Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Independence Day, Nurses, on this fabulous fourth of July!

The character of our nation and that of the nursing profession are so similar that through out our history they’ve been intertwined. Try these traits on for size and see if you agree: Nurturing, caring, patriotic, independence-loving, tolerant, and humanitarian.

I was reminded of the patriotic role of the nurse by Melodie Chenevert, herself a nurse for 50 years and a collector of nursing memorabilia, and also founder-owner of the Lost Art of Nursing Museum in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Melodie displays some sensational artwork that show just how elevated nurses became during the first World War, when Red Cross nurses were romanticized as the heroic feminine ideal of American womanhood.

That trend continued during World War II, when the US government swung into full gear to recruit young woman into the nursing corps. The need for nurses was great and the supply short, so recruitment posters marketed military service as a way to aid the war effort. The fact that service in the Army, Navy, or Nurse Cadet Corp. served as a bold call to adventure and offered a free vocational education didn’t hurt, either.

Leading artists and illustrators, songwriters and poets all heralded the noble nurse who fulfilled her duty to country through military service. Some famous artists who received commissions to depict the nurturing nurse in battle: Norman Rockwell, Dana Gibson (creator the lauded Gibson Girl) and N.C. Wyeth.

Before the age of celebrity and before the Kardashians, nurses captured the public’s imagination. They served as magazine cover girls and advice columnists and product endorsers and pitch women. Just as today, nurses were trustworthy figures and so their “seal of approval” actually meant something to consumers.

So, as we mark our nation’s birthday, light up the candles…or fireworks…and let’s celebrate!

Informatics Nurses in Healthcare Today

Informatics Nurses in Healthcare Today

The Nerdy Nurse

The Nerdy Nurse

What role do informatics nurses play in today’s health information technology (IT) environment?, asked The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). An important one, according to the 576 healthcare professionals who responded to their 2015 HIMSS Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey.

It appears that the longer that an organization has employed an informatics professional, the greater their impact and the more value that they can bring to the clinical systems process and the overall quality of patient care.

Key results of the survey, from the executive summary:
The most significant contribution during the clinical systems process?

During the implementation phase (85 percent) and optimization phase (83 percent).

The most significant impact of patient quality of care?

Sixty percent reported that informatics nurses have a high degree of impact on patient care.

Respondents also indicated that informatics nurses have a high degree of impact on workflow, patient safety and user acceptance.

Informatics nurses are making headway in healthcare leadership. Sixty-one percent of respondents work for an organization that employs an informatics professional leader. Twenty percent of those organizations employ a Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO).

Informatics nurses were most likely to be identified with providing assistance with emerging technologies, such as medical devices integration (70 percent) and smart device adoption (50 percent).

If you’d like to know more about informatics nursing in 2015, visit the website of The Nerdy Nurse (A.K.A. Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN). She recently attended HIMSS’s annual convention as a Social Media Ambassador. She tweeted that the biggest buzz at the show was about Apple Watch apps. Brittney gives a complete recap of the show in this HIMSS15 SoMe Ambassador Hangout.

Jebra Turner is a freelance health and business writer in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.jebra.com.

Save the Date: National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day

Save the Date: National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day


The American Diabetes Association (ADA) wants to get everyone up and moving at least every 90 minutes during the workday. To help focus attention on the danger of sedentary behaviors, the ADA has established the first Wednesday in May as National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day. This year the inaugural event will fall on May 6th.

According to the ADA, excessive sitting contributes to obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, among other diseases. Nurses are natural health educators so they can share easy ways for patients, co-workers, and community members to add more movement to their day.

How prevalent is prolonged sitting on the job? According to JustStand.org, some 86% of 1,000 full-time office workers surveyed are required to sit for long periods. Of these, nearly 70% want to sit less and stand more.

Need ideas for how to add physical activity to your day? the ADA has some suggestions:

* Avoid elevators. Encourage everyone to take the stairs for a few flights up and down.
* Start a walking club with co-workers.
* Get started with a couch-to-5K training plan.
* Cycle to work or train for race, like the ADA’s Tour de Cure.

Join nurses nationwide in supporting the day socially; use the hashtag #GetFitDontSit on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For tips on how to get involved, visit the ADA website at www.diabetes.org and download the National Get Fit Don’t Sit e-Toolkit.

Let’s take the lead in getting everyone on their feet!

Sticking to Your Resolutions?

Sticking to Your Resolutions?

If you’re still on-track after “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day” (celebrated on January 17th), you must have set some excellent goals! But what if you’re one majority who jettison our well-intentioned New Year’s self-improvement goals?

It may be time to add some imagination to your goal setting so that your creative right brain (which favors imagery) is working alongside your logical left brain for an all-out effort. That way you’re more likely to count yourself as one of the lucky 8% of goal setters who keep on keepin’ on until they succeed.

What are some ways to get creative? Here are three:

-Call on your inner self to “dream” your way to your best and truest life. Some nurses are loathe to call themselves dreamers because they think of themselves as doers. After all, most nurses are practical, ingenious workers and that’s what others value most about them. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t also intuitive. Set aside a few minutes when you first wake up or right before you go to sleep, when you’re most “dreamy,” to imagine what you most want in your life. Do you often see yourself on a sunny beach with a paperback and a Margarita? Maybe your heart’s desire is really more R&R, and not that advanced degree you resolved to start pursuing in 2015.

-Pay close attention to your night time dreams. Some people believe that dreams ignored are like letters unread. Do you remember your dreams when you wake up? You can get better at remembering details if you apply yourself. Unraveling the meaning of dreams can be more difficult, but that too is an acquired skill. Just like with daydreams, check for patterns. Do you often dream of walking around naked in public or arriving at school totally unprepared for a big test? Ask yourself what area of your life you might feel exposed or unprepared. If you can’t figure it out, enlist a friend or relative to help you free-associate. Then make sure you’re not fighting against yourself by setting goals that are at odds with your night dreams. For example, if you’re apprehension about your competency or knowledge at work, don’t put in for a promotion or other added responsibilities until your anxiety is lower.

-Treasure map as a fun way to clarify your vision for yourself at home and at work. What’s a treasure map? It’s a simple collage that’s not so much about art as it is to get you in touch with your heart’s desire. Get a large sheet of paper or cardboard, scissors, glue, and pens or paint. Without thinking about it too much, cut out images that appeal to you and that seem to relate to your heart’s desires. Mess around with the images, shifting them this way or that until the pattern pleases you best. Once you’ve got it, glue images in place. Decorate the images or write a phrase across the top as a title. Hang your treasure map where you’ll see it often. You’ll be reinforcing whatever your inner mind shared with you in this creative project.

Jebra Turner is a freelance health and business writer in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.jebra.com.

Organize to Career Awesomeness in 2014

Organize to Career Awesomeness in 2014

Doing a bit of career housekeeping at year end can help clear away mental cobwebs and stagnant behaviors. Once you’ve got a clean slate, it’s much easier to make the new year into whatever you most desire.

Here are four simple steps to getting your work into tip-top shape:

1. Update your resume.

It’s fun to look back over the past year and see what you’ve accomplished and what new skills you’ve added to your bag of tricks. Write a stream-of-consciousness list and let yourself go, not worrying whether an item is deserving of mention, and if people will think you’re bragging by taking credit for achievements.

Once you’ve added, deleted, or revised that rough draft, update your resume so that it you ever decide to go for another position or a promotion, you’ll be ready.

2. Create a LinkedIn profile.

Or update it if you already have one. (There’s a nice feature that lets you import your resume so you don’t have to re-type the whole thing.)

More and more nurses are turning to social media sites, like LinkedIn, to gain the recognition and connections that drive career development. Be one of the digitally savvy folks in the healthcare profession.

3. Set up folders, either online or in a home file cabinet.

For instance, grab some manilla folders and mark them Benefits, Resume, Promotions, Vacation, Education, etc. (You can make them even more distinct by breaking up Benefits into 401K, Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, and so on.)

That way, it’s simple to toss any documents in the proper folder. When it’s time to update your resume, say, you’ll have memory joggers about any special projects you completed or educational seminars you attended.

Be sure to mark one folder Praise, then stuff it with letters of commendation, thanks from patients and their families, and employee recognition program accolades. When you’re down and feeling unappreciated, you can browse through that file as a reminder that what you do as a nurse really does matter.

4. Start working with that Education file now.

Decide what you want to learn in 2014 that will help catapult you into a more satisfying or better-paying position. Check with your nurse supervisor or human resources department to see what courses are available and if your employer will cover the cost.

Even if you don’t want to go so far as to add a degree or specialization, taking a course here and there can keep you up to date. And it can help keep you excited about your career as a nurse.

The topic doesn’t have to be entirely job related, either. Perhaps you want to brush up on your high school Spanish. Or maybe join Toastmasters so you’re more comfortable speaking out at meetings. Learning is growing, so any course is a great investment in your professional future.

How will you decide to organize your way to awesome in the new year?

Jebra Turner is a freelance business and health writer living in Portland, Oregon, but you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.