Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Make Your Life as a Nurse Easier

5 Ways to Make Your Life as a Nurse Easier

It’s a profession that most people find daunting and challenging, which is why they choose to give it a miss. Not everyone is cut out to be a nurse because it involves long hours, grueling work, and a fair amount of emotional stress. But on the plus side, it’s a calling that warms your heart and makes you a better person. You see so much suffering and pain that you’re grateful for the healthy life that you and your family have, and you develop your kinder side because of your interaction with your patients. Even so, it’s a stressful job, and if you don’t make the effort to make your life easier, you’re likely to burn out. So here they are, a few tips on how you can make your life as a nurse easier and more relaxing:

· Leave the office behind when you go home: As a nurse, you see so much going on in hospitals and in the lives of patients. You’re busy running around tending to them and taking orders from and following the instructions given to you by doctors and administrators. In short, your life in the hospital as a nurse is far removed from normalcy. But when you turn in your uniform for street clothes at the end of the day, you must divest your job and climb into your own skin. Only then can you relax and refresh yourself for the new day to come.

· Learn to draw the line at the right spot when it comes to your patients: Most nurses struggle to maintain the right distance from their patients, especially those who stay for long periods of time in healthcare centers and hospitals. They become emotionally involved in their lives and take on their mental pain and suffering too. This makes each day an emotional rollercoaster for them, and by the time they’re through for the day, they’re drained both physically and mentally. In order to relax, you must learn to draw the line between empathy and deep involvement with your patients.

· Do your job wholeheartedly: Unless you love nursing with all your heart, you’re likely to end up resenting parts or the whole of your job and doing it only because you need the money. This makes it harder for you come into work every day and summon up the enthusiasm you need to do a good job. So if you don’t love and enjoy nursing, it’s time to look for a new profession.

· Be aware of what you’re getting into when you become ambitious: If you decide to pursue a graduate degree and advance your career, you must be aware that with the promotion and raise, you’re also going to be getting additional responsibility. This may mean more demanding work, longer hours, and much more stress. So unless you’re prepared for all this, it’s best not to look for professional advancement.

· Spend time with your family and friends: And finally, it’s imperative that you spend enough time with loved ones. Family and friends make you feel loved and rejuvenate your tired and sometimes disillusioned soul and make it easier for you to go back to the hospital and deal with the sick and the infirm on a day-to-day basis.


This guest post is contributed by Maryanne Osberg, who writes on the topic of RN to MSN Online Programs . She can be reached at mary.anne579(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The IOM Report: The Future of Nursing

The big news this week in the world of nurse practitioners and health care was the release of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health." It's a logical read and echos what NPs, patients, and some other professions have been saying for years: let NPs do the work they are already educated and trained to do without arbitrary and archaic state and/or federal barriers. This is not a "scope of practice" issue, it is allowing us to practice to the full extent of our education.

For example, when I reflect back on my NP education, there was no course entitled, "How to sort of take care of chronic conditions but when you get in over your head, make sure you have your collaborating physician's number on speed dial." We were taught to function as primary care providers that included acquiring the knowledge base to evaluate, diagnose and treat our patients and their conditions using the skill sets and tools needed to care for our patients. NPs don't practice witchcraft or voo-do - we are providing high-quality, cost-effective and culturally congruent care.

Predictably, organized medicine is playing the "patient safety" and "quality of care" card. Bad outcomes occur when there are breakdowns in communication and from care that is uncoordinated - not usually because the clinician is incompetent.

The bottom line is (at least in NY where I practice), without a collaborating physician on record, the 14,000 or so NPs are unemployed and can't legally do anything that we were trained or educated to do. It is time to remove these non-evidence based barriers and retrospective reviews and allow us to function as true partners on the health care team. Collaboration among providers would still continue to happen and I promise pigs wouldn't start to fly. Fourteen states have already transitioned to to an autonomous model of practice model for NPs. Lawmakers must not cave to special interests and make the tough decisions that will enable greater access to care.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Funny and Sad

I recently ordered an ECG along with routine blood work for a patient who needed a pre-op workup. I received the ECG results today with the interpretation by the cardiologist. I thought it was funny and sad that he felt the need to cross out the default "Dr." preceding my name on the report. Of course, I am not a "doctor" as in physician, nor do I ever purport to be. I will soon have my doctorate in nursing practice (7 months to go!) but that will have no impact on how I interact with my patients or colleagues. I wish reports, and even prescription bottles for that matter, correctly referred to the credentials of the ordering clinician. Our patients should be able to identify their clinician without further confusion. But until then, I guess providers will self enforce who gets to be called "Dr." I can't help but to imagine a rogue pharmacist crossing out the "Dr." on every prescription label for prescriptions that are written by non-physicians. Surely, we have better things to do with our limited time and resources....right?