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) Scrubsmag.com – 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) NurseZone.com – 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) FierceHealthcare.com – 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 Google.com/alerts 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) Bls.gov – 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.

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
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2012/01/03/informed-patient-helping-nurses-cope-with-compassion-fatigue/

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 ScrubsMag.com, 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
http://scrubsmag.com/ninja-study-skills/

Latex Gloves Aren’t Impenetrable; Hand Washing is Vital

December 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Latex gloves are as much of a part of a nurses’ uniform as wearing comfortable scrubs and white tennis shoes. They feel like an impenetrable wall between you and the germs and fluids that may make you terribly ill. However, this false security is causing many patients to contract infections. Here is what students in an RN to BSN college should know about wearing Latex gloves.

On Nurse.com there was an interesting report about a study that was performed in the U.K. pertaining to Latex glove and medical staff hand hygiene. It was found that many workers assumed that since they were wearing gloves they did not need to wash their hands before or after contact with a patient.

“Although gloves can reduce the number of germs transmitted to the hands, germs can sometimes still get through latex. Hands can also be contaminated by ‘back spray’ when gloves are removed after contact with body fluids,” states the report.

“British researchers, led by Sheldon Stone, MD, of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, observed more than 7,000 patient contacts in 56 ICUs and geriatric care units in 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, making this one of the largest and most detailed studies on gloves and their impact on hand hygiene.

“Overall, the study found that hand hygiene compliance was ‘disappointingly low’ at just 47.7%. Compliance was even lower in instances where gloves were worn, dipping to just over 41%.”

Today my daughter has a routine doctor’s appointment and I’m going to closely watch whether the medical staff washes their hands before and after they examine her. I think the hard part as a patient is speaking up, though. If they don’t wash their hands, I would feel really uncomfortable requesting that they do so. My daughter is getting a flu shot also and I know the Medical Assistant snaps her gloves on, but I don’t recall ever seeing her wash her hands after administering the other vaccinations from past visits.

As a BSN nurse there are many aspects of the job that are important to review to make sure that you not only keep your patients healthy, but yourself. Proper hygiene is so important and although latex gloves may protect you to a certain extent and hand sanitizers can kill a lot of germs, nothing can replace proper hand washing.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://news.nurse.com/article/20111106/OR02/311060005

The Well Rested Nurse

December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I’ve decided to continue with this theme of “Nurse Health” that I started last Friday. After reading about nurses facing burnout and not getting enough sleep, I realized that this is a real problem for many people. If you can’t take care of yourself, it makes it that much harder to care for others. As a nursing student in an accredited online RN to BSN program, you may need this information more than anyone!

With the demands of life seeming to increase and with only 24 hours in the day, how in the world can anyone possibly get everything done on their to do list? There are so many things to do from maintaining a family and household to caring for patients on your ward to Christmas shopping and delivering gifts, slowly the time for sleep keeps getting pushed back later and later. If you’re not getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you’re going to pay for it during the day.

I thought it interesting that the Sleep Foundation found that between 1952 and 1992, the average middle aged adult decreased their hours of sleep from 8-9 hours to 7-8 hours per night. Currently, about 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per night. The study also found that if you get less than 4 hours of sleep over 1 to 2 nights, heart rate and blood pressure increase, hunger increases, and the risk for hypertension increases.

So how do you ensure that you’ll get a good night’s sleep and avoid additional health issues (not to mention irritability and hindered cognitive performance)? Marijke Durning provides some valuable tips on ScrubsMag.com: Develop a bed time routine and be consistent, don’t eat two hours before bedtime, exercise early in the day, check your medications to see if they will cause wakefulness, don’t bring work into the bedroom, make sure your room isn’t too hot or cold, and adjust your bedding or get ear plugs if you have a partner who has a different sleeping temperature or snores loud enough to rattle the windows. I would also like to add that noisy puppies and kids in the bed are also not conducive to REM sleep.

As a student in an RN to BSN nursing program, you have a lot of things on your plate. Feeling well rested and well prepared are probably the best things you can do for yourself and for a successful future.

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit
http://scrubsmag.com/top-ten-sleep-tips-for-nurses/
and
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/white-papers/how-much-sleep-do-adults-need

Avoiding Burnout on the Job

December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

In my last post I wrote about how a lot of nurses are facing job burnout and I can’t seem to get that out of my head. With the proper planning, attitude and care of self, so many people could avoid those feelings of desperation and exhaustion. Here are some ways to prevent burnout when you get your RN to BSN degree:

1) Research where you work – I mentioned this in my last post but I think it still deserves a top spot. We all have bad days and have to deal with tough circumstances, but it helps to avoid a bad environment from the get go. Get a realistic perspective on the place and the patients you’ll be working with before you apply for the job. Research on the internet what people have to say about the hospital and ask friends and family members if they know anyone employed there that you can talk to. Is the management good? Are the nurses constantly deciding whether or not to go on strike? Is the hospital clean and organized? These are all clear signs for your future happiness.

2) Get plenty of rest – Okay, so as a nursing student you are probably running on fumes most of the time as you try to juggle studying, a job, taking care of a family and just reading your e-mail. However, I think that being tired is one of the biggest impacts on our attitude. When you’re tired you can’t think clearly and problems seem to be bigger than they really are. When you wake up refreshed, it’s much easier to face the day.

3) Balance – In my opinion, families are way too busy these days. Kids are in ten activities and parents are shuttling them from here to there like a cat chases a mouse. Plus with the holidays coming up there are a bunch of new tasks to fulfill like shopping , wrapping gifts, sending out 50 Christmas cards, baking endless amounts of cookies, etc. Choose what’s most important and prioritize what really matters. When you’re overextended and have a list ten miles long of things to do, you feel defeated before you’ve even started.

4) Focus on the positive – When you’re well rested and not burdened with a ton of outside demands, it is so much easier to focus on the positive. “I have a job… I’ve been able to make a difference in people’s lives… I have great people I work with…” Perspective makes all the difference.

5) Take time for you – Use those vacation days to relax! Do fun activities. Leave work behind those sliding glass doors.

Burnout is something that just about everyone faces in every career. It’s how you deal with those lows and take life one day at a time that gets you through them. You’re getting an online RN to BSN degree to fulfill your dream. Hopefully these steps can help you have a happy career.

Nurses Around the World are Facing Burnout

December 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

We all have those mornings when the alarm goes off, we hit snooze, pull the covers over our head and pray that time would stop just so we could recharge a little. The thought of crawling out of bed, fighting traffic and battling another long day at work can feel completely overwhelming and daunting. Trust me, you are not alone! Rarely does anyone pop out of bed like a piece of bread out of the toaster ready and rearing to go to their place of employment. However, it seems like nurses around the world have a tougher time facing the day with the demands and stresses of their jobs. As a student in a BSN degree program, it’s important to learn from the get go how to handle the pressures of work to prevent burnout.

There was a new study in which the results were posted in a press release that states that many nurses around the world are suffering from job burnout. The study was conducted by the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research which interviewed 100,000 nurses in nine countries.

“The percentage of nurses reporting high burnout was over a third in most countries and decidedly higher in South Korea and Japan, near 60 percent in both countries,” said lead author Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, director of the Center of Health Outcomes and Policy Research at Penn Nursing. “Job dissatisfaction varied from 17 percent in Germany to around a third of nurses in most countries and a high of 60 percent dissatisfied in Japan. Almost half of nurses in all countries, except in Germany, and many more than half of the nurses in a few of the countries, lacked confidence that patients could manage their care after discharge,” said Dr. Aiken.

So how can you avoid becoming one of the dissatisfied masses? Well, I think finding the right place of employment is key. If you research a variety of hospitals to work at and most of the employees look dower, the chances are they are unhappy and you will be too. Ask other nurses if they like their place of employment, if they have reasonable people in management and if they get along with their co-workers. The study shows that, “Hospitals with better work environments had lower burnout, lower likelihood of job dissatisfaction and a decrease in reports of little or no confidence in discharge readiness of patients.”

I can’t help but notice that the countries with the highest burnout and lowest nurse satisfaction rates do NOT include the United States. Fortunately we have strict nurse to patient ratios, better benefits and more options for recovering patients.

Prevention is key to avoiding burnout and knowing what to look for is vital for students in an accelerated RN to BSN program.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/uops-tkn120811.php

How to Answer Pesky Patient Questions

October 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I’m one of those patients you either love or hate. You ask me a lot of personal questions, so I tend to ask a few back. As a patient, you ask me questions about my age, my allergies and obviously the reason for my visit. For me to feel comfortable with you, I need to know a little about who you are because we are building some trust here. However, there are some questions that patients ask that don’t have straight answers. As an RN to BSN nursing student, it helps to have some pat answers prepared.

On Scrubsmag.com, Sean Dent, RN, BSN, addresses this very issue. “How long am I going to be here? How long does the surgery take? How long do I have to take this medication? How long do I have to wear this thing?… I often get these type of questions asked quite a bit from patients and their families. I get questions asking for ‘time frame’ specifics regarding any and everything about their care. Unfortunately, there really is no recipe for success in health care is there?”

As a patient, Dent brings up one of my particular frustrations with hospitals and doctor’s offices: I have to be at my appointment ten minutes ahead of time to wait for an undisclosed amount of time to then wait some more in the exam room. As a patient, we are at the mercy of whatever lies behind closed doors which could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I think that’s why patients come armed with an arsenal of queries pertaining to time (like the ones Dent mentioned above.)

Here are some of Dent’s replies that you might want to use or that may help you create some of your own:

A perfectly performed surgery without any complications can still have scheduling delays. There are always emergent cases that take priority in the echelon of care. You can’t prevent the unforeseen.

Being in the hospital can be as short as 1 day and as long as 3 months (or more). There are a myriad of factors that determine whether or not the issues that brought you into the hospital can be resolved. Most of which we have no control over.

Some medication can be a lifelong venture, some can be taken for a specific time frame, while others are taken until your supply runs out.

What you are required to ‘wear’ is serving a purpose to help aid in the healing process or to probably prevent further damage. So it will be worn until it is no longer needed.

I think some of the main skills that you need to develop when you are anonline RN to BSN degree student is a sense of humor, honesty, and compassion. These qualities will help in a plethora of situations!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://scrubsmag.com/when-nurses-need-to-give-a-straight-answer/

Seven Ways to NOT Get a Job

September 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Okay, we ALL want a job but there are seven common mistakes that we can make to sabotage our future. As an RN to BSN student, you’ve worked so hard to get to this point. Here are a couple more things to remember.

On Nurse.com, Donna Cardillo, RN, MA writes about the seven biggest mistakes that nurses can make that can hinder him or her from getting a job.

1. Having a negative attitude – We’ve all heard that there are limited jobs out there, that it may take a while to find a job that you want or that there is an influx of nursing grads out there. Just because there are less available jobs doesn’t mean that you can’t find one. Speaking negative thoughts to yourself is like creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. You become defeated before you even try.

2. Dressing too casually – Whether it’s to a job interview or at a career networking event, many people dress too casual. Wearing a suit or a skirted suit exudes a professional attitude and leaves a positive first impression.

3. Relying exclusively on the Internet – “You cannot conduct an effective job search without active networking. Attending career fairs, recruitment events, association meetings (even as a guest if you don’t belong), social events, and conferences and conventions is a great way to get the word out about what you’re looking for and garner support and help,” explains Cardillo.

4. Failing to follow up – When I was in college I was taught to always send a thank you note after every job interview. It shows that you are gracious and a person they would want to work with. It also keeps your name in the forefront of their mind. Whether it be an old fashioned letter or an e-mail, be sure to keep in contact with the people you meet who may be a link to a job.

5. Not doing your homework – It doesn’t matter if it’s a nursing job, desk job, or fast food job, the interviewer wants to know that you have some knowledge about the company. Inevitably they are going to ask “Why do you want to work at this company?” Check out their website and ask friends about the hospital or clinic and give a well informed answer.

6. Lacking passion and enthusiasm – Smile and portray confidence. Someone with a positive and teachable attitude can be more valuable than a sourpuss with experience.

7. Being inflexible – Okay, we know that there are jobs out there but if you show that you are inflexible, the chances are high that there will be someone to take the position if you won’t compromise a little.

When you finish your online BSN degree, that’s when you open a new chapter in your life. Start out on the right page by NOT doing these deal breakers!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://news.nurse.com/article/20110502/DD01/105020102

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
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/press-releases/doctors-and-nurses-hospital-uniforms-contain-dangerous-bacteria-majority-ti?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal
and
http://www.aorn.org/PracticeResources/AORNPositionStatements/Position_WorkplaceSafety/