Being a Lifelong Learner in Nursing [Infographic]

Lifelong learning is essential for your professional development and to ensure evidence-based patient care and improve outcomes. Use this infographic to help you stay on track and meet your goals!
Use My Nursing Care Plan for 2016 for a full look at assessing, planning, and implementing your goals for the year ahead!  
Posted: 2/6/2016 5:44:19 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Continuing EducationInspirationEducation & Career

The National Conference for Nurse Practitioners 2016: What NPs Need to Know

NCNP2016-early-reg.pngThe National Conference for Nurse Practitioners (NCNP) 2016 is being held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from May 11th through May 14th. I spoke with the conference chairperson, Margaret Fitzgerald, 
DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, FAANP, CSP, FAAN, DCC on what makes this year’s conference so exciting, what attendees can expect, and what special highlights are planned. 

Be sure to take advantage of early registration through March 31st! Enter discount ID “SPECIAL” for $50 off the main conference. For other nursing conferences and events, check out our Nursing Events Calendar

Q: How did you first get involved in the National Conference for Nurse Practitioners (NCNP)?
A: Originally, I was one of the often invited faculty at NCNP. I greatly enjoyed speaking at this high quality meeting that presented a variety of truly cutting edge presentations to nurse practitioners. Because of my work speaking at the meeting and the favorable feedback I would receive, I was invited to be part of the planning committee. After serving on that committee for a few years, I was invited to take the helm as the chair of the committee, which has been a real honor and privilege to do. 

Q: What is so special about NCNP?
A: The highlights of NCNP are information building, skill building, and clinical decision making sessions for nurse practitioners. 

Attendees will find an update of some of the most important topics in primary care, including the latest information on Hypertension, Menopause Management, Diabetes, and the like. 

NCNP has a wide variety of skill-building presentations from which to choose. Most sessions will have four to six choices of topics, like conducting an orthopedic exam, splinting, casting, reading an electrocardiogram, or improving your prescribing skills. 

Another great thing about this conference is that we also have session offerings for clinicians that are more specialized in their practice. We do a good deal of urgent, emergency and acute  care sessions as well, including electrolyte management, pain management, intracerebral hemorrhage, mechanical ventilation, managing respiratory failure, and more.
What it gets down to is this… at the meeting we help meet the needs of a wide variety of nurse practitioners. They can cut across different areas of concentration and explore a variety of different topics all in one location.

As a bonus, one of the true value-added parts of this meeting is that their breakfast and lunch are included in your tuition. This allows the nurse practitioner to have time to socialize and network with people from all over the country.
Q: How will this year’s conference surpass past years?
A: The location is simply superb. This year, NCNP is being held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This is a beautiful facility with lots to do on premises, plus of course all that Orlando and Disney have to offer right outside the door. The way the meeting area is set up is really conducive to socializing with one another. The topic content is also top notch. The planning committee has really worked to put together an exciting program to help move the nurse practitioner along in the profession.

Q: For the keynote address, I see you are interviewing Loretta C. Ford, RN, PNP, EdD, FAAN, FAANP. What can attendees expect?
A: More than  50 years ago, Loretta Ford helped create the concept of the nurse practitioner profession. She is 95-years-old, and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone who started the profession around today to educate all the 210,000 plus nurse practitioners out there. She has become a dear friend and mentor to me over the years, and my interview with her at NCNP will be a little different than talks she has done in the past. I’m going to interview her to get up close and personal. I want to know what she was thinking when she first conceived the profession; I want to know who her mentors were at the time. She was born the same year women in this country received the constitutional right to vote. I want to know how that time period influenced her decisions. 

Q: NCNP is a great way to earn CE and pharmacology credit. Why is earning pharmacology credit important for attendees?
A: Pharmacology credit is very important. As nurse practitioners, we want the latest information about a variety of medications, including new ones to market and repurposes of older medications. As prescribers, continuing education in pharmacology is a necessity; virtually all NPs have a pharmacology requirement to maintain their licenses.  

Q: You will be speaking on emerging infectious disease threats, including dengue fever, the avian flu, chikungunya, and enterovirus D65. Can you tell me some highlights about this talk?
A: I greatly enjoy doing this presentation. Historically, infectious diseases have mostly been spread outside of the United States. But, the growing rate of international travel is changing this. We need to be able to recognize these diseases and treat patients accordingly. I have a number of patients who travel to and from the Caribbean, and I need to be aware of these issues. For this talk, I will also be including the latest information around Zika virus as we learn more about this frightening disease.
Q: NCNP will also host a number of exhibit hours, where nurses can learn more about new products, trends in the industry, and information sources such as Lippincott Why should your attendees take a stroll through the exhibit hall?
A: Strolling through the exhibit hall is a great way to learn new information around a variety of nursing products, from educational websites to new pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. Your eyes will be open to resources of which you were previously unaware. 

Q: Finally, what is your favorite part about attending a conference? 
A: My favorite part is knowledge building; we have so much to learn in this profession. I also enjoy meeting nurse practitioners from all over the country and all over the world. 
Posted: 2/3/2016 8:19:15 AM by Cara Gavin | with 0 comments

Categories: Continuing Education

Meeting My Professional Requirements [Infographic]

It can be overwhelming to keep track of license and certification expiration dates and continuing education requirements for renewal. This infographic will help you stay on track to meet your professional requirements. 

Use My Nursing Care Plan for 2016 for a full look at assessing, planning, and implementing your goals for the year ahead! 

Posted: 1/31/2016 7:07:57 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Continuing EducationInspirationEducation & Career

My Nursing Care Plan for 2016

I know, I know, another care plan…but this one is for YOU! Use this quick care plan to make sure you are on the right track to meet your goals for 2016!


Capture-PR.PNGWhat do I need to do this year to meet my professional requirements?

  • When is my nursing license(s) due for renewal?
  • Am I on track to meet my CE requirements for license renewal?
  • Do I need to obtain CE to maintain my current certification(s)?
Capture-LLL.PNGHow can I be a lifelong learner in nursing?
  • Is it time for me to go back to school?
  • Should I get certified in a specialty?
  • Which professional nursing organization(s) should I join?
Capture-WLB.PNGDo I have good work-life balance?
  • When’s the last time I had a physical exam?
  • Am I due for any immunizations or screenings?
  • Am I seeing my family and friends?
  • Do I have time to do things that bring me joy?
  • How is my stress level?

Nursing Diagnoses

  • Knowledge deficit related to meeting my professional requirements.
  • Readiness for enhanced knowledge related to striving to provide evidence-based nursing care.
  • Readiness for enhanced self-health management related to identifying my own health care needs.
  • Readiness for enhanced self-care related to maintaining personal relationships and managing stress.


Meeting my professional requirements
  • Look at my current nursing license(s) and certification(s) and check the expiration dates.
  • Visit the website of my state board of nursing for information on license renewal and CE requirements.
  • Contact my certification organization for information related to renewal and CE requirements.
  • Consider my options for meeting my CE requirements.
                   *Online CE activities.
                   *Live events, such as national or local conferences.
                   *Check for opportunities to earn CE through my employer.
Lifelong learning
  • Explore BSN and advanced degree programs.
  • Investigate specialty certification opportunities.
  • Consider which professional organizations would be a good fit for me.
Balancing work and life
  • Look back at my own medical records and make a list of what screenings and immunizations are recommended based on my age and medical and family history.
  • Update my calendar with my work schedule and upcoming social events. Schedule “me-time” too!
  • Think about how I best deal with stress. Is it a yoga class? Reading? Being outdoors? Find activities to meet my stress-relief needs.


Meeting my professional requirements
  • Mark expiration dates on my calendar.
  • Develop a file (actual or online) to store my CE documents.
  • Use My Planner on Lippincott NursingCenter’s CEConnection to plan my CE activities and store my certificates.
  • Register for conferences and make travel plans. Inquire if my employer will contribute to covering costs.
Lifelong learning
  • Apply to a nursing program that meets my educational needs and goals.
  • Get certified!
  • Join and get involved with a professional nursing organization. Take advantage of related benefits and consider joining a committee or leadership position.
Balancing work and life
  • Schedule appointments and screenings.
  • Stick to my schedule, as best as I am able.
  • Sign up for a class, gym, or other activities that help me manage stress. Remain committed to these endeavors.


Revisit this care plan throughout the year and fill this in. Ongoing evaluation and revisions are key components to meeting my goals.

Leave a comment here – writing down your goals and plans is a good first step! Good luck!
Posted: 1/28/2016 11:57:26 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Continuing EducationInspirationEducation & Career

5 things nurses need to know about Zika virus

Be ready to answer questions and advise patients appropriately. For full updates on the Zika virus, visit the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

zika-virus.jpg1. What is Zika virus?
The Zika virus, which is spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito, was first documented in May 2015 in Brazil. The symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Though rare, there have been cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in patients with suspected Zika infection.

2. Why is there a travel advisory for pregnant women?
There have been reports of poor pregnancy outcomes and microcephaly among babies of mothers infected with the Zika virus. Further investigation of this causal relationship is ongoing, however, to be cautious, the CDC recommends pregnant women and those trying to conceive avoid travel to areas with documented Zika virus transmission.

3. What should I include in my assessment of pregnant patients?
*Ask all pregnant women about recent travel, especially to areas with documented Zika virus transmission.
*Ask all pregnant women about the presence of symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease during or within two weeks of travel.
*In those with recent travel, be alert for ultrasound findings of fetal microcephaly or intracranial calcifications. If present, testing for Zika virus infection (in consultation with state or local health departments) is indicated.

4. What should be done if infection with Zika virus is confirmed?
In pregnant women with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection, fetal growth and anatomy should be monitored via serial ultrasounds. Referral to a maternal-fetal medicine or infectious disease specialist is recommended. There is no specific treatment for Zika virus; supportive care is recommended.

5. How can those who are traveling prevent infection with the Zika virus?
To prevent Zika virus infection, and other mosquito-borne illnesses, recommendations include:
*Use insect repellants, as directed. (If using both sunscreen and insect repellent, the sunscreen should be applied first).
*Wear permethrin-treated clothing.
*Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
*Keep mosquitoes outside, or if necessary, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
*Empty standing water from flowerpots, buckets, or other containers.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, January 24). Zika virus. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Posted: 1/25/2016 3:12:35 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions

No snow day for nurses

There is about a foot of snow outside already this morning. The blizzard of 2016, #blizzard2016, or Jonas – they are calling it. I am reminded of being snowed in at the hospital back in 1996, during a similar storm. We had packed our bags and headed in for what looked to be a few days spent at the hospital, doing what we always did – putting patients first. All essential hospital staff were expected to report to work and to remain there until the storm passed. Rooms were set up for us to rest, when it was our turn, and food was being prepared. We were going to be taken care of too.

There are no snow days for nurses. I know many of my friends and colleagues are hunkered down in the hospital again today. Thank you all!

Here are some past journal articles that might be comforting or helpful to you during these next few days…

snowtacular-(1).pngThe Snowtacular
Home Healthcare Nurse
"Not nurses, we are essential personnel. I have to go," I responded. As I donned my sweater, coat, knee-high boots, and gloves, I felt prepared for the challenges of the day. Little did I know...?
Reflections: What One Thing Will Make Today Better for You?

AJN, American Journal of Nursing
It's been at least 10 years, but I still remember that it was a difficult morning getting to work. The snow was piled high and the roads weren't yet plowed. Nevertheless, all staff showed up-the usual when you worked on a busy oncology unit.

Surviving Winter Storms

On the road this winter? If winter storms are a possibility in your area, keep this advice in mind.

 Stay warm, be safe, and keep up the good work!
Posted: 1/23/2016 8:22:23 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration

Nurse On the Move: Donna White

NOTM-Donna-White-(1).jpgDonna J. White, CRNA, MS is an accomplished nurse anesthetist working and living in Rhode Island. She started her nursing career in the 1980’s with a nursing diploma degree from the Shadyside Hospital school of nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa. After testing her skills in a number of settings, White determined she wanted to challenge herself more, both in her professional and personal life. 

White earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She also decided to spend six months hiking the Appalachian Trail with her husband, where she went back to basics and discovered what she really needed to survive in the wild and to thrive in her nursing career. On that trip, she decided to earn her degree as a nurse anesthetist from Southern Connecticut State University, and now, she makes her career work with her active and involved lifestyle as a mom.
For January’s Nurse On the Move, White talks about her experiences as a busy nurse and how she makes time for herself in between her family members’ schedules. Learn what her New Year’s resolution is for 2016 and her number one piece of advice for nurses looking for a balance between work and home.

Q: What made you interested in becoming a nurse and what was it like starting out with a nursing diploma degree?
A:  I was 17 when I graduated high school, and I spent a few years fumbling. I was earning college credits, and my mother kept saying, “You should be a nurse.” I did always love the sciences, so finally, I decided to go into nursing because I knew I would always have a job. My motivation was to get a job right away – I needed to work. I was in a hospital-based diploma program, which was excellent. It was a 24-month program that was year-round. At that time when I got my first job, I was better prepared than the baccalaureate nurses to care for patients. In the 80’s, BSNs went through a period where they were very book oriented and you could tell the difference between us, but I believe that has changed. 

Q: Why did you decide to go back to school and earn your bachelor’s degree and eventual master’s degree to become a nurse anesthetist?
A: As I was working, I found myself moving around a lot. I think it was because I needed more of a challenge. Changing setting brought a challenge, but after six to nine months, I was already getting bored. I knew that the only way I was going to advance was to continue my education. I preferred clinical care rather than management, so I knew I wanted to work with patients and not manage other nurses.

Q: You’ve held a number of different roles, such as staff nurse, advice nurse, home care nurse, and emergency nurse. Which setting did you enjoy working in the most and why?
A: As part of being a staff nurse, I worked in the ICU. Definitely, working in the ICU or in my position now as a nurse anesthetist in the OR I’ve enjoyed the most. You have more independence and make more critical decisions in a collaborative way. As an anesthetist, it gives me satisfaction to have the patient feel better by easing their pain.

Q: You’ve also accomplished many things in your person life. In 1990, you hiked the Appalachian Trail for six months with your husband. What was that experience like and did your skills as a nurse come in handy?
A: The experience was phenomenal. I’m not an extreme sports person, but I’ve always enjoyed being outside and hiking. What hit home the most about being out there is it came down to what you need in life to survive. The basic necessities for survival are water, shelter, and food. Being a nurse, I took hygiene seriously. We filtered all of our water; we never drank directly from a stream. We were very healthy. I had been a nurse for about six years at the time and while on that trip, I thought about going to anesthesia school. I worked with my husband on how we could make this work.
Q: You now also hold the role of a busy wife and mother. For other nurses trying to find a balance between work and their home life, what would be your number one piece of advice?
A: You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. For me, sleeping well and exercising every day for at least an hour keeps me sane. If you’re not well, nobody is well. 

Q: Nurses are caregivers and many often put the needs of others before their own. With your busy schedule, how do you factor in time for yourself?
A: The main thing is whenever you find a gap in your day, use it wisely.  Do not wait until you feel like exercising or the day will be done as you fulfill other priorities.

Q: How has nursing changed since you began your career? Do you find the expectations and technologies of today help you or hinder you when trying to manage your time?
A: Technology has definitely helped in the care of the patients in terms of diagnosing and the speed of treatment. Today, the expectations related to payment, reimbursement, and the expectations from management and the hospital to turn over things quickly can leave room for error at times. They may say you have 15 minutes to turn over, but they want it in five minutes. Patients are still people and they are not going to behave the way the statistics say they should every time. Mistakes happen because of the pressure to produce. 

Q: You currently work part-time as a nurse anesthetist at Guardian Brockton PC, Good Samaritan Medical Center, where you are scheduled for a 24-hour shift every Friday. What is the most challenging part of this job and how do you work through it?
A: I’ve always been a worker bee. If I can go in and continue to work throughout the shift, that’s fine. The challenge becomes when the cases are done, your mind tells you to relax and then suddenly another emergency requires you to be focused and do your best for the patient.

Q: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2016?
A: I would like to start working more this year. The trick is finding the day that I can do that without affecting my girls. I really enjoy my part-time schedule, and being home in the mornings and the afternoons with them. I do hope to work more as my kids get older. I feel very fortunate for my schedule now.

Posted: 1/21/2016 8:00:35 AM by Cara Gavin | with 1 comments

Categories: Leadership

Reaching milestones on social media!

As we get further into the New Year, it’s exciting to reveal some milestones that we’ve reached already in 2016!

20,000+ likes on Facebook
13,000+ followers on twitter
14,000+ connections on LinkedIn
400+ followers on Google+

In 2016, we want to deepen our relationship with you, our members! Make sure your profile is up-to-date so we can personalize your NursingCenter experience in the coming months. You can get to know us better by viewing these Behind the Scenes videos, just published on our YouTube channel!  
Thank you!
Posted: 1/18/2016 9:56:30 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: InspirationEducation & Career

Is there a Cure for Gun Violence?

gun-violence.pngThere’s no doubt that gun control is a hotly debated topic today. Supporters of tight gun control argue that access to guns is too easy. Those on the opposition believe it is unconstitutional and that despite a rise in gun ownership, gun homicide rates have dropped. Irrespective of this debate, the statistics are staggering. There have been over 200 mass killings (defined as four or more victims) in the United States since 20061. The rate of people killed by guns in the U.S., is almost 20 times higher compared to similar socio-economic countries in the world. It is clear that Americans experience too many senseless deaths associated with firearm violence and that we need to work harder to find a solution to this devastating problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 there were 33,636 deaths attributed to firearms or 10.6 deaths per 100,000 Americans2. That same year, there were 33,804 motor vehicle traffic deaths or 10.7 deaths per 100,0002.  Auto accidents have declined over the last several decades largely due to mandatory education and government regulations. You cannot drive without first taking a driver’s test, acquiring a license and paying for car insurance. In addition, your car must pass emissions and inspection testing on a regular basis. Guns manufactured in the U.S. do not need to pass federal safety standards.

Last week President Obama proposed “executive actions” on gun violence, a set of recommendations to close loopholes in gun control legislation in an effort to prevent future mass shootings. A few of the initiatives include increasing mental health treatment, improving universal background checks, requiring gun dealers to be licensed and keep formal sales records, and advancing technology on safety locks and “smart guns” that can only be fired by the registered owner. The presidential proposal will likely meet resistance and possible reversal should Americans elect a Republican in the upcoming election.

Regardless of the outcome of the new gun control initiatives, what role can healthcare providers play?  Nurses, who often treat victims of violent crimes and their family members, are uniquely trained to promote safety, public health and education. Several nursing organizations have issued position statements on gun control, including the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing. In addition, over 30 nursing organizations signed a call-to-action letter to national, state, and local governments requesting better access to mental health services, a ban on assault weapons, and other gun control reforms.

The following recommendations could help us come closer to finding a cure for gun violence.


  1. Increase access to mental health programs for individuals, families, and students from elementary school through college:

    a. While the majority of people with mental illness are not violent, serious psychosis and schizophrenia combined with substance abuse could lead to erratic behavior. Funding should be increased to train nurses and health professionals to recognize signs of violent tendencies, as well as community and hospital based psychiatric care, housing, and access to medications.3

  2. Include a gun safety assessment as part of routine health screenings for all patients:4

    a. Several states continue to propose legislation to ban practitioners from documenting gun ownership in the patient’s record. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses counseling parents on gun safety measures.This philosophy is also supported in adult dementia and elderly patient populations.

  3. Develop and implement Evidence-based Hospital Violence Intervention Programs focusing on:

    a. Intimate partner violence

    b. Behavioral health including anti-bullying

    c. Substance use

  4. Improve Community engagement/outreach and education programs with initiatives targeting:

    a. Life skills

    b. Anger management

    c. Conflict resolution

    d. Suicide prevention

    e. Violence prevention programs: successful research-based community programs that have proven to decrease homicide rates include Cure Violence, Aim4Peace and Wraparound Project.6

  5. Gather more data, conduct research and educate families on how to best protect themselves and their families from gun injuries:4

    a. Keep guns away from household members who would not safely use them such as children or people with dementia.

One measure alone is not the answer. Rather multiple strategies implemented in our local communities, within the mental health system, and ultimately at the federal level are needed to make an impact on the number of gun-related fatalities. We as a society need to strike a balance between maintaining individual constitutional rights and protecting the lives of each and every American. Perhaps by focusing on empathy, public health, and education we can change our culture, protect our freedoms, and save lives.


  1. Overberg, P., Hoyer, M., Hannan, M., Upton, J., Hansen, B., & Durkin, E. (2013) Behind the Bloodshed: The Untold Story of America’s Mass Killings. USA Today. Retrieved from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016) FastStats; All Injuries; Motor vehicle traffic deaths; All firearm deaths. Retrieved from
  3. The American Nurses Association. (2016) Call to end violence. The American Nurse. Retrieved from
  4. Domrose, C. (2013) Nurses debate their role in firearm safety education. Retrieved from
  5. Graziano, M. & Pulcini, J. (2013) Policy & Politics: Gun violence and the role of healthcare: A confusing state of affairs (2013). The American Journal of Nursing. 113(9). Retrieved from
  6. Jacobson, J. (2015) A cure for gun violence. The American Journal of Nursing. 115(4). Retrieved from

 Myrna B. Schnur, RN, MSN


Posted: 1/12/2016 10:08:21 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 2 comments

Categories: Patient Safety

How to Write for Our Nursing Journals

writing-and-nursing.jpgWriting for a nursing journal is a great way to advance your nursing career, get your voice heard, and share your particular nursing perspective on topics important to you. Lippincott NursingCenter hosts more than 50 nursing journals and we want to hear from you! 

As a digital editor for NursingCenter, I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the nursing profession and sharing my thoughts and ideas with our members. I frequently get asked by nurses how they can share their writing with NursingCenter. Getting published in an established, authoritative, peer-reviewed nursing journal is a great way to get involved.
Many of our journals are looking for talented nurses to write for their publication. Some of these journals include:

•    American Journal of Nursing
•    Computers Informatics Nursing
•    Home Healthcare Now
•    Journal of Christian Nursing
•    Journal of Forensic Nursing
•    Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing
•    Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association
•    Journal of Trauma Nursing
•    Nursing2016 Critical Care
•    Nursing Research
•    Nutrition Today
(See specific instructions for this journal in our blog, Consider Writing an Article for Nutrition Today)

You can see all of our nursing journals on our Journals page. Follow their Information for Authors instructions, and you will be well on your way to getting published. With our Editorial Manager system, the online submission and electronic peer review process is a breeze. There’s always assistance available for those who need it; most journals have production editors and managing editors who are very helpful. 

As a bonus, I’ve compiled some resources for getting published in a nursing journal from us and around the Web:

•    How to Get an Article Published in a Nursing Journal
•    Tips for Getting Published in a Nursing Journal
•    Author Guidelines: Writing for the American Journal of Nursing
•    Writing in the Digital Age
•    The Editor’s Handbook, 2nd Edition

•    Writing for Nursing Publication

Establish yourself as an expert in the nursing community and spread that nursing knowledge around by writing for our nursing journals.  

Posted: 1/8/2016 10:34:34 AM by Cara Gavin | with 0 comments

Categories: Education & Career

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