Top 5 Nursing Web Resources

January 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

I’ve checked out a lot of websites and web resources which focus on health care, nurse news and job information and there are a few tried and true ones that I have come to depend upon. I thought I’d share this information with you as you pursue your RN to BSN degree. When you know where to look for information, it helps with time management and these sites can become a valuable friend.

1) – I don’t know how many times I’ve used this resource for finding information for this blog. From valuable interview skills to surviving nursing school to interacting with patients, this site has a ton of great information. I also love the sense of humor it brings to an otherwise stressful or frustrating occupation. Its people in the know writing to their peers.

2) – This site is also perfect for getting job finding tips, locating nursing conferences and events and for getting the latest online nursing news. It’s quite a bit more serious and cut and dry than Scrubs Magazine, but it has a ton of practical information for current nurses and for those who are just entering the field.

3) – Want to know the latest news stories in health care? This is an in depth site that also sends out daily posts on the top stories. I check this site almost daily to report to you on the most current trends, strikes and reports that impact nurses and those in the medical field.

4) Google Alerts – I discovered this great tool when I started blogging. Type in and you can get up to the moment stories on whatever topic you are interested in. You can choose how often, what time of day and what media you want sent to your e-mail address. I’ve selected topics such as RN to BSN news, nursing news, etc. but it would also be perfect for San Francisco nursing jobs, BSN jobs, etc. to keep you updated on the nursing world.

5) – Okay, this one may seem a little lame, but the government’s reports concerning the Bureau of Labor Statistics is pretty cool if you want to keep tabs on where nurses make the most money, what the job market projections look like and where the most job growth is.

So those are my favorite sites to stay up-to-date on the nursing world. Hopefully as a student getting an online RN to BSN degree, you’ll find this information as valuable as I have.

The Special Role of a Hospice Nurse

January 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I had a dear friend of mine battle cancer for three years before the disease took her life. I had the honor of staying with her when her husband had errands to run and I took her to some of her doctor’s appointments and tried to get her mind off of the pain for a second or two. It was one of the hardest, most precious things I have ever done in my life. I only had a slight glimmer of what a hospice nurse does and I give them my upmost respect.

As a nurse with an RN to BSN degree there are tons of areas that you can specialize in. Last post I discussed the new role of the nurse health coach and today I saw an informative article on the life of a hospice nurse. Granted, it takes an amazingly compassionate and grounded person to pursue this career, but I can think of few roles that are more important and heartwarming.

In The Missourian reporter Melanie Loth followed hospice nurse Dorothy Rainwater to fully understand what the day in the life of a hospice nurse is truly like. “For Rainwater, illness and death have become commonplace. And she has learned to draw a necessary line in her life between professional and personal.

“You go into the whole thing with the knowledge that this is all going in one direction,” she says. “The day is going to come when the patient is going to go on.”

The life of a hospice nurse is a team effort to make the final days of a terminal patient as comfortable as you possibly can. “Home care aides, chaplains, social workers, volunteers and nurses work together to care for patients and keep each other informed of patient needs: Home care aides tend to basics such as bathing or changing bed pads. Chaplains help patients and family spiritually as death nears. Social workers deal with emotional and psychological issues about death; they also schedule visits with families after a patient’s death. Volunteers visit patients simply to talk and provide company. The nurses are in charge of monitoring the patient’s physical condition, recommending medicines, and at core, controlling pain.”When all of these factors work together, it makes the end of a patient’s life valued and comforts both the patient and the surrounding family members.
Being a hospice nurse is a difficult job that takes a special person. With your BSN degree, you can find a plethora of avenues to help hurting people.

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

Health Coaches New Role for Nurses

January 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

The longer I write this blog, the more amazed I am at the variety of options there are out there for nurses with an RN to BSN degree. I’ve come across a ton of specialties from oncology to pediatrics to gerontology to insurance advisors and now there is a new one that has caught my interest: health coaches. I believe that there literally is a niche in nursing for every personality type and lifestyle. What other occupation can boast of that?!?

On there was an interesting article distributed by the Associated Press that highlights the new position of health coach. There is a nonprofit organization called Femtique Associates Inc. which was started by Judith Beaulieu. This Web-based company, headquartered in Coatesville,PA offers health coaching and patient navigation services provided by registered nurses.

“While physician care is important in diagnosing medical issues, some people also need a different kind of help to address the lifestyle changes that go along with them. Some of the lifestyle changing issues that might spark women to contact Femtique include pregnancy, post-partum depression and breast feeding. Medical conditions that motivate lifestyle changes such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attack might also be addressed, as well as weight loss and addictions.”

The focus is truly on lifestyle changes. “You’re not a patient. You’re a client to us. You’re a person looking for a lifestyle change,” Beaulieu said.

This option would be great for a nurse who wants to avoid the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital or chooses a more preventative approach to health care.

These nurses are specifically assigned to a particular patient; the patient first contacts the organization through their website, explains their concerns, and a nurse then contacts the individual online or with a phone call armed with a written out plan for their issue. “The health coach works with the client to identify their goals, and then helps them make the lifestyle changes they need to meet them.”

With all of the options available to students in an online RN to BSN program, I can see why nurses continue to be in high demand. The role of nurses is ever evolving and the specialties that are available and are being created are vast. The possibilities seem limitless!

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

Health Care and Business Collaboratives Reduce Costs and Improve Patient Care

January 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

We’ve all heard that high administrative and medical costs are greatly effecting hospitals causing higher nurse-to-patient ratios, a decline in patient care, and various cutbacks. However, there is a new plan that cuts costs AND can improve patient care. This system may even help nurses with a BSN degree on the job.

Harris Meyer writes in Kaiser Health News that an unusual collaboration has been constructed between a company, a health care system and an insurance provider that reduces the bureaucracy for patients to get access to the aid they need. By reducing time it takes for patients to get seen, their costs have been reduced by approximately $2 million and the cost per patient has greatly reduced between 10 to 30 percent.

“Experts say employers, hospitals, physicians and health plans increasingly are willing to work together because cost and quality problems have reached crisis levels. The goal is to carve out health-care spending that’s wasteful and doesn’t help patients,” explains Meyer. “Collaboratives help physicians and hospital leaders see employers and patients as customers whose expectations, such as rapid access to care, must be met.”

There are some major roadblocks that prevent collaboratives from becoming the norm. Meyer writes that, “It’s often difficult to get traditional competitors and antagonists to collaborate, including sharing proprietary medical and financial data. Some employers are reluctant to get directly involved in how health care is delivered. Critics warn about rationing of care. And some physicians complain about interference with their professional autonomy… Perhaps the biggest roadblock is the predominant fee-for-service system, which pays providers to deliver more services, rather than better, more efficient care. Health-care payers, including private insurers and Medicare, have been slow to change their payment models to reward outcomes rather than volume of care. That sometimes puts providers in the position of losing revenue by doing the right thing for patients.”

It seems that this idea will take time to catch on. Although those who have participated in this health care experiment are pleased with the financial savings and patient approval ratings, the old equation of dollars and cents cannot be applied to this model.

As a nurse in a BSN degree program, it is important to research what trends are being implemented at the hospital that you potentially want to work at. Not only is there the stress of patient care, but also the twisted mass of bureaucracy that influences the attitude of the hospital.

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

Avoiding Compassion Fatigue

January 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Nursing is a demanding field. Not only do you have to care for the physical needs of your patient but also the emotional stress they carry along with the family members who are concerned for their loved one. Caring for the heart, mind and soul is just as important as caring for the body. With this in mind, all these factors can contribute to “compassion fatigue.” As a student getting an RN to BSN degree, it’s important to know how to stay caring without causing yourself to burn-out.

Blogger Laura Landro focuses on this issue in the Wall Street Journal and presents some interesting facts and solutions concerning those in the nursing field. First of all, “according to a primer published last year by the American Nurses Association, compassion fatigue is ‘a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion associated with caring for patients in significant emotional pain and physical distress,’” explains Landro.

There are several causes for compassion fatigue, but the most disruptive is when a nurse is faced with a moral dilemma like not being able to fully help a suffering patient or is conflicted when the decision to disconnect life support from a patient has to be faced. With compassion fatigue, not only the nurse but patients suffer from the effects of this ailment. Landro writes, “a 2009 analysis conducted by the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine found that compassion fatigue was linked to decreased productivity, more sick days and higher turnover among cancer care providers. In numerous studies, higher turnover and understaffing among nurses has been linked to worse patient outcomes and higher mortality rates.”

There are many factors that contribute to this mental stress. When a hospital or ward is understaffed and the nurses are overworked, the type of specialty can cause an intense and emotionally draining environment (such as working in a cancer ward), and if a nurse doesn’t learn how to separate work from home. Retreats, support groups and proper staff levels can help nurses prevent or ease compassion fatigue.

As a student in an RN to BSN college it’s important to know the highs and lows of your pending occupation. There are great benefits to being a nurse, but you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Learn the pitfalls to avoid before you have to climb out of them.

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

How to Study More Effectively

January 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

It’s a brand new year and there is nothing as refreshing as starting over with a clean slate. Whether you were dwelling on failed diets, dust covered exercise equipment or a stack of bills as high as the Empire State Building, there is something wonderful about the beginning of a New Year and the possibilities that come with it. As a student in an online RN to BSN nursing program, the New Year also usually brings with it a new semester of learning. Here are a few tips that may help you achieve your resolutions to study more effectively and use your time more wisely.

On, Sean Dent shares some of his ideas to keep your mind fresh and sharp when you study. What student couldn’t use more tips on this subject?!

1) Make a plan – How much information do you have to cover and how much time do you have to focus on studying? Dent calls this his “study budget.” Avoid cramming all of your information in at the last minute. You’ll just be wasting time because you probably won’t remember much of it. When you are relaxed and focus, you can digest the information more readily.

2) Create a study area – Keep all of your notes, books, reference materials, etc. in one place so everything is easily accessible when you need it. There is nothing worse than getting up from your desk to retrieve something only to be distracted by dishes in the sink, a magazine tempting you to browse through it or a pile of folded laundry to be put away.

3) Distraction free zone – My husband can study and retain information while sitting on the couch with the TV on and our toddler playing on the floor. Not me. I need quiet alone time. Create a place in your home where you can fully concentrate on your studies. If that is impossible, retreat to an out of the way coffee shop or library. It may seem selfish, but your future will benefit everyone in your family.

4) Be proactive – I’m so glad Dent mentioned this point in his article. We both seem to be office supply geeks who are obsessed with highlighters and Post-It notes. Make your learning interactive and tactile by highlighting important points and color coding different topics. The more you get involved, the more likely you are to remember the information.

5) Switch it up – Every time you go over your information, switch the order that you study your topics in. It will give your brain better flexibility in using the information.

Being in an accelerated RN to BSN program is tough but once you have the tools to make studying more effective and easier, you can conquer this mountain of information. This is your new start for a bright future!

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