DiversityNursing Blog

How to Use Social Media to Further Your Nursing Career

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 19, 2015 @ 12:35 PM

Posted by Brooke Olson

healthecareers.com 

How to Use Social Media 3 630x210 resized 600Nursing is one of the most prominent — and much needed — professions in the healthcare industry, with over three million registered nurses worldwide. This number is set to grow over the coming years, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that employment of RNs will grow 19 percent in the decade leading up to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

This growth will be fueled by demand for healthcare providers for the aging population, the federal health insurance reform, and the increase in chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and dementia that require care. While more nurses will be required to provide care for patients across the country, there will also be more competition for the top nursing jobs.

If you’re keen to maximize your chances for the role of your dreams, read on for some top tips for using social media sites to further your career in 2015.

Network on LinkedIn

One of the best sites for networking is LinkedIn. Millions of professionals and businesses around the world use the social media platform, and as a result it’s the perfect place to network with key people in your industry and further your career in the healthcare industry.

To start yourself off on the right foot on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is completely filled out. A comprehensive profile that will get you noticed on LinkedIn will include a business-suitable photo and your skills and achievements you have acquired during the course of your education and career.

LinkedIn makes it easy for you to ask for recommendations to go on your profile from people you’ve worked with over the years, whether co-workers, bosses or clients. In addition, don’t forget to optimize your profile and job title with relevant keywords, as this can make a big difference in search results.

Once you have your information up to date, it’s time to start working on adding connections. Apart from making requests to connect with people you already know, it’s also a good idea to join relevant LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions about any topics where you can contribute useful information or an unusual insight — this is a fantastic way to generate interest from potential new ones. In addition, regularly sharing interesting articles and information with all of your connections and update LinkedIn with your career successes and new skills is a great way to stay engaged with your current contacts.

Create a Personal Brand

Social media is a great avenue through which to promote your personal brand. Blogs, Twitter, and Instagram, for example, are all fantastic platforms to use to get your name out there and develop a brand for yourself. Although you might only associate the word “brand” with businesses, developing your own personal brand is a great way for many professionals, especially contractors, to promote themselves.

Build a consistent personal brand by ensuring that you always use the same font, image, language, and even logo, on any online profiles. Creating and maintaining a distinct voice will set you apart from others, helping you to stand out in a competitive industry.

Showcase Yourself as an Industry Expert

Blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter in particular are great platforms to demonstrate your ability to be an industry expert, and is used by many workers to foster relationships and build a profile in their industry.

Publish relevant and engaging content on your blog and distribute it on social media to showcase your experience, skills, and knowledge of healthcare to potential employers and contacts. In addition, share pictures, infographics, quotes, links to articles your connections might find helpful or informative. It’s important to stick to posting about your industry and/or specialty, and refrain from posting personal information in order to build a loyal following and give employers an idea of your passion and what you might offer their company.

By networking, building a personal brand, and showcasing yourself as an industry expert via social media, you will set yourself up to generate more interest when you apply for jobs, and can even bring employers directly to you.

Want a career in nursing? Search hundreds of nursing jobs across the U.S. today!

Topics: registered nurse, nursing, health, RN, social media, career, healthcare industry

A Look At The Impact Of IT In Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 29, 2015 @ 09:35 AM

The Nursing profession is in dire need of an IT upgrade. The way the nursing profession currently handles information is costing time, money, patient health and more importantly, lives. Creating an integrated health IT system will address these costs, as well as reducing errors among hospital staff and mistakes with prescriptions both when they are written and when patients obtain them.

To learn more checkout the following infographic, created by the Adventist University of Health Sciences Online RN to BSN program, that illustrates the need, benefit and impact of Health IT in nursing.

ADU BSN Impact of IT in Nursing  resized 600

Topics: BSN, nursing, health, healthcare, RN, nurse, health care, hospital, infographic, IT, health IT, medical staff

Demand For Travel Nurses Hits A 20-Year High

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 02:03 PM

Phil Galewitz

www.usatoday.com 

635679001184311388 Cherisse Dillard Travel Nurse resized 600With her children grown and husband nearing retirement, Amy Reynolds was ready to leave behind snowy Flagstaff, Ariz., to travel but she wasn't ready to give up her nursing career.

She didn't have to.

For the past three years, Reynolds, 55, has been a travel nurse – working for about three months at a time at hospitals in California, Washington, Texas and Idaho, among other states. Her husband accompanies her on the assignments. "It's been wonderful," she said in May after starting a stint in Sacramento. "It's given us a chance to try out other parts of the country."

Reynolds is one of thousands of registered nurses who travel the country helping hospitals and other health care facilities in need of experienced, temporary staff.

With an invigorated national economy and millions of people gaining health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, demand for nurses such as Reynolds is at a 20-year high, industry analysts say. That's meant Reynolds has her pick of hospitals and cities when it's time for her next assignment. And it's driven up stock prices of the largest publicly traded travel-nurse companies, including San Diego-based AMN Healthcare Services and Cross Country Healthcare of Boca Raton, Fla.

"We've seen a broad uptick in health care employment, which the staffing agencies are riding," said Randle Reece, an analyst with investment firm Avondale Partners. He estimates the demand for nurses and other health care personnel is at its highest level since the mid-1990s.

Demand for travel nursing is expected to increase by 10% this year "due to declining unemployment, which raises demand by increasing commercial admissions to hospitals," according to Staffing Industry Analysts, a research firm. That trend is expected to accelerate, the report said, because of higher hospital admissions propelled by the health law. 

Improved profits — particularly in states that expanded Medicaid — have also made hospitals more amenable to hire travel nurses to help them keep up with rising admissions, analysts say.

At AMN Healthcare, the nation's largest travel-nurse company, demand for nurses is up significantly in the past year: CEO Susan Salka said orders from many hospitals have doubled or tripled in recent years. Much of the demand is for nurses with experience in intensive care, emergency departments and other specialty areas. "We can't fill all the jobs that are out there," she said.

Northside Hospital in Atlanta is among hospitals that have recently increased demand for travel nurses, said David Votta, manager of human resources. "It's a love-hate relationship," he said. From a financial viewpoint, the travel nurses can cost significantly more per hour than regular nurses. But the travel nurses provide a vital role to help the hospital fills gaps in staffing so they can serve more patients. 

Northside is using 40 travel nurses at its three hospitals, an increase of about 52% since last year. The system employs about 4,000 nurses overall. 

Historically, the most common reason why hospitals turn to traveling nurses is seasonal demand, according to a 2011 study by accounting firm KPMG. Nearly half of hospitals surveyed said seasonal influxes in places such as Arizona or Florida, where large numbers of retirees flock every winter, led them to hire traveling nurses. 

Though there have been rare reports of travel nurses involved in patient safety problems, a 2012 study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published in the Journal of Health Services Research found no link between travel nurses and patient mortality rates. The study examined more than 1.3 million patients and 40,000 nurses in more than 600 hospitals. "Our study showed these nurses could be lifesavers. Hiring temporary nurses can alleviate shortages that could produce higher patient mortality," said Linda Aiken, director of the university's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Staffing Association Foundation.

The staffing companies screen and interview nurses to make sure they are qualified, and some hospitals, such as Northside, also make their own checks. Nurses usually spend a couple days getting orientated to a hospital and its operations before beginning work. They have to be licensed in each state they practice in, although about 20 states have reciprocity laws that expedite the process.

Cherisse Dillard, a labor and delivery room nurse, has been a traveler for nearly a decade. In the past few years, she's worked at hospitals in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Pensacola and the San Francisco area.

While delivering a baby is relatively standard practice, she said she makes it a practice at each new hospital to talk to doctors and other staff to learn what their preferences are with drugs and other procedures. Dillard, 46, often can negotiate to be off on weekends and be paid a high hourly rate. "When the economy crashed in 2008, hospitals became tight with their budget and it was tough to find jobs, but now it's back to full swing and there are abundant jobs for travel nurses," she said.

Topics: health coverage, affordable care act, healthcare, RN, nurse, nurses, hospitals, travel nurse, travel nurses

Nurse Visits Help First-Time Moms, Cut Government Costs In Long Run

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

MICHELLE ANDREWS

www.npr.org 

symphonie dawson custom dace4345c69592cf6ab851d6025ae1cd4f1d02e9 s400 c85 resized 600While studying to become a paralegal and working as a temp, Symphonie Dawson kept feeling sick. She found out it was because she was pregnant.

Living with her mom and two siblings near Dallas, Dawson, then 23, worried about what to expect during pregnancy and what giving birth would be like. She also didn't know how she would juggle having a baby with being in school.

At a prenatal visit she learned about a group that offers help for first-time mothers-to-be called the Nurse-Family Partnership. A registered nurse named Ashley Bradley began to visit Dawson at home every week to talk with her about her hopes and fears about pregnancy and parenthood.

Bradley helped Dawson sign up for the Women, Infants and Children Program, which provides nutritional assistance to low-income pregnant women and children. They talked about what to expect every month during pregnancy and watched videos about giving birth. After her son Andrew was born in December 2013, Bradley helped Dawson figure out how to manage her time so she wouldn't fall behind at school.

Dawson graduated with a bachelor's degree in early May. She's looking forward to spending time with Andrew and finding a paralegal job. She and Andrew's father recently became engaged.

Ashley Bradley will keep visiting Dawson until Andrew turns 2.

"Ashley's always been such a great help," Dawson says. "Whenever I have a question like what he should be doing at this age, she has the answers."

Home-visiting programs that help low-income, first-time mothers have been around for decades. Lately, however, they're attracting new fans. They appeal to people of all political stripes because the good ones manage to help families improve their lives and reduce government spending at the same time.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act created the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program and provided $1.5 billion in funding for evidence-based home visits. As a result, there are now 17 home visiting models approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, and Congress reauthorized the program in April with $800 million for the next two years.

The Nurse-Family Partnership that helped Dawson is one of the largest and best-studied programs. Decades of research into how families fare after participating in it have documented reductions in the use of social programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, reductions in child abuse and neglect, better pregnancy outcomes for mothers and better language development and academic performance by their children.

"Seeing follow-up studies 15 years out with enduring outcomes, that's what really gave policymakers comfort," says Karen Howard, vice president for early childhood policy at First Focus, an advocacy group.

But others say the requirements for evidence-based programs are too lenient, and that only a handful of the approved models have as strong a track record as that of the Nurse-Family Partnership.

"If the evidence requirement stays as it is, almost any program will be able to qualify," says Jon Baron, vice president for of evidence-based policy at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which supports initiatives that encourage policymakers to make decisions based on data and other reliable evidence. "It threatens to derail the program."

Topics: women, government, registered nurse, advice, newborn, nursing, health, baby, family, pregnant, RN, nurse, nurses, health care, medical, home visits, new moms, first-time moms, Infants and Children Program

Health Care Opens Stable Career Path, Taken Mainly by Women

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 01:13 PM

For Tabitha Waugh, it was another typical day of chaos on the sixth-floor cancer ward.

The fire alarm was blaring for the second time that afternoon, prompting patients to stumble out of their rooms. One confused elderly man approached Ms. Waugh, a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center here, but she had no time to console him. An aide was shouting from another room, where a patient sat dazed on the edge of his bed, blood pooling on the floor from the IV he had yanked from his vein.

“Hey, big guy, can you lay back in bed?” she asked, as she cleaned the patient before inserting a new line. He winced. “Hold my hand, O.K.?” she said.

Ms. Waugh, who is 30 and the main breadwinner in her family of four, still had three hours to go before the end of a 12-hour shift. But despite the stresses and constant demands, all the hard work was paying off.

Her wage of nearly $27 an hour provides for a comfortable life that includes a three-bedroom home, a pickup truck and a new sport utility vehicle, tumbling classes for her 3-year-old, Piper, and dozens of brightly colored Thomas the Tank Engine cars heaped under the double bed of her 6-year-old, Collin.

The daughter of a teacher’s aide and a gas station manager, Ms. Waugh, like many other hard-working and often overlooked Americans, has secured a spot in a profoundly transformed middle class. While the group continues to include large numbers of people sitting at desks, far fewer middle-income workers of the 21st century are donning overalls. Instead, reflecting the biggest change in recent years, millions more are in scrubs.

“We used to think about the men going out with their lunch bucket to their factory, and those were good jobs,” said Jane Waldfogel, a professor at Columbia University who studies work and family issues. “What’s the corresponding job today? It’s in the health care sector.”

In 1980, 1.4 million jobs in health care paid a middle-class wage: $40,000 to $80,000 a year in today’s money. Now, the figure is 4.5 million.

The pay of registered nurses — now the third-largest middle-income occupation and one that continues to be overwhelmingly female — has risen strongly along with the increasing demands of the job. The median salary of $61,000 a year in 2012 was 55 percent greater, adjusted for inflation, than it was three decades earlier.

And it was about $9,000 more than the shriveled wages of, say, a phone company repairman, who would have been more likely to head a middle-class family in the 1980s. Back then, more than a quarter of middle-income jobs were in manufacturing, a sector long dominated by men. Today, it is just 13 percent.

As the job market has shifted, women, in general, have more skillfully negotiated the twists and turns of the new economy, rushing to secure jobs in health care and other industries that demand more education and training. Men, by contrast, have been less successful at keeping up.

In many working- and middle-class households, women now earn the bigger paycheck, work longer hours and have greater opportunities for career advancement. As a result, millions of American families are being reconfigured along with the economy.

“The culture still has traditional attitudes about who does what, who brings home the bacon and who scrambles the eggs,” said Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution. “The economy is now out of sync with the culture, and I think that’s creating tensions within marriage.”

A New Springboard

At the Waughs’ house, it is T.J. Waugh, 33, who picks up the couple’s two children from the babysitter when he leaves his afternoon shift at a small plant in Huntington.

By the time Ms. Waugh arrives home in rural Salt Rock from her shift, often far later than her 7 p.m. quitting time, the children have been bathed and fed.

The house is usually messy. The bathroom walls are covered with scribbles from bath crayons; dirty clothes pile up. Ms. Waugh often jams six 12-hour shifts into one week, leaving little time for cleaning and laundry. Mr. Waugh mows the lawn and will run the vacuum cleaner now and then, and if there are no clean towels, Ms. Waugh will do a load of laundry. Otherwise, housework waits until she has a stretch of days off.

“I’m just really tired when I get home,” Ms. Waugh said.

Ms. Waugh is the keeper of the family’s books. That she out-earns her husband — a pipe fitter who hunts deer and plays men’s softball on the weekends — is an unspoken given.

“She doesn’t rub that in,” he said.

Without missing a beat, Ms. Waugh adds, “It doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

Most of the new jobs produced by America’s sprawling economy — especially since the turn of the century — are either in highly paid occupations that often require an advanced degree, or, more predominantly, in lower-paid positions providing direct services that cannot be sent overseas and, at least for now, are difficult to automate.

But even with a hollowing out of the job market and a broad stagnation in wages, an analysis by The New York Times has found, a set of occupations has emerged that holds promise as the base of a more robust middle class.

Many are in health care, which has grown sharply over the last few decades.

Economists at the Labor Department project that by 2022, as baby boomers age, health care and social assistance will absorb nearly 20 percent of consumer spending, double the share of manufactured goods. The sector is expected to support over 21 million jobs, five million more than today. This includes half a million more registered nurses.

A Rare Green Shoot

The reordering of the economic landscape can be seen all over West Virginia’s old coal country, where billboards along the highways that run through the region advertise a new cardiac center and an orthopedic clinic; and where a strip mall houses Scrubs Unlimited, a medical outfitter, its retail floor crammed with nursing uniforms in 38 colors and Peter Pan prints.

Hugging the Ohio River as it bends around the Appalachian foothills, Cabell County, which includes Huntington, has often found itself on the wrong side of economic change. The population — about 97,000 today — has shrunk 10 percent over the last three decades, as the old have died and many of the young have left.

The railroad that helps shuttle coal to Huntington, one of the nation’s busiest inland ports, is still a source of jobs. But manufacturing employment — once clustered at the long-gone glassmaking plants and furniture makers — has dwindled to fewer than 5,000 jobs. Recently, a 1920s-era nickel alloy plant laid off dozens of workers after a bankruptcy, a corporate acquisition and weak sales.

In real terms, wages in Cabell County now are lower than in the 1970s, stumbling along well below the national average. One in five residents lives in poverty.

The health care industry — which added 3,000 jobs here over the last 10 years — is one of the few green shoots in a struggling economy.

West Virginia has been battered by the same forces that have reshaped the nation since the late 1970s, when global competition, an overvalued dollar, declining unions and advanced technology began to undercut the jobs created during America’s industrial heyday, deepening income inequality. And since 2000, the share of middle-income workers has been squeezed and wages have stagnated.

Yet many of the jobs added in medical services here and across the nation have turned out to be surprisingly good ones.

That was what motivated the only male registered nurse colleague of Ms. Waugh’s on the sixth-floor cancer unit, Johnny Dial, a former highway construction worker and heavy equipment mechanic. More men are joining nursing, but they still make up only 10 percent of the ranks, compared with 4 percent in 1980.

As Mr. Dial contemplated supporting a family, it came down to health care or the railroad if he wanted job security and benefits. He chose what he thought would be a more fulfilling career, and the same one as his wife, who is also a nurse.

“You get to help people,” Mr. Dial said.

Women Stepped Up

Similar thinking was behind the career choices of Ms. Waugh’s fellow female R.N.s. They include a former waitress, a former journalist, an ex-administrator in a metals factory and a former store clerk at Bath & Body Works. In addition to the satisfaction of the work, they all said, the wages are generally better in health care than they could find in other fields.

Ms. Waugh has urged her husband to try to move up at his company, where he earns about $40,000 in regular wages, plus pay for occasional extra shifts, or to switch to a more lucrative career, maybe even in health care as a radiology technician.

But for Mr. Waugh, the only way up at the plant is to go into sales, a promotion he already turned down because he said he did not want to “deal with people.” He could earn more in the coal mines, but that work is dirty and dangerous.

Mr. Waugh has talked about trying college again; he dropped out twice in the past. At one point, his wife even filled out application papers for him to jump-start his re-enrollment, but he did not pursue class work.

“My philosophy is he is lazy,” Ms. Waugh said, standing in the hospital’s white hallway. “That’s what makes me so mad.”

For all the troubles associated with traditionally male jobs, women have not had an easy ride through the economic turmoil, either.

“The occupational structure has not somehow become more women-friendly,” said David Autor, an economist at M.I.T. who has studied the changing American job market. In fact, he added, “the hollowing out of middle-skill jobs was larger for women than for men.” The process intensified sharply during the financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn.

But in general women have reacted much better, climbing the educational ladder to capture more of the better jobs. Today, 38 percent of women in their late 20s and early 30s have a college degree, compared with 15 percent 40 years ago. The completion rate for young men is now 7 percentage points lower than for women — back then it was 7 points higher.

This has given women an edge in the new job market: Today, almost 58 percent of registered nurses have a bachelor’s degree or more, compared with about a third in 1980.

This is true across the range of occupations capable of supporting a middle-class life. In 1980, 55 percent of workers who earned the equivalent of $40,000 to $80,000 in today’s dollars had at most a high school diploma, according to the analysis by The Times, which reviewed census returns for employed people ages 25 to 64. Only a quarter had a college degree. Today, the share of college graduates has risen to about 41 percent, while just under 31 percent have completed no more than high school.

“The days when a very, very substantial share of the work force would be able to make good middle-class incomes from jobs that did not require post-high school training are just not the case anymore,” said Francine D. Blau, an economics professor at Cornell University.

Men still hold most of the top jobs in the economy, including seven out of 10 jobs that pay over $80,000 a year. But women are rapidly moving up the ranks. Women hold 44 percent of middle-income jobs, compared with about a quarter 30 years ago.

These trends may not hold forever. Though educational attainment continues to rise for women, their progress in the workplace — in terms of both wages and jobs — has slowed significantly. Tighter controls on the cost of health care could weaken the job growth and pay raises helping support the new American middle. And while the industry is largely immune to foreign competition, it may be affected by advances in labor-saving technology.

Even as more women get ahead, many men are struggling to grab a handhold into higher-paying jobs. After her husband was laid off from a string of auto mechanic jobs, Donna Colbey, 53, urged him to switch careers and become a radiology technician.

It was a job Ms. Colbey knew would offer a good salary and require only two years of training. She had taken the same route, which eventually led her to a nursing career at a Washington hospital.

He enrolled in the courses but dropped out after a few months.

“He got tripped up over the math and didn’t go back,” said Ms. Colbey, who regularly picks up extra shifts to support her family.

A Relentless Pursuit

Far more is expected of nurses now than even two decades ago. Medical advances have kept patients alive longer, meaning many are sicker with more complex illnesses than in the past. Nurses must master technology that helps both treat and track patients, and they are called on to coordinate not just with doctors but also social workers and physical therapists.

At St. Mary’s Medical Center, Ms. Waugh, in her navy scrubs, fed potassium on a recent day into the vein of one woman with a broken hip who was on the cancer floor because of a lack of beds. She gave anti-nausea medicine to a moaning young man with liver cancer in the midst of chemotherapy and prepared pills for a half-dozen other patients, documenting it all on a computer.

An outpatient arrived for his regular blood-drawing and, squatting alongside him in a waiting room, Ms. Waugh unbuttoned his shirt and collected blood from an access port in his chest.

Ms. Waugh’s pursuit of learning to advance her career has been relentless. By her own count, she has been out of school for no longer than two years since kindergarten.

All that education has come with a cost. The couple has amassed about $50,000 in student debt. Ms. Waugh would like to send her children to a better school, but the $10,000 annual tuition that would require is out of reach. “I can’t save for their college and send them to private school,” she said.

To her husband’s co-workers who are raising families on pipe fitters’ salaries, the Waugh family is rich. Ms. Waugh’s purchase of a new Toyota S.U.V. raised eyebrows around the plant.

“We’re not wealthy,” Mr. Waugh said, “but we’re not poor.”

It hasn’t been easy getting to this point. As she made the rounds at the hospital, Ms. Waugh explained how her family was set back in 2008 after Collin was born. She stayed home for one year with the boy, who had digestive problems and required expensive formula. Living on just Mr. Waugh’s salary, they ran through their savings and they accumulated credit card debt that they are still paying off.

“That was a horrible financial situation,” Ms. Waugh said.

But later this year, when her classes and other course work are finished, Ms. Waugh will qualify as a nurse practitioner, a job that she expects will allow her to earn at least 50 percent more than her current salary. And she will be prepared, she believes, for almost anything to come.

“I knew if I was a nurse I could be self-sufficient,” she said, “and wouldn’t have to rely on anyone to take care of me.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

Topics: jobs, women, hire, nursing, health, healthcare, RN, nurse, nurses, health care, hospital, patient, Money, career, Americans, pay, wages, middle-class

The Benefits Of Horse Play

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

By Jodie Diegel, BSN, MBA, RNC, LNCC

bilde resized 600

Laura* is severely disabled, but when she spent time with Lunar, her caregivers at Little Angels, a non-profit skilled nursing facility in Elgin, Ill., witnessed something they had never seen. Laura began to move her fingers back and forth. Lunar is not a doctor or a therapist, but a 6-year-old specially trained miniature therapy horse from the Northern Illinois-based non-profit organization Mane in Heaven that I started in 2012. Mane in Heaven specializes in animal-assisted activity and therapy visits. Our horses visit with people with physical, mental and emotional challenges ­— from people with severe disabilities to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Laura’s reaction was no surprise to me. We witness this type of reaction all the time when Lunar — with her chestnut brown coat and blonde eyelashes and her gentle demeanor — or one of her fellow mini-horses meet our clients. I recall another visit between a young man who was blind and disabled and Turnabout, a 3-year-old mini-horse. Turnabout is the only boy in the bunch and has the biggest personality. When the young man put his hands on Turnabout’s face, they obviously made a connection because the man laughed exuberantly again and again. 

It brings us joy to see the light, laughter and hope our minis provide to people experiencing profound illnesses or disabilities — not to mention that these visits can lead to improved physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

I remember when the idea of working with mini-horses came to me. I was surfing the Internet one evening in December 2011 after volunteering with my two therapy dogs, Buffet and Dudley, when an advertisement caught my eye. “Mini Therapy Horses for Sale,” it said. I thought, “I have two big horses, so I know horse behavior, and I’ve done a lot of obedience training with my two therapy dogs. I can train mini-horses to do the same thing that Buffet and Dudley do.” 

But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Two months later, I had established a volunteer board of directors, including founding board member and friend Dina Morgan, RN, and had acquired three mini-horses — Lunar, Turnabout and 3-year-old Mystery, our smallest horse. In 2013, 2-year-old Jenella joined the group. 

Mane in Heaven volunteers and mini-horses began site visits in June 2013, and since then our volunteers and horses have visited with thousands of people in need. We have relationships with numerous providers and non-profit organizations in the region, including Marklund, a home for infants, children, teens and adults with serious developmental disabilities; Gigi’s Playhouse, which cares for children and adults with Down Syndrome; Wings, which advocates for survivors of domestic violence, as well as homeless women and children; JourneyCare, which specializes in palliative medicine and hospice care; and Rush University Medical Center, a premier hospital located in Chicago. 

A site visit usually lasts up to two hours and involves an exchange of unconditional love between the horses and our clients. People watch, pet, brush, hug and take pictures with the minis. Rather than thinking and talking about themselves and their problems, our clients focus on the animals. When our horses visit a care facility, the residents laugh and interact more, are mentally stimulated by the entertainment and are able to recall personal memories more readily. 

When Corin Garcia, 19, from Palos Hills, Ill., met Lunar at a Mane in Heaven visit at Rush University Medical Center, it changed her whole perspective on her pending treatment. Corin told me it was a day she dreaded more than anything — admission day for “four tedious, boring days of chemotherapy,” she said. But Corin’s attitude changed when her she met Lunar. “I was in an awful mood, yet when two miniature horses walked through the door my mind cleared all its negative thoughts and my heart instantly melted. Being around these beautiful creatures made the worse day turn into the best I have ever had in the hospital.”

Mane in Heaven does not charge for visits; we rely on donations and fundraising, so fundraising is important work for our volunteers. Interest is growing in our services, thanks, in part, to media coverage by CNN, the Associated Press, and local media outlets. Having the support of volunteers helps us to maximize donations, but we hope to find others who believe in our mission and will also support us financially. While our horses are tiny, there are still significant expenses associated with running our organization. One day we’d love to open our own therapy center and acquire more horses, so we can serve more people. 

Running a nonprofit business is challenging while also working full time, but I really never feel like this is work for me. While I may have had the vision for Mane in Heaven, our volunteers have made it a reality. We have a group of amazing and generous volunteers who help special horses help special people. Everyone has challenges in their lives, but whether we are with the minis at training sessions or on visits, we always feel happier and joyful after some “mini love.” We are the privileged ones to be on the other end of the rope.

Source: http://news.nurse.com

Topics: non-profit, mental, emotional, well being, mini horses, volunteers, nursing, health, RN, nurse, health care, medical, cancer, hospice, hospital, treatment, doctor

Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us (Part 1)

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 19, 2015 @ 01:38 PM

By Carolyn Kylstra

1. They work 10- or 12-hour shifts, often without breaks.

Actually, make that 13 hours.

2. Those 10- or 12-hour shifts? They might just start at 6 am. OR AT 6 PM.

Those 10- or 12-hour shifts? They might just start at 6 am. OR AT 6 PM.
BuzzFeed

Rise and shine!

3. They have no idea what they’re about to encounter literally every time they go to work.

27 Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us
NBC / Via uproxx.com

4. Except they know for sure that they will be doing paperwork. Lots and lots of it.

Except they know for sure that they will be doing paperwork. Lots and lots of it.
Pixar / Via youtube.com

5. They’re usually taking care of about six (or more) patients at any given time…

27 Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us
CBS / Via cambio.com

Source: www.buzzfeed.com

Topics: work, humor, shifts, sickness, RN, nurse, nurses, medical, hospital, treatments, career

10 Warning Signs You Are Working with the Wrong Nurse Leader

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:01 PM

By Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, Phd

10 Warning Signs You Are Working with the Wrong Nurse Leader resized 600

Finding the right nursing job includes finding a manager that will help you grow, develop, and support your career goals.

There is a saying that people leave their managers and not their jobs and to have success in your career may mean you want to circulate your resume in order to find the best fit for you. This means you have to know what you want and need in the area of support.

Here are 10 warning signs you may be working with the wrong manager:

  1. You never hear from your manager prior to your performance reviews. Over 75% of performance problems can be improved with proper feedback and less than 33% of the time, feedback is provided.
     
  2. You have no idea what they want.  This can be worse than not having feedback at all. When a manager says, “I do not like how you did that,” you really have no way of knowing what they really mean. Make sure to ask for clarification. Review your job description and ask for your manager to specify what parts of your job responsibilities are most important to them. It could be they are focused on patient safety and you have an interest in health literacy. Knowing what they want gives you the advantage of focusing your efforts for the greatest gain.
     
  3. It is their way or the highway.  This is a problem for many nurses. Job satisfaction comes with autonomy and the opportunity to solve your own problems as they show up on the job. When a manager consistently tells you what and how to do something, employees quickly turn off their own creativity; more than likely, with an increase in mistakes.

    A nurse who is practicing for 7 years shared a story about his experience on a new unit. His Clinical Specialist was a micro-manager. She told him to give this medication immediately because of incoming admissions. She had poured the med. This went against his better judgment but because he knew she would have a fit, he gave it, to the wrong patient. She was extremely apologetic however the “error” was on him. Do not compromise your judgment for the sake of status quo.
     
  4. Your manager wants you to figure it out.  The opposite of micro-managing is to not manage at all and letting everyone figure it out for themselves. This happens quite a bit leaving the power position to go to the most domineering individuals on the unit. Everyone needs to know the manager is in charge and when needed will make those tough decisions.
     
  5. You could not recognize them if your life depended on it.  If your manager hides behind email or a closed door, having a relationship with your manager will be impossible. Communication and trust is the foundation of a great working relationship.  

    Suggestion for managers: Time is an important commodity and getting around to all your staff can be time consuming. Why not use technology and set up a short video. Most iPhones take excellent video. Take 2-3 minutes every week and share what is going on. You may also want to share something personal about yourself; if you just started juicing, kickboxing, celebrated an anniversary or a milestone with your children. Interview them, show images along your morning run, and share something of yourself in order to make the connection with your staff.

    Suggestion for staff: Make a short video on your unit of a new initiative, gratitude board in the break room, more efficient way to give report, a snippet of rounds, and just a friendly hello from everyone on the unit. You may even want to say thanks and express appreciation; managers are people too!
     
  6. The way out the door is faster than up. If you have a manager that makes any attempt for you to advance your skills difficult, it will be hard to boost your resume. Managers can feel threatened by qualified staff members who want to move up the ladder and may indirectly thwart your efforts to move forward. This is really short sighted on the manager’s part because any manager that turns our qualified leaders actually looks really good to their higher ups given the ongoing need for good talent in any organization.
     
  7. Lack of training.  Being able to do a job well requires the right training. Often it takes the manager to assess the need for training based on performance and outcomes. This relates to the lack of feedback. While every employee really should do their own assessment of what they need to do well and then make the request of their manager, the manager should also be on the lookout for staff that need training and set up opportunities to make this happen.
     
  8. When the manager has obvious “favorites.”  Everyone has preferences in personality style, but when the manager consistently selects one particular individual for all the initiatives, opportunities for advancement, or other assignments that provide variety, the manager is sending a message to others they do not care about your skills or your future.
     
  9. When your manager routinely says, “I’ll think about it.”  Obviously considering all sides of the problem/ situation is important however some managers hide behind this and never make a decision about what is the ideal way to go.  Quickly, this can be frustrating if you are looking for a course of action to solve a problem.
     
  10. When your manager over reacts or criticizes you in front of others.  This is a toxic behavior and is an indication you want to find a new place to work. Quickly this will diminish your self-esteem, leading to resentment and stagnation.

    Knowing what you want in the way of workplace is key and will help you avoid a poor manager. What type of opportunities are you looking for in the workplace? What are your career goals? Evaluate the workplace, ask questions, find out the management style, review a performance appraisal, ask about turnover, and see if you can build a relationship with your new manager.  

Enjoy the opportunity to find a place that truly supports and honors you! 

Source: www.nursetogether.com

Topics: jobs, work, patient safety, job, resume, shift, manager, LPN, performance, clinical specialist, nursing, RN, nurse, nurses, medical, hospital, medicine, practice, career

Why Does It Take A Movie Robot To Show What Nurses Really Do?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 01:35 PM

By KELLI DUNHAM

big hero 6 wide 81c8fe593498a408c0004836aabe11fa32e276ce s800 c85 resized 600

I'm a proud nurse from a proud family of nurses, yet I would never claim that a layperson would enjoy watching mainstream medical dramas with us. We end up yelling at the screen: "There is nothing about that sexy get-up that remotely resembles a nursing uniform," and "Doctors don't fire nurses, nurse managers fire nurses," and "No emergency room nurse would ever have to be told by a doctor to start CPR!"

So when the Baymax, the nurse/robot in the hit Disney movie Big Hero Six turned out to be reasonable, competent and not dressed in fishnet stockings, I was thrilled.

You know your profession has an image problem when you point to a balloonish animated robot doll and say, "Yes, that's good. That accurately reflects what I do on a daily basis. More representations like that, please."

Baymax might not look like any nurses you know, but unlike most nurse characters in the media he actually provides nursing care. He assesses the health condition of his charge, the boy-genius Hiro, makes recommendations related to his health and teaches him about his neurochemical processes.

Once Hiro reprograms Baymax with fighting capabilities, Baymax becomes Hiro's terrifying defender. If you've ever heard a nurse on the phone with an insurance company insisting that a patient get needed care paid for, you know this is not a misplaced metaphor.

Contrast this with the Nurse Dawn character in the HBO comedy Getting On. She has sex with a new nurse manager within hours of meeting him; doesn't seem to notice when a patient dies; cowers submissively in front of even the most incompetent doctors and never seems to provide any actual nursing care because she is too busy with self-created drama and paperwork.

Or the Nurse Beverly character in Fox's comedy The Mindy Project. She is fired from an office medical practice for incompetence, breaks a doctor's nose in angry response, and when she is rehired in a clerical position expresses relief that she finally has a job where she doesn't have to wash her hands.

Or the nurses in the Fox medical drama House. Rather than being sexually inappropriate or incompetent, these nurses all seem to be on a series-long coffee break. It is the doctors who are shown providing nursing care: starting IVs, doing patient teaching, negotiating complicated family dynamics at the bedside.

Even when nurses are shown to be competent, compassionate patient-focused experts like Jackie Peyton, the main character in Showtime's Nurse Jackie, the creators aren't satisfied with the life-and-death drama of a high-level trauma center in a huge city. The nurse character has to be an unethical, lying, stealing, not quite-in-recovery drug addict as well.

The argument could be made that it's the job of Hollywood to create fiction of all the professions, and that popular culture gets everything about health care wrong.

Certainly examples of this exist: the new Fox teen drama Red Band Society is populated by exceedingly healthy looking, extremely attractive gravely ill teenagers who live for months in hospital rooms the size of two-bedroom apartments for no other apparent reason than to make it more convenient for them to kiss each other.

Any scenes in which the dying but randy teens are portrayed interacting with medical care (one patient is shown receiving dialysis for liver failure) are so ludicrous that it makes you wonder if the procedure for the show's writers is to ask their medical adviser how something might accurately be conveyed and then write the exact opposite.

But even though this is just entertainment, the stakes for the future of nursing are high. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that Americans believe what TV shows say about medical care and health policy.

For 13 years the non-profit advocacy organization Truth About Nursing has been researching and documenting nurse representations in popular culture and has come to the conclusion that "the vast gap between what skilled nurses really do and what the public thinks they do is a fundamental factor underlying most of the more immediate apparent causes of the [nursing] shortage [including], understaffing, poor work conditions, [and] inadequate resources for nursing research and education."

This is bad news for nurses, but worse news for patients. Nurses make the difference in good health care; increased RN staffing decreases the overall patient death rate as well as the rate of hospital acquired pneumonia, falls, pressure ulcers and blood clots after surgery. When nurses show more signs of burnout related to understaffing, postsurgical infections increase.

And there's the hard-to-quantify but essential benefit of being cared for. When I was in the hospital this past January after a life-threatening complication of knee-replacement surgery, I woke up one night in pain and unable to figure out how to move within the many drains, tubes and wires attached to, or inserted in, my body. I muttered an expletive and from around the corner a nurse appeared.

"I'm right here," she said. Even before she started to untangle my IV and troubleshoot better pain management, my panic was instantly calmed.

Baymax's programming won't allow him to disengage until the patient has answered, "Are you satisfied with your care?" in the affirmative. This is inconvenient for the characters in an action adventure movie, but it's a good question to ask in a hospital. If you're satisfied with your care, you may well have a nurse to thank.

Source: www.npr.org

Topics: Movies, Robots, television, reality, nurse life, RN, nurses

Career Paths for RNs [Infographic]

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 02:58 PM

By  Carly Dell

In the Future of Nursing report published by the Institute of Medicine, it is recommended that health care facilities throughout the United States increase the proportion of nurses with a BSN to 80 percent and double the number of nurses with a DNP by the year 2020. Research shows that nurses who are prepared at baccalaureate and graduate degree levels are linked to lower readmission rates, shorter lengths of patient stay, and lower mortality rates in health care facilities.

What does the job market look like for RNs who are looking to advance their careers?

We tackle this question in our latest infographic, “Career Paths for RNs,” where we look in-depth at the three higher education paths RNs can choose from to advance their careers — Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

For each career path, we outline the various in-demand specialties, salaries, and job outlook.

Nursing Career Paths Simmons resized 600 

Source: onlinenursing.simmons.edu

Topics: nursing, health, healthcare, RN, nurses, medicine, infographic, careers

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