Friday, May 18, 2018

Nursing is More Than a Noble Profession! It is a Rewarding and Meaningful Career.

Paula Morgan Guest blog post by Paula Morgan -
National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday. Florence Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized those tending to wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds to wounded soldiers at night.

When I think about nurses, it astounds me to see how far we’ve come since Florence started this whole thing in an effort to ease pain and suffering for soldiers. She saw that need and did something about it. Nurses still ease pain and suffering, but the profession has advanced far beyond the imagination of Florence Nightingale. Together, we’ve achieved a prominent place in our healthcare system.

As an RN who fell into management, administration, start-up, and then entrepreneurship mostly by a combination of timing and luck, I’ve been incredibly fortunate with the paths that opened up for me. My high school goal was medical school. Funds were limited and nursing school was almost free. That intense clinical training laid the foundation for a career filled with surprises, challenges and rewards.  

As the founder of a healthcare executive search firm, we are provided with multiple opportunities to assist people who come to us for career advice. We get asked to advise young people on career choices. I’ve worked in several community benefit organizations that focus on education for underserved young people. In all cases, I am prone to advancing the case for nursing education if it appears there is interest in a medical career.

The demand for RNs increases each year, in part because of our aging population, but also because of the advances technology provides. Nurses have consistently moved up the ladder in healthcare delivery, but also leadership roles on the business side. Nurses are in the hospital CEO role today and are often seen in other C-Suite areas of the teams leading health systems. In addition, we see nurses playing key roles in health plans and in the innovative organizations that often employ RNs to explain the value proposition and operational capabilities of new emerging technology that improves patient care outcomes. 

Here are just a few of the positions we place regularly in health systems where an RN is either required or strongly preferred:
  • Vice President Medical Management
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Quality Officer
  • Vice President, Clinical Operations
  • Chief of Medical Services               

If an RN wants to remain in patient care, there are multiple avenues to advance:
  • Nurse practitioners are highly valued, well compensated and do much of the same work physicians do.  
  • Nurses are almost always in charge of the Operating Room, the Recovery Room and can be found delivering Anesthesia as CRNAs.
  • Nurses become Chief Nursing Officers who manage ICUs, ERs, ORs and Trauma ICUs.
  • Nurses go into public health. An MPH degree is a good addition that will open doors.
  • Nurses who opt to move up to management on the business side of healthcare may get an MBA degree.
  • Nurses who have a strong interest in health policy may opt for a law degree.               

Consider encouraging your kids and grandkids, particularly those with limited financial means, to consider nursing. The demand for nurses continues to increase year over year, which will guarantee employment along with unlimited opportunity to advance your career, do meaningful work and find fulfillment.    

Paula Morgan is the Founder of Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.

This original article can be found at: 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Getting Started with Long-Distance Caregiving

Older man on the phone

Who is a long-distance caregiver?

Anyone, anywhere, can be a long-distance caregiver, no matter your gender, income, age, social status, or employment. If you are living an hour or more away from a person who needs your help, you’re probably a long-distance caregiver.

What can I really do from far away?

Long-distance caregivers take on different roles. You may:
  • Help with finances, money management, or bill paying
  • Arrange for in-home care—hire professional caregivers or home health or nursing aides and help get needed durable medical equipment
  • Locate care in an assisted living facility or nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility)
  • Provide emotional support and occasional respite care for a primary caregiver, the person who takes on most of the everyday caregiving responsibilities
  • Serve as an information coordinator—research health problems or medicines, help navigate through a maze of new needs, and clarify insurance benefits and claims
  • Keep family and friends updated and informed
  • Create a plan and get paperwork in order in case of an emergency
  • Evaluate the house and make sure it's safe for the older person's needs
Over time, as your family member’s needs change, so will your role as long-distance caregiver.

I’m new to long-distance caregiving—what should I do first?

To get started:
  • Ask the primary caregiver, if there is one, and the care recipient how you can be most helpful
  • Talk to friends who are caregivers to see if they have suggestions about ways to help
  • Find out more about local resources that might be useful
  • Develop a good understanding of the person’s health issues and other needs
  • Visit as often as you can; not only might you notice something that needs to be done and can be taken care of from a distance, but you can also relieve a primary caregiver for a short time
Many of us don’t automatically have a lot of caregiver skills. Information about training opportunities is available. Some local chapters of the American Red Cross might offer courses, as do some nonprofit organizations focused on caregiving. Medicare and Medicaid will sometimes pay for this training. See Where can I find local resources for my family member? to find local services for older adults and their families.

As a caregiver, what do I need to know about my family member’s health?

Learn as much as you can about your family member’s condition and any treatment. This can help you understand what is going on, anticipate the course of an illness, prevent crises, and assist in healthcare management. It can also make talking with the doctor easier.
Get written permission, as needed under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, to receive medical and financial information. To the extent possible, the family member with permission should be the one to talk with all healthcare providers. Try putting together a notebook, on paper or online, that includes all the vital information about medical care, social services, contact numbers, financial issues, and so on. Make copies for other caregivers, and keep it up-to-date.
Get tips for caregivers to make doctor's appointments easier.

How can I be most helpful during my visit?

Talk to the care recipient ahead of time and find out what he or she would like to do during your visit. Also check with the primary caregiver, if appropriate, to learn what he or she needs, such as handling some caregiving responsibilities while you are in town. This may help you set clear-cut and realistic goals for the visit. Decide on the priorities and leave other tasks to another visit.
Remember to actually spend time visiting with your family member. Try to make time to do things unrelated to being a caregiver, like watching a movie, playing a game, or taking a drive. Finding time to do something simple and relaxing can help everyone—it can be fun and build family memories. And, try to let outside distractions wait until you are home again.

How can I stay connected from far away?

Try to find people who live near your loved one and can provide a realistic view of what is going on. This may be your other parent. A social worker may be able to provide updates and help with making decisions. Many families schedule conference calls with doctors, the assisted living facility team, or nursing home staff so that several relatives can be in one conversation and get the same up-to-date information about health and progress.
Don’t underestimate the value of a phone and email contact list. It is a simple way to keep everyone updated on your parents’ needs.
You may also want to give the person you care for a cell phone (and make sure he or she knows how to use it). Or, if your family member lives in a nursing home, consider having a private phone line installed in his or her room. Program telephone numbers of doctors, friends, family members, and yourself into the phone, and perhaps provide a list of the speed-dial numbers to keep with the phone. Such simple strategies can be a lifeline. But try to be prepared should you find yourself inundated with calls from your parent.
Learn about geriatric care managers and how they may be able to support you and your family in your role as caregivers.

Where can I find local resources for my family member?

Searching online is a good way to start collecting resources. Here are a few potentially helpful places to look:
You might also check with local senior centers. Learn more about long-distance caregiving.

This article was found on the National Institute on Aging's website: