Nursing From Head to Toe: 100 Excerpts from 100 Issues of Working Nurse Magazine


Nursing From Head to Toe: 100 Excerpts from 100 Issues of Working Nurse Magazine

By Working Nurse Staff
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To commemorate our 100th issue, we've gathered 100 of our favorite excerpts from Working Nurse. Nursing engages your brain, your heart, stomach, muscles, and yes, feet, so here we present: Nursing from Head to Toe.

The Brain

5 Crucial Traits of a Psychiatric Nurse

Due to the high number of patients suffering from depression or other illnesses, as well as a growing aging population experiencing dementia, career options are wide open for psychiatric nurses, especially in non-hospital settings like outpatient clinics and home health care.

According to a director of nursing responsible for interviewing and hiring, these are five crucial characteristics needed by a psychiatric nurse:
1. Active listening with no biases
2. Critical thinking
3. Ability to work independently and be autonomous
4. Open- mindedness
5. Conflict resolution skills

7 Things That Will Make Your Shift Easier

Let’s face it. Some days, showing up for work is like going into battle, and you need to be ready to meet the demands put on you. Here are some things that every RN can do:

1. Try not to schedule more than two 12-hour shifts in a row.

2. Get eight hours of sleep. You will thank yourself in the morning.

3. Don’t be a martyr; take your breaks when you are scheduled. You’re not helping anyone if you can’t function effectively.

4. Use your resources — the pharmacist, the physical therapist, the medical social worker. They’re there for a reason, and it will lighten your load.

5. The greatest resource RNs have is each other. Ask another RN who looks caught up if he or she can help you out. Then you can give the same courtesy when they need it.

6. Always bring a liter bottle of water to work, leave the coffee and soda. Pack your vitamins and snack foods such as fruit, crackers, nuts and dried fruit. Munching on these throughout your shift will keep your energy up.

7. Renew yourself on your day off, whether it is yoga, a massage or a day at the beach.

13 Career Tips From Nurse Managers and Recruiters

When interviewing a nurse, what are you looking for?

• Traits that demonstrate an ability to work in a fast-paced team environment
• Willingness to learn from mistakes made in the past
• Someone who is passionate about the profession of nursing, who is knowledgeable about its history, and possesses an insight into its future.

How can nurses improve their chance of being hired?

• Research the organization to which they are applying
• Dress professionally for the interview and treat the front desk receptionist with respect
• Take the time to complete the application completely and accurately
• Focus on the total work/career experience and not solely on the monetary compensation

What is the most common reason for terminating a nurse’s employment?

• Anything from unprofessional behavior to not keeping their license up to date
• Attendance
• Failing to effectively communicate with their nurse manager

Any other career advice for nurses?

• Make sure to take a healthy, balanced approach to life that carries over to your nursing career
• Look at the challenges of managing a unit or department and suggest improvements and efficiencies in work flow
• Continue to move nursing forward professionally, through both advocacy and personal practice. Become a member of professional nursing organizations to give voice to nursing

The Heart

6 Ways to Keep Your Cool With Difficult Patients

1. Demand and expect respect; ask for it with professionalism and dignity. You don’t need to put up with abuse from anybody.
2. Be a good listener; it will help you narrow in on what’s really bothering the patient.
3. Call on whatever spiritual beliefs you have, asking for patience, calmness and insight to deal wisely with the situation.
4. Encourage positive thinking in ill and angry patients; it’s good for their well-being and their relationships.
5. Enlist the help of physicians and supervisors in treating aspects of the patient’s condition.
6. Don’t be too tough all the time; try a temporary switch of assignments if you need to.

10 Things to Do With Fellow Nurses

1. Start a nursing book club. (See the Nursing Book Club column in Working Nurse each month.) 

2. Start a walking group. It's healthy and a great opportunity to talk.  

3. Start a wine tasting club.  

4. Go to the movies  together or swap rentals and critique them.   

5. Start a bowling league.

6. Go to Vegas, Big Bear or Catalina for the weekend every couple of months.  

7. Begin a knitting or sewing group.  

8. Whip up a  cooking group. Each month, one person cooks the meal and everyone comes with recipes ready to swap. 

9. Have breakfast or dinner together after work.   

10. Start a  softball team, but remember: There’s no crying!

2 Things a Cardiovascular Nurse Navigator Likes About Her Job

A cardiovascular nurse navigator (CVNN) helps patients and their families navigate through the frightening experience of open heart surgery. In a specialty column, Working Nurse interviewed a nurse navigator about her daily responsibilities, and this is what she reported:

"I make early rounds, collaborate with floor nurses, review labs, write progress notes, check on patients and report my findings to the surgeons. When a patient is in surgery, I am in contact with the OR and update the family throughout the procedure. I am also in contact with the cardiac catheterization lab and notify the surgeons and surgical team if there is a critical patient who requires stand-by preparation for open heart surgery.

"I reconcile medications and prepare discharge instructions. I make sure all disciplines have been completed and, in collaboration with the floor nurse, make sure the patient is ready to go. I meet with the patient and family members to give specialized instructions for home, about follow-up appointments, lab requisitions and prescriptions. I return phone calls from patients and families who have questions about care or progress.

"I contact and inform the surgeons as necessary. Patients who have had surgery that requires monitored medications are also followed by the CVNN. I also do chart review and collect data required by the state and other entities regarding cardiac surgery outcomes."

What she enjoys most about her job

1. Working with the patients and seeing them get better and go home

2. Putting the minds of the families at ease when a patient is in surgery

13 Reasons to Love Being a Nurse!

1. We meet thousands of people from every walk of life who need and want us

2. We are able to move from one end of the country to the other and still find ourselves in demand

3. Our profession usually involves physical exercise, as opposed to sedentary desk work

4. We can leave and re-enter the field as our life situations change

5. Nursing is rarely boring or predictable

6. We can work part time or overtime, and often get paid to upgrade our skills

7. We get to wear scrubs and clogs to work

8. We are present at life’s most momentous events, from birth to death, from crisis to recovery

9. We can move laterally into new areas such as research projects, Armed Forces nursing and travel nursing

10. A nursing career gives us an inside track on coping with our own or our family’s health problems

11. Results and rewards are often immediate

12. According to community polls, nurses are ranked the most trustworthy professional

13. We are essential to our patients, their families and their doctors

The Feet

10 Tips for Finding a Good Shoe Fit

1. Try on and fully lace both shoes. The fit should come from the shoes themselves, not from tying the laces.
2. The tops of your feet should not be pinched when the shoes are laced properly.
3. The shoes should feel comfortable.
4. Your feet should have some room to breathe and your toes should have plenty of room to move and wiggle.
5. Your heels should be snug in the heel counter and should have little up and down movement.
6. The arch of each foot should be supported without being too high.
7. Try shoes in a range of prices — the differences between several pairs can be amazing.
8. Try shoes on with the socks you normally wear.
9. Have your feet sized both sitting and standing, then fit shoes to your larger foot.
10. Try on shoes at the end of the day, when feet are swollen and larger.


5 Steps to an Amazing Foot Massage

1. Bottom of the Foot: Place your thumbs on the ball of the foot. Apply pressure to the underside and slowly move toward the heel.
2. Heels: Massage the bottom and sides using your thumbs.
3. Toes: Stroke between the toes, upward toward the heart.
4. Top of the Foot: Using your fingers, massage the top of the foot, focusing on the soft points between the bones of the forefoot, upward toward the ankle.
5. Stroking the Foot: Using both hands, place your fingers on the top of the foot and the thumbs underneath. One hand at a time, stroke by sliding your hands upward toward the heart.


The Muscles

1 Extraordinary Physical Therapy Pioneer: Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Sister Elizabeth Kenny was not a nun. She worked in nursing for decades and revolutionized the treatment for polio, but she did not have a degree. She defied doctors everywhere who insisted on treating infantile paralysis with casts, splints and immobility. Beloved by thousands of parents whose children were helped by her methods, she became a celebrity.

Born in Australia, Kenny became a bush nurse in Queensland around 1910, although she lacked any formal nursing education. She tended the sick and delivered babies in the rural districts where medical professionals were scarce. When she encountered her first cases of polio, Kenny treated a stricken child’s contracted muscles with moist heat compresses to ease the limbs back into their normal positions. Although the standard treatment of the day involved immobilizing affected limbs, Kenny found that her methods worked to prevent deformity and the atrophy of muscles.

She became an Army nurse when Australia entered World War I and acquired the title “sister” (the equivalent of first lieutenant), a designation she used for the rest of her life. During the war she worked with meningitis patients suffering paralysis and deformities, employing the same treatment methods that she used with polio patients.

When she returned to Australia, she encountered a new type of patient: the person who had been crippled from the standard immobilization treatment for polio. Kenny developed a regimen of hot compresses and physical therapy to “re-educate” the muscles. She taught the patients to reconnect with their dormant muscles, training them to again move the muscles by themselves.
Physical therapy was hardly utilized as a medical discipline at this time, but Kenny used a combination of known techniques, tidbits she learned from doctors, and her own experience. Although polio has been virtually eliminated thanks to vaccines, Kenny’s work in re- educating muscles became the basis for modern physical therapy.

5 Benefits of Yoga

1. Relaxation and stress reduction

2. Increased mental focus and clarity

3. Improved respiratory and immune function

4. Improved gastrointestinal function

5. Overall well-being

4 Excuses Keeping Us From a Healthy Lifestyle

We are inundated with information when it comes to health and fitness, and too many choices can bring you to a standing halt, losing out on weeks of progress. establishing a health routine takes time and work, but those aren’t excuses! Here’s why:

1. “No time.” Create 10 minutes for a walk. You will need to increase your distance, time and speed in order to progress, otherwise your body will adapt. Bumping up your routine by just five minutes each day is an easy way to do this, and you’ll feel so good that finding time is suddenly not a problem!

2. “It will take too long to reach my goal!” The brain can plant obstacles, which will inhibit the development of new routines. We know from the example above that we can create time within the day. So, with that in mind, remember that if you never begin, it will take forever.

3. “I’m too stressed.” One of the wonderful advantages of exercise is it has been proven to reduce stress and promote endorphins, which help us feel good. exercise helps our entire body deal with stress while improving our health, and it can become a one-stop shop in becoming less encumbered by our daily lives.

4. “It’s too much work.” I know of very few professions as demanding as nursing; it is an emotionally, physically and mentally draining experience. One way our brain likes to replenish resources is to eat “comfort” food, but these can be trumped by the subtle advantages of proper nutrition and exercise. The “work” involved in changing our routines is what our body needs to feed our emotional, physical and mental hunger, and fill our mind with a positive outlook.

The Stomach

11 Rules for Food Safety

During a food outbreak, nurses may be consulted by the “worried well” needing steps they can take to minimize food contamination. Here are some helpful rules:

1. Wash hands before and after food preparation. Use soap, hot water and paper towels.
2. Use one cutting board for meat, seafood and poultry, and a separate board for vegetables. Never transfer cooked food onto a cutting board or platter that still contains raw meat juices.
3. Wash knives before and after use and when slicing hard rind fruits and vegetables.
4. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Meat, poultry, pork and eggs need to be cooked to 160 degrees; leftovers heated to 165 degrees; and sauces and gravies reheated to boiling. Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees and be opaque and flflaky before serving.
5. Refrigerators should be kept at 40 degrees, freezers at zero degrees.
6. Do not leave leftovers unrefrigerated for more than two hours (one hour when the outdoor temperature has reached 90 degrees or higher).
7. Divide large amounts into small shallow containers and place immediately in the refrigerator.
8. Never thaw meat at room temperature.
9. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from the other foods in your shopping cart, in your grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
10. Never eat raw cookie dough containing eggs.
11. Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water; scrub firm- skinned produce with a vegetable brush even if the skins or rinds will be removed later.
12. Sponges harbor bacteria; replace them with kitchen cloths and hot soapy water or paper towels.

5 Ways to a Healthier Lunch

Chances are your nurse's station has goodies from grateful patients’ families: cookies, cakes, doughnuts, bagels, candy, chocolate. The intention is good, but the resulting weight gain isn’t. Bring your own lunch and control what you eat.

1. Portion control. Smaller portions eaten more often throughout the day (six times instead of three) will keep you satisfied and keep your metabolism burning at a higher level.

2. Eating protein satisfies hunger cravings and builds lean muscle mass. Some suggestions:
      •Small cans of tuna packed in water to eat with a fork, no mayonnaise. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and pepper to taste.
      •Lean cold meats such as sliced chicken, turkey, ham or roast beef
      •Hard-boiled eggs
      •Non- or low-fat cottage cheese
      •Non-fat yogurt
      •Protein bars

3. Avoid fried foods, sugary desserts and candies, snack chips, crackers, white breads and pastas. Butter and trans fats are all off limits.

4. Enhance energy levels, weight loss and fitness goals by drinking eight glasses of water every day. Stop drinking soda; try replacing coffee with green tea.

5. Foods with high fiber and low calories fill you up, not out, such as:
      •Green salads
      •Raw cauliflower & broccoli florets (use nonfat yogurt for dip)
      •Peeled baby carrots
      •Celery (dipped in cottage cheese)
      •Apples and grapes (eat with the skin on)

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