Certified Nurses Day Is Today

Certified Nurses Day Is Today

When you’re thinking of career development and professional advancement in a nursing career, becoming a certified nurse sets you apart.

With today marking 2019’s Certified Nurses Day, certified nurses in every specialty can appreciate and understand the benefits gained from certification. From critical care to various women’s health to oncology, certification is available is a wide range of specialties.

Nurses become certified when they continue their nursing education with additional studies that culminate with passing a certification exam. Many nurses will try for certification when they have worked in a specialty or sub specialty and have a desire to learn more. They may also choose to become certified if they want to advance in their careers, gain more professional standing, or to better serve the patients and families they work with every day.

Although the exam might be a little easier if you already work in the specialty and understand the complexities of the standards and procedures, many nurses also choose to become certified in areas where they work only occasionally. Nurses may obtain as many certifications as they want, but choosing carefully to help enhance your job performance, your patient base, and your desire to know more about a certain topic will reap the biggest gains.

One of the biggest issues nurses might find with certification is the exam itself. But, as many certified nurses will say, your basic knowledge and extra studying on the most current updates will likely be enough to help you pass. If you are going for a certification that is just outside your normal area of expertise, you’ll need to put in more effort and extra hours studying, but the end result will be worth it. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of this particular nursing practice, and you’ll also elevate your professional standing. In addition, certified nurses show they care about their jobs and their careers enough to become better nurses with this extra effort.

As nurses progress through their careers, gaining certification reaffirms the reasons why they entered the profession. Nurses, even those who have been in practice for decades, know there is always something else to learn. As technology and medical advances continue at a rapid rate, certification helps provide that national standard of nursing care and expectations of practice.

If you’re interested in obtaining certification, begin looking at the American Nurses Credentialing Center for more information about how to prepare, how to get started, and what to expect. If you are already certified in a specialty (or more than one!) congratulations on joining an expert army of nurses who have gone beyond requirements to become the best possible nurses.

Enjoy Certified Nurses Day!

Nurses Advocate for Patient Safety

Nurses Advocate for Patient Safety

When it comes to patient safety, nurses stand bold as patient advocates. With so much going on and so many people involved in caring for a patient, the potential for something to go wrong is always present. Nurses help prevent that from happening.

This week Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 10 – 16) highlights the importance of patient safety and how healthcare staff and patients and their families can take steps to safeguard against mishaps.

Patients today enjoy more patient safety standards and protocols than patients did even a decade ago. Even the simplest protocol of hand washing has made inroads into protecting patients and healthcare providers from acquiring infections and additional germs. But healthcare today is also much more complex than it ever used to be. Patients have more complex conditions and comorbidities. Progress in treatment means that treatment plans are more extensive and likely involve more medication and/or monitoring.

All of these advances contribute to better treatment and care, but also open up the potential for issues like drug interactions, a missed new symptom, or even a patient who feels good enough to make it to the bathroom alone and exposes a potential fall hazard. In fact, the Institute for Healthcare Safety states that some studies report nearly 400,000 U.S. deaths from medical errors. And that doesn’t include figures for those who are harmed while under medical care.

Nurses provide a fact-checking stance where they can double and triple check medications for the correct med, dosage, timing, and for any drug interactions. They are also the providers who constantly assess a patient’s physical appearance. They can look for breathing changes or skin color changes or injuries on the skin. They are there to talk with a patient and notice any speech changes or cognitive changes that could raise a red flag. They are even there to make sure ill patients are not overwhelmed by visitors.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) offers excellent and plentiful resources for healthcare providers concerning patient safety. One of the toughest situations is when patients leave a facility to go home, and nurses rightly worry about their home environment and the care they will receive there. This PDF, Engaging Patients and Families in the Safest Care (excerpted from The National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute report Safety Is Personal) helps nurses offer realistic and accurate guidelines for continuing patient safety in the home environment.

To help celebrate this week, nurses can make efforts to learn as much as they can about improving patient safety. The IHI is offering a free webinar on March 13 Advancing Patient Safety Beyond the Hospital for those looking to find out more information on how they can help keep patients safe.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Offer Range of Care

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Offer Range of Care

This year the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners is holding an annual conference during this week’s National Nurse Practitioners Week. It’s a good time to examine where this segment of nursing is going and how far it has come over the years.

A career in pediatric nursing is always changing. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, you’ll treat ages from newborns up to late teens and early adults. Their care needs are varied and extensive because everything from their size to their cognitive capabilities to their emotional needs are vast.

Treatments for aggressive childhood diseases like cancer have advanced greatly. As more children are surviving and thriving longer, pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) are seeing how children manage any lingering emotional and physical impacts of their conditions. But PNPs also care for children who are well to keep them healthy and free from preventable disease and injury.

PNPs need to remain current on all the medical needs of children in their care, while also being aware of their emotional development. These advanced practice nurses are able to diagnose everything from an ear infection to more serious diseases and illnesses. They are able to prescribe treatment plans that include medications, follow ups, and additional therapies.

And PNPs do not just care for the child as they often are advising parents, guardians, and caregivers of these children. They offer care, give guidance, and advocate for the child in all situations.

Celebrating pediatric nurse practitioners helps acknowledge the variations in this area of nursing while also giving thanks for the care they give to the future. Children who are able to grow up with good health have advantages. Imparting the importance of good nutrition, exercise, sleep, immunizations, good mental health care, and safety issues helps a child grow up on a good track for growth and development. Through well-child visits, PNPs can perform developmental screenings, learn about any areas of concern, and provide education and guidance if additional health tests are needed.

Caring for young patients is different than caring for adults and the physical and emotional issues they face. Because of that discrepancy, some PNPs also perform research to advance the knowledge and know-how to help children.

However they choose to contribute their skills to the care of children and young adults, pediatric nurse practitioners are admired.

Time’s Up Comes to Health Care

Time’s Up Comes to Health Care

With the recent groundswell of the MeToo movement concerning sexual harassment and power inequity, it’s no surprise that industries across the board are reevaluating their working cultures. Health care is no exception and the recent Time’s Up Healthcare movement is gaining attention.

The movement began as a response to the Time’s Up Foundation’s widespread success at promoting safe and healthy work environments and calling attention to how power plays a role in harassment people experience in the workplace.

Time’s Up Healthcare’s website states a mission “to unify national efforts to bring safety, equity, and dignity to our healthcare workplace.” The organization, in partnership with organizations such as the American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies aims to call attention to the disparities in health care workplaces and the undue burden that kind of culture can carry.

When nurses work in an environment where they are concerned about their own safety or that of their colleagues, the quality of care they can give to patients can be disrupted. The distractions caused by an environment where sexual harassment is either accepted or present but expected to be ignored are enormous. Health care workers in those situations can feel the implications of that stress physically, mentally, and socially.

Instead of being able to concentrate on giving the best care possible, health care workers must constantly weigh the risks. They are required to take the temperature of their workplace and wonder what kind of retribution might happen if they speak up. The cost of speaking up could mean losing their job or even enduring additional threats.

Workplaces like this are entirely unacceptable. Time’s Up Healthcare is shining a spotlight on what’s happening and why it needs to change. The movement is hoping to also build a support network where people who are impacted by harassment at work can go for resources and direction. They also hope to promote an awareness around the issue and exactly the kinds of situations or scenarios that might fall under this kind of problem.

With that aim, the organization hopes to help eliminate this problem. Through education and trainings, harassment and power inequity can be challenged, examined, and eliminated.

Harassment is not okay. Nurses and other healthcare workers deserve better. Their patients deserve better. Time’s Up Healthcare is taking that big leap.

Is Your Tax Refund Working for You?

Is Your Tax Refund Working for You?

If you are one of the many Americans whose savings plan has been impacted by a smaller-than-expected tax refund this year, it might be a good time to consider changing your financial planning approach.

Lots of people consider the tax return windfall they get every spring as an unofficial savings bonus. In reality, it’s a poor way to save money. The government ends up having your money until you file your taxes. That money does nothing for you while the government holds it. It’s not earning any interest, and it’s not being used to invest in any kind of growth fund.

A more sustainable plan is to make a better estimate of your tax withdrawals so you can retain control of that extra money. You can decide how to invest it so you earn money. Even if you are only earning a small amount, the funds are gaining something they otherwise would not.

Whether you are a new employee just signing up for your withholding or a long-term employee ready to make a change, it only takes filling out one form, the Employee’s Witholding Allowance Certificate or W-4, to change your withdrawal amounts. If you are unsure of how many deductions to claim, you have lots of options to learn about how to handle your money.

Organizations like the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors offer consumers resources to help find what they need. You might just need some advice on how to use your money wisely instead of getting a lump-sum tax refund. Or maybe you’d like to know your options on how to do that and also use your latest pay raise to start or add to a retirement plan. Often a fee-only advisor, who will not earn any commission on products or services, will discuss the best options for your personal situation.

The Financial Insdustry Regulatory Authority website contains valuable information about investing, understanding certain financial brokerage processes, and the difference between financial products and professionals. Websites like The Motley Fool, Kiplinger, or Bankrate give both novice and advanced consumers information they can use. Whether you need information on multiplying your savings for retirement, figuring out how much you can afford for a mortgage, or consolidating your credit card debt, you can get reliable, accurate information if you know where to look.

Once you are armed with information, you can decide if hiring a professional is your next best step. Generally a few hours with a fee-only advisor will pay for itself several times over. They can help you save thousands of dollars while also showing you how to take steps to grow your money, too.

While that boost of cash at the end of tax season is welcome, with a little planning, you can make it even better. And the more control you have over your own money, the better off you will be.