We interviewed Moore, who is also Assistant Professor/Director of the Women’s Health Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner Program at Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing, to find out what this means to her and her plans for the future.
Shawana Moore, DNP, MSN, CRNP, WHNP-BC
What drew you to wanting to take a leadership position like this? When did you first become involved in NPWH?
My desire to impact diverse communities and amplify the voices of historically marginalized women and gender-related populations. I became involved in NPWH as a Program Director in 2014. NPWH provided the opportunity for individuals leading Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner/Women’s Health Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner programs throughout the nation to collaborate and share knowledge.
Being the first Black Chair in the organization’s 41-year history has to mean a great deal to you and other nurses of color. How did this make you feel? What do you think this says to nurses who are BIPOC?
I am honored and humbled to serve as the first African American Chair of NPWH. I hope to pave a pathway for other nurses from the BIPOC community to be elected or appointed to leadership positions within national organizations. This historical milestone within NPWH history displays to other nurse’s from BIPOC populations that they have the opportunity and capabilities to lead in high-level positions within the profession of nursing.
What are you bringing to the organization that past Chair/Presidents who were not BIPOC couldn’t have?
Each Chair/President brings their perspectives, life experiences, and expertise to lead in this position. Those who have come before me have led the organizations to new heights. As I embark on this new role, my uniqueness as a Black woman brings a different viewpoint. I hope to use my perspectives, experiences, and expertise to facilitate and promote clinical practice, policy, community engagement, education, and research with a lens of equity.
What are your biggest challenges in this position? What do you think some of the greatest rewards are?
Being the first at anything comes with the challenge of not being seen or done before in the position. However, it serves as an opportunity to set the stage and create a pathway for others to build upon. The most significant rewards will be the opportunity to amplify historically silenced or unheard communities of women and gender-related populations, collaborate with other national organizations, and lead change within the profession using a lens of equity.
What advice would you give to nurses who are BIPOC about taking leadership roles?
I would advise nurses who are BIPOC to seek leadership roles in all facets of our profession. Their voices, perspectives, expertise, and experiences are valuable to society and can make meaningful and sustainable changes for communities of people.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Drug Abuse, researchers have determined that drug abuse and overdoses have increased during the pandemic. For an addictions nurse, this isn’t surprising. It’s an incredibly stressful time. And more stress results in more cravings for those struggling with addiction.
Hughes took time to answer our questions about being an addictions nurse.
Stephanie Hughes, MSN, APRN
How did you get interested in being an Advanced Nurse in the addiction treatment field? What drew you to it? How long have you been doing it?
My nursing career started in 1998. My first job was in a Behavioral Medicine Unit at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky, where I cared for patients with substance use disorders. I learned how the disease of addiction affects the entire family unit as well as loved ones, and how addiction is unbiased toward socioeconomic status, level of education, or age. This disease affects people of all walks of life.
In 2002, I became the nurse manager of this unit. My leadership role at this medical center extended to the Pre-operative Cardiac Catherization/Intervention Unit. It was approximately two years later when I realized my love for behavioral medicine and returned to it. In 2008, I completed my Master’s in Nursing with an emphasis on leadership and education. This led me to serve as an adjunct clinical instructor at Ashland Community and Technical College, where I worked with RN students in their Psych rotation. I now have been a nurse for 23 years and the disease of addiction along with dual diagnosis (depression, anxiety, PTSD/trauma) continues to be my passion and calling. I continue to learn every day from colleagues and mentors, and, most of all, my patients.
Explain to me briefly what you do as an Advanced Nurse in addiction treatment. Did you have to get additional training/education to do it?
In 2014, I graduated from Frontier Nursing University in Versailles, Kentucky, with a post Master’s degree as a board-certified family nurse practitioner. I also am a buprenorphine waivered practitioner, which means I can prescribe one of the three FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid use disorder. To become waivered, you have to be a qualified practitioner, such as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist, and apply through and be approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It also helps to have practice experience in the different levels of care for substance-use disorders, from detox, residential, and partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient and outpatient opioid treatment programs. Having worked in the full continuum allows me to truly meet patients where they’re at and willing to accept care.
What types of people/clients do you serve?
Together with a specialized medical and clinical team, I serve adult men and women who suffer from substance use disorders and their families. Patients who seek treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol are looking for the same thing any other patient is looking for—they want to be seen by qualified professionals who are engaged with them and they want to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s no different than in a hospital or other care setting; our patients appreciate and remember a friendly smile, a warm blanket, a hot meal, and their hygiene needs being met. As a nurse, I think it’s very important to remember that basic needs are just as important as passing medications and medical treatments. Many of our patients come to us lost or forgotten. Some are homeless, jobless, or estranged from their families due to their addiction. But they still deserve our care, and we help them get their lives back. The treatment we provide not only heals their brains and bodies, but gives them life skills, coping skills, and relapse prevention strategies. And we connect them to other resources in the community as well as our own alumni recovery network for support.
What do you like most about working as an Addictions Nurse?
I get to be the friendly face that greets patients during their first days of treatment. Some days I work to physically stabilize patients and treat the symptoms of detox, and others I just offer a calm, compassionate atmosphere and listen to my patients. Seeing the freedom of recovery through my patients is absolutely amazing. These individuals are some of the strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The work they put in to their recovery is unfathomable to many.
What are your biggest challenges in this position? What are your greatest rewards in it?
The biggest challenge for me is having an up-close and personal view of the effects of this terrible disease. One exacerbation/relapse could very well result in death. The loss of so many lives is absolutely devastating.
The greatest reward for me is seeing patients who are working hard and making progress in their recovery—like seeing a patient who now has a relationship with their children and family. They may have gained employment and are able to live independently. I get to help people who will continue to work on their recovery and do amazing things. Many will stay in this field and go on to help others. It’s an amazing dynamic.
What advice would you give to someone considering this type of nursing work?
Nurses who care for people suffering from substance use disorder must empathize with our patients and families. When nurses are able to practice empathy, they are able to treat their patients as people, not diseases, and focus on a person-centered care approach.
Treatment is personalized for each patient. This is not cookie cutter treatment. Being a team player and having good communication is critical. Personalized treatment is delivered through a multi-disciplinary treatment team approach with the patient being the focal point. Many patients enter treatment confused, disoriented, and emotionally defeated. We must be the voice of our patients during these times. We as nurses have to have a strong passion for patient advocacy. This ensures we are always fighting for the very best care for our patients.
At the end of each year, there are changes predicted for the following year in terms of the health care industry. Jennifer Flynn, CPHRM, Vice President of the Nurses Service Organization (NSO), gave us information on the top three trends that will shape the nursing profession in 2022.
You’ve identified 3 trends you believe will shape the nursing profession in 2022: Staff Shortages, Travel Nursing, and Telehealth. Why are these three the most prevalent?
We’ve seen constant change in the health care industry. And, never more so then in the last two years. These trends in nursing have great benefits for the facility and the patient, but may increase liability risks for nurses.
While telehealth has its benefits: patients have increased access to care, and they manage some chronic conditions better, especially where remote patient monitoring replaces many routine in-person visits. Telehealth saves patients’ time of travel and waiting in the office which, some studies have shown increases their overall satisfaction.
For nurses, telehealth does provide more flexibility at a time that is most convenient for patient and nurse. However, there are some parts of telehealth that can increase a nurse’s liability risks, such as, providing care to those patients where visits must be in-person. Clinically speaking, you can’t perform all nursing functions virtually, but nurses need to know which patients must be seen in-person versus virtually. Nurses needs to be aware of which patients have barriers to virtual care. While broadband connections are improving, not every patient has access to a good connection. Lastly, licensing laws and reimbursement may limit a nurse’s ability to practice across state lines or be reimbursed for telehealth services. It is the responsibility of the nurse to know the rules of telehealth in their state.
For some, travel nursing is a dream job enabling you to see the country while still enjoying the rewards of providing treatment and care to patients. For others, the endless adjustments of unfamiliar environments may make it not the right career choice. As with any job, there are pros and cons. Some liability risks nurses face with travel nursing are: the constant learning of policies and procedures at each new facility and assignment–though you may be contracted with a particular unit during your travel nurse experience, you may find yourself in even further unfamiliar territory when you have to float to another unit.
Many facilities will send the travel nurse first to float to an understaffed unit, again, learning the policies and procedures of that floated assignment. Lastly, you will need to check your licensing laws–travel nurses may have to have multiple licenses in order to practice. And, each state where you work will require you to hold an active and unrestricted license for that state.
Safe nurse staffing is essential to both the nursing profession and to the overall delivery of treatment and care. Adequate staffing levels ensure better care for patients and reduces nurse fatigue, prevents burnout, and increases patient satisfaction. However, inadequate nurse staffing can endanger patients. Research shows that shortages and inadequate staffing are linked to higher rates of infections, patient falls, medication errors, and even mortality. This is because nurses have too much work to juggle and cannot spend enough time on each patient, resulting in missed care. While staffing was a topic of discussion well before the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the nursing shortage in the United States. Nursing leaders say nurses are tired and frustrated from being asked to work overtime. Some are even considering leaving the profession. Safe nurse staffing affects the ability of all nurses to deliver safe, quality care in all practice settings.
Ever wonder it would be like to work in a different type of nursing? Well, we’re here to help.
Minority Nurse will be providing interviews with nurses in various facets of the nursing field. This month, we asked Tina Seever, RN, DPCS, Director of Nursing at BrightStar Care, what it’s like to work as a home health care nurse.
How did you get interested in being a home health care nurse? What drew you to it? How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been working as an in-home care nurse for more than 20 years. Prior to making the switch to home health care I worked as an intensive care nurse at a hospital, where I provided a plethora of emergency services to patients from transplants to oncology care, and more. I also worked as a hospice nurse. In both roles, I cared for patients on short term increments, helping to get them better and discharged from the hospital in a timely manner. Working in hospice and intensive care I had to deliver tough news of loss and navigate tough conversations with families regarding their loved ones’ health. However, after exploring my options, I made the transition to home health care and became the Director of Nursing at BrightStar Care Carlsbad. BrightStar Care is a nationwide home care and medical staffing franchise that provides a higher standard of care to its clients.
What drew me to home care was the fact that I was able to invest more into my clients and the flexibility the role offered me. With home care, you’re able to assist your client during one of the most sensitive times of their life. Working in a hospital, once a patient leaves you never hear from them again. But with home care, you’re able to develop a bond with your client and see progression with their case from start to finish.
Lastly, home care helps bridge many of the gaps that exist in the health care continuum. As a home care nurse or caregiver, you’re able to continue a patient’s care after they’re discharged from the hospital. Often, family members are unaware of how to administer their loved one’s medicine, and they do not have the ability to transport their loved one to and from hospital visits to receive injections, infusions, and other critical medical services they might need as part of their ongoing care. That’s where home care steps in. Home care nurses have the flexibility and knowledge to administer care from the comfort of a person’s home to help lower hospital readmissions and ensure more seniors and those in need of care can age and heal safety at home. For all these reasons I’ve committed my career to home health care.
Explain to me briefly what you do as a home health care nurse. Did you have to get additional training/education to do it?
In my current role as the Director of at BrightStar Care Carlsbad, I am in a position where I act as a mentor to the caregiving staff and other nurses on duty, ensuring they are trained and up to date with the agency’s policies and clinical procedures. In this role I help other medical professionals make the transition to home care. However, our skilled nursing staff at BrightStar Care administer care directly to clients from the comfort of their homes. This is anything from providing clients with injections, infusions, to providing care to a client recovering from a major surgery or an injury.
Additional education is not needed to become a home care nurse outside of the qualifications it takes to become a practicing nurse in your state. It’s encouraged, however, that home care nurses have experience working in a hospital or care facility. Home care nurses should feel comfortable administering care to clients without the help of a supervisor given the independent nature of the job. Home care nurses should also have the confidence and knowledge to access any situation and act accordingly to ensure the best outcomes for their clients.
What types of people/clients do you serve? What are they looking for and what do you provide for them?
While a large portion of in-home care clients are seniors who require senior care services, in-home care can range from personal care to Alzheimer’s & Dementia care, disability services, childcare, transitional care, and more. If a nurse joins the BrightStar Care team and is not particularly skilled in a certain practice, we provide training. Home care nurses provide clients everything from infusions and injections to assisting a client with recovery from a surgery or injury.
Home care nurses also engage in reporting to monitor their client’s progression and status. They work closely with each client’s caregiver and primary care physicians to ensure care plans are aligned and goals are met.
What do you like most about working as a HHC Nurse?
I love that every day is different. We have the ability to take something that starts off as an issue and create a solution for it providing clients with higher quality outcomes. It’s immensely rewarding to witness your clients heal over time and watch as your care is directly impacting their progression. Specifically in my role as the Director of Nursing, it’s a reward to watch other nurses enter the field and become experts in home care nursing.
What are your biggest challenges in this position? What are your greatest rewards in it?
Challenges: Prior to the pandemic I would have said there were no challenges associated with being a home health care nurse, given the flexibility the role provides. However, the pandemic intensified some of the biggest challenges in health care and those changes rippled down to our industry. Currently, the biggest challenge is navigating the labor crisis that exists nationwide.
Rewards: One of the biggest rewards that home health care offers is watching our hard work with a client pay off. Watching them heal and recover is a reward that keeps me in this field. Referrals and in door walk-ins at our office are always fulfilling – to know that a client valued our services so much that they referred a friend or loved one is an amazing feeling. While the pandemic opened the door to new challenges, it also helped reinforce the safety and flexibility in-home care offers. Nurses can often choose their own schedule and are not confined to working long hours at a hospital or care facility, instead they travel from client to client lowering their exposure to large groups allowing them to work on-on-one with a client.
Not only during the holiday season, but all year long, we keep being told to be grateful. But did you ever wonder why gratitude is so important?
According to Emma Giordano, MHC-LP, of Empower Your Mind Therapy in New York City, gratitude helps us physically and mentally. “Gratitude can lower your blood pressure and increase happiness, improve interpersonal relationships, and build self-confidence,” she says. “Gratitude also helps you adjust your mindset from one of lacking to one of abundance and thankfulness.”
Sometimes it seems easy to be thankful or grateful around the holidays. But there are reasons to enact this practice all year long. “Gratitude helps practice empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. This skill is important all year long to be able to care for others and show up for them the way they might need us,” says Giordano.
“Be sure to check in with yourself all year long and make sure you are grateful for the positive things in your life. Often times, especially with health, we don’t realize what we have until we see someone else without it. It’s also important to remind yourself to think about the positives in life regularly, because people tend to get caught up in the negative and what ‘needs to change’ to become happier. Those ‘needs’ are probably not important in the grand scheme, and are usually influenced by seeing what others might have.”
If you’re not sure how to practice gratitude, Giordano has some tips:
Keep a gratitude journal or notes in your phone of things you’re grateful for each day
Photo journal – taking photos of things you’re grateful for to scroll through any time
Meditation scripts and podcasts are also helpful for quick moments of reflection
“When we talk about the power of gratitude, we can’t overlook its connection with other important aspects of psychological self-care like empathy, recognition, connection, integrity,” she says. “Start by taking a moment to give yourself gratitude for all you do and how hard you work.”