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Short Takes: Narratives by Nurses – A Sneak Peek into the Real Lives of Nurses

The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future is always looking for new and exciting ways to showcase nurses and the profession! In doing so, we've recently launched a new video series called Short Takes: Narratives by Nurses. A group of nurses and one nursing student – people just like you – each filmed their very own videos, where they share their thoughts on how they got their start in nursing, what they find most inspiring about their career and giving back.

The Short Takes: Narratives by Nurses video series was created to give nurses a look into the real lives of their counterparts all over the country. You'll see what it's like to be a pediatric nurse in California, teach as a nurse educator in New York, be a nursing student in Alabama and work in nursing informatics in Georgia.

We hope you'll be inspired, and even intrigued, by these real nurses as you get a peek into their real lives. You can view the current installments of the series on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook page or on the Nursing Playlist on the Johnson & Johnson Health Channel on YouTube. Check back often for the latest videos and leave us your comments and thoughts!

This Holiday Season, We Want to Share Your Inspirational Stories!

Tis the season for giving, and this December we want to feature those stories of nurses who are constantly giving back to others!

When was the last time you went the extra mile for a patient to help his or her recovery? Or made a patient's family feel comfortable in the wake of a stressful medical emergency? Perhaps you and your nursing colleagues organized an activity to benefit a community organization or a fellow nurse?

As the holiday months come upon us, we want to share your stories with other nurses as a source of inspiration during what can often be a stressful time for nurses, patients and their families.

A couple of tips to keep in mind as you're sending us your stories:

  • Speak from the heart and be yourself!
  • Try to limit the story to 250 words (we may edit for brevity)
  • Please don't mention any patient names (be mindful of HIPAA)
Send your stories to by December 8th and we'll pick a few of the most inspirational ones to include in Nursing Notes and on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook Page!

Five Finalists Announced in the Amazing Nurses Contest

The contest is in the home stretch! After narrowing down more than 2,600 nomination entries to just 20 semi-finalists, the public voted and five Amazing Nurse finalists have been determined. More than 20,000 votes were cast overall for the semi-finalists! Our esteemed all-nurse panel of judges recently deliberated and evaluated each finalist against the official contest criteria to determine the Grand Prize Winner.

Mark your calendars, and tune into CNN on December 11 at 8 p.m. ET during the CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute Show in Los Angeles to watch the exciting announcement of our Amazing Nurses Grand Prize Winner! Here are the five finalists:

  • Patricia Grusholt, RN, Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. "For Tricia, nursing is not only a profession, it is a lifestyle. She goes above and beyond each and every day and for this and her years of tireless service, she is most deserving of this distinction." -Patricia's nominator, Victoria Sardi-Brown

  • Kristine McGregor, RN, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. "Her (Kristine) greatest satisfaction comes when she sees the transformation in her patients." -Kristine's nominator, Maria Seyrig

  • Jody Newell, RN, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. "Jody is an amazing nurse who is well-respected by his peers, provides a safe and comfortable environment for St. Jude patients and one who makes patient care his No. 1 priority." -Jody's nominator, Joyce Webb

  • Lisa Schoen, RN, Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, Wis. "Lisa goes above and beyond by personally visiting the patients after their procedures to explain outcomes, answer questions and ensure their needs are met... Because of Lisa Schoen, lives have been changed!" -Lisa's nominator, Lori Fayas

  • Lillian Shockney, RN, John Hopkins Hospital, Breast Cancer Center in Baltimore, Md. "Lillie Shockney is more than an amazing nurse. She is a phenomenon, an unstoppable force; a living example of how good can come from suffering and how much good can be accomplished when one is an amazing nurse." -Lillian's nominator, Marie Nolan
To read the finalists' full profiles check out the Amazing Nurses contest tab on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook Page and be sure to check back to the page for more contest status updates.

Scholarship Opportunities Available through the Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association

Attention all nursing students! The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association (FNSNA) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2012-2013 academic year. Scholarships are available to U.S. citizens and students currently enrolled in state-approved schools of nursing or pre-nursing in associate degree, baccalaureate, diploma, generic doctorate and generic master's programs.

The FNSNA awards more than $125,000 annually in scholarships, and individual scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500 each. Applicants are judged on academic achievement, financial need, and involvement in nursing student organizations and community activities related to healthcare.

General scholarships offered by the FNSNA include:

  • Career Mobility Scholarships
  • Breakthrough to Nursing Scholarships
  • Specialty Nursing Scholarships
  • McKesson Scholarships
  • Promise of Nursing Scholarships
Completed applications must be submitted by Friday, January 13, 2012. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses – Awards, Scholarships and Grants

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses offers more than 13 grants, scholarships and awards every year in recognition of the extraordinary contributions of nurses. Beginning in January 2012, applications will be accepted for four AMSN research grants to provide funding for evidence-based research, including:

  • Evidence-Based Practice Project Grant ($5,000)
  • Nursing Research Grant ($1,000)
  • Philips Healthcare Research Grant ($5,000)
  • Nursing Research Grant ($5,000)
The AMSN offers several scholarships to provide funding for its members in pursuit of higher education, including the Career Mobility Scholarship. In addition, the AMSN annually presents awards to individuals who demonstrate excellence in clinical practice, outstanding clinical leadership skills, extraordinary contributions towards the enhancement of healthcare and continuous volunteer involvement in AMSN.

For more information about AMSN awards, scholarships and grants, visit

Medical-Surgical Nursing: A Foundation of Nursing Practice

Medical-surgical nursing continues to evolve as its own specialty, helping to advance healthcare as a whole.

Traditionally, medical-surgical nursing, or med-surg, has been viewed as an entry-level opportunity that many nurses use as a springboard into other specialty areas. Because of this scenario, med-surg nursing was often not perceived as a specialty in and of itself. Today, however, the specialty has gained prominent attention within the nursing community.

In 1991, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) was formed to provide national exposure for the specialty and to support its nursing professionals. Since then, the AMSN has hosted an annual convention to help accelerate the careers of med-surg nurses and improve their nursing skills. This year's AMSN 20th Annual Convention featured a general session on the future of med-surg nursing. The session highlighted the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which outlines recommendations for changes in the nursing profession in response to the transitioning healthcare system.

"An important take away from the IOM report is that all nurses are expected – by the public – to continue to evolve in their education and competency," said Michael R. Bleich, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dr. Carol A. Lindeman Distinguished Professor at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Bleich participated in the IOM study and examined its relevant recommendations for med-surg nurses at this year's AMSN convention. "Medical-surgical nurses, no doubt, acquire much of the knowledge, skills and abilities they need just by the types of patients they care for daily. But there are bigger issues at hand – there is a public demand to ensure every patient's safe passage through the health system."

med-surg nurses are well positioned to accomplish these goals by continually expanding their portfolio of knowledge, with an eye toward safety and transitional care. According to the AMSN website, "med-surg nursing is no longer viewed as a stepping-stone, but is the solid rock and backbone of every institution."

The establishment and growth of the AMSN has resulted in the national recognition of med-surg nursing as its own field. In fact, based on the Health Resources and Services Administration National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, approximately 29.3 percent of nurses working in hospitals primarily care for medical and surgical patients. This translates to 459,315 full-time and part-time med-surg nurses nationwide.

"The AMSN has been instrumental in promoting and solidifying the specialty of med-surg nursing," said Kathleen Lattavo, MSN, RN, CNS-MS, CMSRN, RNBC, ACNSBC, President-Elect of the AMSN and med-surg Clinical Nurse at St. David's Medical Center in Austin, Texas. "We have worked with other organizations and associations to spread the word about med-surg nursing and continue to provide evidence-based practice research grants to promote the science of the specialty."

In conjunction with its mission to promote excellence in med-surg nursing, the AMSN plans to continue offering educational resources for nurses in the field, specifically as it relates to the IOM report. "We feel that education is a lifelong event. Educating our med-surg nurses inspires them to take pride in what they do and assume a leadership role of excellence in the workplace," said Lattavo. "At the same time, we know that it's equally as important to recognize the hard work and dedication that already exists in med-surg nursing."

Currently, the AMSN is developing a program to recognize exemplary med-surg nursing units nationwide. The award, scheduled to launch next year, will be called the PRISM (Premier Recognition in the Specialty of med-surg) Award. "It's simply another way for our organization to recognize and showcase how important the med-surg nursing specialty truly is."

For more information about the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, visit

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A Closer Look at Medical-Surgical Nursing as a Specialty

The versatile field of medical-surgical nursing requires nurses to possess a highly developed skill set to meet the needs of patients.

Medical-surgical nursing is a multifaceted and sophisticated area of specialization that is typically focused on adult healthcare. med-surg nursing is its own distinct specialty complete with a highly developed skill set, professional organization and certification. According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN), these nurses not only make up the largest nursing specialty group, but they are also considered the backbone of the staff at nearly all medical facilities.

Cynthia Steinwedel, PhD(c), RN, CNE and Assistant Professor at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. said, "It used to be the case that med-surg nursing was everything except a specialty. However, as time went on, the field became increasingly focused on taking care of patients with multiple medical conditions." For example, if someone is experiencing arthritis in his or her legs, it might limit their ability to walk, which could then result in cardiovascular problems due to the limited mobility. "A med-surg nurse must be able to assess a patient's condition quickly, and take into consideration what other ailments might result from their current situation down the road," said Steinwedel.

A majority of med-surg nurses practice in the inpatient setting. They specialize in caring for patients with acute illness, major surgery, and chronic diseases or conditions. med-surg nurses also specialize in caring for patients in settings such as home health agencies, community health clinics, private practices, hospice and schools of nursing.

The med-surg nurse manages care needs of patients admitted from the surgical recovery area and emergency department, or transferred directly from the health care provider's office, the intensive care unit or from a long-term care facility. They simultaneously care for several patients on a designated med-surg nursing unit, some who are in stable condition, some who are at high risk for a rapid deterioration in health status, and some who are not ready to return home or transfer to a long-term care setting. The med-surg nurse teaches patients and families how to best care for themselves and their loved ones and when to seek medical and nursing care upon discharge.

"med-surg nursing allows you to work in a variety of settings for a diverse group of patients who have a wide assortment of medical conditions. It is an extremely versatile specialty," said Steinwedel.

While med-surg nursing allows for a variety of exciting opportunities to work with patients affected by many different conditions, it is also one of the most demanding specialties. med-surg nurses must continue to improve upon their education to stay on top of ever-changing healthcare practices by reading newly published research and taking CE courses. "Continuing education is critical because you have to keep up with so many areas of medicine. CE courses are the keystones for med-surg safe practices," said Steinwedel.

Additionally, med-surg nursing offers the opportunity to earn an advanced certification. One source is the Academy for Medical Surgical Nursing's certification, Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN). This is granted to a nurse after they have documented two years of experience, 2,000 hours in medical-surgical nursing care and taken a test administered by AMSN. Also, the American Nurses Credentialing Center provides certification through its program leading to an RN-BC.

The future of med-surg nursing is constantly evolving. There will be an even greater need for the expertise these nurses can offer, as the number of aging adults who may be experiencing more than one medical issue increases. Because of this, med-surg nurses are in an excellent position to apply their skills in practically every medical setting. "Medical-surgical nursing is growing up as a profession, and growing out in terms of scope as a specialty area," explained Steinwedel. "If you're interested in a bit of everything, med-surg is an excellent specialty to get into."

For more information about the specialty, visit

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Get to Know...
Kelly Hyde, RN, BSN, CMSRN, PE at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore.

Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing and why?
A. I decided to pursue a career in nursing after a 12-year career as a civil engineer. I thoroughly enjoyed the engineering profession as I was able to engineer stormwater and drinking water systems to optimize and promote public health. I went into nursing because I wanted to use my critical thinking skills and problem solving skills in a clinical setting to promote healing and health in a more tangible, personal way.

Q. What inspired you to become a med-surg nurse?
A. As a student nurse, I completed the majority of my clinicals in the med-surg setting. I knew right away that the clinical setting was where I was meant to be as I was constantly introduced to endless learning opportunities. med-surg nursing was the perfect setting to implement my critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a dynamic and ever evolving setting.

The nursing unit I currently work in provides post surgical care to patients undergoing a wide variety of gastrointestinal surgeries and complex wound care to a diverse and complicated patient population. I enjoy learning something new every day I work and the unique challenge that comes along with learning creative ways to implement the practice of nursing.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of being a med-surg nurse?
A. The most rewarding part of being a med-surg nurse is the privilege of guiding a patient and their family through their hospital journey: supporting them, teaching them, celebrating their progress, being inspired by their life stories, their courage and spirit. It is such an honor to be an advocate for a patient within the nursing role as you are able to meld together critical thinking, science, compassion and persistence. I can think of no better way to be truly present for another human being.

Q. What has been one of the greatest moments of your career?
A. I have had the privilege of working on a very exciting leadership project at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). I am the staff lead in the pilot of the NHS Productive Ward-Releasing Time to Care program. The overall goal of Productive Ward is to increase the amount of time a nurse is able to spend at the bedside in direct patient care. This is accomplished by removing barriers to efficient workflow, implementing daily efforts to improve unit performance data, organizing a streamlined work environment, and strengthening the voice of the bedside nurse. I believe that my project management skills gained as an engineer have prepared me for this unique leadership role as a nurse.

Additionally, this leadership opportunity has given me many opportunities in both personal and professional growth. This past May, I was invited to speak at the annual ONA (Oregon Nurses Association) conference about the OHSU journey thus far with the Productive Ward pilot. Speaking in front of several hundred people is something I never thought I would be doing as a staff nurse. It was a rewarding and confidence-building experience. I believe this opportunity led to my award as the Oregon March of Dimes Nurse of the Year (Medical/Surgical specialty).

Q. What advice would you offer to nurses or nursing students interested in the med-surg specialty?
A. I think med-surg nursing is the most exciting and engaging nursing specialty! To fellow nurses and student nurses out there, I would absolutely recommend experiencing a clinical rotation in med-surg. You will be surprised by the diverse learning opportunities afforded to you and by the fact that the specialty is constantly evolving. Each day provides unique opportunities to not only practice a variety of hands on nursing skills but to also be actively engaged in patient teaching, patient advocacy, mentoring, research, and multidisciplinary engagement. med-surg nursing is a dynamic environment geared toward ensuring a safe patient journey in which you have the opportunity to influence people's lives in profound ways.

Q. How has nursing impacted your life?
A. Being a nurse has changed my outlook on life in many ways. Primarily, I have been inspired as I have witnessed people struggling with chronic illness, recovering from complex surgeries, and struggling with unfortunate complications while navigating the healthcare arena. I am humbled by the endless life stories that arise and the strength of human spirit that emerges. Additionally, as a result of my day-to-day experiences working with patients and their unique situations, my personal views on all of the following have been impacted: public health, nutrition, politics, education and healthcare reform.

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BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2011

BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2011, the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow & media event for all New Media, took place in Los Angeles, on November 3-5. For the third year, Johnson & Johnson sponsored the Social Health Track sessions that focused on how the social web can be used to positively impact society. From members of the social health community to those interested in the effective application of digital and online technologies for change, these sessions covered a multitude of topics surrounding this type of social media.

One session in particular featured top nurse bloggers Kim McAllister, RN, BSN, CEN; Jamie Davis, RN, EMT-P, B.A., A.S and Managing Director for; and Terri Pollick, RN, Department of Defense, who shared their tips for producing HIPAA-friendly social media content during the Social Health Track session entitled "Stop Being Afraid of HIPAA."

McAllister, author of Emergiblog, said of the event, "BlogWorld was a creative shot in the arm. I always leave the conference inspired to write and excited to be a part of the blogosphere; this year was no exception. You will leave inspired and with enough energy to blog for months. It is worth every penny."

Additionally, Davis said, "The Expo is an excellent resource and opportunity for anyone interested in the future of social media and healthcare. Partnered together, social media and healthcare provide a forum for nurses, other healthcare professionals and patients to stay focused on patient needs and to openly discuss current issues in healthcare."

Be sure to check out Davis' latest Insights in Nursing podcast episode, where he brought together McAllister, Pollick and nurse blogger "The Nerdy Nurse" Brittney Wilson to reflect on this year's BlogWorld. To listen to the podcast, visit

For more information about BlogWorld, visit BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2011 or check out the hashtag #socmedia on Twitter to see what all the chatter was about at the conference. The hashtag can be used year round to discuss all things social health.

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