Monday, September 19, 2016

Two Side Business Ideas for Nurses

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? You don’t have to give up your nursing career or job in order to be a business owner. In fact, many people work full time and run side businesses or “side hustles” to earn extra income, grow their savings or pay off student loan debt.
Nurses have a wealth of skills and knowledge that naturally lend to entrepreneurship. Here are two businesses that nurses can start with little to no start-up costs and maximum flexibility.
Freelance Health Writer
Are you a good writer? Your writing skills combined with your health knowledge would make you the perfect health writer for websites and/or magazines. You set your own hours and have the flexibility to take on as much or as little work as you like. To land assignments, you’ll need to learn how to develop article ideas and pitch those ideas to editors. Pay varies by publication. For more information on getting started, check out Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Allen.
Teacher/Public Speaker
If you love sharing health knowledge and teaching people about diseases or healthy living, teaching/public speaking may be a great side hustle for you. You can offer your services to community health organizations, hospitals or colleges/university continuing education programs. Pick your topic and contact the education department to see how to get started.
Those are just two of the many side businesses that nurses can start to boost their earning potential. Your side business doesn’t have to be related to your career as a nurse. If you enjoy making jewelry, you could sell your creations. If you enjoy cooking, you could offer personal chef services on your off days. The possibilities are truly endless.
Photo credit: Stuart Miles /

Monday, September 12, 2016

5 Reasons Why Nurse Coaching Is Important for Minority Nurses

For years, workers have reached out to career coaches to help them find their professional path and wellness coaches have guided weight loss and health programs. It makes sense that nurses would have the best expertise to take on the burgeoning role of nurse coach and help patients achieve their health goals on their own terms. And in a country of increasingly diverse populations, minority nurse coaches will be at the forefront of helping patients through the unique lens of cultural and ethnic traditions and approaches.
The latest attention on nurse coaching certification validates something many nurses have practiced all along, says Margaret Erickson, PhD, APRN, CNS, AHN-BC and executive director of the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.
1. It’s Official
Nurses can now obtain nurse coaching certification credentials through Erickson’s organization. And although many nurses have routinely used coaching tools in their day-to-day practice, the recent focus on official classes and credentials shows widespread interest in the field.
2. Cultural Knowledge Matters
Coaches, says Erickson, use holistic practices of seeing the whole patient, not just a symptom. Minority nurses play an especially important role when they know the implications of cultural traditions. Yes, someone might have diabetes, but telling them to change a diet that is rich with ethnically familiar or important foods just won’t work.
3. Patients Need a Guide, Not a Director
Everyone knows what they need to do to be well, but we also know it is easier said than done. So a nurse coach won’t tell a patient what to do and won’t offer to “fix” them. Nurse coaches will help guide them in the right direction to find what works for them. Family support might be important for one patient’s plan while other cultures might reject letting everyone know your personal struggles. A nurse who can listen and hear about family dynamics and their cultural implications is a more effective guide.
4. Coaches Build Trust
Everyone wants to tell their story and not just list the different symptoms that have brought them before a nurse. Coaching helps a client define the steps that will help them meet their health goals. Minority nurse coaches can help reverse any assumptions that are made if they already know a bit about the patient’s culture.
5. Under the Wellness Umbrella
Simply put, people are ready for some guidance and for an experienced professional who sees how their health, emotional, and spiritual lives converge under one umbrella we know as well being.
The techniques and skills used with coaching (focused listening, setting and mapping out realistic goals) often overlap the practices from a holistic nursing approach. For patient-focused care, the techniques are invaluable. “Part of our story is our culture,” says Erickson.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Ways to Boost Your Bank Account

Feeling underpaid, undervalued, and overworked? Nurses make up the largest single component of hospital staff. Even though nurses comprise the majority of staff personnel, adequate compensation remains at the top of the list of issues voiced by many nurses. With the extensive skill set and vast knowledge base that nurses hold, earning additional income doesn’t have to be hard. Earning additional income may provide you with the ability to do away with overtime, go part-time, or even achieve PRN status. This flexibility can provide you with the time to do more of what you love and spend more time with your family without sacrificing your income. Let’s explore five ways to boost your bank account.

1. Ask for What You Want

This seems easy, but you would be amazed at how many nurses don’t ask for anything (monetary) more than what they’re offered. The thought of asking for more money appears “unlady like” for some and “unprofessional” to others. But this way of thinking doesn’t have to be. If this sounds like you, start off by writing out a list of why you deserve to be paid more and memorize it. Be prepared to discuss what’s on your list boldly and confidently when you speak to your manager. Ask for what you want and most likely deserve. It’s up to you to make them see your value. Only you know what you are deserving of, no one else. Remember, if you don’t ask for it, how will anyone ever know that you want more?

2. Rental Property

Now before you go saying, “I don’t have a second or third home to rent out,” consider this: converting an extra storage space or a guest room into a nice room for a student or better yet a travel nurse! There are plenty of travel nurses, students, and business professionals who seek out temporary quarters and sublease from homeowners all the time. I know this from experience, because I’ve rented a room from a homeowner while on a travel assignment in Maryland. This option has proven time and time again to be a great source of additional income for singles, couples, and families alike. Do your due diligence as a renter. Complete full background checks and ask for references. By completing these two screening tools beforehand, it will help reduce your risks drastically. If these potential renters are who they say they are, a background and reference check won’t be a concern at all. Just make sure to have a thoroughly written out rental agreement.

3. Multi-Level Marketing

This is an EXCELLENT way to make money and have fun! I am amazed that more nurses don’t take advantage of this money avenue. A few nurses I have worked with in the past have done this with Tupperware, makeup, jewelry, and clothes. Most of these items are used by your coworkers and colleagues, so why not be their supplier? This income stream can also be used with vitamins, weight loss meals, hair products, etc. You get to decide. The best part of this option is the opportunity to meet other individuals who may assist you in new business ventures.

4. Consulting

Who better to ask about nursing-based projects, apps, and clinical development than someone who holds a ton of experience in the profession? How wonderful would it be to get paid for your insight about the profession you’ve been a part of for “X” amount of years? A few months ago, the owner of a staffing company was looking to expand by adding nurses to his roster of professionals but had no idea where to start. A mutual friend gave him my contact number and 2 days later, I became a consultant for his business. Individuals who are focused on the growth and profit of their business will not hesitate to pay for your expertise. If paying you a few hundred dollars will make them thousands in return, smart business owners will quickly and happily invest in you. Position yourself as an expert with a vast amount of experience and knowledge so that others will seek you out or refer others to you.

5. Teaching

The profession that never goes out of style. We as nurses do this every single shift we work, so why not be paid for it and teach on your own schedule? Become a BLS, ACLS, and/or PALS instructor, why not? Get certified. Focus on a specific group: maybe nursing agencies or travel nurses as your focus market. You can also reach out to rural schools and businesses to offer your teaching services. Take advantage of the fact that most places are requiring some basic knowledge of life support for employment. Make yourself a resource for these business and you are sure to always have clients. Teachers are always needed.
Tonia Chisolm, RN, BSN

Tonia Chisolm, RN, BSN

Tonia N. Chisolm, RN, BSN, author of From Broke to Bank In Nursing: Strategies for Increasing Your Income, has over 10 years Critical Care experience. Her extensive nursing career has consisted mainly in travel nursing, along with some mission work in Africa. Visit her website or join her Facebook group.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A New Normal: Graduate Nursing Students Paying for Clinical Rotations

Aspiring advanced practice nurses enter their prospective graduate programs each semester with the good faith of excelling at their course work and practicum. Unfortunately, that notion may be tarnished by the misfortune of not finding a clinical site. In some instances, unwarranted cancellations by a preceptor occur. Leaving the pupil to hastily find another preceptor. Consequently, if the student is unable to obtain a new preceptor their graduation is postponed for months or sometimes years.
With the advent of online advanced nursing education, the demand for preceptors has skyrocketed. Many students spend months calling around for a preceptor to no avail. Plenty of primary care clinics are, booked full of students, a year or two in advance. To offset the demand some practices and health care practitioners have begun charging students for time spent precepting in their clinics. Thus, herein lies “an elephant in the room”: is it ethical for clinics to require payment for nursing practicums? Sadly, there is no straightforward answer to this question; yet among students there are two schools of thought.
One school of thought: “It’s unethical to pay for a clinical rotation. Why would I pay for something that a person should do out of the goodness of their heart?”
Central to any health profession is service. This act of unselfish kindness and generosity bears meaning to one’s career and, above all, sustain and dignify the future of others. In this instance, a pupil in need of mentoring isn’t too lowly for the time and attention necessitating growth. Unselfish service is marked by giving freely without expecting anything in return, as explained within an excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath, “To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in life with him, and to fulfill his needs when required; to look upon his offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or contract…”
Second school of thought: “You’re paying for your education just as you would in a classroom environment.”
Some clinics are charging a minimum of $200 per week for a practicum experience. Which translates into $1,600 – $2,000 for an eight to ten week session. However, not all clinical sites are created equally. Some preceptors allow the pupils to independently see patients and afterwards they confer to execute a treatment plan for the individuals. Alternatively, other preceptors adopt a “hands off” approach and throw the student “out to the wolves” with little to no experience. How can schools of nursing solve this burgeoning problem?
Graduate nursing clinical rotations should be regulated by an accreditation body, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Program effectiveness, assessment, and achievement of program outcomes are addressed within CCNE’s Standards for Accreditation. Presumptive regulation of graduate nursing clinical sites should be addressed under section IV – B, “program completion rates demonstrate program effectiveness”. How effective is the nursing program if students are not graduating due to sparse clinical sites? The school of nursing should be held accountable to help their students find practicum placement. If a large percentage of pupils are unable to complete the program of study due to insufficient assistance with securing a preceptor, a mandate should be place upon the school of nursing to provide a written explanation and analysis along with a plan of action for improvement before re-accreditation is approved for the graduate nursing program.

Patrice Brown

Ms. Brown is an Atlanta-based professional nurse who has worked on various inpatient units. She also has experience as a float pool and travel nurse. Ms. Brown hails from Milledgeville, Ga, a small town 90 miles southeast of Atlanta, Ga. In December 2009, Ms. Brown graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Currently, she is enrolled at Chamberlain College of Nursing obtaining her Masters of Science in nursing degree. Ms. Brown is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Advocacy and writing are two of Ms. Brown’s passions. To satisfy her desires of writing and advocacy “Musings of a Bedside Nurse” a healthcare blog was created by Ms. Brown to initiate an open dialogue about issues within healthcare that affect other nurses. She is active within several professional nursing organizations.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What You Need to Know About Shift Work Disorder

What You Need to Know About Shift Work Disorder Millions of people work hours other than the standard 9 to 5, Monday through Friday and, unbeknownst to them, their health may be severely affected because of it. Shift work (defined as working anything other than the traditional 9 to 5) was designed to cover industries that operate twenty-four hours per day. Hospitals fall into that category and need staff coverage at all times, leading to employees that are more prone to a condition known as shift work disorder (SWD).
Although mainly an issue for those who work overnight shifts, SWD can cause problems for those who regularly work longer than eight hours per day, too. Working twelve hours at a time, day or night, can cause problems for some people. Nurses are particularly affected by SWD due to the nature of hospital working conditions.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) identifies those who work early morning, evening, overnight, and rotating shifts as the ones most affected by SWD. Aside from excessive sleepiness, shift work can lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and poor mood and irritability.
Dianne Jones, RN, has experienced the effects of working odd hours firsthand. “When I worked 3 pm – 3 am in my first ER position, I had difficulty sleeping,” she says. “It was made worse by the next job when I worked 7 pm – 7 am.”

Jones’ problem is all too common among those who work overnight shifts. The human body has a natural circadian rhythm that sets sleep and wake patterns over a 24-hour period—and working the overnight shift disrupts that cycle since the normal circadian clock is set by a light-dark cycle. Jones describes the feeling of this disruption after working a night shift as follows: “Once my eyes were exposed to daylight as I left work, I felt as if I became almost manic…my body was telling me it was time to be awake and active.”

Those who work dayshift can also be affected by SWD, not necessarily because of working a non-traditional shift, but mainly because of quick returns. Quick returns, or working back-to-back shifts, are a practice all too common among nurses. A study on nurses who worked various shifts found that quick returns of day shift nurses were just as strongly correlated with SWD as those who worked strictly night shift. Quick returns—just like shift work in general—cause disruptions in the circadian rhythm. The mismatch in the natural circadian rhythm eventually leads to sleep/wake disturbances and internal desynchronization.

Jones noticed that the amount of time she slept varied with the length of her shift and the stress associated with her job at the time. “When working twelve-hour shift in the ER, I slept about 5 hours max. With an eight-hour shift at a less stressful job, I slept about 7 or 8 hours.”
Jones, who has worked nearly every shift imaginable as a nurse, has finally settled into a day shift position after spending a considerable amount of time working evening and overnight shifts in her 10-year nursing career. She believes that nurses who work 12-hour shifts in high acuity areas can burnout over time: “I think most nurses can maintain a high level of stress on the body and mind for a while, but it does begin to take a toll and may lead to errors, substance abuse issues, or burnout.”
Shift work can cause many health issues, some with longstanding effects. The AASM attributes SWD to work disturbances such as work-related injuries, vehicle accidents related to drowsy driving, and substance abuse (to improve sleep). Many serious medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and an increased risk of breast and bowel cancer have also been attributed to SWD.

Certain risk factors can predispose some people to developing SWD when working alternative shifts. Those who are older, have comorbidities, drink alcohol, smoke, or have had previous sleep issues in the past are at highest risk.
There are ways to combat the symptoms caused by SWD, but for some, a change in schedule may be necessary to reverse them altogether. Here are four recommendations for those who may be affected by SWD to help alleviate any sleep issues:

1. Have a consistent room temperature
Sleep experts recommend a room temperature of 68 degrees Celsius to help promote sleep, as it’s easier to sleep with cooler temperatures.

2. Keep the room dark
If working nights, using a blackout curtain during the day can dramatically improve sleep. Use eye shades if the room cannot be darkened enough for sleep. Along the same lines, wearing dark sunglasses on the drive home in the morning can blunt the impact the sun has on making you feel alert once sunlight hits your eyes.

3. Reduce noise
Reducing noise before bed and limiting screen time with the TV, computer, and cellphone will help your brain “wind down” for sleep. Silence your cellphone and unplug any landlines before you lie down. Heavy carpeting and drapes in the bedroom can also help dampen noise. Lastly, ask family members to respect your sleep time if others are awake when you plan to be asleep by limiting noise in the home.

4. Avoid large meals and caffeine shortly before bed
Large meals can cause indigestion and make it hard to sleep when your stomach is full. Avoid large meals at least 2 hours before bedtime. Ingesting caffeine can keep you amped up when it’s time to sleep.

Other ways to decrease SWD include working less shifts in a row, shortening your work commute by finding another job closer to home or moving closer to your job, and taking naps when possible. Another possible solution that may help some nurses is to switch from working twelve-hour shifts to eight-hour shifts. Symptoms related to working an alternative work schedule need to be present for at least 3 months for an official diagnosis of SWD, so it’s imperative to be evaluated by a provider if sleep issues are still a problem after implementing recommendations.

Nachole Johnson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Nachole Johnson is an FNP who specializes in Health and Wellness and is the author of You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog for more ideas on how to reinvent your career.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interesting Facts about the Health of Minority Women by Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, LNC

Health is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury. Health is what keeps all individuals in a state of harmony and balance because when our health is good, we are good. However, the state of being free from illness or injury is not equal across all spectrums of the human species. Some of you may deal with health related issues on a daily basis, occasionally, or rarely. Despite your frequency, it’s doubtful time allows you to look up interesting facts and figures on this topic. For instance, did you know that black women have a shorter life expectancy than White women by 5 years, 50% higher all-cause mortality rates, and death rates from major causes such as heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, and diabetes that are often 2 to 3 times higher than those for Caucasian  women? Knowledge is power, so here are a few interesting facts and figures about the health of minority women that make you go hmmm.
  • Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women. But African Ameri- can women are more likely to die of this cancer because their cancers are often diagnosed later and at an advanced stage when they are harder to treat and cure. There is also some question about whether African American women have more aggressive tumors.
  • African American women between the ages of 35-44, have an increased breast cancer death rate of more than twice the rate of White women in the same age group—20.02 deaths per 100,000 com- pared to 10.2 deaths per 100,000.
  • Black women develop high blood pressure earlier in life and have higher average blood pressures compared with white women. About 37 percent of black women have high blood pressure.
  • About 5.8% of all white women, 7.6% of black women, and 5.6% of Mexican American women have coronary heart disease.
  • A 2011 Journal of Women’s study indicated that 57 percent of Latina women, 40 percent of African American women, and 32 percent of white women had three or more risk factors for having a heart attack.
  • According to the article published by the Diabetes Sisters, the prevalence of diabetes is at least 2-4 times higher among African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than among white women.
  • One in four African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes.
So, which fact do you find most interesting?

Breast Cancer: A Resource Guide for Women. (2009). Retrieved from:
Pryor, David. Diabetes in African American Women. Retrieved from:
Women of Color Have More Risk Factors for Heart Disease. (2012). Retrieved from:
Women and Diabetes. (2012). Retrieved from:
Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, LNC

Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, LNC

Founder and Registered Nurse at Impact Nurse Consulting, LLC
Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, LNC, the founder of Impact Nurse Consulting, LLC.,is a Masters prepared Registered Nurse licensed by that state of Louisiana who has 10 years of extensive clinical nursing experience. Her multi-faceted nursing background consist of medical-surgical nursing, home health care, certified case manager, pre-certification, utilization management, managed care, nurse educator, and legal nurse consultant.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Report Finds Heart Disease Risk Decreases After Night Shift Work Stops by Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Night shift nurses have long known their schedules can cause health problems, but a recently published study offers hope that the impact isn’t forever.
In April, “The Association Between Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Among Women,” confirmed the risk between heart disease and shift work, but noted when you stop night shift work, the risk for coronary heart disease decreases.
The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evaluated the work and lifestyle habits of more than 189,000 healthy nurses who participated in the Nurses Health Studies

Lead by Celine Vetter, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School the study looked at their rotating night shift work in 1988 and 1989 and evaluated the findings with their body weight, physical activity, diet quality, and whether or not they smoked.
According to the report, the longer the nurses worked a rotating night shift, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers noted up to an 18 percent increase over women who didn’t work a night shift if the shift work lasted more than 10 years. The nurses who reported the rotating shifts worked at least three night shifts over the course of a month in addition to other day and evening shifts.

In a video reporting her findings, Vetter noted one finding that was significant enough to warrant more studies. Even if nurses worked many years of rotating shift work, thereby upping their risk of disease, the findings showed that when the rotating shift work stopped, the risk started to decrease. The longer the time passed from when the night shift ended, the greater the decrease in risk.
The finding itself is worth looking into, says Vetter, to see if any other other factors could contribute to the decrease or not.

Overall, the findings show that rotating night shift work causes enough of a disruption to cause a small, but statistically significant, increase in coronary heart disease. And while there were nearly 11,000 cases of coronary heart disease recorded, that still means that 178,000 nurses didn’t have that correlation.

If you work a rotating night shift (and even if you don’t), it’s a good idea to take special care of yourself with heart-healthy habits. Get enough exercise for stress reduction, heart health, and weight control. Eat a heart-healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and keep the saturated fat to a minimum. Get enough rest (even if you have to fit in a nap or two in your crazy schedule) and don’t smoke. And be heartened that even as your risk is increased the longer your rotating shifts go on, that same risk also decreases during the years after you return to a regular schedule.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil