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/

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

How to Survive Working on Christmas

December 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm

No one wants to work on Christmas Day (well, except maybe Santa but that’s just in the early morning.) It can be really depressing having to get up early to go to work knowing you’re missing all the festivities at home. When you have your BSN degree, sometimes working holidays is just part of the job. Here is how my family deals with working holidays.

1) Celebrate on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas Day – My husband is a nurse and unfortunately this is his weekend to work. Over the years we’ve learned that this is the nature of his job so my pouting and sadness have been thrown out long ago with the dead, brittle Christmas trees. On December 23 we are celebrating the holiday with his side of the family. For Christmas Eve after work we are going to church, we’ll pick up a to go dinner and then open all of our gifts. Christmas morning my daughter and I are going to go to my sister’s house in our pajamas to open a few more gifts and have a nice brunch. After my husband gets off work we are going to go to my parents’ house for a delicious meal. Yep, it takes a lot more work and planning, but he won’t miss out on a thing. (And it certainly helps that our families are in driving distance.)

2) Make it special for your co-workers – Your fellow nurses want to be there about as much as you do. I’ve made three trays of Christmas cookies for each of the nursing shifts to share. It’s not much, but it’s something! I also made homemade jam from our peach tree over the summer and wrapped it with a cute kitchen towel for my husband to pass out at work. (Okay, so not everyone makes homemade jam and cookies, especially when they are in nursing school and working. These are just ideas….)

3) Make it special for your patients – Your patients want to be there about as much as you do. Although you won’t be handing them sugary treats or little gifts, your smile and cheerful attitude probably mean more than these trinkets. Dress in brightly colored scrubs or put on a stupid button with Rudolph’s light up nose. Ask them what their favorite Christmas movie is. A little cheer goes a long way.

Being a nurse sometimes means having to sacrifice, but your attitude makes all the difference. Graduating from an RN to BSN bridge program may mean that you have to work some holidays, but you can bring a little bit of joy to patients stuck in a hospital bed. You just may be their best gift.

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.

From a Patient’s Point of View

October 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

None of us are immune from sickness or injuries. We take preventative measures like popping vitamins and exercising, but sometimes illness finds us no matter how we try to fight it off. Being in an online RN to BSN nursing program, we learn a lot about skills and procedures. However, some of the most valuable lessons we can learn are from life.

On CNN.com, reporter Elizabeth Landau wrote a story about a doctor and nurse who both faced the monumental task of overcoming breast cancer. Not that anyone would want to take this journey, but through their pain they gained a new sense of strength, compassion and empathy for their patients.

“There have been times I’ve cried with the patient. You cry with them, you pray for them, you hope for them. You pray for their families. It’s a tough job, but it’s very rewarding,” said Cindy Davis who is an RN at the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas M.D.

Davis has also learned valuable insights that other nurses who haven’t gone through the process don’t know. She can advise on where to get a beautiful wig, how to disguise nails disfigured due to chemotherapy and how to take their minds off of the discomfort. There is something genuine and beautiful in connecting on a shared level that can’t be duplicated without the process.

Right now my family is going through its own medical dilemma. I’ve written before how my 11-year-old nephew, Nate, has hemihypertrophy and in early July had rods put into his leg to lengthen his bones. Now almost four months later, the poor little dude is in a spica cast. Armed with misinformation and brushed off like unwanted lint on a black coat, my nephew was sent home miserable and immobile. They only directions they were given was in the form of a small pamphlet published in 1990 with kids smiling in these constrictive devices with moms whose hair took up most of the picture. Would the doctor have treated the situation differently if his son was in the cast? I would never wish any child to have to suffer through this, but I would appreciate more compassion and thoughtfulness on behalf of the doctor.

Compassion is a vital requirement for anyone in a BSN degree program. We all have had situations where we or a family member have had to don a hospital gown. Whether you’re in the gown or helping someone in a gown, you have to show people more than your backside.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/24/health/conditions/breast-cancer-nurse-pathologist/?hpt=he_c1

Hospital Bathroom Secrets Flushed Out

October 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I don’t enjoy using public bathrooms. Once you get past the acrid smells, the disintegrating paper stuck on the floor and the earth shaking industrial flushes, you’re faced with the intimate task of private necessity. Then when you are finished taking care of business, you watch the person in the next stall briskly walk out the swinging door without a drop of water or bubble of soap located on their hands. Yuck.

So what is the point of knowing about hand washing for someone getting their RN to BSN degree? Why of all this “potty talk?” Helen M. French, retired operating nurse, writes on beckersasc.com about the negligence of bathroom cleanliness and the high infection rate that it causes in hospitals. French writes, “Although there are many cost management concerns in all healthcare facilities which encompass staffing, inventory, turnover time between procedures and the like, the most cost-avoidant and most deadly issue for patients and even the staff is the lack of basic knowledge and awareness about simple handwashing and bathroom equipment issues. This lack of awareness — or the lack of compliance — could also come around full circle to the staffers in regard to their own health and possibly the health of their loved ones and even the public whom they might infect even in a local grocery store (note many recent articles pertaining to infected scrubs and even doctors’ ties ). Somewhere on the chord of a circle is our most important product — our patients. It is our patients whom we are entrusted to protect. It is our patients whom we cannot allow to be affected or infected by someone else’s bathroom contagion.”

French also explains six important things to know about using the bathroom: 1) “If there is no lid on a toilet, the surrounding area of about six feet in circumference will be covered with class #3 [gastrointestinal/genitourinary system fluids] or class #4 [GI/GU system fluids] toilet water. The area, or the stalls, the stall door, the stall handles, the floor of the stall, the toilet paper roll, etc., will be contaminated to some degree.”2) With no auto sensors on the faucet, soap pumps or paper towel holders, your hands will just get re-contaminated. 3) Touching the door also re-contaminates your hands. 4) Hand dryers are equally ineffective if the filters aren’t changed often. 5) If you don’t use enough friction or time to wash your hands thoroughly, you’re hands are still gross. 6) New soaps and foams are not as effective as the old way using “a 10-minute scrub initially and after that a five-minute scrub using cold water and/or warm water, with several options of hand soap.”

So even with all of your knowledge that you’ve obtained in an online RN to BSN program, sometimes it’s the simplest procedures that are the most effective.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-quality-infection-control/does-the-epicenter-of-all-hospital-patients-infections-originate-in-a-bathroom.html

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/

Communication is Cornerstone for Nurses to Aid in Patient Healing

September 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Communication is the key to any relationship be it husband to wife, parent to child or employee to boss. In a nurse to patient situation, it’s no different. To aid in the complete recovery process, patients have to describe their ailments and nurses need to explain the steps needed towards healing. Being in an RN to BSN bridge program, it’s important to learn how to communicate and listen effectively.

Megan M. Krischke, contributor to NurseZone.com writes about the importance of proper communication in the medical field. From patients who are not fluent in English to those whose anxiety in stressful situations limits their cognitive skills, nurses need to be sensitive on the best ways for each patient to gain understanding.

“Clear communication with patients is of utmost importance to Erica Dickson, RN, BSN, CCRP, oncology research manager for Poudre Valley Health Systems (PVHS) in Fort Collins, Colo. Dickson leads a team of nurses and other professionals who offer oncology patients opportunities to participate in clinical trials and then works with these patients to coordinate their care.
“’My job is to make sure patients have the time and the information to make their decision. “No” is as good an answer as “yes”,’ explained Dickson. ‘Often patients tend to take anything the doctor says as prescriptive. So if a doctor informs a patient that there is a clinical trial that could be a good option for them, what the patient may be hearing is the physician saying that they should participate in the trial. The nurse’s job is to start a new conversation; to say this is a choice and it is totally voluntary.’”

Explaining health issues can be complicated and a lot for the patient to remember, especially under stressful conditions. “’When they don’t understand the lingo, not only is our ability to communicate limited, patients can also feel alienated. Early in my career a physician was discussing with me the patient’s condition and within ear shot of that patient used the acronym SOB to refer to shortness of breath. The patient, however, thought the physician was insulting him,’ related Fé Ermitaño, RN, BSN, project manager for the patient experience at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle. ‘This very sweet patient was hurt that the physician saw him in such a poor light.’”

Communication is probably one of the most important skills needed for an online RN to BSN degree graduate. Patients want to know what’s wrong, what will be done to fix their situation, what the complicated medical lingo means and that you care.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://nursezone.com/Nursing-News-Events/more-news/Engaging-Patients-in-Dialogue-A-Partnership_37652.aspx