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Volume 2, Issue 1
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The Student Nurse Advisor - Volume 2, Issue 1 - January 15, 2002

The Student Nurse Advisor

The #1 E-Zine for Nursing Students!

Welcome to the January, 2002 issue of The Student Nurse Advisor, your first source for nursing articles, topical news and student resources!

Special Report:  Nursing Liability
Career Profiles
Feature Articles:
Regular Features:

SPECIAL REPORT:  Nursing Liability

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

 Nursing Malpractice: Understanding the Risks
The potential for a malpractice suit is a reality for all nurses. Your best protection is to know the circumstances where you're most at risk, then make sure you avoid any mistakes when functioning in them. This won't make you immune to malpractice charges, but it will strengthen your protection against them and fortify your defense if one occurs.

 Liability, UAPs and You
Health care facilities often cut costs by replacing nurses with lower-paid, less-skilled workers. Called unlicensed assistive personnel (UAPs), these workers may insert catheters, perform electrocardiograms, suction tracheostomy tubes, change dressings, and perform other traditional nursing tasks.  Supervising unlicensed employees increases your malpractice risks. To protect yourself, learn what courts and juries have had to say when patients sue.

 Protection from Negligence Lawsuits
While the number of professional negligence lawsuits rise, plaintiffs continue to receive astronomically high rewards. Increased patient awareness of health care issues directly increases the number of complaints and litigation. Unfounded or founded, chances are a nurse you know will either become personally involved in a professional negligence action or know another nurse who is sued for negligence.

 Legal Aspects of Documentation
Health care professionals, including nurses, must completely and appropriately document all aspects of patient care in a timely manner. As the old adage goes, "If it isn't documented, it wasn't done." Documentation remains one of the least satisfying aspects of the health-care professionals' job and one of the most frequently encountered legal concerns in health care today.

 Abbreviations: A Shortcut to Disaster
Are you putting your patient-and your career--at risk by using abbreviations? Nurses are supposed to be communicators, especially when documenting patient information. But if what you write doesn't communicate, then you've failed in your professional and legal responsibilities. Furthermore, you've failed your patient and employer, thereby putting all at risk.


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

 Ambulatory Care Nurse: The Role of a Nurse in an Ambulatory Care Setting
Working in an ambulatory care setting can be a challenging nursing experience. Traditionally nurses equate a “high-tech” environment with the most challenging experiences, but if you consider the day-to-day skills used in the outpatient setting, and you might feel differently.

 Cardiac Nurse: A Day in the Life of a Cardiac Rehab Nurse
Follow a cardiac rehab nurse throughout a full day at the clinic to learn more about this fascinating specialty area.

 Disability Management Nurse: Disability Management is a New Niche for Nurses
A year ago, Bob Miller, whose case I had followed for nearly two years, died after a long battle with cancer. I grieved for Bob and tried to comfort his wife, Karen, as best I could. What makes this rather usual story unusual, though, is that during the time I knew and cared for Bob, I never met him face-to-face. Never took his temperature. Never inserted an IV line. Never gave him medication. What kind of strange nursing do I practice?


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

 Effective Decision Making for the Clinical Nurse
This article explains clinical nurses' expanded decision-making role, describes habits that can undermine effective decision making, and provides information on enhancing decision-making skills.

 Touch, Massage and Nursing
Positive Health
This article will look at some of the reasons why nurses feel comfortable about including massage in their repertoire of therapeutic skills, exploring practice that runs from purposeful nurturing touch to a specific therapeutic intervention requiring complex knowledge and skills.

 Venipuncture Techniques
SUNY Upstate Medical University
This tutorial offers a general and technique-specific guidelines for venipuncture, as well as tips for troubleshooting and information on complications.

 Initiation of Parenteral Nutrition in Adults
This online module was developed to teach nursing and pharmacy professionals about the processes commonly used to provide parenteral (intravenous [IV]) nutrition, and accepted methods for prescribing and initiating safe and effective parenteral nutrition (PN) therapy.

 Imaging for Idiots
University of Manchester
Imaging For Idiots is an easy to use resource to help medical and other bioscience students to get to grips with MRI and CT scanning. Both of these radiological techniques are notoriously hard to understand for students and doctors alike. Imaging For Idiots will help turn you into an amateur consultant radiologist without all the hassle of training.


Latex-Free Sprague Light Stethoscope Nurse Kit
Review by Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

Here's a handy kit for the new student nurse at a price that can't be beat!'s Latex-Free Sprague Light Stethoscope Nurse Kit is a complete student starter set that includes a sprague light stethoscope (your choice of colors), a nylon organizer with matching velcro tabs, a bandage scissor, a penlight and a three-color pen.  

I have this set in navy blue, and I am very pleased with it. My biggest concern pre-order was with the stethoscope.  Would I be able to hear with it?  It's not a cardiac scope obviously, but the sound quality is surprisingly very good.  The organizer pouch is great with an extra pocket or two for any other small tools or notepads you want to carry.  Allheart is offering the kit for $25.94 plus shipping, and the product is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.  

Visit to check out this great buy, or to browse their complete line of stethoscopes and nursing tools.


This month, The Student Nurse Advisor offers some tips for getting organized during clinicals:
DO plan your care in advance - develop a flexible plan of action to guide your day that complements your patient's schedule
DO gather all materials you will need before entering a patient's room
DO take vitals and complete an assessment first thing
DON'T rely on scraps of paper for notes - use a small notebook to keep everything together


Care plans making you crazy?  Download our free care plan template!

Nursing students write care plans.  A lot of care plans.  Wouldn't it be great if you had a predefined template, so you would only need to fill in the blanks? We thought so, too - so we created a nifty care plan template you can download for free.  The Student Nurse Forum's care plan template is a handy Microsoft Word document that will save you time and headaches! Simply download the file, open a new document in Word using the CarePlan template and fill in the blanks!

Click here to visit our care plan page, full of care plan resources and our free template: Care Plans


Ways to Cope with Stress

1. Use your MasterCard to pay your Visa and vice-versa.
2. When someone says "have a nice day", tell them you have other plans.
3. Make a list of things to do that you have already done.
4. Fill out your tax form using Roman Numerals.
5. Stick a post-it that says, "Out to Lunch" on your forehead.
6. Read the dictionary upside down and look for secret messages.
7. Start a nasty rumor and see if you recognize it when it comes back to you.
8. Write a short story using Alphabits cereal.
9. Make up a language and ask people for directions in it.
10. Bill your doctor for time spent in his waiting room.

Thank you for subscribing to The Student Nurse Advisor!  We welcome your thoughts always. Please e-mail Stephanie Thibeault at with your comments and suggestions!

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