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Volume I, Issue 4.
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The Student Nurse Advisor - Volume I, Issue 4 - March 15, 2001

The Student Nurse Advisor

The #1 E-Zine for Nursing Students!

Welcome to the March, 2001 issue of The Student Nurse Advisor, your first source
for nursing articles, topical news and student resources!  The Spring semester is half finished and many of you are counting the days until graduation and your first job as an LPN or RN.  To help expose you to the many career options in the profession, we've added a new feature - Profiles In Nursing.  Each month we will feature a different specialty area - this month, we're spotlighting Oncology Nurses!

Special Report:  The Nursing Shortage
Best Practice News:
Feature Articles:
Profiles in Nursing: NEW MONTHLY FEATURE!
Regular Features:

 SPECIAL REPORT:  The Nursing Shortage

NOTE:  To read the full article, click on the title.

 The Nursing Shortage:  Not A Simple Problem - No Easy Answers
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
Numerous factors are influencing both the supply of registered nurses as well as the demand for nursing services. Of particular concern is the negative impact that the current nursing practice environment is having on the retention of registered nurses as well as the ability of the profession to recruit students. Other factors driving this present nursing shortage include the increasing age of working nurses and the potential for retirement; the aging of nursing faculty impacting the capacity of nursing schools; and poor wage compensation. The continual swing in the supply of and demand for nursing services will always be present; however, it is time that nursing sat at the policy-making table with the other decision makers to better anticipate the nature of these changes and how to address them.

 Nurses Lobby for Ailing Profession
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
With harrowing workplace tales to tell, nearly 400 nurses rallied Thursday at the State House in Massachussetts.  The bills the nurses were lobbying include one that would mandate higher nurse staffing levels in hospitals, and a legislative package from state Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, to remedy the acute nursing shortage with scholarships, loan programs and signing bonuses.

 Hundreds of RNs to Discuss Solutions to Nursing Care Crisis March 12-13 in Sacramento
Business Wire
Hundreds of direct care RNs from throughout California will hold a two-day conference in Sacramento Monday and Tuesday, March 12-13 to discuss solutions to the state's growing nursing care crisis. A centerpiece of the event will be the presentation of CNA's proposed nurse-to-patient ratios as required by AB 394, the landmark CNA-sponsored law enacted in 1999. "Strong, effective, and enforceable ratios are critical to assuring public safety, and to reversing the erosion of care standards in our hospitals that is a pre-requisite to reversing the hospital nursing shortage," said CNA President Kay McVay, RN

 Psychiatric Nurses Hard to Hire, Keep: State Hospital Struggling with Staffing Problems
Delaware Online News Journal
A worldwide nursing shortage has made it hard for the Delaware Psychiatric Center to recruit a full staff.
Federal regulators last month threatened to stop reimbursing for care because of a staffing shortage. It was the second time in 14 months that the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration had cited conditions that put patients' health and safety at risk.

 The Nursing Shortage:  Solutions for the Short and Long Term
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
With predictions that this nursing shortage will be more severe and have a longer duration than has been previously experienced, traditional strategies implemented by employers will have limited success. The aging nursing workforce, low unemployment, and the global nature of this shortage compound the usual factors that contribute to nursing shortages. For sustained change and assurance of an adequate supply of nurses, solutions must be developed in several areas: education, healthcare deliver systems, policy and regulations, and image. This shortage is not solely nursing's issue and requires a collaborative effort among nursing leaders in practice and education, health care executives, government, and the media. This paper poses several ideas of solutions, some already underway in the United States, as a catalyst for readers to initiate local programs.


NOTE:  To read the full article, click on the title.

 Pulmonary Best Practices: Reducing Nosocomial Pneumonia in Critical Care
Best Practice Network
Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) has the highest associated morbidity and mortality of all nosocomial infections. An interdisciplinary team at one hospital set out to reduce the rate of HAP in the ICU.  When the best practice plan was implemented, it not only proved to be cost effective in terms of LOS and ventilator days, but additionally evidenced secondary gains of increased collegiality, enhanced nutrition for these patients, and a more cost effective use of specialty beds.

 Nutrition and Hydration in Long Term Care
Quality Improvement Nurse
This summary of an HCFA satellite boradcast covers the most current information related to nutrition and hydration in the long-term care setting including causes, complications and concerns related to weight loss and dehydration.

 ICN on Poverty and Health:  Breaking the Link
International Council of Nurses
The World Bank estimates that there are around 1.5 billion extremely poor people in the world. For those living in poverty, the impact reaches far beyond income and monetary matters: the greatest adversities are the lost opportunities to develop essential human capabilities. Poverty is a disease that saps people’s energy, dehumanises them and creates a sense of helplessness and loss of control over one’s life. Illiteracy, ill health, malnourishment, environmental risks and lack of choices contribute to the perpetual cycle of poverty and ill health. Health is a vital asset for the poor. Without health, a person’s potential to escape from poverty is weakened due to lost time, labour, income, and the burden of health care costs.


NOTE:  To read the full article, click on the title

 Effective Communication
Pat Mahan,
This new series by Pat Mahan takes a look at communication and offers practical ways to develop this essential skill.  Effective Communication, the first article in the series, discusses the effects of both verbal and non-verbal communication.  Future issues will cover related topics, including how to recognize different communication styles (and identify your own), how to overcome barriers to effective communication, identifying keys to building rapport, and managing conflict effectively.

 An Introduction to Care Plan Writing
Darla Poole
This article is designed to be a general introduction to writing a nursing care plan (NCP) for students and  will give you the "main ideas" behind NCPs and NDx (nursing diagnoses).

 Test Preparation
Muskingum College Learning Stategies
Performance on exams is determined to a great extent by the nature of one's preparation. In this respect, the quality of test preparation is more important than the quantity of preparation. Contrary to most students' beliefs, the way one prepares for an exam is much more significant than the length of time one prepares. The strategies discussed in this article espouse this view.

 The Cornell Note-Taking Technique
Brigham Young University
Forty years ago, Walter Pauk (1989) developed what is known as the Cornell Note-Taking Technique to help Cornell University students better organize their notes. Today, Pauk's notetaking technique is probably the most widely used system throughout the United States. In this article, Pauk outlines the six steps in the Cornell notetaking system: record, reduce, recite, reflect, review, recapitulate.


NOTE:  To read the full article, click on the title

 Oncology Nurse
Oncology nurses care for those with cancer.  The complex needs of patients with cancer and their families require the special competencies, knowledge and skill of oncology nurses.  "Oncology nurses are drawn to the specialty by varied forces, but they almost all stay in the field for one reason – the patients, always the patients. A career in oncology nursing requires the high-tech skills of a critical care nurse, the psychosocial skills of a behavioral health professional, the organizational abilities of a medical surgical RN, the hope and spirituality of a chaplain, and the counseling and community contacts of a social worker. Compassion, a big heart, and a healthy dose of humor also are prerequisites for working in this field."*


Martin's Quick-E Assessment
Review by Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

Here at the Student Nurse Forum, we are big fans of the Martin Quick-E Clinicial Reference Guides, and Bandido Books' latest release, Martin's Quick-E Assessment & Physical Exam Nursing Reference, is another "must-have."  This laminated, pocket-sized quick reference book is an invaluable tool for succeeding in clinicals, using a "head-to-toe" format to aid in collecting key clinical information.  The guide is even color-coded so you can flip right to the page you need.  The Quick-E Assessment includes information on taking health history, conducting the physical exam, physical assessment tests for all major body systems and functional groups, characteristics of common conditions, descriptions of abnormal findings and their significance, and many other assessment aids.  The format is easy-to-read and very user-friendly.  This top-notch guide rates another A+!
Paperback, 44 pages; $19.95

To order Martin's Quick-E Assessment & Physical Exam Nursing Reference, visit our Book Shop or stop in to your local book retailer.  For other great nursing reference books, please visit Bandido Books, Nursing At Clinical Speed!
Review by Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum is an amazing web resource for nursing students with over 1,000 pages of information and quality resources.  Of special interest to students is their online research tool, the Electric Library.  With its user-friendly format, you only need to type in a question and it will return links to pertinent resources from the references of your choice (newspapers, books, magazines, radio/TV transcripts, etc.).  Medi-Smart also offers an extensive student resource center and the Medi-Focus Med Center ( a comprehensive online guide to over 200 chronic and life-threatening conditions).  If you're looking for information on clinical procedures, nursing protocols, pharmacology, patient education, drug calculations, conversions, etc., this site is well worth the visit (and a bookmark for returning often).  Be sure to check out the nursing discussion forums and humor sections while you're there!


This month, The Student Nurse Advisor offers some tips on forming and using study groups:
Go through your notes together. Sometimes someone else puts information down in an especially memorable way. Sometimes someone else catches something you missed.
Sit in the front row! Most study groups form from those you associate with during classes. So select your lab partner with care and sit in the front row with the students who are (or want to be) brilliant.
Divide and conquer! Assign a portion of each chapter or assignment to each member of your group. Each person is to make up study questions for their portion and distribute copies to the others. Presto! Your own practice exam!


Questions About School or Nursing Practice? Ask-A-Nurse!

Looking for employer-sponsored tuition repayment programs in your area?  Need a simplified explanation of hemodynamics for critical care nursing?  Wondering where you can find samples of process recordings or the latest information on sociological epidemiology?  Ask-A-Nurse!  

Ask-A-Nurse is our Q&A column for students and other individuals interested in the nursing profession. Research and education questions are answered by the site leader, and questions related to nursing practice are answered by one or more members of our experienced nursing panel.  Turnaround time is great - most questions are answered within one week.  Topics previously covered include nursing salaries, education and licensure requirements, help with essays and lots of research questions for nursing papers.  All questions and answers are archived for your reference, so stop by and browse!  Or, if you have a question of your own, send it in - we'll hunt down the answers you need!  Visit the Ask-A-Nurse column on the Student Nurse Forum today!


Top 10 Signs You're In A Bad Hospital
From the Late Show with David Letterman  - Top 10 List for March 15, 1995:
10. You go in for routine surgery, you come out with a tail.
  9. You recognize your doctor as the kid who was mopping the lobby when you checked in.
  8.  Instead of a sponge bath, they send a St. Bernard to lick you.
  7.  As you're going under, your surgeon says, "Man, I am baked!"
  6.  In the operating room, you are attended by a man in a bio-containment suit.
  5.  Every couple of minutes, you hear a bugle playing Taps.
  4.  All the diplomas on the wall are signed by Sally Struthers.
  3.  You and your roommate have to take turns on the I.V.
  2.  Through the fog of anesthesia, you hear the surgeon shouting, "Bring the damn scotch tape!"
  1.  Instead of "patient," they use the term "plaintiff."

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