Trauma: Life in the ER Want to be an Emergency Nurse?

Trauma: Life in the ER Want to be an Emergency Nurse?

As a nursing student, I loved watching the show “Trauma: Life in the ER.” This show was based on real-life medical stories in the ER of various cities such as New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Detroit. As I watched, I said to myself that is what I want to do! I am going to be a Trauma Nurse in the ER.

In my last semester of nursing school, I requested to be in the Emergency Department, and thankfully, I was placed there for my last rotation. Well, that’s where I fell in love with Nursing. The adrenaline, fast-paced environment, and uncertainty of what will happen next kept me on my toes.

One of my clinical instructors asked me what type of nurse I wanted to be, and I told her with excitement, “I want to be an ER nurse,” and she replied, “you will never be an ER nurse.” I was shocked! I thought, wow, how could an educator be so negative and deter me from following my dream? Well, you already know my stubborn head did not listen. Watch me, I thought to myself. I am going to be a badass ER Nurse. I’m going to save lives.

I developed such great relationships during my clinical rotation that they encouraged me to apply! As a result, I got offered the ER position as a new nurse before I graduated or took my nursing boards in Canada. Hey, hey, hey! I was jumping up and down for joy when I got the offer. I got two offers, but I selected the ER with the trauma center.

Moral of the story: “Follow Your Dreams!”

I have worked in various Emergency Departments in Canada and the U.S., including level 1 trauma centers. I worked in the ER at Detroit Receiving Hospital where the show Trauma: Life in the ER was filmed and at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell where NY ER was filmed. I also became a nurse educator and TNCC instructor and taught clinicals as an Adjunct Faculty. I hold the following three board certifications for Emergency Nursing: CEN-Certified Emergency Nurse, CPEN-Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse, and TCRN-Trauma Certified RN.

These certifications can be obtained from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) once you have at least two years of experience in the Emergency Department.

My mission is to empower all nurses, especially new nurses, to follow their passion and dreams. For this reason, I decided to open up my own nurse coaching business in June 2021. I provide 1-1 coaching and group coaching to nurses. I teach you how to confidently land your dream position and be Badass Nurses too.

You, too, can become an Emergency Nurse if you want! IT IS POSSIBLE!

Was I nervous to start? Yes, but you will get a proper orientation and a preceptor to guide you along the way! Think about it, there is always an attending physician there, 24/7, nurses, charge nurses, respiratory therapists, and the list goes on! You are not alone!

5 Tips to Help You on Your Journey to Becoming an Emergency Nurse

  1. Request your last clinical rotation/placement to be in the Emergency Department
  2. If you are a nursing student, get any job in the Emergency Department, such as a Patient Care Tech, EKG Tech, Patient transporter, etc.
  3. Join the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) as a student or a Nurse. (discounted price for students, access to ENA Journal, conferences, and educational content)
  4. Get a nursing mentor and or nursing coach who can guide you along your journey (hint: contact me)
  5. Develop your skills, build your resume, and get any certification:
  • EKG
  • IV
  • NIH Stroke
  • BLS
  • ACLS
  • PALS
  • ENPC
  • TNCC

Good luck on your journey to becoming a badass ER Nurse.

Nursing Profession Tops Gallup Poll

Nursing Profession Tops Gallup Poll

Once again, the nursing profession tops career lists that use metrics as varied as trustworthiness, salary potential, and job growth to come out with high marks.

Continuing its long-running streak, nursing ranked at the top of the most trusted professions for the 21st straight year in a recent annual Gallup poll. According to Gallup, those in the healthcare industry garnered the top spots overall, but the nursing profession beat out all other professions on the list with 79 percent of respondents voting nurses the most trustworthy. Medical doctors came in second with a 62 percent rank, and pharmacists came in third with 58 percent. Since 1999, when the Gallup poll began producing the rankings annually, nurses have appeared at the top of the list (except 2001 when firefighters earned the top spot).

The latest results find nursing’s numbers are down slightly from last year’s 81 percent and 2020’s record high of 89 percent, which reflects an overall decline in the top scoring of many of the listed healthcare professions. Despite the change, nurses everywhere should be proud of these poll findings. Poll respondents felt that nurses rated high or very high in areas such as ethics and honesty, and those numbers are significantly greater than the rest of the top industries.

And in a recently released U.S. News & World Report 100 Best Jobs list, jobs within the nursing profession earned high placement based on job demand and median annual pay. A nurse practitioner earned #2 spot in the best jobs list based on the high salary ($120,000) and the projected job growth. Registered nurses earned the #17 spot on the list for similar qualities. According to the list, RNs earn a median salary of $77,600 with a projected job growth of nearly 200,000 jobs opening up in the next xxx years. A nurse anesthetist role came in at #25 with a high median salary of $195,610 and an expected job growth of just over 5,000 new jobs.

As the nursing industry goes through varying changes for academic requirements, staffing issues, and workplace changes and challenges, nurses say patient care remains at the forefront of every day. The continuing need for nurses in healthcare facilities and home care settings remains high, as does the need for nurses in administration and government who will take leadership roles and help shape the policies and guidelines that will impact nurses’ working conditions and patient care.

Because of their on-the-job work, nurses know what other nurses need to thrive at work and to take care of patients in the best way possible, so bringing a diverse, experienced, and dedicated group of nurses into these kinds of roles is essential to nursing’s future.

As these statistics show, a career in nursing is one that is admired and respected and also offers professional growth and a high financial return.

Saying Yes to Your Nursing Career

Saying Yes to Your Nursing Career

In healthcare and nursing, there’s always so much in our career we can say no to; however, there are plenty of things we find ourselves saying yes to.

Granted, it’s always empowering to say no to things like working a double shift when you’re exhausted, accepting bullying and incivility as normal, working without adequate PPE, and unsafe staffing levels that put your license and your patients at risk. But those enlightening moments of saying yes and recognizing latent potential can open doors of perception in your mind and opportunities in your life and career.

Saying Yes to Experience

When you sit down in your first nursing class, your lifelong pursuit of building a professional network must begin. That person in the row ahead of you? He may end up being your boss someday. That other student in the back? She might be the key to an incredible opportunity when she founds her nurse-run startup in seven years.

When the opportunity arises to join an interesting committee, become an EMR super user, speak or present at a conference, or take just one more step into commitment. What we’ll call your professional maturation, you’re embracing your evolutionary growth.

If a fantastic job unexpectedly falls in your lap, but you feel reticent to take it because you don’t want your colleagues to feel “abandoned,” this is an important moment to say yes in your best interest. Remember that many of your colleagues would do the same if they were in your shoes, and most will be happy for your good fortune.

No doubt, saying yes to experience can be life-changing.

Saying Yes to Connection

In the preceding section, we mentioned joining a workplace committee. But, again, these experiences can expose you to relationships and connections you would otherwise miss out on. And going to a nursing conference is an excellent experience, especially because you’ll have the chance to meet some fabulous like-minded people.

Your professional network is like your personal brain trust, and building that network over time is an investment that can pay more dividends than you might ever have imagined.

Saying Yes to Prioritizing Yourself

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned things that are prudent to say no to a double shift, bullying and incivility, working with inadequate PPE, and unsafe staffing. Unfortunately, knowing when to say no is as much an art as saying yes.

Saying no to the above scenarios translates to saying yes to prioritizing yourself and your needs. It’s great to help out the team and pick up an extra shift if you have the energy and stamina, but not taking the shift is a win if your reason to do so would solely be guilt.

Likewise, by saying yes to civil discourse and a violence-free workplace (bullying can undoubtedly be characterized as a form of workplace violence), you’re taking a stand for your well-being, not to mention the well-being of your coworkers and patients. Telling a bully that you won’t tolerate their behavior is a resounding yes to your psyche.

Saying yes to self-prioritization is a powerful statement of self-affirmation and valuing your needs and desires. Some might call it selfishness, but you can also call it surviving and thriving.

Saying Yes When It’s Right

As mentioned, there are plenty of things to say no to in healthcare and nursing. And we have established that there’s plenty to say yes to.

Whether it’s a novel experience, a new connection with a valued colleague, or a yes to what you want and need, saying yes can be fodder for a robust, satisfying, and happy nursing career. Saying no or yes is always your right, and knowing when to do so is key to long-term success.

Minority Nurse is thrilled to feature Keith Carlson, “Nurse Keith,” a well-known nurse career coach and podcaster of The Nurse Keith Show as a guest columnist. Check back every other Thursday for Keith’s column. 

Celebrating IV Nurses Day

Celebrating IV Nurses Day

Infusion (IV) nurses form a crucial part of every healthcare team. IV Nurses Day is celebrated every January 25 to recognize the work IV nurses do each day and also to thank them for their advocacy and devotion to the lifelong learning that is so crucial in their specialty.

The Infusion Nurses Society (INS) is celebrating its 50th year as the professional organization devoted to nurses in this specialty. As an international nonprofit, INS helps nurses across the globe who want to learn more about infusion nursing, advocate for nurses in the field, and find ways to improve and share their skills and knowledge.

IV nurses perform at a fast-paced level providing the infusion work that many patients require as they undergo tests, procedures, or therapies requiring any kind of infusion through intravenous access. IV nurses are a primary resource for the start-to-finish process of administering  medications and transfusions through an IV line or port. They follow meticulous procedures to prevent infections and also help their patients understand the importance of caring for the area, particularly if a line remains in place.

IV nurses work with patients of all ages and may choose to focus their eventual work with one particular age group. They may choose to work in a children’s hospital, for example, or primarily with older populations in nursing homes. Depending on the work environment, IV nurses may see different patients throughout the day or they may begin to form lasting relationships with patients they see for long-term care or for routine care of chronic illnesses and conditions. Nurses in this specialty can work in their choice of settings including medical offices, infusion centers, patient homes, hospitals, and mobile centers. This opportunity for variety or stability means that nurses are able to focus their career on the path that most suits their goals, aspirations, and lifestyle.

Patience is a particular skill of infusion nurses. They are often working quickly and sometimes with patients who are fearful or upset by the IV process (children and adults alike). As they are working, they also must be reassuring and calm to help patients manage the process. IV nurses are exceptionally accomplished at finding access quickly and with as little discomfort to the patients as possible. They need to be able to reinsert lines that have come out and to monitor the medications, fluids, or products that are being used in the infusion process.

IV nurses will continue to provide the best care possible by obtaining a certified registered nurse infusion (CRNI) credential. With certification, nurses gain additional knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality, evidence-based care in an industry that continues to see rapid changes in technology.

Certification also signals to patients, peers, and industry leaders that nurses are committed to the best IV care and to obtaining current information. As an IV nurse, being linked into professional organizations, such as INS, builds connections with nurses who are equally committed to the career path. It’s a great way to be inspired by the work of peers and to inspire others with your own work.

Recognizing National CRNA Week

Recognizing National CRNA Week

National CRNA Week kicked off its inaugural celebration when the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology introduced it in 2000. Since then one week in January (this year it’s January 22-28) is designated as a time to celebrate the nearly 60,000 nurse anesthetists practicing in the United States.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists  (CRNAs) work collaboratively with healthcare teams or independently. They administer or assist with administering anesthesia for patients undergoing procedures in various healthcare settings. CRNAs can be present for planned surgical procedures, in emergency settings, in pain management clinics, in dental offices, and in birth centers to name a few.

Nurse anesthetists are responsible for caring for and monitoring a patient’s anesthesiology needs during a procedure, but their work pre- and post-procedure are critical. They will gather medical history, medication information, and assess the patient’s physical and emotional condition when possible. They are constantly looking for and identifying any potential issues that could interfere with plans for anesthesia.

As with other nursing specialties, CRNAs have taken on more responsibility and needed to master increasingly complex healthcare conditions and tech-based equipment. Because of this, changes to the practice entry requirements now require all nurses entering a CRNA program to exit with a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or a Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) . Practicing CRNAs aren’t required to return to school for this additional advanced degree if they already have a master’s degree and have been in practice. Although it’s not required, some nurses may find that employment parameters are changing and that the DNP might be a requirement in a new place of employment.

CRNAs have careers that are dynamic and exciting. They can work directly with patients or they may choose to work in administration where they can have an impact on the conditions for patients and nurses. CRNAs also have options to work in government settings or to become active within committees to help shape the policies that surround CRNA work and career expectations. As CRNAs take on more leadership roles, they can use their direct real-world experience to inform the nuances of proposed changes.

As in all nursing specialties, time spent on the job is an excellent way to build skills and empathy for patients. CRNAs will want to continue learning about the rapid changes in the field with certification through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Certification, which needs to be renewed to stay current, helps you remain informed on the latest developments that impact the duties you perform in your work. By staying up-to-date on the most current techniques and developments, you’ll be able to offer high-quality patient care that will result in better outcomes for your patients and the best performance by your team. Certification is a way to learn about everything from patient care to technological changes in equipment that can change your process.

Celebrate the CRNAs on your team this week and if you’re a CRNA take time this week to reflect on the work you do with your patients and your healthcare team. Be proud of the change you make in each patient’s life as you perform a critical task within the process.

Travel Nursing with a Family

Travel Nursing with a Family

Travel nursing is a fantastic opportunity for nurses to gain new skills in various facilities, learn new treatments and procedures for different medical conditions, receive excellent pay packages and benefits, and cross cities off their bucket lists as they travel around the country. There will never be a demand shortage for a diverse range of skilled healthcare workers. However, as lucrative as travel nursing is, many married nurses and those with children don’t consider it a viable career path.

Some registered nurses consider travel nursing to be a niche profession. Still, more and more professionals are joining the field every year, and nurses can take advantage of opportunities in states where healthcare systems need nurses to meet high demands. This year alone has seen a 19% growth rate in travel nursing jobs, providing numerous opportunities in today’s healthcare environment for exploring new locations while pursuing your passion.

Even so, there is still a misconception that traveling nurses are always on the go and can’t make time for their loved ones. But with some tips and tricks of the trade as resources to guide potential travelers through the process, even the wariest of nurses will understand just how much flexibility and control travel nurses have to make their careers work for them—regardless of their familial circumstances.

If you are still determining if this career path will suit your lifestyle, keep reading to see if travel nursing is the right fit for you and your family.

Why More Families Should Consider Travel Nursing

For travel nurses, having family around means feeling supported while entering new and sometimes uncertain environments. But it isn’t just valuable for the nurse. Family members of travel nurses gain the travel benefits of travel nursing when they accompany their family members on assignments, and with remote workstyles becoming the norm in many industries, traveling together is more possible than ever before

With a little advanced planning and creativity, you can unlock amazing opportunities for your With a little advanced planning and creativity, you can unlock incredible opportunities for your family to experience your career’s best moments. Travel nursing puts the power back in nurses’ hands, helping them prioritize their professional and personal lives with their families right by their side. While travel nursing might not be the ideal fit for every family, it’s undoubtedly an incredible option for many.

Preparing Your Family For The Traveling Life

Whether traveling with a significant other, with children, or both, there are a few things to consider and set up in advance to ensure you all have an amazing adventure.

Ensure Your Family Is Ready To Travel. Think of them as patients and have their health checked before you start traveling so you know they’re fit to join you on the road. Consult your primary care doctor or pediatrician to assess and double-check if family members have the green light to travel and ensure you will have access to prescription refills even if you are out of state and away from your regular pharmacy.

If you’re traveling with children, consider any events they may be missing. If you’re taking a long-term contract, consider how that can impact their education. Will they need to be enrolled in a different school? Can you set them up with a tutor or a virtual school option? Travel nurses often take assignments near home during the school year and assignments away from home in the summer when their children have more flexibility. On the other hand, nurses can take a long-term 24-month contract in a new location with great schools to give their children more educational opportunities.

Regardless of the ages of your family members, be sure to consider how being away from home will impact them, and make sure to gather all paperwork and necessities, including identification, up-to-date vaccination records, medications, food, and water.

Plan The Journey With Them In Mind. Whether driving or flying to your next travel nurse assignment, having your kids, significant other, or all of the above changes the dynamic. The journey, while doable, can be exhausting for everyone, especially young children stuck in a car going cross country! Research your route and incorporate a few entertaining stops to take a break, stretch your legs, and get them excited about traveling. If you’ve signed up with a traveling nurse agency, they might have a few ideas of what to do depending on where you’re headed. Fun activities are also great to keep everyone refreshed, relaxed, and excited about traveling.

Will They Be Comfortable? Like your patients, your loved ones will want your attention if they accompany you during your travels. Being in a new location together calls for some quality time exploring—this is where research comes in again. There are guaranteed numerous family-friendly events and activities in your temporary place for your family to enjoy. Scoping out the area as soon as possible helps everyone feel less like a stranger in new territory. The last thing you want to do is leave them home alone in new surroundings before they’re comfortable.

Every family is unique, so your additional preparation depends on the scope and size of your family, but traveling together is very doable. Again, communicating with your agency about what your family requires will make the process smoother for everyone.

Make Your Location Work for Your Family

There are a wide variety of options open to travel nurses, and you can take ownership of your contract schedules to suit the needs of your loved ones. A standard assignment is 13 weeks, but there are many out there for shorter or longer periods, including 8 or 26 weeks. So, for example, you can choose shorter contracts over the summer when your kids aren’t in school and create a memorable yet sustainable summer vacation for the whole family in an area you want to spend time exploring.

And while you can select a wide variety of locations, you don’t have to go thousands of miles from home to find good opportunities (contrary to what many believe). Travel nurses can even find assignments within driving distance of their homes, so they can have all the benefits of travel nursing without having to relocate entirely. In addition, if you sign up with an agency, they can help you streamline your search by destination to find the perfect accommodations.

Accommodations and Childcare

In addition to the location, when you sign up to work with a travel nursing agency, they’re always ready to help however they can. Your recruiters—or “traveler advocates” as we call them at Nurse First—usually find travel nurse housing. However, these options usually only lodge an individual or a couple. Luckily, you can request a housing stipend instead. You can use this stipend to rent an apartment or other accommodation (like an Airbnb) that will suit your needs. But keep in mind that this could require some out-of-pocket expenses. Your travel nursing agency can help connect you with local resources to find the best housing options..

Before signing your contract, explore local schools, childcare centers, and pediatricians. Suppose you are travel nursing during the school year. In that case, some families opt to homeschool their children to maximize their time in each location, enriching their kid’s education with local history, libraries, museums, and other exciting sights. Likewise, bringing your kids with you on your adventures opens them up to cultural experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, enriching them and their education.

Tips for Single Parents

Being a single parent isn’t impossible as a travel nurse, but it requires some extra planning. Most travel nursing assignments let you choose what hours suit your schedule. Having control of your schedule means you can plan to work while your children are in school and be off the clock when they finish their day. More local assignments are another great option, so you get the benefits of the travel nursing experience only a short drive from home.

No matter what the scenario is, communication and planning are key. Make sure your kids understand your schedule and give your agency as much notice as possible to extend your contract or switch locations. But if you’re looking for an adventure and your kids are older, enjoy a summer break in a brand-new location and let them explore during the day while you work, then meet up in the evenings and on weekends for some fun in the sun!

Maintaining Family Relationships While On Assignment

Establishing your routine on your new assignment and work-life balance are vital aspects of travel nursing with your family. There’s a common misconception that travel nurses must always be on the go, ready to leave everything behind at a moment’s notice. This is certainly not healthy for family dynamics; luckily, it simply isn’t true when it comes to travel nursing. Of course, some things may look different when you’re away and unable to take the family with you, but travel nursing’s flexible nature allows you to make the best of every situation.

Some travelers only work during a specific season or in a particular region, and others are open to more significant changes. In the end, you need to choose what works for you. Extended or short-term assignments allow travel nurses to determine how long they want to be away. Most agencies and recruiters are more than willing to help nurses find the best option to accommodate whoever travelers bring with them.

Travel nursing has many career and lifestyle benefits. So don’t let misleading information about travel nursing stop you from trying something new. When you bring your family in on the fun of travel nursing, you can form memories that will last a lifetime. Just be sure to check with your agency to secure the appropriate accommodation for your needs and get packing! Your next adventure is just around the corner.