I have been giving flu shots out the wazoo lately and have had some rather interesting responses in various situations.

First, there was the man who didn’t want to take his shirt sleeve off because it wouldn’t roll up and asked me if I could just give the shot through the sleeve.  Next, there have been numerous people who have said “Now, I should expect to come down with the flu, right?”  WHAT????  Of course not!  Who is telling you this?  Then, there have also been numerous people who think that the flu shot goes into their veins like starting an IV. 

Other than that, we have been seeing a lot of strep throat in adults.  More than usual. 

One husband and wife came into the clinic and the wife opened her mouth and I immediately said “you’re outta here”.  She had a tonsillar abscess.  It was an enormously swollen tonsil with exudate all over it.  I had her husband take a look so he could see it too and he yelled “HOLY CRAP!  What is that???!”  She said “So, tell him that I can’t give our daughter a bath tonight.”  hahaha.  That is what she was most concerned with.  She got referred to someone who could drain it.

Something I don’t look at too terribly often, but is quite interesting, are the search engine terms that people put in to find something and arrive at my site.  For your enjoyment, here are a few:

“first job, fired nurse”    Yikes.  Poor person.  Hope they find another job.  I wonder what happened.

“hate being nurse practitioner”   We’ve all been there. 

“man with a bottle stuck in his butt”   This one comes up quite often, which leaves me being very curious.

“i had a heart attack can I become a nurse”    I don’t think this will disqualify you.

“student nurses touching patients in Canada”   Yeah, it would be really helpful if you got to touch some patients as a student. 

“He put a bottle up my butt”    Did he really????  I don’t think I’d go around him anymore.

“indwelling catheter have sex”   This is honestly something I don’t know the answer to, but I’d think it would be rather uncomfortable.  Good luck with that.

“pee hole catheters”     Mm-kay.

“i’m freaked out by nursing simulators”    then you’ll be even more freaked out by real patients.

“catheter lady”    No, that would not be me.  sorry.

A reader asks:

“I’m currently taking my pre nursing classes at a community college. I can’t decide if I want to get my RN from the community college or if I want to just go ahead and get my BSN from a university. I was thinking I could just get my RN from the community college and work as a nurse, then get my BSN online later. My question is, if I want to eventually become a nurse practitioner, does it matter if HOW I get my RN?”

I will answer this from my own personal experience.  I went to a community college to get my associate’s degree first because I had to get out and make some money quickly so that I could put my husband back through school.  I was a little jealous of my friends who chose to go straight through and get their B.S. degree.  But when it came time for getting our first jobs, they were making about fifty cents more than me.  However, they were the first ones to be considered for promotion to management positions over me. 

I began to work on my B.S. degree as I worked night shift as an R.N. and I really think it was the smartest move for me.  When taking those senior level classes, things made so much more sense as I was writing papers based on personal experience rather than what I had only read in a text book.  So, I will tell you that I found it to be much easier with work experience. 

At that point, I realized that while I was in the school mode, I figured that it would be best to continue my education and apply to a NP program.  I worked PRN at a hospital while I went to NP school.  It was absolutely amazing how I began to put all of the pieces together and finally saw the whole picture of why I had been doing some things as a R.N.  That was a really fun part of it all. 

I will say that we wrote fewer papers in the associate program than my friends did in their BSN programs.  But when you spend that extra year getting your BSN, you will primarily be writing papers and doing group projects probably.  So, you will have the tools and experience that you need for graduate school.  (where you will write TONS of papers!)

So, in answer to your question, I do not think it matters what track you take to becoming a NP.  The requirements should be very similar, if not the same.  So, it really depends on your time frame and how quickly you need to graduate.  Choose the program that works best for you.  Going to a community college should not be a barrier to getting into NP school.  I did it.  But whatever ramp you get on to go down the NP road, enjoy the whole ride.  And document your journey.  You’ll be glad you did.

Caring for the bedridden involves a lot of hard work, time and effort, which is why most people delegate the task to qualified nurses or nurse practitioners who come highly recommended from local hospitals or other healthcare settings. There are aspects to the task that only professional caregivers who are naturally endowed with the necessary patience and skills are able to satisfy.  

When someone is confined to bed for a prolonged period of time because of an illness or a disability, the first thing that the person needs is compassion. They are at the mercy of someone for even the smallest things, so the nurse or caregiver in charge should take the effort to let them do things on their own as much as possible. 

A sense of independence is most valuable to someone who is bedridden, so placing a table near the bed where ordinary things like a phone, newspapers, books, pens and pencils, writing materials, glasses, water and other necessities can be reached easily is of utmost importance.  

Allow the patient to feed himself/herself if they are able to sit propped up in bed. Provide them with napkins and the required cutlery so that they are able to eat in comfort. 

If the patient asks for a change of bed linen and sheets, accommodate their request without arguing that they were changed only that morning or recently. The comfort of the patient is most important when they’re constantly lying in bed.  

Just because they are bedridden, there’s no need for them to look shabby. So help them dress well and look good even though they’re not going anywhere. A little makeup and a daily shave will do wonders for patients’ morale.  

Provide them with some form of entertainment, books or television or papers, if they are able to sit up for some period of time.  

Caregivers must ensure that they make quality time for themselves too in order to avoid burnout or job fatigue. A day off is the best way to recharge and rejuvenate so that you’re back and able to take care of the tasks at hand with the energy they deserve.  

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of Cruise Nursing. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

by Heather Johnson


Not all nurses are content with a stationary job within a hospital or clinic. For those with a nomadic streak, it is a good idea to consider a career as a travel nurse practitioner. What is a travel nurse, you ask? This is a licensed nurse who takes short-term positions all over the country, filling in for vacancies almost like an office temp (albeit, a very well-trained temp).


Such a career choice may not be suited for everyone. Those with a family, of course, may not wish to be away from home constantly. In fact, some travel nurses don’t even have a permanent home anywhere. Rather, he/she rents temporary housing after arriving at each position. The typical travel nurse position lasts from 3 months to a year.


Initially, a travel nurse is brought to a facility in order to fill in for a nurse who has left or is on leave. After the position has been permanently filled or the previous nurse returns, the travel nurse will move on to the next job. In many cases, however, a travel nurse will get somewhat settled into the position and the employers will attempt to recruit the travel nurse for permanent placement.


For those who become a travel nurse in order to see the country, being recruited will not be appealing. However, being a travel nurse is also a great way to discover a permanent “dream” job. How would you like to be a nurse practitioner in Hawaii, perhaps? It is possible to put in a request for transfer to certain locations. Although positions won’t always be available, you will be shortlisted for a position there when one opens.


The best way to enter the world of travel nursing is by contacting a nurse recruiting company. This agency will actively find positions for the nurse, just like a run-of-the-mill temp agency. Be forewarned, however, that a nurse recruiter must be paid a fee. The fee may be worth the convenience of not having to search for jobs, however.


While travel nursing may not appeal to everyone, it can be a great way to find the perfect position or to see the country. Those looking for excitement and travel while pursuing a nursing career will probably be eager to look into this lifestyle choice. Sidebar: While each state has different requirements for nursing licenses, it should be noted that travel nurses could obtain temporary licenses that are valid up to a year.


Heather Johnson is a regular commentator on the subject of Online RN to MSN. She welcomes your feedback and potential job inquiries at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.






This is a rather broad question.  Although I have only been a nurse practitioner for less than a year, I think that it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.  The one thing that I do find is that I second guess myself constantly.  Even after I calculate a pediatric dosage twice and get the same number, I am finding myself calculating it again after the patient has left.  I hope that this will get better once I have done it for a while and become more familiar with it all.

Another thing that is surprising to me is that I am feeling guilty taking payment.  I think because I have been on the other side of the fence and know how much it costs, especially for cash patients or patients with deductible plans.  They pay an outrageous amount of money and take a day off of work only for me to tell them that they have a virus and need rest, fluids and symptom management which simply consists of over the counter medications.  Patients frequently feel that they have not “gotten their money’s worth” if they do not walk out with a prescription.  This has been a rather difficult issue to deal with.  I mean,  they can either do what I said above and get better in 7-10 days or take an antibiotic and get better in 7-10 days.  Same result either way, and risk of resistance if using an unnecessary antibiotic! This is actually much easier do deal with in adult patients versus pediatric patients with parents who insist on getting a prescription. 

So, back to the question:  Is it hard to be an NP?  I think some areas of it are and they’re probably different among different people.  I think that the hardest piece I’ve run into by far is selling “It’s a virus and you don’t need an antibiotic” .  So, for those of you getting out of school, work on your sales pitch ahead of time.  It will save you a lot of time later. 

I want to start writing based on what you all want to know.  So, if you will, please leave questions in the comments letting me know the things YOU want to know.  I’ll do my best to respond to all of them.  I’ll let you guys write in questions for about a week before I start answering them.


I’m back.  For real, now.  Sorry it has been so long. 

Okay, according to the search engine terms, several people are wondering what are some typical interview questions that have come up for me in my quest for a job.  As it’s almost my bedtime, I will list a few questions that I can remember that I’ve gotten.  I honestly don’t remember what some of my answers were, but the questions were pretty difficult to know on the fly.  So, study up!!

1.  What do you believe are the pillars of nursing?

2. Name a time when you have deviated from policy.

3. Name a time when you have gone above and beyond the call of duty for a patient and describe the outcome.  (I have gotten this question many many times!)

4. Name a time when you have encountered a difficult situation and how you rose to the occassion to resolve it.

5.  Name a time when you have encountered a difficult patient or coworker and how you were able to diffuse a difficult situation.

I will rack my brain and give you all even more questions as I think of them.  It is best to be as prepared as you can possibly be.  Keep in mind that these questions frequently come from more corporate and large organizations rather than solo practitioners who are mostly concerned with clinical competence.  Trust me, the clinical competence type of questions are FAR easier than are the “Name a time when….” questions. 

And Good Luck!!

The hospital that I worked at had a lot of patients with mental health problems in addition to the actual physical problems that they were being hospitalized for.  This made it extrememly difficult to have the “average” number of patients (7).  I was just thinking about how this patient who I had was a “swallower” and had to be one on one with a sitter in addition to having a nurse.  Nothing that was of size that could be swallowed could be in the room.  This patient had come in  because he had swallowed a pencil.  They attempted to get it out with endoscopy and could not, so they were forced to cut him open and SURPRISE!!  They found a watch, batteries, and coins.  This was not the first time that he had been opened up to retrieve objects. 

I believe it was that same night that I had the patient that tried to hit me in the head with a quad cane.  Yeah.  And it hurt.  He was at least sane enough to be scared when the security guys came up.  He thought he was going to jail.  I was able to give him medication (per dr’s order) to calm him down.  Haldol, that is.  We called it Vitamin H.  The vitamin that the insane folks were lacking.

I did not get the “job of my dreams”, but rather the job any new grad typically gets stuck with:  a night shift med surg floor.   But I needed to be employed as I was the only one working in the family.  The hospital was an older one that had double occupancy rooms and older equipment.  They did not have the automatic “nurse on a stick” that I was used to having while in school.  (this was a little skinny cart that had an automatic BP, temp, pulse, Oxygen saturation machine.)  This all had to be done manually (which I later found was far more accurate!)  But the one thing that this place had was a computer system.  Everything that I was used to writing out by hand could now be done in the computer.  I was impressed and a little intimidated too.  But I figured I’d get the hang of it quick enough.  Little did I know that the population of patients would be the thing I’d hate the most.

So, the day came to start the computer training.  I actually CRIED at the lunch break stating that I was either going to have to quit my job or get fired because I could not learn this freaking computer system.  My poor husband, scared, kept reassuring me that if I could make it through college, that I could probably learn their system.  Well, when I came back from the lunch break, there was this older nurse who was learning to transition to the computer system.  The instructor for the class said “Okay, take your mouse and click the black box on the screen.”  Well, the poor older lady picked up her mouse and put it up on the screen on the computer (literally) and began clicking it.  Everyone began to look after a long silence and the instructor trying to figure out what the hell she was doing!  After that, I KNEW I could learn this system!! 🙂

Thought you might be interested….

Can you believe these new simulator patients that students are now using? If you haven't seen these, click here to see a video of how this works. Man, I wish we'd had this when I was in school!

I would have NEVER thought this was true

Everybody knows the "sexpert" Dr. Ruth, right? Did you know that she used to be a sniper in Isreal? yeah! Check it out here.


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