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  1. You can write the best article, but if you aren't mindful of SEO, all your time might be wasted if your writing is buried on the Internet. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might sound like a confusing, technical term, but writers need to become familiar with it to increase visibility through web traffic driven by commercial search engines. Improving your SEO doesn't have to be challenging. I've sought the expertise of content creator, consultant and writing instructor, Annie Beth Donahue, to explain the basics. Annie Beth began her career in the healthcare field, but emphasizes that she has always been interested in writing stating, "Words are a large part of what makes us uniquely human." She describes how she started a professional writing career after working in the healthcare field for almost twenty years. She combined her skills by writing for a non-profit that serves children with chronic health problems and disabilities. Donahue added additional freelance writing a few years ago and now offers a variety of writing classes. Annie Beth expanded her SEO knowledge working as an inbound marketing content writer for an international medical equipment company. She states that "There are different places to examine to see if your SEO is good." She's sharing a few SEO optimization tips to help us get started. Leverage Keywords Each post needs to have a unique keyword. Annie Beth describes how choosing a keyword that relates specifically to your post will help people searching for this topic find your article. Consider how you search on the computer. What is your post about? What are people looking for? Choose Your Title Your title should be approximately 70 characters or less. Annie Beth explained that a carefully chosen title will catch the interest of your audience and boost your visibility. There is also something called the SEO title. This is what Google will display on your search page. There are different guidelines for the SEO title, which Annie Beth discusses in more depth in her free SEO course. Make a Meta Description Your meta description is the 160-320 character snippet under the title in the Google search. Annie Beth stressed the importance of writing your own, or Google will create that paragraph. The result could be something that may not entice someone to read your article. Annie Beth's tips for meta description: Include your focus keyword Write in active voice, and use questions, such as, "How does it differ?" or "How do you know?" to gain the curiosity of your readers End it with a call to action (CTA) to entice the reader to continue reading Article Body Size Matters Longer pages rank higher, but Donahue encourages writing with your reader in mind. She states, "Be as concise as possible and write high-quality content to keep your readers coming back. If people come and leave, it can result in a high bounce rate. You want them to read the article and go to another page on your site." Most importantly, Annie Beth emphasized that "Readability is king. It matters more than SEO." Annie Beth's tips for the body of your article: No shorter than 300 words, aim for around 500 or more, with an ideal length of 800-1000+ Link to other posts on your site to increase website engagement Have a call to action at the end of the post telling you what to do next such as, "Read more to learn..." or "Get it now, "or "Try it free." Optimize Your Images Pictures are great for your post, but understanding where you to add your keyword can gain SEO benefits. Featured image-This is the image that displays with your article. Image description-The screen reader reads this to the visually impaired. Alt text- Include the focus keyword here. The screen reader also reads this. Caption- Displays underneath the photo and doesn't affect your SEO. Annie Beth's SEO Do's and Don'ts- SEO Do- Optimize your SEO by including your keyword in your title, the beginning of your article, in headers, once or twice in the body, the blog's URL and in the meta description. Try not to use the same keyword for different blog posts, which can make your website pages compete Make your post mobile friendly Consider an SEO plugin for your site to assist with optimization SEO Don't - Don't stuff your keyword. Use it an average of one out of every 100 words. Over 5% can get you penalized for keyword stuffing. Update your old posts to improve SEO, but don't touch the permalink or it will break your link For more detailed SEO information, Annie Beth has a written material, and a video for visual learners, in her free SEO class. SEO Lingo URL- Once you hit publish, your writing has a unique web address Outbound link- links to another website Internal link- a link on your website linking to another page on your website Inbound link- comes from another site to your website Long-tail keyword phrase- 3+ words- often have better search results. Think about what you type in to search. It's usually more specific. I.e.: keyword= nursing, long-tail keyword= online nursing schools Stop words- these words are skipped over by search engines. Usually words like: at, by, and, can and other conjunctions. Cornerstone content- An expert piece on a keyword that covers everything you need to know on that topic. Algorithm- process, or set of rules and calculations, a computer follows Annie Beth, tell us more about your writing classes... Writing and teaching are Donahue's passion. Annie Beth says, "I believe every writer should have the tools and frameworks to communicate clearly so they can develop relationships and share knowledge." Her classes cater to different learning styles. Some are live with written materials accompanying each module or chapter and many are self-paced to watch at your own convenience. Content Matters Above all, Annie Beth emphasizes the importance of writing original, high-quality content and allowing your writing to speak for you. Then follow these SEO tips to make sure your authentic writing gets the visibility you desire. The specifics that drive algorithms can change, but quality writing will make people want to come back for more.
  2. My first migraine attack occurred years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just showered after PE class in 8th grade and was walking to the lockers to get dressed when I started seeing stars. It was an odd sensation, but I kept going. I later realized that was a big mistake. As the day progressed the head pain I'd later come to know all too well reared it's ugly head and made it clear it wasn't backing down. My 14-year-old self learned an important lesson that day; playing chicken with a migraine is never a wise move.There's a saying that goes "If your head hurts, it's a headache. If you think you may die, it's a migraine." I was sure I was dying. The fuzzy stars, extreme head pain, and nausea that accompany migraines have affected my life in ways I couldn't have imagined at such a young age. As a teenager, the migraines took a toll. I missed school from time to time, couldn't always go out with my friends and was sick more than I would have preferred, but, I still managed to do most of the things I enjoyed, including competitive dance, drill team, and drama. By the time I was a young adult, I had found ways to control my pain enough to function well most days and decided to pursue a career in nursing. Nursing school was hard, and I suffered several migraines while there, but I graduated! Once I got my first nursing job, things were going well as the constant stress of nursing school was gone, and my body seemed to be cooperating with me again. I'd been at my first job for about four months when I became pregnant with my third son. It was bad. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and my migraines came back with a vengeance. I had to call in sick several times, which obviously became an issue as we all know nursing isn't a job you can "do tomorrow." I eventually resigned my position. I had my fourth son only 18 months later and quickly realized that going back to a traditional nursing job just wasn't in the cards for me at the time. The truth is at first I was mad- I mean truly angry- at life for taking away something I had worked so long and hard for. However, I believe the saying, "Once a nurse, always a nurse" is a true statement and I desperately wanted to find a way to stay involved in health care in some capacity. During nursing school, I'd read my textbooks, but when I wanted to learn about a disease or condition and how to truly care for someone, I'd look for blogs. I remember wishing I could find a website that had all the stories I was looking for in one place, and even considered creating such a site. The thought left me then but crept back up almost three years later. In October 2015, I decided to create Living the Diagnosis, a medical story sharing site. Many amazing people have shared their stories. I've learned a lot about professional blogging, social media marketing, curating content, writing, and editing. Although I love sharing other people's stories, I've also always enjoyed writing my own, so I started searching for ways to write in the healthcare field. That's when I came across a "Nurse Writer" and was intrigued. I researched the profession and decided to try my hand at freelance writing. Becoming a blogger and freelance writer focusing on healthcare has been an amazing journey. It has given me the opportunity to continue working in healthcare, but in a way that my chronic illness will allow. My reason for sharing this story is to encourage anyone who has had to quit bedside nursing and loves to write to consider freelance writing. It has been wonderful to feel like I'm helping others even if it is from my home, or sometimes even in bed! All nurses, just like everyone else, have their own challenges. Your challenge may put you on the bench from time to time, but don't let it keep you out of the game. Is chronic illness threatening your nursing career? Have you found a way to stay in the field while dealing with your illness? Tell us about your experience.
  3. The better question to ask first is, "What the heck is a podcast?" The garden variety dictionary definition: It's an on-the-go recording that you can listen to at your leisure, on your own time, when you have the time. The recording itself can be virtually anything you can think of. There are story telling podcasts, interviews, topic gathering, information sharing and fact finding podcasts. There are how-to podcasts, podcasts that actually teach you how-to podcast. Podcasts that can walk you through starting a business, becoming an entrepreneur, how to run a business, marketing secrets. There are podcasts just for listening to music, and there are podcasts for watching videos!! The list truly is endless. The type of podcast you choose to listen to is only limited by your imagination and effort you make searching for them. Ironically podcasting has been around for decades, once called audio broadcasting. It was actually referred to as 'audio blogging' for a short time, but thanks to Steve Jobs and his visionary company Apple (you may have heard of it) who invented this little thing called the iPod the name podcast was created. So, now that you have a brief idea of what a podcast is. How does this podcast-thingy work? It's easy-peasy. You need two things. An actual "Podcast" that produces an RSS feed A podcatcher system/program/application So. RSS? What the heck is that? Check out this quick description: Sean is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, host of The Change of Shift Podcast and has been a Nurse blogger 10 years. He's a mentor, educator, leader, coach and consultant (#asktheNP). His website, Sean P. Dent, MSN, ACNP-BC, CCRN - The Host of The Change of Shift Podcast. Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Mentor. Leader. Coach. Consultant. is a social media vault for all nurses across their career spectrum who are seeking guidance on how to succeed. RSS is a fancy-shamncy way to gain access to any piece of multimedia (when you subscribe to a topic or article within allnurses.com, RSS is being used). You don't need to understand the guts or inner workings of RSS, just know it exists and whatever podcast you choose to listen to must offer/have an RSS feed (99.9% of them do, so don't worry) Now that podcatcher. It's a program that 'catches' your podcasts. A program/website/mobile app that catches those pesky RSS feeds and makes them available for you to listen to. Most of us listen to podcasts from our mobile phone/device. Ironically those of you who have an iPhone... you already have a pre-installed podcatcher... it's called the "Podcasts" app on you iPhone. For android users you'll actually have to download one (you can Google podcast or podcatcher for a list of apps). That's it. Simple and easy. Now once again, why should a Nurse care about Podcasts? Wholly cow! Think about it. You can access thousands (if not millions) of free media to download onto your device to access and listen to at your own leisure. On your own time. Is that NOT the number one complaint of every Nurse? Whether a student or practicing Nurse.. time is not abundant. We barely get time to eat, pee or sleep. Podcasts monopolize on your time management. Listen to a podcast while on your commute. Maybe during your workout? Maybe during a meal break at work? Maybe in-between classes? All of those time-buffers when you are moving from one thing to the next... a great way to learn something new! I'll finish by listing a handful of Podcasts that would benefit ANY Nurse out there: The Change of Shift Podcast The Change of Shift – Where Nursing meets the Internet - Where Nursing meets the internet. They discuss current events, impactful stories and invaluable lessons from the front lines of Health Care. (Full disclosure, this is a Podcast I host) The Nursing Show Nursing Show Podcast - For Nurses by Nurses -Every weekly Nursing Show episode features news, tips and tricks, medication information, nursing career interviews, education and commentary for nurses, RN, LPN, BSN, and nurse students, and anyone interested in general medical information. NRSNG Show (NCLEX® Prep for Nursing Students) NRSNG | Helping Nursing Students Succeed. Period. I Help Nursing Students Succeed. Period. Free Nursing School and NCLEX Cheat Sheets at NRSNG.com/freebies Welcome to the NRSNG Show from NRSNG.com . . . #1 Nursing Podcast and the leader in nursing student education. New motivational episodes 2-3 times per week EMCrit Podcast - Critical Care and Resuscitation EMCrit Blog - Emergency Department Critical Care & Resuscitation Help me fill in the blanks of the practice of ED Critical Care. In this podcast, we discuss all things related to the crashing, critically ill patient in the Emergency Department. Find the show notes at emcrit.org. The Elective Rotation: A Critical Care Hospital Pharmacy Podcast Critical Care Pharmacy Resources The Elective Rotation delivers unbiased & valuable critical care and hospital pharmacy content from a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist. The FlightBridgeED Podcast http://www.flightbridgeed.com/ The FlightBridgeED Podcast provides convenient, easy to understand critical care medicine education, and current topics related to the air medical industry. RNFM Radio Show http://rnfmradio.com/ RN.FM is a revolutionary Internet radio station for nurses and by nurses. Our mission is to challenge and expand the common understanding of what it means to be a nurse. I'm always available for blog or podcast questions. I'd love to hear from you.
  4. seanpdent

    Why Every Nurse Should Blog

    These were some recurrent thoughts I had during those first several months. I had successfully re-entered the collegiate world for the second time. I applied and entered Nursing school, (barely)survived an 18 month fast-track diploma program before taking and passing my NCLEX-RN exam. I was a green-behind-the-ears Graduate Nurse (GN) working in a small-town busy ICU. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. It's as if everything shifted into warp-speed after I stepped off that darn graduation stage. ...more crazy-scared thoughts.. Back then, in my state of residence, we could work as GN's with a state-issued temporary license upon graduation. The license would expire in 90 days (if memory serves me correctly). So you had to take your state board exam quick. Those first several months were a blur. I remember surfing the internet one day looking up a new diagnosis I encountered when I heard/red the term 'Blog'. Yep, I had to 'Google' the term. Yes, this was before the days of Twitter and Facebook. Yes, this was pre-MySpace. After some digging over several more months I realized these blog-thingy's were a great way to share and vent your day. Also a great way to communicate with other people. And even better, you could read other blogs, other stories. ..(I WASN'T ALONE?!!) I shyly dipped my toe in the blog waters ever so slightly. I could share my stories! Ask crazy questions. Truly find out if all this crazy stuff was only happening to me. Give some helpful tips on what NOT to do when this certain situation cropped up on the unit. I also could give my opinion on some really great ways to save time, save money and save yourself a lot of undue stress! I remember how quickly it caught my attention, and how addicting it became. After a while, not only was I sharing my stories and reading others stories, but complete strangers (from all over the world) were communicating with me about what I wrote! It's been 10 years and I'm still telling stories. Each generation of Nurses benefits from my words and I benefit from theirs. Over those 10 years I've not only told my stories and met countless other nurses, but I've developed relationships. I've created professional networking connections, landed paying jobs (yes blogging), traveled and experienced opportunities that would have never existed had I not taken the leap and started that crazy weB LOG thing. How do you blog? Just tell your story.
  5. Kyrshamarks

    Used Nursing To Start My Business

    Now you are asking what kind of legal business could he be in that makes that kind of money? Well let me tell you. I am in the business of death. I clean death and crime scenes. It seems kind of strange and surreal for me right now being in this business. It seems I have spent my whole life working with death. In my 20's and early 30's I was a Special Forces Soldier. In that time frame i was the cause of death. Then when I got out of the service and became a nurse I spent my time helping people fight off death (which I still do). Now as I look to the end of my carrer I now clean up after death. I guess I have come full circle in a way. Well enough about me. Let me tell you about this business. I started a company that is hired after someone either commits suicide or is murdered and we literally come in and clean up the mess. After the coroner is gone, it is up to the family to clean the mess that is left behind. That mess is a biohazardous mess and the coroner usually tells them this. I also work with hotels and motels and even have done a few small strip mall shops and stores. The cleaning takes specialized training and equipment. All things that have been touched by the body is considered contaminated and all fluids are biohazardous and must either be cleaned and decontaminated or red bagged and burned. I provide that service. I have a company here that arranges for the burning of redbag material and I also have home remodelers that can redo dry wall and carpet and ceilings. I offer all those services. One thing though it does not come cheap. My services range from 250-1000 dollars an hour. Not your average cleaning bill. Luckily most homeowner policies will pay for the clean up of suicides and if it ws a crime there is the federal crime victims assistance fund that will pay for it. If there is no insurance I am willing to work out a price reduction and payment options. I know this all sounds interesting but let me tell you, this business can be hard on you. It takes a strong stomach and constitution. The coroner picks up the body but not all the body parts. I have literally picked up pieces of scalp and bone and even a few fingers. All gets destroyed. The smell can be overpowering. A decomposing body can sure leave some bad smells and big stains. I have had to remove subflooring before and replace it. Wood is very expensive to redbag and burn but it must be done properly. Sometimes you are even picking teeth out of walls and ceilings. And imagine doing this with a grieving family standing over you and asking why did this happen. Now also imagine doing this in a biohazard suit with a respirator on with possibly no ac or heat on in the place. That is where more of my nurses training comes into play. I have to be empathetic but not to the point of allowing their grief and the scene to affect me or my crew. I will give the family a list of resources that helps with grieving that I have acquired over the years as a nurse, I also have social worker info and even legal info that I can give them. I try to offer a compassionate service in their time of need. When I leave I know that I have done the family a service and can feel good about it. Another big part of the business is hotels and motels. you would be surprised at the amount of people that check into a hotel to commit suicide. Those places want nothing but utter discretion and speed of service. I provide that to them. After all their housekeeping staff cannot handle the cleanup and they do not want their reputations damaged. I have been to a few high end 4 star hotels to clean rooms. And to think I started this business with less than $10,000 dollars saved over 8 months. I bought a used 1998 Ryder moving truck and had it painted white for a total cost of 3400. I bought saws and wet dry vacs. I use shovels and plastic putty knives quite a bit. A fish tank to soak items in in cleaner. Tyvek biohazard suits and gloves and respirators..both full face and half mask. I even took a course in this type of cleaning to get ABRA (American Bio Recovery Association) certification. I have a several hand held steamers, used to steam dried brain material which is like cement when dry. A generator and lights for working nights or where there is no power. I use plenty of house hold cleaners a few industrial cleaners and bug bombs for killing flies and maggots. I also have a large ozone generator to help kill odors and clean the air. I am a complete cleaning facility on wheels. I have a photo printer to print out photos of the scene both before and after for the insurance companies as well as for the family if they want them. I am now keeping two crews busy almost full time. These guys are high school graduates for the most part and now they are earning a great wage of 50 bucks an hour and if they can make it to one year I will raise it to 75 an hour. I believe in paying well for a good job. Plus this business is hard on people. You get to see some of the worst things in life and have to clean them up. I have marketed this business like crazy to get it started though. I literally hit almost every hotel, motel, strip mall and funeral home, hospital, church and police and fire department within a 300 mile radius of me. I am constantly calling them and just inquiring how things are going for them and to remind them that if they ever need my services to just remember I offer satisfaction guarantee and total discretion. It is paying off. So just remember in these tough economic times there are still ways to make money for a very little start up. All you have to do is find a niche market and fill that need. Kyrshamarks
  6. Becoming a Nurse Blogger I love writing, and a little over a year ago, on a whim, I started a nursing blog. Starting a blog using Wordpress could not be easier. There are tons of guides and tutorials on the web, and it's fairly intuitive. One of the early posts on my blog nursecode.com was "Traits of an ED Nurse" with 111,285 views to date and recently "8 Things to Say When Your Patient Dies" has gone viral on Pinterest. What I've found is that when you write from your experience and your heart, it resonates with readers. Nurses have unique, compelling stories that people love to read. But...nurse bloggers need an audience! Without an audience, the best material goes unread. So....how do you get your material out there? The best exposure for me has been writing for Allnurses.com because of the sheer numbers. Allnurses.com gave me an audience of pretty much one million readers. Hands-down, Allnurses is the largest nursing online forum on the planet. Just the other day, I was talking with a nurse in my hospital from the Philippines who said she was an Allnurses.com follower back in Manila who had read my articles. I felt very grateful, globally connected and... humbled. Affiliate Programs Blogging affords potential income. There are many ways to make money from a blog. One way is to become an affiliate with a company, such as Amazon. It works on commission. You post an image or ad that links to the affiliate's site (Amazon). If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, Amazon is able to track that the reader came from your site. The great thing is, if a reader clicks on an ad for a stethoscope, for example, and does not purchase the stethoscope, but goes on to purchase anything at all...you still earn commission for everything purchased during that encounter. I am not particularly aggressive about monetizing my site, but even so, over December, I earned $488.00 from Amazon in this way. It's called passive income because it's income you you make without any action on your part- I like to say while sleeping. Some bloggers do quite well, especially those who are patient and realize that it takes time to build traffic to your site. Sponsored Posts Sponsored posts are when a company asks you to write an article for them at an agreed upon price on your site. An example could be a staffing agency. The benefit for the staffing agency is exposure to your readers and a link back to their site. This is similar to a paid product review. Nurse bloggers can be asked to review and/or endorse compression socks, stethoscopes, nursing apps and more. Indirect Monetary Benefits Exposure may be the best benefit of blogging. Blogging provides a platform and Allnurses provides exposure. Exposure brings recognition and opportunity. Within a short amount of time of starting my blog, I was offered a (paying) job blogging for bsntomsn.org where I am now their official nursing site blogger. I also write for other blogs on request. My charge per article has quadrupled in the past 18 months. I am regularly approached to do (paid) product reviews, guest blogging, endorsements, interviews, and speaking engagements at national nursing conferences. Networking and Making Friends I have connected with and met so many other inspiring nurses entrepreneurs. When you blog, you join a tribe of like-minded nurses. Blogging Gives You a Voice I did not start blogging to make money at all. In fact, I would say it should not be the primary reason or motivation. The fact that I have made a little bit of income is a nice benefit that I never expected. I started blogging to have a voice. I believe that as nurses, we need to get our voices out there. I am passionate about working conditions, nurse-patient ratios, supporting new grads, and so much more. My husband Bob, who used to write a business column, smiled at me when I started my new hobby and warned: "It's lots of fun, but the time will come when you run out of things to write about." That was about 200 articles ago, and I like to tease him about that. It just hasn't happened. I don't run out of ideas-I do run out of time. Have you considered blogging? If you have, it's probably because you have a passion and talent. What are you thinking? If your heart is beating faster in excitement, I'd say... you're a blogger! Maybe you're already blogging. I'd be happy to help you on your journey. Leave a comment or your questions.
  7. About NNBA The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) is dedicated to supporting, advancing and promoting Nurses in Business, Nurse Entrepreneurs, and Intrapreneurs. Since 1985, thousands of nurses have benefitted from membership in the NNBA launching successful businesses. The NNBA is the forerunner of the nurse entrepreneur movement and that is a result of the active participation and contributions of its richly resourced membership. The NNBA is filled with Nurses, Leaders and Mentors and serves as "The Voice of Nurse Entrepreneurship." The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) is hosting its annual Nurse Entrepreneurship & Career Alternatives Conference designed for nurses that are thinking about starting a business, those already in business and those looking for career alternatives. This conference provides business opportunities, best practices, and strategies for nurses to start, manage, grow, and expand their business. Attendees benefit learning from top-ranked experts on relevant topics and connect with prestigious speakers and like-minded colleagues. Come join nurse entrepreneurs as they gather in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, October 14 - 16, 2016. Where & When Las Vegas, Nevada at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, October 14-16, 2016. Conference highlights include More than 18 sessions presented by today's leading nurse entrepreneurs, industry experts, educators, and inspirational business leaders. For a full list of topics, sessions, speakers, and hotel information visit: NNBA Conference 2016 - National Nurses in Business Association Beth Hawkes (Nurse Beth - allnurses' own career advice columnist) will be presenting a session on "Using Social Media to Boost Your Business" Dr. Louise Jakubik, Nationally acclaimed speaker, educator, mentor, and entrepreneur is providing Saturday's Keynote Address, "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams: Business Ownership as THE Difference-Maker for the Life and Work You Really Want" NNBA's 2016 Shark Tank Competition - a crowd favorite! Come learn how to swim with the sharks. Five pre-conference workshops: each offering additional insight into career alternatives and essential entrepreneur and business skills Donna Cardillo - Speaking for Fun & Profit, Stella Nsong - The Hidden Fortune in Elder Care Business, Brittney Wilson - Blogging to Build your Business, Pauline Sanders- Independent Case Management, & RNFMRadio- Kevin Ross, RN, BSN; Keith Carlson RN, BSN, NC-BC and Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA - The Power of Podcasting Earn up to 13 CNE contact hours! Register Here:Nursing Conference Agenda - Las Vegas, NV - NNBA Who Should Attend? Nurses new to the idea of being an independent nurse or nurse entrepreneur Self-employed nurses and nurse business owners in the startup and growth mode Nurses interested in learning business skills and strategies to advance their careers Nurse entrepreneurs already in business looking for additional revenue streams Nurses interested in meeting like-minded colleagues and extending your network Why Attend - Actionable Take-A-Ways Emerging opportunities of nurses roles in the new healthcare landscape Information on how to transition to independent nursing or a nurse entrepreneur, business owner and leader How to start-up or grow your existing business Sound business management principles and strategies. How to market and diversify your business Ideas for your own nursing business Come join nurse entrepreneurs as they gather in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, October 14 - 16, 2016. Don't miss out on this golden opportunity to explore your entrepreneurial dreams. Register today!
  8. caroline.madormo

    My Nurse Writer Journey

    On June 11, 2012, my entire life changed. Up until that point, I had been pushing hard and working constantly. I was working full time as a nurse and quickly burning out. I was also pursuing my master's degree in public health on the weekends and evenings. Life was moving fast, and I refused to slow down long enough to ask myself if I even wanted all of these things. Then on June 11th, we welcomed a sweet baby girl into our family. I became a mother, and suddenly my entire world opened up. I began to explore the possibility of slowing down. What if I didn't have to go to a job I don't love every day? What if I had more time at home? What if I could create a new career from home? Once that thought crossed my mind, there was no turning back. During my maternity leave, I started obsessively googling things like, "work at home jobs for nurses" and "nurse businesses." I found some work-at-home options like telephone triage nursing jobs, but I knew that type of job would not give me the freedom I craved. I wanted to plan my days around my family, not another employer. It seemed the only option was to work for myself. During one of my daily google searches, I came upon the term, medical writing. Something inside of me clicked, and I knew this was it. I began reading everything I could find about how to break into medical writing. I read articles, listened to podcasts, and watched Youtube videos. I checked out books from the library, and started connecting with nurse writers on LinkedIn. There were not a lot of resources available yet, but I soaked up everything I could find. Here are the exact steps I took to launch a successful nurse writing business. I conducted informational interviews After researching everything I could find on nurse writing, I was ready to take the next step, but I wasn't sure what that was. With a new baby and a full-time job, my time was limited, so I didn't want to waste any of it. I wanted to become a freelance writer, but how could I call myself a nurse writer when I had only just learned this job existed? That is when I decided to get out of my comfort zone and get on my phone. I began calling nurse writers I had found through LinkedIn and their websites. I was surprised how receptive many of them were with talking with me and sharing advice. It began to sink in that no one knows what they are doing in the beginning, but it's the ones who decide to try who become successful. I committed to my goal Once I discovered health and medical writing, I had to be courageous enough to say that I wanted this. It is really easy to look at a big goal and talk yourself out of it. To commit to my goal, I first began talking about it. I told my family and friends that I was pursuing a freelance writing career, and most importantly, that it would eventually support me. I didn't quite believe that part when I said it, but I had to own the goal if it was ever going to happen. Once my goal felt real, I began taking action. I set a weekly schedule for myself and committed to doing a little bit each day. I started before I was ready This is truly the best piece of business advice I have ever received. You will never feel ready to make a big leap or go after a big goal. Your brain wants to keep you safe and will start thinking of all the reasons why it won't work. Start anyway. Start with little actions, and completing those will give you the courage to do a little more. Accept the fact that it will be uncomfortable at first, and that is a good thing! It means you're growing. Don't wait. Start before you're ready. I was persistent Freelance writing is a numbers game. I had heard that before, but it didn't sink in until I began pitching myself to companies and editors. I received countless no's and rejections in the beginning and still do. However, the more I put myself out there and pitch my services, the more yeses come my way. Keep your goals fresh in your mind, and keep going no matter what. You only fail when you quit. By following these steps, over and over, I have built a successful freelance writing career. I now stay home with that sweet baby girl and her younger brother who came along a few years later. I write during school and nap times and have managed to build my salary higher than it was when I was working full-time as a nurse. The journey took time, but it is so worth it.
  9. traumaRUs

    What to Blog about????

    What should you blog about? Hopefully you are passionate about "something." Maybe its your nursing job caring for the elderly - write about the funny things they discuss, the way life was when they were growing up (living history). Or...maybe you want to improve nursing by... ....educating nurses ....empowering nurses ....supporting nurses ....sharing resources ....Or something completely different. Here are some ideas from our members: PaleoNurse owns a nutrition business and promotes that by blogging. She writes about system changes in healthcare and encourages changes by establishing a proactive versus reactive healthcare business. One of our members wants to organize nurses to be patient advocates. Her passion is caring for the whole patient. Holistic medicine is a huge field and is tailored for the blogger who wants to promote a wellness concept. allnurses hosts a Holistic Nursing forum. Many hospital systems are advocating for nurse health coaches. Much of this education would provide material for bloggers who are interested in improving overall health of a particular medical system's patients. Improving provider/patient communications is also an open field for bloggers. How many times have you provided discharge instructions to patients only to have them ask very basic questions? As nurses, communication knowledge is built into our education and we hone it thru years of clinical practice. Here is one thread about using social media to get the word out. Nurse bloggers talk with one another, have their own conferences where they can network and discuss new ideas and AN also offers blogging tips. One of the more popular threads in that forum is this one that talks about starting to blog/write. Here are some tips from that forum: 1) Writing articles on what is important to other nurses and not necessary what interest you the most. You can search with google trends or twitter. 2) Learn backlinking well. This means becoming involved on multiple message boards that allow you to put your website address in your signature. The number of high quality websites that link to your site will tell Google where you belong in pecking order when someone does google search. 95% of web traffic comes from being on first page of google for your specific keyword or niche. 3) Social Media - it will be your best friend in getting your blog on the map. Google does not reward social media sites as much as say established community message board or web established web site that is in your niche but it is increasing becoming powerful. Facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc should be springboard to your site. Remember goal is traffic to your site and not just become well known on social media sites. 4) Speaking of niche - you will do much better if you pick a niche and become an expert in it. The sheer number of blogs out there has eliminated the need for broad based blogs. Users are looking for specific well written, intelligent information geared toward their specific need. So...there you have it - some solid ideas about how to decide what to blog about....now you are ready to get started.
  10. So it is no secret that surgery is scary to many people. But children, in particular, have a difficult time of it for, well, obvious reasons. Now, let's make three things abundantly clear I specialize in Trauma. Not ENT. Nope. They keep me away from children (unless they are severely hurt) for a very good reason. I am not a mother. Never will be. Children remain a mystery. I have been told I do a mean Godzilla impression. Some people crochet as a hobby, I stomp around my house, scream blue hell and pretend to ransack Tokyo. Don't judge me. These are facts But on days where there happens to be no trauma, I am released into the wild to work with various other teams. And on this day, I was placed in the pediatric ENT line with a lovely nurse named Myra who is a mother of three beautiful, delightful children and is as soft spoken and withdrawn as you please. So the two of us set out to pick up our second patient of the day which happens to be the perkiest four year old you have ever met. I'm talking like something tumbled out of a Gerber advert. Cherub cheeks, cupid bow mouth, nymphic face, the works. Just a little heartbreaker. And this little tyke takes one look at us and just shuts down. The tears, the trembling, the clinging. Poor kid. You know that to him we look like product of Smurfs breeding with the Stay Puff Marshmallow man. One more fact I am useless with kids. Seriously. It's miserable. But Myra....Myra is brilliant. Without missing a beat she crouches down to this kidlet's level and starts talking in that gentle way of hers, letting him touch her gloved hands and grab at her bouffant. Within minutes the whimpers are bubbling, bright giggles and the parents look relieved. So when it's time to go, I'm expecting her to scoop lil' man up and carry him to the OR. But instead she takes his little hand and he trustingly toddles with her out of the ambulatory bay until they reach the double doors and he suddenly realizes this...this isn't fun. She pauses for just a moment. (I'm telling you, this woman is amazing.) "Do you like dinosaurs?" A gleeful nod tousles his feather light blonde hair. "Which is your favorite?" "Tymanosaurus." Myra doesn't miss a beat as she points at me. "See my friend there?" Another ridiculously adorable nod. "She's a dinosaur." At this, I stand there slightly affronted at the accusation all the while doing an admirable impersonation of an inbred goldfish. Mouth agape. Eyes boggled. But our tiny tyke, he lets out a gasp of excitement and wonder, eyeing me uncertainly and nibbling on his fist. He giggles and shakes his head before flashing me a smile which I manage to haphazardly return. I'm sure it looked more like a confused grimace. The parents are watching us closely and I'm about to crawl out of my skin with my own awkwardness. She gestures to the button which will open the door to the OR. "Oh yes she is. Now when I say go, we're going to hurry away before she can gobble us up." My eyebrow is now hidden in my hairline it's arched so high. At this point she looks over at me and gives me a smirk which pure mischief. "Aren't you, Godzilla?" Ah. So that's where this was headed. She puts her hand on the button. "Ready......steady......GO!" She presses the button and I...well....to this day I'm not quite sure what I was thinking...I blame the hospital coffee....but I crouched and stomped my feet menacingly, tucking my stumpy arms tight to my sides and wheedling my two fingered claws in the air as I loose a (very dialed back, but I like to think all business) Godzilla bellow. And beneath that beastly scream echoed his delighted, shrieking laughter as he clung to Myra's hand and scampered with her through the double doors and around the corner towards the suite. Well at this point, I have a job to do, so with a nod of acknowledgement to the parents, I stomp and snicker-snap my way around the corner and after that scurrying cherub. By the time I reached the suite, Myra had him bundled onto the OR table, covered with a blanket and huddled with her and the CRNA to help him "hide" using a magic mask to escape. He drifted away towards SEVO land with breathy giggles, slumped against Myra. No fear. No tears. Just.....brilliant. Regards, ~~CheesePotato~~ P.S. This article is a post in reply to this thread: Amazing Nursing Stories in the General forum. Link is posted at the bottom of the rambling story. I work with some amazing people. I only wish I was half as clever as they are.
  11. Sarah Matacale

    What 5 Innovative Minds Can Do!

    This may be one of the coolest and most challenging innovator articles I have written yet! I want to make sure I give justice to this awesome group of nurses who came together with interest in one specific population and developed an idea that gives comfort and strength to the emotions and symptoms of this very underserved patient population. These five ladies come from different institutions, backgrounds, states, and educational and nursing experiences, but share one common interest, AYA patients (Adolescents and Young Adults) with cancer. Their interest in this group comes from their recognition that AYA are not the same as children with cancer or older adults with cancer. This population has unique needs. They are tech savvy and use their own style of language and communication. They like to be connected with others of similar age and experiences. So, who are these nurses, how does a group like this come together, and what is their idea? What Have These Innovators Created? These five nurses from 5 different parts of the country have come together to create an "IPad app that allows adolescents and young adults with cancer to share their symptom experience (presently at one time point) as they complete the app." The idea behind this is that they are able to "See their symptom experience for themselves- which they have noted to be helpful in 'putting it all together' and thus, managing the symptoms they are experiencing" "Have the ability to share it with others such as caregivers and healthcare providers so that they might help" "At present the tool is used exclusively for AYA cancer patients (and a different iteration that was used in menopausal women) but we have had interest from others who manage other chronic diseases who see its potential utility in other groups as well."-notes Kristin Stegenga. Who Are These Entrepreneurs? Catherine Fiona Macpherson PhD,RN,CPON "I am a staff nurse on an inpatient pediatric oncology unit and have been for my entire career. During my doctoral program at the University of Washington School of Nursing, our faculty encouraged us not only to contemplate what established path we might choose but to consider crafting our own path. My 3 dearest mentors Dr. Kristen Swanson, Dr. Pam Hinds, and Dr. Nancy Woods supported my desire to remain in clinical practice as a staff nurse while simultaneously pursuing clinical research as a nurse scientist, which is an unusual combination. I would advise other nurses to follow their passions and surround themselves with people who share those passions. During my formative years in my undergraduate program at the University Faculty of Nursing, I learned that as a nurse you could be whatever you wanted to be and do whatever you wanted to do, and that nursing as a service to humanity depended on innovation." Suzanne Ameringer PhD, RN "I am as associate professor at a school of nursing where I teach and conduct research. I have been in this position for nearly 10 years. Prior to this position I have practiced as a pediatric nurse in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatients units, pediatric primary care, and public health. After many years of practice, I decided to go back to school and obtain a PhD so that I could conduct research on issues that I found most troublesome in practice. Some current barriers in my position are the significant amount of resources (e.g.' funds, university infrastructure, personnel) it takes to conduct meaningful research. While working on my masters, I met a nurse researcher who would eventually be my mentor. Her work was in pain management with adults, and I thought about how I wanted to make a difference for adolescents with cancer and sickle cell who experience pain. This experience led to my decision to get a PhD and conduct research with this population. Dr. Sandra Ward was my mentor in my doctoral program and she was an excellent role model of a successful scientist. Dr. Deborah McGuire has been a role model and mentor these past 4 years and exemplifies how to be a senior faculty member and scientist. I have felt very fortunate to be with these amazing individuals". Jeanne Erickson, PhD, RN, AOCN "I am currently on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing. In this academic role. I teach undergraduate and graduate students and maintain a program of research related to symptom management of adolescents and young adults with cancer. I have been an oncology nurse for my entire career; I have had positions as a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, and I previously taught at the University of Virginia before moving to Milwaukee 3 years ago. The barriers that I face today are related to conducting research in an academic health system where I am not formally employed. I need clinical partners to help me navigate the systems where I recruit and enroll patients for my research studies. I encourage other innovators to keep a list of research questions and ideas that interest you. Find opportunities to discuss your ideas and interests with colleagues who share similar interests, but also be open to discussing your ideas with others who are different from you or who have a different set of skills or perspectives. Nurses need to develop partnerships and work on interprofessional teams in order to bring about that are needed in health care. One of my personal career role models is Dr. Pamela Hinds is a nurse scientist whose work has made a difference to nurses and to young patients with cancer. She has been a mentor to many nurses, educators, and researchers, and she inspires me with her intellect, productivity, generosity, and warmth." Lauri Linder PhD, APRN,CPON "I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah College of Nursing. My position also includes a 20% appointment as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Cancer Transplant Center at Primary Children's Hospital. I have actually been working at Primary Children's since I graduated with my bachelor's degree in 1989. In 1996, I moved to a joint appointment with the College of Nursing to serve as a clinical track faculty member teaching pediatric clinical nursing to our undergraduate students. After finishing my PhD, I accepted my current tenure track position in 2010. For me, my clinical practice drives my research questions. Remaining immersed in the clinical setting keeps me current on clinical practice issues and positions me as a team member for conducting my research. It can at times be challenging to balance expectations and responsibilities at both sites. I am fortunate to have leadership teams who support this joint appointment at both the academic and practice settings. As for role models, two individuals come to mind. I first became acquainted with Dr. Pamela Hinds work during my master's degree studies. I actually became a participant in one of the studies she was supporting. Throughout the years Dr. Hinds has become a mentor and role model both in terms of the quality and quantity of her research and the manner in which she invests in the up-and-coming generations of nurse scientists. Dr. Nancy Woods became a mentor in 2010. Although the primary focus of her research is in a separate population, she has invested in our team with our shared interest in symptoms and symptom clusters. She has challenged our team and served as a source of encouragement." Kristin Stegenga PhD, RN, CPON "I am a nurse researcher at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. I have always worked in hematology/ oncology/bone marrow transplant. It is the one thing I said I would never do when I started nursing school but I found that I had a passion for kids and teens with cancer and never looked back. I recognized early on that there was never a good time to get cancer but the teen years were particularly bad! I also realized that I had a lot of questions about why we did what we did and how we could help our patients more. I think we need to recognize just how important we are to solving the issues that surround health care. Often people think of nurses as somehow secondary in the healthcare world but our position so close to patients makes us so very primary that we may well be positioned BEST to understand what is needed to provide safe, meaningful and cost-effective healthcare in the future. Funding for research is tight and so it is hard to do all the important research that needs to be done. The work we are doing now has come from as a group has been funded three different ways in smaller bits. With tight funding, you also find yourself tight on time. You find yourself doing much of the work yourself because there isn't money to have a lot of help. I love the interaction with patients 1:1 but I do most of my own work so I track patient appointments, do data collection and work with the research team across the country all in the same workday! My mentor Dr. Pam Hinds has been instrumental in helping me learn to be an excellent nurse and nurse researcher. She has been my role model ever since I met her!" How Did This Group of Innovators Come Together? They all got together bit by bit. Some knew each other from working on their PhD's at the same school, some knew each other from the same nursing organizations, APHON and ONS. They noted that they had similar interest in symptom management and the AYA population, and began to come together. Some of the reason that they came to work together is, shared interest, some is that they really enjoy each other and the different strengths they bring to the table and some is the realization that group is not large, so cooperation is key to reaching the population. "Together we are incredibly strong and apart, it would take us a long time to get this kind of work done, both because we are individual researchers at individual institutions and because the populations are so small at most places." Why the AYA Population? "What we are seeking to do with our work is to meet AYA in their own realm, with technology because they are tech savvy, and language that is appropriate to their world and recognition that they are just starting to become aware of their symptom experience. We want to give them the tools to make sense of the experience for themselves and to make it possible for them to reach out to those around them as they want/ need to in order to manage their cancer experience in the best way for them", notes Stegenga. This is a fantastic example of innovation, teamwork and collaboration from different areas of knowledge and expertise. These 5 nurses have found each other through shared experiences and professional organizations, and what was born from this is a voice to an often lost group in the medical world. What an amazing blessing to those AYA who are able to reach each out to each other in a way that would never have been possible before this group of minds came together. I have been so eager to share this story with readers and my own daughter as a spectacular example of women in science AND nursing as well as the capabilities that result from innovative, brave, strong minds coming together! From Left to Right: Fiona Macpherson, Nancy Woods (mentor), Kristin Stegenga, Lauri Linder, Jeanne Erickson, Suzanne Ameringer, Pam Hinds (mentor)
  12. You've heard me say it before and I cannot help but believe firmly that it merits repeating: I work with some incredible people. Now let's keep it real, they are merely people the same as the rest of us--but for some reason I am fortunate enough to bear witness to their moments of magnificence. Meet James. Jim, Jimmy when he's cheeky, or Jimbo when I'm feeling deeply entrenched in my southern roots. No--No, Jim. Stoppit. Get over here and stand still. I want to talk about you and you're making it very difficult. James, you will be eager to note, stands a towering 72 inches-- What's that? Excuse me. 72 and one half inches, thank you very much, of well tailored, Army-honed physical fitness. He is a serviceman with two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan tucked with near OCD precision in his belt. His wife adores his carefully trimmed facial hair, and, although I think he looks like a mutant offspring of Peter Pan and a Lumberjack (and I have told him so to his face....many times), I would be inclined to agree that it somehow suits him. Besides, who else but Jim could rock the hell out of a pair of mutton chops for no other reason than because he can? He's a straight shooter, known for lacking a filter in the best of times, a diligent nurse and an overall upstanding gent. A real man's man, Jim here has held Belching Contests (yes, epic enough to merit capitalization) in the lounge and peppered us with cringe worthy stories that leave us lost in hilarity and craving more. But in spite of all these um...shall we say "unique" qualities, Jim can be a touch difficult to work with. It's not so much the lack of filter as it is that he sometimes slips and forgets that those around him are civilians. Such is life. Besides, he means well. So why am I rambling at you about this fella? Well, it can be difficult to appreciate what I am about to tell you unless you have met the individuals in question. You all know me by now well enough to have a rough idea as to the odd duck I am. And I really wanted you to get the opportunity to meet someone extraordinary--hence the introduction to my coworker. Right. No one comes to the hospital ED hoping for surgery as the outcome. Pain medicine...Lots and lots of pain medicine, perhaps. Let me slice you open and rummage around in your bits? Yeah, not so much. In fact, for many, the thought let alone the threat of becoming part of a surgical experience is enough to bring the inner child rampaging to the fore, complete with tantrums, wibbling chins and weepy doe eyes. For some, it represents being out of control--at someone else's mercy. For others, it is the sudden implication of mortality--that our journey on this spherical bran flake hurtling 'round a blazing raisin pouring sun is all too short. Youth can be a matter of perspective and it can also be a frame of mind. Of course, it can also be outright physical. In this case, it was a bit of all three. I wandered into suite to assist in facilitating a quick start to what was an emergent belly case to find Jim helping the young patient wriggle over to the none too soft surgical table. Tear tracks were already apparent on her flushed cheeks and she settled on the table near him with a muffled sighing sob. Anesthesia fussed with her IV as Jim gently draped her trembling form with warmed blankets and chatted softly with her in his rumbling baritone. She answered, her voice wavering and muffled beneath the mask held in his great paw as he knelt down near the bed to bring himself closer to her, instantly lowering his intimidation level exponentially. As I watched and charted medications, pausing for the intubation and putting myself on standby, I heard him ask her what type of music she would like to listen to while we waited for anesthesia to be ready. She gave a little shake of her head, tipping the bouffant covering her curly hair free and murmured something that only he could hear. In answer to her words, he softly cleared his throat, reached up to dab away the tears from her temple, and in a pitch perfect lilting falsetto crooned, I watched as her small feet kicked childishly at the blankets as she giggled, a faint blush swiping her high cheekbones. And then, beneath the obscuring dome of the mask, a different sound came. Not crying. Not language, so to speak. Song. She unsteadily warbled her way into the first verse and Jim, bless him, didn't miss more than a beat or two before joining her, matching pitch for pitch (who knew his voice could reach that octave?!). Bemused anesthesiologist's hands stuttered in their familiar waltz of wipe, syringe, flush, wipe, syringe, flush and well practiced and oft used lyrics of induction never found use. Instead, she was gentled to sleep by warm, tingling milk of amnesia and a very unorthodox lullaby, safe within a nurse's keeping. To Jim: An officer, not quite a gentleman, and, as it turns out, a damn fine Freddie Mercury impersonator. Thank you for reminding us, always, that covers do not indicate contents and stepping outside one's comfort zone can yield amazing results. I salute you, sir. ~~CP~~
  13. In the PACU, my day started early with a 7:00am report time. By the time my shift ended at 7:00pm, I'd spent most of the day clamoring to be heard above the high ambient noise levels of the cavernous unit. Air exchangers, telemetry units, 50 or 60 people talking all at once -- the sheer cacophony became too much for me to take. My ears would ring for hours after going home. I'd wake up hoarse the next morning from literally shouting discharge instructions at my patients the previous day. And then I'd go right back and do it all over again the next day. Contrast that scenario with my life now, as a freelance writer. I wake up around 7:30am and often drink my first cup of coffee on the patio, where I can enjoy the scenery of my backyard. I'm an avid birdwatcher, so it always brings me joy to start my day by sighting a crimson cardinal on the fence or watching the neighborhood hawk wheel through the sky. After my first coffee, I amble upstairs to my home office to check email and browse a handful of sites. Then I get to work on my assignments for the day. On any given day, I might be crafting a short informational article on a specific disease or I may be writing newsletter copy for family caregivers. My work always offers variety. I break for a leisurely lunch with my elderly mother (who lives with me), and then I head back to my office and turn my attention to the "me" work. That's stuff I do to feed my creative soul -- things like writing this blog post or outlining my book. By mid-afternoon, my brain's tired so I head to the gym for an hour of cardio and weights. One of the great things about freelancing is the ability to set and control (to a degree!) my own schedule. I admire nurses who manage to squeeze in a workout on their hectic work days. I sure never could do that! But as a freelance writer I now work out at least three days a week, and often five. After the gym, I head home and take a nap. Don't tell anyone! I find a 30-minute recharge after my post-workout shower gives me extra energy into the early evening, which is a work period for me. Dinnertime comes, I cook for Mom and my husband, and then I head back to my office for a couple more hours. Evening isn't a particularly creative time for me, so I usually devote those hours to administrative tasks -- making sure my self-employment taxes are filed, cleaning up my contact list, tinkering with my business plan. Finally, I retire to the TV room and snuggle with my hubs on the sofa. We love watching home improvement shows, so that's frequently on the menu. When I worked as a nurse, I generally returned home after a shift and collapsed into bed. I didn't even have enough energy to watch TV! My life is so serene now, compared to the days I worked in the noise and chaos of PACU. Other perks of freelancing? I never get vomited on, and no one ever codes in my office. LOL Yet I'm still helping patients. Just the other day, a man took the time to find my email address and write me a nice note: "Thank you for your easy-to-understand explanation of insulin pens on XX website! I spent 40 minutes searching for an answer to my question, and yours was the only one that made sense. I really appreciate it!" THAT makes my day. Yes, I loved clinical nursing. But I've never regretted leaving the bedside for the desk. It's great to continue helping people from the comfort of my (quiet) office!
  14. allnurses.com is THE social media site for nurses. With over 1,000,000 members there is a wide variety of nurses and students. So ... what does it take to grab our members' attention? These are some of the memorable threads that have been wildly popular over the years and my assessment as to why they were so popular. These are some of the most popular threads in the last five years: How About a Game of Questions - a thread started by one of our Staff members in 2012. This started as a simple thread where posters simply asked questions back and forth without declarative statements. With more than 5000 posts and 50,000+ views, it still maintains its popularity. Its simple, straightforward, doesn't requires specialized education, just an inquisitive mind. What are you Doing Right Now? - another very simple questioning thread started in 2011. This thread has resulted in >300 pages of responses. In this era of the "here and now" this type of immediate feedback is needed to keep up interest. So, the takeaway from this thread is that sometimes the simpler the concept, the more popular it will be. This thread has well over 100k views. General Election Thread 2012 - I included this older thread as an example of political threads that when timely are very popular. The caveat to these political threads is to realize that politics can bring out controversy from even the mildest member. So, when posting about political topics, it is best to remain neutral, control the blog entry by frequent comments and direction when needed. And...as a reminder, content on AN must adhere to the terms of service. Pearsonvue Trick - Does it work? Part 3 - nothing brings out students like anything relating to taking the NCLEX. This test can strike fear in the heart of even the strongest 4.0 student. There are many threads in the student forum about the NCLEX. This thread is from 2011 and provides details on how to access Pearsonvue and what the results mean. Student members are very active also. Students want info on study tips, time management, teacher relationships, and general info on what it's like to be a nurse. This thread had >873k views and >2000 responses. It is important when your blogging audience is students to also provide a mentoring experience and be a role model to them. VA Hiring Process - after graduation comes the all-encompassing job search and many career and job search threads have been very popular. This thread from 2012 garnered >400k views and almost 900 replies. After students have worked so hard to graduate and pass the NCLEX, looking for a job is the next step. Our career forum is widely read. Nurse Beth is a very popular blogger who lends her career expertise to our students and experienced nurses as well. Her wit, humor and knowledge are greatly appreciated. So, in summary here are some topics of interest to our members: Students are very interested in doing well and need to be reassured that they are making good choices in school as well as seeking general advice from experienced nurses. AN has a widely read immigration, registration and foreign-trained nurse forum also. Gaining employment in the US is not easy and our members appreciate knowledgeable and reliable information in an easy to understand format. Our general nursing forum offers a wide variety of topics ranging from how to handle difficult patients and families to what to say when you call the provider at 3 am. AN offers a multitude of forums for many specialties including a high-mileage APRN forum. Know your audience, be prepared and you too will be a successful allnurses.com blogger!
  15. Sarah Matacale

    Meet Ersilia Pompilio RN,MSN,PNP

    Ersilia Pompilio RN, MSN, PNPStoryteller, Educator, Producer, Nurse, and Super Cool Lady! I can't wait to introduce Ersilia Pompilio to everyone at allnurses! As her subtitle reads, she is a nurse innovator and entrepreneur, that has found a niche using many of her talents, interests and strengths combined with her passion for nursing. Ersilia Pompilio is the Creator and CEO of Rogue Nurse Media 501c3 whose mission is to empower nurses to tell their stories. "I teach and develop innovative educational tools focussed on healthcare that are in alignment with current trends in social media, mainstream media, art and technology. The goal is to abolish fake news in healthcare and change the stigma around how people see nurses and patients in the media. My goal is also to encourage nursing schools to change their curriculum and bring them more into the mainstream technology using social media." Ersilia has several tools and productions that are moving her mission forward: The Well Written Nurse: Writing workshops that teach nurses storytelling, screen/ TV writing, journalistic writing, memoir writing, blogging, and how to get published. Ersilia and her team are set to launch a screen/ TV writing workshop in November of 2017 called Mapping the Story of Genome, A Screenwriting Workshop for Healthcare Professionals. The workshop will focus on the character developement of the healthcare professional...nurses and patients. Nurses and Hypochondriacs Storytelling Show: a storytelling show where real Nurses, Patients, and Hypochondriacs take the stage and tell true, unscripted comedic stories. Nurses and Hypochondriac Podcast: Nurse experts, patients, and hypochondriacs come together to discuss hot topics in healthcare. Since Ersilia has a teaching background, she was able to get her courses approved by the California BRN for CE's! How this all got started!?! Ersilia admits that she loves to tell stories. "When I was working as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner on a busy pre surgery unit, I often had many nurse friends from around the hospital that I knew stop by to ask: 'Got any new dating stories?' They loved my perils of being single in Los Angeles and dating wacky men. I attracted a certain type of guy in my dating world. My HIPPA attorney friend and fellow writing buddy affirmed in the middle of a story one day: 'You sure do date a lot of hypochondriacs!'" So it was born! Due to "burnout" from teaching nursing and working as a nurse practitioner, in 2008, Ersilia started taking writing classes at a boutique writing school in downtown Los Angeles' Art District. She found writing healing and cathartic, and soon published her first short story, "Our Little Hospital Ghost". This opened a creative portal, and Ersilia started to gather a team of creative writers to help her produce her one woman show The Nurse and the Hypochondriacs. After 3 runs of the show, she "put it to bed", feeling deflated and defeated, until a few audience members told her how much they learned through the show. Ersilia "resurrected" the show in 2015 and made a few changes, turning it into a storytelling show called Nurses and Hypochondriacs. She produced 5 productions for the Hollywood Fringe Festival with 20 storytellers. The show was a slow hit, but once again the audience affirmed how much they learned through the show. At the end of 2015, Ersilia had one of Oprah's "ah-ha moments" and she got to work developing Rogue Nurse Media 501c3. While writing an article for Working Nurse Magazine on Nurses in the media, it all came together, the only way to change the stigma of nursing is to teach and empower nurses to write and change it for themselves! Barriers Moving from the Health Care Nurse Practitioner world into the creative unknown was very intimidating to Ersilia. She learned that she needed to listen to the voice inside and trust that her intuition was leading in the right direction! Her motto (from Field of Dreams) was "Build it and they will come!" So, Ersilia jumped in head first creating websites, working with graphic artists, hiring and firing people, working with ensues for shows, directing and coaching storytellers, and now learning to podcast! Advice to Give Aspiring Nurse Entrepreneurs The best advice that Ersilia would give to aspiring nurse entrepreneurs is "not to listen to your co-workers and the naysayers! Follow your gut and create. Spend lots of time outside of your 'Nurse' box! Do fun stuff like go to museums, take art classes, watch stage shows etc....do something that makes your soul sing and dance! Read books that teach and inspire you! Journal, meditate, and write!". When asked what the best way to prepare and nurture dynamic innovators for the future of healthcare practice, Ersilia offered that nursing schools need to start offering creative classes for innovative nurses. "Your career needs to be malleable to what your personal needs are! Nursing schools need to start teaching that!" Career Role Models and Inspirational Persons "I recently attended a one act play at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017 called Mary's Medicine. It was an adaption of Mary Seacole's autobiography. Mary Seacole was a Scottish-Jamaican Nurse who invented ginger beer. She married a Scottish man who was sickly. She too was a hypochondriac magnet. Mary was a great inventor, entrepreneur, nurse, and pioneer. I related with her character and her story in the play. I have faced and currently still do face many of the same challenges she did. Creating something unique and empowering nurses and patients to tell their stories through storytelling and podcasting has brought about much scrutiny from people in the profession who are used to runnings on the same treadmill of life and are afraid of getting off and doing something different!" The Single Most Important Issue For Nurses to Address in the next 2 years Ersilia feels that most important issue that the profession of nursing needs to address is the image of the profession itself. "We have nurses getting their Ph.D.'s and DNP's yet the mass population still sees us as the bedside nurse. Nurses are great innovators and educators. The public needs to understand that...the only way to do that is by telling and educating the public about what we do as nurses through our stories!"
  16. I'm scared! I am thinking about starting a business! I am a future nursing entrepreneur...I think? When I think of entrepreneurs, I am reminded of three characters in the Wizard of Oz. The scarecrow, lion, and tin man wanted a brain, courage, and a heart. These are the three tools of an entrepreneur. I need the Wizard! Nurse Entrepreneurs spend years preparing for the right opportunity to use their nursing education, expertise,and experiences to start businesses. We turn the elements of the nursing process into blueprints for starting ventures within the healthcare industry.Assessing analyzing, planning, implementing, and evaluating clients are transferrable skills that make up the entrepreneurial mindset. The nursing process and the right opportunity is a recipe for successful nursing business ventures. Webster's dictionary defines opportunity as "an advantageous occasion". An opportunity is not advantageous unless the entrepreneur feels some level of passion for an idea, and a personal connection.Like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz, the heart of the entrepreneur drives motivation and the ability to think outside of one's environment where the opportunity presents itself. The brain is the command center for which all things are controlled. In the Wizard of Oz, the scarecrow wanted a brain. The entrepreneurs brain power keeps them on the track to success. The brain is a culmination of a person's life experiences, personal beliefs and values, and education both formal and informal. Altogether it shapes how the entrepreneur analyzes, develops, and implements an idea. For the entrepreneurial mindset nurses have "heart" and"brain" covered. Nurse entrepreneurs are increasing in various areas in the health care industry demonstrating creativity, business know-how and the ability to identify niche markets and consistent customer bases. Nurses entrepreneurs are branching out into coaching, teaching/training, public speaking, writing/editors, software developers, and day care to name a few. I believe I found my opportunity. I am passionate about developing nurse leaders for the future. I guess that is why I teach nursing leadership and management to nursing students. Providing courses on relevant topics for nursing leaders is not only an opportunity,but a passion for developing future nurse leaders. As a future nurse entrepreneur, a barrier for me would be overcoming self-doubt. Internally, self-doubt is also an objection that requires intervention. The entrepreneur that lacks confidence or courage likeOz's lion will fail even before they begin. They spend too much time thinking about why it "won't work" instead of mitigating the "what ifs." These negative thoughts prevent them from seeing the big picture, and often the fear of failure paralyzes the ability tomove forward. Perhaps turning the lion's quest for courage into a positive acronym can provide a box of tools for potential entrepreneurs lacking courage. L-I-O-N. L is for leaning forward. It takes less energy to lean forward than backwards. Just about all motivational speakers talk about the positive aspect of leaning forward. We lean into the wind when walking or when there something we want to listen to. Leaning forward helps the entrepreneur to approach a new venture with a singular focus. You are not dwelling on the past if you are facing forward. I is for intervention. No one expects an entrepreneur to know everything about starting a business. New entrepreneurs tend to try to go it alone and view asking for help as a sign of weakness. There are thousands of entrepreneurs in the world. Pick one and start asking questions. Entrepreneurship is a team sport and like baseball you are only alone when you get up to bat. Until then,you have the support of team members and fans. O is for opposite direction. It is okay to make a U turn if you are facing the wrong way. Just because you start off in one direction, you may need to offramp to a new destination. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it is a journey with many twists, turns, and detours. Approach it like the adventure itis and be prepared for anything. N is for natural. Let the idea come simple and unrehearsed. If you are forcing yourself to come up with an idea, it not for you and you will spend more time talking yourself out of the idea than with the idea. Noticed I did not say "into" the idea. You should not have to talk yourself into anything. It takes courage to stand up to people who want to reshape your idea into something they really want to do. An idea should fit and feel like a pair of well-worn slippers. At the end of the Wizard of Oz story,the characters realized that what they were looking for was inside each of the mall the time. The scarecrow had a brain, the lion showed courage, and the tin man demonstrated emotion and passion. The wizard is in all of us. We don't need to go to the land of Oz to see the Wizard. Now where is that yellow brick road to entrepreneurship?
  17. tnbutterfly - Mary

    Building a Persona to Achieve Traffic Growth

    allnurses now encourages nursing innovators to share their website with our community. We believe that sharing all things nursing can elevate the nursing profession. This includes bloggers, authors, or any innovative nursing services that help our readers excel. But - do not go about this the wrong way... YOU SCRATCH MY BACK I SCRATCH YOURS We know YOUR GOAL is to improve traffic to your website. allnurses is now giving you the chance to provide valuable insight, so that our readers will start following YOU. The more FOLLOWERS you attract the more growth in TRAFFIC you will yield from your efforts. Did you know that by sharing your expertise, knowledge, and insight with the allnurses community, you can generate 500 times more traffic to your website? The best way for you to go about this is to create a following on allnurses. Build a persona where our readers will seek you out. In doing so, you will enjoy the benefits of what allnurses has to offer. More nurses. More students. More readers. More traffic. OUR GOAL is to improve the allnurses' user experience by providing a variety of content generated from reputable sources. So let's work together to elevate the nursing profession by providing a place where everyone can learn and share information. MORE FOLLOWERS = MORE TRAFFIC We can both get what we want. But, we need to work together. If you come to allnurses just to post a link to your website it will get removed. It may even get you banned. We know this process will generate more traffic for you. Coming to the site - posting a link and running off - will not provide the results that you seek. Follow our recommendations and you will be a satisfied partner. HOW TO START 1)__ Register if you haven't done so. Fill out your profile (biography, credentials, etc). Most importantly don't forget to add your website and any social networks that you belong to. For example, facebook, twitter, Google, etc. Our readers will visit your profile to get to know YOU. This is an opportunity to connect with our readers. 2)__ Write articles (articles must be unique to allnurses; should be personal; promote engagement) Your goal is to show your knowledge and expertise. Well-written articles grab attention. They are easy to Share and Bookmark. A topic that is bookmarked by many is one that gets a lot of traffic. 3)__ Comment on topics posted by others. You become a valuable member of the community by participating throughout the site. Your goal is to come across as a helpful member of the community. Take this opportunity to get to know our members and vice versa. Start making new friends. 4)__ Reciprocate links. It's acceptable to link back to your articles on our site from your site and vice versa. A great partnership is one that is fair. 5)__Become an active participant and contributor in the Nurse Innovators Hub. Network with other innovators....those who are already established in the blogging community as well as those just starting out. Become known as one who enjoys mentoring others. 6)__Upon approval from allnurses, introduce a free product to the community. NO STRINGS ATTACHED. IMPORTANT: Writing an article is the best way to do this as it is available on many fronts (eg. in forum, main page, newsletter, facebook, etc). Products should be ready to download. For example, if it's a book - provide a link that will download the book immediately. If it's a video, embed the video in the article. DO NOT REDIRECT to your site. This is a huge turn off for many. Rely on your product. A great product will provide you and our readers a good return on investment. TIPS ON SUBMITTING ARTICLES TIP #1: Write articles that answer a frequently asked question. Members will usually comment on these for many years. TIP #2: Your articles should promote engagement. Get readers to comment on your article. This will keep the article alive for many days. Tip #3: Your articles should be personal - personal to you; personal to your readers. These articles usually have the most comments. TIP #4: The more descriptive the article is the better the response from the community. TIP #5: Authors who provide feedback on other topics usually have the most comments. This will also lead to high number of shares.
  18. Michelle Podlesni

    Thinking About Plan B? - Nurses in Business

    It is an exciting time to be a nurse! There are so many options for today's nurse and one area that is growing is nurses interested in becoming business owners. What is creating this need for Plan Business? Well one thing is that the number of nurses employed by hospitals is decreasing from what it has been for decades. Today, about 58% of nurses are employed by hospitals compared to 68% in 1980. Many nurses, over 30%, report being burned out and highly dissatisfied with their jobs. The dissatisfaction relates to feelings of frustration, being overwhelmed with new technology (equipment and EMRs) and overworked due to higher severity of illness of the patient load. Nurses have high levels of anxiety over jobs being eliminated and potential lay-offs due to restructuring. There is a large number of nurses, 900,000, over the age of 45 looking to possibly reduce hours but not their income. And for many nurses, Plan A no longer serves them or the nurse that they have become. There are huge demands that can be supplied by the nurse business owner. Elder care services, called the silver tsunami, will only increase through 2030. This demand has a variety of businesses well suited for nurses from home residential care facilities, day care services, non-medical in home care, geriatric case management and geriatric patient advocacy type services and programs. Educational programs for family caregivers, caregiver training programs and respite care. Technology is breaking all kinds of boundaries and nurses interested in health information technology, telemedicine and telehealth have a plethora of choices in independent consulting including Documentation Specialists and RN Medical Bill Auditors. Nurses that enjoy teaching can create continuing education units and become CNE providers in any number of specialties. Public Health education is so critical today as patients are released sooner and sicker from the acute care setting. Home Health Care is booming and Wellness Programs are on the rise especially in the corporate setting. Nurses are Authors, Speakers and Consultants in health, wellness and social settings. In fact we have many nurses that are bloggers, podcasters, columnists and social media experts like Nurse Beth! If you would ask most Nurses if they see themselves as entrepreneurs I think the majority would automatically say no; but I believe that because they are not seeing themselves clearly. Nurses make great business owners because they are educated in a scientific method of problem solving and resolution. Nurses can think critically, prioritize and organize. Nurses are compassionate, dedicated and professional. While entrepreneurs have their business plan for success, nurses create care plans envisioning the optimal patient outcome. The tug and pull of business responsibilities requires the entrepreneur to wear ten hats at the same time and that is just a routine day for most nurses in a patient care environment! From my own experience, I adapt the Nursing Process and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to every business problem I encounter. I was able to navigate from being a staff nurse at the bedside to being a CEO in corporate boardrooms. I was always happy to tell folks that asked about my business acumen that it was my nursing experience that was the foundation of any success. Michael Gerber, the author of The E-Myth, believes that every single man and woman has the entrepreneurial instinct, desire and gift. I agree with him. Most all constraints are self-imposed and our assumptions of what a nurse can be must continually be challenged. There are more successful nurse entrepreneurs today than there was a generation ago. There are many role models that nurses have available so they can accelerate their learning curve and talk with other nurses that have succeeded in areas they are interested in. Nurses can do anything and owning an entrepreneurial mindset begins changing the way nurses look at using their nursing experience. Have you thought about starting a business or are you looking for a unique nursing career alternative? The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) is hosting its annual Nurse Entrepreneurship & Career Alternatives Conference October 12-14, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada which is designed for nurses that are thinking about starting a business, those already in business and those looking for career alternatives. This might be just the thing to help you set your entrepreneurial dreams in motion.
  19. Ashley Hay, BSN, RN

    Tools to Beat Writer's Block

    I love the freedom (and income) of being a freelance healthcare writer. When bedside nursing full time was no longer an option for me, writing healthcare content satisfied my desire to remain working while still using my hard earned knowledge of medicine. Best of all, I'm still able help to help others (patients, nurses, caregivers), just in a different way. But, all the sunshine and rainbows of being a freelance writer has a way of fading quickly if you feel overwhelmed or unable to start and can't complete the task at hand - create content. The irony of my current situation is not lost on me here. It's actually quite comical that I am experiencing a bit of writer's block (and even mild anxiety) for this very article - procrastination at an all time high in addition to a dwindling clock and a fast approaching deadline. Never fear! This article will be completed (eventually) and here's how: Outlines Personally, I find making outlines to be one of the most helpful tools for writer's block. I've used many different types (and kind of shoot from the hip). Use what feels good and works for you. Here's a great website discussing several different outline options: youngwritersproject.org Go Back to Your Pitch When pitching a client via email, I usually include a few brief bullet points that describe major themes of the potential article. If I'm feeling particularly stuck (or even unable to start) writing an article, I like to have the email pulled up in a separate browser tab and use it to structure my piece into a list type - much like how this article is structured. Your original pitch can serve as a handy outline and contains your initial ideas surrounding the topic. Use it and expand out from there. Change of Scenery Some days I love working from my home office. I enjoy my own routine of lighting a scented candle, turning on the radio and tending to some fresh flowers in my personal workspace before starting my day. However, working from home can also be incredibly distracting. I should really organize that closet, clean those dishes, prep dinner, throw in some laundry. When my home becomes more of a hindrance than a help, I make my office mobile. I'm fortunate enough to live in a temperate climate year round, so heading outdoors is usually an option. On days when it's not (or the outdoors is also somehow a source of distraction) I like to work from a quiet, comfortable cafe that's not too far from home. I find switching up your scenery (even if it's just a different space in your home) can sometimes make all the difference in your overall productivity. Take a Break! When other methods fail, take a break. It's probably your brain's way of screaming for a breather anyway. Many recent studies have found multiple benefits from taking regular breaks from doing anything for too long, studying, sitting, working, etc. For example, this article from PsychCentral.com examines how taking a break can actually improve one's attention span; author Rick Nauert PhD writes, "even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods". Get Moving Expanding on the theme of taking breaks, try stretching your legs. Increasing the flow of blood and circulating oxygen, physical exercise has a way of refreshing the mind. I read several articles by fellow freelancers that discuss scheduling regular gym time into their daily routine. Awesome idea, but let me be honest here, I'm definitely not one of those people. However, whether it's a brisk walk, hike, bike ride, swim, weights or yoga - all are beneficial for both mind & body. Read Something, Anything When I can't seem to write, I like to read...anything. Reading has always been a favorite hobby of mine since I was young. The escapism a well-written novel can provide is something I consider to extremely therapeutic. I find reading a great work of fiction, an interesting online blog or in-print magazine frequently provides inspiration, direction, or a fresh perspective for a piece I'm currently working on. Talk with a Colleague Being a nurse, writing for other nurses...you are surrounded by potential future readers of your work. While at my bedside job I like to sometimes pick my coworker's brains. What are they interested to know on the topic? What clinical questions do they have? Use having unlimited access to your target audience to your advantage. What tips/tricks help you beat writer's block? References: Seven Types of Outlines Taking Breaks Found to Improve Attention
  20. Nurse Beth

    How I Became a Nurse Writer

    I've always enjoyed writing. I love words. Last summer I was home from work, laid up with a back injury. One morning while on Twitter, a Twitter friend of mine (and nurse blogger) asked, "Beth, when are you going to start blogging?" Later that day, my husband came home for lunch to check on me. He asked if I needed anything and I said "Yes, honey. A MacBook Air laptop. They have them on sale at Best Buy." Being the absolute sweetheart that he is, by that evening, I had my laptop. (I love it!) By the next day, I had chosen a name for my blog (nursecode.com) and learned how to set up my own WordPress blog. WordPress is easy. There are tons of help sites and You Tube tutorials to get you started. It was much easier than I thought. I started writing. That part was the easiest, because, like most nurses, I have lots of stories. Once I had 5-6 posts written, I published my first one on Twitter, titled "I Was Suspended ", my story of being suspended without pay for 3 days as a new nurse for making a medication error. That story was published in September of 2014. I've since published 90 posts at nursecode.com and my average daily views are over 2,000. In addition, I write professionally for three other sites. @not_ratched on Twitter helped me get my first gig. And it's all fun. Are you passionate about writing but don't know how to get started? It's true what they say- just start writing! Looking back a year later, here's what I've learned. __________________________________________________________ Find Your Niche Bloggers and writers need to find their niche. A lot of successful nurses bloggers have branded themselves by identifying with a particular interest. Joan, the NurseTeacher, is the one I am grateful to, and who got me started. Perhaps the leading nurse bloggess out there is Brittney Wilson, the NerdyNurse, who is into all things technology. Then there's the Gypsy Nurse, who blogs about being a travel RN. Kati Kleber, NurseEyeroll, blogs about being a new nurse, and she is extremely popular. Donna Maheady's niche and expertise is on empowering nurses with disabilities, and she has authored several articles here on allnurses as well as blogging at the eexceptionalnurse.com There's the Yoga Nurse, and Marsha, The Bossy Nurse. Lorie Brown is a legal nurse consultant and JD, and Lorrie Schoenly, better known as the "Correctional Nurse", writes about correctional nursing. There are so many more. Most in the above illustrious group are authors as well as bloggers. These are just a few examples of nurse bloggers and niches. Think about your niche. The benefit of a niche is that your readers have an idea what you'll be writing about. My niche turned out to be how to interview, find jobs, and write resumes and cover letters. I'm also an outspoken advocate for working conditions in nursing. Since I'm an educator, I also love to create teaching infographics and discuss nursing practice ( Find Your Style Your voice or your style is where you're comfortable writing. Over time, your writing voice becomes recognizable as you. It's authentic. Sometimes I break the rules and use sentence fragments, or start a sentence with "And". But no one is grading my articles with a red pen, and it's my style. My voice. Find Your Tribe I've made so many writing friends who have helped me. Sean Dent writes for Scrubs magazine and I pm'd him for advice on Twitter when I started. I was amazed when he responded and helped me out. Kati Kleber asked me to guest post on her blog, NurseEyeroll, and it helped my readership grow. Btw, (fun factoid) Kati has published here on allnurses. You can find a tribe on Facebook, where there are groups and pages devoted to helping each other get started as a blogger. Some find their tribe on Twitter, the SITs girls is a well known blogging group. There's no need to go it alone, when so many nurses who have gone before are helpful and willing to share information. I have gotten several paid writing jobs by referral from other bloggers in my tribe, and we help each other by promoting each other's work. As an example, if you are a nurse entrepreneur of any kind, Andrew Lopez on his Fb page Nurseup.com, is a nurse devoted to helping nurse entrepreneurs. Marsha Battee, TheBossyNurse, blogs about being in business for yourself. Find Your Platform I read somewhere that you can create the most beautiful painting in the world, but if you hang it in your garage, no one will ever know. A platform is where your work can get noticed. It can be LinkedIn, FaceBook, Instagram, Google Plus. For example, I post graphics on Pinterest that link back to my site at nursecode.com. Concentrate on one or two platforms to get started. Engage your followers and grow your audience. One of the biggest nursing platforms is right here on allnurses. With close to 1 million viewers a month, your article can be read by thousands of people. It's a unique opportunity to get published, and all you have to do is write and submit. Learn from Others Read what other nurse bloggers write. Study what they do- are they on Twitter? Facebook? How often do they post? Why do you think they are successful? There are some excellent writers here on site, I always read Donna Maheady and Julie Reye's articles, and TheCommuter is another favorite of mine. There are many more. How about you? If you're a writer, what are your tips? If you're a reader, what are your thoughts? Until next time friend, Nurse Beth Other Articles by me: How to Answer "What's Your Greatest Weakness?" Are You Cut Out to be an ED Nurse? The Red Nike Tennis Shoes
  21. Frequently a close friend of mine, a young physician in Haiti, posted comments on a Web and Facebook page associated with a volunteer medical organization I co-founded to improve access to Child and Maternal Health Care in rural Haiti through the creation of sustainable Haitian run health care and of which he is the Medical Director. Here is a recent post he wrote after a week-long rural medical mission sponsored by donations from our organization: Now one may perceive this as poorly written, lacking the professionalism one would expect from a physician. However once you realize my young physician friend is a native Haitian; Haitian Kreole and French his languages of birth and choice- English a distant third, would your opinion be different? Each time he posts his comments, I always worry the message he is posting may be poorly understood or simply get lost in translation by our English speaking/reading audience. Even I find when I read his notes my American education sometimes blinds me to the actual message as I struggle to reconstruct the words into grammatically correct sentence structure, paragraph form, punctuation etc... blah, blah, blah! (My apologies to all my former amazing English teachers, current friends who are English teachers, and of course my amazing "word-smith" wife.) But what I have learned is not to read with my brain. This time try reading the same message- but this time, read with your heart...so... breathe in... breathe out...and read on... When I read it with my educated academic mind it was a very nice, sincere message...when I read it with my heart, it brought tears to my eyes... Lesson learned "Always read with your heart". Thank you my young physician friend- not only are you a great healer and a great man, but also a great teacher...
  22. Nurse Beth

    Five Networking Myths

    The correct answers are c) and d). Is that what you guessed? One thing I've been learning is the importance of networking. Less than two years ago, I was offered a writing job by someone on Twitter. I had just started writing for my own blog and I was thrilled but panicked when they asked me "How much do you charge?" How much did I charge? I had no idea. And was this a good move? I had no idea. I had been following the well-known blogger Sean Dent on Twitter and so I messaged him and asked for advice. He graciously responded, and that began our networking relationship. Fast forward and here we both are today, in the Innovator Hub! If you are new to nursing, it's common to not understand networking and how it benefits you. You are involved in your own nursing unit, head down, working hard. Networking has no identifiable value for you.You have the job you want, you have your best friends...why do you need to network? It most likely hasn't been role modeled for you by other nurses, so you don't see the value. But ask any nurse leader if networking is important, and you will get a resounding "Yes". What Is Networking? It's building, creating and nurturing professional connections and relationships. It enables you to learn about job opportunities. According to Keith Carlson, master nurse networker, in his book "Savvy Networking for Nurses", networking is not simply acquiring business cards and adding names to your "LinkedIn" account - it's developing relationships with people in the areas in which you are interested and staying in touch with them throughout your career. Networking is a mindset of being ready and enlarging your professional circle. Networking Nets Jobs Professional networking is probably the single best approach for you to land the job you want, and even more so in challenging economic times. Networking is considered by many to be the most effective way of finding a job. Some sources say up to 70% of jobs are acquired through networking. It just makes sense. Any hiring manager would prefer to hire someone known (or known by someone they know) over someone unknown. Many job opportunities are never posted, or advertised, but are only available by word of mouth. Or they may be posted only because it's required, and meanwhile, the candidate has already been chosen. It's true that often it's not "what you know, but who you know". If you watch long enough, you will notice that some people are promoted for unclear reasons- it may seem that it must have been because of who they knew- and you'd be right, it probably was. Networking Myths Myth #1: Networking is for business people, not nurses. It's well known in the business world that networking is important. It's simply business as usual. By contrast, nursing has been an insulated, female-dominated world of its own that eschewed anything to do with "business" because our value is caring, not making money. But the truth is that networking in nursing happens, it just hasn't always been called "networking". Nurses get jobs and promotions the same as anyone else in any other profession. Myth #2: Networking is for established nurse leaders, or older nurses, not me. Networking is for every nurse, and starts when you meet your first nursing professor, or are assigned to your first preceptor. If you have friends who are starting school, please tell them that "networking starts in first semester." If you are in the hospital, you should be networking. Nursing is a small world. The nurse who precepted you in hospital A may be a nurse manager in Hospital B by the time you graduate. Good thing you kept her/his contact information! Save phone numbers and business cards. Myth #3: Networking is selling and I don't like selling anything, much less myself. In the working world, you do have to put your best foot forward, make contacts, and sometimes promote yourself. Who is going to represent you if not you? It's not selling, it's more like wearing your best outfit to church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you have a brand- you are a brand-and you may as well let your awesomeness show. Myth #4: I'm not an extrovert, and you have to be an extrovert to network. You have to be yourself. Contrary to what introverts believe and fear, networking doesn't mean gregariously flitting around the conference room, business card in hand. Networking is being genuinely interested in others and making connections. Introverts and extroverts both connect effectively with others, just in different ways. Myth #5: Networking is for administrative types, not me. I only want to be a bedside nurse. You cannot know with certainty what you will want in the future, or even where you are going to live. Be ready when opportunity happens in your life. Your Network Identify your network. For the job seeker: The people you know - friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, and former coworkers - are some of the most effective resources for your job search. Those people also have networks, and the people they know can lead to information about specific job openings that are not publicly posted, or not yet posted. You know more people than you realize. Go back and pay a visit to your clinical instructors. Ask for their help. Clinical instructors have strong connections to acute care hospitals, and they have friends who are nurse managers. Likewise, ask your preceptors to put in a word for you. Stay in touch with them. Contact classmates of yours who already have a job. Ask them to put in a word to the nursing manager. Ask them for their hiring tips. How did they land their job? Expand your network. Facebook nursing groups share job hiring information. Participate in online social media nursing communities. When you attend a conference, plan to make five new contacts, and then stay in touch once you get back home. Employee Referrals Employee referral programs at hospitals are among the most aggressive in the country. They typically offer generous employee referral bonuses which incentivize their employees to make referrals. Granted, the bonuses are given for experienced nurses, not new grads, but an employee referral attached to your application can tip the odds in your favor. This is one example of how knowing someone helps you. Elevator Speech You should be ready at all times to actively network. You need an elevator speech. We all need an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a short persuasive speech to tell others about you, and to pique their interest in you. You should have your elevator speech polished and ready because you never know when an opportunity will present. Be prepared with your speech, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake along with a genuine, warm smile. Read more about your elevator speech. Your Networking To-Do List Make business cards with your name, title and contact info. Keep some cards with you at all times. Start a LinkedIn profile if you do not have one already. Keith's book,"Savvy Networking for Nurses", has a good LinkedIn "how-to" section. Buy his book on Amazon and find out if you're a Connector (?) a Pollinator (?) or a Shallow Networker (?). LinkedIn is so much more than a place to land a job- it's establishing your professional presence and taking your place in the online social professional world. Contact someone you've fallen out of touch with and re-connect. Update your resume. Join a local nursing organization and attend a meeting. Go on Twitter, start an account and follow me, @bhawkesrn. I will follow you back. If you are new to Twitter, you can just lurk for awhile until you are comfortable. But join. I met all of my blogging colleagues on Twitter, and received several job offers through those contacts. Plan to attend a nursing conference annually. You owe it to yourself. Go to my website before March 28 and enter a contest to win two tickets (one for you, one for a friend!) to the ultimate nursing conference, NTI 2016. Seriously, you might be the winner! And then you and I can network and Mardi Gras together in New Orleans. (Oh, and the giveaway is the result of me, Nurse Beth, networking with StaffGarden). Until next time friend, Nurse Beth
  23. Personal background My daughter, Lauren, led the way for my advocacy efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. Lauren is significantly disabled due to autism and related disorders (mental retardation, epilepsy, OCD). My disability advocacy efforts began with issues regarding her life and evolved into a focus on nurses and nursing students. My doctoral dissertation explored the experiences of nursing students with disabilities and led to publishing three books, numerous articles and creation of a nonprofit organization for nurses and nursing students with disabilities. One day, someone said to me....you should write a blog. My response was, "Why?", "What is a blog?" and "How will it help nurses with disabilities?" Over time, I learned the answers. A blog is shortened form of the expression "weblog". It is a discussion or information published on the World Wide Web. Individual articles are called "posts". Readers can leave comments, share posts and connect with the blogger via email or other social media. Readers can also sign up to "follow" a blogger and be notified when a new post is posted. Off to a slow start A free blog hosting site, online research and tips from other nurse bloggers got me started. I tried to learn from what worked and what didn't work for other bloggers. In one evening, the blog was launched. Due to other commitments (a day job), I began "blogging" slowly with periodic short posts. I continued to network with other nurse bloggers, read other blogs and joined groups of aspiring nurse bloggers. Fortunately, blogging can be forgiving..... if you make an error you can change it! As my confidence and blogging skills improved, I began to blog more and more. My audience and page views began to climb. Lessons learned Blogging takes time, dedication and commitment. Writing posts is just one part of the process. After a post is "up", the real work begins. Good communication skills are critical. Responding to people who comment and following up with people is just as important as writing a post. Posting often is important so interest isn't lost. People have to come back in order for a blog to be successful. The quest to Identify new, interesting material never ends. Commenting on other blogs, being a guest blogger on other blogs and inviting guests to blog on your blog are all important as well. Promoting a blog on social networking sites is also part of the process. Making money blogging is possible but not easy! How much do bloggers make? Bloggers usually keep quiet about how much they make. Money can be made through different avenues including, banner ads, affiliates, sponsored posts and sales of a book, product or service. My guess is that the amount of money made varies greatly and depends on many factors including content, traffic, marketing, communication skills and amount of time devoted to the effort. How has blogging helped nurses with disabilities? Blogging has helped to: Support nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Showcase examples of nurses and nursing students with a wide range of disabilities. Shed light on the issues surrounding nurses with disabilities including reasonable accommodation in nursing education programs and workplace settings. Celebrate the abilities of nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Demonstrate the accomplishments of nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Increase awareness of resources, legal issues, equipment, technology, mentors, organizations and scholarships. Share publications, nursing research, videos and news clips about nurses with disabilities. Show role models for young people with disabilities aspiring to become nurses. Identify alternative nursing career paths along with employment and volunteer opportunities. Raise funds for scholarships for nursing students with disabilities. Market books about nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Make connections with other nurses, nurse educators, college and university disability service staffers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, human resources staffers and disability advocates. Cross promote examples of nurses with disabilities on other social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest). Blogging remains a work in progress. I continue to learn from others and make improvements. It is fun and a great way to make connections and share information, a business or passion with others. If you want to learn more about my blog, drop by anytime. Please share the blog with any nurse or student who may benefit. Comments are always welcomed with thanks!
  24. Debi Fischer

    Theresa Brown: RN Media Star

    Theresa Brown has done it all and she shared her unconventional story with allnurses.com. She has the singular honor of being the only RN columnist at what has been called the best paper in the country. Obama knows her name as well as her patients and they both called on her for help. Brown is at ease in academia, the nurse's station and even the White House! In a far reaching phone interview, NY times columnist and author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between, Theresa Brown RN, discussed her story. Despite her busy schedule as a part time oncology nurse at a major hospital in Pennsylvania, Brown has managed to combine the best of both worlds. She stays connected to the clinical side of nursing on the weekends, doing the classic 12 hour shift and this leaves her time to write for the New York Times, for her "bedside" column. Her next book, aptly entitled THE SHIFT: One Nurse's Twelve Hours on the Hospital's Frontlines is set to appear next fall. This journey has even taken her to the White House! Brown's voyage to RN/ author was far from typical. This trip took her from the rarefied world of being an English professor at Tufts University to an accelerated nursing program. "Accelerated degree nurses like me, people wonder if (we) were really prepared". Despite the rapidity of the degree, Brown hit the ground running, and has been working in oncology ever since, which formed the backdrop of this book. She discussed this and concludes that other career changers "weren't crazy either". Brown cites Wall Street brokers, dancers, and junior high teachers as others who have done the same. She writes about this in her first book Critical Care, and discussed the commonality of nurses who have faced their "first death, bullying and negotiating with different groups". She went to nursing school at the University of Pittsburgh, where she graduated with a BSN after completing a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. Brown has the rare ability to translate nursing jargon into a story that the non-nurse can understand. They can walk away with the idea that they have been given entry into the special world of the hospital nurse, with all their tradition and lingo. Brown writes about her first death, of her patient Mary, and describes her cancer and its ensuing sob (shortness of breath). She breaks down why the body reacts the way it does when faced with this dilemma. The reader is transported to this milieu immediately. Brown intends to do the same with her new book, "THE SHIFT: One Nurse's Twelve Hours on the Hospital's Frontlines." Brown explained that this will deal with a typical day in the life of a nurse, and as a spoiler adds that it will spotlight "two puzzling cases...and look at a normal reasonable day, not eating lunch, on your feet for 12 hours". As for the struggle between doctors and nurses, Brown explains that she has felt the friction, and she has learned to deal with the backlash. Some doctors have been supportive of her efforts to bring the world of nursing to the public. Others not so much and the criticism pretty much centers around her work as a writer for the New York Times, "bedside" column on the op-ed page and the New York Times blog, "Opinionator". She has also written for the New York Times "Well" blog. There are some doctors who are "...internet trolls and write something nasty for the New York Times". She continues, "that those outside of the healthcare realm don't see doctors that way...we need doctors not to be jerks on the job". Brown also talked about the controversial and probably by now, the world's best known nurse, Kaci Hickox, who defied her controversial quarantine in a tent in New Jersey to travel to Maine and return home. She then went on a now famous bike ride with her boyfriend. Brown answers when asked if the image of the "Johnson & Johnson" nurse has been tarnished, does not think so, because ..." she (Kaci) went about it in a very smart way". She goes on to explain that she was not going to the mall in Maine, and she called her "brave". Brown thinks that the crisis around Ebola will only serve to strengthen the image of the nurse. On the flip side, in so far as the media portrayal of the doctor in New York who returned with a full blown case of Ebola, the nurses fared worse. "I find it very upsetting, not strange" that nurses were being maligned more than doctors during this crisis. Brown was so concerned that she wrote an article for CNN called "Ebola will elevate respect for nurses" last month. Brown is not sure that a nursing shortage may ensue due to the glut of baby boomers retiring. She cites the desperate need for nurses in rural areas. Brown would like to see more government support for the BSN if it becomes the entry level degree for RNs. Brown, by the way, is no stranger to politics. She was invited by President Obama in September 2009 as a guest at the White House when he talked about her column supporting health care reform (2009). He cited her story about a leukemia patient who had trouble paying for his hospital bill. Then she went back to work the next day on the oncology floor. She is encouraging RNs to start their own blog, even if a small number of people read it, because stories about what nurses experience is of value. She cites evidence that nurses who journal are much calmer on the job and that even telling your story verbally of what happened that shift would help not only the nurse, but the public too. Despite all her accomplishments, which include her essay "Perhaps Death Is Proud," which first ran in the New York Times Science Times in 2008, and was later included in the Best American Science Writing 2009 and Best American Medical Writing 2009 anthologies, she remains grounded. She explains that the New York Times told her that the nurses' voice was one they never heard. That is when they offered her a chance to write for their Well blog. When asked the proverbial question, regarding a future New York Times number one best seller and a movie, she answers "That would be great ...I love the writing...that gives me something to look forward to, working in the hospital." This writer has interviewed a TV/best selling author/Vegas star (Suzanne Somers) in the recent past. But a nurse who made it to the New York Times? This was almost an unreal scenario. In addition, she is coming out with book number two describing the world of nursing as only an insider who has been in the trenches can cover. To say this writer was not a bit anxious before the interview would not be telling the truth. However, within minutes, the image of the Ivy League professor turned oncology nurse and media star at the New York Times disappeared. Theresa Brown is funny, refreshing and an original. She is very genuine and concerned about how nurses are portrayed in our tech savvy world and this caring attitude is conveyed in her every word.

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