High Amounts of Bacteria Found on Doctor and Nurse Clothing

August 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm

In my last post I mentioned the importance of on the job safety for nurses and today I am going to continue on that theme. I was shocked when I read a press release that gave some statistics on bacteria levels found on the clothing of doctors and nurses. Taking precautions as an RN to BSN nurse is of the upmost importance and you CAN stay healthy.

Liz Garman from Elsevier Health Sciences sent out a press release stating that, “More than 60 percent of hospital nurses’ and doctors’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC – the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.”

“A team of researchers… collected swab samples from three parts of the uniforms of 75 registered nurses (RNs) and 60 medical doctors (MDs) by pressing standard blood agar plates at the abdominal zone, sleeves’ ends and pockets… found that exactly half of all the cultures taken, representing 65 percent of the RN uniforms and 60 percent of the MD uniforms, harbored pathogens. Of those, 21 cultures from RN uniforms and six cultures from MD uniforms contained multi-drug resistant pathogens, including eight cultures that grew methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Although the uniforms themselves may not pose a direct risk of disease transmission, these results indicate a prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains in close proximity to hospitalized patients,” reported Garman.

According to AORN.com, the top hazards a nurse is faced with is biological such as microorganisms and pathogens, ergonomic such as back injury, chemical exposure including anesthesia and cleaning products, psychosocial including burnout and being overworked and finally cultural which includes abuse and lack of respect.

So I know that this post is a bit of a downer, but let’s face it: EVERY job has its setbacks and difficulties. The best part is that as a student in an RN to BSN nursing program, once you know what to be aware of you can take the measures needed to prepare yourself for success. Getting plenty of rest will keep your mind sharp so you won’t make mistakes. Being aware of your back and buying proper shoes will help to protect you from injuries. Keeping extra gloves in your pocket at all times is a good idea. There are countless ways to be a healthy, happy nurse!

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit

On the Job Safety for Nurses

August 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I’ve come across this same topic three different times so I figure it must be pretty important; there is a new report that states that nurses working in oncology are being exposed to toxic drugs and are feeling the effects. As a student in an RN to BSN college, you know that there are risks that come with this profession. The important thing is to know how to protect yourself and take all of the required precautions.

Ironically, two weeks ago I posted the benefits and challenges of becoming an oncology nurse. This is a demanding and rewarding specialty, but there are some risks to consider. FoxNews.com published an article about a study conducted by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center which found that, “nearly 17 percent of nurses working in centers where outpatient chemotherapy infusions are administered reported being exposed on their skin or eyes to the drugs… The researchers surveyed 1,339 oncology nurses working in Michigan in outpatient settings. About 84 percent of chemotherapy is delivered in such settings, the researchers said.”

Why is exposure to these medications hazardous? “Unintentional chemotherapy exposure can affect the nervous system, impair the reproductive system and bring an increased risk of developing blood cancers in the future, the researchers said. These exposures are as dangerous to a nurse’s health as being accidentally stuck with a needle, the researchers said.”

Not surprising, clinics that had limited staffing and resources found that exposure was more common. Fewer exposures occurred when two nurses were required to verify the chemotherapy orders.

There are a few safety precautions that nurses in this field can take. “Safety guidelines, such as recommendations for using gowns, gloves and other protective gear when handling chemotherapy drugs, have been issued by organizations such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, but these guidelines are not mandatory, the researchers said.”

Nursing can be a risky yet rewarding occupation. If you’re a germaphobe, there’s not enough Purell in the world the help you make it through a shift in the ER. However, there are plenty of precautions that you can take to help you stay safe and healthy in whichever specialty you choose to pursue. From flu shots to double gloving, you can prevent getting sick. Once you get your RN to BSN degree, play it safe in the field!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

Natural Disasters Keep Nurses on Alert

August 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Earthquakes and hurricanes on the East Coast have drawn the attention of the nation and are impacting thousands of lives. During the wreckage and evacuations, nurses have stepped up to help the injured and sick. Being in an RN to BSN completion program is a great way to prepare for future crises as well as helping in current conditions.

According to New York Times reporter James Barron, “With Hurricane Irene threatening a full-force hit, New York City on Thursday ordered the evacuation of nursing homes and senior centers in low-lying areas and made plans for the possible shutdown of the entire transit system. “

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are declared as being in states of emergency and have evacuated over 250,000 people. Many nurses have had to put in the extra effort as these evacuations have included nursing homes.

“At a City Hall briefing, the mayor said the five hospitals in the low-lying areas were reducing their caseloads and canceling elective surgeries on Friday to be ready for emergencies over the weekend. One, Coney Island Hospital, is to begin moving patients to vacant beds in other parts of the city on Friday, he said,” reported Barron.

Amanda Cuda, staff writer for CTpost.com reported that, “The region’s hospitals were gearing up Thursday for Hurricane Irene’s arrival, putting emergency management procedures into effect that included securing facilities and stocking up on supplies. Health experts also cautioned that those with chronic medical conditions should take extra precautions.”

Cuda also explained the some of the extra measures that hospitals are taking such as increasing staffing levels and checking fuel and food supplies to last for at least four days. Hospitals are also creating a plan to make sure that employees are able to get to work even if roads are closed.

Nurses are also helping to inform people who have chronic conditions to prepare for possible emergencies. “People who take regular medication should make sure they have enough to last until the middle of next week in case Irene makes roads impassable or knocks out power, Werdmann said. Those who use ventilators, oxygen concentrators or other electric-powered home medical equipment should contact their providers to make sure they have a plan that allows them to use the equipment in case of power outages,” explained Cuda.

Natural disasters and the unexpected are just part of the job for many nurses with an RN to BSN degree. Thinking on your feet, multi-tasking and going the extra mile are skills that are invaluable in any situation.

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit

Top Paying Nursing Specialties

August 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’ve been focusing on nursing specialties lately but it’s because the options seem to be endless. From neonatal care to oncology, nursing offers a plethora of options to fulfill many interests. While getting your online BSN degree, this is one of the most fun and stressful decisions to make.

Money may make the world go round, but it won’t be much fun unless you love what you do. Nursing is a calling and a passion, not just a paycheck. However, I thought it would be interesting to explore interesting niche areas of nursing. On NurseZone.com, contributing writer Debra Wood breaks down these high paying specialties.

Specialties that have a low number of experts such as otorhinolaryngology nurses who care for patients with airway management issues and reconstructive head and neck surgery get paid more. “Practice setting also makes a difference. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2010 that nurses in general medical and surgical hospitals earn a mean wage of $68,610, while nurses working in home health, nursing care facilities and outpatient clinics earn less, $63,850, $59,990 and $67,550 respectively. Nurses in specialty hospitals earn more, averaging $73,280 annually, and those in psychiatric hospitals a little less, at $65,600,” explains Webb.

There are also many opportunities opening up beyond the hospital doors. “Wendie A. Howland, RN-BC, MN, CRRN, CCM, CNLCP, NLCP-C, principal of Howland Health Consulting in Massachusetts, also has pursued a more independent practice as a certified nurse life care planner. She grossed about $120,000 last year, but knows of colleagues who earn in the $300,000 range. She prepares and reviews life care plans, estimating medical and nonmedical needs of people with a catastrophic injury or chronic illness over an estimated life span. Howland said that in addition to traditional nursing roles, many opportunities exist for nurses to positively affect the country’s health.”

Location can affects earning potential. Nursing who live in California average the highest wage and nurses in rural areas tend to make less. Nurses also need to factor in cost of living, commute time and stress to balance out the higher wages.

Regardless of what you choose, being in an accelerated RN to BSN program means that you are on the path to great opportunities. Do what you love and the rest will fall into place!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:

How Can I Find a Nursing Job?

August 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

On every website I check out for nursing news there claims to be a nursing shortage. However, there also seems to be a lot of questions from recent nursing students that if there is a nursing shortage, why is it taking a while to find a job? There are many factors out there contributing to this oxymoron that students in an online RN to BSN program are facing.

An article on ScrubsMag.com written by “Jo, RN” addresses this common problem. Jo writes that, “Hospitals, especially those in rural areas, are having a hard time finding nurses to staff their floors. Patient ratios are rising, mandatory overtime is becoming much more common and every nurse you meet has a horror story about unsafe working conditions because of short staffing.” So why are nursing students having problems finding a job right out of college?

The answer is obvious: money. “In a down economy, with decreasing reimbursements, hospitals don’t want to spend the dough it takes to train a new nurse. Managements all over would rather hire experienced nurses on the cheap—and yeah, that’s possible to do—or short-staff their units than spend the several thousand dollars it takes to make sure a new RN is safe, effective and a good fit,” explains Jo RN.

Okay, so now you know the reasoning behind the problem but that doesn’t solve your unemployment dilemma. Quite frankly, there are plenty of jobs out there, you just need to compromise a little and get plenty of experience. “The more experience you can muster during school, whether it’s as a tech on the weekends or in externships during semesters off, the better off you’ll be after graduation. Not only will you have experience, but you’ll have connections.”

You may also need to reconsider what schedule you’d be willing to work and the pay you expected to start out with. Working weekends or night shifts and lowering your income expectations will at least get your foot in the door. After you complete a year on the job, prospects usually start to look up. You may also want to look into relocating if you need to find a job quicker.

Most importantly, don’t lose hope. There are plenty of jobs out there for those with an RN to BSN degree, especially as our population ages and chronic conditions become more common. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “On April 1, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the healthcare sector of the economy is continuing to grow, despite significant job losses in recent months in nearly all major industries. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other ambulatory care settings added 37,000 new jobs in March 2011, the biggest monthly increase recorded by any employment sector. As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, RNs likely will be recruited to fill many of these new positions. The BLS confirmed that 283,000 jobs have been added in the healthcare sector within the last year.”

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit

Having You Considered Becoming an Oncology Nurse?

August 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Cancer seems to touch just about everyone’s life. My grandmother battled breast cancer and a dear friend of mine passed away three years ago after a valiant attempt to defeat this illness. Oncology nurses are amazing people and a specialty that students in an accredited online RN to BSN program should consider.

I think some of the most dreaded words a patient can hear from a doctor is a diagnosis of cancer. Images of chemotherapy, weight loss, hair loss and immense pain come to mind in this life and death struggle. It takes an extra dose of strength and compassion for a nurse to choose this specialty.

On ajc.com, writer Laura Raines interviewed several nurses in this field to “find out why they do it, how they deal with it and what they’ve learned in their jobs.”

Charlyn Lathem, RN, BSN, decided to become an oncology nurse when she was in her 40s and after her mother was diagnosed with a blood cancer. “Remembering how the oncology nurses could make her mother laugh and change her day for the better, Lathem is working toward always hitting the vein on the first try (a ‘one-stick wonder’) and being a nurse who knows her patients and meets their needs,” writes Raines.

“’To be an oncology nurse, you most of all need the desire for it’ said Lathem, who is working to gain oncology nursing certification. ‘You can learn the clinical skills, but it will be hard to be successful if you don’t want to be there.

“’The soft skills are so important. You have to use your assessment skills and drug knowledge to calculate a chemo dose correctly, but patients remember that you got them a cup of coffee, a warm blanket and that you talked to them.’”

Cyndi Mason, RN, “fell in love with radiation oncology during a one-day clinical rotation when she was a nursing student.”

‘We had to write papers after all our clinical rotations. Normally, you wrote the bare minimum but after radiation oncology, I couldn’t stop writing,’ said Mason, health systems clinical supervisor for radiation oncology at Northside Hospital… Mason loves learning about the pathophysiology, radiobiology and the ever-changing technology, and being a critical part of a team that helps patients get better.”

Since you’re reading this you probably already know that your calling is to get your RN to BSN degree. Now the next step seems to be finding a specialty that suits you. In the nursing field, the possibilities are endless!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

TeleHealth Saves Patients and Doctors Time and Money

August 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

How did we ever live without the internet? Honestly, I can’t imagine a day going by without flipping open my laptop, clicking on the little blue “e” icon and logging into my Yahoo account. From shopping to downloading books to my Kindle to connecting with friends and colleagues via e-mail, the internet is my lifeline to the outside world from my crumb laden kitchen table.

The internet is also a great resource and money saver for patients needing medical advice and assistance. This new trend of “telehealth” is changing the way doctors and nurses do business and students in an online RN to BSN nursing program are going to see some changes in the future.

Christopher Snowbeck, reporter for the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota, explains how the web and mobile devices are making medical care more accessible and cost effective for both patients and doctors. We’re in the early stages of “online care”, but it will be interesting to see how well this works.

Telehealth has some simple methods that are used to treat patients. By filling out a questionnaire or having a video chat with a physician, travel time, waiting time and support staff costs are greatly decreased. While still in its beginning stages, users of this method of treatment are still testing how to best diagnose patients

One patient “used an online video connection to talk with a physician through her computer. The doctor reviewed her pain medications and showed her some new stretching exercises, all within a 10-minute visit that cost $45,” reported Snowbeck. Another patient “turned to an online health service earlier this year when a urinary tract inflection flared up… After filling out a questionnaire about her symptoms, she received a treatment plan and a prescription that did the trick – all in about four minutes.”

Online care is also growing at an exponential rate. “MN Community Measurement, a health care quality group in Minneapolis, said that about 13 percent of medical clinics surveyed in the state – 152 out of 1,198 – said they were offering electronic visits in 2010. This year, the number doubled as 334 clinics of 1,313 surveyed – 25 percent of the total – said their clinic or organization offered e-visits,” states Snowbeck.

Not only are doctors treating patients online, but nurse practitioners and BSN nurses are also involved in the treatment process. Students in an accelerated RN to BSN program are on the cusp of some exciting changes that are happening in the medical field!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

Is Forensic Nursing for You?

August 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

When I was growing up I would always watch detective shows with my mom. I would get home from school, pull a snack from the pantry and watch anything from Matlock to Quincy with my mom as she would knit. Now she watches CSI and Law and Order, but the themes are still the same. If you are in an online RN to BSN program and have a passion for detail and forensic medicine, there may be a perfect job out there for you.

In the Newark Advocate reporter Abbey Roy interviewed forensic nurse Kelly Clemings about her interesting choice of occupation. This specialty isn’t for everyone but if you love criminal justice with a dose of medical knowledge, consider this occupation in the health field.

Roy states that, “Clemings’ medical background lends her the knowledge to help investigate scenes with a perspective law enforcement officers might not have as they comb the larger scope of a crime scene.

“The International Association of Forensic Nurses defines a forensic nurse as one who ‘provides specialized care for patients, both victims and perpetrators of violence. They care for the physical, psychological and social trauma that occurs in patients who have been assaulted or abused.’

“The description goes on to say the nurses ‘have a specialized knowledge of the legal system and collect evidence, provide medical testimony in court, and provide consultation to legal authorities.’”

Clemings explains that she went into this field because she found courtroom drama fascinating. She also feels that examining patients who are abused or assaulted is a step in preventing others from being harmed in the same way.

About ten years ago I was a juror in a three week murder case. Although it was a doctor that explained the fatal wounds, it was very interesting to hear the medical perspective on the injuries. The angle of the stabbing, the force applied, and the location of the wound all factored in on whether the murder was intentional or accidental and if it was in self defense or premeditative.

If you are interested in the law enforcement side of the medical field and not necessarily fond of the forensic aspect, there is also a need for nurses in prisons and jails. My husband currently works at a detention facility and rotates in various areas helping inmates who are newly arrested by taking their medical history, cleaning wounds or dispensing medications for those with chronic conditions.

It seems almost like there are as many specialties as there are nurses out there. If you are in an RN to BSN bridge program, the options and opportunities are endless.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:

Debt-Ceiling Limits Medicare Spending

August 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I found some shocking statistics pertaining to the national debt and I just had to share them with you. The “debt-ceiling” and Congresses’ “Super Committee” have got me thinking about how government cuts are going to affect health care and future nurses who are in an online RN to BSN degree program.

Here are a few facts that I found staggering on Mygovcost.org.:
1. As of December 28th, 2010, the U.S. national debt was $13,877,230,355,933.00.

2. If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

3. If the federal government began repaying the national debt at a rate of $10 million dollars a day it would take approximately 3,800 years to pay off the national debt.

4. Today, the U.S. national debt is increasing by roughly $4 billion every single day.

With facts like that, it is quite obvious that something drastic has to be done. Dierdre Shesgreen writes an interesting article in the CT Mirror explaining how government spending is going to impact medical care. “Doctors, hospitals, and others in the health care industry are deeply worried about how the agreement–in particular, a second phase of deep spending cuts to be outlined later this year–could impact their financial stability and patients’ access to care.”

Shesgreen explains that, “Under the debt deal, Congress agreed to create a 12-member bipartisan, bicameral ‘super committee’ tasked with finding at least $1.5 trillion in debt-reduction measures before Thanksgiving. The panel can look at entitlement reform and tax increases to reach that goal.

“Medicare and Medicaid account for nearly one-quarter of all federal spending, and the costs of those two health care programs are on the rise. So they will be key targets in any serious debt-reduction package considered by the committee.

“If the special committee fails to agree on a $1.5 trillion in savings, or if Congress can’t pass whatever the panel comes up with, then $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will go into effect. And while the triggered cuts will not touch Medicaid, it will hit Medicare providers, who are slated to get a 2 percent reduction in reimbursements.”

With changes on the horizon, quality nurses are vital as patient advocates. Those in a BSN degree program are going to have to budget their time, skills and energy to be even more efficient.

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit

Tips for Juggling Being a Nurse and Being a Parent Part II

August 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

It’s hard being a nurse. It’s hard being a parent. Put the two together and you are the most fulfilled and tired person around! You’re probably great at multitasking since you are in or completed an RN to BSN bridge program. You probably have a social life, job and family, but who couldn’t use more help getting organized and balancing everything? Parents Magazine had an interesting article on this subject and hopefully some of their tips will help you.

Planning ahead can ease tension and make life go much smoother. Every night check to make sure homework is in the right backpack, lunches are packed, and clothes are laid out. I know this doesn’t always work, but it makes most mornings so much easier! Also, plan on who will pick up the kids in case you have to work a double or if you’re running late due to circumstances you just can’t control. Always have a Plan B.

There are only 24 hours in each day and sometimes it feels like we have to make every minute count. “Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls, things you can do when the kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your partner during the evenings. Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children” advises Parents Magazine.

The next tip is to schedule family time and activities together. In my last post I mentioned that many moms feel guilty for having to work or for being too busy. This is the guilt eraser. Have family game night or Friday Movie Night. Go to the park. When I was a high school teacher I noticed that they biggest problem kids had was that parents didn’t spend time with them and they tried to buy them off with fancy clothes or expensive gadgets. Time and attention and boundaries and affirmation make all the difference in the world.

Take time for yourself, take time with your spouse. I’ve read this tip in many stress busting articles and it is a biggie. If you’re cranky, tired, sick or depressed you won’t be effective in running your family or productive in your work place. Relax and recharge by yourself and then reconnect with your spouse to maintain a healthy relationship.

It seems like in this fast paced world there is never enough time to get everything done that we need to. Prioritize what’s important and realize you can’t do everything. Being a BSN nurse and a parent is demanding, but when you know your limits and make time for yourself juggling seems to get a little easier.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit