DiversityNursing Blog

A Look Behind Bars: An Introduction to Correctional Nursing

Posted by Brian Neese

Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 12:55 PM

thumbnail_800x400-Correctional-Nurses-Header-ALV.jpgCorrectional nursing is a specialty providing healthcare in jails, prisons and juvenile confinement facilities. But outside of the specialty, few recognize the importance of correctional nurses in treating an underserved population. 

“When I came into corrections, what I found were nurses that were not appreciated for what they did — that the profession and the community thought less of them,” said Mary Muse, nursing director at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. “As I talked to them and as I talked about nursing practice and care delivery, people would remind me that this is a jail, not a hospital. It became my passion, not only to ensure that people got good care, but that I contributed to improving the image of correctional nursing.” 

Muse, who also sits on the board of directors for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care as the American Nurses Association representative, entered correctional nursing by chance. A former nursing school classmate introduced her to the field, later encouraging Muse to apply for her position. This opportunity led Muse to gain an appreciation of and passion for one of nursing’s least understood specialties. 

Working in Correctional Nursing 

Typical Duties and Environments 

How is correctional nursing different than other fields? “Nursing is nursing, because it’s all about supporting, caring and helping people get better and managing their health issues,” Muse said. “The difference is the environment in which you practice.” 

Getting comfortable with the work environment and patient population in corrections can take time, and it’s not for everyone. Yet, given the diverse population that correctional nurses serve, this specialty is similar to others. Muse points out that nurses with medical and surgical skills or a background in emergency medicine or public health are well-prepared for correctional nursing. 

The environment also dictates a nurse’s caseload and how work is executed. A cellblock may require seeing a group of patients at once, while other situations require one or two patients at a time. Muse emphasizes how correctional nurses must be looking for opportunities. A patient complaining about a headache may lead to an opportunity to educate that person. Or the headache could be something the patient says because there’s something else wrong, but the individual doesn’t know how to share it. 

Safety 

Safety is a natural concern for those not familiar with correctional nursing, because it involves being around and treating convicted criminals. However, this reaction may be unfounded. 

Through specific protocols and extensive training, safety takes center stage in correctional nursing. “In terms of safety, corrections usually does a very good job of educating you on how to be safe in the environment, and how not to be gullible,” Muse said. “What the nurse has to do is balance understanding these safety precautions ... with recognizing who we are serving but yet still seeing that individual as a patient.” 

Because there are always guards present, correctional nursing is “no less risky than other [nursing] environments,” Muse pointed out. This is why many believe that correctional nursing is actually safer than other specialties and environments. In her experience, Muse is aware of limited incidents of violence; in the majority of cases, patients had mental health conditions. “For me, it was actually scarier as a student when I went on the mental health unit,” she said. Psychiatric settings were identified by The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing as an area of healthcare where workplace violence is more common, along with labor and delivery and maternal-child health units. Four out of five incidents occurred in the emergency department, leading all hospital settings. Surveillance studies reveal that more than 50 percent of emergency department nurses have experienced verbal or physical violence at work. Research is limited on safety in correctional healthcare settings. In BMC Health Services Research, a three-year study of violence among correctional health professionals in Australia found that most incidents took place in a forensic hospital, a facility for inmates who are not competent to stand trial due to severe mental illness. During the study, no deaths took place, few incidents of violence led to serious physical injury, and almost all incidents were given a medium (46 percent) or low (52 percent) rating on the severity assessment code. “Compared with health care settings in the community, correctional settings are fairly safe places in which to practice,” researchers concluded. 

Resources and Population 

A lack of resources for delivering quality patient care has typically distinguished correctional nursing from other specialties. “If you're looking for ease and comfort, you might not have a nice operating room, you might not have all the tools, the most equipment,” Muse said. Although facilities weren’t built for healthcare treatment, correctional facilities are starting to improve. Nurses need to be a part of the decision-making process, Muse said, to ensure that the right types of equipment and resources are available. 

Correctional nurses see a wide range of patients. “Chronic disease is an issue for individuals in corrections. Now we are dealing with hypertension, renal disease, hepatitis, cancer, HIV,” Muse said. “Corrections really mirrors the community. But I would say that whether it’s a physician or nurse, if you really want to be able to see a variety of health issues, if you want to improve your clinical skills, there is probably no better place to work than in corrections. If you're interested in patient education, there’s no better place to work than in corrections.” 

Employment Information 

Salary 

Due to misunderstandings about correctional nursing and a lack of interest in the specialty, correctional facilities need to offer competitive salaries. “The nurse leaders I know actually benchmark against hospitals in their areas,” Muse said. Sources show the competitive nature of correctional nursing. 

Demand 

Similar to the entire nursing profession and other nursing specialties, Muse expects demand to be high for nurses in corrections. “I think the role of the advanced nursing practitioner could be huge in corrections,” she said. “I think having registered nurses is very important to the management of this population. Certainly, registered nurses can have more of an expanded role.” 

Education The 2010 Institute of Medicine landmark report, “The Future of Nursing,” called for 80 percent of registered nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020. Since the report, hospitals across the country have begun encouraging and requiring the degree, and this applies to other nursing environments. Muse said she certainly encourages correctional nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, because the specialty requires a great deal of cross-sectional skills and knowledge. “Sometimes you draw more individuals who are prepared as an ADN [associate degree in nursing], and that's OK,” she said. “But in terms of what the patient needs, they need a nurse that is better educationally prepared.” 

Getting Into Correctional Nursing 

“If you really are passionate about care and you really believe that people deserve care regardless of their circumstances, then corrections is a great place to make that happen,” Muse said. “If you are interested in driving change, then corrections is a great place to practice.” Correctional nursing also offers considerable potential for career advancement. 

Alvernia University is committed to advancing healthcare across the nursing profession. The online RN to BSN Completion Program helps nurses gain the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in fields such as correctional nursing. With a flexible and convenient learning environment, students are able to reach their goals while they maintain their current work and personal schedules.

Day in the Life: Registered Nurse [VIDEO]

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 18, 2016 @ 03:05 PM

933784_orig.jpgThis video follows a Nurse named Keith Koga. He delves into his personal experiences about Nurses and how they inspired him to pursue a career in Nursing. Watch the video below to follow his journey!

If you have any questions about becoming a Registered Nurse or anything else about Nursing, just click the image below to ask one of our Nurse Leaders! Click Here To Ask Question

Day in the Life: ER Nurse

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 02:44 PM

emergencyroom.jpgThis video shows Will Cristobal who is an Emergency Room Nurse. Will discusses what it is like to be an Emergency Room Nurse and the path that got him there. The video also goes over some common things that happen on a daily basis in the Emergency Room. 

 

 

 

If you are interested in becoming an Emergency Room Nurse and have a few questions, feel free to ask one of our Nurse Leaders by clicking on the image below! 

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Are You Thinking About Pediatric Nursing?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 13, 2016 @ 10:20 AM

pediatric nursing

Pediatric Nursing is not a field for the faint of heart.  You will have times of total heartbreak, and when you think you've seen the worst, a miracle will happen and a child thought to be dying makes a total recovery.  You must love children, but be strong enough to handle it when things don't go well and there will be many times they don't.  

If you want to pursue Pediatric Nursing and can handle the intensity and emotions, here are some things to consider.

  • Education:  An Associate's degree with additional classes in child development or a BS in Nursing from a four year college.  You must be eligible and pass the RN licensing exam.  Requirements may vary by state.  Perhaps some work in a day care or school while taking your courses will be helpful.  
  • Continuing Education:  Attend every in-service you can find on child development, work with patients from newborns to adolescents, and communicate with children regularly.  
  • Experience:  After you get licensed, find a job in a pediatricians office or general practitioners office to get some on-the-job experience. If you can get a position in the pediatric unit of a hospital, that would be great.  It will give you the best experience. If you want to go on to cancer or neonatal, that's the place to get the knowledge.    

What to Expect Daily 

Looking at a Pediatric Nursing job on a daily basis depends entirely upon your position.  If you're in a PICU, it changes daily and minute-by-minute.  In PICU as a rule, you only have one or two patients at a time.  The are several reasons for this. The best one being to provide the best quality of care for both the child and the parents.  When you're dealing with children in a PICU, the parents become your patients too because of the stress and fear they're feeling. Some responsibilities include going over treatment plans for the children under your care; checking notes from the previous shift; giving medications and checking emergency supplies.  Ask the parents if they've noticed any changes or differences in their child.  

In a pediatricians office, things for the most part are less intense except for the occasional bout of sheer terror as most children are afraid to go to the doctor. It will be up to you to calm and console them. One day may be devoted to newborns and toddlers.  The next day may be teenagers. Children will arrive at the office with a variety of problems  from the flu to allergies, bad cuts to broken bones. You'll eventually see it all.  

pediatrics

Preparing 

It takes a certain personality to be a Pediatric Nurse.  Not only do you need to love children, you must also be extremely strong and compassionate.  There will be many tears, but if one child is saved, it will be well worth it.  Pediatric Nursing has one of the biggest burnout rates of any occupation.  There's only so much grief a person can handle.  

If you're thinking about becoming a Pediatric Nurse, you should talk to several in your area or online.  It's one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, IF you can handle it.  

Check out our job database filled with Pediatric Nursing positions.  Search Jobs

Have questions or want to know more about Pediatric Nursing, ask one of our Nurse Leaders by clicking below. 

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Thinking of Changing your Specialty? The Pros & Cons

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, May 09, 2016 @ 11:34 AM

nurse-changing-focus.jpgWhen Nurses decide to be educated in a certain area, it is very likely they will acquire a position that allows them to utilize the skills and knowledge obtained during school and training. While many continue on in their area of expertise, some decide to change specialties and focus on another area.  

With the human body being so complex and so much to learn, some Nurses may decide to work in a number of specialties throughout their career. For some, it can be exciting and rewarding to switch things up. However, before deciding to switch specialties and take on a new list of duties and responsibilities, please consider the pros and cons before doing so. 

What are the Pros of Changing Specialties? 

* Adding to your Skill Set

Working in one specialty may become boring because you are doing the same thing every day and perhaps not learning anything new. Changing specialties will allow you to put an end to that boredom, add to your skill set, challenge you, and give you a reason to love your work more. It looks good on a resume to be someone who is versatile and able to work in more than one area of the medical field. 

* Potential Opportunity for a Higher Salary

There are many things that factor into what makes someone change their specialty. Money is possibly one of them. Changing specialties doesn't always mean you'll make more money, but there is a chance you will. Be sure to check the average income of someone working in the specialty you're considering.

* Opportunity for Growth

With some specialties, there is no room for growth or advancement. This is acceptable for some people, but a lot of Nurses want a job where they can be promoted and continue to earn more money. Take a hard look at where you were when you first started working and where you are now. If your current specialty doesn't offer the type of advancement opportunities that another specialty would, it may be time to make the switch.

What are the Cons of Changing Specialties?

* Decreased Chance of Promotion

Oftentimes, when a company promotes Nurses, they look for Nurses who have been with them for several years, and who are knowledgeable and experienced in their field. Even if you've worked for the same company, changing specialties can be like starting out as a new employee. Before a promotion becomes a possibility, you'll most likely have to work your way up and gain experience in your new field. This could take years, depending on the difficulty of the your new specialty.

* Stress

A new specialty means you'll be doing things you're not used to doing. This can lead to an extreme amount of stress because you want to perform well and be noticed for the great work you're doing. Being the new kid on the block means every move you make will be monitored closely. It can be uncomfortable and stressful to be in this situation. 

* Financial Instability

Higher pay is possible, but it may not happen right away. Because you have to learn the ropes and gain experience in your new specialty, you may not make the salary that everyone else in this specialty is making. This is especially true if you need to go to school for a year or two. 

When you change your specialty, it doesn't always mean you can't go back to working in the specialty in which you started. Ideally, people making this change are hoping for the best and plan to stay in the specialty for some time. Whatever is decided, the goal is to be happy in what you do.

 Have questions about changing your specialty? Ask one of our Nurse Leaders! Click below.
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The HCAHPS Survey: How Policies Impact Hospitals, Patients and Healthcare Workers

Posted by Brian Neese

Thu, Apr 28, 2016 @ 11:48 AM

thumbnail_HCAHPS_survey_graphic.jpgIn 2012, the Affordable Care Act introduced a new policy that would help calculate Medicare reimbursement and bonuses to healthcare facilities. More than $1 billion is withheld from hospitals each year, and only facilities that maintain basic care standards and obtain high patient satisfaction survey scores earn money back. The Atlantic adds that top performers collect bonus money from the pool. 

The policy places a lot of weight on patient satisfaction scores — 30 percent of hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement rides on these subjective assessments. As a result, there have already been unfortunate consequences for some hospitals, patients and healthcare workers. But with the right approach, healthcare professionals can take steps to minimize the negative effects and concentrate on providing quality care to patients. 

What Is the HCAHPS? 

Basics the HCAHPS is a 32-question survey from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that measures patients’ perceptions of their hospital stay. The survey is given to patients who receive medical, surgical or maternity care services 48 hours to six weeks after discharge. The survey focuses on nine key topics: 

* Communication with doctors 

* Communication with nurses 

* Responsiveness of hospital staff 

* Pain management 

* Communication about medicines 

* Discharge information 

* Cleanliness of the hospital environment 

* Quietness of the hospital environment 

* Transition of care In 2015, CMS unveiled a new five-star rating system for consumers to compare hospitals online. CMS uses data from HCAHPS surveys to determine a hospital’s star rating, which is updated quarterly. Based on analysis from Modern Healthcare, only 251 of more than 3,500 U.S. hospitals received the highest ranking of five stars in April. 

Financial Consequences of Survey Scores 

The Affordable Care Act mandated that 1 percent of Medicare inpatient payments be withheld from hospitals — approximately $850 million — beginning in fiscal year 2013. For fiscal year 2015, the withholding increased to 1.5 percent. And in fiscal year 2017, The Advisory Board Company explains, this amount maxes at 2 percent. 

Hospitals can lose or earn back the money that is withheld, and a bonus is possible for top performers. For fiscal year 2015, hospitals are rewarded or penalized based on performance in these four domains: 

* Clinical process of care (20 percent) 

* Patient experience of care (30 percent) 

* Outcomes of care (30 percent) 

* Efficiency (20 percent) 

“Patient experience of care” is where HCAHPS scores come into play. The Advisory Board Company states that, by design, approximately half of hospitals receive the financial penalty in a given year. In future years, it will become more difficult for hospitals to do well under this payment model and rise above the break-even mark. 

The Impact of the HCAHPS 

Hospitals 

The HCAHPS puts financial pressure on hospitals. If they are unable to score in the top half of all facilities, they lose income. And as a result, this pressure can lead to solutions that may not be best for healthcare environments. 

Research identifies factors unrelated to quality of care as being more important to patients. A study in ScienceDaily found some of these factors, such as noise in the hospital room or the responsiveness of a nurse, often characterize large, busy urban hospitals that have high caseloads and better medical outcomes. “Based on this study, the hospitals that have the best survival outcomes are not doing the best job of satisfying patients,” said Robert D. Lieberthal, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. 

This has led to hotel-like amenities at hospitals seeking to improve patient satisfaction scores on the HCAHPS. Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times describes a $63 million community hospital outfitted with a stone fireplace and a waterfall in the lobby. Private rooms for patients include couches, flat-screen televisions and picturesque views. While there are some medical arguments for the trend, such as lower infection rates and added rest, Rosenthal argues that “the main reason for the largess is marketing.” Patient satisfaction becomes focused on amenities rather than quality of care, and the added cost is felt on a U.S. healthcare bill that exceeds $3 trillion. 

Patients 

Patient comments on the HCAHPS survey reveal negative perceptions of medical care. The Atlantic documents complaints that range from not enough pastrami on a patient’s sandwich (after undergoing quadruple-bypass surgery) to a hospital that lacked Splenda. Another patient complained about a roommate that was very noisy. These types of comments reinforce the fact that patients are often more concerned about comfort than they are concerned about quality of care. As oncology nurse Theresa Brown writes in The New York Times, “Focusing on what patients want — a certain test, a specific drug — may mean they get less of what they actually need. In other words, evaluating hospital care in terms of its ability to offer positive experiences could easily put pressure on the system to do things it can’t, at the expense of what it should.” If hospitals focus too heavily on what patients want, the patients could suffer in terms of quality care. 

Healthcare Professionals 

To perform well on the HCAHPS, doctors, nurses and other hospital staff must balance what is medically necessary for patients with what a patient likes or dislikes. In some situations, patients’ comfort and happiness are given too much weight. 

The Atlantic points out that in an effort to avoid upsetting patients, some doctors who are reimbursed based on these scores hesitate to refuse requested treatments or bring up difficult discussions about substance abuse, smoking or mental health issues. Medical Scribe Journal adds that this trend is also true for physicians abiding by patients’ requests for unnecessary tests. More than half of physicians in one survey admitted to ordering a test that wasn’t needed. And physicians who inform patients of bad news may not get high marks on patient satisfaction surveys. 

The pressure can also come from the hospital. The Atlantic mentions that because the HCAHPS involves nurses on almost every question, some hospitals now require nurses to undergo unnecessary nonmedical training that can involve scripts designed to score better on patient satisfaction surveys. The magazine points to hospital job postings for nurses that list “good customer-service skills” as the initial qualification. Some staff members are explicitly evaluated in terms of customer satisfaction, and patient satisfaction scores can be a factor in pay or annual bonuses for doctors and nurses. 

Maintaining Quality Care and Patient Satisfaction 

In many cases, healthcare professionals are able to treat patients while ensuring that they are as comfortable as possible. By having the right priorities and maintaining strong communication with patients, providers can do everything possible to meet all of their patients’ needs. The online B.S. Nursing: RN-BS degree program from Rivier University can help nurses keep a proper perspective on both patient satisfaction and patient treatment. It is designed to allow nurses to pursue leadership positions and increase the quality of care provided in any medical environment. The program takes place in a flexible online learning environment that allows students to maintain their work and personal schedule.

Nurses Practicing Self Care

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Apr 26, 2016 @ 11:36 AM

self-care.pngSelf care is one of the most important facets of being a Nurse. On a daily basis, you encourage others to focus on their health and reduce stress. However, it’s necessary that you incorporate relaxation and practices that are beneficial to your health mainly for self care reasons, but also so you can be healthy for your patients. Nurses spend so much time caring for others that self care may not be at the forefront of your thoughts, but that doesn’t change how important it is.

"Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an
empty vessel." -Eleanor Brownn

Maintain healthy eating habits

Nurses need nutrition to maintain health and reduce stressors that cause cravings of high fat and high sugar foods. Your role can be highly stressful looking after seriously ill patients and working long hours. You may also have a family that depends on you. The laundry list of responsibilities can add up quickly. That is why it is essential for you to put your health first beginning with your nutrition. It may be wise to bring foods to work such as cut fruits, nuts, and prepared salads.

As a Nurse, you promote healthy behavior and nutrition information to your patients. You can be much more effective at getting patients to engage in healthy activities when you lead by example. Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress by consuming high amounts of antioxidants. An antioxidant is any food that inhibits oxidative stress. The most effective antioxidants can be found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, salmon, and unpasteurized fruit juice. Did you know the pasteurization process reduces a great amount of nutrients in juice?

Exercises at work

To reduce stress and tension while increasing energy, practice deep breathing. This is a simple and highly effective activity that can easily be done at work. Practicing deep breathing after a stressful event is very helpful. The “quick calm” breathing exercise is done by taking a deep breath, holding for 3 seconds while thinking about being warm, and exhaling while thinking about being calm. This simple breathing exercise has a powerful effect in the body by using the abdomen to stimulate the vagus nerve. This nerve causes hormones to come into contact with the heart which lowers the heart rate. Sweating, muscle tension, and rapid breathing are all reduced with “quick calm” breathing.

Doing squats in place helps tone the entire body, especially the legs and buttocks. This exercise increases flexibility and strength. Calf raises are another easy exercise that will help tone muscles. Lunges and hamstring curls leaning over a chair can also be done in the workplace.  

There are countless activities you can engage in before or after work such as:

  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Running 
  • Swimming
  • Weight lifting

YNAvatars-large_02.png

Caring for the mind and emotions

All individuals need an activity that will bring them happiness, peace, and sense of well-being. Nurses are in a line of work that requires them to be supportive and show genuine interest in their patients. Your mental and emotional state is directly reflected in the quality of care you provide to your patients. There are healthy ways to reduce emotional exhaustion so that you and your patients have the best experience possible.

You have tremendous responsibilities. You should have an enjoyable pastime or hobby. Examples could be playing chess, painting, gardening, or jogging. Be sure to cater to your own emotional health which will allow you to be supportive to your patients. Taking time to spend with a loved one or enjoying an activity can mean all the difference in your happiness. Happy and healthy medical staff promotes a strong climate for patient care.

The concepts of Caring and Nursing are intertwined. While it is necessary for you to care for your patients, it is also necessary for you to receive care as well. It  is important that you take moments throughout the day for nutrition, exercise, and emotional care. Just as there is no substitution for nutrition, there is none for exercise and tending to one’s mental and emotional state. You may experience guilt for taking time for yourself, but it is unnecessary to feel that way. Self care is essential to the livelihood and health of your well being.

Related Article: Work & Life Balance: A Nurse's Impossible Dream?

If you have any questions about Nursing we can help! Just click below and submit your question! 

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Nursing Options Outside Of The Hospital

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:53 PM

2014023700.jpgNursing is a challenging and rewarding occupation, requiring long hours and a dedicated focus while offering people who answer the call the opportunity to make a real difference in patients' lives. While many Nursing careers are found inside hospital walls, there is a wide range of settings that a Nurse can choose as a workplace.

Home Care

Most hospitals will try to discharge patients within a few days of treatment. Doctors and Nurses may ask patients to follow specific instructions upon their arrival at home, including taking prescriptions, monitoring symptoms or filling out paperwork. Patients who have undergone major surgery or battled with serious conditions may need additional care, beyond the day they are discharged from the hospital.

In the home, Nurses may conduct physical assessments, administer medications and check the patient's understanding of his condition and treatment plan. They can also clear the environment of any obstacles to mobility or physical health. They help the patient and their family to understand the progress of conditions or diseases, giving them advice to effectively treat the disease.

Holistic Health

An emerging field in the healthcare landscape, holistic health involves caring for the "whole person" in order to meet wellness goals. To take on patients in this line of work, Nurses need to account for the body, mind and spirit of a person. This could mean that treatment will include a variety of therapies. or it could mean that the patient will interact with a wide range of healthcare professionals, from therapists to masseuses or acupuncturists.

Nurses in holistic health work with a patient to form a treatment plan for their physical and psychological needs, while taking into account the person's values, environmental concerns, social activities and anything else that may affect that person's quality of life.

Hospice and Palliative Care

Another option for Nurses to work outside of hospital walls is hospice care or palliative care. Focused primarily on the end of life, this work puts Nurses in the home to care for patients who are elderly and near death or for patients who have a serious disease who are approaching the end of their life. In most instances, the goal of this type of Nursing is to make the patient comfortable in their dying days.

Nurses who work in hospice or palliative care may be on-call for 24 hours and they are often primarily concerned with managing pain. They spend a lot of time interacting with families and loved ones about the patient's condition. Hospice care occurs when a patient's condition or disease cannot be cured, so the focus is on managing the symptoms and giving the patient the best quality of life possible through the end of their life.

School and Camp Nurses

Many Nurses are needed to work in public and charter schools, and even on college campuses. The role of the Nurse will differ depending on what type of school they choose, but these Nurses work during the school day to take care of accidents, injuries and health emergencies that happen while a student is at school. In some cases, Nurses may work with special education students, responding to the needs of the student's disability, as well as administering general care in a school setting.

For another chance to interact with students, Nurses can sign up to be camp Nurses, working at camps of every size and style during the warmer months. While some camp Nurses will be focused on daily needs, other Nurses may attend camps that challenge students in high-risk environments, where students could be injured during activities like rock climbing or mountain biking. In order to serve these camps well, Nurses need to be able to handle serious emergencies that happen on camp grounds, which are often located in a remote area.

Insurance Nurses

Insurance companies also hire Nurses, offering careers in a range of positions. Nurses who work at insurance companies may hold positions as a Case Manager, a Nurse Educator or a Consultant, to name a few. In these positions, Nurses work with members of the insurance company to make sure they understand their disease, treatment plan, and the policies and procedures of the insurance company.

Filling the gap between when a patient leaves a hospital and when they arrive home, these Nurses offer guidance and assist with care at every stage in the process. Depending on the position, they may assist with major healthcare decisions, or spend a lot of time with a patient, ensuring they are getting the proper treatment and care.

Outside of the hospital, there are many career options available for qualified Nurses. The positions in these other areas can be just as rewarding, while offering Nurses the opportunity with work with diverse patients in a variety of settings. 

Interested in other Nursing jobs but, want to get more detail and information?  Ask our Nurse Leader or check out our job board for more detailed job openings!

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The Immediacy Factor: The Rise and Growth of Same-Day Surgery

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 11, 2016 @ 12:19 PM

440x150daysurgery.jpgThe proliferation of same-day surgery has changed health care in a dramatic way over the past two decades. Not only can same-day surgeries alleviate overcrowding in hospitals, they can also decrease a patient’s health care costs, decrease rehab time, and diminish the financial loss of taking time off from work to have surgery performed.

Before the rise of same-day surgeries, whether it was open-heart surgery, removal of tonsils, or orthopedic scoping procedures, a patient would be relegated to multiple days and multiple costs of hospital care. This is not the case in today’s medical world where immediacy reigns when at all feasible.

The Rise of Immediacy – From Patient to Outpatient

According to the Living Well blog, outpatient surgeries rose from half of all surgeries in 1996 to two-thirds of all surgeries in 2006. Where did this all begin? How did patients transition from three-day stays to arriving home in time for the six o’ clock news?

Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) techniques have altered a medical practitioner’s need for size and space. Therefore, what used to require a large, fully-equipped operating room can now be performed in a much smaller, cost-efficient outpatient care facility.

Precision instruments that have gone from bulky to miniature have also made same day surgeries common. The smallest instruments range from two to ten millimeters and can free doctors from having to make large incisions so they may work within very small ones. Lumbar fusion and removal of damage caused by a herniated disc are two examples of procedures that used to require close to a week’s stay in a hospital and an incision that could be as large as 15 centimeters. A physician also used to have to clear a path to the spine, which could cause pain and damage to the tissue.

Today, microscopes and x-ray imagery control precise modern tools that clear a more direct path to the spine. The same can be said of hip replacements that used to require slicing muscle, a painful procedure. Today, a prosthesis can relieve pain faster while increasing potential mobility at a higher rate and faster pace. The less you have to disrupt the inside of the body, the quicker the possibility for rehab and the smaller the chances of large permanent scarring.

Why are minimally invasive same day surgeries good for patients and practitioners?

  • Advancements in anesthesia have meant that patients regain consciousness in a shorter period of time, allowing them to leave the care facility more quickly.
  • A doctor’s time, along with their expertise, can be his or her most valuable asset. Same day surgeries allow doctors to spend that asset on patients with more immediate and dire concerns.
  • Cost. Follow the money. Less time in the hospital means fewer expenses from hospitalization. Generally healthy – and often young – people don't have to be saddled with financially crippling health care bills that destroy a fiscal future.
  • Large, permanent scarring is decreased, thus allowing a patient to maintain a proud sense of self.
  • Many people undergoing medical procedures experience a loss in wages. Same day surgeries allow many to return to their place of employment quicker so they do not lose status or wages. They can bank their personal and sick time for situations that demand more attention.

Experts say the rise of same day surgeries has not yet reached its peak. The goals are two-fold: patient care and physician efficiency. For the relationship between health care practitioner and patient to be effective, both parties must feel satisfied with the experience and recovery. Same day surgeries have benefited both greatly.

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The Importance of Humor in Nursing

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Apr 08, 2016 @ 01:47 PM

1413852359931_Image_galleryImage_DALLAS_TX_OCTOBER_20_Seve.jpgThe Nursing profession is notoriously high-pressure. Many patients that Nurses encounter are in a grave state of need, and Nurses may not always meet their patients' needs, despite their best efforts. With so many individuals needing a coping mechanism, it's no wonder that many people turn to the power of humor and laughter.

The Benefits of Humor

To no one's surprise, humor has shown itself to be a powerful tool in the Nursing profession. Humor can increase a Nurse's happiness in his/her position and help to avoid burnout.

Sociological and psychological studies have shown that humor can diffuse tension in a situation, help lower blood pressure, ease stress and generally produce a feeling of well-being. Laughter and smiling create comparable positive effects.

Inappropriate Humor?

People in the medical profession are often familiar with a kind of dry, morbid humor. Medical professionals deal with matters of life, death and pain, with great immediacy. To give themselves some emotional distance from the matter, many medical professionals utilize this kind of humor among themselves.

But this kind of humor can seem cynical at best. It can alienate or appear disrespectful to patients. It's important to use it with care, if at all, and to remember that all individuals involved are human beings worthy of respect. As a rule of thumb, it's never acceptable to make jokes at a patient or colleague's expense (even if the individual isn't present, or if the humor would go over their head); this is doubly true with the kind of dry humor that can be common in Nursing.

Using Humor with Patients

Maintaining boundaries and being professional is key when engaging with patients and their families. But that doesn't mean that a Nurse isn't able to use humor in these situations.

It's important to use a delicate touch when joking with patients. Nurses may not get to know them or their sense of humor very well, and they're typically involved with patients during times of great emotional vulnerability, including fear or pain. But so long as a Nurse adheres to basic rules of interpersonal sensitivity, caring and respect, a little humor may go a long way to aid in bonding and the creation of empathy between patient and caregiver. It may defuse tension in situations that are otherwise very stressful.

Conclusion

Humor can't solve all problems within a workplace. If a Nurse is having serious problems on the job, or if they're going through a crisis outside of work, humor won't be enough to relieve stress and encourage them to stick around. But as an emotional release valve in a potentially grueling profession, occasional moments of humor can have a surprisingly powerful effect.

Is humor a tool you use often as a Nurse? Let us know in the comments below! 

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