Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

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

Have a very safe and Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Infographic: Dissecting Patient-Centered Care

From University of Arizona's College of Nursing

University of Arizona Online Nursing Degree

If the graphic doesn't show up on your browser, you can view it here:
University of Arizona Online Nursing Degree

Friday, December 5, 2014

Great Products for Nurses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More Peer Recognition for the Blog

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

National Nurse Practitioners Week

Happy National Nurse Practitioners Week...

"Brought to you by Nursing@Simmons"

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Career Paths for RNs

Brought to you by Nursing@Simmons: Nursing Career Paths

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nurses: 10 Tips for Staying Healthy During Flu Season

By Kristeen Cherney

Just as the seasonal changes mark changes in weather, flu season brings about changes in health and wellness. The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of people in the United States get sick with the flu annually. While many cases clear up on their own within several days, complications from the flu can require medical office visits and even hospitalizations.

As a nurse, flu season makes for even busier work days as offices attempt to fit in as many patients for treatment as possible. The problem is that this also means that nurses are placed at an increased exposure to the flu. Treating someone with the flu doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get sick, but a weakened immune system might increase your risk. Consider ten ways you can boost your immunity to the flu as you treat others with the illness this season.

1. Consider a flu shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still says that an annual flu shot is the best mode of protection for everyone, including healthcare workers. Some medical practices and hospitals even require that all staff and medical professionals get flu shots. These requirements are certainly not without controversy, since not everyone wants a vaccination. Your decision may also depend on individual risk factors, such as age and personal health history.

2. Employ the use of surgical masks

Surgical masks are certainly required in some jobs. You likely can’t wait to take off your protective mask after participating in a surgery. As uncomfortable as they might be, you should consider wearing a mask when coming into contact with season flu patients. On top of that, encourage the use of masks in sick patients to help prevent the spread of the flu to others.

3. Keep your hands away from your face

Throughout the day, you might scratch your face or brush something, such as loose hair away from it. Such simple acts can lead to transmission of the seasonal flu. It’s hard to be mindful of this fact all of the time, but remembering not to touch your face at all can ultimately help keep you from getting sick.

4. Forget fancy soaps

You already know the importance of frequent hand washing, especially as a nurse. You can keep your hands clean simply by following basic rules and using regular soap and water. While having hand sanitizer around is not a bad idea, don’t waste time and money on specialized soaps. Such products are not any more effective than regular soap.

5. Fit in a quick workout

After being on your feet all day, the last thing you may want to do is work out at the gym. Crazy hours can even make working out seem impossible. Still, the benefits of regular exercise are undeniable, and it can even help protect your immune system. Think of quick spurts of exercise you can fit in throughout the day, such as taking the stairs or taking laps around the building during a five-minute break.

6. Keep apples at hand

When it comes to the flu, an apple a day really might keep your doctor away. Apples are widely available during fall, which also happens to be the beginning of flu season. The nutrients will help boost your immune system, while the fiber can also keep you full. Try apple slices for quick snacks.

7. Assess your individual risk

High-risk populations might need to use extra caution during flu season. This includes pregnant women and anyone over the age of 50. If the flu seems to be running rampant around your building, take extra precautions.

8. Change out of your clothes ASAP

Washing your hands and wearing a surgical mask may do little good if you wear your germy scrubs home. If possible, change out of your clothes before heading out of the building. Store in an airtight bag and take them home with you.

9. Be mindful of ill co-workers

No one is completely immune to the flu, including those who get vaccinated. If you notice a co-worker starting to get ill, encourage them to go home. Also be mindful of shared surfaces and disinfect them right away.

10. Stay home

The only real way to stop the spread of the flu is to eliminate exposure. As a nurse helping patients, this can be impossible. However, if you get sick, you should keep others well by taking the day off.

• Freyer, Felice J. (2014, September 25). Brigham and Women’s nurses sue over flu shot mandate. Retrieved from
• Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs. (2014, August 28). Retrieved from
• Preventing the Flu. (2010, December). Retrieved from

Author Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who also has a certificate in nutrition. Her work has been published on numerous health-related websites with a focus on women’s health issues. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University, and is currently pursuing an MA in English with a concentration in rhetoric and cultural studies. When she's not writing or studying, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Nursing From Within by Elizabeth Scala

I had the distinct pleasure to read an advance copy of Nursing From Within by Elizabeth Scala this summer and I have to say it came at the right moment.

We all experience lows in our nursing careers and Elizabeth hits the nail on the head when she guides you through the process of reaching within yourself to find that passion and learn to love nursing again.

So once again I am honored to be part of the virtual book tour for this wonderful book. Every nurse should read it and it's a MUST for your professional library!!

Nursing From Within will help you to love nursing again as  it directs you to take care of your own body and soul so that you can continue to be there for your patients.

Nursing is one of the most physically and emotionally exhausting professions and if we don't replenish ourselves we will not last very long. Nurses make a difference in someone's life everyday and in order to be able to be there we need to keep filling up our own fuel tank with love and compsssion for ourselves and our career.

Elizabeth writes in a conversational style that it easy to read and retain the tips and information she gives you. And it's easy to pick it up again and again to refresh yourself when times get really stressful. Thank you Elizabeth for this insightful book!

The healthcare industry is undergoing many changes now as we accept the challenges of the Affordable Care Act.  Most notably right now, nurses are taking a lot of heat with this Ebola crisis and it's important to remember why we wanted to become nurses and to hold on to that passion and love even through the trying times.

Nursing From Within will support us as we take this next leg of our journey through the life and career as nurses.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Catch Up Friday: New Apps, Workshops and Books for Nurses

It's catch up Friday again....
We have a host of new books, apps and workshops for nurses.

Next week Sept 30 and Oct 1 (Tues & Wed) the IOM is holding a workshop on The Future of Home Health Care: A Workshop in Washington DC. You can view it LIVE for FREE without having to travel. See details on the IOM website. Home health care promises to be one of the fastest growing employment for nurses. You can find out more about home health care nursing from my website

TheJoyCE continuing education tracker app is now available from the CEU Group to help you keep track of all of your CEUs. 

Check out the Events Calendar from RNtoBSN Online Programs. It's a great idea and addition to their very useful site. While you're visiting be sure to look around at all of the great information they provide.

For those thinking about a career in nursing here's a Definitive Nursing Guide (2014)

Highway Hypodermics Travel Nursing 2015 the latest MUST HAVE travel nursing guide from Epstein LaRue is available now. It's trending high among the Best Sellers in Nursing Issues, Trends & Roles on Amazon. You'll love the way she writes and be delighted with the amount of information she gives you if you're a traveler or thinking about travel nursing. Check out her website too.

Elizabeth Scala has written an excellent book, Nursing From Within. I was humbled to be asked to read and review the book before it was published. It is an excellent book and a MUST HAVE for your professional library. It hit #1 on Amazon's New Releases for Nursing. The Virtual Book Tour starts on Oct. 1. Check out the list of reviewers. I will be posting mine on Oct. 16th.

My latest book, The New Nurse Handbook was published in July by Fall River Press and is available now.  It revisits the Everything New Nurse Books, but was updated and revised in early 2014.

Happy reading!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 100 Nursing Blogs

Once again I am humbled by the peer recognition for this blog. Thanks so much for the honor and the kind words. Please check out the list. There are some really great blogs on it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget

Monday, August 18, 2014

HCAHPS Score -- Focus From Day One

Do you understand what HCAHPS scores are and why they are important to your job? Or do you only know that your supervisor brings the scores to staff meetings and yells at you to improve?! Your HCAHPS Score should be a focus from day one of your employment, but you need to know why.

Google Images
The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a sophisticated and nationally standardized patient satisfaction survey which bench marked against hospitals all over the country and is publicly reported . This means a patient who is looking to find the very best option for his or a loved one's care is going to look at these scores and decide the best place to go.

Healthcare is a service industry and nursing is the backbone of that industry. Consumers expect the highest level of customer service from service providers and now they have the power to effect change in the healthcare industry by voicing their opinion about the care they received.Low scores are going to cause a hit to the financial pocket.

To be able to focus on your facilities HCAHPS scores from day one, you need to have training and tools. Your education begins at onboarding and should continue throughout your career there. Nurses need to understand Regulations and requirements such as HCAHPS surveys. Participation is required in order to receive the maximum reimbursement which covers options available in the facility, the type of treatment offered, and trickles down to your salary and staffing.

Having the options to provide education and tools to nurses with the latest evidence based practices and clinical competencies depends on how well your patients and the community value your care and recommend your facility to others. Quality of patient care depends on the tools nurses have. It's a cycle and hospitals need invest in their staff and provide the tools in order for staff to grow professionally and be able to step up the quality of patient care.

The HCAHPS survey utilizes multiple questions to determine covers six important areas of the patient's experience of care. These include:
  • how well the doctors and nurses communicate with the patient and how comfortable he is that he understands what you said
  • how responsive is the staff to his individual needs 
  • how well do the doctors and nurses manage his pain
  • how well do the doctors and nurses communicate key information about his medications, treatments, and discharge information throughout his stay and especially at discharge. 

Other elements in the survey include the patient's comfort levels such as the cleanliness and quietness of the room. And then the overall rating of the hospital and whether or not the patient would recommend the hospital to others.

For staff to understand and buy into the HCAPHS program, the hospital needs to provide ongoing education and information, not just raw scores and condescending remarks that staff needs to improve. Nursing is about combining the art of patient care with the science of medicine and technology to allow patients to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes. Information, communication and education are key elements and all of the players needs to know and understand the impact of regs like HCAPHS.

Patient education is one of the major keys to reducing the high cost of medical care and to achieving better outcomes. Patients need to feel confident moving forward with their own health care and to do so they need the best possible evidence based care and instruction. With these tools they can maintain and improve their health status and give the credit to those who helped them get there. HCAHPS score do matter and you need to understand why and how to improve your care. Feedback is essential to improvement. Listen to the information and get involved in the improvement process.

Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.

Monday, July 28, 2014

More Recognition from

We are once again in Great Company with these 15 Awesome Nursing Blogs to follow from Thanks again for the recognition.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One of the Top 30 Nursing Blogs
We've been honored again. And we are in some pretty great company as a pick for the Top 30 Nursing Blogs by Thank you for your kind words and peer recognition.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Use Common Sense with Social Media

Social media is wonderful and externally useful, but like anything, it comes with a need for etiquette and good old common sense!! Users have to accept responsibility for anything they post and set privacy settings to maintain social professionalism. Be discreet and aware of all of your connections. Understand that law enforcement can access your accounts if needed, and nothing is completely hacker-proof. Nurses will be held to a higher level of expectations for professionalism.

Nurse Blog CarnivalSocial media tools such as LinkedIn are most useful in job searches and networking. In fact many employers hire exclusively through this app. But be sure what you post about yourself on your profile is true and that you use discretion if you don't want your current employer to know you are looking around even if it's just a casual glance to see what's out there and what you might be worth. Remember your boss might be looking too. It's also a great place to join interest groups and share experiences and information about your particular field. You might even connect with old friends or previous colleagues.

Facebook is great for connecting with friends, meeting new friends with similar interests and staying in touch with family and friends across the miles. But remember as a nurse you have HIPAA regulations to abide by with regards to your professional life. These regs apply to all aspects of your professional life and all levels of social media. Don't be posting stories about your patients, even if you don't use their names, it's hard to avoid details that might identify the person. And for heaven's sakes don't be posting pictures even if they tell you it's OK. What happens at work, stays at work!

Twitter is another way to keep up what your friends are doing, and it also gives you information on what's trending at this moment. You can follow celebrities, sports teams, breaking news. etc. It's instantaneous and remember anything that appears on the Internet can be found again even if you delete it. So be sure it's what you want to put out there before you hit send or upload.

Written words and photos can be taken more than one way and even your best friends can interpret something the wrong way and make a lot of drama for you.

Make sure you know the people you allow to post on your sites, and if necessary set your privacy so that you have to approve everything first. Or have a very select group of friends who have access to any page.

Google + is a way for nurse bloggers and authors to authenticate their writing and to gain recognition. It's also a way to connect with friends and share information. Pinterest is great for quickly sharing such things as ideas, humor and photos.

Flickr allows you to share photos with those you chose to do so with. This allows others to view and possibly print or share with friends you allow to do so.

There are numerous other social networking and sharing apps and websites that can be quite useful and fun. Just be sure to be aware of what you share and who has access. Also be sure to remember not everyone "gets" nurse humor or is open to hearing about blood, guts and gore.  Someone you don't even know declaring something you said is offensive can get you banned form a site, or fired from your job.

Enjoy social media but like anything else in your life as a nurse, understand you are held to a standard that others may not be.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recognition is Appreciated!!!

We have been honored once again as one of the 16 Blogs You Need to Read from Thanks for the inclusion!!! (We are listed #1) Check out their site, their scrubs and their blog. And the other blogs listed... there are some really great ones in the list!!!

It's Catch Up time.... I have a lot of information and great sites to share with you...

I recently received an email from an NP who has put together a really great forum for Nurse Practitioners. Give it a look and spread the word to the NP community.

Check out RNspire Initiative and see what people are saying about what inspires them to be nurses, and what others are saying about the wonderful nurses who have inspired them. Great idea from Cardinal Health to show appreciation for nurses.

Need to create a resume?  Here's some great tips to Create an Effective Nurse Resume in Five Easy Steps. Examples are included. Remember to always keep your resume up to date. You never know when you or your employer might need it. And if you put it off, you might forget some very important experiences you've had.

Mediaplanet Publishing has established a new Nurse Appreciation Campaign with some great content and ideas.

Nowhere But Up; The Future of Nursing is a great infographic to share.

Please enjoy these sites and be sure to share them on your social media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Gooogle+ etc. If you have a site you'd like us to share, email me. It may take a few weeks, but I will try my best to include as many as I can in my next Catching Up post.

Enjoy some summer reading. Hurry this offer expires July 16....
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Where Do You Take Your Career as an Older Nurse?

Ugh I guess I have to admit I'm an older nurse now. My current role as QI (for hospice) automatically makes me one of the people you love to hate, but I always hope I don't come off as old and outdated like some of those "older" nurses we always hated and hoped would retire SOON -- like today!

I left hospital nursing behind me years ago and became a home health nurse which I dearly loved. It gave me freedoms, yet responsibility and a need to be able to work with little supervision. This required a strong work ethic and the ability to work autonomously. I finally felt like a real nurse who could actually spend time educating and helping patients. Today I work part time as the traveling QI analyst for 4 hospice offices.

Nurse Blog Carnival - The Nerdy Nurse - 300x300As I began to age, and to slow down I needed more of a set schedule in my life.  I entered the realm of management. I have had many roles mostly at the lower level, to suit my personal preferences and needs. I've also been in upper management, but I don't need that hassle and responsibility now!

Management in nursing takes a lot of patience, a lot of creativity, and willingness to lead. We had great leadership classes in my BSN program, but way back when, they weren't relevant. Although I could draw from that knowledge base, it wasn't until I took some leadership courses and spent some time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses that I feel I was truly able to be the leader I wanted to be.

The other side of that coin is that unless you are the top boss, you still have struggles with those above you who want to do things their way. And often they want to micro manage you. Or if you take a moment to think before you answer; they answer for you and think you to be an idiot. And then micromanage even more! (Too bad they didn't take the time to truly evaluate the skills and value.) You have to play the politics and let a lot of irritating things slide off your back in any role and this is no different.

Nursing management is not for everyone and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to all. But it is a role that as you get older, takes you away from the trenches and the adrenalin rush that begins to haunt you and feel like it will actually kill you. You find a chance to slow down while still being relevant and helping to mentor new nurses entering the field or niche.

Other career paths for older nurses to consider as they need to leave the more physical work to the younger crowd include staff development and education, infection control and nursing informatics. Medical coding and quality assurance are growing areas especially in home health and hospice.

Leaving the bedside behind will require some research and further education along with sticking your neck out there to make a move from your comfort zone. There are rolls for nurses in the future that we don't even see now.  Hopefully they will take advantage of the knowledge base older nurses have to give and there will be many new roles for older nurses as well.

Hopefully one day soon I will be able to leave the day job behind and focus entirely on my writing. Many nurses have started blogs and written books to fill a niche the same as I have done. We all have learned to mesh the writing with our day jobs.  If you like to write; share your story with others. Help them to find their way in the profession and share your insights.  Older nurses are a wealth of knowledge and information and should not be cast aside. Working smarter, not harder begins with listening to older nurses so you don't keep trying to reinvent the wheel.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Help Nurses Thrive in Their Roles with Ongoing Feedback

Nursing is and always will be challenging. Nurses hold people's lives in their hands and to continue to be great nurses, we must always strive to improve the quality of care we provide. That isn't easy if we don't have proper feedback, and the information necessary to help us improve. Feedback is essential to helping nurses thrive and grow in their roles. 

Ever Changing Regs and Challenges
In today's healthcare environment we meet many challenges everyday that perhaps didn't exist even a few months ago. One major goal no matter what your niche, is to reduce costs while maintaining quality. The challenge then becomes how to work smarter and not harder because reducing costs can also translate to cutting staff.  That works only if you have the buy-in of everyone, and the information to help staff understand the what and why.

In home health and hospice, for example, Medicare drives the ship and regs change frequently. If we don't help staff understand the purpose and the effects of those changes, we don't get the buy-in we need to be successful. Hospitals have gone through many changes in the past few years as well. The key element is meeting reimbursement and providing quality care,

Reducing Readmission and Avoiding Never Events
Never events and reducing hospital readmission are but two huge issues incorporating continuous quality improvement and revising patient care delivery. Both are directly tied to reimbursement. And that is only going to get more difficult to achieve. It's a perfect situation for performance improvement and the data feedback from Medicare provides some of the best evidence of successes and failure.

As part of the continuum of care, home health and hospice have to pick up the ball and run with it. The goal always to help patients assume responsibility for their own health status and improve their outcomes. If we can help patients maintain a status quo and prevent complications, we will see a tremendous improvement in health status over all along with a significant reduction in healthcare costs. To accomplish this, nurses have to spend more quality time with patients providing patient education. And they need feedback to help them understand and improve their patient education skills. It's a paradigm shift from doing for the patient to helping him do for himself. In some realms this has taken place much faster than others. And it's not difficult to imagine that some nurses have resisted the change with all their might, while others have welcomed the challenge.

Collaboration with HR, Staff Development and QI
Nurses are typically over achievers and will strive to meet and exceed expectations, but it's imperative they have the information and the education to improve their skills to meet these needs and goals. Nurses need to be kept aware of the outcomes from data being collected for reimbursement purposes and how their individual participation helps or hinders. This is a process for HR and the staff education department to collaborate along with quality improvement. The data is readily available, the feedback needs to be derived and disseminated. Talent management software is just one of the possible solutions for storing and reporting feedback.

With information and feedback, nurses will rise to the challenge and prove they are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Nurses will feel accomplished and thrive in their roles. There will be a reduced turn over of staff and patient outcomes will improve.

Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue

Nurse Blog Carnival - The Nerdy Nurse - 300x300Sorry to be a little late with this today. We are having very high winds, temperatures and fires in So. CA so the power is wildly fluctuating. I'm trying my best to get this done quickly now. The winds and heat can be so annoying, but also play havoc with health issues. So can the extreme cold, snowy, rainy weather that most of the country has dealt with for months this year and continues long into the Spring.

We always take the time to educate our patients in how to stay warm or cool. How important fluid intake is especially with extremes in weather. That winds drive the pollen and dust and dirt and all things irritating to the lungs, the sinuses, the eyes, etc.

Do we heed these warnings ourselves? Not always. Nurses are commonly over achievers. We strive to take care of everyone else and think we are invincible. Last week was Nurses Week and I always try to have a posting about taking care of yourself in or around the celebration of nurses. We need reminders to stop and take care of ourselves and replenish our energy and passion so that we can carry on. These are not in never-ending supply. You will burnout if you don't take care of yourself.

This time, I'm hosting the Blog Carnival and other nurse bloggers have written posts on their great blogs to help us find ways to help us care for ourselves and avoid caregiver fatigue, or "burnout" as it used to be called.

Jerome Stone of Minding the Bedside Meditation Resources for Everyone, found some great statistics in a simple Google search for the keywords compassion fatigue. The number of links has doubled since he searched the term last spring.  The title of his post is Compassion Fatigue in Nursing? There's No Such Thing! 5 Reminders. So you might think he's trying to debunk the idea, but it's just the opposite. Jerome's reminders are great points and he offers some guidance in meditative practices such as loving kindness. You can download this practice free from his blog and find other meditative tips as well. And find his book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind on Amazon Kindle.

Joan RN is completing her Master in Nursing Education to become a nurse educator. Her blog is One of the key points she makes in her entry, Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue, is that nurses need to recognize they are vulnerable. Denial is such a dangerous thing. Like the safety instruction on an airplane, in case of emergency and a drop in cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first! Then help others around you. We need to care for ourselves so we can continue to care for others. 

Tina Lanciault's blog is Your Career Nursing, Helping Nurses Succeed. She asks the question does nursing and stress go together? In her post, 7 Tips for Stressed Out Nurses,  Tina shares some of the top ideas and tips she has learned throughout her 20+ years as a nurse. They include examining what causes your stress, what foods do you eat when you're stressed, and how do you relax? She invites readers to share their experiences and ideas in comments on her blog. Then she encourages you to do something fun and get up off the couch, away from the computer, etc., and go outdoors.

Avoiding caregiver or compassion fatigue is not rocket science. But it often tends to be something nurses don't want to talk about or write about. At some point in your career you are likely to experience it. I hope these articles help you to recognize your vulnerability, the signs and symptoms and ways to treat and avoid it in the future.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nurses Week Give Aways

Nurse week begins Tuesday, May 6 and runs through Monday, May 12. You can find more information about the history of Nurses Week on

There are a lot of events taking place to honor nurses. Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson was the first nurse elected to Congress. Last week she introduced House Resolution 540 to recognize nurses and Nurses Week.

The American Nurses Association chose the theme Nurses Leading the Way....... and on Wednesday, May 7 at 1:00PM EDT the ANA is sponsoring a FREE webinar for nurses Transforming Healthcare Through Nursing Leadership. Nurses can earn 1 CEU free. Register now.

The Nerdy Nurse is sponsoring a Tweet Chat on Tuesday May 6 at 1:00 PM EDT about IT for nurses. Elizabeth Scala is hosting a 4-day online event The Art of Nursing to help nurses reconnect with their love for nursing. This begins on Tuesday, May 6 as well.

There are many many more events scheduled across the country throughout the week to Celebrate Nurses. Here's just a few more I found on Google.

Here's a terrific infographic about CPR from  It has some great ideas such as music to perform CPR to which is a great idea for teaching this tool and remembering the timing in actual use.

In my own small effort I am offering a few give-aways in honor of Nurses Week as well. I have a STAT Gear stethoscope tape dispenser (in pink) and 4 BIC 4-color pens in honor of the 44th anniversary of this popular pen. I have 2 in the traditional black, blue, red and green and 2 in Fashion colors of pink, green, purple and blue.

I will also give away an autographed copy of one my books, The Everything New Nurse Book, 2nd edition.  You can also purchase print-your own Nurses Week cards and a pattern for  nurses hat on my home health website. And visit our Cafe Press store for customized items.

All you have to do to enter is to add a COMMENT below about the activities your employer is planning to celebrate nursing this week. Next week I will list the winners and you'll have to contact me with your mailing address. Remember this is public internet posting and you never know who is viewing them. If you can't comment, send me an email at

Happy Nurses Week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Isn't Collaboration in Nursing Something We Do Everyday?

This post is part of a collaboration with other nurse bloggers through The Nurse Blog Carnival.  Keith and Kevin from RNFM Radio are hosting this months enlightening round which will be posted on 4/15/14.

Collaboration in nursing is a term that can sound overwhelming and off-putting to many. In truth it's probably something that you do everyday without even thinking about it. It's not necessary for every situation, but when it is needed, the outcomes can be compromised if nurses are unwilling or unable to participate.

If you stop and think about it, physicians have been collaborating for forever. When the generalist needs advice about a specific problem he calls in the specialist. If that specialist needs more help she calls in another specialist and so on. Collaboration is a journey as well as a process and outcome (you need to register - free- to read) to help patients achieve common goals and optimum outcomes in a cost-effective manner.

Collaboration and Teamwork
Collaboration and teamwork are often used interchangeably. Some nurses are not well suited for this process and resist it with all their might. There is professional jealousy or a need to be in control that doesn't let that nurse accept help and capitalize on the process of working with others to achieve a common goal. This brings to mind the idea that nurses eat their young.

In patient-centered care, nurses have to leave their egos outside and work with others to provide the best quality and evidence-based care possible. Collaboration easily uses the nursing process to define the problem, brainstorm using critical thinking skills to problem solve, establish a plan and set goals and then evaluate the process. Sometimes collaboration is just a part of our everyday routine and we don't necessarily realize it.

Shared Decision Making
Collaboration is about shared decision making and bringing together the best minds to assess and evaluate the situation. As a single individual, the nurse is not often able to provide for all of the needs of the patient. A simple collaboration example would be to call in the WOCN nurse to consult on a wound that is not responding to the current treatment.

Other examples include meeting interdisciplinary needs such as bringing a physical therapist in to teach safe transfers to the family before discharge, an occupational therapist to explore energy conservation techniques, or social services to assist with community resources and financial issues involving the patent's care.Interdisciplinary communication allows the team to collaborate to problem solve, set goals, and achieve optimum outcomes for the patient 

Promoting Wellness and Preventative Care
In a wellness model of health care delivery, collaboration becomes even more important. Our jobs are no longer all about just treating the current problem and discharge. We have to educate patients so they can take responsibility for their own health status and outcomes. If we help them learn how to prevent illness in the first place and prevent or control complications for chronic diseases already present, we will significantly reduce the costs of health care and promote wellness.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Focus on Quality by Focusing on Evidence Based Nursing Practice in the Onboarding Process

Health care has gone through many paradigm shifts in the past few years with focus on quality and containing the skyrocketing costs. As many more citizens find access to health care and insurance (7.1 million signed up under the Affordable Care Act) and the Baby Boom generation moves into the later stages of life, many more challenges will be felt by the industry.

The focus has changed from a sick care delivery system to a wellness system. Patients are charged with the responsibility for their own health status and to do this they need education. That education has to include not only disease management and medication reconciliation, but specific instructions in how to access and maneuver through the healthcare system. Nurses have found themselves at the helm of this process and the backbone of the healthcare system. Success lies in the hands of the nurses; both in ensuring patients are able to control their health status and prevent complications, and in ensuring patient satisfaction through evidence based quality patient care. The measurable outcome means reimbursement is maximized.

Quality is quickly becoming the standard by which healthcare providers are being reimbursed. One of the primary measures of quality is patient satisfaction. Satisfaction is tied to the quality of care received and the outcomes achieved. Reimbursement is and will be driven by the quality of care. In 2009, Medicare began to institute Do-Not-Pay penalties for specific errors such as wrong site surgeries, vascular catheter infections, other hospital acquired infections, bed sores, falls, air embolisms, and UTIs from Foley catheters.

Many of these items very much involve nursing care and it’s now more important than ever to ensure that nurses are using evidence based practice when providing care.  This can be a challenge when nurses come to organizations with different ideas and approaches to patent care from their past education and experience.

Ensuring that patients get the quality nursing care they deserve involves training nurses in the best evidence based practice standards from day one. This requires a thorough onboarding process to ensure nurses have strong clinical competencies and skills and continue to be educated on the most up to date best practices. Many find that the onboarding process and continuing staff education can be cumbersome and difficult to track on paper, however, talent management software like those provided by Halogen can simply this process. Providing the best quality patient care and achieving optimum patient satisfaction are key to reimbursement and need to begin from day one.

Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Nurses Aren't Being Hired from New Grad to Experienced Nurse

There is an excellent article today on Scrubs Magazine Weekly Best. It's a frank discussion with HR about why they didn't hire nurses and provides a great checklist of the top reasons for not hiring candidates.

Anyone looking for that new or next job should take a long hard look. Just a few years back nurses were writing their own ticket to almost any job they wanted because employers were desperate to hire nurses and sometimes just a warm body would do. Today the scene has changed radically and employers can be and are being very choosy.

Year after year nurses have been voted by the Gallup Poll to be the most trusted honest and ethical professionals. And nurses are being held to a very high bar. Nurses have much more responsibility now for patient's health care and need to come to job prepared to provide the best care possible. If you can't show up to an interview with all of your paperwork in hand, you probably won't get the highest points for being hired. If you come dressed for exercising or lounging on your day off, you're not going to make your best impression. And if you have been careless with your own life in the past, you're going to be very hard pressed to prove that you can value the lives of others.

These are hard cold facts and not always easy to swallow,  but nursing is serious business. It can be great fun and very rewarding, but it's long hours and hard work.

One great point they made in this article is that it costs $40,000 to train a new grad nurse. It is also quite expensive to hire experienced nurses, and if they don't work out, the financial losses can be overwhelming. If you really want that job, make them know you are the best fit and you'll do your part to make it work out.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Another Great Recognition

It is always an honor to be recognized by ones peers. The Nursing Site Blog has once again been recognized. This time by as one of their Top 10 Nursing Blogs for 2014.
Thanks so much.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sites You Need to Check Out

Playing catch up today. I have made many promises to mention or post links and this is going to be a grouping of those promises. There should be some very good information here so bear with me....

Scrubs are such a wonderful invention. And Uniform Advantage has published a great infographic about the Best Scrubs for your Body.  There are some very interesting points to help you looks your best. Thanks for sharing UA!

We were once again honored to be recognized by peers from as one of the Top 50 Nursing Blogs for Students. Scroll down to the bottom fo the Home Page to find the list. (We're #11). Thanks for the mention!!! 

A fellow nurse writer has written Nurse Your Wallet Ebook available on in their Kindle store. Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB helps you think outside the box about how to use your nursing education to find ways to make extra income. It's $2.99.

Working the night shift is something most nurses have or will have to do at some point in their career. On the blog is a great post entitled Nursing Night Shift Tips. They have a nice collection of interesting blog posts! Check out their ceu options too.  

And finally, I found a great post by fellow nurse write, Brittney Wilson, about hw to handle the problem with nurse wannabees. It can be very frustrating to follow a medical assistant or nurses aide when the patient thinks they are the nurse and who the heck are you?! Many great nurses bridge from these careers and others continue to be great bedside assistants, but Calling Yourself a Nurse is Criminal No Less helps the licensed nurse set clear boundaries and explain the issues.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Salary Data for Registered Nurses

By Brendon Barnett
Registered Nurse Salary at a Glance
The registered nurse (RN) is one of the most diverse nursing occupations, with wide ranging skills and qualifications. RNs are used in various health care environments. They provide direct patient care, deliver health-related education, and offer advice to patients and families. “To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse,” said Rawsi Williams. It’s for this type of dedication that nurses are compensated, and rightly so.

Becoming a Registered Nurse
In the United States RNs are required to be licensed. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). There are three common types of RN programs that nurses take: a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN) or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Any of these three paths can qualify a nurse for an entry-level staff nurse position, but some employers may require a bachelor’s degree.

Industries with Highest Levels of Employment for Registered Nurses
In 2012 there were approximately 2.7 million RNs employed in the United States. Most RNs work in private, public, and state hospitals, followed by physician offices and nursing and residential care facilities. RNs are found in many other work settings, including correctional facilities, schools, community centers, and the military.

Median RN Salary
On average, RNs earn 25% more than the median salary of all workers. In 2012 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified the median RN salary at $67,390 per year, or about $33 per hour. While the lowest 10% of RNs earned about $45k per year, the top 10% of RNs earned more than $94k annually on average. Of course there are different areas across the country where RNs have a much higher earning potential.

Top Paying States for Registered Nurse Salary
For the last 10 years California has topped the charts as the state with the highest RN salary. But there are other states that also compensate RNs well. As you can see from the map to the right, most of the highest paying states are located on the west coast and in the north east regions of the country. In 2012 the top 5 highest paying states by annual mean RN salary were:
1. California – $94,120
2. Hawaii – $84,750
3. Massachusetts – $83,370
4. Alaska – $80,970
5. Oregon – $78,530

Some people argue that California continuously tops the list for highest salary because the cost of living is much higher there. Just like any state, California has pockets of higher than average income levels. But when you compare RN salary with median salary from the same state, you realize something: California simply pays nurses better. California has the highest margin of difference between RN salary and the salary of the average worker (64%).

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Registered Nurse Salary
In 2012 all of the top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas for RN salary were in California. Most of the highest paying jobs are located in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The top paying metro areas for RN salary are:
1. San Jose, CA – $122,990
2. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $119,310
3. Oakland, CA – $113,520
4. San Francisco, CA – $110,630
5. Sacramento, CA – $107,710

RN Jobs and the Nursing Shortage
The United States is currently facing a nursing and physician shortage. This is due to a combination of expanding affordable health care, lack of nurse educators, and the fact that many current nursing professionals are moving into retirement age. The need for RNs has never been greater. The BLS projects that RN jobs will grow by 19% over the next decade, a rate much faster than usual. BLS estimates are that 526,800 new RN jobs will be created between 2010 and 2020.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, (2012). Retrieved from
Median Wage by Occupation Across States, (2012). Retrieved from
RN Salary Comparison by State (2012), (2014). Retrieved from