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.


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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, or directly through me by emailing me at

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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