Future Nurses—No Shrinking Violets

Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield. Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last week I had the opportunity to meet several members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) board of directors when they were here in New York for a board meeting. As is custom, NSNA chief executive officer Diane Mancino invites many of the NSNA sponsors and supporters to dinner to meet the new board.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn Brownfield, the nursing student editor of Imprint, the NSNA’s official publication. She’s a nursing student at Nash Community College in North Carolina. We sat with Thelma Schorr, AJN’s former editor and publisher (and a consulting editor at Imprint) and Florence Huey, a former editor of AJN and of Geriatric Nursing (and a former president of the NSNA). It was like homecoming!

I was impressed—as I always seem to be—with these aspiring nurses. Many of them are second-degree students and come into nursing with work experience, a family, and a maturity that was lacking in my cohort, which was largely younger, right out of high school, with little work experience.

I wonder how these nursing students will fare in their first nursing jobs. One hears a lot about bullying and lateral violence and how it’s driving some new nurses away. I can’t imagine any of the students I met being cowed by overbearing coworkers.

In November, NSNA will host its mid-year conference, which typically draws 1,500 attendees; this year, it will […]

2016-11-21T13:07:11+00:00 June 24th, 2013|career, nursing perspective, students|2 Comments

Making It Safe: Skills to Promote Healthy Conversation at Work

Photo from otisarchives4, via Flickr. Photo from otisarchives4, via Flickr.

Medora McGinnis, RN, has written several previous posts for this blog. She is now a pediatric RN at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Bon Secours Health System, Richmond, Virginia, as well as a freelance writer.

What makes communication at work feel safe? We can all identify situations that “go south”—we feel instantly uncomfortable in the work environment (or anywhere, really) if we are accused, blamed, insulted, or overlooked. It’s easy to recognize when our communication is not safe, not going well, and not professional. So what makes it safe?

Effective communication can only take place when all parties feel safe; we must feel comfortable sharing our clinical insights without fear of the reaction we might get from the other party. While we can’t always know what their reaction will be, by learning to make it safe we can learn to talk with anyone about anything. New nurses in my hospital go through a six-month “RN residency” program in which we meet once a month for education, journaling exercises, and sharing. The book Crucial Conversations: Tips for Talking When Stakes Are High was used in our training to help us further develop our communication skills in the workplace. As a first-year nurse myself, I’ve found that some of the book’s ideas have played a big role in my learning curve.

Mistake #1: Watering down the content so the message doesn’t get across.

When […]

2016-11-21T13:08:00+00:00 March 27th, 2013|career, nursing perspective|0 Comments

The Seven Surprises: What I’ve Learned About Nursing Through Yoga

By Medora McGinnis, RN, whose last post for this blog was “Practically a Nurse: Life as a New Graduate RN.” Medora is now a pediatric RN at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Bon Secours Health System, Richmond, Virginia, as well as a freelance writer. As a nursing student she was the Imprint Editor for the National Student Nurses Association.

By HealthZone (The Star) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons Hot Yoga (Bikram), by HealthZone (The Star), via Wikimedia Commons The room is dark, and hot; 105 degrees, to be exact. I carry my mat, towel, and water bottle to the back corner of the room and settle into my space. I drink some water and lie down, trying to let go of all of the thoughts racing around in my head. A few minutes later, class starts and we start breathing, moving, stretching, and sweating . . . and really sweating. I’m shaking as I try to hold my plank position (which I still have to modify on my knees), then relaxing into a forward bend. Breathing, drinking water, moving, and stretching—and without realizing it, my thoughts are only about the present moment.

When I decided to try hot yoga about a month ago, I knew it would help me reduce stress and gain flexibility, and I was even hoping I’d lose weight. As a present day RN and a former ballet dancer, I looked forward to some of the health benefits I’d heard […]

Practically a Nurse: Life as a New Graduate RN

By Medora McGinnis, RN, whose last post for this blog was “Don’t Cling to Tradition: A Nursing Student’s Call for Realism, Respect.” Medora is now a pediatric RN at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Bon Secours Health System, Richmond, Virginia, as well as a freelance writer. As a nursing student she was the Imprint Editor for the National Student Nurses Association.

Life as a new graduate RN has been . . . confusing. While my peers seem to have it all together, for the last five months since graduating I’ve been perplexed—what do I do with myself, if I don’t have to stress out and study everyday? Well, of course I have my five kids to keep me busy, an amazing new job as a pediatric RN, and my husband who almost forgot what I look like.

Still, I feel like I should be cramming for something, memorizing something, or at least triple-tasking. I’m stressed that I’m not stressing out. Maybe I just dreamt that I graduated . . .

Here is a little of my backstory: I graduated in May from a three-year diploma program, as part of the very last class in that historic Virginia program, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing. It is now a four-year BSN program. They are affiliated with the large health system of the […]

2016-11-21T13:09:13+00:00 September 25th, 2012|career, Nursing, students|2 Comments

Top 10 (New) AJN Posts of 2011

Some of our posts, like this one from 2009 (“New Nurses Face Reality Shock in Hospitals–So What Else Is New?”) keep getting found and read. They remain as relevant today as they were when we posted them. Our top 20 posts for the year (according to reader hits, that is) include several others like this: “What Is Meaningful Use? One Savvy Nurse’s Take”; “Is the Florence Nightingale Pledge in Need of a Makeover?”; “Do Male Nurses Face Reverse Sexism?”; “Are Nursing Strikes Ethical? New Research Raises the Stakes”; and “Workplace Violence Against Nurses: Neither Inevitable or Acceptable.”

But putting aside these contenders (why do so many of them have questions in their titles?), here are the top 10 (again, according to our readers) new posts of 2011, in case you missed them along the way. Which doesn’t mean that these are (necessarily) our best posts, or a representative sample, or that many others didn’t hit home for various subgroups of readers.

While we all get a little tired of lists by this time in the year, we don’t really use them an awful lot here at Off the Charts. So please indulge us this once, and thanks to everyone who wrote, read, and commented on this blog in 2011.—Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor/blog editor

1. “Notes of a Student Nurse: A Dose of Reality,” by Jennifer-Clare Williams

2. “Placenta Facebook Photos: Nurse and […]

2016-11-21T13:11:07+00:00 December 20th, 2011|healthcare social media|5 Comments

AJN’s Top 10 Blog Posts for the Last Quarter

At this blog we’re not always devoted practitioners of the art of the list. Used too often and too cynically (some of the more mysterious nursing blogs consist entirely of lists of articles and excerpts from other blogs), lists can be just another form of journalistic cannibalism.

But it sometimes occurs to me, as I publish a new post that takes its place at the top of the home page and pushes all those below down another notch (until, after a few such nudges, they gradually fall off the page, entering the purgatory of the blog archives), that this isn’t entirely fair.

While blogs allow for quick reaction to a news story, a public health emergency or controversy, a new bit of published research, they are also places for writing that isn’t so narrowly tied to a specific date and event. Many thoughtful posts by excellent writers have been published here in the past couple of years. With this in mind, here’s a list of the 10 most read blog posts for the past 90 days. It doesn’t mean that these are necessarily the very best posts we published in that time, or that they were even published in the last 90 days . . . but it’s one way of measuring relevance.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor 

1. Dispatches from the Alabama Tornado Zone
This one is actually a page with links to a series of powerful and thought-provoking posts by Susan Hassmiller, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Adviser for Nursing, who volunteered with the Red Cross after the devastating Alabama tornadoes in late April of this year.


Don’t Cling to Tradition: A Nursing Student’s Call for Realism, Respect

By Medora McGinnis. Medora is a student at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing in Richmond, Virginia, and the 2011-2012 Imprint Editor of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA). This is her first post for this blog. 

There was a time when the majority of all nursing programs were diploma programs, emphasizing practice over theory. They were largely based out of hospitals and proved very well suited for this training. Popular among students, they provided the majority of the nursing workforce well into the 1950s. But these programs began to lose popularity as they were supplanted by other forms of training. At the same time, patient care was shifting and hospital care costs were exploding. By the late 1970s, 40 diploma programs were closing their doors every year.

The year is now 2011, and there are less than 40 diploma programs nationwide. I am a senior nursing student in one of these programs, and have been a part of their transition from the diploma to the four-year BSN. My graduating class will be the last of the diploma graduates, and many of us plan to continue our education and quickly complete an RN-to-BSN program. Why? Certainly to maintain our momentum, and to be competitive in today’s workforce. But the undertone in the nursing community, especially among young and new nurses, is that the BSN is required in order […]

2016-11-21T13:12:22+00:00 July 26th, 2011|career, students|21 Comments

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