Future Nursing Opportunities in the U.S.

Future nursing opportunites

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.

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End of Life Decisions – Lessons Learned

End of Life Decisions

Sadly, I can’t say I remember my first code or even the first death I witnessed. Unfortunately, there have been so many over the years. Not to minimize any life that has crossed my path, but after 16 years, it does all start to blend together. There are a few who stand out – but, I will save their stories for another day.  However, each experience – each life – has been a small part of my molding – shaping who I am, teaching me a lesson. And those lessons I try to pass on.

We rarely talked about death in my nursing program – the model for our nursing school was based on restoring people to their highest level of functioning – death doesn’t always fit into that equation. So, when I came out of school, I was clueless. In my personal life, I had not had anyone close to me pass away, so I really didn’t even have that frame of reference to draw from. However, working in critical care areas – I had to learn quickly!

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From Frustrated to Fulfilled – Book Review

From Frustrated to Fulfilled - NursingOne of the hardest adjustments for new nurses to overcome is the unanticipated frustrations they encounter in their nursing journey. Although we attempt to prepare nurses to care for patients and instruct them in safe medication administration, it is difficult to prepare them for the “real world”. Unfortunately, these new nurses find themselves unprepared, lost and feeling like they are the only ones experiencing these transitional difficulties.

It was with great pleasure, I had the opportunity to review the new book by Lorie A. Brown, RN, MN, JD called “From Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses System”. Ms. Brown and an esteemed group of nurses shared their journey’s from frustrated to fulfilled. Not only do they share their heartfelt stories, they offer tangible ways to transition from frustrated to fulfilled to empowered.

Although each nurse offered a unique account and perspective on empowerment and fulfillment, there was a cohesive message that change starts with ourselves. As challenging as the current healthcare environment is to function within, the message that we as nurses need to find ways from within the not only survive, but thrive.

I especially appreciated the personal and transparent stories shared by the contributors. I could relate to many of them, especially Mrs. Watherill’s experience of starting her first job in the ICU. She found herself full of clinical knowledge, but severely lacking in how to cope with tragedies she faced everyday. As nurses we get caught up in the business of “caring”, but often overlook the emotional aspect of our careers. When we pour out so much of ourselves, and are not refreshed, we create a breeding ground for frustration and burn out is not far behind.

Not only does each author share their experiences and perspectives, they end each chapter with action steps. Rather than just analyze the problem, tangible steps are offered to engage the reader in positive actions. Almost like a checklist to work from based on the issues you may feel you encounter in your practice. A way to institute change and transformation.

If you find yourself feeling frustrated or even have a co-worker who seems to be struggling, I would highly recommend this book. It was very easy to read and offers practical solutions that can be instituted immediately.

I would also recommend this book to new nurses starting their careers. Rather than risk becoming unfulfilled and burned out, start now and be proactive in positive self-care activities and actions. Remember, we have to care for ourselves if we want to care for others.

You can order your copy at The Empowered Nurses Book.

Thanks for visiting!

Take care, be safe & wash your hands!

 

 


Remembering the Art of Nursing

Art of Nursing

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.

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Best Nurse Socks

Best socks for nurses

Ok… I have a confession to make. I have been a nurse for over 16+ years and have never worn compression stockings or nurse socks. Nope, not even through my pregnancies when everyone warned me that my legs would look like old oak trees from all the varicose veins I would acquire. You see, I hate socks and shoes. If I could go to work in flip flops – all would be perfect in the world. So, the thought of tight, ugly socks on my legs for over 12 hours gave me tachycardia. Like a stubborn nurse, I took the risk.

Well, the other day, I was starting to notice some some  bad, ugly stuff showing up on my tired old legs. I started to realize, I think I should have worn those ugly compression socks… the oak trees are starting to sprout! I also had noticed my legs were swelling more at the end of my long shifts. Ok, being the good nurse that I am, I finally started to heed my own advice! The quest began…

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What is measles?

What is measles?

Well, here I go again…. another highly contagious health scare hits the headlines and I find myself doing research. 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!)

 

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15 Things Nursing Students NEVER Say

Being a nursing student is tough work – all those hours of studying, dedication and hard work….and that’s even before you get accepted to your program! But that hard work continues as nursing school trudges on and each semester presents it’s challenges. But sometimes, we just have to laugh. It is the best medicine right?

So as the semester comes to a close for most, I couldn’t help but think about my poor, tired and weary students who are counting the minutes to winter break! I came across a funny little video about things nursing students NEVER say and I thought about what my list would look like….

 

Nursing Students

 

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What Respiratory Therapists Wish Nurses Would Understand

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….

Respiratory Therapy

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Ebola Updates

In an attempt to keep up with this current outbreak, I will be posting updates on this new page. If you are looking for general information regarding this disease, you can read all about it on my previous post – What is Ebola?  There you will find basic information about the disease, how it is transmitted and other pertinent data.

Please check back often as I will be updating this page as new information becomes available. It is IMPERATIVE that we stay informed, especially the health care workers. We are dealing with a viral outbreak that is unprecedented. I will also post links to where I have obtained the current information and my analysis of the information, if warranted.

I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion regarding the current Ebola situation with some other nurse bloggers. You can watch that video HERE.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES

Ebola Updates

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What if we put CARE back in healthCARE?

care in healthcare

As a nurse, I am often asked what I think is wrong with healthcare? How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed? I always quickly retort with, “The problem with healthcare is that no one seems to care anymore. Remember, it is called health CARE?”. Although it usually gets a chuckle, I really do mean it. We are at a critical time of change in healthcare here in America – new electronic medical records being mandated, Core Measures, HCAHPS, “never events”, Obama-care being implemented, medical malpractice claims on the rise. It just all seems out of control…  and kind of silly if you really sit down and evaluate some of these new measures. For example, one of the HCAHPS questions is regarding medication teaching. As nurses and healthcare providers, don’t we want our patients to know about their medications? If we really cared about our patient, we would. Or how about the noise level – another favorite survey question. If we really cared about our patients getting rest so they could heal, we would be quieter. We would want it to be quiet so we could get some rest if we were a patient.

I know all the problems in healthcare can not all be solved by such a simplistic answer. But what if? Imagine, if we all went into work tomorrow and actually CARED about our patients…. took the effort we would expect if we or our family members were a patient. What if we put CARE back into healthCARE?? What would it look like if we took ownership of our patients – really advocated for them when the system really did not seem to be in their favor? I believe each of us has the power to make an impact -we see it every day in the smiles of patients and families we touch.

Call to action!

I challenge you to start to care! There are a lot of things we can’t change, but we can change ourselves! Lets get our there and put the care back into healtCARE! I can’t wait to see what it will look like! Remember, change starts with you, so be the change!!