The job market for nurses has improved in recent years and nursing experts expect continued job growth. So how do you make the best impression as the best candidate?
Here are six strategies:
1. Know thyself.
It’s difficult to develop a clear-eyed assessment of an organization’s strengths and weaknesses if you haven’t done a thorough inventory of your own. You can’t truly know what you want in a job unless you have done the necessary self-exploration of who you are and what drives you. If your goals and motivations are unclear, the job you end up with could turn into a nightmare. Job gratification and growth potential should be your highest priorities, even above salary. Even the most expensive of suits is unflattering if it’s a poor fit.
2. Be the employee employers covet.
Articulate your goals, your experience and skills, and how they align with the vision of the company. In your resume, your cover letter, your Linkedin page, and your interviews, plant seeds of possibility, not just for yourself but the future of the organization. Make your aspiration indistinguishable from those of the company. Make your pitch in terms not of what you want, but what the organization needs.
3. Create a stellar resume.
Keep it professional and concise. Note accomplishments, not just duties. In addition to clinical experience that provides quantification of your skills and abilities, give the prospective employer a sense of how you work by highlighting soft skills such as critical thinking,teamwork, and advocacy. Soft skills are essential in the health care environment.
4. Network, network, network.
With the internet comes the temptation to let technology do all the work, an approach that will land you smack dab in the gridlocked masses of online job applicants. Don’t hesitate to make cold calls to desired workplaces. Better yet, cultivate relationships with individuals who work there. Not only will they give you an insider’s perspective on the culture of those organizations, but they’ll tip you off when openings are available.
5. Shine during the interview.
Make your pitch in terms not of what you want, but what the organization needs. Ask memorable questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Practice active listening. Don’t forget handwritten thank you notes after the interview to leave a lingering impression.
6. Earn a BSN.
Advanced education matters. The Institute of Medicine recommended in the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report that 80% of nurses be baccalaureate of nursing science-prepared by 2020. As a result, more employers are hiring nurses who are BSN-prepared, or who are enrolled in an RN-to-BSN program.
With smart preparation, you can stand out before, during, and after an interview. That’s a goal worth pursuing.
As a travel nurse, you may encounter patients concerned about the Zika virus disease, especially if you are in Texas or Florida. These hurricane-battered states suffered extensive flood damage and have plenty of breeding spots for the disease-carrying bloodsuckers.
Although chillier temperatures will kill Zika-carrrying mosquitos, forecasts of weather in the 80s for a few more weeks could set the stage for an increase in cases.
Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms or only mild ones. The most common symptoms of Zika are:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
Pregnant women with these symptoms, especially if they or their partners traveled to certain locations, need to see a physician for diagnosis as infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other serious fetal brain defects. As of last month, 2,155 pregnant women had lab evidence of Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, Texas reported 353 West Nile infections—17 percent of all U.S. cases—resulting in 13 deaths. This year 48 infections and 2 deaths were reported in Texas as of August 29th. Hurricane Harvey could increase those numbers.
Pregnant women or their partners who recently traveled or plan to can check here to learn about areas with confirmed Zika cases.
To help prevent infection, share these ZIKA TIPS with patients:
Zap your chances of getting the virus by avoiding mosquito bites.
Invest in your health by exercising indoors. Heat attracts mosquitoes so sweat inside.
Keep your feet, body and limbs covered. Baggier clothes offer better protection.
Apply repellent correctly. Don’t wear it under clothes. Apply it after sunscreen.
Travel smart. Learn what to do before, during, and after the trip. Visit the CDC.
Identify and eliminate standing water throughout your home.
Protect yourself. The Zika virus can be passed through sex. so be sure to use condoms.
Share this information with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Zika virus prevention requires awareness and action. Spread the word.
Many nurses work for health care organizations that have social media policies to govern their online behavior in the workplace. It’s navigating social media at home when the risk can increase for inappropriately posting identifying patient, coworker, or hospital information on personal computers or other electronic devices.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has a social media tip sheet that clearly states what’s at stake when such breaches occur.
”Nurses and nursing students have an obligation to understand the nature, benefits, and consequences of participating in social networking of all types. Online content and behavior has the potential to enhance or undermine not only the individual nurse’s career, but also the nursing profession,” the ANA tip sheet says.
To safeguard patient information, use these guidelines to successfully navigate social media:
- Adhere to the standards of professionalism, which are the same online and off.
- Separate personal and professional information online.
- Do not share or post information or photos acquired through your relationship with a patient as this violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and can lead to such adverse actions as termination, a civil lawsuit, criminal charges, and licensure discipline.
- Never use your personal devices to take photos or videos of patients.
- Do not post negative comments about patients and their families, or your coworkers and employers. Even if you do not use their names, they (and others) may read your postings on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites, blogs, online chat rooms, and forums.
- Promptly report a breach of confidentiality or privacy.
- Avoid posting about a challenging or bad day at work. Again, certain details can help readers identify the place or people you are talking about. Consider recording your experiences in a journal instead.
- Notify appropriate authorities about content that could harm a patient’s privacy, rights, or welfare.
- Consider volunteering to help develop or update social media policies at your workplace.
Be mindful when you post on social media. Nurses are the most trusted health professionals for a reason. Keep it that way.
There is good news about the upcoming holiday-pack-on-the-pounds-season. It’s still many weeks away. That means—at the moment—you can’t use the excuse of “it’s a bad time of year” to justify NOT working on your eating and exercise goals to get healthier.
Imagine this: if you start today, you have a nice head start on your 2018 resolutions.
Now, are you ready? If so, here are 11 strategies toward achieving a healthier body and mental outlook:
1. Reach your ideal weight.
Learn what your BMI is to determine how much you need to lose or gain to improve your health. Anything lower than 18.5 is considered underweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.
2. Move into a groove.
What kind of exercise brings a smile to your face? That’s not a trick question. Most of us like doing some kind of activity. The goal is to be active most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. Pump your favorite music and dance while cleaning, watching TV, or lifting weights. Find what works and rock out.
3. Chew more.
Speed eating leads to thicker waistlines. Slow down. Focus on savoring your meals, snacks, and refreshments. Challenge yourself to appreciate every ingredient. Jazz up your table, counter, or island with flowers, candles, or colorful plates and enjoy the view.
4. Minimize stress.
Start with deep breathing, which can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, studies show. Whether you write in a journal, listen to music, or do an art project, find a way to unwind and relax while enjoying yourself.
5. Maximize positivity.
Your mind is a powerful tool to help you change. Start there. Look for the bright side. Seek out supportive friends. Find ways to reduce stress and increase laughter. Start each day with gratitude and move from there.
6. Get outside.
Fresh air and a brisk walk can be a wonderful combination to lift your mood, increase energy, and burn calories. Consider a picnic while it’s still warm.
7. Ink in play dates (for you, not your child).
You know that pedicure or dinner with your best friend that you keep putting off? Stop doing that. Repeat this: You are allowed to have fun.
8. Keep learning.
Ever longed to play an instrument? Want to learn screenwriting? If not now, when? Keep your mind nimble by stretching your brain. If time is tight, consider online classes.
9. Add vitamin D.
Research shows many of us are vitamin D deficient, which exposes us to all sorts of illnesses and diseases such as an increased risk for coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s, and early death.
10. Practice mindfulness.
Being in the moment means you are fully present and paying attention to what’s occurring. This type of focus takes practice. Google to learn some exercises to practice mindfulness.
11. Drink lots of water.
Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. Start the day by adding a bit of lemon juice to your water, which aids your immunity and digestion. Carry a water bottle with you to ensure you are hydrated.
Adding these strategies to your daily regimen requires discipline. Aren’t you worth it?
Of the unexpected horrors that may lurk in the workplace, a hostile environment ranks high, especially if you find yourself with a target on your back. When a bully has someone on his or her radar, a dream job can morph into a nightmare. Workplace bullying jeopardizes careers and health. Stress-related health consequences affect the quality of life on and off the job.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), being bullied on the job closely resembles the experience of being a battered spouse.
“The abuser inflicts pain when and where she or he chooses, keeping the target (victim) off balance knowing that violence can happen on a whim, but dangling the hope that safety is possible during a period of peace of unknown duration. The target is kept close to the abuser by the nature of the relationship between them — husband to wife or boss to subordinate or coworker to coworker,” the WBI website says.
Whether you are a new or experienced nurse, protect yourself from workplace bullying with the following strategies.
1. Address the issue of being harassed whenever it happens.
Always respond in a professional manner. An emotional confrontation will go nowhere fast. Stay calm but be firm, whether bullying occurs in public or during a private one-on-one encounter. Consider saying, “Please don’t talk to me like that” or “Your comment is unacceptable.”
2. Create a record.
Write down each incident and include such details as time, date, place, and witnesses. You may need to present this document to Human Resources.
3. Seek out other victims.
There is strength in numbers when documenting a problem. You and your colleagues can work together to address the issue with your manager or HR. Request a safe and healthy work environment. Schedule follow-up discussions.
4. Take stock of your workplace culture.
Bullies often have exceptional skills and provide value to their organization. Answer some hard questions: Are employees pitted against each other? Are bullies promoted, punished, or unpunished? Who are the bullies’ best friends?
5. Seek professional help.
If you feel emotional or psychological harm, seek help from a mental health professional or your company’s Employee Assistance Program.
6. Seek a legal resolution.
If you decide to stay and fight, contact an employment lawyer to explore the possibility of legal action. But know this: according to the WBI, “U.S. labor laws provide embarrassingly few worker protections. Lawsuits are expensive.”
If despite your best efforts to avoid or deal with a bully you find it necessary to seek a new job, you should. No one deserves work trauma.