Nursing Shortages? Hire a Horse

May 3, 2011 by

As the nursing shortages return, leadership on your unit will become more and more important.

  • Leaders will have to find a way to deal with short staffing.
  • Leaders will have to find a way to stretch resources.
  • Leaders will have to find a way to minimize burnout and welcome new nurses with open arms.

If you’re in leadership, it’s time to hire a horse.

Here’s more:

Hire a Horse If you’re in a horse race, hire a horse. Not an elephant. Not a cheetah. Elephants may carry a lot of people, but they’re not fast enough. Cheetahs have the opposite problem. One nurse made a great comment on another post about bright, innovative people getting leadership positions without knowing how to lead. It’s like hiring an Elephant for the horse race just because it’s great at carrying things. Superb athletes don’t always turn into superb … Read More

via Clear Matters


Nursing for the Community

March 20, 2011 by

Our profession has built a great reputation and we have consistently ranked at the top of the list as “most trusted.”  I’m not sure they had the “rear wiping” in mind, but rather, I believe it is because nurses hold us all when we cry.

Now, I look at the community around me and say “What happened?”

What happened to the dying urban center where I first kicked a soccer ball, ate a frozen custard cone, and fell on my bike?  This community has had its share of division before I was born, although despite what some say, the effects of poverty are color blind.

This became all too clear to me when I spoke with a childhood friend about people I had almost forgotten.  It seems most have been through (or are still in) the prison system.

Here’s one thing I can tell you about poverty. Idle hands do young people the most damage.  Escaping the petulant existence with mind-altering substances isn’t a morally bankrupt decision; it is a common way of life.

So what can a nurse do?

That’s the big question.  Although I do not have all the answers, I have one that I feel deeply and passionately about.

When Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” I cried.  How simple an answer and how true the words?

With many State budget cuts looming, our communities already in a decline, young people (and old) not possessing basic health literacy, I hope you find the time to help.

It’s up to us to heal the nation, one community at a time.

– April


To discuss ways to help make a difference, post here in the comment section or join the Nurse Circle on FacebookLinkedin, or Twitter hashtag #RNchat.


April lives in Milwaukee and is an RN member of the Clear Medical Network who blogs at and can be followed @PsychNurseinWI on twitter.

Who Will Nurse Our Profession?

January 11, 2011 by

Like most nurses, I am often asked “What brought you to nursing?” I think for many of us the answer is “another nurse.”

Most of us have experienced the aid and help of nurses in our lives, whether it was through experiences with life or death, sickness or health.

Now our profession needs a nurse.

Over the years, we have seen shortages and burnout, as well as an overabundance of nurses in other areas (for instance, right now with the economy or when many clinics switched to Medical Assistants).

We are at a point in nursing where our profession can develop into several directions.  This crossroad leaves us with a major question:

“What do we want the future of nursing to look like?

First and foremost, we need nurses to be accepted and spoken for.  I know many nurses (especially graduate nurses) who are aching from a perceive lack of worth.

With more pressure from shorter hospital stays, increased knowledge and technology, and decreasing reimbursement from third-party payers; nurses are at a point in the profession where they can either make or break it.

We care for people from birth to grave, we listen to the problems of others when we are off the clock, and we complain amongst ourselves when things go less than ideal.

Who is going to nurse nursing?

In a profession where ingenuity fuels research and best practices, many nurses are finding ways to improve on the shared knowledge base we have.

Exciting and encouraging each other is important.  As they say “attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?”  If you see something wrong and you have a good way to fix it, say something!

Taking a proactive approach to the nursing profession’s problems is how things get fixed. Unfortunately complaints, when kept to oneself, do not accomplish anything.  It’s time to change!

How do we become more proactive, and in doing so, improve our profession?

To join in the discussion, post here in the comment section or join the Nurse Circle on facebook, Linkedin, or the twitter hashtag #RNchat.


April is a newly minted RN who blogs regularly at and can be followed @PsychNurseinWI on twitter.

Technology in Nursing

December 31, 2010 by

Last night was the last #RNchat of the year on Twitter.  We reflected on what changes we noticed in 2010.  One of the main topics was technology and its influence on healthcare.  One person noted how  easy it is to communicate with other nurses and healthcare professionals.

There are now forums like Nurse Circle, #RNchat and Clear Medical Network, where nurses can talk and get advice from their peers.

We also talked about devices like the iPad and they are showing up in hospitals.  Not many are using them now, but we all agreed that maybe iPad’s (or similar devices) will be used in the future.

How do you think technology will affect healthcare in 2011?

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

If you are curious about the forum’s I mentioned.  Here are some links.

#RNchat Transcript from last night

Nurse Circle on Facebook

Nurse Circle on Twitter

Nurse Circle on Linkedin

Clear Medical Network


About Me: I’m one of the Career Agents at Clear Medical Agency and am also the editor of the Clear Nursing Matters blog.  I work with a lot of great nursing professionals, and find that many interesting topics come up.  This blog will be one way to share my experiences and funny stuff that comes up.  Feel free to email me at and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.  It will make it easier to keep up on current nursing news and ideas.


Can Presencing Be as Effective as Morphine?

December 27, 2010 by

I will never forget the day I learned the power of presencing.  I was assigned a patient on a Med/Surg unit with Acute Pancreatitis who was in day 2 of admission.

It was 0600 and as I entered the room I could immediately see she was in pain.  Her audible discomfort and rocking back and forth made it clear she was really hurting.  She rated her pain at 9/10, so I went to get her prescribed morphine.  Acute Pain was my priority nursing diagnosis. 

What methods did I have besides pharmaceuticals to ease this woman’s pain?  We had just talked in class about presencing and now it was time to put it to use.  

After she finished breakfast, I decided it was time to get to know her.  We talked about her children, grandchildren, and interests. 

As our conversations led to getting her up for the day, her pain began to diminish. Around 0930 I asked her for pain score and it was now 0/10. I took a step back and looked at my patient, she was no longer rocking, her voice was softer, and her demeanor calm.

It was an amazing feeling to see the effectiveness of presencing in practice. 

I learned a valuable lesson that day, nurses may hand out pills and perform skills but we also have an incredible ability to heal.  We heal by being there, actively listening, teaching, and caring.  It is a powerful gift we should be proud of!

Do you have any experiences with presencing to share?



April is a newly minted RN who blogs regularly at and can be followed @PsychNurseinWI on twitter.   

April is Here!

December 24, 2010 by

I am so excited to join the nursing bloggers at the Clear Medical Network and want to introduce myself before my very first post!

Hi, my name is April.  

I am a newly minted RN and have a deep love for both psychiatric nursing and HIV patients.   I will be even more excited when I find my first full-time nursing position here in the Milwaukee area (probably one of the very few places without a shortage). 

The journey is going to be great! 


So let’s get started…

The question I get the most when I tell people about my career is “Why nursing?  Isn’t it gross to see naked bodies and bodily fluids?” 

I used to have the same thoughts until I experienced them in the capacity of a nurse.  Of course we do everything we can to cover up our patients and give them dignity, but we don’t cringe when we have to check someone’s backside (most of us anyway). 

When put into perspective, naked bodies and bodily fluids are not a focus when we are there to care for a fellow human in their deepest hour of need.  I experienced my first code at a local Children’s hospital and proved to myself I could handle the pressure, even if I was slightly traumatized. 

For graduation I received an “Angel of Healing” figurine from my soon-to-be mother in law who is a retired nurse.  At that moment I felt welcomed into the profession and I cried.

The bonds that nursing forms in the souls of each nurse is deep, we have an enormous opportunity to shape it into something even better.

I hope my blog posts will welcome nurses to the profession and help shape it into something better. 

If you have any advice for me, don’t hesitate to share it in the comment section below. 


April blogs regularly at and is followed @PsychNurseinWI on twitter.

Who Cares for Nurses?

December 12, 2010 by
In a world of short staffing on units, nurses “eating their young”, and a major burnout problem; it’s a valid question.

With the heart and soul that you put into patient care, someone has to be there to treat you when the going gets tough.  During many challenges, nurses don’t have enough left in the tank for each other, management is busy, and family members don’t always understand (or want to understand) the road nurses walk.

Ryan is so focused on his team that he took calls from nurses up until his wedding ceremony began.

That’s where we come in.

At Clear Medical Agency, it’s all our agents do.  They take phone calls from their nurses 24/7, many times just to listen and offer a caring shoulder.  The more you need…the more you get.  Just like your patients. 

We nurse spirits.  We treat the caregivers of the world.

Who cares for nurses?

We do.



If you’re curious what it feels like to work with us, check out our facebook page at to hear the stories

Kindness is Key

December 7, 2010 by

Year after year, nursing is one of the most respected and trusted group of professionals in the world.  Nurses are known for selflessly caring for others and saving lives.

But what about the nurses themselves or fellow nurses?

As the saying goes: “Nurses eat their young”.  As a manager of nurses, I’ve also seen them “eat” themselves as well as float pool/agency nurses.

Why is that?


One reason might be the stress of holding (and sometimes losing) the life of another person under your care.  Ill treatment by physicians, managers, and coworkers is probably another major reason.  Also, let’s not forget mismanaged staffing and mandatory overtime.

Unfortunately, I think these problems are going to get worse if we chase away the next generation of nurses or the available pool/agency nurses there to help.

This Holiday season, let’s try adding more kindness to the way we interact at work.  I think it’s the first step to good communication and building a stronger, less stressed team, which would allow us to begin reversing the vicious cycle of burnout.

I also think that once communication is improved, understanding develops.  When you understand your coworkers, respect can develop, then comes trust. 

If you’re curious, I came up with this TRUCK acronym and went into more detail about these ideas in this post:

The Hierarchy of Teamwork Over the years I’ve had the honor of helping organizations make big changes in the way they do things during challenging times.  Turnaround projects are not for everyone, but I really love the challenge and the difference it can make.  I organized my ideas into the acronymn:  TRUCK… Read More

via Clear Matters

I’d love your feedback on this idea.  Do you agree that kindness is key?  If you have any feedback, please email me at or post a comment below. 

Thankful For Nurses

November 26, 2010 by

During Thanksgiving yesterday spent some time reflecting on what I am most thankful for.


I went to visit my elderly grandma at her skilled nursing residence and there were nurses and aides running around, busier than ever.  While most people were relaxing, spending time with their families on Thanksgiving, these nurses were taking care of the ones we love.

For the caring, generous nurses (and aides) who were working at hospitals and homes around the country on Thanksgiving, Thank You!  You are truly appreciated for all of the hard work you put in not only on holidays, but every day.  Thank you!


About Me: I’m one of the Career Agents at Clear Medical Agency and am also the editor of the Clear Nursing Matters blog.  I work with a lot of great nursing professionals, and find that many interesting topics come up.  This blog will be one way to share my experiences and funny stuff that comes up.  Feel free to email me at and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.  It will make it easier to keep up on current nursing news and ideas.

For those working today on Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010 by

We’re thankful for… 

  • Nurses who just brought meds to a hurting patient…
  • Respiratory Therapists answering a Code right now…
  • Physicians who are on their 20th straight hour of covering the ER…
  • Aides serving meals to their residents or patients, instead of their family…
  • Surgeons who just left their Thanksgiving meal to scrub into the OR…
  • Pharmacists who are watching med orders, not football…
  • And, others working today in the medical facilities around the nation.

You who comfort our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers…or children, instead of being with your family. 

We are thankful for you.

A career of caring for human in their weakest moments is a very personal one.  It is emotional.  It is draining.  Working on Thanksgiving doesn’t make it any easier.

To those serving patients right now instead of serving turkey, Thank You! 

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