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James Huffman

James Huffman

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Nurse entrepreneur and author since 1980. Author of 'Dare to Be Free: How to Get Control of Your Time, Your Life, and Your Nursing Career'

James Huffman's Latest Activity

  1. James Huffman

    Any Ideas For Celebrating Nurses Week?

    I'm sure you're not the only one who feels this way. I think there's a divide. You're on one side; I'm on the other. The point I'm trying to make is that if we -- as a profession -- are thankful for getting a 19 cent logo pen or a stale donut, well, we will continue to get them. And that will be all we'll get. Sometimes nothing is indeed better than something. We are demeaned professionally by the annual nurses day fest. As I've pointed out before, this is because women -- who obviously dominate nursing -- often want to be "recognized," whereas men would usually just as soon have better pay. It really, really is about money. Do we want to get paid what we should or do we want trinkets? We won't get both.
  2. Others suggested working in another state. That's a plan, but another possibility is working for the VA system. The VA -- being governed by federal regs -- allows nurses to be licensed in any state, and this is an option. A word of encouragement: I was the first Excelsior grad licensed in NC. I had to fight. You've been crying for 2 days? Fine. Now stop crying, and figure out what you're going to do. You've graduated from Excelsior's tough program, and you've passed boards. You're obviously a smart, resilient nurse, and you'll get through this hassle, too.
  3. James Huffman

    opening a practice

    A nurse who wants to practice nursing can open a private business to offer nursing services. I've been self-employed in nursing since 1982. Any nurse can do that. An NP certification isn't necessary. What is needed is a plan to practice within one's scope of practice. A nurse could also open a medical clinic as an entrepreneur and hire physicians and whoever else is needed to run such a clinic. I wish more nurses would go into business for themselves. It's a great thing. The one caution I'd give about opening a medical clinic is that such a business is not cheap to start up. I considered starting a walk-in emergency type medical clinic years ago, but realized I didn't have the $250,000 (then -- probably more now) I'd need just to get started. (The number came from a consultant I hired to see if it was feasible). Nurses are always ready to imagine what they can't do. I'd like to see more nurses try to imagine what they can do.
  4. James Huffman

    Other people's ?s about your salary...

    Memorize this, and use when needed: Smile pleasantly, and say, "I'm sorry, but I prefer not to talk about my salary."
  5. James Huffman

    What if men dominated the Nursing profession?

    Men -- usually -- make more money because we: 1. Tend to go into areas that are higher demand/higher pay. (Think critical care, anesthesia, etc.) 2. Are inclined to talk about money, and feel little discomfort in negotiating about it. (Someone who won't negotiate compensation should not complain about getting paid badly). 3. Tend to not take time off for family issues, so we tend to have longer, more consistent track records. 4. Are less inclined to take crap from abusive management types. Men who are confronted by idiots seldom go off "for a good cry." Usually, we will deal with the issue at hand. 5. Men just don't think it shameful to make a good living off their work. Every few weeks, you can be sure to find a thread on this site along the lines of "would I work for $11 an hour?" Frankly, discussions like that are embarrassing. 6. Men are usually in it for a good income, and aren't as easily bought off by being named Nurse of the Century or getting a Snickers bar in May for Nurses week. It really isn't complex. Start with an attitude of making a good income, stop being shy about talking about money, work in terms of money, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate (for example, if you're asked to work an extra shift, ask what they can give you in exchange), and always, always, always, let it be known that you'll quickly take another position if a better one comes along.
  6. James Huffman


    Of course she's not going to get the nomination. That's been over for at least 2 months. What is a problem is that nurses continue to worry about this. First, let's assume she said it. (She didn't, but for sake of argument, let's say she did). A president has no control over nurses' salaries. None. Second: I think this continuing fear is part of the whole issue of nurses feeling like there are big forces over us, somehow setting our pay. Sen. Clinton is just a manifestation of this paranoia. Let's say that somehow Sen. Clinton was elected president, and that somehow, she had power over nurse compensation, and that she decreed we would be paid $10 an hour. Would any of you work for that? I certainly wouldn't. All of us make the call about our compensation by agreeing to work for X amount, and continuing to work for that. We make the call, folks. It's our decision as to how much we make. Not Sen. Clinton's. Or Obama's. Or McCain's.
  7. James Huffman


    She didn't say it. Do even a quick Google search, and all that you find are similar reports of the rumors. I don't like Sen. Clinton. I think her election would be a very bad thing. But we should speak accurately about presidential candidates and their positions. Sen. Clinton is no fool. She is not going to say something like this. No politician is, given that 1 out of every 40 American women are nurses, and no one is going to insult 2.9 million voters.
  8. James Huffman

    Hospital Requiring BSN or your pay will be Capped?

    The hospital has a "right" to do this. It's their business. And the non-BSN nurses have the right to take their skills elsewhere. I agree with another poster who suggested that this was likely an area with a lot of BSN-prepared nurses. It's just a matter of supply and demand.
  9. James Huffman

    Does your facility acknowledge "National Nurses Week?"

    OK, I'll be the mean person and say it: I think the whole nurses day/week/month/whatever is a crock. I've said before that were I a hospital administrator, I'd hire someone whose only job was to "make nurses feel appreciated," and I'd pay RNs minimum wage. And you know, I'm sure you could find nurses who would work under these conditions, if only they could periodically be "nurse of the month," or get a doily every May that says, "Nurses are special!" I always thought it was kind of funny to see the nurses week get-togethers. The women nurses are (90%, at least) beaming with joy at Being Recognized. And the men are looking slightly embarrassed, as if wondering what they're doing there. The bottom line is this: what I'm paid is recognition enough. I get paid quite well, and that's worth more to me than a plate of stale cake and a Snickers bar. I don't care if I get a pin. Just pay me well. We don't have National Engineers Week. We don't have an Accountants Day. Companies that employee electricians don't have teas in their honor. Why is the pink-collar professions so crave these little knick-knacks? And a slight apology to the poster I quoted: in case you haven't noticed, I'm not a feminist. Sometimes grumpy, just not a feminist.
  10. James Huffman

    Are you paid less than new hires?

    You -- and the other employees -- got action because you showed the hospital that you meant business. That's the only thing hospital managements understand. What I am at pains to point out is that if an employers knows you will not leave, they have you over a barrel. What every nurse must make plain is this: when a better offer comes along, I'm gone. Without that kind of a threat (and the guts to back it up), there's nothing to stop the worst kind of treatment. There's nothing inherently wrong with an employer paying a new hire more than experienced nurses. We might not like it, but employers pay what they have to pay. And if they know that a nurse isn't going to leave, they may correctly assume they can get away with paying that nurse less. Hospital managements know that people get comfortable. We like our routines, and we don't like the idea of leaving, and management takes advantage of it. Getting used to frequent change is a good thing, and it keeps a nurse at the top of the pay scale.
  11. James Huffman

    Phlebotomy Advice, please!

    I second the earlier advice: do a LOT of sticks, and you'll get better. No one's good the first dozen times. Learning this -- or anything -- isn't just a matter of the head knowledge, it's the feel you get for the client's arm, their vein structure, and a lot of other factors. Just keep doing it. Volunteer when one needs doing. You'll get good at it.
  12. James Huffman

    Have you ever reported someone to the BON?

    this wasn't to the BON, but it was interesting. A nurse I worked with years ago just got an odd feeling about a new surgeon. Something just wasn't right, so she did some investigating, and finds out he's not a surgeon. Nor an MD. Never even went to med school. He had worked as a corpsmen in the military, so I guess we should be thankful for small blessings. She reports her findings, and manages to get him removed from his new-found profession. The only problem is that this is a small town, and word gets around. And the guy in question had done a back surgery on my mother a year before. (The surgery actually went quite well). And when it hits the newspaper, my mom is furious, and assumes I knew all along, and that I had just taken this confidentiality thing a little too seriously. It took a while before she believed me, I think.
  13. James Huffman

    Almost lost my temper today

    I think you did the right thing. As I mentioned earlier, I suspect this is a family problem being played out. As much as you can, stay out of that family problem. It's likely not solvable at this point, and in many family dramas, everyone's so invested that they don't want the problem solved. Part of "he has nowhere to go" is likely that no one in the family can stand him, either, and especially they don't want him in their homes. At least take comfort in knowing you're not alone in disliking this nasty man.
  14. James Huffman

    Almost lost my temper today

    1. I ditto everyone who recommended having a word of prayer with your manager. Do that immediately. 2. Reading between the lines, this guy is a jerk, and the family doesn't want to deal with him. The family's problem is not your problem. 3. I would also encourage you to take control of this situation. If you are again given this guy's care, walk in the room, greet him firmly, and announce that if he touches you in the slightest, you will call the police. And do it. Do not call security, don't go in the bathroom and count to 10, don't complain to your manager. Just call 911 -- preferably from your cell phone -- and explain where you are -- give the room number -- and that you have been assaulted. Tell them you need the police. Then file a formal complaint. This is your documentation. Honestly, I would go ahead and call the police right now, file a complaint about the past hitting for documentation, but at the very least, don't allow it to happen again without making it unpleasant for both him and the facility. 4. You may count on your managers being annoyed that you've done this. Too bad. You must show them that you will no longer put up with this abuse. As others suggested, take pictures of the bruises, etc., but let there be no more bruises. This guy is a jerk, your managers know that he is a jerk, and you have been given this case -- I suspect -- because no one else will, and you have allowed them to abuse you as an employee. 5. You won't have to go this far, but if he so much as touches you again, announce to your manager that you are resigning from his care. I would let him starve before I would let him hit me again. People like this who are abusive have done it for years and have been allowed to get away with it. You must be one caregiver who will not allow him to be abusive. 6. A facility that allows staff to be abused like this will probably do it to you again. Have you considered looking for a job elsewhere? Good luck. The main thing I would encourage is, again, taking charge of this situation, and making sure it never happens to you again without some unpleasant consequences for this jerk.
  15. James Huffman

    ''I Don't get Paid Enough!''- Is this your mantra??

    I'm baffled by those who say "I'm not in it for the money." Would you work if you were not paid? If your answer is "no," then you're in it for the money. We're just negotiating a number. Did we take a vow of poverty that I don't remember? Why is it that nurses have a problem with saying, "I do a good job, I provide quality professional care for my patients, and I expect to be paid very well"?
  16. James Huffman

    A prime lawsuit

    i'm glad he didn't listen, too. all of us, every day, have things that -- if the worst were true -- could be something traumatic. but 99% of the time it's not. if we all went to the er every time we had abdominal pain, the ers would have nothing else to do. the point i was trying to make is that everyone makes mistakes. it's just humbling personally to know about this one.