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DiversityNursing Blog

Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Recent Posts

Top 10 Attributes of a Great Nurse

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Fri, Mar 08, 2024 @ 12:49 PM

It takes a special person with specific attributes to be a great Nurse. Great Nurses bring their best qualities into the profession to enhance the healthcare team and promote positive patient outcomes. Here are 10 attributes needed to be a great Nurse!

High-Quality Communication Skills: A great Nurse must be proficient in effective communication. Nurses are often the liaison between doctors, patients, and families, so they must be able to convey information clearly to avoid errors or miscommunications. Good communication not only helps to build trust among coworkers and patients but ensures that shared information is understood.

Compassion and Empathy: Nurses carry a heavy mental and emotional load. We are constantly exposed to high-stress, emotional situations that require us to portray compassion and empathy to comfort our patients. Great Nurses understand the emotional needs of patients and their families and strive to foster a supportive and healing environment.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking skills are critical to a remarkable Nurse. The ability to think clearly under pressure, assess the situation, and make quick decisions to solve problems is essential. Critical thinking is crucial to provide safe and effective patient care. Critical thinking is a learned skill, not usually learned overnight, but practiced and developed over time. 

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Attention to Detail: When it comes to providing Nursing care to our patients, attention to detail is a crucial skill that all Nurses must master. In the busy and hectic environment of Nursing, you must remain focused on details to ensure that care is being provided safely. When small details go overlooked, medication, communication, and documentation errors can occur.

Flexibility: The healthcare setting is dynamic, and situations can change rapidly without much warning or indication. A great Nurse needs to be flexible, adapt to new situations, and cope with unexpected challenges. Flexibility allows Nurses to respond effectively to changes and continue to ensure that patient care is delivered timely and safely.

Professionalism: Professionalism in Nursing means maintaining ethical standards, respecting patient confidentiality, and interacting respectfully with colleagues, patients, and their families. Nurses who demonstrate professionalism also share an ongoing commitment to learning and development. The Nursing profession is highly regarded, and this is in large part due to the professionalism of its members.

Excellent Time Management Skills: Nursing is a fast-paced profession with multiple responsibilities. A great Nurse manages their time efficiently to ensure all tasks are completed in a timely and correct manner. Excellent time management skills help Nurses prioritize their tasks while ensuring that patient care remains a top priority.

Cultural Competence: Cultural competence in Nursing is essential for providing holistic, patient-centered care that respects the diverse values and needs of individuals of different cultural backgrounds. Cultural competence contributes to improved communication and patient satisfaction and ultimately enhances the quality of healthcare delivery to our patients.

Advocacy: Advocacy is an integral aspect of the Nursing profession. Advocacy Nurses speak up for patient rights, their wellbeing, and contribute to positive changes in the healthcare system. Advocacy is a dynamic and essential component of providing compassionate and patient-centered care.

Teamwork: Teamwork and collaboration with other healthcare team members are integral to providing comprehensive patient care. Nurses should always strive to be influential team members by communicating well with colleagues and contributing to a collaborative healthcare environment. When Nurses work as a team, workplace morale improves, and patients thrive.

Bonus Attribute - A Sense of Humor!: A sense of humor is a valuable asset to a great Nurse. The Nursing profession can be stressful, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and burnt out with the high mental demands and stress.

A sense of humor enhances your ability to cope with challenges and positively influence the quality of patient care. Although a sense of humor has many positives, it is also important that Nurses be mindful of the context of their humor to remain respectful and sensitive to colleagues, patients, and families.

Becoming a great Nurse takes time, experience, and commitment to both personal and professional growth. At the end of the day, what makes a great Nurse is someone who truly wants the best outcomes for patients and strives to make that happen.

Topics: nursing career, nursing traits, nursing skills, nurse traits, nurse characteristics, nursing practice, nursing field

Helpful Apps Every Nurse Should Have

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Feb 01, 2024 @ 11:37 AM

Mobile apps have transformed how Nurses provide care to their patients. Smartphones allow Nurses easy access to applications designed to assist in daily tasks, improve efficiency, provide knowledge, and enhance patient care. Here are some of the most helpful apps every Nurse should have at their fingertips!

Medscape: Medscape is a medical database that lets you stay updated with the latest medical news, research, and clinical data. Within the app, you can access helpful drug and diagnosis information to ensure you stay updated on the most recent recommendations.

The app also offers a pill identifier tool that helps you quickly identify medications, which can be extremely helpful when encountering unlabeled medications patients bring from home. Medscape also offers a med calculator, a drug interaction checker, and easy access to continuing education courses and programs. Medscape provides something for just about every Nurse, whether you are just starting or are well seasoned within the profession.

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MediBabble: MediBabble is a free, professional-grade medical interpretation app that every Nurse should have on hand to better communicate with non-English speaking patients.

This app was designed to help provide medical professionals with safe and effective communication with patients who speak foreign languages. Get timely and accurate translations of 7 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, and Haitian Creole, at the touch of a button.  

Code Scribe: Emergency situations can be stressful, but with Code Scribe, you can time and clock code situations quickly and efficiently. Instead of using a scrap piece of paper or a paper towel (you know you've done it) to write down your code times, you can track all necessary documentation within the Code Scribe app.

With the tap of a button, you can start and stop your code timer, clock medication administration, and so much more. Codes can be tracked in real-time with a CPR and epinephrine timer. After the code is completed, you can easily copy the log and send it by email to be printed and placed in the chart as official documentation.  

PEPID: PEPID is an all-in-one medical resource for medical professionals of all degrees, including Nurses and Nursing students. The app offers Nurses access to a wealth of point-of-care clinical knowledge, including a pill identification, IV drug compatibility checker, and drug interaction checker.

Within the app, you can also access a lab manual with over 200 lab results and ranges with complete lab information to help you better care for your patients. There are also over 750 procedural and examination videos available in their comprehensive medical video library that you can easily access while on the job.

Epocrates: Epocrates is a trusted healthcare app every Nurse should have available to ensure safe medication administration. The app provides comprehensive medication guides that include medication dosages, drug interactions, and side effects.

Quickly access medication information on the job and use the resources to find information to answer your patients' medication questions quickly and accurately. The app also provides continuing education materials and a pill identifier feature to use on the go.

NurseGrid: NurseGrid allows you to balance your work life and personal life right from your phone. Nurses designed the app for Nurses, so it has everything you need to manage your work schedule most efficiently.  

The app allows you to carry your work schedule everywhere you go and share your schedule with coworkers so you always know who you are working with or who may be available to switch shifts. Overall, NurseGrid is a great way to track your work shifts and your PTO so that you can make the most of your time off! 

Nursing can be a demanding profession requiring constant access to medical knowledge and clinical skills. Thanks to smartphones, Nursing and technology have combined to provide new graduates and experienced Nurses with quick and reliable access to medical resources at their fingertips. Access to these resources and many others can help you stay informed, organized, and confident so you can continue to provide your patients with the best care.

Topics: nurse apps, nursing apps, nursing jobs, nursing profession, nursing shift

Advanced Nursing Degrees: What You Need to Know

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Jan 18, 2024 @ 10:47 AM

If you're looking to return to school for a Nurse Practitioner degree, you may wonder what specialty track you should choose. Choosing a specialty track will determine the type of education you will receive and the type of patients you will be qualified to give care. Here is a guide to some of the most common Nurse Practitioner specialties so you can learn their differences.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

The Family Nurse Practitioner track may be the most versatile degree route for potential NPs. The FNP degree prepares you to care for people across the lifespan, from childhood into adulthood. A Family Nurse Practitioner degree allows you to work in various settings, including primary care, family medicine, emergency care, pediatrics, women's health, and so much more.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners care for children from infancy through adolescence into early adulthood. Pediatric care can be challenging, so PNPs must be highly skilled and educated to provide the best care to the smallest of patients and their parents.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners often work in pediatric outpatient clinics and in the hospital or pediatric specialties like cardiology or endocrinology.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Specializing in psychiatric care has become a popular and sought-after specialty for Nurse Practitioners. PMNHPs have a versatile education resume in psychiatric care, making them eligible to work in outpatient clinics, inpatient units, addiction clinics, and home care.

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners complete coursework and clinical hours to prepare them to care for adults and the elderly in primary care. A-GNPs work in the primary or long-term care setting, providing care to adults as they age.

After obtaining a license as an A-GNP, you can also work in specialty areas like dermatology or cardiology if the patients are of adult age.

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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)

If you are passionate about caring for babies, the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner route may be right for you. NNPs are highly trained and have the skills to care for high-risk, vulnerable newborns. NNPs primarily work in the neonatal intensive care unit inside the hospital, but others can work in outpatient clinics or the emergency department.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners specialize in women's health issues ranging from adolescence through the end of life. Caring for women's health issues includes every aspect of obstetrics, gynecology, and sexual health.

As an NP specializing in women's health, you will be responsible for providing women with specialized and quality care. WHNPs work in various settings, including outpatient clinics and labor and delivery.

How Long Does It Take to Become A Nurse Practitioner

Despite your chosen course of study, most Nurse Practitioner programs take somewhere between 2-3 years to complete. Once you have completed your master's degree program in your chosen area of study, you will sit for a certification board exam held by the state where you plan to practice.

After you’ve passed this test, you will apply for a license to practice in your state. Once all these things are completed, you can begin practicing as an NP.

Why Become A Nurse Practitioner?

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner will provide you with advanced clinical training and open the door to diverse and exciting career opportunities. Nurse Practitioners of all specialties are in high demand, offering job stability, career advancement opportunities, and job satisfaction.

Ultimately, the decision to become a Nurse Practitioner is personal. Nurse Practitioners must have the drive, skill, and compassion to care for people across the lifespan and continue to strive to provide all patients with the best quality care.


Topics: nursing degree, advanced nursing degrees

Nurses Holiday Survival Guide

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Dec 14, 2023 @ 09:42 AM

Being a Nurse means you will most likely have to spend a holiday or two a year working a shift. It can be disappointing to forego your holiday traditions and festivities with your loved ones to head to work instead.

Although having to work the holidays can be difficult, it is important to remember that your presence can make a huge difference in the lives of your patients. Follow this holiday survival guide to continue spreading holiday cheer, even if you must spend the holiday in your scrubs.

Put Your Mental Health First

Nurses have a physically and emotionally exhausting job, and the emotional toll can become especially hard during the holidays. It is important to prioritize your mental health, especially during the holiday season. Set time aside to recharge before, during, and after your shift by taking a short walk, a bubble bath, or reading a good book.

Prioritizing your mental health while working the holidays will set you up to enjoy celebrations in your personal life.

Find Ways To Celebrate the Holidays at Work

Just because you must work the holidays, it doesn't mean you can't celebrate them. One of the best ways to spread the holiday spirit and enjoy your time at work is to bring the celebration into your shift.

Consider organizing a holiday party at work where everyone brings a dish to share, wear holiday accessories or scrubs, or even plan a Secret Santa with your coworkers. Although working the holidays can sometimes feel like a drag, these simple holiday traditions can make all the difference.

Think About Your Patients

If you are disappointed to be spending the holidays working and away from your family, odds are your patients are feeling the same way, maybe even worse. Be cheerful when interacting with your patients and tell them they are not alone.

You could decorate patient rooms to spread holiday cheer or help them call or Facetime their loved ones to help lift their spirits. A great way to uplift your mood is to boost the mood of others, and a little extra holiday cheer can make a huge difference in the lives of our patients.

Stay Connected to Friends and Loved Ones

It can be challenging to work the holidays instead of spending time with your friends and family, but staying connected the best way you can is essential. If possible, arrange with your loved ones to move your usual holiday traditions to a different day so you can attend. This way, you can still enjoy time together celebrating the holidays. Because at the end of the day, all that matters is time spent with loved ones, even if you celebrate the holiday on a different day.

If you work as a travel Nurse and distance is a struggle when trying to stay connected, arrange for a virtual celebration so that you can stay connected despite the physical distance.  

Splurge on a Gift for Yourself

One of the perks of working the holidays is holiday pay or bonuses. If you are working during the holidays and find yourself with a little extra cash in your pocket, consider buying yourself a gift to celebrate your hard work. Nurses put so much of their time and energy into caring for their patients. You deserve to celebrate your hard work with something special.

Prioritize your Rest to Combat Fatigue

The key to success in surviving the holidays is remembering the basics of self-care, and this includes prioritizing your rest. Caring for yourself and getting enough sleep between your holiday shifts is essential to combat the physical and emotional fatigue that comes with working a busy holiday shift. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help unwind and reset your mind for a good night's sleep.

Maintain Boundaries

We all know, the holiday season is a busy time of year. It can be challenging for Nurses who work off shifts to coordinate attending specific gatherings, especially when it seems like there is a gathering planned every day of the week.

 It is important to set clear boundaries between your work and personal life. When you are off-duty, focus on relaxing and enjoying the time with your loved ones and not overcommitting to social events if you need the time to recharge between your busy holiday work shifts.  

Balancing work and your personal life can be challenging, and the holidays are no different. The best way to survive the holidays is to plan appropriately and prioritize self-care so you can enjoy the season and continue to take great care of your patients.

Topics: holiday shifts, working holidays, nursing career, Nursing tips, stress during the holidays, nursing shift, nursing practice, nursing field

Unlocking Nursing Career Opportunities: Tips and Advice for Success

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Mon, Dec 04, 2023 @ 11:19 AM

One of the most extraordinary things about Nursing are the endless opportunities that lay at your feet the second you enter the profession. Here are some tips and advice to set you up for success in your Nursing career.

Continuing Education and Learning

Nursing is a dynamic career field with constant technological advancements and best practice updates. Nurses should strive to stay on top of industry trends by attending conferences, online classes, independent study programs, and on-the-job training.

Continuing education credits can ensure you stay updated with industry trends and broaden your skill set, making you stand apart from others in the job market. 

Nursing Specialization

Nursing specialization allows you to become an expert in a chosen area of interest within the Nursing profession. Registered Nurses can choose to become board-certified in various Nursing specialties, including but not limited to, Emergency Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, and Critical Care.  

Nurses who specialize in a specific area of Nursing can influence Nursing practice, education, and healthcare outcomes by sharing their expertise and patient care experience. Not only does pursuing a specialization look excellent on a resume, it also helps shape the healthcare industry's future and promote better patient care.


Networking in Nursing can unlock unexpected and significant career opportunities. Networking contributes to personal growth and development within your career by allowing Nurses to connect with colleagues, mentors, and experts in the field to share knowledge and experience.

These connections provide Nurses with opportunities for learning from the experiences of others, developing professionally, and staying updated on advancements in healthcare. Becoming a member of a professional Nursing organization or association and finding a Nurse mentor are great ways to expand your network and unlock limitless career advancement.

Diversify and Seek New Experiences

A rich and productive work environment comprises diverse individuals with broad experience backgrounds. The best career candidates provide valuable experience and knowledge in different areas of Nursing practice.

To diversify your background and become an ideal career opportunity candidate, seek out new experiences to broaden your skills and knowledge by participating in volunteer opportunities, internships, and residency programs. Experience in various areas of Nursing makes you a well-rounded medical professional with knowledge and experience to share, which looks great on any job application.

Create a Strong Cover Letter and Resume

When seeking new career opportunities, a strong cover letter and resume can set you apart from other candidates and help you to stand out.

The cover letter is the first document a potential employer reads. It should capture the reader's attention and set the tone for the rest of your application. From there, your resume should showcase your strongest achievements, skills, and experiences. A quality cover letter and resume may unlock or block you from career opportunities.

Consider an Advanced Degree

Advanced Nursing degrees can unlock extreme career potential and open the doors to new and prosperous opportunities. Advanced Nursing degrees empower Nurses to take on more specialized, leadership-oriented, and impactful roles in the healthcare system.

They provide a pathway for career growth, increased responsibilities, and the opportunity to contribute significantly to patient care, education, research, and healthcare policy. If you are looking for a new career opportunity, there is no better way to open more career goals than to work toward completing an advanced degree.

To unlock Nursing career opportunities and achieve the greatest success, Nurses must have a unique combination of education, skill development, networking, and a proactive approach to career planning. A successful Nursing journey can look different to everyone, and how you reach ultimate career satisfaction is an individualized process. Nursing at all levels takes skill, dedication, and passion. As long as you keep the goal of providing high-quality patient care, you will achieve career success.




Topics: nurse staffing, hiring nurses, Nursing tips, nurse recruitment, nurse advice, nurse hiring, nurse success

Exploring Different Leadership Styles In Nursing

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Nov 16, 2023 @ 11:52 AM

Strong Nursing leadership is essential to aid in navigating the constant evolution of the Nursing profession. Nursing leaders have various responsibilities, including budget balancing, maintaining patient and staff satisfaction, influencing healthcare decisions, and much more.  

Nurse leaders set the tone for a productive, collaborative, and safe work environment with their leadership style. Here are some common Nurse leadership styles you may encounter in the workplace.

Transformational Nurse Leadership Style

Transformational Nurse leaders are charismatic, innovative, and supportive in their leadership style. They excel in Nurse mentorship, making them the perfect fit for mentoring new Nurses and fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Transformational Nurse leaders promote the success of their employees and the overall team to encourage better patient outcomes. This Nursing leadership style results in improved job satisfaction and excellent team morale.

The Autocratic Nurse Leadership Style 

The autocratic Nurse leader maintains tight control over the entire team and often makes decisions unilaterally with little to no employee input. This type of Nurse leader allows little room for mistakes and takes an authoritarian approach to their leadership. Nurse leaders with an autocratic style work great under pressure and can delegate tasks effectively.

Autocratic Nurse leaders often excel in emergency or critical care settings, where quick and accurate decisions are required for safe and effective patient care. One downfall of an autocratic leadership approach is the lack of open communication, which can result in some team members feeling unwelcome or uninvolved.

The Laissez-Faire Leadership Style 

A laissez-faire Nurse leader takes a hands-off approach to their leadership style. They allow the Nursing team members to function with autonomy, permitting them to make independent decisions with little input or direction from management.

Laissez-faire leaders thrive in environments where team members are highly trained, skilled, and motivated, but they do not fair as well in settings where Nurses need more support, like the help new graduate Nurses need.

The Democratic Leadership Style

Democratic Nurse leaders take a collaborative approach to achieve team success. Nurse leaders with a democratic style involve all team members in decision-making processes and seek input from staff to improve outcomes. Democratic nurse leaders encourage open communication and transparency to foster creative solutions to improve patient care.

Democratic leaders delegate decisions and responsibilities to team members, which can help members feel respected, appreciated, and trusted. Democratic Nurse leaders may not excel in areas of Nursing where urgent situations that call for rapid decision-making are needed because time-sensitive matters do not allow for collaborative input from team members.

The Servant Nurse Leadership Style

The servant Nurse leader prioritizes the development and well-being of the Nursing team members. Servant leaders use encouragement to foster a collaborative and caring work environment where employees feel valued and respected. This leadership style prioritizes the needs of others to promote teamwork, which improves patient care.  

Servant Nurse leaders believe empowered Nurses provide better patient care and they do everything they can to support their staff. This method of Nurse leadership works well with Nurses who are goal-driven, but they do not fair as well for Nurse teams who underperform or lack direction.

The Situational Nurse Leadership Style

Situational Nurse leadership is the most adaptable form of leadership in Nursing. These leaders adjust their leadership style based on the team members' readiness, maturity, skills, and knowledge in a given situation.  

Situational Nurse leaders adapt their approach to meet their Nursing team's specific needs and capabilities. They must be flexible enough to modify their approach. This leadership style works well for Nursing teams with varying strengths and abilities.

The Transactional Nurse Leadership Style

Transactional Nurse leaders are goal and task-oriented and work well with tight deadlines. A transactional Nurse leader focuses on day-to-day operations by using a system of rewards and punishments to motivate and manage the Nursing team.

For example, Nurses who call out sick often may suffer the consequence of being written up, while Nurses who never call in sick may receive a bonus or front-row parking space as a reward. The reward and punishment method is used to achieve compliance from followers and provides structure for employees.  

What Nurse Leadership Style Works Best For You?

Influential Nurse leaders often employ a combination of these leadership styles based on their specific circumstances. The approach of Nurse leaders influences the dynamics of the healthcare environment and makes a big difference in how effectively Nursing teams work together.

Nurse leaders of all types are essential to the healthcare system. Their impact extends beyond their immediate groups, influencing the overall quality and safety of patient care.

Topics: nurse leaders, nurse leadership, nurse leader, nurse leader qualities

The Legal Responsibilities of Nursing

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Thu, Nov 02, 2023 @ 10:28 AM

Nursing is a multifaceted profession that requires strong clinical skills, excellent problem-solving, top-notch communication skills, and a deep understanding of the legal obligations and implications of Nursing practice. The legal aspects of Nursing are just as important as the clinical aspects to ensure you are providing safe patient care. Here are some of the legal aspects of Nursing to know and understand.

Licensure and Certification

To legally practice as a Nurse, you must obtain and maintain a valid Nursing license or certification in the state you practice Nursing. Licensure is the process state boards of Nursing use to determine a Nurse has attained the educational and clinical requirements to practice Nursing competently.

Once licensure is obtained, each state has set requirements to maintain and renew licensure. Receiving and maintaining a Nurse's license is the first legal responsibility.

Scope of Practice

The Nursing scope of practice standardizes what a Nurse can and cannot do legally. For example, the scope of practice for LPN’s varies from that of an RN. Nurses must practice within the legal boundaries defined by the state in which they practice.  

When Nurses deviate from their authorized scope of practice, it can result in legal consequences. Before practicing Nursing in any state, become familiar with the set scope of practice to avoid legal implications.  

Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice is when a Nurse fails to provide patient care that meets the established standards of the Nursing profession, which results in patient compromise or harm. Malpractice has severe legal and professional consequences and can ultimately result in the revocation of your Nursing licensure.

Nursing malpractice can include physical, emotional, or financial harm or injury to a patient, medication errors, failure to report, or documentation issues.


Accurate and comprehensive Nursing documentation is a crucial element of patient care. Laws and regulations mandate Nurses maintain proper Nursing documentation to enhance communication and serve as evidence in case of legal disputes or investigations.  

To properly document your patient care, it is essential to use clear and objective language, write the facts, record care promptly, sign and date all entries, report any omissions or errors according to your facility's policies, and protect patient confidentiality and privacy. Nurses who maintain compliant documentation can protect themselves in the event of legal challenges.

Informed Consent

Informed Consent is a fundamental ethical and legal aspect of Nursing of which all Nurses must become familiar. Informed consent involves obtaining permission from the patient or their legal representative before any procedure, treatment, or intervention.  

Nurses play a critical role in informed consent as we spend the most time at the bedside. It is the responsibility of every Nurse to ensure patients are fully educated on the potential risks and benefits of the proposed healthcare action and all potential alternatives so they can make an informed decision that meets all ethical and legal standards.  


Nurses are mandated reporters, which means all Nurses have a legal responsibility to report any suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable individuals. Nurses must be vigilant and learn to recognize signs of abuse or neglect in children, the elderly, or other vulnerable populations.  

Suppose you suspect abuse or mistreatment of a patient. In that case, it is your legal responsibility to report findings to organizations such as child protective services, elder services, or local law enforcement.

Legal issues in Nursing can have serious consequences. Staying updated on the laws and regulations specific to Nursing practice is essential to ensure you maintain the highest standards of patient care. To learn more about the legal regulations and obligations you should uphold, reach out to your state board of Nursing to learn more.

Topics: legal, legal nursing

Patient Advocacy: A Closer Look

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Wed, Oct 18, 2023 @ 10:31 AM

Patient advocacy is a critical aspect of providing safe and effective patient care. Nurse advocates are tasked with helping patients understand and navigate their healthcare journey, including answering questions, explaining medical care, discussing and explaining billing or insurance, and other healthcare-related topics.

Nurses are often the first and last contact for patients in the healthcare setting. Patients rely on Nurses to support them and keep them safe and educated throughout their interactions. Nurses advocate for their patients by respecting their dignity, protecting patient rights, treating patients equally and without bias, and preventing undue suffering. Here are some of the many ways Nurses advocate for their patients.


Patient advocates provide information and insight into medical treatment options and medical conditions. Nurses can connect with patients and meet them where they are in their healthcare journey by helping them understand their medical needs, where the future may lead them, and any potential complications. Education is crucial in patient advocacy because knowledge enables patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare.


Communication is essential to ensure patients receive high-quality care and good health outcomes. It also helps improve patient satisfaction. Nurse advocates help to facilitate communication between patients, family members, and healthcare providers to ensure that information is effectively shared and understood by everyone on the healthcare team.

Nurses may find setting up family meetings with the patient, their family, and healthcare representatives to be an impactful way of communicating health diagnoses and changes.

Protecting Patient Rights

Protecting patient rights is a fundamental aspect of Nursing and involves ensuring that patients receive fair treatment, privacy, and autonomy in their medical care. Patients are entitled to fair treatment that is free of bias, as well as privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical conditions and history.

Nurses must respect and protect patients' privacy by safeguarding their medical records and personal health information. Patient rights also include access to medical records and the right to refuse medical treatment. Protecting patient rights involves fostering a culture of respect, transparency, and advocacy for all healthcare professionals.

Informed Consent

Informed consent is the process by which Nurses, as the representatives of the healthcare team, provide patients with a complete understanding of the details, risks, benefits, and alternatives of a proposed medical treatment, procedure, or intervention before giving consent.

Obtaining informed consent involves presenting all relevant information to the patient in clear and understandable language so they can make an informed decision regarding their health. Informed consent should be given freely without persuasion and only after all patient questions have been answered.

Address Health Disparities

Addressing health disparities as a Nurse advocate involves advocating for equitable healthcare access, outcomes, and opportunities for all individuals, especially in underserved or marginalized communities of patients. Nurses can better advocate for their patients and help address health disparities by becoming educated about the root causes and contributing factors of health disparities and social determinants of health, including socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, education, and access to healthcare.

Nurses should strive to enhance their cultural competence to provide patient-centered care that respects diverse cultural beliefs, practices, and values. Other ways to address health disparities as a Nurse advocate include conducting community outreach programs to provide health education and preventative health screenings or advocating for accessible and affordable healthcare services to those in underserved communities.

Influence Policy Change

Nurses can be powerful patient advocates by influencing and supporting policy change. Nurses can use their expertise, experiences, and passion to improve healthcare by influencing decision-makers to make impactful changes. Consider contacting a policymaker by writing a letter or setting up a meeting to discuss a need for change you are passionate about.

Nurses can also actively participate in developing healthcare policy by joining committees and advisory boards to offer their expertise and knowledge, and translate it into policies that address important healthcare challenges. By actively participating in the policy-making process, Nurses can effectively advocate for policy changes that improve patient outcomes and the well-being of our patients and communities.

Be the Change

Patient advocacy is a critical and rewarding component of every Nursing career, and every Nurse has the opportunity to be a patient advocate. Nurses who advocate for their patients foster a patient-centered healthcare system prioritizing patients' rights, well-being, and preferences. Nurse advocacy creates a safe, informed, and more effective healthcare experience for all.

Topics: patient advocate, Patient advocate nursing

Handling Difficult Conversations

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Tue, Oct 03, 2023 @ 08:09 AM

Difficult conversations are an inevitable part of the job for any healthcare professional, especially Nurses. Nurses handle patients during serious situations and often encounter patients on some of the worst days of their lives, making these conversations more challenging.

Nurses are often tasked with handling conversations such as a poor prognosis, end-of-life discussions, or delivering difficult news. These conversations can be tricky and complicated by big emotions, so you must have tools and strategies available to help navigate the situation with as much professionalism and empathy as possible. Keep reading for helpful tips and techniques for handling difficult conversations.

Prepare Yourself Before the Conversation

Before engaging in a difficult conversation with a patient or their family, take a moment to check in with yourself and mentally prepare for the discussion. Make sure to acknowledge your feelings and evaluate any biases you may have before starting the conversation.

You should also ensure that you completely understand the topic at hand because patients and families will have questions, and it is important to have the answers or know where to find them before initiating the conversation.

Choose the Right Setting and Set Aside Enough Time

Difficult conversations deserve time and attention. Choose a comfortable, private, and quiet location where you can have an engaged and uninterrupted conversation. To have an effective discussion, you and the patient should feel at ease and comfortable in the situation to freely express thoughts and emotions and have time to ask and answer any questions.

Establish Rapport

Showing empathy, validating emotions or feelings, and letting your patients know you are available to help them in any way they need can help establish rapport and create a trusting Nurse-patient relationship. Establishing rapport can help them better understand, accept, and navigate whatever their healthcare journey has in store. 


Top-notch listening skills are an attribute all Nurses must have. When having difficult conversations, always listen to your patients carefully and do not interrupt them when asking questions or venting their thoughts and feelings.

It is important to allow your patients the space and time to respond to these conversations in any way they may react. Many patients may respond with anger, sadness, or fear, so it is important to demonstrate empathy and understanding through non-verbal cues like body language and maintaining eye contact.

Express Your Empathy and Understanding

Even if you haven’t experienced the same emotions or situations as your patient, phrases like “I can understand how you might be feeling” or “I can see why this is difficult for you” can communicate empathy by acknowledging the patient's emotions and concerns. Connecting with your patients and letting them know you support them during this difficult time is important.

Be Direct and Clear with Information

When having difficult conversations with patients or their families, it is easy for emotions to get in the way of a precise delivery of information. You must deliver the information clearly and directly in language that patients can easily understand.

Try to avoid medical terminology the average person may not understand. Ask if they have any questions to ensure they understand the information. Ask the patient to repeat to you what they heard so you can help them understand the situation entirely.

Follow Up

After having a difficult conversation or delivering difficult news to your patient, follow up to check on their well-being and emotions. During difficult conversations, patients may forget to ask specific questions or have new ones to ask after reflecting.

Follow-up conversations allow patients to discuss their situation further and allow for informed decision-making. Always convey to the patient that you and the rest of the healthcare team are available if they need further assistance.

Manage Your Emotions and Seek Support

Difficult conversations are not only difficult for patients. They may also be difficult for you. It is essential to control your emotions during the conversation, even if your patient becomes upset and expresses strong feelings. Keep calm and professional to help diffuse the situation.

Some conversations can be more complicated than others and it is not unreasonable for some of these conversations to take a toll on your mental health over time. Seek support from a colleague you trust or a personal counselor to help you process your emotions and gain better insight into handling similar situations.

In all challenging conversations, effective communication, active listening, empathy, and a patient-centered approach are essential to reach a collaborative decision and plan of care. Next time you encounter a difficult conversation, reflect on these tips and strategies to navigate the situation smoothly and effectively.

Topics: difficult conversations, nurse patient relationship

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage and the Importance of Representation in Nursing

Posted by Sarah West APRN, FNP-BC

Wed, Sep 13, 2023 @ 10:16 AM

Each year, from September 15th through October 15th, Americans honor and celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration where we recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Hispanic or Latino Heritage. The celebration begins on September 15th because it marks the anniversary of when Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained independence.

When Nursing professionals represent the patient populations they care for, healthcare improves for both the patient and the healthcare provider. Hispanic Nurses, like Nurses from any other cultural background, play a vital role in Nursing, bringing varied perspectives and beliefs into view.

While Latinos represent 18% of the US population, less than 7% of the Nursing workforce is of Latino descent Here are some of the many benefits Hispanic representation adds to the Nursing profession.

Diversity and Cultural Competence

As patients come from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, representation in Nursing is crucial for better patient outcomes and satisfaction. Thankfully, the healthcare landscape is becoming increasingly more diverse, with more and more Nurses of Hispanic and Latino heritage joining the field.

Hispanic Nurses bring cultural competency and an understanding to the profession that can significantly differ from other cultural backgrounds. Representation of Hispanic individuals in the nursing progression can bridge communication gaps and foster trust between patients and healthcare providers.

Language Skills

Many Hispanic Nurses are bilingual or multilingual, which is crucial to providing effective care to patients with limited proficiency in English. Properly communicating with patients in their native language improves comprehension of medical instructions and guidelines, reduces misunderstandings, and ensures accurate exchange of information. Explaining medical information in language and terms your patients understand increases medical compliance.


Representation matters in all professions, especially in healthcare. When patients see healthcare professionals who share their background, it creates comfort and understanding within the Patient-Nurse relationship. This encourages patients to better engage in their care and treatment plans. When patients feel connected with their healthcare provider, healthcare outcomes are often improved.  

Community Outreach

Nurses from different ethnic backgrounds can significantly improve community outreach by better connecting to different patient populations. Hispanic Nurses can help educate the people of their communities about preventative care, health screenings, vaccinations, and other important health topics in language and terminology that they can better understand. Community outreach within diverse patient populations promotes health awareness and encourages people to seek medical attention promptly.

Reduce Health Disparities

Addressing health disparities in the Hispanic population can be challenging. Unfortunately, many Hispanic people face health disparities due to socioeconomic status, limited access to healthcare, and cultural barriers. Hispanic Nurses have a unique understanding of these challenges, can make efforts to reduce these disparities, and advocate for equitable healthcare access and resources. 

Patient Advocacy

Nurses of Hispanic heritage can advocate for their patients, particularly those facing discrimination or systemic barriers. They can help ensure that patient concerns are heard, help promote informed decision-making, and work towards providing a patient-centered approach.

Cultural Sensitivity

Every patient comes from a different background or culture, and everyone has unique healthcare beliefs and practices. Hispanic Nurses can understand these nuances and help provide care to patients that respects and accommodates their cultural preferences while also adhering to evidence-based medical practices.  

Workforce Enhancement

Hispanic representation in the Nursing profession encourages diversity and helps enrich the profession with various perspectives and experiences. Healthcare diversity can lead to innovative solutions and approaches to healthcare challenges and improve patient outcomes.


Hispanic Nurses can significantly contribute to the healthcare system by bringing diversity, cultural understanding, language skills, representation, and a deeper connection to the communities they serve. Hispanic representation in Nursing enhances the overall quality of care and helps address healthcare disparities while fostering a more inclusive and patient-centered healthcare environment.

Topics: hispanic nurse, hispanic, Hispanic Heritage Month, representation

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