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Demand for Nurses
Nurses may be the most in-demand health care position in the country.

What a Psychiatric Nurse Does

January 9th, 2011

There is one career in this world that calls upon an individual to give their life to those that suffer from mental distress or mental illness. Working with people who possess psychiatric problems and disorders, the career of a psychiatric nurse (PN) can be one filled with challenges and obstacles. On a daily basis you may find yourself confronting someone with depression, a schizophrenic, or an individual who is bipolar. The general environments which psychiatric nurses reside are hospitals, mental health agencies, and care centers. In these facilities a PN gages the needs of a patient, develops a care plan – which is designed to help improve one's ability to cope. Besides organizing treatment, a PN may also counsel a patient, offering more incite. Being a psychiatric nurse means you are an advanced practice registered nurse who obtained a Master's degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing. This degree gives a nurse the opportunity to practice independently, and in some parts of the country prescribe medications.

If you are interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse, further training is required beyond a Masters – training in psychological therapies. It is important for any PN to understand how to deal with challenging behavior, and once you have acquired enough knowledge and on-the-job experience, passing an exam can get you certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing. Similar to other specific nursing careers, finding a full-time job opportunity can be a challenge. All you can do is increase your skill set with as much experience and training as possible. However with the health care industry currently thriving, it is not unrealistic to say that future opportunities will be available.

Before anyone begins their path to becoming a psychiatric nurse, they need to ask themselves if they are capable of what is expected from the job title. The cases you will come across can break your heart and can affect you personally. You probably will not be able to solve every one of your patient's problems and there may be times when you question yourself and the information you are preaching. This just comes with the territory, but they are people in need and with your guidance, they can enjoy more of what life has to offer. Being a psychiatric nurse requires a strong will, and at times can be intimidating. However if you know that you are capable of handling the typical challenges that come from interacting with troubled patients, and you are willing to put in the time to obtain the necessary education, then this can be a very rewarding career choice.

100 Excellent Art Therapy Exercises for Your Mind, Body, and Soul

January 9th, 2011

Pablo Picasso once said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." It's no surprise, then, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress, trauma and unhappiness – or to just find greater peace and meaning in their lives. If you're curious about what art therapy has to offer, you can try out some of these great solo exercises at home to help nurse your mind, body and soul back to health. If you like the experience, you can also seek out professional art therapy treatment in your area.

Emotions

Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.

  1. Draw or paint your emotions. In this exercise, you'll focus entirely on painting what you're feeling.
  2. Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.
  3. Make a stress painting. Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble and paint your problems away.
  4. Put together a journal. Journals don't have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.
  5. Make sock puppets. Sock puppets aren't just for kids. Make your own and have them act out scenes that make you upset.
  6. Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you're feeling.
  7. Design a postcard you will never send. Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don't have to ever send it.
  8. Create a sculpture of your anger. For this activity, you'll make a physical manifestation of the anger in your life.
  9. Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.
  10. Attach a drawing or message to a balloon. Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.
  11. Paint inside a heart. Using a heart as a pattern, fill in different parts of the heart with the emotions you're feeling right now.

Relaxation

Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you're looking to feel a little more laid back.

  1. Paint to music. Letting your creativity flow in response to music is a great way to let out feelings and just relax.
  2. Make a scribble drawing. With this activity, you'll turn a simple scribble into something beautiful, using line, color and your creativity.
  3. Finger paint. Finger painting isn't just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well. Get your hands messy and really have fun spreading paint around.
  4. Make a mandala. Whether you use the traditional sand or draw one on your own, this meditative symbol can easily help you to loosen up.
  5. Draw in the dark. Not being able to judge what you're drawing or having to worry about whether or not it's "right" can be very liberating.
  6. Draw something HUGE. Then something very small. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release stress as you're drawing.
  7. Use color blocks. Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you've created a colorful masterpiece.
  8. Let yourself be free. Don't allow yourself to judge your work. After all, there's no way to fail and no right way to make art. Just draw, paint or sculpt until your heart's content.
  9. Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.
  10. Draw in sand. Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.
  11. Make a zentangle. These fun little drawings are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress.
  12. Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.
  13. Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you're working on art.

Happiness

Art can not only help you deal with the bad stuff, but also help you appreciate and focus on the good. Check out these activities all about reflecting on your personal happiness.

  1. Draw your vision of a perfect day. Think about what constitutes a perfect day to you and draw or paint it. What about this drawing can you make happen today?
  2. Take photographs of things you think are beautiful. No one else has to like them but you. Print and frame them to have constant reminders of the beautiful things in life.
  3. Make a drawing related to a quote you like. Take the words of wisdom from someone else and turn them into something visually inspiring.
  4. Create a drawing that represents freedom. This activity has you think about the concept of freedom and what it means to you, creating a work of art that showcases just what it means to you as an individual.
  5. Document a spiritual experience. Have you ever had a spiritual experience in your life? Draw or paint what it felt like.
  6. Make a stuffed animal. Soft, cuddly objects can be very comforting. Use this project to create an animal that means something to you.
  7. Work on a softness project. Using only soft or comforting objects, create a work of art.
  8. Build a "home." What does home mean to you? This activity will have you create a safe, warm place– it doesn't have to be practical– that feels like home to you.
  9. Document an experience where you did something you didn't think you could do. We all have to do things that we're scared or unsure of sometimes. Use this activity as a chance to commemorate one instance in your life.
  10. Think up a wild invention. This invention should do something that can help make you happier– no matter what that is.
  11. Make a prayer flag. Send your prayers for yourself or those around you out into the universe with this project.

Portraits

Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.

  1. Create a future self-portrait. This drawing or painting should reflect where you see yourself in the future.
  2. Draw a bag self-portrait. On the outside of a paper bag, you'll create a self-portrait. On the inside, you'll fill it with things that represent who you are.
  3. Choose the people who matter most to you in life and create unique art for each. This is a great way to acknowledge what really matters to you and express your gratitude.
  4. Draw a portrait of someone who changed your life. If someone has ever helped change your path, for better or worse, draw this person.
  5. Create an image that represents how you think others see you. Then, have someone in the class draw a portrait of you. Compare the results.
  6. Draw yourself as a warrior. Start thinking about yourself as a strong, capable person by drawing yourself as a warrior in this activity.
  7. Create a transformational portrait series. This project will help you to see how you've changed over time and represent those changes visually.
  8. Imitate Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Using objects that have meaning to you, create a portrait of yourself.
  9. Create a body image sketch. If you have issues with your self-esteem and body image, this can be an interesting way to see how your perceptions match up with reality.
  10. Draw a mirror. This activity is based around a Piet Mondrian quote: "The purer the artist's mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it." You'll need to figure out what is still cloudy in your own reflection of yourself, drawing a mirror and depicting those elements on paper.
  11. Draw yourself as a superhero. If you could have a superpower what would it be? This project asks you to depict your own image as a superhero with these powers.

Trauma and Unhappiness

These activities will ask you to face some unpleasant aspects of life, but with the goal of overcoming them.

  1. Draw a place where you feel safe. The world can be a scary place but in this project you'll create a place, draw, painted or sculpted, that makes you feel safe.
  2. Create a mini-diorama. This diorama can showcase an important moment in your life or some trauma that you've experienced.
  3. Create a collage of your worries. What worries you in your life? Cut out pictures from magazines to represent these worries.
  4. Draw something that scares you. Everyone is frightened of something and in this project you'll get a chance to bring that fear to light and hopefully work towards facing it.
  5. Turn your illness into art. Facing a potentially terminal illness? Turn your illness into something beautiful by creating art about it.
  6. Paint a loss in your life. If you've lost someone you love or something, paint it. This will help you to remember but also to recover.
  7. Make art that is ephemeral. Sometimes we have a hard time letting go, but this project will teach you that it's ok if something doesn't last. Use materials like sand, chalk, paper or water to create art that you will destroy when it's done.

Collaging

If you prefer to cut and paste rather than draw or paint, these projects are for you.

  1. Create a motivational collage. You can hang this collage somewhere you'll see it everyday. Filled with images you find motivating, it'll help you keep pushing on.
  2. Create a face collage on a mask. We all wear masks of some sort. This project lets you showcase what's in your mask and the face you put on for the world.
  3. Create a clutter collage. Are there things cluttering up your life? In this project, use words and pictures to show the clutter in your way.
  4. Create a calming collage. Choose images that you find soothing, calming or even meditative and combine them to create an attractive collage that can help you to relax.
  5. Collage a painting. To complete this exercise, you'll first need to create a simple, abstract painting on paper. Then, tear this painting up and create another. Think about how you felt when you had to tear up the first painting and which you like more.

Self

Examine aspects if who you are and how you see the world through these amazing art projects.

  1. Draw images of your good traits. Creating drawings of your good traits will help you to become more positive and build a better self-image.
  2. Draw yourself as an animal. Is there an animal that you have a special interest in or feel like is a kindred spirit? Draw yourself as that animal.
  3. Create a timeline and draw the most significant moments in your life. This timeline will be the story of your life, with the most important moments highlighted visually.
  4. Put together a jungle animal collage. Choose jungle animals that you find the most interesting, draw them, and then reflect on why you've chosen these specific animals.
  5. Sculpt your ideal self. If you could make yourself into the perfect person, what would you look like?
  6. Paint the different sides of yourself. In this project, you'll paint the different aspects of your personality, giving each a visual representation. You might only have one or two, or maybe even twelve.
  7. Make art around your fingerprints. Your fingerprints are as unique as you are. Use ink and paint to make art that uses your fingerprints.
  8. Draw yourself as a tree. Your roots will be loaded with descriptions of things that give you strength and your good qualities, while your leaves can be the things that you're trying to change.
  9. Design a fragments box. In this project, you'll put fragments of yourself into a box, helping construct a whole and happier you.
  10. Paint an important childhood memory. What was a pivotal memory in your childhood? This activity asks you to document it and try to understand why it was so important to you.
  11. Write and illustrate a fairy tale about yourself. If you could put yourself into a happily ever after situation, what role would you play and how would the story go? Create a book that tells the tale.
  12. Design a visual autobiography. This creative journaling project asks you to look back at your life and make a visual representation of it.
  13. Create your own coat of arms. Choose symbols that represent your strengths to build your own special coat of arms.
  14. Draw a comic strip about a funny moment in your life. Enjoy a moment of levity with this exercise that will focus in on a comical even that happened to you.
  15. Build your own website. Websites are very versatile ways to express yourself. Build your own to express what's most important about you.
  16. Create a box of values. First, collage or paint a box the represents you. Then, place items inside the box that represent the things you value the most.

Gratitude

Here you'll find a collection of projects that will help you be happy about what you have and express your gratitude for it.

  1. Document your gratitude visually. What things are you grateful for in your life? Paint or collage a work that represents these things.
  2. Create a family tree of strength. This exercise honors those around you who support you. Paint those close to you who offer you the strength you need.
  3. Make something for someone else. Making something for someone else can be a great way to feel good and help someone else do so as well.
  4. Make anchor art. Who are the anchors in your life? In this project, you'll make an anchor and decorate it with the people and things that provide you stability and strength.
  5. Draw all the positive things in your life. Everyone has at least one good thing in life, so sit down and figure out what makes you happy– then draw it.
  6. Sculpt your hand in plaster. Once it's dry, write all the good things you can do with it right onto the hand.
  7. Paint a rock. This project is meant to offer you strength. You can approach it in two ways. One option is to paint the rock with things that empower you. The other is to paint it with struggles you overcome.
  8. Write on leaves to create a gratitude tree. What are you grateful for? This project asks you to write those things on leaves to construct a tree or banner of gratitude.
  9. Map out the connections in your life. Draw yourself at the center of this project, then map out how you're connected to everyone else in your life. It will help make you feel much less alone.
  10. Create a snowflake out of paper. Write ideas about how you are unique on the snowflake.
  11. Build a personal altar. This is a highly personal project that will help connect you with your spiritual side and honor your resilience.

Inside the Mind

Take a look inside your mind to see what's going on with these projects.

  1. Create a blot art. Like a classic Rorschach test, fold paper in half with paint or ink in the middle and describe what you see.
  2. Map your brain. Make a visual representation of your thoughts to figure out how your mind works.
  3. Make a dreamcatcher. Having bad dreams? Create this age-old tool for catching your dreams with a few simple tools.
  4. Draw your dreams. You can learn a lot from what goes on in your dreams, so keep a dream journal and use it for inspiration to draw or paint.

Miscellaneous

If you're still looking for something to empower, help or soothe you, these projects may fit the bill.

  1. Use natural materials. Leaves, sticks, dirt, clay and other natural materials can help you get in touch with the natural world and the more primal side of yourself.
  2. Build an archetype. Check out this series of projects to build a set of archetypes, or ideal examples, that can help you explore how you see the world.
  3. Use your body as a canvas. You don't need paper when you have you body. Paint on your hands and feet or anywhere else to feel more in touch with yourself.
  4. Sculpt spirit figures. Connect with those that have passed on or your own spiritual essence using these sculpted figures.
  5. Make art out of recycled items. You can reuse old items that have meaning to you or just re-purpose something you have laying around. Either way, you'll get insights into how you can reshape and reevaluate your own life.
  6. Collage or draw on top of old photographs. If you're uncomfortable using old photos you can make copies, but with this project you'll draw out one characteristic you see in the person in the photos.
  7. Create your own interpretation of a famous work of art. How would you have painted the Mona Lisa? Using a famous work as your inspiration, create your own work. It could help reveal more about your lens on the world.
  8. Work collaboratively. Art can be better when two work at it together, so find a partner and collaborate on just about anything.
  9. Use a found or made object as a paintbrush. Whether it's something sharp or something soft, make your own artistic tool and use it to express what you're feeling.
  10. Make crayon stained glass. Reflect upon your spiritual side with this project that lets you create your own stained glass window.
  11. Paint a window. Windows let you see in and see out. Paint yours with things you want to hide or show to the world.

Tackling the New Frontier of Genetics Nursing

January 7th, 2011

Though genetics nursing is not a new field by any means, it is one of the more overlooked nursing niches, especially in comparison to delivery room nursing, general practice nursing, and even emergency room nursing. This may be because genetics nurses work less on the forefront of patient action and more in behind-the-scenes research positions. Yet, the work of genetics nurses is incredibly crucial to developing better screening procedures for diseases as well as better methods of ensuring that organ transplants are successful.

A person's genetic history can tell a lot about him or her. The way their genes are laid out can shed insight into whether they are at risk of developing certain illnesses and also whether certain medical procedures will be successful or not. More carefully considering genetics can also decrease the likelihood of a patient's body rejecting valuable and scarce donor organs, which will not only save lives, but also medical resources and money. Medical professionals are beginning to realize the need for genetics knowledge and training, driving an increasing number of nursing programs to include genetics courses in their general nursing curricula, according to an article published in Nurse Week.

The boom of interest in genetics nursing rides on the coat tails of the Human Genome Project, which was a 13-year study helmed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. It was completed in 2003, and successfully mapped out approximately 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA, according to the the U.S. Department of Energy. This data is now used by medical researchers, including genetics nurses, to create more personalized diagnostic procedures, more individualized treatments, and other more specialized ways of practicing medicine that will focus on the patient's unique genetic makeup rather than applying broad medicinal practices on every patient that walks through the door. This will decrease the chance of having patients undergo fruitless treatments and therapies and increase the chances of improving health with treatment the first time around.

All in all, genetics in nursing is going to become increasingly important as more research is conducted in the area and applied to medicine and health care. Even those who are not strict genetics nurses will need to keep up with new developments in genetics nursing if they wish to remain valuable and employable members of the nursing community.

Completing Clinicals for Those Enrolled in Online Schools for Nursing

January 7th, 2011

If you are interested in earning an online education in the field of nursing, then you are in luck. Many of the nation's top schools offer online nursing degrees. Yet, for those unfamiliar with online education, it can be confusing figuring out just how they work, especially when it comes to traditionally hands-on things like internships and clinicals. Luckily, it is relatively easy to clear up that confusion.

All online nursing programs cover the same topics as campus-based nursing programs. Nursing students will learn about the fundamentals of nursing, health care ethics and laws, nursing theories, and other related topics. Also similar to classroom-based nursing students, online nursing students will be required to complete a specified number of hours in clinicals, which are internship sessions where students shadow a professional working in the field. During these clinicals, students also tackle some responsibilities in the work place much like how they would upon graduation. These clinicals help students gain experience and hands-on knowledge so that when they graduate, they will at least have some experience working in a professional health care facility. In addition, it ensures that students are able to handle working in that environment.

Unlike traditional campus-based schools, however, the clinicals that online nursing students participate in are conducted in health care facilities that are not necessarily affiliated with the school. Students are responsible for going out on their own and finding health care facilities in their area in which to complete their clinicals. They then contact the school as well as the facility to arrange an internship program. Students report to the facility for the assigned number of hours and get their internship supervisor to sign off on the time completed so that it may count towards graduation. However, if the facility that the student suggested to school does not agree to host nursing students, then the student will have to find another viable facility in which to complete his or her clinical.

Some online schools may also have a list of pre-approved clinical facilities. Students simply must ask for a list of these pre-approved facilities and secure a clinical period for themselves. Either way, in an online nursing program, the students must do most of the clinical arrangements independently.

National School Nurse Day Recognizes the Hard Work of School Nurses

January 7th, 2011

Every student knows his or her school nurse. Whether they encounter the nurse due to bouts of upset stomachs or just from the annual physical that the school nurse conducts during gym class, every student benefits from having the nurse there. Just as secretaries and bosses have their own days for recognition of their hard work, now school nurses also have their own day to be celebrated: National School Nurse Day.

National School Nurse Day is celebrated on Wednesday of National Nurse Week, which is always held from May 6th to May 12th, according to the National Association of School Nurses. Promoted by the American Nurses Association, National Nurse Week was expanded from just a single nurse recognition day to an entire week in 1990. In 2003, a specific day within that week was chosen to specifically recognize the hard work of school nurses and has been celebrated on that day ever since.

School nurses deserve to be celebrated because these nurses are charged with the important responsibility of caring for every student in the school, which is especially noteworthy when you take into account that students spend the majority of their waking hours in school. Without school nurses, there would not be someone to ensure that students who feel ill are taken care of and no one to dispense medication to students with a prescription. In addition, school nurses control infection by making sure that children with contagious illnesses or conditions – such as chicken pox or the flu – are removed from classrooms so that they do not infect other students as well. This undoubtedly prevents many children from getting the fever that their classmates had, saving parents from worry, headaches, and health care expenses.

In addition to these things, school nurses also act as watchdogs of student health. They conduct physical examinations each school year as well as other exams like hearing tests, vision tests, and checking for spinal alignment. This work could help to catch growing problems early on so that every student remains as healthy as possible while they are in school. After all, if it were not for the diligence of school nurses, parents could be oblivious to the fact that their child is struggling in school due to something as simple and easy to fix as poor eyesight.

Be sure that when National Nurse Week rolls around this year to send a simple "Thank You" to your child's school nurse on that Wednesday in order to let them know that you appreciate what they do.

40 Funniest Cartoons to Share With the Nurse in Your Life

January 6th, 2011

Nursing is one of the most in-demand industries right now, but nurses still don't always get the respect they deserve. Long shifts, irritable patients, and impatient doctors make work even more stressful, no matter what kind of nurse you are. But these cartoons can cheer you up when you're having a bad day or just want an extra boost of confidence and energy. Here are 40 of our favorite cartoons to hang up in your ward or to share with the nurse in your life.

Patient Care

Keep your sense of humor when it comes to difficult patients or patients you wish you had more time to care for.

  1. A little pinch: This cartoon pokes fun at the oft-used nurse's phrase.
  2. I would have been here sooner: A patient who's passed on apologizes for not making it to heave on time.
  3. Nurse Training: Get a chuckle out of this illustration of nurses training.
  4. Nurse Cartoon 3: Laugh at past experiences with demanding patients when you read this cartoon.
  5. Vitamin D: You'd sign up for this treatment, too.
  6. Will Look Up Famous People: If you've ever felt that patients expect too much coddling — or for you to be their personal Google — print this out.
  7. Scale: Maybe this will help you deal with patient vanity.
  8. Rate Your Pain: Sometimes, it's just easier this way.
  9. Blood Pressure: Medicine isn't the cure for everything, we're sure you know.
  10. Emergency Lollipop: Here's a cute cartoon to hang up, especially if you treat kids.
  11. Try to get some rest: You may find certain parts of your job a little ironic.
  12. Burger Mold: If you feel guilty when you serve your patients hospital food, read this cartoon.
  13. John Tesh: Oh, the things you wish you could do to kill the time.

Doctors

Sometimes, you have great doctors. Other times, your supervisor is a bit of a jerk. Here are cartoons to keep it all in perspective.

  1. Um, excuse me doctor: If you've ever had to school a doctor in medical instruments, you'll laugh at this toon.
  2. Cranky doctor: If you're suspicious of your doctor's motives, try out this test.
  3. Oops!: This cartoon pokes fun at doctors and cartoonists.
  4. Never talk down to patients: The same rule applies to nurses.
  5. Donuts: This cartoon is for all the nurses who feel unappreciated at work.
  6. The doctor will be a little late: Here's a smart-alecky solution for late doctors.

Nursing Profession

These cartoons will help you laugh at everything from paper work to school nursing to nursing education and training.

  1. Hospital Food: This cartoon points out just how bad the hospital food is.
  2. Super heroes: This cartoon gives medical workers the honor they deserve.
  3. Nurses cartoon 6: You know what it's like to try to teach kids about nutrition, don't you?
  4. Innies, Outies: Nurses in charge of newborns will love this cartoon.
  5. Genius: You've got to train the new ones right.
  6. Hospital Time: Everyone knows "hospital time" is a little more flexible than real time.
  7. Catch of the Day: Will you get the flu, strep throat or another "catch?"
  8. Why am I a nurse?: This cartoon says a lot about what nurses have to do each day.
  9. Wounded Soldiers and Nightingales: Here's a vintage tribute to Florence Nightingale.
  10. That Special Place: If you hate insurance companies, you'll want to hang up this cartoon.
  11. FDA Approval: This cartoon takes a jab at the bureaucratic process.
  12. Mongo: Here's a hilarious spin on the bizarre world of medicine and transplants.
  13. Budget cuts: Try to laugh at something so depressing when you look at this cartoon.
  14. Continuing education credit: …If only.
  15. Bad Mood: Perk up a bit when you're in a bad mood, and realize what that means you can get away with.
  16. Mental health day: Sometimes even nurses are at a loss for a valid sounding medical excuse.
  17. Career Day: Even if you love your job, you probably have moments like this.
  18. My job is mostly seasonal: If you divide your work cycle into seasons like this school nurse, you'll laugh.
  19. 25 cents: Have another laugh at the expense of budget cuts.
  20. Fruit Basket: If only you had your own office!
  21. Why Nursing: The reason you became a nurse may be hard to remember sometimes.

The Importance of the Nurse Researcher in Health Care

January 5th, 2011

Not all nurses have to work in hospitals seeing to patients and conversing with doctors, many choose to work in laboratories, universities, and health care facilities conducting nursing research. The purpose of this type of research is to find evidence that supports scientific principles, concepts, and theories behind the practice of nursing. Conducting research studies related to the nursing practice is important as findings are used to advance or better health care services and health care outcomes. In other words, nursing research is about combining evidence-based practice with bedside manner for the purpose of providing the best possible health care.

Nurse researchers work to identify issues and questions that need to be addressed, design and carry out research studies, analyze results, and identify how findings can be integrated into practice. To do this they may conduct quantitative research, which concentrates on measurable patient outcomes, or qualitative research that focuses on the experience of patients who receive care or the nurses themselves who deliver it. Often these types of nurses work alongside or collaborate with scientists in the fields like medicine, pharmacy, and nutrition. Along with health and educational facilities, you may see them working for private companies, research organizations, or health policy nonprofits. Many also choose to specialize in a certain areas related to applied nursing research like patient education, pain management, nurse/doctor collaboration, nursing diagnosis, and discharge planning.

One of the most important things about having nurses themselves work in the area of research is their unique perspective. Having worked closely with patients, they are more concerned about how they can help their patients better receive treatment or educate them about disease prevention rather than about the treatment of disease itself. Nurse researchers often publish studies based on the data that they collect on practices and products within medical, pharmaceutical, and nursing fields. These types of studies are vital to the practice of nursing as they help to determine how services can be more effectively implemented, discover ways to improve patient quality of life, and find out how to better reduce patient risk.

Those who desire to conduct research in the field of nursing should know that they may have to complete more education than the average RN. Not only will they have to earn a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing , but are often required to have a Master's of Science in Nursing or even a Ph.D.

The Critical Care Nurse in the Workplace

January 5th, 2011

One of the more exciting and thrilling fields in nursing is critical care – dealing primarily with patients facing life-threatening problems. Generally in charge of making sure that all critically ill patients along with their family members get the finest care, a critical care nurse plays an important role in the world of health care. Times have changed in the nursing industry and now there are specific nurses for precise roles and jobs. In the case of critical nurses, there have always been extremely sick and at times complex patients, but now we are seeing the need for nurses that specialize in particular skills and possess an understanding of medicine that differs from other nurses.

This is a type of medicine that puts men and women in an environment with patients that need multifaceted assessment and a great deal of therapy. In times of need, critical nurses depend on the talents and experience they have acquired to assist patients and their families by constructing an environment good for caring and healing. The primary duty of this type of nurse is to support any patient in need more than anyone and give this wounded person the care and attention they so desperately need in order for them to make a strong recovery.

Other responsibilities of critical care nurses entail working in a mix of other environments. Besides being at the bedside of a patient, they can be educating other nurses or serve as a manager of staff. To achieve this type of position, an education and training that goes beyond that of a standard registered nurse is required. Usually the majority of critical care nurses go through a training course that really goes into detail on how to care for those that are critically ill. Becoming certified in this arena only further assists you in finding full-time employment.

When you put forth the effort and go beyond the basic boundaries of other registered nurses you open the door to a wide variety of opportunities. This opportunity gives you the chance to help heal and recover those in critical need of such support. There is a rush that comes from saving a life or from the moment when a person is brought into the hospital that you find out is relying on you to keep living. Through a strong education and work experience, you will be able to take on this responsibility and bring a smile back to the face of not only your patient but his or her family.

The Certified Nurse Midwife’s Role in Pregnancy and the Birthing Process

January 5th, 2011

The tradition of midwifery has been around for quite some time. Although there are references to midwives in ancient Hindu records, Greek and Roman manuscripts and the Bible, using a midwife has reduced in commonality in the United States in modern years. There are, however, many special roles that a midwife plays in the process of pregnancy and birth and many benefits to seeking the counsel of a certified nurse midwife.

A certified nurse midwife must have at least a bachelor's degree and, possibly, a master's or doctoral degree. They are required to complete both nursing and midwifery training and become licensed for certification in all states. Midwifes often work with doctors to provide patients with the best all-around care. In order to ensure that a midwife has the appropriate certifications, check to see that they have completed a program approved by the American College of Nurse Midwives Division of Accreditation.

A fundamental belief in midwifery is that childbirth is a normal, healthy process, and it should be treated as such until there is evidence to the contrary. This means, that midwives generally tend to take the most natural approach to pregnancy and childbirth as possible, without unnecessary use of sonogram testing or preventative medical procedures. Midwives see their role as one of support to the pregnant woman, so that she may let nature take its course, while still staying safe and educated about the process.

One of the largest parts of midwifery is being by the woman's side during the actual birthing process. They encourage the use of different physical positions to encourage a birth without complications. They also encourage walking around, eating and drinking, rocking and leaning as part of the natural process. This differs from a traditional birthing process which usually requires the mother to lie in bed without much movement.

Certified nurse midwives may also combine their practices with traditional medical interventions, such as labor-inducing drugs, fetal monitoring, pain medications and epidurals, but they may not legally use these techniques without the supervision of a doctor.

A great option for women interested in using a midwife is to see one in conjunction with a medical doctor. Midwives are trained to pinpoint any signs of complications during labor and know many natural techniques that may allow mothers to circumvent things like C-sections by natural means, such as changing positions. However, if complications continue to persist, it is safer to have a doctor who is already present and aware of the state of the birthing process so they may immediately apply any necessary medical interventions.

50 Best Blogs for School Nurses

January 4th, 2011

With students, teachers and staff members all needing help and care when they're feeling ill, the work of a school nurse is never done. Finding new ways to balance your workload, manage your life and keep up with advances in medical care can be challenging, but the internet makes it a little easier. Whether you're fresh out of nursing school or a seasoned veteran, check out these blogs for the best news, information and advice for school nursing professionals.

School Nurses

Take a look at these blogs for help, advice and news from other school nurses.

  1. The School Nurse Speaks: Hear from school nurse Nancy about her work and life in this blog.
  2. Scrubs Magazine: No matter what kind of nursing you practice, this online blogazine has something to offer.
  3. Kiddizzy: Get funny and interesting stories from this school nurse as well as advice on dealing with cold and flu season.
  4. Provo School Nurses: These school nurses share their expertise and updates about community healthcare on this blog.
  5. Central Community Elementary School Health Blog: Parents, nurses and community members will find everything they need on this blog to help kids grow up happy and healthy.

Safety and Prevention

These blogs are full of great ideas to keep your students safe and illness-free.

  1. EDC Blog: Visit this blog to learn more about improving health and education at home and around the world.
  2. The Sara Bellum Blog: School nurses can visit this blog for ideas about how to teach teens about the dangers of drug use.
  3. BUG Blog: Got a lice problem at your school? Follow along with this humorous and helpful blog to learn all about pest control.
  4. Scarleteen: Help teens avoid STDs and pregnancy by educating them about sex, with the help of sites like this one, helping give teens, parents and medical professionals insights into sex ed.

Children's Health

Read through the information featured in these blogs to keep up with children's health issues.

  1. Science Daily Children's Health News: You'll be able to stay in-the-loop about all news related to children's health when you follow this blog.
  2. School Health Alert Blog: From legal issues in school healthcare to funny stories from school nurses, this blog is a great place to find great info and a few laughs.
  3. School Kids Healthcare Blog: This healthcare blog features all kinds of healthcare-related stories that can help you in your work.
  4. Thrive: Created by Children's Hospital of Boston, this blog offers up tips, tools and news to help keep kids healthy.
  5. Healthy Child Healthy World: Learn ways to help educate students and parents on the health-related reasons they should go green on this blog.
  6. Kid's Health Blog: Hear from Children's Hospital of Minnesota on a wide range of health care issues on this site.
  7. Teen Health Clinic Blog: Teens and medical professionals alike can learn from this blog from the Baylor Teen Health Clinic.

Mental Health and Development

School nurses are in a unique position to watch out for signs of abuse and depression and to monitor the development of students at all ages. Use these blogs to learn more.

  1. The New Teen Age: Learn how teens think and how to better deal with the issues they may be bringing you as a school nurse with the help of this blog.
  2. A Psychological Solution to Bullying: Bullying is a big problem in schools today, so learn to recognize the signs and get students the help they need with advice and interesting articles found on this site.
  3. The Teenage Mind: A lot of changes happen as students go through puberty, many of which authority figures may find hard to understand or deal with. Help explain the science behind these changes with the aid of this blog.
  4. Overcoming Child Abuse: If you see bruises or scratches on your patients, you may suspect abuse. Learn how to help these students get the help they need and understand the effects of abuse with guidance from therapist Catherine McCall.
  5. The Child in Time: This blog is an excellent place to learn more about child development.
  6. Teen Mental Health: Blogger Laura Birk shares insights into teenage mental health on this blog.

Policy

Check out these sites to see what's going on in the field of health care policy, with a special focus on how it impacts children.

  1. Say Ahhh!: This children's health policy blog is the perfect place to keep up with the politics that affect your job.
  2. Wisconsin Council on Children and Families: Even if you don't live or work in Wisconsin, you can still appreciate the policy information you'll find on this site.
  3. MomsRising Blog: Hear from parents, professionals and more on this blog, all fighting for better healthcare for kids.
  4. Health Policy Hub: This general health policy blog offers up news on healthcare as a whole as well as articles more specifically geared towards care for kids.

Conditions

These blogs offer you the chance to learn more about some of the conditions your patients may be living with as well as infectious diseases and other illnesses you'll see as a school nurse.

  1. Asthma Blog: This About.com blog can be a helpful resource when treating students suffering from asthma– a common childhood ailment.
  2. CHADD Blogs: You'll find a number of excellent sites through the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder site.
  3. Getting Rid of the ED: Eating disorders aren't just something that show up in TV dramas– thousands of young men and women struggle with them. Learn the signs and how to help young people seek treatment from this blog of a mom helping her daughter through anorexia.
  4. JDRF News Blog: Find out more about juvenile diabetes on this excellent site.
  5. Rare Disease Blogs: Have a student with a rare condition? Research it through this blog.
  6. The Autism Advocate: Through this blog you can learn more about how to treat and care for students who may be suffering from mild to severe autism.
  7. Pills Don't Teach Skills: Learn why medications like Ritalin may not always be the solution for kids with ADD on this blog.
  8. Cystic Fibrosis Blogs: Search through a number of great blogs about cystic fibrosis on this site.
  9. Flu News Blog: Stay abreast of the latest outbreaks of flu and related news so you'll be ready and able to care for patients when it comes your way.
  10. Infectious Diseases Blog: This blog is an excellent place to learn more about many of infectious diseases that are spread around your school.
  11. E is for Epilepsy: Learn firsthand what it's like to live with epilepsy from this blog.

Nutrition and Food

Childhood obesity is a national crisis. Help educate your students with help from these blogs.

  1. Childhood Obesity News: Professionals, parents, teachers and more can learn about ways to fight childhood obesity on this blog.
  2. School Nutrition Association: Through this blog, you can learn more about how to get your school to serve healthier lunches.
  3. The Lunch Tray: This blog is full of news on healthy eating for school kids.
  4. Dr. Susan's Better School Food Blog: Dr. Susan Rubin shares her expertise on nutrition through this blog.
  5. The Lunch Box Blog: Need some assistance in getting your school motivated to provide students with healthier foods? This blog is the place to do it.
  6. Kids Food Allergies: Food allergies are increasingly common in children, so make sure you know what's what when it comes to treating kids with the help of a blog like this one.
  7. Fooducate: Learn more about the foods being served at your school and to your students from this blog.

Pediatrics

These blogs offer a chance to learn more about pediatrics from experts in the field.

  1. Pediatrics Blog: This general site is a good place to start learning about issues that will affect the majority of the students under your care, both at school and at home.
  2. Pediatric SuperSite: Here you'll find a blog that features some of the latest advancements and research in the field of pediatrics.
  3. Dr. Gwenn Is In: This pediatrician and mom shares her thoughts on work, life and everything in between on this blog.
  4. PediaCast: Follow along with this podcast through this site and you'll be able to learn about topics like bullying, constipation, flu vaccination, food allergies and much more.
  5. Dr. David's Blog: Pediatric oncologist David Loeb shares stories of his work with young patients on this blog.
  6. Pediatric Education: This site is an excellent resource for school nurses who want to learn more about new research in pediatrics, medical care issues and policy problems.