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Friday, September 9, 2016

What makes for a perfect shift when caring for patients?

It's the start of another school year and after a long hiatus, I come back to the blog with a question generated by reports from former students in the field.

What makes for a perfect shift when caring for patients?

Even as immersed as I am in all the research about nurses' work environments, I realized that no one has asked this question of working nurses in awhile. What makes for a perfect shift as a nurse, wherever you work, in the 21st century? Some things I'm sure will stay the same, but others may be new because of all the changes happening everywhere in health care systems around the world.

I hope you'll participate in a discussion through the comments section. All nurses, any where in the world, are welcome to participate. Do share what would make for an ideal working shift for you. Maybe if we collect enough ideas, we can make more changes happen at our workplaces.



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Job Security

This is a great comprehensive report about current US nursing workforce issues. It gets a lot right and few things wrong. Yes, 1/3 of US RNs will retire by 2020 but many of them are concentrated in selected states.  The million nurse shortage coming our way by 2030 will be concentrated in 16 states and most of those are in the South, South West, and Midwest. Most coastal locations will actually have surpluses of nurses.

Job hunting advice: If you want your first choice job right out of school, be prepared to move. You can do anything for two years and get solid experience. Have a friend go with you and start a new adventure somewhere you wouldn't have thought to live before.  You never know what might happen!  With solid work experience, you can always move to your preferred location down the road.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dear View: The Stethoscope is a Tool for ALL Healthcare Providers

In light of the member's of The View's ignorant statements about nurses, how we dress, and the tools we use to do our jobs, let's review a few things.  We can discuss how their behavior denigrates women in general by engaging in catty, superficial commentary focused on nothing substantive at another time.

Stethoscopes are used by the following healthcare providers in addition to physicians:

  • Nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
They all use the stethoscope as a tool to double check the findings of other professionals. It helps prevent mistakes and catches problems that could be life threatening. Clearly The View thinks only doctors save lives when it is a team effort.

Nurses using stethoscopes in the United States and other countries was a hard fought battle. Physicians did not feel nurses and other healthcare professionals were qualified to use stethoscopes for many years.  Nurses fought long and hard to use them.  Now it is a tool that helps us do our job better and helps us catch problems, often life threatening ones, much earlier.

This battle over who gets to use a stethoscope continues in many low and middle income countries too.  Physicians do not want nurses using stethoscopes simply because they think that tool for healthcare delivery is only for them. Someone else using a stethoscope means incompetence is caught more easily. Symbolically, it is a way to maintain professional dominance over the "market of patients."

The only thing that dynamic does is hurt patients and their quality of care.

And producers of The View, guess how lots of nurses found out about these comments? While working in the hospital, their patients were probably watching. How many of them do you think are going to tell their patients about what the cast said and change the channel?