How to Stay Current in Your Practice or Specialty

How to Stay Current in Your Practice or Specialty

Health care is an ever-changing environment that requires new and experienced nurses alike to stay current in their practice. This can often feel impossible given the demanding schedule and complexity of patient assignments on a day-to-day basis, but the following tips can help you stay current.

Join a Professional Organization

Almost every specialty has a professional organization that can help you remain up-to-date on the latest changes in your practice. These groups also offer a plethora of resources designed to expand your networking opportunities and aid in ongoing education. With a membership, you will get full access to the organization’s resources and discounted prices to conferences and other events. You may also benefit from continuing education hours that are relevant to your practice and can be applied towards your license renewal.

Register for a Webinar

Webinars are an affordable yet high-quality option for furthering your education without the cost and inconvenience of traveling. These live or recorded events are conducted by experts in their field and can be watched from anywhere at any time. The subjects matter is wide-ranging, and many webinars are free.

Attend a Conference

Conferences are put together by professional organizations and other networks so that leading influencers can speak, share the latest advancements, and network. If you are interested in conferences to further your knowledge base, contact your manager or leadership team. Many organizations offer funds to cover some or all of the expenses associated with attending a conference.

Staying current in your practice and keeping lifelong learning exciting isn’t that hard when you have the right resources in place.

Floor Nursing for Newbies: How to Successfully Navigate that First Year

Floor Nursing for Newbies: How to Successfully Navigate that First Year

Now that you have earned your degree(s) and are beginning your nursing career or taking a new job, transitioning to floor nursing can be difficult in the first year. For many newbies, it can take two to three years to become competent at a new job, and a year just to begin feeling comfortable on your own. Following these three tips can help you make your first year on the floor a successful one!

1. Show What You Can Learn.

Our natural tendency when starting a new job is to show others what we already know. That isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s best to show others what we can learn. Our demonstrated ability to learn will set us up for success both right away and in the future. As your preceptors and colleagues see you picking up on skills quickly, using critical thinking during complicated situations, and being a team player, they will be excited to work alongside you.

2. Ask Questions.

When we think we know all the answers, you often miss out on the most important details. Asking questions can help you avoid this. Asking your coworkers for feedback or if you missed anything shows diligence, determination, and wisdom. It might not be long before people are asking you if they missed anything!

3. Investigate Anything You Don’t Know.

In nursing, you must deal with many different diseases, diagnoses, treatments, medications, therapies, and other matters. Keeping track of all these details can be overwhelming at times; therefore, if you are unfamiliar with a treatment or disease process, investigate it. Google it. Research it. Ask a colleague. Familiarize yourself with whatever you don’t know.

Add these tips to your skill set and you will be ready to succeed during your first year as a floor nurse in no time.

Got a tip you would like to share? Let us know what has worked for you in the comments!

What is Radiology Nursing?

What is Radiology Nursing?

Radiology nursing primarily involves diagnosis through imaging. It is one of the most heavily used departments in nursing. Nonetheless, many nurses are unfamiliar with what a radiology nurse is or does. Schools don’t have courses dedicated to radiology and clinicals tend to focus on inpatient units. Furthermore, most new graduate nurses want to be in the ICU, PCU, ED, or another inpatient unit. Unfortunately, these sought-after positions can be hard to find for new graduates because of demand, and many hospitals won’t hire new grads to some of these units.

Radiology nursing provides an alternative career path that most new graduate nurses and more experienced nurse are not familiar with.

Radiology: The Unsung Hero of the Hospital

Often radiology goes unnoticed, but every department uses it in some way. Whether you are in the emergency room evaluating for a bleed in a recent trauma patient, having a drain placed due to a fluid collection, or staging a newly found mass, you will need the radiology department. CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs are all covered by radiology. They can perform something as simple as a chest x-ray or as advanced as 3-D anatomic modeling to assist physicians in surgical planning.

In some hospitals, over 75% of patients have a scan or procedure in radiology during their stay. Thus, at the bedside, chances are you have interacted with a radiology nurse, even if you didn’t know it.

So What is Radiology Nursing?

Radiology nurses ensure patient safety by making detailed assessments, providing moderate sedation to patients, assisting in the recovery of patients post-procedure, injecting contrast, and assessing patients during procedures, amongst other responsibilities. This makes the radiology nurse an integral part of the care team that helps ensure safe and efficient care to all patients.

Radiology nurses can expect to work with physicians, patient care assistants, technologists, and sonographers, as well as other RN staff from different units. They care for adult and pediatric patients and generally hold advanced certifications such as ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support).

Whether you are a new graduate looking for a strategic job opportunity or an experienced nurse looking to diversify your experience, radiology nursing could be a fantastic opportunity for you.

Character or Competence in Hiring

Character or Competence in Hiring

Character and competence are two of the most sought after qualities in the workplace. Ideally, an applicant will have both, but hiring managers often find themselves forced to choose between two qualified candidates who each excel in one area only. Thus, determining the benefits of each quality and the importance they play in the role being filled is of the utmost importance.

Competence is acquired through experience and learning. Generally, more experience yields more competence, especially in nursing. Nurses with extensive experience are invaluable not only for the quality of care they provide, but also the knowledge they can impart to new staff.

Character, on the other hand, is a more intangible quality. Character involves acting with integrity, a positive attitude, and a superior work ethic, as well as being a team player. Employees with strong character can raise both the morale and productivity of the workplace.

When determining the greater need between these qualities, the purpose of the role is an important consideration. Most nursing jobs require significant teamwork, making character highly desirable. However, in more independent roles like research, competence may have greater value. That said, competence without character can lower morale, while character without competence can hinder productivity.

Thus, when hiring, nurse leaders and staff nurses should determine “what gives” between competence and character in the role they are trying to fill, with the setting and culture of the work environment being prime factors in determining the importance of these qualities.

How do you decide which is the more important trait when hiring? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Is It Time to Transition to Ambulatory Nursing?

Is It Time to Transition to Ambulatory Nursing?

When you think of nursing, you might picture inpatient nursing. Popular TV shows portray nursing primarily in the hospital, and most new graduate nurses start their careers in an inpatient setting. In fact, more than 60% of RNs are employed in a hospital setting. But recent changes in health care are increasing opportunities for nurses in ambulatory settings.

Ambulatory nurses operate in environments ranging from the clinical setting to outpatient procedural areas. Nurses are utilized in a variety of ways and have opportunities to interact with patients by providing direct patient care, patient education, and performing special testing. In addition, they triage patients and follow up regarding test results and symptom updates. Nurses in an ambulatory setting work closely with both their physician colleagues and directly with patients and their families. Ambulatory nurses often find themselves developing long-term and fulfilling relationships with their patients.

Although ambulatory RNs don’t work directly with acutely ill patients, they are still required to have critical thinking skills and an in-depth understanding of disease processes and specialized treatments. While hospital nurses can see their patients physically, ambulatory nurses often triage their patients over the phone or online, requiring a high level of expertise. The ambulatory realm has significantly fewer resources available in comparison to the hospital setting.

Ambulatory nurses enjoy many benefits that inpatient nurses aren’t afforded, though. Most don’t work holidays, nights, weekends, or on-call, and get to devote more focused time to their patients. Enjoying both a rewarding career and a life outside of work is a major reason more and more nurses are pursuing careers in the ambulatory setting.

Learn more about ambulatory care nursing here.

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