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Nursing

How Soft Skills Help Nurses Excel

by Howard Gerber on August 25, 2016

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nurse soft skillsIt takes a lot of different skills to succeed as a nurse. Some skills are technical, such as knowing how to start an IV or change a dressing. Other skills are intellectual including calculating medication dosages or interpreting lab results.

But there are also another set of skills that are equally important for nurses to have. Soft skills are not something you can easily measure, but they are an important part of being a good nurse. [continue reading…]

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Having mass casualties arrive at the hospital you work in can be one of the most challenging times for a nurse. Mass casualty incidents may be any type of disaster or situation that involves a sudden influx of patients. For instance, mass casualty incidents may include natural disasters, such as floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Vehicle pileups, fires, and shootings can also result in multiple patients.

All hospitals should have a policy for dealing with mass casualty incidents. Some hospitals will have drills occasionally to help staff practice how they would handle a situation with a sudden increase in patients. [continue reading…]

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It’s normal to have a few fears when you start a new job or move to a new area to live. When you work as a nurse traveler, you combine both a new living environment and a new job. It’s no wonder you may be a little apprehensive. Keep in mind that everyone gets a little nervous starting a new travel assignment, especially if it is their first. Below are some suggestions for overcoming a few common fears nurse travelers may have.

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Starting out on the Right Foot in Nursing

by Howard Gerber on February 21, 2013

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If you’ve finally finished nursing school and started your new job, you may be wondering…what’s next? Launching a new career is one of the most exciting events in life, but it’s also nerve-wracking and overwhelming. You’ll find out pretty fast that no matter how hard you studied, you can never be 100% prepared for every situation. No school can teach every possible scenario…and no nurse can remember everything they learned right out of the gate. Take heart and don’t get discouraged. Here are some things to remember to make getting started easier.

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Home Health Care Nursing

by Howard Gerber on January 31, 2013

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Home Health Care Nursing

Nurses are unique individuals. Some love the high-stress, fast pace of a hospital or busy clinic, others like the individualized approach of a doctor’s office, and still others like the personal, one-on-one interactions best found in home healthcare. Would you be happy in such a position? Do you have the skills and the temperament?

Responsibility
One of the most important things to consider is the intense responsibility that home healthcare workers face. You’re the only one there to observe the patient and make a diagnosis. You can’t be there 24/7, so you might walk into any situation at any time; a patient who has forgotten to take his meds, who is in distress, who has had a reaction to a drug or treatment. Your assessment skills must be top rate, you don’t have the luxury of not knowing what to do, and above all, you can’t panic.

Triage Skills
When you do need support, you must be able to clearly describe the patient’s condition and recommend a course of action for approval. You’re not a doctor, but you’re there. On the spot. You know the patient, his condition, his medications, his vitals, and his wishes. You know how he reacts to care and to stress. The more concise information you can convey to a busy doctor, the better the outcome for the patient.

Decision Making
Can you act independently, make decisions, think fast on your feet? That’s the name of the game for home health workers. Today’s tools, like smartphones and tablets, make it much easier to collaborate with peers than in the past, but you’re still out there on your own most of the time. There’s nobody holding your hand or looking over your shoulder. You have to know what to do and be responsible enough to do it.

Social Skills
One thing a home health nurse should always be mindful of is personal boundaries. Even though you’re there to help, often every day, you are entering someone’s home. It’s important to remember that in order to respect your patient, you must allow them dignity and privacy. You may have to inform, educate, and even counsel family members, and carefully deal with family relationships. Families are never perfect, and long illnesses can be frustrating and strain family finances to the breaking point. Diplomacy is often your saving grace.

If this all sounds like you, home health care might be the perfect career choice. It’s personal, fiercely independent, challenging, and most definitely rewarding. You can build real relationships with patients and ensure that they get personal, consistent care.

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Working with a Nursing Recruiter

by Howard Gerber on January 17, 2013

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Working with a Nursing Recruiter

If you’re considering a traveling nurse job or simply looking for a change, you might find yourself working with a professional recruiter. Do you know what to expect? What to tell your recruiter…and what not to?

Who needs a recruiter?
If your plan is to apply to local facilities and stay within your current position, you probably don’t need a recruiter. On the other hand, if you want to apply for a different type of position, move into an administrative career, work as a temporary or travel nurse, then your best bet is to seek professional help. Recruiters bring a lot to the table – they’ll help your polish your resume to make the best possible impression and have established relationships with the right people to ensure your resume is noticed.

The recruiter’s agenda
Your agenda is simple, get a great job. The recruiter wants that for you as well, but in order to do that, she must match the right candidate with the right opportunity. A lot of factors are in play, and the most successful recruiters have an instinctive feel for sending well-qualified applicants.

Put your best foot forward
When you present yourself to the recruiter, treat the interview with the same care you would a coveted job interview. Dress for success, be on time, be prepared, and speak with confidence. The recruiter represents you, but their jobs depend on making the employer happy. If you want to land those plum interviews, you first have to convince the recruiter that you’re a suitable candidate. She won’t stick her neck out for you unless you can convince her you’re worth it.

Pay attention
Recruiters have a lot of expertise to offer. If she tells you that you can beef up your resume by joining a group, getting a certification, volunteering, or doing something else that sets you apart and appeals to employers, listen and respond. You may not know what might up your pay grade…but she does. The recruiter can also help you with answers to deceptively sticky interview questions. If you’re unprepared, some common questions can be a minefield.

Be honest and be flexible
Tell the recruiter what you’re looking for. Be specific, but understand that your dream job may not be out there right now, or you may not have the qualifications. So be prepared with a well-developed plan B. Don’t agree to take anything that comes your way, but have a list of positions you’d be happy—really happy—to accept.

What to approach carefully
Religious affiliation can be an issue, and is better left out of the conversation. If you feel strongly about religion, and want to work in, say, a Catholic hospital, it can be a selling point, but understand that it can also be severely limiting. If your objective is to get a job wherever you can, keep your private life private. The same can be said for atheists. If the best job out there is at a church-sponsored hospital, lack of religion need not stand in your way. Either way, you may limit your options by volunteering answers to questions they won’t ask.

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Best Jobs in America: Nurse Anesthetist

by Howard Gerber on December 13, 2012

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Best Jobs in America: Nurse Anesthetist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSNBC recently posted the results of their annual report of The Best and Worst Jobs in America.  Nurse anesthetist (CRNA) came in at number 15, a respectable position considering the number of jobs that were considered (7000). But what makes nurse anesthetist better than, say, ICU nurse or surgical nurse? [continue reading…]

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