Well, another week of health care in the news. Lots of discussions, arguments, heated debates and the occasional cordial conversation on what changes need to be made. From Obamacare to staffing ratios to violence against health care workers…. lots of news these days affecting healthcare. But what I notice is missing – where are the nurses in these conversations?? I see lots of people and analysts discussing how health care needs this change or that one, but where are the front line workers. Oh, yeah….they are actually doing the work. But if there was ever a time, it is now – nurses need to be the change.
And it starts with me. And you.
One of the biggest areas my students tend to struggle with (besides care plans & concept maps) are evaluating labs. So, I am always on the hunt for some helpful tips and this week a stumbled upon some great stuff on Pinterest (of course!). Here’s some helpful lab tips for students and practicing nurses too!
Hi all! Hope your summer has gone well! It has been a fun and busy one for me, especially since I had a clinical group for a super fast summer session. Clinicals can be tough enough on a good day, but for my fundamentals nursing students, summer session is like learning via a fire hose!
As we head back into the fall session and the stress level starts to amp up again, I thought I would share some self-care tips for nursing students. Although you may have heard a few of them in the past, really take them in and consider, “how is your self-care routine?” Students are notorious for not taking care of themselves and I think this is amplified in nursing students. People entering the nursing profession tend to seek to put others first and demonstrate a high level of care to others, often at the expense of themselves.
So, here’s my tips for taking care of yourself while in nursing school and after graduation too!
According to the “Nursing: Supply and Demand through 2020” analysis conducted by professors from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the U.S economy will create over one and a half million nursing jobs by 2020. On the other side of the spectrum, hospitals and other health-care facilities will be undergoing a shortage of nearly 200,000 professional and registered nurse positions.
Nursing is a tough and demanding job, with long rotational shifts, calls to work at any time and of course, the human element of have to care for other people. The physical and emotional demands of the nursing industry are enough to deter people from wanting to enter this profession. However, there is a plus side to this. For all your pain, sacrifice and dedication, the average annual salary of a practicing nurse is about $43,000. For a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, it is roughly $69,000 annually, which is a higher wage than that of many other fields which require longer studies.
When I got out of nursing school, like many, I felt pretty prepared. I knew I still had a lot to learn, but with my drug book in hand and a few other little pocket books, I was ready to go. I read up on things, learned about new drugs, tackled ACLS and overcame my fears one day at a time. But, what I was grossly unprepared for was the art of nursing. Sure, school taught me how to calculate medications, do assessments and manage diseases – all the science stuff. But what it didn’t prepare me for was the sadness I would encounter, the deaths I would see and toll this would take on me. I hadn’t tapped into the art of nursing while I was conquering the science of nursing.
Well, here I go again…. another highly contagious health scare hits the headlines and I find myself doing research on different health advice blogs to find out more. Yup, talking about measles this time.
No, I am not paranoid, but as a nurse, I feel its my obligation to stay abreast of current health care concerns – I find it even more important as a nursing instructor. So, I am sharing what I know with all of you!
Now, what’s the big deal about measles? Well, considering it was virtually eradicated in the US due to vigilant vaccination programs, most are not familiar with this highly contagious disease. In fact, in 2000 the CDC declared measles eradicated from the US. Unlike the flu, pneumonia or heart disease, we are just not familiar and need to re-educate ourselves on a disease we don’t deal with on a daily basis. (On a more personal note, I do not titer for measles, so that just makes my concern level a little higher…and personal!)
When I was a new nurse working in the hospital, I quickly learned who one of my best allies was – the respiratory therapist! As I moved into the ICU, they were invaluable as we weaned patients from the vent and rescued them from death. My second ICU job was at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in NYC. I was working nights in the NeuroSurgical ICU and almost fainted when during my orientation, I was informed that there really was no RT support at night. In fact, the nurses did the vent checks, blood gases, retaping ET tubes (this is where I learned NO pink tape!) and even the weaning and extubation! Say what!! I was grateful for the great RT’s that trained me – I would have been so lost without their valuable insight and knowledge that they instilled in me (and I am pretty sure the patients are thankful also… I still remember my first extubation – not pretty!) Lessons learned and I truly discovered the value of the RT on my team during my shift when I moved on to another hospital.
So, you could say, I had a new found respect for the masters of the lungs, wizards of the vents and providers of smoke pipes! But, one thing in my journey as a nurse I have discovered, they find us pretty annoying…. and rightly so! I often come across nurses who lack respect for their discipline and yet want them to rescue their patient they have let go down the tubes. So what do they wish we knew about them? What do respiratory therapists wish nurses would understand? Well, I asked one of them and here is what he said….
This week the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is holding their annual conference, the National Teaching Institute – affectionately known as NTI. Oh, how I wish I could be in Denver this week, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year for me. There is nothing more inspiring than being surrounded by over 6000 nurses who are gathered to make themselves better so they can take care of their patients better. Just the gathering in that space is worth the admission.
I remember my first NTI. It was in Orlando 2004. When I left, I felt like I could do anything! I had learned so much. Validated what I did know. Been inspired. Overwhelmed. I literally felt the power of nursing. If you have been to NTI or any large conference, you know what I am talking about. The energy is contagious. I used that inspiration to power me forward. A few short years later, I had the opportunity to speak at NTI. It certainly was a career high point.
I am often told that these large conferences are not worth their time or money. I beg to differ. Here are my reasons why nurses should attend conferences.