Thursday, July 24, 2014
5 ways to keep a normal social life while working the night shift
by Erica Bettencourt on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 @ 12:08 PM
Ah, the dreaded night shift. Every nurse will have to encounter it at some point in his or her career. Some enjoy the more patient-based shift with its lack of administrators and clerical work, while others never can get into the rhythm of being a night owl.
If you’re a nurse on the night shift, chances are you have plenty of non-medical professional friends who won’t keep the same schedule as you. So how do you keep a normal social life while you work the night shift? Check out these five helpful tips:
1. Plan ahead with your non-work friends. If your shift is starting at 7:00 PM, for example, you could realistically have time to meet them for dinner an hour or so ahead of time. The night shift might remove some of the spontaneity of your social life, but it doesn’t have to remove time for fun and socializing.
2. Limit your caffeine intake. It can be tempting to consume cup after cup of coffee to get through those long shifts, but it’ll throw your sleep rhythm off even more and cause you to have to miss out on social functions with friends and family during days off.
3. Treat the switch to normal sleeping hours like jet lag. Take short naps at first to store up some energy and then power through the day until it’s time for bed. This will quicken your transition back to a normal sleep schedule. Try making time for non-work friends the day after you’ve adjusted back to normal sleeping hours.
4. Group your night shift days together. This will assure that you can have longer stretches of days off or daytime shifts. That leaves plenty of time for recreation, fun with friends, errands and time with family, but it’s also better for your overall health!
5. Get to know your coworkers! You’re spending so much time with them at odd hours, so you might as well establish trust, rapport and friendship. Try and bond with them socially and professionally. For example, if you like exercising, invite them to go on an early morning hike or to a workout class with you after the shift ends; if you are a coffee nut, see if they want to grab a cup at a nearby café. You can also bond professionally by trying to coordinate procedural training, or going to conferences and professional development events together.
The night shift doesn’t need to kill your mood, routine or health. Treat it seriously, plan accordingly with your shifts and keep a positive outlook so you can make new friends and keep up with those outside of your professional circle!
Sunday, July 6, 2014
5 Volunteer Opportunities for RNs
by Meaghan O'Keeffe, RN, BSNVolunteering may be the spark that reignites your old flame for nursing. The ability to do the kind of work you want to do, the number of hours you’d like to devote, and to help people in a way that sometimes isn’t possible in a paid job. Being a nurse volunteer is also a great way to make connections, learn new skills and network. You never know what might lay ahead — volunteering is a way to test the waters and allow your confidence to soar.
5 Volunteer Opportunities for RNsThe American Red Cross
The American Red Cross relies on 15,000 nurses (both paid and volunteer) to provide services, education, supervision and leadership throughout the organization. According to their website, “Nurses have always been the cornerstone of the American Red Cross.” A variety of opportunities await, from Disaster Action Teams to health fairs to CPR and First Aid classes to local and national board member positions.
Aboard the ship SS Hope — a floating hospital — doctors, nurses and medical volunteers work in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, “as well as land-based missions,” to help people around the world who are in need of health education, medical care and humanitarian efforts. You can search Project Hope’s website for current volunteer opportunities or add your professional information into their volunteer database for future need.
RN Rescue Network
RN Rescue Network is a California-based nonprofit organization that organizes a national network of registered nurses and coordinates missions to disease-stricken areas when needed. RNRN started in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and has since deployed nurse volunteers to disaster-stricken countries including the Phillippines, Haiti and Japan.
Hospital Nurse Volunteer
Bay Care Health System in Tampa, Fla., offers a volunteer nurse program specifically designed for retired nurses or those who are taking a breather from some of the demands of a clinical world. The program boasts some of the special aspects of nursing that sometimes get missed on the job: the time to reinforce teaching, offer companionship and comfort measures. See if a hospital in your area offers a similar program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Although maybe slightly out of the box in terms of your professional background, your nursing experience will not fail you in this endeavor. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been serving youth for more than 100 years, helping children grow in confidence level, develop healthier relationships with their families, and become less likely to participate in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, and skipping school.
Do you volunteer? What kind of volunteer work do you like to do and why?
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
By Kimberley Ensor, RN, BSN, PHN
Looking for a new challenge in your nursing journey? Being an online educator may be the avenue for you.
The American Nurses Association reports that the nurse shortage is alive and well and with more than 50% of the nurse force closing in on retirement, a growing population of individuals over the age of 65 and ever changing healthcare reforms, the need for nurses and health professionals will increase (ANA, 2014). With a need for more nurses, this means there will be a need for more educational resources and options to produce well trained and well prepared nurses.
Nurse educators are on the brink of a unique opportunity and if ready for a transition in their career being an online educator may be just the change they desire. Warning online teaching is nothing like the days of old, where hairspray, big hair, neon clothes and badly done videos were the norm. Technology has dramatically changed and with it the way that students engaging in learning and want to be taught has also changed. This forum is not for the faint of heart. Online education and web based classrooms cannot be regurgitations of the traditional classroom. Educators must have a new skill set and an ever increasing awareness of the online environment and the unprecedented challenges. Educators must be will and able to engage students and maintain high quality.
In a case study that describes the experiences of faculty at one institution and the effort to learn about online teaching, researchers identified six related themes: plugging in; peer sharing; modeling and community building; multidimensional learning; role-shifting and meta-learning; paradigm shifting; and sustained momentum (Paulus, Myers, Mixer, Wyatt, Lee & Lee, 2010). Each of these recommendations were meant to prepare faculty for the task of teaching online and ensuring that the quality of nursing education continues.
So you want to teach online? Prepare to work a little harder than your traditional faculty counterparts.
So now the question is how to make that happen. Not having face-to-face interactions does not give the instructor license to disappear into cyberspace. Students are looking for more socialization, a sense of community, and discussions that encourage critical thinking (Roehm & Bonnel, 2009). Online faculty will have to not only initiate and facilitate discussions, but also evaluate what students are learning and the quality perspectives of the discussion. In a study done by the National Study of Student Engagement’s where undergraduate students were surveyed about their online experiences, researchers discovered that most viewed online courses positively and had more active learning and collaborative experiences in comparison to classroom based courses (Gallegher, Reilly & Killion, 2009). Online educators will have to be cautious of the literature choices, how the class is structured, the amount of required participation and the technology necessary to have a successful course. Continuous server crashes or outdated information will quickly be turned off by a problematic site. Since distance education is here to stay and will continue to grow by leaps and bounds, educators must create an online environment that will increasing reflect the range of issues that permeate the nursing community at large, pedagogically, ethically, technologically and philosophically (Gallegher, Reilly & Killion, 2009).
Along with have the evidence based practices presented, current literature and advanced technology, students are also looking for instructors who care and exhibit behaviors empathy and concern in the online environment. Online faculty also found great success when grade rubrics and electronic grading were used. Student report thorough feedback and clear indications of availability on when to expect responses to inquiries aided in convey a caring environment in the online classroom (Mann, 2014).
Finally educators must make sure they are meeting relevant professional standards. For example the Seven Principles of Good Practice which include encouraging contact between participants; developing reciprocity and cooperation; encouraging active learning; giving prompt feedback; emphasizing time on task; communicating high expectations; and respecting diverse talents and ways of learning (Paulus, Myers, Mixer, Wyatt, Lee & Lee, 2010).
Ready to begin the adventure of online teaching?
So if you are truly ready to be an online instructor and navigate your way to guiding and molding the next generation of nursing students here are some things to consider as you get started:
1. Make sure to thoroughly investigate the institution you will teach at. It is imperative that faculty have support from their institution and that the curriculum meets all relevant professional standards as well as accreditation.
2. Faculty must be committed to be life-long learners. Technology will continue to change and advance. Current research and EBP will be necessities as well as nursing literature that is reflective of course objectives and professional nursing standards.
3. Feedback, feedback, feedback. Poling of students found that faculty scored low in areas such as creating a sense of community, feelings of aloneness, and trepidation when it comes to answering online questions (Gallegher, Reilly & Killion, 2009). When educators provided thorough and consistent feedback, students felt validated and supported in their course work.
4. Embrace technology. “I ain’t got time for that,” will have to be excised from the nurse educator’s dialogue and language. The next generation of learners are immersed in technology and if the online environment is going to engage these students, faculty will also have to enfold technological advances in their teaching approach and style. The online class can occur at any time and at any place and the instructor must be prepared to answer questions that may be technology based during the course.
5. Engage! No this isn’t Captain Kirk telling the Enterprise to launch into warp, but online educators will have to make engaging students a regular part of their course curriculum. When the instructors seemed more as a guide and facilitator, students found greater success and interactions in the online environment was increased (Roehm & Bonnel, 2009 ).
Okay so now the moment of truth has arrived. You’ve worked through what you don’t want to do and made lists of the characteristics of teachers you did not enjoy while in school and vow not to be like that. Now you must make sure that spend time and thoroughly know your curriculum presenting relatable online discussions, current studies and opportunities for socialization are important components to motivating learners toward desired goals. A well facilitated online classroom will provide learners with the opportunity to extend and enhance their learning
American Nurses Association (2014). Nursing Shortage. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/nursingshortage
Gallagher-Lepak, S., Reilly, J., & Killion, C. (2009). Nursing student perceptions of community in online learning. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal For The Australian Nursing Profession, 32(1-2), 133-146. doi:10.5172/conu.32.1-2.133
Levitt, C., & Adelman, D. S. (2010). Role-Playing in Nursing Theory: Engaging Online Students. Journal Of Nursing Education, 49(4), 229-232.
Mann, J. C. (2014). A Pilot Study of RN-BSN Completion Students' Preferred Instructor Online Classroom Caring Behaviors. (Cover story). ABNF Journal, 25(2), 33-39.
Paulus, T., Myers, C., Mixer, S., Wyatt, T., Lee, D., & Lee, J. (2010). For faculty, by faculty: a case study of learning to teach online. International Journal Of Nursing Education Scholarship, 7(1), doi:10.2202/1548-923X.1979
Roehm, S., & Bonnel, W. (2009). Engaging students for learning with online discussions. Teaching & Learning In Nursing, 4(1), 6-9.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Shiftwork and Healthy Eating
Ann is a 23-year-old registered nurse (RN). Since her graduation a year ago, she has been working the night shift in the pediatrics unit at General Hospital. During this time, she has gained 30 lb, moving from the high end of a normal body mass index (BMI) to the low end of an obese BMI. With the hospital cafeteria closed during her shift, Ann faces unhealthy vending-machine choices, with only fast food restaurants and greasy diners open after her shift. Patients offer Ann cookies and candy, and hospital events provide fruit punch, soda, pizza, cake, and donuts. Ann is ravenous and exhausted after her shift; she eats a large meal and then goes to bed. She feels she has no time to shop for healthy food or prepare nutritious meals and has limited access to fresh produce. Ann is frustrated by her weight gain and frightened about her health.
Unfortunately, Ann's situation is not unique. Nurses struggle with their weight like anyone in the general population. The U.S. had 21 million shiftworkers in 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and research demonstrates that rotating shiftworkers and night shiftworkers have a greater likelihood for obesity than those who work day shift. Studies show that disruption of the normal circadian rhythm as experienced by shiftworkers can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and weight gain. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that shiftwork stress can aggravate digestive disorders
RNs can make a difference in reversing the trend. Broadly, ANA's Code of Ethics for Nurses addresses being a healthy nurse and role model in several statements: "The nurse owes the same duties to self as others." "For the nurse, virtues and excellences are those habits that affirm and promote the values of human… well-being, …health…." And finally, "the nurse…fosters healthy lifestyles and participates in institutional and legislative efforts to promote health." Specifically, ANA's 2008 House of Delegates resolution "Healthy Food in Health Care" asks nurses to promote nutritious foods to improve patient and public health. Nurses and employers can take the actions below.
- Pack healthy foods for meals and snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, and salads; proteins, such as roasted turkey, chicken, or fish; whole-grain breads; and low-fat cheeses and yogurts.
- Use quick, easy meal preparation. For example, use a slow cooker, use only three to five ingredients, and freeze extra portions.
- Pack nutrient-dense foods, such as kale, blueberries, and salmon.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Practice portion control.
- Avoid fatty, fried, high-sodium, and processed foods.
- Say no to cookies and candy.
- Advocate for healthier foods in the workplace.
- Provide healthy foods during all shifts.
- Offer healthy foods in vending machines.
- Provide free, accessible drinking water for all shifts.
- Serve healthy foods and beverages at events.
- Offer weight-loss programs and support groups.
- Start an on-site farmer's market or a community garden.
- Supply the cafeteria with healthy options at equitable prices.
- Mark calorie content on menus and menu boards.
Ann knows that as a nurse, she is a role model, advocate, and educator for health and wellness. So she minimizes her intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, because eliminating just one can of soda daily saves 10 lb per year. Ann researches foods that increase energy and satiate hunger. Using recipe websites, she prepares large quantities of healthy entrees weekly and freezes portions for later use.
She then approaches her employer. Working with her hospital's purchasing committee and employee wellness department, Ann gets fresh and dried fruit, low-fat yogurt, and nuts added to vending machines. Healthy bagged meals are now available from the dietary department, since the cafeteria still closes at 8 PM. Once a month, a farmer's market sets up in the hospital's courtyard in the morning as Ann leaves her shift. She loads up on nutritious produce at a great price.
Join Ann in her healthy lifestyle. To learn more, visit anahealthynurse.org.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
20 tips for nurse noobs
by Sean Dent • February 27, 2014
Starting that very first nursing job brings a whole new set of challenges. Here are 20 brief tips I think every nurse “noob” should read as they start their nursing journey:
1. Get used to being scared; it’s your best ally.
2. Ask more questions than you answer.
3. Don’t ever fake it. If you don’t know something, tell someone. It’s OK.
4. You have to earn respect; don’t just expect it.
5. Avoid all gossip. If you want to gossip, go back to high school.
6. If you’re not early, you’re late. Timeliness is next to godliness.
7. Write everything down. You will forget 80 percent of what you hear. (“What you do not keep in your head, you will keep in your feet.”)
8. When you want to run: Stop, walk and listen. If you hurry, you will make a mistake.
9. Put your own mask on first. Take care of yourself before you take care of others.
10. Learn how to say NO to overtime. Learning your job does not require living at your job.
11. DO NOT rush orientation. Make your mistakes with your preceptor.
12. It’s OK–in fact, it’s expected–that you make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them; learn from them and don’t repeat them.
13. Find a mentor. Your mentor may NOT be your preceptor.
14. Surround yourself with people who love your profession. Don’t let the naysayers ruin it for you.
15. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Don’t be too quick to play the job hopscotch game.
16. Grow a thick set of skin, and do not back down when advocating for your patient.
17. Become a premiere team player. You cannot and will not survive this job otherwise. Play nice in the sandbox.
18. Thank all those who help you, including the transporter, the aide, the secretary and the housekeeper. Remember your TEAM.
19. Never apologize for doing your job…and that includes calling a physician in the middle of the night.
20. Never stop learning something new, ever. Seek it out. Pursue knowledge and career advancement. Contribute to the growth of our profession.