Category Archives: Featured Article

At Hug Your Nurse we have plenty of Featured Articles. These are articles in the nursing field that cover issues that nurses want to know about! Many of these articles are useful for everyone in the medical profession, as well as anyone in the nursing industry.


Pediatric Nursing

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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pediatricsThese nurses work with patients from infancy all the way to early adulthood. The general age guideline for pediatric classification of a patient is from birth to 18 years old. You’ll find pediatric nurses in hospitals, private family practices, local clinics and anywhere else that caters to children’s healthcare. They work closely with the physicians to provide treatment of their young patients in a variety of ways such as administering immunizations, and treating common illnesses. Pediatric nursing is widely regarded as a fulfilling and promising career, and the level of nurse burnout in this specialty is one of the lowest.

Pediatric nurses also administer developmental screening tests. They also work closely with the parents and chills family to teach them how to prevent childhood diseases, and instruct the parents about child nutrition to help ensure proper growth and development as the child grows.

There are sub-specialties of pediatrics that nurses choose to specialize in which can include but are not limited to: pediatric cardiology, pediatric oncology, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric dermatology.
In the pediatric cardiology sub-specialty, they treat patients suffering from various complex heart problems and will often be found working in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Units and in Pediatric Cardiothoracic Intensive Care units. These cardiac specialty nurses can be found in pediatric outpatient facilities and private practice offices as well.

Pediatric nurses that choose the pediatric gastroenterology sub-specialty will treat pediatric patients that suffer from a variety of gastrointestinal problems, such as disorders of the stomach, and intestinal tract, liver and the pancreas. Some of the other conditions that Pediatric Gastroenterology Nurses will most often treat are nutritional problems. Some of those problems range from inflammatory bowel diseases, Gastroesophageal reflux disorder, acute & chronic liver disease and Eosinophilic esophagitis.

Nurses that choose to specialize in pediatric dermatology will treat the wide variety of skin diseases and disorders that exist. They also can be found in burn units treating children and adolescents who have been burned and require skin care treatments. Nurses in this field are all trained and qualified dermatology nurses, but choose to treat children instead of the entire age spectrum.

Some of the most common skin disorders and diseases that pediatric dermatology nurses will see and treat during the course of their careers are, but not limited to; Acne, Psoriasis, Age spots, Ring worm, Shingles, Scabies, Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac and Poison oak, Dermatitis, Frostbite, various forms of Eczema, Moles, Cysts, Clark’s Nevus, Dandruff, Cold sores, Lupus of the skin, sun spots, Sebaceous Hyperplasia, and Lyme disease.

Nurses that choose to specialize in Pediatric Oncology have one of the toughest jobs in nursing, as oncology deals with cancer. And a child fighting cancer is a very emotional event and in a lot of cases heart breaking.

Pediatric oncology nurses are a special breed of person because of the nature and scope of their work. Pediatric oncology nurses must have a very high degree of emotional stability because where cancer is involved, the outcome is often times not a happy ending. If treatments fail, then it is these nurses who are tasked with helping the patient and the patients’ family members cope with the emotional distress that is involved. And when it is a child, the emotional stress on these nurses is tremendous.

Cancer comes in many varieties, whether it is internal or external. Cancer treatment‘s are tough and take an additional toll on the human body, even more so where children are concerned. Composure is another major attribute that curses working in pediatric oncology must master. While the parents of a child suffering from cancer may be visibly upset, often times crying, the nurse must be able to maintain her composure, often times crying on the inside and if as in a lot of cases where these nurses develop a very close bond with the patient and patients family, they sometimes allow their emotions and grief to flow with them when things do not turn out as expected during the course of cancer treatment for these children.

But on the flipside, the children who respond to the various forms of treatment well, and in some cases go into remission or where the cancerous tumor is removed by surgery and is completely gone, there is much joy for all involved. So it is with that said than a pediatric oncology nurses life is an emotional roller coaster filled with joy and sorrow.

Pediatric nurses are required to have their RN diploma, RN license, and an associates degree or bachelor’s degree. Licensed Practical Nurses can, and often do, serve as pediatric nurses.

Most pediatric nurses earn an average of $32,000.00 to $83,000.00 annually, while the median salary is around $55,000.00 per year, but the actual salaries of them will vary depending on what specialty they work in, as well as including various bonuses among other factors.

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Nurse Practitioner

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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nurse practitionerThe nurse practitioner is the apex of nursing. It is the top of the nursing chain in such that it is one step below a full physician. Nurse practitioners perform many of the same tasks as physicians, including performing minor surgery and diagnosing and treating patients. They have taken and completed many of the same educational courses that a doctor must take but are still one step below the level of a full M.D.

They are registered nurses with a graduate level education in nursing who most often have a masters degree. One of the main differences is that a nurse practitioner is still an RN, and not an MD, but they do earn the NP tag behind their name, of which NP stands for Nurse Practitioner. Nurse Practitioner in the broad sense is a title only. There are many sub specialties that add the title of NP to it.

These highly educated nurses have a masters degree and some even have their doctorate degree as well. Given that fact alone, they are some of the most highly paid nurses in the nursing profession.

Their role in the healthcare industry is mainly as primary and specialty healthcare. They provide high quality, low cost care to individuals that is comparable to the care that is provided by physicians and often work along side or with physicians in the many areas of healthcare.

As hospitals and other medical providers are always looking to cut costs, nurse practitioners are becoming more in demand as they perform many of the same tasks as full physicians, but at about half the cost. They treat many common issues, but the more serious issues are always referred to a physician for further evaluation and treatment.

They practice in all 50 states of the USA and some of the places you will commonly find them are; hospitals and hospital clinics, communist clinics, community health centers, walk-in clinics, hospice facilities, physician offices, public health departments, nursing homes, college clinics, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are hiring more and more NPs as well. The Veterans Administration also hires a lot of NPs as well.

They specialize and practice in the many areas of healthcare such as women’s health, pediatrics, dermatology, family practice, mental health, e.t.c. but a lot of nurse practitioners work in and specialize in sub-specialties of the main medical specialties.

Some of their duties are tp diagnose and treat diseases, order various lab tests, initiate treatment plans and prescribe medications, and perform minor surgeries such as sutures (stitches). Some of the sub-specialty fields that current Nurse Practitioners work in are: Women’s Health – OBGYN, Neonatal, Emergency room, Psychiatric / Mental health, Gerontology, Cardiology, Oncology, Surgical / Operating room, e.t.c.

Nurse practitioners work directly under physicians and in many cases work independently, only consulting with the physicians over them when needed except for major health problems, then the nurse practitioner sends their patients to a physician.

As a general rule, each state regulates the role of NPs and has set guidelines as to what they may or may not do in the scope of their duties. Some states grant them full prescription privileges, which includes controlled substances, while some states dictate that they can only write prescriptions under the supervision of a doctor. In some cases they can write most all prescriptions except for controlled substances.

As an overview, some of the basic duties a NP will perform but are not limited to are: prescribing medications, ordering physical therapy and other rehab treatments, ordering and interpreting various diagnostic procedures and studies such as lab tests, X-Rays, EEGs, EKGs, diagnose, treat and monitor chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, diagnose and treat various acute illnesses, injuries and infections, provide counseling and education to patients about health behaviors, treatment options, and self-help /self-care skills. They also provide prenatal care for pregnant women as ell as family planning services. NPs also provide overall health maintenance care for children and adults alike, including performing annual physical exams.

As the role of NPs grows, many of them serve as a patient’s sole primary care provider and in some cases they have and run their own private practice. And with that being the case, many nursing schools are recognizing this fact and are implementing doctoral programs. It has been recommended by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, that all nursing schools make the switch to doctoral programs and those students who seek to become a nurse practitioner will have to and be able to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

So in today’s modern age, chances are that if you already have not seen a NP during a visit to a clinic, hospital or other healthcare facility, chances are that you will seen one in due time, as they are becoming more common now and are usually the first stop before seeing an actual MD.

The average annual salary rage for Nurse Practitioners is $83,000.00 on the low end and upwards of $120,000.00 per year on the high end. The average annual median salary for them is around $ 97,000.00, but with nursing schools now implementing doctoral programs into their curriculum, you can expect these salary averages to rise in order to be commensurate with their education level.


Gastroenterology Nurse

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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GastroenterologyGastroenterology nurses have their standard RN certification along with an associates or bachelors degree of science in nursing. These nurses help diagnose and treat problems with the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, and rectum. They also assist gastroenterology physicians in surgery when the situation warrants.

Some of the more common problems of the GI tract that Gastroenterology nurses will help treat are: Appendicitis, Bowel Obstruction, Celiac Disease, Constipation, Crohn’s Disease, Diarrhea, Diverticulosis, Diverticulitis, Gallstones, Hemorrhoids, Lactose Intolerance, Peptic Ulcer Disease, Heartburn/GERD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis.

GI nurses are also known as endoscopy nurses due to their experience in assessing, planning and implementation of upper gastrointestinal and endoscopic procedures.

One of the common ailments today that older adults wind up seeing a gastroenterology nurse at some point is a condition known as Diverticulosis, and in severe cases where infection sets in as a result, Diverticulitis. This is a condition in the colon where small pockets form in the colon and bodily waste collects in those pockets and the pockets eventually become inflamed and infected causing severe pain. This condition warrants a hospital stay and a lot of antibiotics. In some cases these infected pockets can rupture allowing bodily waste to enter into the body which requires surgery and if a ruptured colon pocket is not treated in time, can lead to death. You’ll also get to meet a GI nurse if you have to have a colonoscopy.

Some of the common gastrointestinal problems that GI nurses will face and treat in the scope of their duties are ulcers, dyspepsia, carcinoma and dysphagia. These conditions can and often cause patients to experience mild to severe abdominal pain, internal bleeding and can even lead to cancer in some cases.

Gastroenterology Nurses work with and implement a variety of medical equipment under the direction of a physician. Some of the equipment that these nurses use on a daily basis are; computerized topography scans such as ultrasound, gastroscope which is used to perform an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD/OGD), Duodenoscope which is used to perform an ERCP procedure, Enteroscope which is used to perform push enteroscopy, a Colonoscope which is used to perform a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscope which is used to perform a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a rigid sigmoidoscope which is used to perform rigid sigmoidoscopy, ultrasound endoscope which is used to perform an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) procedure, a video capsule which is used to perform video capsule enteroscopy, endoscopy snare which is used to perform polypectomy and endoscopic foreign body removal, Band ligator which is used to perform variceal band ligation, using a Sengstaken-Blakemore tube which is used in the management of bleeding esophageal varices, a Balloon dilator which is used to perform esophageal balloon dilatation, pyloric dilatation or ileocolonic dilatation, a Savary-Gilliard dilator which is used to perform esophageal bougie dilatation, a device known as a Heater probe which is used to perform endoscopic heater probe thermocoagulation of bleeding blood vessels, an APC unit which is used to perform endoscopic Argon plasma coagulation, a PEG tube which is used to perform percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, and a Menghini needle or Tru-Cut needle which is used to perform a percutaneous liver biopsy.

So as you can see, GI nurses use and or assist physicians using a wide variety of medical equipment specific and unique to their profession. Nurse practitioners also work in this specialty and often perform the above procedures with regular GI Nurses under their charge.

To become a gastroenterology / endoscopy nurse you must first enroll in and graduate from basic nursing school with an associates or bachelors degree. Then after obtaining their nursing degree,  registered nurses who wish to gain certification in gastroenterology,  must work in a gastroenterology setting full time for at least two years with a minimum of 2,000 hours, or the part-time equivalent of 4000 hours in a five-year period. In addition to the above requirements, nurses will need to provide the endorsement of at least two gastroenterology practitioners or physicians in order to take the certification exam.

Gastroenterology nurses are certificated from the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN) and the required certification exam is called the Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse exam (CGRN).

The salary for Gastroenterology / Endoscopy nurses vary on a number of factors but as a guide for full time GI nurses, the salary ranges are from $55,000.00 to $99,000.00 per year with a median average of $80,000.00. If you are tired of being a nurse because of your current specialty, it may be worth it for you to investigate becoming a GI nurse.


Orthopedic Nursing

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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orthopedicsOrthopedic nurses deal strictly with musculoskeletal diseases, disorders and injuries. Some examples of musculoskeletal issues are fractures, broken bones, joint injuries and replacement, various genetic malformations like scoliosis, various types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Orthopedic nursing is a challenging specialty.

Orthopedic nurses also assist the orthopedic physicians in surgery and also may perform various treatment tasks under the supervision of their orthopedic physician that they work directly under.

These nurses are also educated and trained in teaching techniques to be able to teach the patient and his or her family members about prevention of musculoskeletal disease, how to watch for and recognize various symptoms and treating the symptoms as needed from home.

Orthopedic nurses work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practice offices and bone and joint specialty clinics.

Some of the main tasks that they will perform during a work shift will be to administer medication to the patient and insert IV catheters and administer various medications via the catheter. If surgery is involved, he or she will check the wound site for signs of infection or not healing properly as well as change the dressings.

Orthopedics is a specialty field in nursing and orthopedic nurses are trained to evaluate an injury through site and touch and patient complaint and response during the injury evaluation survey process. After the nurse completes her survey evaluation assessment he or she will log her findings in the patient’s medical chart and then consult with the treating physician to discuss the findings of the survey assessment and then the physician will then visit with the patient and perform his or her own survey assessment and then consult with the orthopedic nurse and plan a course of treatment for the patient and issue orders for the nurse to carry out.

In addition to the above, they will set up and prepare various medical equipment and tools needed to treat patients with orthopedic injuries and also prepare the material that is needed for casts in the case of fractures, and in some cases, under the direction and watchful eye of their orthopedic physician in charge, they will apply the cast to a patient to gain valuable clinical experience in applying casts. This is especially true if an orthopedic nurse is looking to advance her career and become a nurse practitioner.

There are a variety of sub-orthopedic fields that a nurse can choose to work and specialize in. Some of those sub-specialty fields are Pediatrics, Adult Orthopedics, and Gerontology orthopedics. Each of the listed sub-specialties listed above are equally important, but working in pediatrics and gerontology are a little more important.

In pediatric orthopedics, the nurse treats our young. Children and young adults are especially vulnerable to bone and joint injuries given the fact that they are still growing and the bones are not as hard and durable and fully developed as an adult’s bones and joints are. Being a Pediatric Orthopedic Nurse requires a very soft touch in addition to having a motherly approach while administering treatment as children, as we all know, are more emotional when they are hurt and require a delicate touch, but at the same time need to be assertive. Parents also have a lot of questions and fear for their children when they suffer a bone or joint injury or suffer from some other musculoskeletal ailment and the orthopedic nurse needs to be equally understanding and patient with a child’s parents so that they will be at ease with things as much as possible.

In the case of the elderly, these nurses treat much the same various musculoskeletal issues as any other age group, but in the elderly, the bones and joints are more brittle and not as flexible and therefore have issues more frequently. So orthopedic nurses who work strictly with the elderly see more and treat more musculoskeletal issues than the other nurses working in orthopedics. These nurses gain more valuable clinical experience due to the higher frequency of musculoskeletal ailments that afflict the elderly than traditional orthopedic nurses.

With the elderly, the most common forms of  disorders that  nurses will deal with are the various forms of arthritis along with fractures and breaks. They’ll also work in the operating room more often assisting orthopedic surgeons with such procedures like hip and other joint replacement surgeries. These types of surgeries require a great deal of physical and mental stamina as these surgeries are often long and require very long periods of standing.

In most emergency rooms at hospitals, there is normally at least one orthopedic nurse on call or on duty at all times. And when an orthopedic case arrives in the emergency room, it is this nurse who will assist the attending emergency room physician in evaluating and treatment of the injured person, including assisting in immediate surgery if necessary.

Like all other nursing jobs of specialty in the medical field, orthopedics medicine offers a nurse several options as to which age group they enjoy working with the most.

Orthopedic nurses all have their RN diploma as well as a two or three year associates degree and or a four year bachelors degree.

Orthopedic nurses earn an average salary between $70,000.00 and $90,000.00 and the median salary is around $80,000.00 per year.

If you are bored with med surg, and want to avoid burning out and possibly quitting nursing all together, oncology nursing may be something for you to consider.

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Oncology Nursing

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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oncology nurseOncology nursing involves the nurses who work with cancer patients. Oncology is the official medical term for cancer. They are required to have at least an associates degree and in a lot of cases require a bachelors degree of science in nursing and board certification in Oncology. Almost all large hospitals have an oncology unit located within the hospital or on hospital property.

To become eligible for oncology board certification a nurse must have accumulated and least one year of RN experience, completed at least 1,000 hours of practice in oncology nursing and have kept their RN license active. In addition, there are six types of Oncology Nurse Certification options. The six types of certification are as follows:
*Basic Level-

1: OCN: Oncology Certified Nurse

2: CPON: Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

3: CBCN: Certified Breast Care Nurse


4: AOCN: Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse

5: AOCNP: Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner

6: AOCNS: Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist

Areas of study involved in certification include palliative care, hematology and chemotherapy administration.
Oncology Nursing Certification is valid for four years and oncology nurses must take the recertification test at that time in order to maintain their oncology certification.

These nurses must have a high degree of emotional stability because where cancer is involved, the outcome is often times not a happy ending. If treatment fails, then it is these nurses who are tasked with helping the patient and the patients’ family members cope with the emotional distress that is involved. Cancer comes in many varieties, whether it is internal or external, and cancer treatments are tough and take an additional toll on the human body.

Oncology is a very broad industry and oncology nurses work in a vast variety of fields. Some work in preventive & early detection oncology, teaching people the basics of prevention, while some work in pediatric oncology where their main task is treating children who have cancer. Some Oncology nurses work with the elderly along side gerontology nurses.

Since oncology is a vast field, there are many sub-specialties in oncology and also since there are countless types of cancer, there are oncology nurses who specialize with just one or a few certain types of cancer, but they all share the basic oncology knowledge base. But for oncology care, these nurses have a broad knowledge of the basic genetics, physiology and biochemistry of cancer.

Regardless of which field or specialty of oncology these nurses work in, they also must have more than the basic attributes of a nurse. This is because of the very nature of cancer. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer by their physician, fear sets in and from that point forward the nurse tasked with not only being able to treat the patient, but also provide a lot of mental encouragement as the days ahead for a cancer patient can be dark and unknowing.

The oncology nurse will also be the one who counsels the patient and his family members about what lies ahead. Such as details of the symptoms of the disease that the patient will encounter as well as the effects of the various types of treatments that lie ahead like radiation and chemotherapy as well as surgery.

These special nurses must be also able to offer a tremendous amount of emotional support to both the patient and his or her family members as they will endure many tough times during the cancer treatment process. Oncology nurses must have a very high degree of emotional stability as the core of their attributes due to the very nature of what they do, as often times they will be dealing with cancer patients who are diagnosed with terminal cancer and not only the patient, but the patient’s family will need the full support of the nurse during these trying times.

Oncology nurses in the scope of their duties will help set up the various medical equipment that will be used in treating their patients. In addition, if an oncology nurse wants to further her career, she or he will attend continuing education courses as the technology for cancer treatment is constantly changing and staying up to date with current technology trends in treatment and equipment is vital to his or her career and advancement.

The need for oncology nurses is in demand and on the rise as more patients are being diagnosed with various forms of cancer. Their salary depends on a variety of factors such as education, location, employer, and much more. Due to the rising demand of oncology nurses, salary levels can be expected to rise, but as of now the following are the common salary averages for them. On the low end of the salary scale these nurses average about $54,000.00 while on the high end they earn around $85,000.00 annually. The annual median salary for oncology nurses is around $68,000.00.

If oncology nursing is something that interests you, we highly recommend that you get in touch with a nurse that is currently working in the field to find out how they feel about the profession.