Health Care is Waiting for Nursing Professionals to Speak Their Minds

By: Lorie Brown

When I was a nurse, I did not want to share my thoughts on ways to improve patient care and now I realize I was not alone. A few months back “The Wall Street Journal” published a study showing that 33% of nursing professionals in a New York hospital said that they withheld ideas from their nursing supervisors. Another 29% said that they “sometimes” withheld ideas from their supervisor while 44% said they routinely withheld ideas from the surgeons they worked with and another 18% saying they “sometimes” withheld ideas from their surgeons.

I know nursing professionals have the answers on how to improve the working environment, the flow of work and patient care. Naturally, they are in the best position to see what is going on in the hospital and know what to do about any problems. When these great ideas are not expressed, patients get the short end of the stick.

Children have a natural ability to speak their minds. They say exactly what they feel and do not monitor their thoughts. As adults, we find this to be a fascinating and adorable trait in children, yet we somehow feel that if we speak our minds, we may hurt someone’s feelings or we may experience rejection or even some kind of retaliation.

Why are nurses unable or unwilling to speak their minds?

Nurses may not speak their minds for many reasons including: fear of discipline, concern their input will be rejected, believe that no one will take their input seriously or value their input, or feel that their input will not make a difference. For me, it was all of the above! I had these great thoughts on improving patient care, but felt no one would take me seriously or do anything about it. What this means for the patients is the great ideas of nurses likely will never be implemented.

When we do not speak our thoughts, ideas or truths, it comes with a cost. It can create illness and can become painful by causing anxiety, depression and unhappiness. We as nurses need to be healthy to take care of our patients and ourselves. By expressing yourself, you can make yourself happy by speaking your truths and, when you are happy, others around you will be happy as well. By expressing yourself, you can create camaraderie and effect positive change. Everyone wins!

While I would love to tell you to go out and give your employer a piece of your mind, that may not be the most sage advice! Next week, I will share with you tools which can eliminate the fear or beliefs that stop nursing professionals from speaking their minds and how to speak your mind to get the best results and stand in your power.

By Lorie Brown, Creator & Founder at | RN, MN, JD | Registered Nurse | Attorney | Author | Speaker | Transformational Leader | Lorie received her BSN from Indiana University, her MN from University of California at Los Angeles and her JD from Indiana University Indianapolis. Lorie has spent her career helping nurses. She has a private law practice in Indianapolis where she represents nurses before the Nursing Board. Lorie’s mission is to empower nurses to speak their mind, stand in their power and be a change agent to improve patient care.  Lorie would like to know if you are an empowered nurse. Take the quiz to find out at


10 Tips to Beat Anxiety When Taking the NCLEX Exam!!

By: Sue Heacock 

Whether you’re taking a short quiz or the NCLEX exam, you’re sure to encounter test anxiety. It is that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you feel that you will inevitably fail, no matter what. It is the physical tension and the headache that creeps up on you as the big test draws near. It is that overwhelming “knowledge” that failing this single test will negatively impact the rest of your life.

So what can you do to conquer this fear? Here are 10 tips:

  1. Be prepared.  Nothing conquers anxiety more than confidence. Nothing builds confidence better than preparation. But how can you prepare?
  2. Study effectively.  When preparing for a test, especially in nursing, a student often feels overwhelmed. There is just too much information and so little time. So start studying the day you get the test date. Begin by investing some time organizing. Break the information into several subcategories and study only one block of information at each study session. Schedule manageable study sessions into each day, say after your nursing classes, and don’t let anything deter you from your schedule. And no, organizing your sock drawer or going out with friends for a quick dinner are not valid reasons to break your study schedule!
  3. Eat and sleep well.  Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and have a well-balanced, light meal before you take the test. Junk food or energy drinks are not replacements here! Don’t overeat or under sleep.
  4. Leave the notes at home and have no time for chit-chat.  You are ready. Don’t create stress by attempting last-minute studying, especially for the NCLEX exam. This will increase anxiety and leave you second-guessing what you know. Don’t study with your peers immediately prior to the test either. They may not be as prepared as you and their anxiety can rub off on you. You don’t want that since you are ready and focused.
  5. Take a breather.  Right before beginning the test, take three deep breaths, then go for it! As you do, think positively. Positive thoughts lead to positive results.
  6. Answer the ones you know first.  Okay, you have confidently mastered all of the information but now look at the first questions and draw a blank. Don’t worry, quickly move past any questions you are unsure of without giving them any thought. Finish the questions you know and go back to the ones you skipped last.
  7. It is not a race.  Don’t get uneasy because you are not the first or may even be the last to finish. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on your test, not on what your peers are doing. There is usually no trophy for being the first one done.
  8. I can do this.  As you breeze through the test, continually focus on the confidence of your answers and how well you are doing. Drown out the negative with the positive.
  9. No check please.  When you have finished the questions you know, go back and complete the ones you skipped at first glance. Now, get up and turn in the test. Don’t go back over every answer and start second guessing yourself.
  10. Celebrate.  You prepared your best and scored your best so don’t obsess over your performance. Enjoy the rest of your day and think about the fact that you are one step closer from being a nursing student to a successful nurse. Most importantly, celebrate the “A” when you get the NCLEX exam or the test results back.


3 Types of Nurses at Work That Drive Us Nuts!!!


By: Jennifer Ward

Every day we meet a lot of various types of people. But handling different types of nurses at work can be a daunting task. It can be very frustrating working with lazy, difficult co-workers who don’t pull their weight. If you have been in this profession for any length of time, you know who I am talking about. Here are three types of co-workers that drive me nuts:

The Off-Duty Charge Nurse
This is the charge nurse who browses the Internet or reads a magazine while you are working. It can be frustrating trying to complain to management about this, and the only thing you can really do to protect yourself and your patients is to document that you have made him or her aware. If a situation is emergent, inform the house supervisor. If you are too overwhelmed with your demands, ask a co-worker for help. This doesn’t mean that you are incompetent. It just means that you are having “one of those days” and you will repay the favor when they have “one of those days.”

The Complainer
This is my least favorite. Every nursing unit has one. They express their complaints about everything: their assignment, the nurse aides, the patients, the weather…anything and everything. I usually try to change the subject and not give in to their complaining, or I just distance myself from them.

The Constant Talker
This is the nurse who is incapable of being silent and focusing on the job at hand. No matter what you are doing or how busy you are, they will insist on telling you all of their history and personal information. There are a few things you can do:

  • Avoid making eye contact. Keep doing whatever you were doing; just answer with, ”Uh-huh.”
  • Move to another area. Especially if you are charting, move to a quiet room so that you document effectively without interruption.
  • Ask, “Are you already done with your charting?” Sometimes dropping these sorts of hints helps clue them in to stop chatting and to get moving.
  • Let’s face it, none of us are perfect, but in order to create a more positive nursing work environment that runs smoothly, these tips can be helpful:
    • Stay positive.
    • Avoid gossip, and avoid being a “tattle tale!
    • Keep complaints to a minimum.
    • Be supportive of new staff to establish productive and successful nursing unit.
    • Help out nurse aides whenever possible. This demonstrates teamwork.
    • Help out overwhelmed co-workers.
    • Offer compliments followed by constructive criticism.
    • Acknowledge a job well done-show or tell them that you appreciate them and their performance.
    • Make an effort to get to know staff. Simply ask if they had a nice weekend or invite a newbie out to lunch.
    • Never criticize or punish in public. If someone deserves criticism or being punished, do so in private or with only another manager present. Also document the discussion and the outcome. Properly address mistakes to build teamwork in nursing.

Creating a work environment with positive energy can be challenging. After all, there are many different personalities that make up our workforce. Properly dealing with different types of nurses will help you gain respect and increase you work satisfaction. Do you have co-workers who drive you nuts? How do you handle them?


NCLEX Reviewer (200 Questions)

 ( )

Above is the link to “NCLEX Reviewer” Complete with Q’s & A’s… to anyone who wants to go over any of the 200 questions. For more NCLEX questions EVERY Wednesday ~Nursing First~ post NCLEX Teasers to our private Facebook Page (Link Below)!!!!

>> <<

Nurses Week: Educating, Empowering, & Enhancing

This week we celebrate the nurses who educate, empower, & enhance the nursing profession. Each day this week we will showcase a nurse interview. With this blog, we hope to bring nursing closer together by uplifting each other through personal stories.

How long have you been a nurse? Is it your 1st or 2nd career?


Accomplished Dean of Instructional Programs with 20 plus years of experience in higher education administration. I have demonstrated success in the following areas: A clear vision for  follow through leadership, directing and evaluating staff members; develop and implementation of health programs curriculum with student’s learning outcomes and competencies; working with a diverse students; develop and implement strategic plan, recommends allocation of resources and evaluates accomplishments; As an Administrative Nurse Manager I were responsible for providing leadership and clinical oversight, and ensuring delivery of evidence-based practice by professional nursing personnel and other staff in designated area of responsibility; I have the ability to communicate effectively with diverse administration, staff and the community; team management; interpersonal skills; the ability to think creatively, strategically and proactively; the promotion of diversity; the ability to manage complex budgets with budget driven focus; foster student centered learning; excellent writing and communication skills; ability to lead through a period of rapid change and growth.

What is your highest degree? Are you currently in school?



Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Argosy University

Atlanta, Georgia   

Education Specialist, Education Leadership, Argosy University

Atlanta, Georgia

Master of Science Administration, Area of Concentration-Health

Service Administration

Central Michigan University, Michigan,

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of South Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Associate Degree in Nursing, Mississippi Valley State University,

Itta Bena, Mississippi

What is your current position/specialty?

Atlanta Technical Institute                          Atlanta, GA               09/93 – Present

Atlanta Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, located in the city of Atlanta, is an accredited institution of higher education that provides affordable lifelong learning opportunities, associate degrees, diplomas, technical certificates of credit, customized business and industry training, continuing education and other learning services using state-of-the-art technology. The integration of academics and applied career preparation to enhance student learning is essential in meeting the workforce demands and economic development needs of the people, businesses, and communities of Fulton and Clayton Counties.

Dean of Health and Public Safety Technologies Division (07/04 – Present)

Dean of Health and Public Safety Technologies Division: Skilled Trades Division (07/04 – 07/07

Director of Health Occupation Division: Human Services Division (09/99 – 2004)

Department Chairperson, Practical Nursing Program (09/97 – 1999)

Vocational Instructor, Practical Nursing Program (09/93 – 1997)

What areas of nursing have you worked in?

Higher Education, Psychiatric, Medical Surgical, Dialysis

What have been your fondest memories during your nursing career?

Teaching in higher education & building and developing of health career   programs.

What are your professional nursing goals?

To start a Healthcare Career Training Center to educate and develop

Healthcare career paths for persons to enter the health care profession.

How do you feel about the “BSN in 10” law?

I believe that you must have standards in all profession. This requirement will set a standard. We have to think will it be effective for the care of all citizens urban and rural. I do not believe it will solve our ever-changing needs to improve healthcare across the country.

Where do you see nursing headed in the next 5 years?

Aging baby boomer means demands on the healthcare system will only increase in the coming years thus, we will continue to be facing a shortage of nurses to serve the needs of the healthcare industry. Aging baby boomers mean demands on the healthcare system will only increase in the coming years.

Aging baby boomers mean demands on the healthcare system will only increase in the coming year.

What do you think are challenges facing the nursing profession? Current and future?

We have a shortage of nurse educators to teach and train the next generation of nurses.

How do you feel about the new graduate nurses and their transition from nursing school to the field?

Graduates of two-year nursing programs are struggling to adjust from the theoretical to the practical. We as educator must ensure that the entrance level nurse is ready to enter the workforce and be ready for the daily practical application for which we have prepare them for in the classroom and clinical experience.

At the same time, graduates of two-year nursing programs are struggling to adjust from the theoretical to the practical.

If you weren’t a nurse, what would be your profession?

WOW, this is a hard question to answer. I want to say a professional dancerJ

What is your personal and/or professional mission statement?

I am an educator from the heart. I am passionate about supporting the growth and education of others in whatever context that might be. I am a strong advocate for empowerment of others to be the best they can be, I also believe that no one should determine another person’s destiny. We are here to support and encourage others to be the best they can be. I am part of a larger community as such, I will strive, always, to encourage and support the dreams and aspirations of others, learn about others, and contribute to the betterment of my community. 


  • Have a proven track record of program development by growing the division from four Allied Health programs to twenty-five Allied Health programs;
  • Manage Health Program’s (Occupational Therapy, Surgical Technology, Dental Hygiene, Radiological Technology, Medical Assisting, EMT/Paramedic, Health Information Technology, Practical Nursing, and Physical Therapy) self study, accreditation process and program’s annual reports.
  • Coordinates and implements plans and procedures to meet criteria for college wide accreditation.
  • Taken Initiative to serve on the State of Georgia Board of Nursing and collaborated with the Department of Human Resources in developing the Qualified Medication Profession for the State of Georgia;
  • Demonstrated the ability to interface with architects and planners in developing a $14 million state of the art Allied Health Facility and Health Lab for the Hapeville Charter Career Academy High School; 
  • Perform detail reports and served as liaison in coordinating instructional curriculum delivery for a 2 million dollar community based healthcare job training project by the Department of Labor for Allied Health Programs;
  • Rebuilt and rejuvenated leadership staff into unified, top performing, highly motivated team with successful outcomes for student’s performance on required board examination;
  • Expand Allied Health programs into the local community market, delivering exceptionally with student retention rates 35%, graduation rates 89% and placement rates 98%.
  • Provides communication to accredited institutions and other accrediting bodies of accreditation actions regarding programs accreditation and programs annual reports.

Constance Russell, Ed.D, MSA, BSN, RN

Dean of Instruction



  • CPR Certification
  • PPD Testing to the public
  • LPN  NCLEX Review                        
  • RN    NCLEX Review
  • PTCB Exam Review Course ( National Pharmacy Technician Exam)
  • Allied Health Programs Curriculum Design
  • Health Wellness Education Workshops

For the above services, please call: 678-561-HCTC (4282)

Thank you for all your support……