The Nurses – A book Review

The Nurses Book Review

I am SO excited to be sharing this awesome book review with you all!!

I recently had the opportunity to pre-read The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital. I was told prior to reading it that it was written by award -winning author, Alexandra Robbins who explored sororities in her bestseller Pledged. I was immediately intrigued, but a little skeptical how a non-nurse would view our unique profession. Wow – did that skepticism immediately melt away. Instead, I found a book that had me from the very first chapter. I was completely intrigued and actually mystified that a non-nurse could truly capture the essence of being a nurse.

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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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Best Nursing School Study Books

So when I was in nursing school, you know back with the dinosaurs, one of my instructors used these awesome handouts with her teaching. They were black & white back then, but had really simple clear visuals for lots of topics. My husband & I eventually found and bought the two books that were in publication at the time (this was pre-Amazon and we actually had to locate them in a book store – the horrors!) . Being a visual learner – these were a gold mine! I still use these books for handouts with my students and they usually love them too!

Nursing study books

 

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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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Seven Tips for Nurses to Help Nursing Students

You come on to your shift as a nurse and you find out a nursing student is assigned to one or some of your patients. Now what…?

So a few weeks ago I wrote a little piece on how nursing students could better manage a challenging nurse they had been assigned for the day. (You can read it here!) Wow – did I hit a chord with folks! I literally had over a thousand views over the course of three days. (For perspective – that was more views for my humble blog since its inceptions! Thanks for all the love!) It went crazy pseudo-viral on Pinterest and beyond. I am beyond humbled that my message resonated with so many. It really got me thinking of how sad that so many students are struggling with this same problem – nurses not being so friendly to them during clinicals. My first instinct was frustration as I LOVE my students and enjoy being with them – I can’t understand why no one else does?? But, then I got to thinking a bit more about the situation, I couldn’t help but think about all the nurses who seem kind of lost with the students they are assigned for the day. Well, this ones’ for you!! Here are my humble tips for nurses to help nursing students!

Tips for nurses

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The Best Stethoscope

So as a clinical instructor I am often asked what type of stethoscope should the students invest in? Personally, this comes down to budget constraints, especially as a student. However, keep in mind that picking out your stethoscope is a pretty important decision. This will be one of your go-to tools in assessing your patients. I hate to sound cliche, but a patient’s life may depend on it. So chose wisely and carefully! Here are the one’s I personally have tried and the one that has been my work horse for over 15 years.

The Best Stethoscope

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