Archive for December, 2011

The Nurse as Whistleblower

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News, Nursing School

Real world nursing isn’t just what you were taught in nursing school. As you learn to work with patients in your clinicals, your instructors teach you the “ideal” method for every procedure and every situation. Once you get into the real world, with license in hand, you begin to see that “ideal” doesn’t exist in healthcare.

As you go through your day, learning the skills and procedures you need to use in your practice, you will probably see things that make you think “that’s not right.” You may see colleagues taking chances that could endanger their patients. You might see an overstated bill that will end up costing the insurance company or patient more than necessary. Most of the time these mistakes are just random “oops” moments, with no real pattern or ill intent. But what if you see a dangerous practice again and again, or if a fraudulent billing method is standard operating procedure? What do you do? (more…)

Nursing Strikes On the Horizon

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Nursing strikes are looming on both coasts — over 6,000 registered nurses are ready to strike in New York, and 23,000 nurses are set to stage a 24-hour strike on December 22nd in California.

And that’s not all — there are potential strikes in New Jersey and Minnesota, too, according the website of a strike replacement agency called HealthSource Global Staffing.

The New York Times has a front-page article examining these various strikes — imminent and merely possible. A common theme is that nurses feel that it’s unfair that when the hospitals have cuts in Medicaid and Medicare, the sacrifices are disproportionately made by the patients and those who care for them, while executives still get the big bucks.

“Nobody wants a strike,” (more…)

Americans Trust Nurses

Posted in Nursing, Nursing News

Who’s more trustworthy than a policeman, or a teacher, or even a member of the clergy?

That’s right, a nurse!

Nurses have topped a Gallup poll measuring the “honesty and ethical standards” of people in different fields yet again. This time they topped the next-best scorer — pharmacists — by 11% in the “very high” category. This is the 12th time in the 13 years they’ve been included in this poll that Nurses take the top spot. examines the poll:

The survey was conducted Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 among a random sample of 1,012 adults representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. When asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses, 84% responded with “very high” or “high,” while 15% responded “average” and only 1% responded “low” or “very low.” (more…)

Can Working the Night Shift Increase Your Risk of Diabetes?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News

As if the night shift were not already unpleasant enough, a new study indicates that it may also increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The risk seems to be especially marked if you work a rotating shift for a long time.

“For nurses who spent a couple of years working rotating night shifts, there was a minimal increase in risk. But, for those with a very long duration of rotating shifts, the risk was almost 60 percent higher. This provides pretty strong evidence that the longer the rotating night shift work, the greater the risk of diabetes,” [Dr. Frank] Hu said.

Does the Uniform Make the Nurse?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing News, Nursing Specialties

Nova Scotia’s Nurses’ Union has decided that starting next year, all nurses will need to wear a specific uniform — white smocks and black pants. The union’s rationale is that they want patients and their families to be able to figure out at a glance who is a nurse and who is a random support person. Right now everyone from cleaning staff to licensed practical nurses wear scrubs of whatever color they’d like.

Marilla Stephenson, a nurse who comes from a family that is chock-full of nurses, mused about this decision:

Uniforms have gone from long, puffed sleeves 100 years ago to tailored short-sleeved dresses after the Second World War to pantsuits in the 1970s to the scrubs of today. The stiff white hats disappeared in the ’70s.

Some pediatric nurses have voiced opposition to the move. They were the first to move to coloured smocks and pastel scrubs, as long as three decades ago, in an effort to make hospitalization less frightening for young children.

The union has used the comparison of being pulled over by an RCMP member and knowing by the uniform that you are dealing with a member of the federal police force.

Should Mistakes by Nurses Be Crimes?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Healthcare systems typically aspire to a non-punitive atmosphere to manage any mistakes the nursing staff might make. Mistakes are documented and graded on the basis of harm or potential harm to the patient. Management usually feels that this approach encourages reporting of mistakes, which then spawns new methods of error prevention.

On the legal side, however, there is a movement to criminalize mistakes made by nurses. Healthcare systems feel this trend will result in an individual believing it’s more advantageous to protect self-interests, such as a nursing license and a job, than to report errors.

How Do You Decide To Move On?

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing Specialties

Sometimes we love our jobs — the environment, the co-workers, everything comes together beautifully and we can’t wait to get to work.

Then there are those jobs that aren’t perfect (this is probably the biggest category!) but they’re perfectly adequate and pay the bills.

But what do you do when your job is just horrible? When you’d rather do anything other than go to work? How do you decide whether it’s time to move on? And what do you do if you make the decision to change jobs?

This article offers some helpful ways to approach that problem (may you never have it!)

Because fear of the unknown is a powerful force for resisting change, your major objective in considering a move should be to make the unknown “known.” Build perspective by doing the following:

• Update your resume. Make sure it focuses on your accomplishments and shows a diversity of experience. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, and you want to be ready.