Portrait Of Medical team

What Providers Should Know to Improve Patient Access to Healthcare

from Patient Engagement

Patient engagement, consumer satisfaction, and patient access to healthcare are three of the most critical pieces of the value-based care puzzle.

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The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

New Jobs

Great Large Cities For Healthcare Jobs In 2016

from Forbes

If you are on the lookout for a job in the world of healthcare, and are willing to make a geographical move to get it, you have a handful of options of different large cities in which to live.

Search Jobs in the Top Cities Mentioned in This Article:
Philadelphia, PA – 27,909 Jobs | Detroit, MI – 18,073 Jobs | Boston, MA – 38,844 Jobs
Indianapolis, IN – 9,208 Jobs | Jacksonville, FL – 4,754 Jobs | Nashville, TN – 10,432 Jobs
Memphis, TN – 5,185 Jobs | Columbus, OH – 7,183 Jobs | San Antonio, TX – 8,432 Jobs
El Paso, TX – 3,560 Jobs | Chicago, IL – 25,794 Jobs | Fort Worth, TX – 10,110 Jobs

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The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

The Best Tool For Registered Nurses

Think of all the tools available to registered nurses to help them do their jobs effectively. They have a range of factors from medical equipment and supplies, a constant stream of information made possible by the internet age, and the support of other medical professionals, who now work as the care team thanks to the new outcome-based healthcare model the United States is adopting. But even with all of these things in play, communication is still the best tool registered nurses have at their disposal.

Communication is critical in the arena of healthcare. It’s absence, would be it impossible to treat patients in a team setting and still have everyone on the same page. Communication is especially critical to the registered nurse given that he or she is the one who tends to spend the most time directly interacting with patients.


Communication in Nursing Practice, an article published by the National Institutes for Health in 2014, defines communication in the arena of nursing care as “a transaction and message creation.” It is a transaction in the sense that the registered nurse is dealing either with patients or other healthcare providers to come to some sort of agreement about care. It is message creation inasmuch as nurses play an integral role as intermediary between patient and other care providers.

Getting to Know Patients and Families

The need to communicate is an intrinsic part of being human. Unfortunately, we don’t all communicate the same way. One of the toughest jobs of a registered nurse is, learning how to communicate on multiple levels so that interacting with patients with difffernt personality types isn’t an issue. The best nurses are those, who are able to get to know patients on a level that is personal, makes the patient feel comfortable and still maintains the highest level of professional conduct.

Along with getting to know a patient comes the task of getting to know his or her family. This is especially important in a long-term care situation. Families have a right to know what is going on and have a right to contribute to the decision-making process on behalf of their ill loved ones. That means getting to know families is as important as getting to know the patients themselves.

Communicating with Other Healthcare Providers

The authors of Communication in Nursing Practice made a very poignant point in their article about message creation and receipt. What they said, in essence, is that the message created by the registered nurse is not necessarily the same message received by patients or other healthcare providers when it is communicated. This is so because different people think differently.

This reality is important to recognize when registered nurses are communicating with other healthcare professionals. Remember that nurses are trained to go above and beyond mere diagnosis and treatment to offer personal care to patients. What might be important to them as caregivers can be lost on a hospitalist doctor or GP. So just like a nurse has to learn how to communicate with different kinds of patients, he/she also has to do the same for other healthcare providers on the patient’s team.

A registered nurse who manages to master the art of communication is one who will do right by patients more often than not. He/she will be in the best position to provide adequate care, keep the healthcare team informed, work with family members to ensure patient comfort, and guide daily decision-making through experience and observation. The result is a positive outcome for patients and family.


NIH – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990376/

How To Get Your First Job as a Registered Nurse

A cursory search of nursing on your favorite news site quickly reveals the ongoing nursing shortage we hear so much about. Even so, new registered nurses can find it challenging to land that first job in an industry that is short tens of thousands of nurses. So what’s the problem? How can there be such a profound shortage yet so many newly graduated professionals cannot find work?


There are a myriad of reasons for this phenomenon, among them being healthcare facilities insisting on experience for all new hires, however, we will not be addressing that matter in this post . Rather, we want to focus on tips for getting your first job as a registered nurse. There are many jobs out there to be had, and new nurses have to keep searching until they find the right one.

Intern While You Are Searching

One of the best things a candidate can do while searching for registered nurse jobs is to take an internship. An intern position will not necessarily pay well, if at all, but it offers that coveted experience so many employers are looking for. A practical internship can help you accumulate hours while at the same time providing networking opportunities that could get you your dream job more quickly than you would have gotten it without intern experience.

Take What You Can Get
Upon graduating from nursing school, young people tend to learn very quickly that similar to every profession, including nursing, most people have to start at the bottom and work their way up.

If you have no alternative but compromise, take the opportunity closest to your specialization so that you get on course to your dream job. There are plenty of entry-level positions that experienced nurses do not need to take because they are already in placements they worked very hard to achieve. New nurses need to do the same thing. Get your foot in the door, work hard, and keep looking for opportunities to move your career forward. The rest will follow by itself.

Look for Work in Under served Areas

To say that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving is to state the obvious. And with all the changes we are now undergoing, there are plenty of areas within nursing that are currently under served. Geriatric care is a good example. Geriatrics is terribly under served due to a rising population and the initial wave of baby boomers now retiring. People over the age of 65 will be accessing healthcare in greater volumes for the foreseeable future; new nurses are needed to provide their care.

Be Willing to Learn New Things

One of the worst things a new registered nurse could do is assume that he or she already knows everything he/she needs to know for the job. In reality, nursing school only teaches a fraction of the knowledge a registered nurse will accumulate during his/her career. New registered nurses would do well to adopt a mindset of always learning new things. With every opportunity to work comes an opportunity to learn. Those willing to learn find their careers move along more quickly and productively.

Graduating from nursing school is not a guarantee that the new nurse will be working the following day. But with the nursing shortage such as it is, new nurses have dramatically brighter prospects than nearly any other job sector. With the right mindset, a new nurse can get that first job which will make it possible to build a solid career.

5 Traits Patients Look for in Nurse Practitioners

As more states expand the scope of care provided by nurse practitioners, the profession has been bolstered by numerous studies showing that patients are comfortable seeing Nurse Practitioners, rather than doctors, for their primary care needs. This has opened a huge door of opportunity for independent practice in states that allow it. Now it’s up to the nurse practitioner to figure out how to best serve patients through private, independent practice.


Patients are customers despite the fact that the ‘service’ they are purchasing is one of healthcare delivery. Nurse Practitioners who want to succeed in private practice need to understand this mind set. In light of that, here are five traits patients are looking for in nurse practitioners offering primary care:

1. A Good Listener

Among the many complaints consumers have about the U.S. healthcare system, at the top the list is the impression that their doctors have neither the time nor the interest in really taking the time to listen to their concerns. Patients do feel that they are shuffled through after a brief interview and a prescription. One of the things they like about Nurse Practitioners offering primary care is that more time is spent getting to know them and their health problems in greater detail.

2. An Accessible Office

One of the many weaknesses of the HMO model is its tendency to swamp doctors with more patients than they can reasonably handle. This is why waiting rooms are so large and patients need to give up half a day, or longer, just to make a routine office visit. If a patient is going to switch from a General Practitioner to a Nurse Practitioner, one thing you can count on that the patient hoping for is a more accessible office. Patients want to be able to call the office without being put on hold for 20 minutes; they want the NP to keep reasonable office hours; they want to be able to make an appointment with the confidence that they will be seen close to the scheduled time, on the scheduled day.

3. A Comfortable Environment

Many people find going to the doctor’s office to be uncomfortable from start to finish. Nurse practitioners opening up independent family practices have an opportunity to change that. They can create a more comfortable environment that addresses everything from waiting room furniture to ambience to the way staff interact with patients. A more comfortable patient is one more willing to open up about health issues and heed the advice given by the NP. A comfortable patient is also one more likely to experience a positive outcome.

4. Assistance with Medication

Assistance with managing medications is an important matter to patients, especially older ones. Since Nurse Practitioners have prescribing authority in almost every state, they have a role in helping patients make sure their medications are properly managed. It is not enough for a nurse practitioner to prescribe a drug for a current condition in complete isolation from other medications the patient is taking. Patients are looking for frank discussions about medication that will ensure any and all new prescriptions are appropriate in light of other medicines they are taking.

5. A Measure of Respect

Lastly, patients dissatisfied with healthcare often cite a lack of respect among providers as one of the top reasons for their dissatisfaction. They want to know their nurse practitioners or doctors respect them as people; they want to know those who are diagnosing and treating them take their health complaints seriously. The patient who does not think that the NP or doctor respects him/her is likely to look elsewhere for better care.

Nurse Dress Codes and Patient Perceptions

It has been said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But what about a registered nurse? Apparently the same holds true, according to a comprehensive study conducted by a Pennsylvania medical center that was interested in gauging what patients think about their nurses based on dress code. The results were so surprising that the Geisinger Medical Center completely revamped its dress code to answer patient concerns.

Geisinger surveyed some 400 patients regarding the attire of those who provided care and treatment. Prior to the survey, the hospital had close to six-dozen different dress code policies that essentially ruined any hope of uniformity among nurses. The result was a nursing staff that could embrace everything from hoodies to T-shirts rather than more professional attire.


Even more importantly, the survey revealed a certain level of anxiety among patients who, because of non-uniform dress, could not distinguish between a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or physician assistant. They never knew what level of professional they were dealing with because clothing did not identify healthcare providers as such.

The Geisinger Solution

To their credit, management at Geisinger took to heart the results of their survey. They studied the results, talked about possible solutions, and determined that a uniform dress code policy was necessary. All nurses are now required to wear approved scrubs that include identifying embroidery on them. Patients can now look at a uniform and see an actual title like ‘registered nurse’. Nurses can also elect to have designations of their specialties embroidered on the left sleeve.

Officials at Geisinger insist that adopting uniform dress policy is an effort to improve the patient experience. This makes perfect sense. If a patient is confused about who is treating him or her, that confusion is addressed through a caregiver uniform that includes an easy-to-read title and the hospital’s logo.

A More Professional Setting

Another benefit of adopting the uniform dress code is to create a more professional environment at Geisinger. This is so very important, as the study showed. When dress policies are so lax that registered nurses and physician assistants are coming to work dressed in T-shirts and hoodies, it gives the impression to patients that those treating them do not take their jobs seriously. That may not be the case, but patient perception does play a role in the eventual outcomes.

A uniform dress policy sets a professional standard all the nurses at Geisinger can follow. A uniform makes them easily identifiable and adds an extra level of professionalism that instills confidence in their patients. Overall, it’s a good move for everyone involved.

Geisinger Not Alone

We should note that Geisinger is not alone in its attempt to find out what makes patients tick. According to Fierce Healthcare’s Zack Budryk, leaders in hospital management are incorporating patient opinions in their strategic planning in greater numbers than ever before. They are coming to realize that improving patient outcomes starts by figuring out what their patients think. The decision to institute a uniform dress policy is just one of many different strategies that hospitals are adopting nationwide.

Does it matter how a registered nurse dresses for work? Absolutely. Just like past studies have demonstrated patients have more confidence in doctors who wear white lab coats, those same patients have more confidence in registered nurses and physician assistants dressed in an appropriate uniform – usually scrubs.

What healthcare facilities are now discovering is that something as seemingly insignificant as a dress code actually goes a long way toward creating a positive perception among patients. And when perceptions are positive, outcomes usually follow.


Fierce Healthcare – http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/patient-feedback-leads-geisinger-to-rethink-uniforms

5 Things You Might Not Know about Nurse Practitioners

How much do you know about nurse practitioners? Are you familiar with where they practice, what they do, and how they treat patients? While awareness of nurse practitioners (NPs) is growing in the U.S., thanks to 21 states now giving them full practice authority, more and more patients are familiarizing themselves with what these medical professionals do. But there are lots of things people still don’t know.


Refinery 29 health features writer Sarah Jacoby put together an excellent piece published on June 30 (2016) talking about this very topic. We combined a little bit of what she wrote along with our own insights to come up with these five things you might not know about NPs:

1. They Are Everywhere in Healthcare

Jacoby explained in her piece that nurse practitioners now work in just about every area in which healthcare services are offered. They are so prevalent that it’s highly likely most patients have run across at least one nurse practitioner without even knowing it. It’s not that NPs are purposely trying to hide; they are just going about their business treating patients minus the self promotion.

2. They Have Prescribing Authority

In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Nurse Practitioners have full authority to diagnose illness and prescribe medications. The only difference on a state-by-state basis is the actual level of practice authority nurse practitioners possess. As mentioned earlier, 21 states now give them full practice authority for primary and some specialized forms of care. In the remaining 29 states, legislatures are working on expanding the scope of practice for NPs.

3. They Are Nurses First and Foremost

Nurse Practitioners begin their education by training as nurses. This is what makes them distinctly different from doctors. Where doctors are trained to be more problem solvers (i.e., diagnose, prescribe, and fix) a nurse is trained to care for patients. Nurses are trained in how to take the time to understand what’s going on with a person. They are trained to help relieve suffering rather than just treat symptoms. This makes them perfect candidates to handle routine, primary care.

4. They Are Well Received by Patients

While it is true that some patients absolutely insist on being seen by a physician, the vast majority of Americans are very comfortable with NPs for primary and other specialized forms of medicine. The truth is that patients want to feel better – this is why they visit the medical center to begin with. Most are happy to see a nurse practitioner if that person can help.

5. They Support Doctors

Lastly, nurse practitioners are not at odds with doctors. As with any profession, a difference of opinion might occur however the ultimate objective is optimal patient care. Both nurse practitioners and physicians respect one another and appreciate the fact that there is plenty of room for everyone. Nurse practitioners and doctors work more closely than many people realize.

A nurse practitioner assumes a greater role in healthcare delivery with every passing day. Where NPs used to be restricted to working side-by-side with doctors in hospitals and primary care offices, they are now able to branch out and do a lot more. We are seeing nurse practitioners open their own private practices in the states that allow full practice authority. We are also seeing an increase in neighborhood clinics run by pharmacies and retail outlets.

The more we learn about nurse practitioners, the more we can understand how much they have to offer medical care. And we all benefit as a result.


  • Refinery 29 – http://www.refinery29.com/what-is-a-nurse-practitioner

SBAR Reports: An Important Tool for Registered Nurses

Jenna is a registered nurse who works in the ICU at her local hospital. At the start of every shift, she spends a few minutes with the nurse she is relieving to go over all of the patients that she will be responsible for. Before that brief meeting is over, she will have what is known as the SBAR report for each of her patients. This report is a commonly used tool found at hospitals all across the country.


SBAR is an acronym that stands for situation, background, assessment, and recommendation. It is a report that is included in each patient’s chart for the purposes of keeping nurses up to date whenever they start a shift. Without this important written record, it would be nearly impossible for the registered nurse going off duty to communicate all of the relevant information the relieving nurse needs to do her job effectively.

The report for each patient by no means has to be exhaustive, but it should always include:

  • Situation – The situation is basically a synopsis of the patient’s current condition as observed by the nurse going off duty. This part of the report may explain the kinds of symptoms the patient is complaining of and any diagnosis/prognosis currently available from doctors.
  • Background – Background information that may shed light on the patient’s current condition is always helpful for the registered nurse. For example, a previous surgery may be playing a role in a patient’s current complaints of chest pain and shortness of breath. A nurse coming on duty needs to know this.
  • Assessment – The assessment is more or less the opinion of the nurse going off duty in regards to the patient’s health. The nurse writes his/her observations along with his/her professional opinion regarding what the patient might be suffering from.
  • Recommendation – The recommendation takes the assessment one step further by recommending to the nurse coming on duty what might be the best course of action at the current time.

Again, a SBAR report does not need to be exhaustive. The point here is not to write a novel on every patient in the nurse’s care. The nurse going off duty does not have the time to prepare such an exhaustive report, and the incoming duty nurse certainly does not have the time to read long paragraphs that do not get to the point.

Promoting Better Care

SBAR reports were established as a tool to promote better communication between nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers. It has proven to be invaluable for one very simple reason: people communicate differently when there is no standard on which to base their communications. SBAR provides that standard.

As a registered nurse, you may find having to complete SBAR reports is inconvenient and time-consuming. Perhaps they are at times. But always remember that the information you receive when coming on duty is just as important to the nurse who will relieve you at the end of your shift. That new nurse needs to know where he/she stands with every patient, before you go home, if he/she is to offer the best possible care.

If you are new to nursing, it may take a while for you to learn how to complete SBAR reports in a way that effectively communicates within your work environment. Just like individuals communicate differently, departments within healthcare facilities have different ways of communicating as well. Don’t allow yourself to be stressed by this. Learn how to write good SBAR reports by observing the reports you receive and asking questions from other nurses who have more experience in SBAR writing. As you get better at understanding and writing SBAR reports, it will help you become efficient in your registered nurse job by tackling patient situations professionally to achieve productive outcomes more quickly.

Registered Nursing for Experienced Adults – You Can Do It

Nursing recruiters are known to target the younger generation in the hope of getting them to enter the nursing profession. Common sense dictates this is a realistic approach, given that there is a shortage of young people entering the profession to take the place of retiring workforce members. Nevertheless, you can be an older person and still become a registered nurse with a lot to contribute to the industry. Many older people enter the nursing profession either after being laid off in their previous jobs or after taking the decision to switch careers out of sheer interest in nursing.


Getting into nursing as an experienced worker does come with a few additional challenges younger people don’t face, but it also offers a few advantages as well. For instance, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in a field of work prior to your training to become a registered nurse, you might be accelerated to some degree. This would mean getting credits toward your current nursing degree from previous courses which might be a part of the nursing curriculum.

High School Degree Requirement

Bear in mind that as an experienced candidate aspiring to become a registered nurse, you would need to fulfill basic requirements of having a high school diploma or GED. This should be your priority if you are coming to nursing after having a job that did not require proof of a formal high school education. Fortunately, most community colleges within the country offer GED programs that are either free or priced to be affordable. Many of the larger cities and towns offer GED preparation and testing through locally sponsored continuing education programs.

Assess Your Career Goals

Registered nurses can have one of two degrees depending on the state in which they are licensed and the type of work they do. The first is an associate’s degree (ADN) while the second is a bachelor’s degree (BSN). Before you choose a nursing program,it would be a good idea to assess your career goals for both the short and long terms. The kind of work you want to do will play heavily into your decision.

An associate’s degree does not include the same kind of commitment as a bachelor’s degree. But becoming a registered nurse with an associate’s degree might not open you up to as many job opportunities as a bachelor’s degree would.

Look at Your Finances

Experienced workers entering the nursing profession should take a good look at their financial situation as well. Depending on your age, you may need to earn as much as possible for a comfortable retirement. The good news for registered nurses is that they tend to do very well financially as compared to many other job sectors in the U.S. Furthermore, a registered nurse can maximize pay by taking B and C shifts along with weekends. The differential pay for these shifts can really boost pay substantially.

As a new nurse, if your financial situation is such that, you have the option to choose from the types of jobs available and the shifts that you are willing to work, it would make your career choice a lot easier to adjust to. Additionally, there may be less concern about finances for the nurse training course, which would let you focus on achieving better grades.

There are plenty of opportunities for candidates with more experience under their belt who wish to enter nursing. The industry is always looking for motivated, caring, and talented people who have what it takes to care for those in need. Your career as a registered nurse will be whatever you make it, regardless of the stage in your life at which you get started.

The Critical Difference between Doctor and Nurse Practitioner

As more and more states get on board with expanding the scope of care offered by nurse practitioners, doctors and physician organizations are understandably concerned to the licensing changes in some of those states. The two sides in the debate offer valid points covering everything from meeting the demand for patient care to qualifications for providing that care. Yet, we cannot help come to the conclusion that there is a critical difference between doctors and nurse practitioners, a difference that could put an end to the debate once and for all.

What is this critical difference between the doctor and nurse practitioner? Training. Not training in terms of the body of knowledge learned in university. When it comes to that body of knowledge, a nurse practitioner receives training that is nearly identical to an internist. The only difference is that an internist also undergoes a lengthy residency.


In terms of training, what we are referring to is one of perspective. It has to do with how a care provider views his or her job in relation to the patient. Consider this: doctors are trained primarily to be problem solvers. Their job is to examine the patient, diagnose the problem, and prescribe a treatment plan for recovery. However nurse practitioners are specifically trained to be care givers based on the doctors directives.

Care for and Treat Patients

The primary difference with nurse practitioner jobs is that they are trained to take care of patients just as any other nurse is. Care is the primary function of the nurse. The argument is not establish who has a superior opinion and create a hierarchy. Both, a doctor and nurse’s viewpoints are essential to achieving positive outcomes. Patients need to be cared for and treated. But the nurse practitioner’s training as a nurse gives him/her an advantage in areas such as primary care and chronic illness.

Consider the doctor acting as a primary care physician in a local family practice. Day after day he/she sees the same kinds of routine cases that eventually stop being challenging. Furthermore, he/she is overloaded with paperwork and regulatory requirements that prevent his/her full attention from being on patients. As a problem solver, he/she is not likely to give patients the time and attention they really want in a family practice environment. Things are different for the nurse practitioner.

First and foremost, don’t forget that a nurse practitioner is trained at a nursing school to take care of people. Second, he/she doesn’t have nearly the same type of paperwork and administrative duties as a physician. He/she has more time and opportunity to sit and talk with patients. He/she can listen to their complaints, discuss their outlook, and get to know their expectations.

Plenty of Room for Both

The point here is not to say that nurse practitioners are superior to doctors. It is also not to cast doctors in a negative light. The point here is to simply say that there is plenty of room for both nurse practitioners and doctors in the arena of primary and chronic care.

Both the doctor and nurse practitioner have valuable skills and assets necessary for providing adequate patient care. If we use those skills and assets to the greatest benefit, we can improve care across the board. All things being equal, the nurse practitioner is in a better position to provide primary and chronic care than a doctor. The benefit to doctors is that they are freed up to handle more complex cases that continually challenge them and take advantage of their problem-solving skills.