!

Image courtesy of [ID10032183] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Double Celebration Today!

As Nurses Week comes to an end, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
We also celebrate Mother's Day this year.

So Happy Nurses Week and Happy Mother's Day!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Nurses Day!

Happy Nurses Day! Celebrate being a nurse and making a difference in someone's life everyday!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Make a Difference for Nurses During Nurses Week

On Nurses Day, Monday, May 6, we begin the week long celebration of Nurses Week 2013. There are many ways to honor nurses. One way would be to support legislation that would help elevate the nursing profession by establishing an office of the National Nurse for Public Health which would bring attention to the nursing profession and provide national leadership in the health care community to meet the needs of the public.
" There is overwhelming evidence supporting the critical need to boost health promotion and prevention efforts as well as answer the public demand for increased leadership in nursing. HR 485 will bring forth the significant and trusted voice of the nurse to the ongoing conversation about health and health care in America. " Teri Mills RN, MS, CNE President National Nursing Network Organization
HR485 The National Nurse Act of 2013 is an active bill in the House of Representatives. It was introduced by a nurse, Eddie Bernice Johnson TX-30.  To date there are 54 co-sponsors for this bill. Give yourself and your colleagues the best Nurses Week gift by calling or emailing your U.S. Representative and either thanking them for their support of HR485, or encouraging them to step up and co-sponsor the bill now. Ask to speak to the aide in charge of health care issues. Tell them you're a constituent.

Monday night (5/6/13) at 9PM EST, Susan Sullivan, Secretary of NNNO (National Nursing Network Organization) will be on RN.FM Radio to discuss the bill and answer questions from listeners. Please listen in and tell your friends. To listen LIVE on your computer, visit this link (http://bit.ly/Yl7Cyt). You can listen on your phone by calling (347) 308-8064. The program will also be available after the broadcast for archived listening at http://bit.ly/Yl7Cyt. It will also be available as a free podcast on iTunes.

RN.FM Radio welcomes callers, and also has a live Tweetchat during the show. Listeners can interact with one another and post questions or comments to the hosts and guest. Use Twitter, and please insert the hashtag #rnfmradio in your tweets. You can also follow the chat at http://tweetchat.com/room/rnfmradio.

Happy Nurses Week!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nurses Week 2013

Nurses Week 2013 takes place May 6-12. The theme chosen by the American Nurses Association for this year is Nurses Delivering Quality & Innovation in Patient Care.

The ANA offers a multitude of tips and ideas for media blitzes and programs to celebrate nursing at your facility. They also have a nice catalog for gift ideas. You can find all of their information here...

More nurses week gifts are available from sites such as Halo branded solutions. Take the opportunity to honor yourself and your co-workers for the excellent jobs you do everyday. Get involved and make a plan. No you won't be able to offer huge raises, or more vacation time, but token gifts along with recognition of all that you do to make a difference are important to all of us.

For additional information about Nurses Week ideas and gifts, you can check out my websites TheNursingSite.com and Housecalls-Online. We also sponsor a Nursing Site Store at Cafe Press.

Happy (early) Nurses Week!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nursing in the Future of Health Informatics

Modern medicine requires nurses to be aware of new technological developments that deliver a holistic approach to healthcare. Health informatics combines informational science with health care and computer technology in an effort to help better track patient treatment and progress. Health informatics can lead to greater improvements in nursing specifically.

The Technology Streamlines Patient Care
This new technology allows for greater efficiency in current data processes which streamline patient care. Keeping digital records is a way to reduce medical expenses and errors, as well as help eliminate the unnecessary repetition of clinical procedures.

Better Nursing Care through Mobile Technology
Registered nurses (RNs) have always been on the front-line of patient care. Mobile technology allows nurses to use their mobile devices at a patient’s bedside to look up clinical information which reduces errors and saves valuable time. Mobile technology, therefore, is making encounters with patients more effective.

Consolidate and Access Information Faster
The advancement of medical software and record keeping programs help nurses keep accurate and up-to-date records of their patients. This digital data can be retrieved across multiple platforms by numerous healthcare workers much more quickly than ever before.

Bringing Back the Kiosk, Apple Style
Today’s kiosks are smart devices such as the iPad. These modern electronic checkpoints enable the patient’s medical histories to be entered, as well as medications and demographics to be updated. No longer will nurses have to physically hunt down doctors to have them sign off on something, which can be a waste of precious time. Doctors can now easily be notified and sign off electronically.

Health informatics has made a global impact on patient care. Through better data management and ease of information accessibility, the convergence of computer science and healthcare will continue to push for advancements that focus on providing higher quality patient care.

Tyana Daley is a writer for University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education Inc. She writes about career related topics in the nursing industry such as, career advancement through RN to BSN programs. You can follow her on Twitter @Tyana_Daley

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

One of Those Days!!!

Not too long ago we experienced what at the time seemed like an unusually busy day. (Worth noting it had been a full moon the night before.) One patient was out of specialty supplies and we had scrambled to get some only to find out that morning that it wasn't all that urgent after all.. The caregiver had found some in another closet. OK we could stop and take a breath and not be rushing around so much.

However, about a half hour later we had a situation with a patient who was not scheduled to be seen that day. Suddenly this patient was reporting new issues with pain that wasn't responding to her current scheduled and break through medications and had to added to a nurse's schedule. The sooner she could get there the better. This required a few phone calls to push some visits later in the day and move one to the next day.

Within a half hour another patient was acting out and biting and punching staff at her assisted living facility. The new med tech there wasn't about to get close enough to try to give any medications. So we had to find another nurse who had to also juggle his schedule around to go and assess the situation and hopefully get her symptoms under control.

Meanwhile the patient who originally needed the supplies was an urgent problem again. Apparently the caregiver found that the supplies she located were damaged and some were expired which is why she suspected someone had moved them to the other closet in the first place. So now we had to find someone to get supplies out to this patient ASAP as well. 

And of course, we received a referral for a new patient being discharged from the hospital imminently to go home to die. They expected she might not last more than 1-2 days, if that, and the family was willing but very scared and needed a nurse as soon as we could get one there.

Well somehow we got everything covered, made all the visits necessary, and lived to tell about it. However, I wouldn't doubt that someone had been commenting about how quiet things were the day before! Never say that word!!!

While this type of day may not be considered completely typical, it's also not that unusual. A nurse's life is never easy and flexibility is a requirement.

I often have students and new nurses ask about the meaning of prioritizing and re-prioritizing and how or why it's so important to the nursing profession and the nursing process. This certainly was a day where those skills were essential and priorities kept changing from seemingly one moment to the next. It seemed as if patients were playing leap frog for who needed to be seen the quickest.

And how was your day??!


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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beyond Scrubs: Utilizing your Nursing Career into Other Fields of Health Care

Kathryn Norcutt has been an active member of the health care community for over 20 years. During her time as a nurse, she has helped people from all walks of life and ages. Now, Kathryn leads a much less hectic life and devotes much of her free time to writing for RNnetwork, a site specializing in traveling nurse jobs.

Forensic Nurse
This field is certainly not for the faint of heart. Nurses in this line of work are in contact with victims or perpetrators of violent crimes, so their jobs can be very challenging. However, for those who are passionate about justice, being a forensic nurse can also be rewarding. Forensic nurses spend a great deal of time working with investigators. They collect evidence from the people involved, provide evaluations and host community outreach programs to prevent violent crimes. Nurses should not expect their jobs to be identical to television dramas. On the subject of forensic nurses, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics [1 - page 5 of document] says that forensic nurses in television dramas are under-credited for their many problem-solving contributions. While there are a variety of paths to becoming a forensic nurse, each one includes a considerable amount of education. Nurses may enter this sub-specialty by becoming death investigators or sexual assault nurse examiners [2]. Alternately, there are masters and doctoral programs designed specifically for forensic nurses.

Legal Nurse Consultant
Since court cases vary widely in nature, experts are needed from almost every field imaginable. Some cases require a nurse's assistance. Legal nurse consultants work with attorneys and their legal teams to evaluate the details of various cases. In this setting, a nurse must review medical documents. Legal nurse consultants also work with insurance companies, government agencies and large medical facilities. To become a legal nurse consultant, professionals must receive specialized training and pass the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board's official exam [3].

Nursing Informaticist
Nurses who decide they want to further their careers by earning a medical informatics degree or a degree in information technology can work as nursing informaticists. These jobs rarely include patient contact. Informaticists work for consulting firms, corporations and large medical facilities. They perform a wide range of IT developing and marketing duties. As technology advances, the need for more elite software programs and electronic organization systems continues to rise. The systems these specialists develop usually focus on reducing overall costs and improving quality of care. Most of the nurses who become informaticists train nurses who are working in health care settings how to use new systems [4]. With their additional degrees and training, nursing informaticists can earn attractive salaries.

Nursing Administration
While nursing administrators or managers may still find themselves interacting with patients, the majority of their days are spent performing administrative tasks. They are often responsible for interviewing and hiring new nurses and nursing support staff [5]. Since they must oversee all activities, they are responsible for maintaining files for each employee. They are also responsible for reviewing patients' care plans and concerns. Administrators must develop efficient policies for their facilities. Whether they work in public health clinics, hospitals or other settings, they are vital players in the overall success of facilities. Since these jobs come with a great deal of responsibility, a Master of Science in Nursing is usually the required degree. Some nurses also choose to combine a Master of Business Administration degree with the MSN degree.

Nursing Researcher
Since the days of Florence Nightingale, research and nursing have been fields that intersect with one another. Nursing researchers are scientists who are committed to improving the field of nursing through both quantitative and qualitative methods. They are responsible for postulating ideas, collecting data, analyzing study results and reporting the data they uncover [6]. This field is ideal for nurses who have always dreamed of making large-scale discoveries or molding new ideas. Since nursing researchers are constantly striving for more effective treatments and medical devices, their jobs are very rewarding. The pay is also rewarding, but this title is only awarded to nurses who pursue their education to the highest degree. A doctoral degree with an emphasis in research is an ideal asset for professionals entering this field. Some of these jobs are temporary, so individuals who enjoy variety can also appreciate this sub-specialty of the nursing field.

Nursing Instructor
Nurses who are strong leaders and enjoy helping others succeed often choose the rewarding path of nursing education [7]. By becoming an educator, nurses have the opportunity to teach one or more specific subjects they enjoy. For example, nurses who specialized in pediatrics in college could teach classes related to that specialty. There are also a wide variety of general subjects that nurses can teach. Nurses who teach subjects that also require hands-on experience may find themselves in scrubs for clinicals. However, their roles in working with patients include showing students how to perform various tasks and how to respond to different situations. Instructors may work for private nursing schools, universities, vocational schools or community colleges. To become an educator, a nurse must earn a masters or doctoral degree in nursing education.

Travel Nursing
Nurses who seek alternative sub-specialties are usually people who enjoy challenges and are not afraid of change. They embrace new experiences. It is possible to enjoy a wide range of alternative jobs and non-bedside jobs by joining a travel nursing agency. These agencies give nurses the opportunity to enjoy new work experiences, meet new people and see other cities. Travel nurses are needed for temporary jobs and special projects. Agencies often pay for the majority of a nurse's travel-related expenses or provide reimbursement. One of the most important lessons nurses learn during school is that life is precious, so it is important to make the most of it. By becoming a travel nurse, every motivated nursing professional is able to find a way to showcase his or her talents, experience new places and learn to enjoy life even more.

1 http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2003/fall/art01.pdf
3 http://www.aalnc.org/page/LNCC/?
4 http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/91/Nursing_Informatics
5 http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Nurse_Administrator_Career_Summary.html
6 http://www.discovernursing.com/specialty/nurse-researcher#.UQ-BoB2sSC0
7 http://www.mynursingdegree.com/nurse-educator/career-overview.asp

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Relative Crude

Can a DNA test be wrong?

97.7% DNA match is overwhelming evidence of paternity. That explains why Eden Braverman, RN, vacillates with her capacity to trust her brother-in-law. Rachel Westbrook, the child’s mother, propels Eden on a journey to find the truth behind the DNA results and Rachel’s suspected ulterior motives. After all, Jarod Fairgate is a multimillionaire.

Eden suddenly finds her own life compromised with accusations of drugs, patient abuse, and the final insult, her sister’s murder. To find answers, she traverses a winding road of paternal sins and fraternal passions that will ultimately end with her fighting for her own life.

Relative Crude, the first is a series, introduces the reader to my protagonist, Eden Braverman, a determined, feisty, and very knowledgeable RN. She will need to use all those attributes to solve the mystery that has become very personal to her.
My name is Alida Chaney and I’ve been an RN for over 40 years working in many critical care areas. ICU is where I spent most of my time, though ED and PACU are also part of my DNA. As with many RN’s, I have done my share of middle management, overseeing a Medical-Surgical floor, Telemetry floor, and Med-Surg ICU. With this background, Relative Crude takes you on an adventure with the realistic backdrop of ICU nursing and the politics that help and hinder her investigation into her sister’s murder.

With the advent of DNA kits on the internet, I thought it would be interesting to investigate what happens if a DNA test could be wrong. Relative Crude does just that.
I hope you all would think that this possibility would peak your interest in reading this medical mystery. This is the first in a series of Eden Braverman books.

Relative Crude can be obtained from Outskirts Press, Amazon.com or directly through me by emailing me at ritr511947@gmail.com.

Come along with me and get to know a knowledgeable, sassy, no nonsense RN. The kind we all hope to be.

Editor's note:
I can't wait to read this book. Have to carve out some time somewhere!!! Have you read it?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shared Decision Making

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift from a sick care model to a health care model. Nurses (and all other health professionals) are helping patients learn to share the decision making aspects of their care and learning to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes.

This is a complicated process and a new role for nurses; especially those who are accustomed to doing for the patients. This often stems from time constraints that prohibit nurses from teaching patients. It's just easier to do it yourself. But as we move towards patient responsibility, patient education becomes much more important. Preventative care and reducing the risks and complications posed by chronic illness have to be moved to the front of the line in order to reduce the staggering costs of health care.

I've come across a couple of great tool-kits this week to help nurses better understand and implement these processes. One is from Dorland Health. It focuses on empowering patients and helping them become part of the decision making process in their health care.

The other is a Teach-Back process from Iowa Health System and it is focused on helping to ensure patients understand what we are teaching them. Health care literacy is vital to the success of the health care model. If patients don't have a clear understanding of what's expected of them and how to maneuver through the health care maze, they won't succeed in assuming responsibility for their health care. And their outcomes will not improve.

I hope you find the information helpful.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Free Options for CNA Training

Whether you are looking for a new field of work or just getting started, nothing is more satisfying or rewarding than working in the medical field. While you could spend years going to universities to receive your doctorate or nursing degree, these options cost significant amounts of money. If time and money are not on your side, then perhaps you want to look into becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). As a CNA, you are responsible for caring and providing great quality of life care for patients in nursing homes, adult daycare centers, hospitals, or home care. Best of all, there are multiple options on how to achieve your certification for free. Here are a few options that are available to receive your license as a CNA.

1. Job Corps
The Job Corps of America is a workforce program that is supported and funded by the United States Department of Labor. They offer programs for technical training for 16 to 24 year old students that fall within low income requirements. In addition to free training, students may receive living accommodations and monetary allowances.

To sign up, locate the nearest Job Corps site in your area by visiting http://www.recruiting.jobcorps.gov/en/centers.aspx. Once you have located the nearest Job Corps center, you will be able to sign up for their nursing assistant program.

2. WIA
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is designed to assist people who are seeking training for suitable work. WIA is generally available through your county's unemployment office. To join the CNA program you must be at least 18 years of age and be unemployed, or working at a job that you will not progress at and has low income. Those who are eligible may also receive a clothing allowance, transportation reimbursement, and any additional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses that were billed to you due to the training.

3. Your Local Hospital or Nursing Home
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for either of the programs above, you can still find options to receive free CNA training. There are multiple nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities that are understaffed and desperately seeking out qualified CNA's to help with their heavy workloads. Because of this, these facilities offer free CNA training from time to time to those who agree to work for them once the training is complete.

Beware Of Scams
While there are several programs designed to help you receive free CNA training, there are just as many scams out there. There are programs that will offer you free classes or classes for a small fee, but they are not accredited, meaning their certification is not accepted by the medical board.

People who have fallen victim to these scams spend several hours in training but will not be able to obtain work. In addition to these schools, there are other programs that offer to "reimburse" you once you have paid for their classes and agreed to work for their company. Many have paid for classes only to find out that there are no jobs available with the company or the jobs didn't exist at all.

Prior to signing up for classes, take the time to read through every piece of documentation you are given. Try to rely on using well-known companies, as listed above, for your training. As always, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This post was written by Catherine Bynes. You can get more details on free cna training in your state over at her blog: http://nursingcareertips.com/free-cna-training/

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: EasyNCLEX.com

Most nurses will tell you that once they passed the NCLEX they will do anything to NEVER have to take it again! Truth is, as long as they complete the required CEUs or inactivate their license until then, they won't have to. If they let their license lapse, they will have to repeat the NCLEX.
For student nurses, the NCLEX often represents unparalleled fear and anxiety. The NCLEX is a comprehensive exam to determine that a nurse has the skills and knowledge base to safely practice nursing. The questions are designed to test critical thinking skills, reading comprehension,  basic decision-making,  and clinical nursing knowledge and skills.

Many nurse graduates have found that taking practice tests is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the NCLEX. Recently, I discovered a great online resource for practice testing called EasyNCLEX.com.

EasyNCLEX.com offers a variety of tests for both RNs and LPNs. I took the NCLEX-PN test. They were good questions and I found them challenging, just as practice questions should be. The questions were up-to-date and the answers gave solid, yet concise, information in support of the right answer.
There were a couple I would challenge as not necessarily being "the best" answer, but I have always found this to be true in any study guide or practice testing format.

EasyNCLEX.com offers both the NCLEX-RN as well as the NCLEX-PN. The exam questions for each cover a broad range of topics to satisfy the various areas of RN or LPN nursing education and rotations. They are well-rounded tests of all of the nursing knowledge and skills necessary to satisfy license requirements. 
A number of different test lengths are available to challenge and prepare students for the NCLEX for a very affordable fee. The questions offer the same format of the actual NCLEX such as Multiple Choice, Select All That Apply, Sequence, and Fill-In-The-Blank questions.

So what’s “easy” about EasyNCLEX.com? Firstly, the signup process is perhaps the easiest I’ve seen on any NCLEX website. Just fill in a few fields, and you’re starting a practice exam in no time. Other sites will require you to put in much additional personal info, such as address, phone, etc.

Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the questions are challenging and cover a broad base of topics.

Doing practice tests such as these should make it easier for you to pass the real test. Plus, the practice exams themselves and the site in general are easy to navigate and use.

The site also offers an email Question of the Day format for a reasonable fee.

In summary, this site is well worth checking out, so let us know how it goes by replying in the comments.

Consideration was made for this article.