By Crystal Norris, R.N.
One of the most intense, stressful things that can happen in someone's life is to find out a loved one is in the hospital in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). When our loved ones are seriously sick or injured, we can only hope that the best of the best are caring for them. Critical care nurses are the angels of the hospital. They care for patients where life is sometimes hanging on by a thread. It takes an extraordinary nurse to care for someone at their weakest. In this article, we will discuss the things that critical care nurses do during a 12-hour shift. We will also discuss the skills and certifications that nurses interested in this field should acquire to care for patients in dire situations.
Critical care nurses are primarily responsible for continually monitoring a patient's condition and being aware of subtle changes that may show signs of improvement or deterioration. These nurses work with a comprehensive healthcare management team that includes doctors, respiratory therapy, and case management to ensure proper care for these sensitive patients.
Critical care nurses also are in charge of all bedside care for ICU patients. They are experts in assessment, intravenous access, and infusion, including central line maintenance, medication administration, tracheotomy, and ventilation care. Keeping a running log of patients' care and status is also an essential part of critical care nursing. Also, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as advanced cardiac life support skills, are crucial in the field of critical care nursing.
By Tyler Faust, R.N.
A nursing resume may seem simple enough as to not require much effort but nothing could be further from the truth. Outside of your cover letter, your resume is your only chance to showcase what you have to offer a hiring manager to get an interview! Small, simple techniques can make all the difference in making your resume stand out compared to the competition. When you find the job you’re looking for, you need to stand out. Here are five techniques that will help make a great nursing resume.
A natural tendency when drafting resumes is to try to cram multiple things into each sentence and get as much information as possible into each line. This tends to make resumes difficult to read. Hiring managers will find run-on sentences, lots of unneeded adjectives, and sentences trying to say too much. Even though as nurses you have a plethora of experiences to draw from, you will have to pick the ones that best fit the job you are applying for and state them as clearly as possible. Often times, less is more. This also is true of a quality cover letter as mentioned previously. A resume and cover letter that have clarity come across as confident, not desperate and solidify what you say rather than confuse the reader.
Other practical tips:
By Christina Proctor, R.N.
The challenges in the nursing work place can be truly overwhelming. Patient-to-nurse ratios, understaffing, emergency situations, and the sheer volume of tasks you are responsible for are enough for you to manage. Add in other challenges like difficult coworkers, not having needed supplies, and your own rising fatigue and stress levels, and you have the groundwork for mistakes that could result in injury or even death.
In my 15 years as a Registered Nurse, I have experienced many challenges to keeping myself and those I care for safe. I have definitely learned some things along the way, including those from my own mistakes and those of others. The following are some techniques to help you be ready for those days when you feel like you are working in catch-up mode for 8-12 hours or more.
By Tyler Faust, R.N.
Today, we're continuing the conversation about nursing cover letters because, yes, they are that important! Below we discuss how a great nursing cover letter sets you apart and also how it should relate to your resume.
This was mentioned briefly before but most candidates won’t put much thought into their cover letter. This leaves a strategic opportunity to create separation between you and these candidates. Additionally, if you can incorporate the other suggestions from last week's article into your cover letter, you will be the top candidate in one area of the pre-interview process.
Parallel Resume Information
This might seem like common sense but it isn’t practiced often. If you read a cover letter and then the associated resume you shouldn’t feel like you are reading about two different candidates. That wouldn’t give the hiring manager confidence to interview the candidate. Every candidate should pick out no more that four attributes or personal branding attributes that exemplify who they are as a candidate. More on personal branding in a future article. These attributes will need to stick out in your cover letter, resume, and interview and ultimately you should possess and apply these attributes in your future position.
By Crystal Norris, R.N.
Obstetric nurses, according to some - are the spoiled princesses of the hospital. They have a reputation of having the sweet, sought-after job of rocking babies, changing diapers, and dealing with whining women with a case of TOBP (tired of being pregnant). Ask any ER nurse, however, and they will tell you that there's nothing scarier than a pregnant woman in a crisis.
OB nursing is so much more than the stereotypes portray. In this article, we will discuss the typical working environment of registered nurses in LDRP (Labor & Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum). Also, we will review job duties expected from RNs, skills to acquire, and personality traits needed to excel in OB nursing. If labor and delivery nursing is a field that piques your interest, use this article as a guide to the nursing job of your dreams!
Welcome to Labor and Delivery!
There are two typical birthing center settings found in most hospitals in the United States. Traditionally, a woman in labor would go to Labor and Delivery first, delivery her baby there. Then it is off to the postpartum unit where babies spend time in the nursery while moms rest and recover. Baby friendly LDRP units, however, are gaining popularity in modern times. This newer unit layout keeps mom and baby together to foster bonding and continuity of care.
By Tyler Faust, R.N.
Cover letters are often overlooked as an important part of the application process for nursing jobs. When looking to separate yourself from other applicants, a well-written cover letter can not only tell the hiring manager more about who you are but also help you stand out compared to other candidates. A strong cover letter is an integral part of putting together the best application possible. Let’s discuss how to develop a high-quality cover letter as a nurse. A quality cover letter must:
Be Clearly Written
Every sentence in a cover letter should be valuable to the reader/hiring manager. It must be clearly written and succinct. Often there is a tendency to add filler words such as “really” and “very” or even write sentences that could be broken down into shorter sentences without losing meaning. Although there are many ways to structure your cover letter, writing a cover letter in a chronological format is a great way to start. Be sure to infuse the intent behind your career moves along the way. Let’s discuss an example:
I started my career as an inpatient nurse on a medical GI unit to develop critical thinking and nursing skills and then transitioned to the ambulatory setting to diversify my experiences by exposing myself to a different practice setting.
This example outlines the clinical experience while discussing the desires to develop important skills. It tells the hiring manager a lot more about the candidate than a resume can because it shares the motivations and “why” behind the experiences.
By Johanna Galyen, R.N.
Hospital orientation isn't just for new grads. Whether you've moved to a entirely new hospital or moved to a new unit/floor, you need to know the lay of the land. Now if they could, most nurses would prefer to skip orientation all together and just miraculously know where everything is and how the unit flows. But we all know that's not the case, so here are four things that you can do to help get yourself your next orientation process.
Expect the Mundane, but Necessary
HIPAA compliance, fire safety, the color of codes — can all seem obvious until you need them. When you start working at a new hospital, there can be a lot of redundancy in the training. Even in times of short staffing, some hospitals may require you to watch training videos and take tests on fire safety just like new employees do. Instead of tuning out during the lectures, make a game out of trying to figure out how this hospital or unit is different than what you’re used to.
By Tyler Faust, R.N.
In last Tuesday's blog post, we discussed how to tactfully highlight key experiences, differentiate yourself from other candidates, and showcase the value you offer. Today we'll discuss three other ways to structure your resume and cover letter that will help you build the best resume and cover letter possible.
1. Prepare the Hiring Manager for the Interview
The resume and cover letter set the stage for what the hiring manager is expecting from you during the interview. In other words, your resume and cover letter should tell a great deal about you and highlight your strengths. Highlighting your strengths is a technique that can be referred to as personal branding, and is basically a creative way of highlighting two or three key attributes you possess through your resume and cover letter. Generally, personal branding is expressed in a creative way, rather than in general, generic terms. Refrain from ordinary descriptors such as "great leader", "creative nurse", or "respectful individual" for personal branding. Find creative ways that are more specific to what you intend to bring the position and incorporate them into your resume and a cover letter such as "catalyst visionary", "dynamic leader", or "compassionate healer".
Personal branding isn’t simply to make yourself sound great. You actually have to back the characteristics up. This will take much reflection and understanding of yourself and strengths. These themes will need to be felt during the interview process as well so don’t carelessly incorporate personal branding characteristics into your resume and cover letter that you found during a Google search.
By Crystal Norris, R.N.
Most people, when deciding to go to nursing school, feel like they know what it is like to be a nurse. They develop their perception of nursing from family and friends who may be nurses, or even television or the movies. Let me tell you though - real nursing isn't like what you see on Grey's Anatomy. That's a good thing, though! Who needs all the drama? In this article, we will discuss how to plan, prepare, and prioritize your shift to ensure that you are getting the most out of your 12-hours.
Planning starts before your feet hit the unit floor. The night (or day for all our night shifters out there - see our "Night Shift Nursing Survival Guide" article) before your shift, make sure you have your nursing bag packed with all your essentials including an extra pair of scrubs for unexpected incidents! It is always a great idea to include high protein snacks (in case of an emergency, and you don't get to eat lunch!). Also, plan to get adequate sleep the night before.
By Tyler Faust, R.N.
Now that you have given adequate consideration to what you want your next job to be and have been putting yourself in situations to develop yourself into not only a great nurse but a great candidate, it’s time to prepare for the job application process. Make no mistake about it, this side of career advancement is of enormous importance. Being the best candidate is only part of the battle; the other part is proving that you’re the best candidate. How do you do this? Well, you have to speak the language of hiring managers. If you put through a weak and unprofessional resume and cover letter, you might feel good about it but the hiring manager might not translate your application the same way. Here are seven things your resume and cover letter should accomplish:
1. Tactfully Highlight Key Experiences
A quality nurse resume and cover letter will highlight key experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Candidates that simply put every experience they can think of will not have a high-quality resume and cover letter. Hiring managers don’t want to sift through information to pick out valuable experiences. A quality resume and cover letter will give the hiring manager exactly what they want. Nothing more, nothing less. You don’t want to give them the sense you’re adding a lot of “fluff” or meaningless information. On the other hand, you obviously don’t want to leave out valuable experiences relevant to the posted position. Find the right balance.