Sesame Street Introduces First Character with Autism, Julia

Sesame Street Introduces First Character with Autism, Julia


Honestly, it has been a while since a news story actually evoked a smile on my face. While I was cooking dinner, I was kind-of listening to Lester Holt on NBC’s Nightly News. As I sliced some tomatoes, a mere sentence stopped me in my tracks. Holt reported that Sesame Street was adding a new character Julia, who has autism. To some readers, this statement may seem trivial. However, as a nurse, I believe that this is a huge step forward for the media and most importantly the general public. It’s great to see that a beloved and iconic show take a positive step forward by introducing a character that is representative of children with disorders like autism.

Characters like Julia give children with autism someone to look up to because he or she sees someone that goes through similar experiences. Even more, children without autism can learn that kids like Julia are not that different from them. As a new NP, I am always searching for educational shows to share with my pediatric patients and their families that embrace diversity and introduce important social themes. Without a doubt, I am so excited to share this resource with anyone that is willing to listen. I have talked about how awesome Sesame Street is with my coworkers and family. I can’t wait for my next pediatric case to show up so that I can whip out my iPad and share this cool interactive book that provides free of charge. Check out this interactive book below and share it with your friends, family, and patients. Thanks for checking out this blog. I can’t wait to read your responses and learn from your stories.

Implicit Bias can be Deadly!

Implicit Bias can be Deadly!


Without a doubt, the nursing profession is rooted in scientific knowledge. We diagnose and treat patients based on presenting symptoms, resulting labs, and diagnostic procedures. As nurses and nursing students, we are taught to remain unbiased while caring for patients. However, some nurses and healthcare professionals do not practice this vital quality. Nonetheless, it is crucial to relinquish our personal opinions or preconceived notions about “certain” patients like drug users/seekers because it may prove to be the difference between a misdiagnosis or an epic save. As health care professionals, we see patients at their worst. These individuals are relinquishing a hidden past that may be unknown to their spouse or dearest friend. They may be sharing their darkest secret in hopes of us diagnosing and treating their complaint. So, we must do our due diligence by setting aside our pride and opinions to provide care that is based solely on the case at hand and not by public opinion.

As a nurse practitioner student, I was fortunate to learn from excellent clinicians like Deborah Mitchell, MSN, FNP-BC, and Edgar Brown Jr., MD. They taught me to listen keenly and elicit the patient’s “backstory” (or social history), which can be helpful in formulating potential differential diagnoses. However, they also stressed to me that I must never allow my personal judgment about the patient’s actions sway how I treat him or her. For instance, an African-American gentleman with a history of drug and alcohol abuse presented to the clinic with left upper abdominal pain and chest pain. He reported that he had been experiencing excruciating pain for two weeks. Moreover, he stated that he went to the local emergency department two days earlier because his pain became unbearable. Unfortunately, the clinician on duty was aware of the patient’s social history and diagnosed a muscle spasm and discharged the patient home. The clinician did not order labs, diagnostic exams, or perform any test to support their diagnosis. So, the gentleman sought treatment from Deborah Mitchell, MSN, FNP-BC. As a nurse practitioner student, watching her work was mesmerizing and inspiring. She actively listened to the patient’s story and concern. She shared with the patient that she was sorry about his experience at the ED and that he was not experiencing a muscle spasm, but something much more concerning.

So, she ran a battery of tests and labs. Unfortunately, the EKG results had shown a possible cardiac infarction, which warranted immediate medical intervention. As a result, Edgar Brown Jr., MD, was consulted. Dr. Brown sent the patient to the closest ED for serial troponin labs to rule out a possible cardiac infarction or cardiac ischemia. Moreover, Deborah Mitchell and Dr. Brown agreed that the patient required a stat CT scan of the chest and abdomen. Unfortunately, the CT scan had shown large masses in the patient’s lungs that needed immediate attention. All in all, if Deborah Mitchell and Dr. Brown’s personal judgment influenced their patient’s medical treatment, he may have fallen victim to an unfortunate outcome. As health care professionals, it is not our role to pass judgment upon those who seek our care. Our job is to do no harm. Sadly, sometimes, personal opinions hinder how we provide care to “certain” patients. It is imperative that we provide equal care to all individuals. As a new nurse practitioner, I utilize their teachings and practice methods when providing care to my patients. Health care professionals are not the judge and the jury. Rather, we are the detectives that collect the evidence and build the case.

Hidden Gem: NCLEX Review Course Spotlight

Hidden Gem: NCLEX Review Course Spotlight

Are you looking for a course that is affordable, interactive, and self-paced? Well, the NCSBN review course, or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, may be the right course for you! Notably, Hurst, Kaplan, and Sylvia Rayfield are the most publicized and recommended review courses among nursing students and faculty. Certainly, these review courses are excellent resources, but they are marked with a hefty price.

For the nursing student living on a budget or raising a family, those prices may create a deathlike squeeze. So, during my last semester, I searched for courses to prepare for licensure. Certainly, major search engines, such as Google, pushed those heavy hitters (Hurst, Kaplan, and Sylvia Rayfield). However, I stumbled across a hidden gem. A jewel christened NCSBN. During my preceptorship, I overheard underground chatter regarding the course’s increasing popularity. Likewise, my preceptor praised that the course equipped her with the knowledge, strategies, and confidence to successfully pass on her first attempt. She boasted that NCSBN’s review course questions were startlingly parallel to those she encountered throughout her exam, and she passed with  75 questions! Of course, I was impressed with her recommendation; nevertheless, I conducted an inquiry. Wonderfully, I discovered that the hype concerning the course was justified. Want to know why it’s hot? Click on the video below.

NCSBN Learning Extension

It is…

  • Three weeks- $50
  • Five weeks- $70
  • Eight weeks- $100
  • 15 weeks- $160
  • It’s Challenging!
    • The questions and material promote critical thinking. Plus, this course provides 24 hours access.
  • It’s Affordable!
    • This course won’t break the bank!
  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing develops it.
    • Hint: This group writes the NCLEX exam!!!!!

Because of its features and promising references, I selected NCSBN’s review course. Initially, I found it to be very challenging and intense. The content provided a comprehensive review of all subjects. As I reviewed the material, I progressively gained confidence and knowledge, and I developed vital critical thinking and test taking skills. Furthermore, I found that the questions provided in the review course were uncannily similar to those on my NCLEX exam. Thankfully, I passed with 75 questions on my first attempt! Frequently, I recommend this review course to all of my friends enrolled in nursing programs. Undeniably, I am confident that the NCSBN review course delivered a ready-made guide to success.

In the end, you must choose the best review course that meets your needs. Some individuals engage and thrive in a classroom-like atmosphere. While, others flourish in self-paced lessons. All in all, I advocate studying hard, staying committed, and trusting in the power of your knowledge. You made it through nursing school!


I encourage you to share your thoughts. I can’t wait to read and learn from your experiences!

LPNs are REAL Nurses

LPNs are REAL Nurses

This weekend, I made the early morning trek to Starbucks to indulge in my favorite seasonal pick-me-up. While sitting at a table, I glanced and noticed a small group of nursing students. It was clear that they were taking a short break from studying what appeared to be the Foundations of Nursing Practice. Within that moment, I reflected back on my time as an undergraduate nursing student. Thoughts of weekly eight a.m. study sessions with friends imprinted my mind. At those same tables, for hours, we sipped coffee, made notecards, and created care plans. For a little while, those memories invoked an internal smile.

Since I was an earshot away, I overheard their entire conversation. Seemingly, topics ranged from lectures to clinical experiences. Afterward, their discussion began to steer towards something much more concerning. One of the students shared that she interacted with LPN students from a local community college at her clinical site. Admittedly, the earlier statement sounds benign, but her delivery was bathed in arrogance. Then, with sheer disregard, she expressed, “I do not understand why they are going to a nursing school to become an LPN because they are not real nurses.”

After hearing those remarks, I bucked my eyes and shook my head in disbelief. Initially, I wanted to confront the young students. However, my super-ego halted me from making an unwise decision. Because of her ignorant and brash remarks, I feel obligated to discuss that LPNs are REAL nurses too. Obviously, I take great offense when a fellow nursing colleague states that LPNs are not REAL nurses.

My reaction after hearing the student's opinion.

                                         My reaction after hearing the student’s opinion.

As a nurse practitioner student, I learned a great deal from LPNs like Becky Rhodes and Sharon Blackmon. For instance, during my clinical rotation, they taught me how to independently and efficiently manage office tasks. Most importantly, these leaders in the nursing profession declared that a specific title does not define the quality of the clinician. But, justly applying knowledge and compassion are the true markings of a top-notch nurse practitioner. Without question, LPNs like Becky Rhodes and Sharon Blackmon embody the title of a nurse because they provide incomparable nursing care and convey unparalleled professionalism.

Nevertheless, some registered nurses deem that LPNs should not hold the title since they have less clinical training and education. However, I strongly disagree. First, LPNs must pass a national licensure exam prior to assuming nursing responsibilities. In my opinion, if an individual passed the NCLEX-PN, they have earned the title nurse. Furthermore, a governing nursing board can suspend or revoke an LPNs license if he or she engages in a disorderly act.

Although LPNs are under the supervision of an RN, they can complete many tasks.

However, it is important to note that the scope of practice varies from state to state.

In some states, LPNs can…

  • Perform procedures or treatments
    • Perform ongoing assessments of patients
    • Complete basic care
    • Take a patient’s medical history
    • Administer medications/ immunizations
    • Start/ manage IVs
    • Complete dressing changes
  • Assume independent care of the sub-acutely ill or chronically ill patients
  • Assist the RN in the care of an acutely ill patient

LPNs are a fundamental part of the nursing workforce. Moreover, it is imperative that RNs should not initiate a caste system to stratify whether an LPN warrants the title of nurse. Frankly, it is demeaning and insensitive. I am sure that Florence Nightingale would not want nurses to embody those qualities.


Thanks for reading this post! Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I cannot wait to hear from you!

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs): The Unsung Heroes

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs): The Unsung Heroes

Undoubtedly, the media and the public praise the nursing profession and its vital role in healthcare.  For instance, heart-warming commercials produced by Johnson & Johnson illustrated the genuine spirit of compassionate nursing care. Notably, their ad featuring a male nurse is extraordinary. As a nurse and viewer, his warmth towards the young child genuinely moved me. In my opinion, that commercial transfixed most people’s minds and hearts. For those readers that have not seen the video, I have provided it for your viewing pleasure. Click on the video below.


Without question, that commercial solidified the nurse (RN/LPN) as America’s sweetheart. However, the nursing community does not consist of just nurses (RNs/LPNs). Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are an integral part of the nursing community, but they are rarely acknowledged. CNAs are equally compassionate to patients like their nursing colleagues. Although these leaders do not administer medications, they are irreplaceable members of the nursing team. Without CNAs, patient care would be virtually impossible. These individuals are waiting in the wings and are always there to provide a helping hand. As a nurse, I worked side by side with remarkable CNAs like Pamela Davis, Tela Curry, and Ms. Janice.

These women demonstrated unwavering compassion that equaled or surpassed other nurses that worked on the floor. As a young nurse, they provided me a helping hand during “Harry” situations. For instance, Pamela, Tela, and I worked the weekend night shift, and it seemed as if every night was a full moon. Frequently, our unit would be slammed with new admits. So, Pamela and Tela would prep the rooms once the floor was alerted to a patient’s upcoming arrival. To some readers, that task may seem small, but their initiative afforded me time to complete other tasks. Stopping mid-procedure to set-up a room is time-consuming. Subsequently, on the days that I worked with Ms. Janice, she printed our patient’s lab requisitions and stocked the lab cart, which kept us ahead of the game. Then, we divided labs to lessen each other’s load of required responsibilities. Without these remarkable women, I would have surely struggled. When the nurse and CNA work as a team, they can effortlessly tackle overwhelming assignments.

As nurses, we must recognize the service of our vital but unrecognized teammate. We must highlight in the media and the community that their service is essential. So nurses and nursing students, on your next shift thank the CNAs for all of their hard work. These unsung heroes are not acknowledged enough. CNAs are the third beam that keeps the nursing community standing strong.


Thanks for reading this post! Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I can’t wait to hear from you.