On average, a registered nurse earns about $80,000 a year. Of course, this does depend on your credentials, experience, education, and a number of other factors.
Even so, if you’re thinking of getting your own RN license, know that a decent income is a definite possibility. And although the journey to becoming a nurse isn’t the same for everyone, there are a few things that anyone can do to get the most out of their learning experiences.
Do read our carefully outlined steps to getting your license below for more insight.
1. Studying the Requirements Specific to Your State
The very first thing you ought to do is look up the requirements specific to your state. Some states are a part of the nurse licensure compact which enables you to practice across multiple states with the same license.
Additionally, be on the lookout for other necessary requirements in the form of education, background checks, and more. Once you’re familiar with the rules within your state, you can then move on to getting the education you need.
2. Complete an Accredited Program
Find an accredited nursing program that’s approved by your State’s board of nursing. Since you want to pursue an RN license, you have to take a course that caters to that kind of training.
Make sure that whatever course you take is accredited and recognized. Your education will ultimately determine your job opportunities and salary to a large extent. When an institution is accredited it means that it meets that bare minimum standard set by the state board.
Find a good nursing school with a good track record, reviews, and credentials. Also, be on the lookout for scholarships or financial aid if you need it.
In addition to the usual program getting other nursing certifications are a great way to boost your employability and resume.
3. Get Experience Working Under an RN
During your course, you will have the opportunity to intern or work under an RN. Do take it to earn experience in your field and get on-field, practical knowledge about your job.
Supervised clinical experience is how everyone starts their careers, and it’s an important stepping stone to getting your own license to practice.
4. Apply for an RN License
You can apply for your license during the final months of your course, or after your course. If you want to expedite the process, apply towards the end, before your graduation.
Most states will allow you to access the application online. You may be asked to provide transcripts and pay a standard application fee. Once again, do note that the exact requirements will vary from one state to another.
Depending on your state policy, you may even be able to get a temporary license to practice.
5. Pass the NCLEX
Every one of the United States has the same licensing exam. This is the NCLEX. If you’re applying for an RN license, you’ll need to take the NCLEX-RN which might cost you approximately $200.
Your application is usually reviewed, and if accepted you’ll get around ninety days to schedule a test. Now, you can only take these tests once a year, so be sure to study and practice with the assistance of practice tests and other available material.
You can find good practice tests at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. These computerized tests are designed to mimic what the real NCLEX is like. Once you’ve taken these, you’ll definitely feel more confident about taking the NCLEX.
Of course, this is not mandatory, but it does help if you’re someone who experiences test anxiety and would like to feel more prepared.
You have around 6 hours to complete your test, which follows computerized adaptive testing. This form of testing is one that adapts to the user during the test. If it senses that you are knowledgeable and well versed with your material, it may progress to more challenging questions.
The test stops when the algorithm determines your results with certainty or if you run out of time or questions. Depending on what state you’re in you will have to wait a few days until you get your final results. This usually takes around six to eight weeks.
6. Make Sure You Meet All Other Additional Requirements
Once you’ve cleared your exam, you have clear additional requirements required by your state. This could range from criminal background checks or an examination of professional and legal past. While having some sort of criminal history by itself should not automatically invalidate your license, withholding information could have different consequences.
It is advisable to be upfront and honest at the very beginning, rather than get found out later on and have your license suspended. You may also be required to sign waivers or other documents that give access to personal background information.
7. Getting a License in Another State
It isn’t necessary for you to go through this entire process again if you want to practice in another state. You will need to get your license verified by the state you used to practice in, and in some cases, you might have to take a refresher course.
However, as far as education or taking the NCLEX goes, you can skip them for the new state license.
Follow These Steps to Getting Your License
By following the above steps to getting your license, you should be an RN in no time. You can then explore various opportunities like working with a clinic or finding travel nursing assignments that work for you.
Once you get your license, be sure to check our website for the best travel nursing jobs available to you. We bring you the best assignments with the best pay rate around!Read More
As an increasing number of people start seeing the environment (and their wellbeing) as a priority, cities have no choice but to adapt to this new mindset, and one of the main ways in which this occurs is through the creation of bike lanes.
Citizens want to switch their cars by their bikes, and in order to do so safely, they need to have the right infrastructures.
The question is, which cities are most ahead when it comes to this fast pacing trend?
Discover the answer today, as we list six of the most bikeable cities in America!
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
In Minneapolis, you’ll find 40 miles of bike-accessible paths, which were once the abandoned railroads of the city.
However, there’s even more to come for cyclists in Minneapolis, as the city is currently working on a transportation plan that puts bike-friendliness as a number one priority.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Divvy is the second biggest bike-share system in the U.S. and guess where it comes from… Chicago!
Although it is a busy city, you won’t have a hard time finding bike lanes and parks everywhere, and hey, cycling by the beach while feeling the fresh breeze on your face doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it?
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland has 385 miles of bike lanes, which are valued at $60 million, and that were used, in 2017, by over 22,000 people to get to work, making it a platinum bicycle-friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Need we say more?
4. Austin, Texas
In Austin, you’ll find nearly ten miles of protected bike lanes and there’ll be no shortage of people riding around in their bikes, whether they’re commuting or simply having fun.
Chances are that these lanes will grow and become even better over the next few years, as the city is expanding, so we’d say this is a great choice for any cyclist!
5. Manhattan, New York
When you think of New York, you probably picture the busiest city on Earth, which is why you might be wondering…
“How will I ever ride my bike there?!”
The truth is that it is possible, as over the past five years, the city’s Department of Transportation has built bike routes that go on for 330 miles, and the number of people biking there has been on the rise since then.
6. New Orleans
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged countless infrastructures in New Orleans, forcing the city to repair and rebuild them.
During this recovery phase, the city decided to invest in roadways and parks where cyclists could ride safely, and the residents were undoubtedly big fans of this change, as New Orleans became on the most biked cities in America.
Which Bikeable City Will You Move to?
When it comes to turning its cities into more bikeable and accessible spots, America is definitely putting in the work. Now all that’s left is for you to choose where you want to move!
No matter which city you pick, remember that with Stability Healthcare, you can easily find great travel nursing placements. Sign up today!Read More
It is an important time in history for healthcare professionals to examine their own internal biases, and also look at the health care system as a whole. Studies have shown that by and large, Black Americans get less, and sometimes worse, care than white Americans. And much of this discrepancy comes from a distrust sown from years of abuse. We have a list of books you can read to gain a deeper understanding of this history. But if you want a quick overview, here are some things you should know about healthcare and racism.
The Tuskegee experiment
The Tuskegee experiment wasn’t the first time that healthcare professionals mistreated black patients, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. But the 40 year study on syphilis that started in 1932 would become infamous among Black people in America. And it would come to represent the way white medical professionals value Black lives. So as a nurse, it’s important you know what happened.
In Macon County, Alabama, 600 Black men were chosen as subjects for a study on untreated syphilis among Black communities. But most of them had no idea they were participating in the study. It was conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and involved blood tests, x-rays, spinal taps and eventually, autopsies of the subjects. The men chosen for this study, mostly because doctors had recognized syphilis in their lab reports, were simply told they were being treated for “bad blood.” And many received no treatment at all.
Even after penicillin was discovered as a safe and reliable cure for syphilis, the majority of men did not receive it.
On top of knowingly allowing Black men to die of a treatable disease, the experiment was rooted in pseudoscience and incorrect, racist theories of medicine. Scientists at the time believed Black men to be naturally hyper-sexual, and thus more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. They attributed the lower birth rate and higher miscarriage rates among black communities to STDs, without any real evidence of this being true. Many doctors and medical professionals operated under the assumption that Black men had larger genitals but smaller brains, and thus were inherently sexually perverse and immoral. This kind of pseudoscience helped reinforce the most common motive for lynching black men: accusing them of raping white women. Thus the most brutal forms of racism during the Jim Crow era were inherently linked to healthcare and to the Tuskegee Experiment itself, which in some ways existed to service sexual stereotypes about Black communities.
It was also at the root of scientists’ hypothesis that Black men and women were so unintelligent that they would not seek treatment for syphilis or other diseases. By the 1950s, though, doctors involved in the study were actively trying to stop their patients from learning of or seeking treatment for their disease. And even against their best efforts, 30 percent of subjects who survived to that point had received penicillin treatments.
None of it made sense. Saying that Black men were too “stoic” to seek out or retain treatment for syphilis was inherently flawed because their subjects were told they were already receiving treatment. But the point was to reinforce the idea that Black communities are less likely to seek out medical treatment and thus their higher death and infection rates made sense, absent of any medical malice. It’s important to note because this belief still exists in medicine today.
There’s a lot more to learn about the experiment. This site gives a great and more detailed overview. A final note on the study: It continued until 1972, two decades after the Nuremberg code was written to prohibit harmful human experimentation.
Eugenics and forced sterilization
There were 5,000 black women sterilized without their consent from 1933 to 1973 in North Carolina alone. Never heard of forced sterilization? This is how it happened.
Back in 1849, a Texas biologist and physician proposed a bill mandating sterilization of the mentally handicapped and any of those possessing genes he deemed “undesirable.” The proposed law was rooted in a growing philosophy of the time called eugenics. Eugenics was a belief, largely held by scientists, that you could improve the human species by controlling reproduction, only allowing the birth of children whose parents have “desirable” genetic traits. It was inherently racist. The bill didn’t come to a vote in 1849, but it was the first of its kind. And would come up again and again in the decades to come.
Finally by 1909, Indiana, California and Washington all successfully passed mandatory sterilization laws for the “feebleminded,” meaning mentally handicapped. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization was not against the constitution. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”.
By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized in state-run eugenics programs, according to investigative reporters for NBC News. NBC interviewed women who had gone into the hospital for some kind of procedure, sometimes to give birth, and afterwards, without their consent, were sterilized. One woman, Elaine Riddick, discovered records that an 8-person eugenics board in Raleigh, North Carolina had deemed her “feebleminded” and “promiscuous” and recommended she be sterilized. She was only 13 years old at the time, and was pregnant after being raped by her neighbor. This was what eugenics programs did. A group of white men assessed patients they had never met and deemed whether they were fit to bear children.
This practice was all but endorsed by the White House in the 1970s, when the Nixon administration dramatically increased Medicaid-funded sterilization of low-income Americans, predominantly people of color. While Nixon’s policy required voluntary consent from patients, this restriction was largely evaded. Thousands of patients have come forward to say that they were sterilized without their consent. Almost all of them were black women, Native American women and Puerto Rican women. The last known legal forced sterilization was performed in Oregon in 1981.
Sickle Cell disease
It’s widely known among the medical community that sickle cell disease is more common among Black Americans. Sickle cell is a genetic disease that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body, and it can cause chronic pain, multi-organ failure and stroke. Because sickle cell is genetic and scientists guess that it began in West Africa, Americans with a strong African ancestry are more likely to have it.
It’s no coincidence that sickle-cell impacts Black Americans more acutely than any other race and sickle-cell research receives far less funding than comparable diseases. There are more cases of sickle cell than cystic fibrosis, yet cystic fibrosis receives 3.5 times more funding. For this reason, there has been far less progress in treating and preventing sickle cell, even though 1 out of 13 black babies are born with the genetic trait.
While life expectancy for almost every major medical condition has increased in recent years, the life expectancy for sickle-cell has decreased. In 1994, life expectancy for sickle cell patients was 42 for men and 48 for women. By 2005, life expectancy had dipped to 38 for men and 42 for women.
It’s not just about funding and research. The way patients with sickle-cell are treated plays a large role in their ability to survive the disease. Many cases of sickle-cell get misdiagnosed, even though a genetic test will make it clear whether a patient has the trait. One medical student said that she was taught to be careful with sickle-cell testing because “they might become de facto paternity tests.” While a sickle-cell test does reveal genetic inheritance patterns, so do tests for cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs disease. She said there was never a concern about revealing a different “baby-daddy” in these other tests.
Sickle-cell involves dramatic episodes of pain, which need to be treated or they can result in death. But many patients are told to go home, or are left waiting in an emergency room for hours when they are admitted for a sickle-cell flare up. This connects to a pattern of medical professionals continually doubting and undermining the pain of their Black patients.
There’s a fact getting passed around the internet recently that encapsulates the problem with how Black patients are treated: Black Americans were actually spared in the opioid addiction crisis because physicians were so resistant to prescribing them pain medication.
According to MedPage Today, white patients are twice as likely to receive opioids for migraines or back pain as black patients. This is rooted in the false belief that Black patients feel pain less acutely than white patients. A study in 2016 found that half of white medical students in a 200+ person survey believed that there were biological differences between how white and black patients experience pain. And these respondents were more likely to suggest inappropriate treatment for black patients, underscoring how false ideas about race and medicine can cause physicians to act incorrectly in many cases.
This viral Tik Tok coming from white OBG-YN Dr. Jennifer Lincoln puts it best: “It’s a holdover from the days of slavery, when white people needed to feel better about abusing slaves. Black people used to be operated on without anesthesia and were used in studies without their consent, so this was a convenient lie. To this day, Black people are less likely to get the same treatment in terms of pain medication. They’re more likely to wait longer in the emergency room. They’re less likely to be taken seriously. It’s a holdover from the days of slavery.”
As Lincoln pointed out in her Tik Tok, perception of Black pain plays a huge role in the maternal morbidity crisis, one of the most modern areas of blatant racism in healthcare.
According to the CDC, Black women in the U.S. are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy than white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Researchers also said that about 60% of all pregnancy related deaths can be prevented with better care.
Many signs of preeclampsia, a dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy which is the leading cause of maternal death, often go ignored for black patients, as the New York Times reported back in 2018. Preeclampsia and the seizures that develop after preeclampsia are 60% more common for Black women. This quote from Times piece seems most telling:
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel.”
And while some might chalk a higher infant and maternal mortality rate up to lower income and lack of education, this actually factors very little. A black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
Even American exceptionalism, or the belief that we are the leader of the world in scientific and all kinds of advancement, is brought crashing down as a result of racism. The lack of care American healthcare offers to Black mothers causes it to rank at the very top among industrial countries in infant and maternal mortality rates. That’s not a list you want to come in at #1. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality is now worse than it was 25 years ago.
Doulas, or a medically trained woman who offers guidance and support during pregnancy and birth, have made a comeback in recent years, as one potential solution to improving care for Black mothers. Community-based doula groups have popped up in cities across the country aimed at providing black women in particular the care they are not getting from their doctors.
Finally, the most recent instance of racism in healthcare is happening right now. The COVID-19 death rate for black Americans is 2.33 times higher than the death rate for white Americans, according to a report put out by the APM Research Lab on June 11. The blog Scientific American put this into context: If Black Americans were dying at the same rate white Americans were, 13,000 people would still be alive.
In today’s health crisis, there’s a throughline of all the historical racism we have detailed for you above. For a century, doctors and physicians have claimed that Black people are genetically dispositioned to contract certain diseases, to die earlier, to wait too long to seek out care. And with the great racial disparity of COVID-19, you’re seeing them do it again. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who was a doctor before he was elected, said that there were “genetic reasons” for why Black residents were dying at a higher rate than white residents. He cited no evidence. Scientists writing in Lancet and Health Affairs, some of the world’s leading medical journals, have also cited unknown genetic and biological factors as a possible cause for higher Black death in COVID-19, also providing no evidence.
The widely held concept that there are genetic factors that lead Black Americans to have higher blood pressure and diabetes is dispelled pretty well here. The reality is there are environmental factors that cause Black patients to have underlying conditions like asthma, which could make their COVID symptoms worse: higher rates of pollution in black neighborhoods, lack of quality housing, limited access to healthy food, and racial discrimination in healthcare, for starters.
On top of these underlying health conditions, the care that Black Americans receive when they get sick is also killing them at higher rates. As has been proven in studies and anecdotal evidence throughout history, doctors and physicians tend to not take Black patients’ pain as seriously as white patients. And this has been displayed as many Black patients claim to have been denied COVID-19 tests despite displaying symptoms. According to a study from research firm Rubix Life Sciences, Black patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms were six times less likely to receive testing or treatment, in comparison to white patients who exhibited symptoms.
White communities are also more likely to have more testing sites than Black neighborhoods. NPR reported that Nashville, Tennessee was initially unable to transport tests and PPE to testing sites in neighborhoods that were predominantly Black. And in Chicago, Black neighborhoods had lower testing rates than white neighborhoods.
Once again, Dr. Lincoln’s Tik Tok says it best: “Doctors, nurses, anybody in the medical field, check your implicit bias. Stop yourself every time you’re caring for somebody who has a different skin color than you and check your bias.”Read More
People have various reasons for becoming a travel nurse. For one, there’s the flexibility of time off between contracts. Then, there’s the opportunity to travel. But, with the average nursing student graduating with anywhere between $40,000 and $54,900 in debt, the pay difference compared to being a staff nurse, is reason enough to choose this lifestyle.
However, as a travel nurse, tackling your student loan debt, in addition to your traveling debt can seem quite the challenge. Don’t despair, the fact that you’re currently working as a travel nurse will help you tremendously to tackle your loans and become debt-free.
Understand Your Debt
To tackle your debt efficiently, you must understand how each one works. For example, most student loans have fluctuating interest rates and high fees. On the other hand, credit card debts tend to have high-interest rates too. But then, you have something like a mortgage, which hopefully has a fixed rate.
Most people assume tackling their most significant debt first should be their strategy. However, most financial experts agree that handling your debts with the highest interest rates, fluctuating rates, or high fees, should be your priority.
For example, the average student loan carries an interest rate of 4.53% to 7.08%. But, the average interest rate on credit cards is 15.09%. So, following the one-debt-at-a-time technique, you should focus on your credit card payments first, and then, start tackling your student loan.
Of course, each case will be different. If you’re struggling with multiple debts and loans, consider speaking to a financial expert that can help guide your decision on how to tackle debt.
Cut Down Expenses Back Home
Once you’re aware of the structure of your debt, it’s time to find ways to save more money. One way to do that? By cutting expenses back home. Check if your house qualifies as a tax home, and if there are some tax deductions, you can benefit from every year. Perhaps you can deduct meals, certain travel expenses, and even professional expenses.
If you own a home, consider if there’s a possibility to rent out a room while you’re gone. If you live by yourself, maybe listing your place on Airbnb while you’re on assignment can help you bring in additional income. Ask your cable and Internet provider to see if you can pause the service for the months you’ll be on assignment.
Otherwise, do your best to downside your permanent home and figure out ways to cut down on expenses such as gardening, utilities, and so on.
Set Up an Assignment Budget
Having a budget will help you get a better idea of where you’re spending money. Working long hours and fluctuating schedules can easily change your perspective on spending. Between transportation expenses, rent, travel arrangments, taxes, and so on, it can be easy to drop large sums of money without realizing it. Thus, ending up with more debt than ever before.
As you create your budget, set different categories for your recurring expenses, for example:
- Food and dining
- Personal products
Give yourself some wiggle room in each one of these categories to have some potential money leftover.
Then, once you can see how much money is left over, you can create a separate budget to allocate a payment towards paying your debts. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, list your debts by priorities, and highlight how much you will be able to pay each month.
Control Your Travel Expenses
Even though, as a travel nurse, you spend most of the days working, travel expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you’re using the budget to help you stay on track with your expenses. Analyze where you can cut down:
- Consider driving towards your assignment city versus flying
- Think about finding a roommate(s) to divide living expenses
- Choose smaller towns that have lower living-costs than larger cities
- Avoid eating out as much as possible
- Analyze the pros and cons of using public transportation versus renting a vehicle
Overall, being mindful of your expenses will help you work towards minimizing your debt in the long run. If you’re able to stick with your budget, managing your expenses shouldn’t be an issue.
Keep in mind that life happens, and as a travel nurse, shifts can often be everchanging, making your expenses the last thing on your mind. Consider syncing your bank account and credit cards to a budget app on your smartphone to stay organized. Make sure you have automatic payments set up for your credit cards to avoid late-fees. Set up reminders or auto-pays for your non-high-priority debts, so you can at least pay the minimum balance each month.
The Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse
Travel nurses earn slightly more than staff nurses, placing you at an advantage to tackle your debt. If you’re able to track your expenses, take advantage of tax deductions for travel nurses, and set up your budget, most likely, you’ll be able to pay off your debt.
It might be challenging in the beginning, and cut-cutting measurements might take time to become habits, but you can do this. Remember that all of these steps towards a debt-free life are somewhat temporary. Once you’re able to get rid of your most burdening debts, you’ll have to adjust your budget to make sure you remain debt-free going forward.
If you work with a travel nurse agency, remember to tap into their resources. Most travel agencies can help you with housing and travel expenses by pairing you with partners or other travel nurses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an agent and discuss your debt situation. While they might not provide financial assistance, they might be able to offer solutions to help you control your expenses.
Anti-racist reading lists have been circulating across the internet in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Non-black people who want to be better allies have been rushing to book stores to pick up Ibram X Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-Racist” or Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility.” But the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement is health care. The COVID-19 death rate for black Americans is 2.33 times higher than the death rate for white Americans, according to a report put out by the APM Research Lab on June 11. As the American Public Health Association has said, racism is a public health crisis.
It’s important for front-line workers, especially nurses, to take time to understand why these racial disparities in health persist. Black Americans aren’t simply dying of COVID-19 at higher rates because they make up a higher percentage of essential workers, although that’s a problem in itself. There’s a great mistrust of healthcare in the black community based on a long history of abuse that still continues today. There are great books written on this very issue. So if you’re a nurse, here’s YOUR reading list.
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
If you really want to understand the full history of racial abuse in health care, spanning from the days of slavery to 2007, when Medical Apartheid was published, this is the book to get you started. In grade school, you might have learned about the Tuskegee experiments, in which the government experimented on black men with syphilis for 40 years, allowing many of them to die in the process. But Washington digs into lesser known experiments that date back even further. She examines how social Darwinism and the pseudoscience of eugenics were born out of strings of experiments on slaves and freedmen. Washington’s book was revolutionary at the time it was published, because it allowed public health experts to understand that a century of abuse that sowed distrust of healthcare professionals in black America has more to do with the racial health deficit than anything else.
Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
Once you know your history, it’s time to look at how racial bias persists in healthcare today. In this deeply personal memoir, Tweedy tells a first-hand account of both the discrimination he himself faced in becoming a doctor, and what he came to learn about race and healthcare through his patients. In medical school, Tweedy heard over and over again the phrase, “more common in black than whites” about a slew of diseases. But as he came face to face with black patients, he realized there was more to the story.
Medical Bondage by Deirdre Cooper Owens
Owens zeroes in on a specific branch of medicine: gynecology. In her book “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology,” she examines how the advances of modern gynecology were built on the backs of poor black women exploited by doctors. This book is powerful in bringing to light and dispelling myths about blackness and medicine that doctors have been treating as doctrine for years. It’s important literature for understanding your own biases as a healthcare professional and the possible biases of the doctors around you.
Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination by Alondra Nelson
While the Black Panthers are most remembered for their revolutionary and militant struggle for justice, they were also trailblazers for health advocacy surrounding racism. Nelson tells the little-known history around the Black Panther’s network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination. Nelson’s deep dive into how the Black Panthers addressed health care back in the 1970s could be a guidepost for solutions proposed today.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
If you haven’t heard of the name Henrietta Lacks by now, you might be living under a rock. Oprah played her daughter in a movie! But before Skloot’s book in 2010, few knew the infamous story behind the naming of the HeLa cell. If you haven’t read Skloot’s nonfiction narrative about a black woman exploited up until her death, and her family’s fight for justice, you should definitely pick it up. Lacks’ story is just one of thousands of black women whose bodies were used for scientific advancement, despite never benefiting from those advancements.
Invisible Visits by Tina K Sacks
Sacks, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, chooses to highlight middle-class black women’s experience with health care, showing that it isn’t just poor people who are treated differently in healthcare settings, rather the issue is race-specific. The book is filled with unsettling anecdotes about black women’s pain being dismissed, and the great lengths they must go to advocate for better treatment. Sacks also discusses what must happen to end racism healthcare. We must go beyond anti-bias training and get to the root of the issue, she says.
Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality by Dayna Bowen Matthew
Speaking of solutions, Dayna Bowen Matthew offers up a comprehensive one in her 2015 book “Just Medicine.” Matthew agrees with Sacks that the money our healthcare system spends on bias training will have only a small effect on the massive death toll health disparities have cost black Americans. Through a slew of research, Matthew has determined that the greatest solution to address medical racism is through an overhaul of the legal system, putting in place legal remedies that accurately address implicit and unintentional forms of discrimination.
An American Health Dilemma: A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900 by W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton
While a little more academic, this book is comprehensive in documenting the important history, not just of how African-Americans were treated in the traditional healthcare system, but in how they developed their own kind of care and treatment. Reading this book in its entirety will give you a strong understanding of the roots of racism in health care, and the names of black medical pioneers that a traditional medical education largely leaves out.
If you’re interested in ordering any of these books online, check out this list of black-owned bookstores.Read More
Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day—and for good reason. Not only will it replenish the nutrients in your body but it’ll also boost your energy levels.
Whether you’re coming home from your night shift or getting ready to head out for your day shift, it’s definitely not something that you want to skip! Here are a few healthy recipes that you might want to try.
1. Avocado Toast (With Optional Egg)
Avocado toast is both easy to make and delicious. Start by toasting two slices of bread—you want it to be golden and crispy.
From there, peel and mash one small avocado. Add in a teaspoon of lime juice and some salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the avocado evenly onto your toast. If you prefer, you can also top it with a boiled egg, poached egg, or scrambled egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Yogurt and Berry Smoothie
This recipe is great for those with busy schedules as it takes less than five minutes to make. The first step is to gather your ingredients—we recommend using 3/4 cup of blackberries and 3/4 cup of blueberries.
Add the berries to a blender. Next, add in one cup of soy milk, one whole banana, and one pack of plain Greek yogurt. Pulse for 30 seconds.
Mix well with a fork and pulse for another 30 seconds. Serve immediately or put it in the fridge until ready to serve.
3. Cheesy Spinach Microwave Quiche
Believe it or not but you can make a quiche in the microwave. Start by adding 1/2 cup of fresh spinach into a mug. Add in two tablespoons of water.
Cover the mug with a paper towel and microwave for one minute on high. Drain the water from the spinach.
Crack an egg into the mug. Add in 1/3 cup of milk as well as 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Mix with a fork until everything is thoroughly combined.
Cover with a paper towel and microwave again for 2-3 minutes on high.
4. Banana Chia Seed Pudding
Puree two ripe bananas and 1 1/2 cup of milk in a blender. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It can be refrigerated for up to a week if you store it in an airtight container.
Making Healthy Meals For Breastfast
And there we have it—four quick and tasty breakfast recipes. The best part is that you can make them easily anytime—whether it’s before or after your shift. After all, you can’t work on an empty stomach!
Are you a travel nurse? Thinking of broadening your knowledge and experience? Feel free to give our online platform a try—we offer exciting travel nursing opportunities that can expand your career prospects.
Interested? Check out our travel nursing jobs page for more!Read More
World Oceans Day is held every year on June 8th to raise awareness of the vital importance of our oceans and the role they play in sustaining a healthy planet. To celebrate, we’re sharing 8 of our favorite Stability placements on the ocean. Now that the sun is getting hotter and the days are getting longer, there’s no better time to take a job on the beach… or at least near a beach.
San Diego, CA
Miles of sandy beaches, surfable waves, sailboats, and a zoo. What’s not to love about San Diego? Right at the bottom of California, where it’s sunny and warm all year round, it’s hard to find a better beachtown.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
When most people not from New York think of a beach getaway, they might not think of the north shore of Long Island. But why not? Long Island’s gold coast is beautiful and much less crowded than the Hamptons. Grab a craft beer and catch a bonfire on the beach this summer after work, and you won’t be sorry.
There are two placements in Riverhead, and you can see all of our high paying New York placements here.
Fort Bragg, CA
Describing Fort Bragg sounds like you’re making up a romantic little beach town for a novel. In Northern California off the Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg is best known for Glass Beach, with its shore full of colorful glass stones. The beach is part of sprawling MacKerricher State Park, which supports varied birdlife and harbor seals. If you want a break from the ocean, you can hop onto The Skunk Train, a steam locomotive that weaves through the redwood forests of the Noyo River Canyon. This quiet old logging town is a perfect place to spend a sleepy summer in Northern California.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
A summer in South Florida is certainly one you won’t forget. Even with the restriction of COVID-19, you’re bound to have a fun time on the beach this summer. Eat some delicious Cuban food, take in the palm tree scenery, and gaze at that beautiful blue ocean.
Check out all of our Florida placements here.
This small university town on the north end of Humboldt Bay will offer you some beautiful beach days on the Gold Coast, as well as a relaxed hippie vibe to settle into after a hard day’s work. Arcata is known for its progressive politics and its vegetarian restaurants, but it’s also just outside of Crescent City, where there’s miles of white sandy beaches and the weather is always a little chilly, perfect for those long walks on the beach.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
The Western Gulf Coast of Texas is probably another beach that escapes most people’s minds when they think about where to vacation. But if you’re someone who loves wide open spaces and cheap rent, you might consider it. Brownsville might be the cheapest place in America you can live in and still be only a few miles from the ocean. And Boca Chica Park and South Padre Island boast truly beautiful beaches, with sea turtles and water parks and all.
You can look at all of our Texas placements here.
San Francisco, CA
If you want a scenic beach but you also crave city life, there’s no place better than San Francisco. As long as your calves are well equipped to walk up endless hills, you’ll experience so much culture and beauty in this city. And with Stability’s high paying placements there, you can actually afford the cost of living.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
We’re saving the best for last, because there is no beach like Venice Beach. Bring your skateboard and your hacky sack, and get ready to embrace the boardwalk lifestyle. Inglewood might be a small town landlocked outside of Los Angeles, but it’s only a 20-minute drive to Venice Beach, and a 20-minute drive the other way to Manhattan Beach. You can have it all living here, including an almost $3,000 a week placement.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.Read More
If you have the drive to help people by changing or saving their lives, then becoming an ICU nurse could be a potential career choice for you. But ICU nurses are a special make of people — not everyone can handle the pressure of an intensive care unit and the chance to save a life.
But if you believe you have what it takes to fill the shoes of a real-life hero, here’s what you need to know about pursuing a career as an ICU nurse.
What is the Exact Role of an ICU Nurse?
These types of nurses are absolutely crucial to the successful operation and management of any hospital and most importantly, the intensive care unit.
The ICU’s primary focus is to take care of people who have suffered some form of trauma, a life-threatening accident, had major surgery, organ failure, heart attack, and stroke. The ICU also looks after cancer patients who have reached a very critical point in their care.
The role of an ICU nurse is to oversee the care of a patient in an ICU unit by continually reading and monitoring their vital signs. Often times, a patient’s life falls into their hands. If their vitals are deteriorating rapidly, it’s the ICU nurse’s job to notify the right person, in the best time-frame. In some cases, an ICU nurse will have to take an intervention into their own hands. They are also required to speak with family members and doctors on a regular basis.
Most patients who go into ICU are in critical condition. Some of the most common conditions an ICU nurse will face include:
- Post-operative patients who have received an organ transplant or open-heart surgery
- Trauma patients who are recovering from near-fatal incidences such as a car accident, shooting, or assault
- Infectious patients who are suffering from dangerous conditions such as sepsis
- Stroke patients who are in need of post-operative care and physical therapy
- Cancer patients admitted for recovery after intensive chemotherapy, transplant surgery, or infection
The role of an ICU nurse is an important and stressful job — no doubt about it. But it can also be very rewarding. Learning to handle the stress of a critical moment and find your focus is essential.
Critical Traits of an ICU Nurse
So, in order to become an ICU nurse what kind of person do you need to be? Some of the over-arching qualities include:
- An ability to handle the pressure of life-and-death situations
- Being a good communicator
- Being a true team player
- Being able to multi-task
- Having commitment and dedication to working long shifts
- A knack for critical thinking
- Above-par time management skills
Aside from these personal traits, it’s also important that an ICU nurse is in good physical health. This job requires you to be on your feet for many hours a day, so physical stamina is part-and-parcel of the position.
Dealing with Difficult Situations
The atmosphere of an ICU unit can be super-charged one minute, and relatively somber the next. Being able to separate yourself emotionally from this vast range in work atmosphere is crucial.
Ultimately, an ICU nurse has to remember how important their job is and not let their own personal feelings come in the way of a life-and-death decision. But this is not to say you cannot feel or express empathy. In fact, this is another important part of the job. ICU nurses often deal with traumatic, end-of-life situations. You should be able to offer both psychological support and empathy to family members.
The same goes for applying or withholding medical care when a patient has a living will in place. If their wish is to not be kept on life support, it is your job to obey their wishes. This may feel like a completely unnatural part of the job. It goes against everything nurses are taught about saving lives. But if this is a legal wish, it must be honored.
Salary, Education and Nursing Skills
According to national data, the median annual salary for an ICU nurse is approximately $75,119 as of April 2020. However, this amount does range between $67,691 and $81,623. ICU nurses are also privy to a host of benefits including health insurance, paid leave, and 401k plans.
In order to prepare for a long-lasting and truly fulfilling career as an ICU nurse, you will have to meet a number of different qualifications, first. Ideally, you will need to study a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). This should be with an accredited university, including specialized training in life-threatening conditions.
However, a BSN is not always necessary. You can also study an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and will have to pass the NCLEX-RN national exam that qualifies you as a registered nurse. You will also need to gain experience working in a critical care setting, then take an exam to become a critical care registered nurse (CCRN).
Some of the highly specialized, additional skills an ICU nurse should hold include:
- Advanced cardiac life support
- Life support
- Trauma care
- Critical care
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Patient and family education
- Discharge planning
Essentially, a bachelor’s degree lays the important groundwork for a career in nursing. Much of this additional skill is learned through additional courses and most importantly, real-life work experience.
Build a Fulfilling Career in Nursing
If you’re interested in a career as an ICU nurse, Stability Healthcare is here to help you take your nursing career to the next level.
If you’re already a trained and experienced ICU nurse, we also offer exciting travel nursing opportunities to help broaden your experience and knowledge. If you’re interested in a new career challenge, explore our travel nursing jobs for more…Read More
Despite the grueling nature of working as a nurse in the middle of a pandemic, many students are flocking to the career. Some nursing schools have reported more than a 30 percent increase in applicants since COVID-19 broke out.
This is likely because in an uncertain economy, nursing jobs are really needed. In a report, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) said there will likely be a need for 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026, and those numbers will be even higher amid the pandemic.
But for those who are already in nursing school, on the path to gaining their RN license, the future might feel a little uncertain. While all college students are adjusting to online classes, nursing students have it a little harder. There are 500 hours of direct patient care and 1,000 hours of clinical hours required to complete a nursing program certified by the AACN. And the association has made it clear that these hours are still required, despite some hospitals that have been hesitant to invite a class of undergrads into their clinics and emergency rooms.
Nursing students face challenges on two ends of a spectrum: Some are struggling to get the clinical hours they need without proper licensing to work in a hospital, and others are being propelled onto the front lines of fighting this virus, as hospitals in particularly affected areas are struggling to maintain their staffing needs.
For those who might be feeling in over their head, we’ve interviewed a nursing student at the University of Portland about how her program is adjusting amid the pandemic.
Q: Are you still expected to do clinicals? Is that scary for you?
My clinical was in an assisted care facility so our rotation ended early to protect the residents and limit exposure. The abrupt ending was scary because we were worried about meeting our program’s clinical hour requirement but luckily we were able to do so through additional assignments.
Q: Do you feel like nursing students are getting thrown into work early because hospitals are understaffed?
I have not experienced this where I am, but I definitely heard talk of that being a possibility if hospitals turned chaotic.
Q: Has a lot of what you’re learning shifted to treating COVID-19? Or how has your curriculum changed at all during this time?
The content of my curriculum remained the same with additional lessons that incorporated emerging information about COVID-19. My cohort was supposed to start our summer semester and clinical rotation in May but for many reasons, it was canceled. Our curriculum for our senior year has been shifted and we will graduate in August of 2021 rather than May of 2021.
Q: How are you feeling during all of this? Is there something that helps keep you calm, sane?
The transition to online learning was very stressful. The shift in our curriculum and graduation date was very upsetting, but knowing that I will be able to start my senior year in the fall has kept me sane and given me something to look forward to.
What’s been the hardest part of nursing school during the pandemic for you?
Being in nursing school in the middle of a pandemic and having to switch to online learning was extremely overwhelming. The hardest part was finding the same motivation to study and focus on school, being at home with a big family rather than on campus. Although this situation has been scary and difficult, it has made me even more empowered to join this profession.
If you’re a nursing student in your final two semesters and you’re struggling financially, the AACN Foundation announced in April that they are launching a COVID-19 Nursing Student Support Fund. Students selected will receive $500 awards to help support them as they work on gaining their nursing degree. You can apply for aid here.
And if you’re considering working as a travel nurse once you graduate, check out Stability’s myriad of placements here.
Dealing with difficult patients is every nurse’s daily cup of coffee. After all, nurses tend to interact with patients when they’re at their best and worst versions of themselves. One report even goes as far as pointing out that at least 15 percent of patient encounters are what we would consider “difficult.” Yet, as nurses, caring for challenging patients is part of the job. A difficult patient can be:
- The dependent clinger that makes unreasonable demands
- The entitled demander who’s often a bully and has a long list of needs
- The manipulative will do anything to make things go their way
- The self-destructive who engages in dangerous behaviors
No matter what type of difficult patient you’re dealing with, following these helpful tools will help you stay calm and take care of yourself as well.
Give Yourself a Break
When the situation has escalated, and you start to feel tense, it can be impossible to deal with a problematic patient without taking a break. Most people will advise you not to take it seriously, but deep down, you know that’s easier said than done. After all, nurses are known for their ability to remain calm in stressful situations or to work with troublesome patients.
Communications skills are key here. Make sure you remain calm and continue to speak in a soft voice to your patient. However, allow yourself a break and set time to reset. To let it go, you need to step away from the situation. Go for a brief walk, talk to a colleague about it, fit in a quick meditation session, or maybe enjoy a sweet treat to bring the stress down. Giving yourself a break will help you come back recharged, refreshed, and ready to give it another try.
Consider the Root Cause
Patients can get irritated by infinite things while at the hospital. If you’re struggling with an angry or irritated patient, think about the root cause. Is it fear? Are they stressed? Could it be a side effect of medications? All of these are potential root causes that can improve the nurse-patient relationship. Try to think about the possible causes of their outburst. Once you understand this, it will be easier to assess the situation and know the next steps into achieving harmony. Talk to the doctors and other nurses, consider speaking to their family, whatever it takes to help you understand the patient better will help you find the best way to manage them.
Check Your Body Language
Nurses like to believe their patients can’t tell when they don’t like them. In reality, your body language speaks volumes. So does the tone of your voice. After the first rocky encounter with a patient, you might look tense, and your voice might sound more irritated, patients can quickly pick up on these pointers. At this point, both of you have your defenses up and are ready to fire at each other.
Before walking into the room or even speaking to your patient, do a body and mental check-in. Take a deep breath and remember that having an attitude towards your patient won’t do much good in the long run.
Lean on Empathy
When people say not to take it personally, they mean it. Remember that your role is about the patient and their journey. Lean on empathy and try to look at the situation from the patient’s perspective. Being at a hospital, for whatever reason, is a scary situation for anyone. Not being their best self is quite common. Lean on empathy and try to communicate your efforts for understanding how they’re feeling with your patient.
Even when you can’t 100% be in their shoes, expressing that you’re thinking about things from their perspective will make patients feel understood and cared for. It might also help them lose their guards since they’ll realize that you’re there to care for them.
Use the Behavior Agreement
Here’s the most crucial tool of all — the behavior agreement. Listen, while nurses are empathetic and caring, that’s no excuse for tolerating abuse. Set up clear boundaries with abusive patients that don’t understand these boundaries. Never let a patient yell, curse, diminish, or discredit you in any way. Ensuring they’re fully aware of these boundaries the moment they exhibit abusive behavior is paramount to stop them on their tracks.
Ask your supervisors about your abusive behavior protocols; many hospitals will allow you to be discharged from treating those patients. If that’s available to you, let the patient know that you won’t be treating them any longer due to their abusive behavior and that their abusiveness won’t be tolerated in the clinic. It’s surprising how many patients will change their demeanor after hearing such agreement and terms.
Know When to Ask for Additional Help
Sometimes, some patients will need additional help, and so will you. Recognize when you need to speak to another nurse for support. If you believe your patient might benefit from talking to a counselor or mental health specialist, don’t be afraid of raising the question. In the end, it’s all about the patient and their wellbeing.
Throughout your career as a nurse, you’ll always encounter difficult patients. Keep these helpful tools to stay centered and calm so that you can offer your patients the best care possible.Read More