Browsing: Nursing

Certified Nursing Assistant Training in US

After you pass the Nurse Professional CGFNS test and language «TOEFL» test or «IELTS» and obtain relevant points, American employee arrangements a phone interview with you and concludes a contract for a period of not less than 3 years. Further, law firm gives the required documents to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for permission to perform permanent residence in the United States with the right to work. After you obtaining INS permission, law firm prepares documents for Green Card.

• After an interview at the American embassy, ​​a nurse (with family) enters the United States. Family includes spouse and children under 21 years.

• 5 years after entry into the country a nurse (and her family) are entitled to registration of US citizenship.

• US citizens are eligible to register Green Card for parents of any age during a year.

• Spouse and children of nurse are eligible to work immediately after entering the country (as all permanent US residents).

• Nurse, spouse and children are entitled to grants for learning in all higher educational institutions of America immediately after entering the country (like all US citizens). Conditions of work in the US for the first three years. The first few months in the US are adaptable. Nurse works as a licensed nurse assistant and is preparing for the test for NCLEX-RN license (in case she failed for the first time). After passing the test for a license, a nurse begins to officially work as a licensed nurse.

• Salary for contract duration – from 45-55 thousand dollars a year or more, depending on seniority.

• You will work in a health care institution specified by employer.

• A nurse obtains health insurance for the whole family during contract duration. • You may visit your native country any time during vacation.

After the end of contract, you can:
• extend contract;
• independently search for a licensed nurse job in any organization, learning 65 thousand dollars a year;
• take advantage of your second education (doctor, engineer, teacher, etc.);
• improve qualification.

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USA Needs More Nurses

Profession of nurse occupations a very important place in health system. Primary task of a qualified nurse is assistance and effective patient care. US Public Health operates at a higher technical level, but is experiencing a great shortage of nurseries at the moment, and according to forecasts, such situation will continue in the future. This trend is a result of many complex factors, such as raising living standards and availability of alternative career paths, which leads to reduction in the number of enrolling in nursing schools. Growth and aging of population became a prerequisite to increased market demand for nursing staff. In addition, there appeared new opportunities for diagnosis and care allowing saving lives and increasing the need for nurses.

Nurses trained in other countries have high qualification for employment in the United States. Experience in the US health care not only grants a nurse's professional level, but will also serve a potential opportunity for her further promotion and growth of material prosperity.

Combination of other countries' aspiration to improve nursing care and a shortage of nurses in the United States offers a unique opportunity to implement mutually beneficial program aimed at achieving objectives of each party. This is the purpose of special training programs called “Nurses in the US”, which involves training nurses to work in the US health care system.

Ministry of Health and Social Assistance of the US, Department of Medical Resources and National Center for Analysis of workforce in health care system conducted a study on availability, demand and short of registered nurses in the US

According to data of 2000, nearly every other state lacks nurses. According to forecasts for 2020, almost every state will face shortage of nurses.

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Do Nurses Really Retire?

Most people have a fantasy vision of what retirement looks like to them: sleeping late, no appointments, traveling, no more time clocks to punch, no boss, no more daily friend connections, no more kids in the house. This sounds boring to me.

After working under one roof for 21 years I have witnessed many people “retire” and then return to work within 30 days because they are bored or can not live off of half the income they were used to.

We have had nurses who talked about retirement for years. When the time came, they were not prepared to leave the nursing field. Some had spouses or family who became ill and caused them to return to work in their later years for extra income. Somewhere in life, a picture of a wonderland life comes to mind when the word “retirement” is spoken. Many think they can just lie around and do nothing and it would be a wonderful life. Our bodies are made to be busy, and when they come to a halt after years of being on the go, they die.

What are you doing to prepare for retirement?

Nursing is a physically draining profession that is not for the impaired nurses. Nurses end up with bad backs, bad feet, bed knees and general aging slows them down energy wise. Seasoned nurses who retire can offer their mentorship to the new nurses. After spending 24 plus years in nursing and as a seasoned nurse, I have many skills to pass on to the new nurse.

I have no plans to sit in a rocking chair and watch age catch me. I want to give age a run for its money.

I began planning my next 30 years of caring for people and meeting their needs like a nurse does in a new way. By being a nurse and sharing my skills, experiences, and knowledge, I will do the job of nursing at a new level. I enjoy talking to people, hearing their stories, finding ways to offer a service, which gives me something extra. I do however, have to be careful not to allow someone else's needs to interfere with my own goals.

During my working years, of barely getting enough rest to fuel the long 13 hour shifts, I invested in a company to build my nest egg for retirement. My husband and I have several big trips we want to enjoy without counting pennies when we go. The work-place's time clocks will be quiet and the life clock will be ticking to a new beat.

I began educating myself for the next 30 years as a season nurse sharing an energized future.

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Nursing Unions And Their Importance

If one were in their first nursing job, then they would be pretty much interested in knowing about the Nurse Union and how it is going to work out for them. If any one of their parents had been part of a union, then that experience could have helped the newly joined nurses in getting an idea about the unions.

Unions have been primarily created to protect the workers from unlawful exploitation by the business owners. Some of the areas in which the workers needed some support were the areas of Worker compensation, working hours and working environment. Here is the need for the unions to protect the employees from exploitation by the business owners on the above mentioned factors arose. Trade unions are formed by a group of workers with an elected leader.

Union leader's main responsibility is to represent the workers and fight for their rights in terms of obtaining the correct wages, proper working conditions and other worker related benefits. The Management of the company have to discuss with the union leadership regarding all related matters such as Worker Firing, Hiring, Worker Bonus related issues and worker compensatory leave benefits.

The entire work is legally bound to work according to the agreement reached between the Union leadership and the management. A newly joined nurse can take up the option of joining the Union, as it gives them the security of being in a group, which gives them the stability that is needed at the beginning of the career. Joining a Union is has its own benefits and disadvantages.

The benefits that one accrues are that they will be a part of all the benefits that are negotiated by the union leadership with the Management. These negotiations will cover the Compensation benefits, bonus related discussions, compensated time offs and health care coverage. But there are some areas where the union member may be interested, but the union members has a majority may not be interested in that.

For example, the member might be interested in the Reimbursement of education program, but the other members of the union might not be interested in that. So, there are pros and cons of being in a nurse's union. Before joining the union, nurses should pose them some hard questions.

These questions should give answers with respect to the role that is going to be played by the union in trying to safeguard the interests of the nurses. A Nurse should feel that the Union should be beneficial to the entire business group as a whole. Union should not put the necessity work against the management just for the sake of satisfying certain section of the union. If the nurse gets a positive feel of these situations, then they can go ahead and join the union.

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Tips on How to Prepare and Pass the NCLEX

Did you just graduate from nursing school and are you getting ready to take the NCLEX? Do you feel nervous about the upcoming exam? Do you feel like you are not ready to take the test? Here are some tips that will help you be prepared for taking the NCLEX.

NCLEX or National Council Licensing Examination is required for all nurses that want to work as a licensed professional in the United States. It is a computer based type of exam that measures your knowledge and skills as an entry level nurse. Each question is ranked according to your answers. It is advisable that you take your time answering the questions and avoid guessing.

Here are some tips that might help you pass the exam. First, make sure that you are mentally and physically ready to sit down and study. Give yourself at least three to four months to prepare for the test. It also helps if you can find a place to study where there is no distractions and noise free. A public library is the best place to consider. Allow yourself to spend at least an hour every day to read and understand your textbook material. It is not advisable that you overdo it. Your brain can only process a certain amount of information in a certain time, so it is useless to study in long hours. Stop and take a break if needed.

Choose study material or textbooks that are comprehensive, condensed with latest edition and has a lot of practice test questions. Try answering at least 100 questions per day, this will allow you to familiarize yourself with the questions. The most common mistake that the examinee makes, is over analyzing a question. Answer only what is asked in the question. Test questions comes in multiple choice, identification and problem solving. In multiple choice questions, try to eliminate the answers that have nothing to do with the question. Some questions will give you a situation and will try tricking you by giving all possible correct answers. Finding the right key word will help you choose the best answer to the question.

Try not to study three days before the exam, because this will only make you panic. Give your mind and body a chance to relax before the exam. Watch a movie or have dinner with friends. Make sure you have your authorization letter, ID and other pertinent documents ready a day before the exam. Get plenty of sleep the night before and make sure that you only have a light breakfast or lunch before the test, to avoid being sleepy during the exam. Being prepared and confident is the key to having a successful result.

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Seasoned Nurses: The Secret Ingredients

Today I had breakfast, with a dear friend, of over 35 years this morning. We laughed and talked like it had been just yesterday since we had been together – this time it had been over 4 years – the time before it was 10 years since we had sat in person and talked.

As we sipped coffee, she detailed a story of her mother having surgery in 2007 that not only upset the family but scared them with the type of nursing care she had received. After having several issues with her health that lead to back surgery the post care had to be handled with kid gloves.

Anyone going for surgery is already nervous about laying their life in the hands of Doctors, nurses, and a hospital. You lay helpless on a table that will be making changes to your body. Listening to someone who had an experience that scared them post surgery as much as pre-surgery makes me stop and think “What kind of care am I giving to the ones that are trusting me”.

What are the secret ingredients that make a season nurse beyond good but great?

As a mental health nurse I deal with patient's emotions and behaviors that sometimes lead to physical situations. When a new nurse arrives on the unit – everyone is watching that person to see what the reaction will be to a high risk situation.

  • A seasoned nurse is calmer they do not question what needs to be done – they just step into action. It flows out of them without thinking. A younger nurse will sometimes freeze or back up waiting for someone – anyone to step in to take over.
  • A season nurse handles stress and can remain calm (at least until the event is over)
  • It is not that they have become numb to stress or have become heartless, they go into nurse mode caring for those that are in need at the time and will take a deep breath later.
  • A seasoned nurse has learned a way of communication that is firm, and to the point, she says what she means and means what she says. She has to speak to doctors, patients, fellow co-worker, family members.
  • Avocation for her patients. When the nurse sees her patient in danger – or a doctor is making a decision that is not best for that patient the season nurse stands up and speaks for the patient – and wins a lot more battles than the new nurse does and calmly.
  • Education in the class room and on the floor continues to teachers all nurses. The nurse never stops learning or teaching others.
  • Seasoned nurses are active leaders. They know how to handle situations that arrive, management, doctors, patients, and taking care of themselves to avoid burnout.
  • The secret ingredient to becoming not a good nurse – not an OK nurse – but a great nurse …. is time. Of course there is always an exception to every rule but the most part. Time teachers nurses to become the role model for the next generation.

As a nurse, I have spent taking care of others I have fought with my patients – laughed with them – stood firm with redirection – had physical altercations – Belly laughed so hard I sacrificed – encouraged – prayed with them – listened – and learned. I hope I never stop learning as a nurse.

In the course of your day you hear peoples life stories. As a nurse in mental health that is the largest part of my shift – listening. If I do not listen, I could miss a piece of the puzzle.

Every nurse has a story to tell. Are you sharing yours?

Are you a nursing lifer? Share your comments.

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What Makes Nursing an Attractive Career Option?

Over the past decade, one can not deny the popularity of being a nurse as a career option. With the increased number of hospitals and the rapid growth relating to health care sector, the demand for registered nurses across many different specialization has increased in an astounding rate. It has really become one of the most coveted profession. It is hard to argue with the fact that nursing has become one of the most important jobs in the industry of health care. What makes such career option to be popular is the fact that it does have an attractive salary. An average salary of a registered nurse can range from $ 35,000 – $ 62,000 annually, depending on experience and the state they are working in. And the rate is even better if a nurse has a specialization.

Aside from the obvious financial gain, what other factors makes the job of a nurse that satisfing? One of the most common motivation for a necessity is the fact that the job can be emotionally satisfied. They get to serve many ill people, and once they get better you can not help but feel pride and joy seeing that you are partly responsible for his or her recovery. And part of what makes a nurse's job satisfying is the social aspect of it. You get to interact with all sorts of personalities and that becomes a powerful learning experience. As long as an individual loves his or her job as a nurse, then there is no reason not to be satisfied with it.

Perhaps another factor of what makes nursing such an attractive career option is the fact that it is a very stable job. The financial market can be quite a roller coaster sometimes, but with all the ups and downs that are taking place in the financial world, it can seriously affect the job of nurses. As we approach a more technologically advanced era, people have been making changes to their lifestyle. And it also means that it is getting worse for our environment. And because of this, health related problems are continuing in an upward trend, so the demand for nurse will always be present. In other words, recession and all sorts of financial crisis will not affect a nursing job, because as sad as it may sound, the world is getting sicker every day. Aside from a stable job, a nurse will find that he or she has many opportunities to advance his or her career. With many years of experience, a nurse can easily achieve a high-ranking position in any hospital.

Yes, being a nurse is clearly a very attractive option. But like most other jobs, you must have the passion for it in order to be successful. If you are not motivated to help people or if you swear in your life that you will never get near any blood again, then maybe nursing as a profession is not for you. To those who wish to engage in the field of nursing must be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. The job entails great responsibility that requires great dedication and devotion.

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Staffing Nurses – The High Demand

Demand for trained nurses remains high and every day thousands of people enter training in the hope of having a nursing career. Whether that involves studying to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) as a prelude to nursing school or entering a nursing school immediately, the path to a nursing career may be a difficult one.

This is because although demand for nursing staff is high, the industry is highly competitive and it can be difficult for a newly graduated nursing school student to find a desirable position. Traditionally medical facilities prefer hiring practiced nurses to newly graduated students (unless they have a quota to fill) so it can initially be difficult to find a job at all. If you have performed exceptionally well in nursing school you may have more success.

However the fact that you will be compared to hundreds, if not thousands, of other potential nursing candidates, who may already be experienced, can be daunting. Often nurses who are already employed are seeking another position and you'll have to compete with them as well.

These nurses may be looking for a role in a specific location, for better money and / or benefits, better work conditions, to work in a different category of nursing or to work in a specific specialization. These nurses, often with extensive experience on their resumes, can be a significant competition for a nurse who is just starting out. However there is an alternative to looking for work yourself or using the facilities of the nursing school that trained you.

The other option is nurse staffing agencies: they specialize in placing nurses – be they new graduates or nurses with many years experience. Such agencies charge a fee for their placement services (either to you or to the employer) but this can be worth it to find a position that you are looking for or that is particularly desirable.

Not every job will be what you expected, particularly after you have been there for a while, and you need to decide whether it is worth paying a fee for placement in a position that you could find yourself. In fact some medical facilities prefer nurseries that do not use such agencies since this demonstrates perseverance and fortitude your part which are considered as desirable qualities.

Searching for work is always a challenge, whether you have just graduated or been in the nursing profession for many years. Even after finding a position that you like, the stresses of being a necessity, such as long hours, double shifts, overtime and the challenges of working with people, can create burn-out and lead to some people leaving the profession. Ultimatly wherever you have a great nursing career will depend on you and the attitude that you bring to the job.

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Ideas On Selecting A Good Nursing School

With many changes ahead, the health care industry is set to explode with respect to jobs, careers, and other employment opportunities. One job that will be leading the pack with respect to demand is that of a registered nurse. With a rapid aging population, and increasing demands for universal health care, nurseries will continue to be in demand.

How does this apply to you? If you are currently a registered nurse, then you know that you rarely have to worry about being laid off, and regardless of the economy, your job is always in demand. If you are thinking of going into nursing as a career, then this article will give you a few tips on how to choose the right nursing school. When you attend the right nursing school, you can give your career a jump start to success.

When you start looking at schools, make sure to focus on only those that are accredited. While you'll still have to pass your exam to get a nursing license, an accredited school will be much easier, because the subject of study will be in line with acceptable core curriculum. The two largest bodies to check your potential school for are the NLNAC and the CCNE. If your school is accredited by either one, that's acceptable, but both would be ideal.

Another way to tell if a nursing school is any good is by how many students pass the license examination on the first try. If the school does a good job teaching basic nursing principles, then the passing rate should be at least sixty or seventy percent on the first try. If the numbers are any lower than this, or they are a bit hesitant about releasing their results, then you should sometimes give that particular school a pass.

One more thing to check is what kind of tuition assistance the school has. This can come in many forms, such as grants, scholarships, and student loans. Always use student loans as a last resort, as you do not want to finish school with a pile of debt to worry about. There are plenty of different grant and scholarship programs out there if you look hard enough.

Curriculum is another issue. Of course, you'll need the basic core classes, but if you are interested in pursuing a particular specialty, then you should check and see if the school you're looking at can support your future career. Many different schools have many different areas of expertise. For example, some schools may prepare you to become a surgical nurse, while others may prepare you to become an general nurse.

A nurse is a great career choice. You will always have a job, and you will rarely worry about being laid off. All you need to do is to find a decent school to get started. Once you're surrounded, you can look forward to a rewarding and lucrative career.

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Working Hours of Staff Nurses, Are Patients Safe?

Even though they only work three days a week the sleep deprived nurse still has personal and family things to take care of on the days they work. Most nurses commute to their job at least 25 minutes one way that is 50 minutes travel time before they start working the long hour shifts. Nurses usually work at least one back to back shift and some facility work three shifts in a row. The average sleep that a nurse will get will be 4-5 hours before returning to a demanding job all over again.

Nurses are expected and required to pass medication accurately, chart observations accurately, respond to patients needs on demand, assist the Doctor, be a patient advocate, family support, supervise the staff on the unit with professionalism. On top on thinking about what they have going on at home. Nurses are required to be focused using sharp observation skills to the normal and abnormalals of her patient. Being at the top of the game – with a cup of coffee and a donut. How do I know about these crazy hours? Because I have worked them for 24 years.

Let me give you an example of my day. I get up at 6 AM to get both boys to ready for school. Once they have been dropped off to start their day. I will go walk 2-3 miles before going back home to do laundry clean house, work in the home office then back to school to pick up the kiddos. Wait – It does not stop there. Either one or both boys will have a sporting event to attend that day – so arrangements have to be made for them. Finally home to get ready for a 45 minute commute to work a 13 hour shift.

Normally I will work at least one back to back day leaving me room to sleep (if I can) 4 hours before I have to get up and to get the kids from school prior to getting ready for day two of a 45 minute commute to work 13 more hours. Is there any doubt why nurses and medical professionals turn high doses of caffeine and sugar products to keep up with their shift. There is a growing concern over the retention of nursing. Due to high stress work areas like mental health – the aging profession is not being replaced with nurses that are willing to work long hours and holidays as they have in the past. Nursing is hard work. It tires the mind, the body and the emotions.

Nurses are with patients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Other industries have been aware for many years of the links between fatigue and accidents, mistakes, errors and near errors. For instance, the airline and trucking industries limit the number of hours pilots and truck drivers can fly / drive. They also require a certain number of hours between “flights” or “runs” Why? They do this because research has proved that one's decision making skills decline with fatigue; reaction times lengthen with fatigue; and problem solving is impaired. All of these outcomes of fatigue contribute to reduced safety in the air and on the highway. o surprise to most nurses, the data show that most reported medication errors were “made by nurses.” ~ According to ~

All of these factors make nursing a very physically and emotionally draining profession. Then to add to the stress – some of the facilities are not forgiving with nurses who call out on a shift due to personal reasons. This leads to a write up that goes in the nurses file for possible future clearance from poor attendance. The next time you see a nurse that looks a little grumpy, she could be worried about her own sick child at home. Financial problems, over whelmed with job duties or fatigue. Give her a smile, It may just what the doctor ordered.

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Getting Licensed As A Nurse

Nursing tend to be a career that appeals to those people with a strong level of compassion and desire to help others. Once the decision to pursue a nursing career has been made there are several steps to follow in the quest to become a registered nurse. The first step is education which will lead to gaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. That does usually mean at least four years of college. There are other options if the four years is too long for you.

There is always the option of an Associate Degree in Nursing, and that only takes two years. Of course, you likely will not advance nearly as fast as someone who received their BSN. Most importantly, you will not earn as much as someone who received the higher degree of education. Additionally, a person can choose to attend a certification program within a hospital that offers such.

This provides an on the job training sort of method, but it takes about the same time as the associates or even a bit longer. Again, consider that there is a strong chance of not learning the same as someone with the higher levels of education. Nursing as a career is also a life long commitment to education. There will be classes when beginning work at a new hospital, there will be certificates that must be maintained, and there will be continuing education that must be attended in order to retain those certificates.

It is a dynamic and ever changing field, and the successful nurses always remain on top of the changes as they happen. Licenser testing typically happens at a Pearson Venue, and the process is rather simple. Upon arrival with your ATT (Authorization To Test) form and picture ID you sign in to the testing.

You verify that your information is correct, and you then may begin the testing at the appointed time. Plan for all day. The testing is usually about six hours including time for small breaks to be taken. Once you have passed the test you receive your license paperwork, and you may begin working in your chosen field.

The license is only good for one year at first, but after that first renewal it may be done every two years. During the time between testings it is required for nurses to continue their education, and they have a certain number of continuing educational credits (CEUs) that they must have.

This will be different from state to state as each has their own regulations and requirements. Make sure that you are meeting the requirements for the state you are working in if you wish to continue to work in your field. With time comes experience, and with experience will come greater responsibility and pay.

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Nurses Are Multi-Talented Professionals

Have you ever thought about everything you do as a nurse? What you do each day can become such a part of your routine that you may not realize all the skills you have developed as a result. As a nurse, you share many of the abilities of at least 10 other professionals.

1. Lawyers because you advocate for your patients.

2. Teachers because of the time you spend educating your patients and their families about diseases, medications and self care.

3. Consultants because of all the times you are consulted by doctors and other health care professionals who want to know specifics about your patients' conditions and progress.

4. Social workers because you coordinate and manage the care of all of your patients.

5. Psychologists because of the counseling you do with depressed and anxious patients.

6. Mediators because you facilitate and negotiate to solve problems between patients and their families, patients and their doctors and sometimes patients and your facility's administrators.

7. Business men and women because of the changes you initiate in your institution for your patients to receive the highest quality health care.

8. Pharmacists because of all the time you spend learning about and administering medicines.

9. Parents for all the nurturing and loving care you administer directly to your patients.

10. Journalists because your experiences saving lives and helping patients through some of the roughest times of their lives are worth writing about.

As a nurse, you often multi-task to get everything done, but you might not appreciate all of the skills you have developed. You have a lot in common with at least 10 other professionals. As a nurse, you are multi-talent.

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What Are The Most Effective Nursing Skills?

Nurses need to be very, very patient. Becoming a successful and effective nurse not only requires you to have the educational qualifications and license, but also some qualities and skills that will enable you to perform better.

As a nurse, you need to be physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically strong enough and be totally committed and dedicated to the profession. Nurses are almost always attending patients who need care and attention. Apart from treating patients medically, it is essential that you provide support emotionally.

Here, you need to care, understand and stay non-judgmental about the patients. Patients of all age groups like infants, teens, adults and olderly need to be treated with equal care. Being a nurse also requires you to treat patients of various social standings, race and religion in the same manner. As a nurse, your duties depend upon the type of institution that you are attached to.

Your patients may range from being sick, physically challenged or going through traumatic mental issues. A successful nurse is one who can stay detached with the patients or their conditions. Getting too attached or involved is bound to affect your performance and prevent you from providing the necessary treatment.

As a nurse, you are expected to stay well informed about various methods of treatment. Apart from being intelligent and organized, you need to be skillful enough to multi-task within a short span of time. You will have to be well versed with your patient's medical history and present condition, the prescribed treatment and with handling necessary medical equipments.

A sound knowledge of math and science could prove very handy. Most of the time, nurses are expected to perform conversions on doses. Since they will be often exposed to various bacteria and viruses, knowing about preventive care could prove very useful. A good nurse should be able to understand and communicate with the doctors and co-workers.

You should be smart enough to latch on to any instructions given by doctors or nurse managers. Speaking and understanding several languages ​​could prove to be a big boon and so is a good knowledge about sign language. Very often, doctors are so busy that they may not know of all developments in a patient's condition.

But an expert nurse will soon spot the changes in the condition of the patient and report it to the doctor concerned, even if the patient himself does not complain. The change need not always refer to physical condition but even a behavioral change should be attended to.

Being a nurse can be exhausting. Since most of the time, hospitals and nursing homes face a shortage of nurses, the available nurses may be asked to work over-time. There are many instances when nurses work non-stop for almost 36 hours, if necessary. But such extreme cases are reported only in hospitals which are grossly under-staffed.

But the important point is, as a nurse, you are going to be in constant company of patients and hence become more susceptible to infections and diseases. Staying healthy is a must to combat such problems and only by staying healthy, you can render complete service to the patients as a nurse.

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The Real Truth About Breastfeeding

We all want what is best for our babies, for this reason many parents choose to breastfeed their new additions. Breastfeeding is the healthiest (in most cases), most natural option for your newborn.

Breastfeeding strengthens the immune system; studies have shown that breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of your child suffering from allergies, asthma, and other future ailments and diseases. It also helps to lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Studies also show that those who were breastfed as babies tend to be more intelligent later in life.

For these reasons I breastfed all three of my sons, in fact I chose to nurse them until after their first birthday. So I can say, from experience, that breastfeeding is not always easy!

My first son was born at 34 weeks and his sucking reflex was not fully developed so we had difficulty, but with help from a lactation consultant and a lot of determination we were able to persevere.

Once you have mastered latching on, your milk comes in. For me this was extremely painful. I am not a large chested woman (at 30 years old I proudly wear a 32A), so when my chest swelled to a 36DD over night I was not at all comfortable! Imagine having electrically charged bowling balls implanted into your chest. Yep, it was that bad!

At this point I really thought about switching to a bottle. Then I'd take a look at my little (5 pound) baby and the pain became worth it. Plus, your body gets used to lugging these new beauties around pretty quickly (the pain was tolerable within just a couple of days).

The next obstacle I had to overcome was sore nipples. I have tried to warn any new mother I know about this. Your nipples may crack and bleed, they may scab and they will at the very least get really sore. Nipple cream saved my life! When I received it at my baby shower I laughed, but when I pulled it out of my bathroom drawer at 2am I found it was the best shower gift of all.

With all of these challenges I still chose to nurse my second and third babies. I highly recommend breastfeeding to any and every mother. The bond you feel with your baby is amazing. For myself, I have never felt closer to another person as I did while nursing my boys. It is a bond, that once created, can never be broken and a love so strong at times it can overwhelm you. I know that all mothers love their children beyond belief; I feel that breastfeeding simply lifts this bond to another level.

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The Amazing Power of the Human Touch

The human needs are rather simple. People want to be loved, touched, feed and to feel safe. If you were raised in a home where this was normal, you will not be able to understand how some people actually crave the human touch.

As a nurse you touch other people multiple times in your day to day routine. You feel the texture of the skin, feel for a pulse, in general conversation touch someone's shoulder or hand. The touch can be great comfort to some people. Then again, it can feel like a knife slicing through the skin.

Your skin is your largest organ on the human body. On a grown man it covers about 19 square feet and weighs about 8 pounds. A piece of skin the size of a quarter contains more than 3 million cells, 100 to 340 sweat glands, 50 nerve endings and 3 feet of blood vessels. No one is exempt from needing to be touched. Humans need to touch and be touched, just like we need food and water. The connection between touch and well being is far more than skin deep. From the moment of birth our tactile sense is being stimulated. ~ According to the New World Encyclopedia ~

There was a young male patient on our unit that was a frequent flier as they are called. He was sexually preoccupied and stared at the female staff as if he was undressing them on a daily shift to shift basis. Due to the discomfort he had given the staff, he was given as little extra care as possible. One of his favorite things to do was invade your personal space. My personal space is a lot larger than some peoples'. I do not want someone to stand any closer to me than arms' length. When they step in closer than I am comfortable with I will step back or put my hand up to stop them. This male patient really enjoyed stepping into the staff's personal space and laughing about doing so.

I was sitting in a chair talking to another patient on the hall when he came up to me very quickly and was going to get in my face. My reflexes kicked in before my brain took over. With me in a sitting position my foot went straight up in the air and landed in the middle of his chest pushing him backwards as I jumped to my feet. In uncertain words that flew out of my mouth, he was told to stay out of my face. It started him as bad as it did me; he had made me mad. He knew he had crossed that line with me and tried to apologize. I was so irritated with him I did not respond to him but instead walked off.

He was raised in a rough household as a child and basically raised himself on the streets. Once he was on his medication for a few days he was like a small child craving attention. In order to have a conversation with me very stern boundaries were placed on him. He agreed to stand at a certain distance and not to place his hands on me. He was not known to have very clean personal hygiene. He would stand in the hall staring at the staff with his hands down his pants, then want to reach out and touch your arm.

This patient stayed on our unit for over 6 months this time. He lived in the same town, on the same street, around the same people all his life. He was in his 40's. After many failed home visits and no supervision at home, he always landed in trouble with the law then back into the hospital. The courts stepped in to provide him with a guardian to monitor his well being, which this time meant he would be placed in a personal care home in another town.

The day he came back from court he was scared to death. He was standing at the desk as usual, but this time I stopped and looked at him differently. His face read different than normal. He told me about court and that he was scared as a tear fell down his cheek. I tried to reassure him that his family could come and visit and maybe they would let him go home for weekends. He spoke with a trembling lip, “Mom does not have a car and my brother is in jail.” What do you say to that?

When the morning came for him to leave at 9 AM he walked up to each staff and told them thank you for taking care of him. He had never done that before. He was really scared; we had become his family. I was headed toward the door at the end of my shift and he walked with me. He stuck his hand out to shake hands and this day I reached back and grabbed two fingers, shaking his hand. I said, “You're gonna be ok. It's a nice place.” We replaced a smile. When I got to the door he hollered “Hey!” I stopped and turned to see what he wanted. He smiled a big smile with only one tooth hanging out of his mouth and said, “Thank you for touching me.” I swallowed hard, smoked and went out the door. The tears did not fall until I hit the time clock and headed to my van.

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