Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

As a Travel Nurse I appreciate anything that can make traveling lighter and easier.  The new electronic readers allow you to carry an entire library in the palm of your hand.  The Kindle Reader for example will carry fiction books and reference books too. 

My usual travel kit can include almost 200 pounds of books.  The Kindle Graphite weighs only a few ounces.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

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Nursing News
Violence Increasing for Healthcare Workers

Did you know that if you work in a hospital or nursing home that
the chances are you are 4 times as likely to experience violence
in the workplace? As a nurse who works with alzheimers patients,
dementia, drug addicts and patients or family members who are
stressed out you are 4 times more likely than any other profession
to experience an assualt or other violence while you go about your

According to the U.S. Department for Occupational Health & Safety
as well as the Washington State Dept of Labor healthcare workers
experience work related violence at a rate of approximately 8.3
assaults per 10,000 workers as compared to the private sector rate
of 2 per 10,000. The rate can be even higher depending on where
you work.

In a survey conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association in 2009
50% of the respondents reported that they had experienced some
type of violence within the past 3 years while working in the
emergency room.

Many factors account for this increased risk including poor
planning and training by hospitals and other facilities.

Headlines like this are very common
Fight At State Supported Living Center Leaves Female Staff Member
Healthcare worker injured

Nurses confront violence on the job

Violence against nurses is rising in hospital EDs
I suspect that if you have been a nurse for at least 3 years you
have experienced violence, aggression, bullying or sexual assualt
in some form while on the job. And the perpertrators are not
limited to patients or visitors.

You assailaint may be a co-worker or a doctor. Fortunately, many
organizations and states are starting to recognize the seriousness
of this issue and are taking steps to curb the violence and give
nurses tools to deal with violence in the workplace.

Featured Website
The Month of October is National Breast Cancer awareness month. In
honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month the featured website is the
Susan G. Komen for the cure website.

Susan G. Komen fought breast cancer with her heart, body and soul.
Throughout her diagnosis, treatments, and endless days in the
hospital, she spent her time thinking of ways to make life better
for other women battling breast cancer instead of worrying about
her own situation.

That concern for others continued even as Susan
neared the end of her fight. Moved by Susans compassion for others
and committed to making a difference, Susan's sister promised that
she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer

That promise is now Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the global
leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested nearly $1.5
billion since inception in 1982. As the worlds largest grassroots
network of breast cancer survivors and activists, were working
together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for
all and energize science to find the cures.

Thanks to events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, and
generous contributions from our partners, sponsors and fellow
supporters, we have become the largest source of nonprofit funds
dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

A Word From Our Sponsor
Do you have a passion? Something you can talk about all day long?
Do you love to share that passion? Have you ever wondered how you
could do that? and maybe make a little money while you are doing
that?  Learn how to make money sharing your passion
Don't worry if you don't have that kind of passion. SBI can help
identify an area that you can relate to. I used to tell people my
favorite job would be one that allowed me to talk to people all
day and drink coffee. Well, how about that? In a sense, that's
what I do with this newsletter and my websites. And I built it
with SBI. So, do take a moment to see if SBI is something you
might be able to use to find your passion.

Spotlight On Alternative Careers -Nurse Lobbyist
Have you ever thought about being active in politics and helping
to craft legislation that deals with issues such as mandatory
overtime, patient safety, workplace safety issues, patient ratios,
licensing and other nursing or healthcare issues? Welcome to being
a nurse lobbyist. The basic purpose of a lobbyist is to get a
groups message in front of local, state, or national legislators.

Another invaluable purpose is to educate those legislators about a
particular issue and how it impacts nurses. Not all nurses who act
as lobbyists are paid for the work. But, there are roles in state
and professional nursing organizations such as the American Nurses
Association for nurses who also lobby or whose primary job is to
be a lobbyist. Other places where you may find work in this area
is with labor organizations such as the California Nurses
Association or the AFL-CIO.

Read about it in Capitol Clout an article about nurses and lobbying on the Nurseweek website.

Nurses In History
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month the person I am
featuring is a woman named Nancy Brinker. She isn't a nurse but
she has done something that embodies many of the principles of
nursing and shows a caring and compassion that many nurses have.
She currently serves as the World Health Organization' s Goodwill
Ambassador for Cancer Control.

What makes her truly remarkable is the organization she founded in
1982 which has raised over $1.5 billion dollars to help the fight
in preventing and curing breast cancer. It is the largest breast
cancer charity in the world. And it all started as a promise to
her sister that she would do everything in her power to eradicate
breast cancer from the world. Because Nancy's sister was dying
from breast cancer in 1982 and even while she was dying her
thoughts were about trying to save others from the pain and the
horror she faced in dealing with her own breast cancer.

And that's why Nancy founded the Susan G Komen For the Cure
non-profit organization. Read Nancy Brinker's Biography
The next time you get into a discussion on whether one person can
make a difference you can use this story as an example of how one
person can.

Travel Nurse Tip - Breast Self Exam

Since it is National Breast Cancer Awarness month the travel nurse
tip this month is...think pink! and do monthly self exams of your
breasts. Early detection and treatment is still the number one
factor in successfully treating and curing most forms of cancer
including breast cancer and other cancers.

Friday, September 03, 2010

NURSING STATION  Nursing News $667 Million Fine

A for profit nursing home company, Skilled Healthcare in California, was assessed a $667 million penalty for gross neglect of the patients in its care in a class action suit. The suit which represented 32,000 plaintiffs is supposedly the largest claim of this type to ever be awarded.

The suit was primarily brought by the daughter of a patient who suffered from Alzheimers. She found her father in urine soaked clothes almost daily and often had to wait for lengthy periods before staff would come to help. 

The court ruled that the company had deliberately short staffed its facilities and violated the California law regarding patient to nurse ratios. Read the full article

What is especially disturbing about this story is the fact that in spite of California laws mandating staffing hospitals and other care facilities are ignoring it.

Another disturbing fact is that when stockholders get involved they can influence patient care by putting pressure on corporate leaders to put profits ahead of patients.

Featured Website
Ok, sometimes the serendipity just appeals to me. I found a site called The Nursing Site .  The site is owned by Kathy Quan, a former guide to nursing on The site has a bounty of articles about nursing. It also has links to nursing history, nursing issues and even some basicskills articles to teach/reinforce nursing skills. I always say when you don't know what to do...go back to the basics. You can never go too far wrong sticking with the ABC's of nursing. Airway, Breathing and Circulation.

A Word From Our Sponsor

Do you have a passion? Something you can talk about all day long? Do you love to share that passion? Have you ever wondered how you could do that? and maybe make a little money while you are doing that? Check out

Don't worry if you don't have that kind of passion. SBI can help identify an area that you can relate to. I used to tell people my favorite job would be one that allowed me to talk to people all day and drink coffee. Well, how about that? In a sense, that's what I do with this newsletter and my websites. And I built it with SBI. So, do take a moment to see if SBI is something you might be able to use to find your passion.

Spotlight on Alternative Careers -Nurse Educator

Have you ever thought about being a nurse educator? Someone has to teach the next generation and share that nursing knowledge with the neophyte nurses.

Sure, you hear the cons. The pay sucks, the students hate you, and the colleges all hate nursing because it costs more to educate nurses than it does to educate accountants or liberal arts majors. 

But, there are pros you know. The hours of work are usually Monday through Friday and you usually do have an eight hour day. Many Nurse Educators work 9 months out of the year but get paid year round. You get all the major holidays off and you don't have to trade to get Christmas off. Additionally, if you work for a state university chances are you have a true retirement program and you can take additional education classes for free. Imagine being able to earn your PhD for practically nothing.

The requirements for being a nurse educator vary. Some 2 year programs will let you be a clinical instructor with a BSN. To teach didactic classes you usally have to have at least a Masters degree.

If you really have a passion for teaching or you think you have a talent for it you definitely owe it to yourself to check it out. And if you have your doubts about being a college educator there are lots of other places a nurse educator can work. Virtually every facility has a nurse educator who is in charge of planning, forecasting, scheduling, teaching, and managing the professional development and mandatory education needs of the organization.

Nurses in History

This issue I am not going to feature a nurse in the Nurses in History section. This issue I want to focus on a unique holiday... Labor Day. This year September 6th is officially Labor Day. For many nurses this is a paid holiday. The history of this holiday or national recognition of the labor of the working person all over the country dates back to 1883.

The first Monday in September 1883 was celebrated by the Central Labor Union of New York City. This eventually grew to be recognized as a national holiday to recognize the efforts and hard work of the average working person in the United States and a formal act was passed by Congress in 1894.

Nurses definitely are hard working and deserve the recognition afforded to all working stiffs by this national holiday. And besides, its usually a great 3 day week-end to enjoy one last family get together before school gets into full swing and the fall weather makes outdoor activities less pleasant. For more information about the history of Labor Day check out

Nurses and Labor Unions actually have a lot in common. Historically they have championed unpopular but important causes. Labor day, the 40 hour work week, week-ends and holidays off, patient safety, nurse to patient ratios, safe lifting initiatives and much more are all things that we owe historically to nurses and labor unions.

So, while we enjoy our long week-end and the BBQ before the kids get back into the full swing of school and the weather turns nasty lets all give thanks to the nurses and the other people who fight for the right causes. :)

Travel Nurse Tip- Call the Doctor?

It's 0200 and Mrs Smith's pulse is 120 and her BP is 102/62. The two have been going up and down respectively for the last 2 hours. Do you call the doctor? Or do you wait until morning and call just before your shift ends? The answer is not always easy. You just got to this assignment and the nurses have all told you what a bear the doctor covering Mrs Smith is when he is called in the middle of the night. and the MAP is still in safe territory.

Wait and see? Or call now before the crump? Your instincts tell you Mrs Smith is going crump. It's just a matter of when. Here are some things to consider:

What is Mrs Smiths baseline?

Did the Doctor leave any parameters in his standing orders? such as call if: BP < = 100/60 or >= 140/90, Pulse <= 60 or >=120

What is the hospital/nursing policy? Check to see if they have a standing policy for just such a contigency

What are the other factors in this situation?

What is the fluid volume?

Is Mrs Smith a fresh post op?

Does she have a fever?

What is Mrs Smiths level of consciousness? Is she less responsive now or the same?

What are your legal and ethical responsibilities to the patient? why am I including this one you ask? Because, the truth is that most of us know when to call the doctor.

We usually hesitate when we want to spare ourselves some degree of discomfort. Dr Wisenhammer is nasty at 0200. I won't call and then I won't have to answer rhetorical questions like "how stupid are you nurse". Well, sometimes we get to deal with Dr Wisenhammer and the choice is to let the patient suffer or deal with a cranky person who doesn't appreciate being woke up at 0200. I guess it didn't occur to the doctor that this was an occupational hazard when he/she chose it.

So, we get to say witty things like "Dr Wisenhammer, I didn't call to discuss my intelligence. And I do appreciate that you probably are very tired. I called because I think Mrs Smith is getting ready to decompensate. Her pulse has gone from 80 to 120 and her MAP has dropped 20 points in the last 2 hours. What are your medical orders sir?"

Chances are when you put it in terms like that Dr Wisenhammer will respond like the professional he/she is supposed to be. The key is to be professional. Don't hesitate and act like the reason you called is trivial. know your facts and rehearse the details. Don't lead off with...."um, huh, well, you see, she doesn't doesn't look know what I mean?"

No, Dr Wisenhammer does not know what you mean. The medical model is not the nursing model and they deal with facts, physiological changes, parameters and other details that help them diagnose what is going on with the patient. Your misison is to provide those facts and details. Once you do that you can tell the doctor that your instinct tells you she doesn't look right and that you think Mrs Smith is going to crump and you really prefer to be proactive not reactive.

If you still aren't sure after consulting the standing orders and the nursing policies then consult with the charge nurse, a resource nurse, or the house supervisor. Once you have done all this be sure to document what you observed, the details such as vital signs and fluid balances, and your interventions including when you called the doctor, what information you shared with the doctor and what orders you received. 
A special thank you goes to KKelli for suggesting this topic.

Suggest a Topic

Got a topic you'd like to see? Suggest one to and you just might see it in our next monthly issue.

The Travel Nurse Journal Back Issues

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hello and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers since the last issue. I am your host Alphatraveler. My recent travels have me in San Antonio Texas. I have visited the Riverwalk, Seaworld, and many other Texas attractions. Including the big boots of Northstar Mall.

If you enjoy this newsletter be sure to share it with your friends. They can subscribe at or follow this blog. :)

Nurses Support Healthcare
Nurses have led the way on many fronts when it comes to advocating for healthcare. In the early 1900's nurses were at the forefront of the push to reach out to rural communities and include them in the public healthcare net. Nurses endorsed Medicare. So, it's no surprise that nurses through organizations such as the ANA have supported and endorsed the Healthcare Reform Act that is now the law. If you are looking for more information on how this law will affect you or want to share this information with your friends, family and patients this site is a good resource

How old do you have to be to stop being a Nurse?For, some there is no such thing as retirement. Janice Shinn is 81 years old and still nursing. And not because she has to. She does it because she loves nursing.

FEATURED SITE -The Travel Nurse
I am going to put in a self serving plug for The Travel Nurse website this issue. I have recently added to pages or articles to the site that I think you will enjoy. the first is about men in nursing .
The second article is about a day in the life of a travel nurse. Truth of the matter is this could be the day of any nurse on the med-surg floor or any floor where a large assignment can occur. I invite you to enjoy a day in the life of a nurse.

Have you ever wanted to put a band aid on Tom Cruise? How about treat George Lucas for an upset stomach? You might be able to if you were a movie production nurse. Most movie studio's and movie production companies hire a nurse to work as an occupational health specialist and sometimes technical consultant for the current movie in production. The main duties are first aid and primary healthcare according to Skillset a UK based website about jobs in the movie industry. The offical title is Unit Nurse and the work is usually part time unless you have built up a reputation and are well liked according to Skillset. Of course, an interest in film production and television media are a big plus. In the U.S. the title to look for in the job directories is most likely occupational nurse.

Edith Shain. She is probably the most famous nurse in history. Almost everyone is familiar with her picture. She was captured on film in one of the most famous moments of WWII - The picture is of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square. It was seen as a grand gesture of celebration for the ending of WWII and the return of all the soldiers, sailors, marines and other folks who could return home. That picture was actually turned into a statue of the kissing couple in Times Square. For over 30 years Edith kept her identity a secret as she was embarrassed about the moment. Edith lived until she was 91 and only just recently passed on after working as a nurse, a school teacher and in public television. The sailor has never been positively identified. VJ Day in Times Square

When was the last time you took a basic assessment class? How about breath sounds? Cardiac auscultation? Don't scoff. The truth is that periodically it's smart to get back to basics and take a class on the basic skill set of nursing. There are usually some new ideas you pick up and you refresh skills that may have gotten a little rusty. Is it lub dub? Or dub lub? and just what does a murmur sound like? Well that depends on where you are listening from...and that's another thing you can refresh in a basic assessment class. The landmarks you use to listen and palpate from. Did you know the landmarks have changed for CPR? Better get to that basic refresher soon. :)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Hello and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers since the last issue. I am your host Alphatraveler. I have also been a deployed reservist since Jan 2005. I have been working recently in the San Antonio TX area for the Army Warrior in Transition Program. It's a great program that helps injured and sick soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors and other military personnel navigate their way through the military medical system while receiving the care they need to transition to optimal wellness. It is a rewarding position and lots of work too!

I apologize for not sending out The Travel Nurse Journal more frequently. This year's resolution is to publish more frequently.

If you enjoy this newsletter be sure to share it with your friends. They can subscribe at

NURSING NEWS Nursing Shortages

Is there ever a time when there isn't news about a nursing shortage?

The 2010 survey of registered nurses released Wednesday by AMN Healthcare, a San Diego-based provider of healthcare staffing and management services, found 28 percent of nurses surveyed plan to leave the nursing field entirely or cut back on hours because the job is affecting their health.

The strange thing about the current nursing shortage is that the if you hang out on any of the nursing forums you read a lot of posters talking about how they have applied for many jobs in nursing but they aren't hiring. The consensus among the talking heads is that nursing shortages exist but nurses need to be willing to re-locate to find them. This makes travel nursing an excellent choice for a career option because you can go where the jobs are.

Largest Nursing Strike in History
June 10th is the deadline for the one of the largest strikes in nursing history that might occur. In Minneapolis and St Paul Minnesota a one day strike is being prepared for by the Minnesota Nursing Association representing 12,000 nurses. In California 13,000 nurses are threatening to also participate in the one day strike. Both groups are represented by National Nurses United.

The biggest issues according to the nursing union are patient safety and safe staffing. If the nurses do strike this will be the biggest strike by nurses in nursing history. Here is just one link to the story.

This issue our featured nursing related site is The Nursing Site. This site has an excellent series of articles on why you might choose nursing and the different levels of nursing along the way to RN. starting with CNA and moving up to Advanced Nursing

Have you ever considered being a leader in nursing? Does the idea of living in a tent appeal to you? Are you intrigued by stories of heroic nurses in WWII or Vietnam? If so, you might consider becoming a Military Nurse.

Military Nurses enjoy good pay and benefits, serve in leadership roles, conduct research, perform nursing care in a variety of environments, and are some of the most respected military members in the U.S. military.
If you would like to learn more about military nursing you can find it at:

She flew the friendly skies before they were called that. She is possibly one of
the most famous aviators of all time. She vanished on a cross pacific flight in
July 1937 attempting to fly around the world. To this day there are
many theories about her disappearance and her life story is an inspiration to
thousands of women around the world.

Yes, dear reader, I am talking about famed aviator Amelia Earhart. Who before she was a famous aviator worked as a nurse's aide in WWI and a social worker in Boston. You can find her official biography here at

She was also revisited in a movie released last year starring Hilary Swank in the
Amelia Earhart Movie.

TRAVEL NURSE TIP -Banish Depression and Loneliness

This issues travel nurse tip is about traveling with pets. Being a traveling nurse doesn't mean you can't have pets. Traveling with a pet can reduce depression from being away from friends and family and can give you someone to share the journey with. For ideas on how to overcome the challenges of travel nursing with pets read more here

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Latest Edition of The Travel-Nurse Journal Online

Hello and a warm welcome to all the new subscribers since the last issue. I am your host Alphatraveler. I have also been a deployed reservist since Jan 2005.

Many Things have happened since my last update to you. The price of gas has risen and fallen. The economy is doing the roller coaster ride of the century. Nursing shortages continue with some interesting twists.

The number of technician roles being created is at an all time high. I just talked to an individual the other day who is being recruited for a new vocational program a college has started in San Antonio. The title is Cardio-Vascular Interventional Imaging Tech. Basically, he would become a very specialized ex-ray tech with a very narrow focus. The money is good. But, I have to wonder...How many jobs are there really going to be for this career? How many raises will there really be?

Other considerations exist too. Will he be licensed? Or will a Registered Nurse be expected to manage, supervise, and sign off on the work of this tech role?

I suspect that many of you are running into this where you work. The healthcare industry was already experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. The economy will only increase the pressure as hospitals start to feel the pinch even more.

Travel Nurses & the Economy
Welcome to a recession proof industry. The news does have reports of hospitals that are scaling back. Some are refusing to hire new nurses. Others use techs, CNA's, and LPN's to perform tasks that are traditionally the role of the RN.
Lets face it. Does an RN really need to do a bedbath? Probably not, but they do need to assess and re-assess the patient periodically. One of the chief arguements for having the RN do the bedbath was that was also a good time to do a thorough physical exam.

Back to the nursing shortage. Yes, it still exists and there are hospitals and other employers who are still working hard to find nurses. Unfortunately, wages are not going up in huge leaps and bounds. But, the wages aren't bad either. Unless you are still living in some parts of the south where wages for everyone are traditionally lower than the rest of the country.

So, while the job growth has slowed nursing is still experiencing job growth and increased demand. Predictions are that 233,000 jobs will be created in nursing between now and 2016. This is in addition to the 2.5 million jobs already in existance. The U.S. Department of Labor is predicting that only 200,000 candidates will be licensed as RN's by 2016.

These shortages will be in addition to shortages caused by retirements, drop outs and increased demand for other reasons. It is estimated that 1 in 5 registered nurses do not work in nursing because of burn out.

Links to some of the stories out there:

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Jobs Increasing Despite the Economy

Students looking for Job Security

Still Travel Nursing Jobs

Weight Loss Secrets are really not a secret. As nurses we all know that we eat too much because of stress, long hours and never enough time to fix the right foods. We also know that exercise reduces stress, increases energy and helps us burn the fat.
But, did you know that you can gain huge benefits just by changing your habits. Did you know that there is a way to Burn The Fat & Feed the Muscle

Featured Website
This issue’s featured site is
Code Blog is written from the P.O.V of a pediatric ICU nurse. Its warm, funny and reminds me of why I am a nurse. But, if you have ever wanted to do "extra" procedures on your patients family members I think you can relate to the latest post.

If you are curious about what your fellow nurses think about, write about or just want to laugh lots go to your favorite web browser and type in Nurse Blogs. Be sure you have a few minutes because this is interesting stuff.

Clinical Research Nurse
Nursing is more and more all about evidence based practice. Where does that evidence come from? Why, evidence based practice comes from research. And who better to make sure that research meets the standards than nurses? A short but informative article on the Clinical Research Nurse career
Notice that's a blog.

Nurses in History
She was arrested for creating a public nusiance and sent to jail. She was indicted for mailing "obscenities". She has been accused of being an advocate of eugenics and racism. She was a member of the Socialist Party and was forced to flee to Europe to avoid arrest and prison. Yet, she is one of the most influential nurses in history....
And now, for the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey says)

This infamous nurse is Margaret Sanger. The founder of the organization known as Planned Parenthood.

Margaret was born in 1879. She worked in the East Side slums of New York and became a champion of Womens Rights. It was in large part because of her advocacy for the right of women to use birth control that led to laws that allowed doctors to discuss birth control with their patients in the U.S.

She established the first "planned parenthood" clinic in 1916(or 1917) and was sent to the "workhouse" or county jail for creating a public nusiance.

She died in 1966 but no one will ever forget the legacy that a woman who was "just a nurse" left behind.

Links to Margaret Sanger Bio and DVD

Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America

Choices of the Heart: the Margaret Sanger Story (True Stories Collection)

Travel Nurse Tip
It's Tax time again so this travel nurse tip focuses on items that you can deduct as a travel nurse. Deductible items include:
Scrubs purchased for work
Subscription fees to Nursing Associations
Travel expenses not re-imbursed by your travel agency
Job search costs when you change jobs
Nursing License fees
CEU costs. Any fees you pay for continuing ed

for more information go straight to the source:

Suggest a Topic
Got a topic you'd like to see? Suggest one to and you just might see it in our next monthly issue.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Well, here we are with another post from the hinterlands of travel nursing. In my last post I talked about taking a gig in Washington DC. Since then, my main travel vehicle has morphed. It grew up to be a Jeep. The economy has tanked and I took another travel assignment with U.S. Army. This time I have traveled to San Antonio Texas. I have been here since October 2008 and I am impressed. San Antonio is a friendly town and the Riverwalk is an incredible place to visit. I even took a horse drawn carriage ride.

The economy is having an impact even on travel nursing. Reports are that even though there is a nursing shortage many hospitals faced with tough choices are cutting back on nursing or just not filling the slots. This only increases the pressure to create less skilled categories of workers. Med Tech, Nurse Tech (for nursing students who have not quite graduated) and other categories of healthcare workers are being talked up. The danger to the public is they may be fooled into believing that having less skilled technicians at their bedside is as good as having a skilled registered nurse at the bedside.

There is a role for the CNA, LVN or a licensed Medical Technician in healthcare. What they are not is a replacement for the registered nurse. Too many administrators and other healthcare decision makers when faced with budget woes and nursing shortages are going to be very tempted to make that choice.