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Showing posts from May, 2012

Surviving Spinning Plates: You Must Drink

It's 11:00am.  The shift started at 7:00am, maybe even 6:00am.  You've gotten through administering medications, assessing patients, are still working on helping people bathe, and maybe putting out a fire or two.  Breakfast involved a nutrition bar that you ate in three minutes because hey, eating that early in the morning doesn't always agree with you.  Physicians have finished rounds and you know a stream of orders is going to come your way sooner rather than later.

So, did you drink anything yet?  Anything besides your morning wake up beverage, whatever it might be?

If you haven't, it's time to start carrying a water bottle with you.  Yes, water is great for hydration, your skin looks great when you drink it regularly, but it has a more important function for a nurse.  It forces you to urinate.

Nurses are really good at ignoring when they have to go to the bathroom.  Dig back in your brain, however, to your pathophysiology course.  Ignoring the urge to urinate…

Coming Soon - Regular Features

I've received a lot of positive feedback about the blog so, thank you!  In light of that, I've decided to do some regular posts on specific topics.  You can sign up to receive emails of the posts above.   
Here are the working titles and suggestions are welcome.  
Surviving Spinning Plates For new graduate nurses, these posts will include survival tips for getting through the first year.  Evidence-based, of course!  The NPR post about nurses and their working conditions inspired the title.For experienced nurses, share your stories from the frontlines and what you do to get through the day and make sure your patients get excellent care.Global Health Careers A frequent question from my students is how to build a career in global health.  Posts here will offer some case examples and advice from experienced nurses who work around the world on the frontlines, making policy, and conducting research.Conversations with M&J Veterans from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need eff…

Spinning Plates

Once again, NPR comes through with a really good story and quotes one of my mentors, Linda Aiken, at the University of Pennsylvania.  The story describes what nurses in the United States are managing in hospital roles.

If you're an experienced RN, the story probably sounds pretty familiar.  With Baby Boomers aging, hospital admissions are rising even though the state of the economy causes people to delay care to save money.  That means sicker patients.  But this isn't a new story.  Since health reform in the 1990s, patients who enter hospitals are sicker than ever before.  New evidence, technology, and modes of care ensure that more people survive conditions they wouldn't have even a decade ago.  But the price means busier nurses.

What does this mean for new graduates entering the field?  First, it means you can expect to feel totally overwhelmed for the first six months on the job.  Your practice becomes focused on task completion and trying to organize yourself.  You ma…

Job Background Checks

NPR had a great story today about how much any company, including healthcare facilities and organizations, can ask about you in a background check.  From their post:
Hiring Do's And Don'tsEvery state has different regulations regarding which types of information employers can solicit from job applicants, but here are some general guidelines. Generally OK To Ask About:
Aliases/previous identitiesProof of age if hires must be at least 18Legal status to workCriminal convictions or pending chargesEducational attainmentMilitary serviceNot OK:
Questions that lead to disclosure of ages above 40Citizenship/national originalRaceReligionSexual orientationMarital statusSometimes OK
ArrestsDisability — questions can be asked about ability to perform specific required task but not about general level of disability, treatment or time missed in previous jobs.Source: Les Rosen, Safe Hiring Manual

Report from the Job Search Frontlines

With most Spring graduations now finished, new nurses everywhere move forward with studying for the NCLEX-RN exam as their next step.  Maybe there's a little time off in there too that at least involves a few days of sleeping late after the intensity of nursing school!
For non-nurses reading this blog, the NCLEX-RN is the professional licensure exam diploma, associate degree, and bachelor's prepared nurse take to ensure they are safe to practice and deliver patient care.  Yes, all three levels of education take the same exam.  Why it works that way is a longer story for another day.
Meanwhile, anecdotal and utterly unscientific reports are coming in from former students of mine.  Here's what they're saying about the 2012 nursing job search.
1) Time: It's taking between four and six months to find an entry level job.  That time frame includes the time spent studying for NCLEX and waiting for permission to test to be processed.
2) Locations: Cities are still slower t…

Thank You, Sheila Davis

It's not often a major news outlet puts up statistics like these for the world to see.  Thank you Sheila Davis, Partners in Health, and the Huffington Post for getting this information out there.

Networking & the New Job Search in Nursing

Greetings!  Am back from the end of semester hiatus where my teaching team and I had to deal with 4,700 grades for my course this semester that had 289 students.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  Of course, there was a flurry of emails (mostly polite) about grades and points etc..  My experiences the last couple weeks inspired this post.

Like it or not, new graduate nurse or experienced one, who you know will help you get a job.  Every job search book says the same thing.  Now, you might not want to work for a parent's really good friend, like my student in the previous post was contemplating, because that will add other challenges to your first year as a nurse or other employment situation.  Nonetheless, networking is key to the job hunt.  So where do you begin?

First stop: Your Professors & Clinical Instructors

Sometimes you just find a professor or clinical instructor that you really click with and learn more from than you ever thought possible.  Most of the time, those people…