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5 Tips to Manage Stress for the busy Healthcare Professional

by Anja Grimes

Healthcare professionals are subject to high stress levels no matter what environment they work in. It is imperative for nurses, emergency medical technicians, therapists, and other clinicians to learn how to properly de-stress, disconnect from work, and bring some calmness into their lives. These 5 simple tips can help busy healthcare professionals stay healthy and calm for their patients—and themselves.

Nurses sitting on floor meditating

1) Breathe

We all breathe all the time, but when was the last time you concentrated on a deep breath? Conscious, deep breathing for just a few seconds has a calming effect physically, mentally, and emotionally. Try this simple exercise any time you need a quick break:

  • Sit quietly with one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest.
  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth until all the air is out of your lungs.
  • Repeat four more times.

By practicing slow, deep breathing, you’ll reduce your level of stress quickly and efficiently.

Out for a healthy walk

2) Take care of yourself. Take a walk.

Caregivers are prone to overextend themselves, putting others first. Just as airplane passengers are advised to put on their own oxygen mask in an emergency before helping others, we need to take care of ourselves first so we can be there for our patients. One easy way to do this is by getting outdoors and taking a short walk.

Nurses on Holiday Shift

During my many years in the emergency department, and even now in my office job, I make it a priority to take a short walk outdoors each day. Even if I am only able to get out for a few minutes, the calming effects are tremendous.

Wild Iris Medical Education CEO Ann Johnson

Nurse and patient spending time together

3) Do something kind for others.

Could it be that the key to happiness is doing something kind for others? It might seem more rewarding to do something nice for you—buy that new pair of shoes, get a new haircut, or go on a weekend trip—but doing kind things for others has been shown to reward us with greater happiness.

In one study, researchers told a group of participants to practice "self-focusing" behavior (doing nice things for themselves), a second group to practice "prosocial" behavior (performing kind acts for others or that serve a greater good), and a third group to practice a neutral behavior. At the end of the six weeks, the people who practiced prosocial behavior showed "greater increases in psychological flourishing" than the other groups. []

Baby laughing in moms arms

4) Laugh.

We all know the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” Studies show that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving resistance to disease. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals, which promotes an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. So get-together with a few friendly colleagues, enjoy each others’ company, and laugh.

Nurses on Holiday Shift
Healthy Lifestyle Signpost

5) Make your life a little healthier.

Last but not least, work on living healthier. Why not follow some of the good advice you give to your patients? Exercise more, eat more fruit and veggies, cut down on sugar, drink plenty of water, reduce your alcohol consumption, or quit smoking. Start small, and don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. Little changes in our everyday routine, done consistently, will have lasting effects. And if you need some support, there are many programs to help. So make a commitment to healthier living, and you’ll start feeling less stressed right away.

Although these tips may sound like common sense, it can still be a challenge to incorporate them into your daily life and develop new good habits. Don’t give up. Try one of these simple tips to reduce stress, become a healthier person, and stay strong for your patients, family, and friends.

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To learn more about managing stress—and to earn 1.5 hours of professional CE, take our course Burnout: Coping with Job-Related Stress in Healthcare

Please leave a comment how you deal with stress!

Nurses on Holiday Shift

Nurses and many other healthcare professionals are required to stay current in their field by taking continuing education courses (CEU). With the growing number of online CE providers, how can a busy professional choose a trusted-and, more importantly, accredited-online provider? How will you know whether an online course meets your own needs as well as complies with your state's requirements?
Before making your choice, check out these commonly asked questions and get expert advice on continuing education provider must-haves:

Nurse in scrubs holding blue alarm clock to signal last-minute rush

1) Why should I take an online CEU course in the first place?

The most common answer is: Because you'll save time and get immediate results!
If your license renewal date is just around the corner-even tomorrow!-then your best bet to meet your deadline is taking an online course. Online courses are accessible 24/7 on any device, anywhere there's an Internet connection. A certificate of completion is typically provided instantly online or via email.

2) Aren't there better options than online courses?

CEU courses are available in other formats, such as live seminars or printed booklets delivered by mail. Personal preference, accessibility, cost, and time constraints are common factors that healthcare professionals use when deciding what type of course to take.
But most of the other options have some real drawbacks. Live seminars are not cheap. To attend, you may have to take time off work or even travel overnight. Not every employer will pay for your time away, and lodging costs can add up. Then there’s the strain of being away from your family.
In today's world, taking courses from printed booklets and mailing in test papers often seems outdated. Busy professionals can save—on postage, time, and even wasted paper—by reading courses online and receiving instant, electronic certificates. And there are no trips to the post office or waiting days for results to arrive in the mail.
(Of course, those who prefer to read a printed course can simply print out an attractive copy from many online providers' websites.)

ANCC accreditation is accepted by nursing boards in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

3) How do I know whether an online provider's courses will be accepted by my state board?

This is a highly important question when selecting a CE provider. Different professions have different accrediting bodies, and not all online courses are approved in all states. That's why you should always check a provider's accreditation or approval for your profession and state. This will protect you from spending time and money taking a course, only to find out after the fact that it’s not accredited for your license type or state—which could even lead to a lapse in your license.
Accreditation information should be easily located on a CE provider's website. For instance, look for the official seal of the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) if you’re a nurse and similar organizations for occupational therapy, physical therapy, case management, and EMS.
If you can't find a CE provider’s accreditation, be sure to contact the provider prior to taking a course.

Nurse in scrubs with stethoscope holding pink piggy bank to show money saving on CE

4) Can I look at a course before deciding—and paying—to take it?

Online CEU providers differ in how freely they allow access to their course materials. Many providers require you to sign up for an account, pay a yearly membership fee, or pay for an individual course before letting you look at all their courses. Other online providers offer unlimited access to their courses without an upfront payment, allowing professionals to read a course—and sometimes even complete it and pass a test—before deciding whether they'd like to "buy".
It's important to be comfortable with your decision to purchase on online CE course. In some ways, it’s a matter of risk and uncertainty.
Some questions you might ask include: Would I like to see a course, or even complete it, before paying for it? Am I ready to make an ongoing commitment to using a particular provider? Do I want to sign up for an account and provide my personal information at the beginning or end of the process?

Nurses on Holiday Shift

5) What if I decide not to complete a course once I’ve already begun to take it?

Not all CEU courses will end up meeting your needs. Maybe the content isn’t turning out to be what you expected or needed. Maybe it’s too technical—or too simple—for your particular level of practice and experience. And maybe the course simply isn’t as well organized or clearly presented as you’d hoped. After all, who hasn’t had the experience of taking a class that ended up falling short of expectations or even feeling like a waste of time?
Then there are those times when your own life’s uncertainties and demands won’t allow you to finish a course.
That's why it's important to understand an online CE provider's policies. For providers who require an upfront payment, do they offer a refund if you don't finish the course or successfully pass a post-test? Or does the provider require payment only at the end of the process?

6) Is the post-test "open book"? And what do I do if I don't pass?

This can be a critical question if you’re concerned about successfully completing a course, since many online CE providers include a post-test to help you know whether you’ve understood the information provided in the course. But will you have only one try to pass a test in order to earn your certificate? And what if you’ve already paid but didn't pass on your first attempt?
Different providers handle this individually. Those who apply adult-learning principles won't restrict your access to the course material as you complete the test questions. Similarly, some CE providers allow unlimited tries (and time) to obtain a passing score. You should be able to review the test questions you may have missed. After all, the point of the post-test is enhance your learning experience and to support your success.
And don't forget to keep an eye out for which providers require payment only after you pass the post-test.

Nurses on Holiday Shift

Online courses are accessible 24/7 on any device, anywhere there's an Internet connection.

7) What "proof" will I receive to verify I completed the course? And will my course completion be reported to my state board, agency, CE Broker, etc.?

It's likely that your state requires you to document the successful completion of your continuing education. But reporting requirements for states and professions vary. Some require reporting of all courses, others only for a specific course, and yet others have no reporting requirements at all. That’s why it's important to be sure your CE provider will help you meet your own reporting requirements. For instance...
Will you receive a certificate of completion, and when? Some CE providers automatically email you a certificate. And if you sign up for an account, they will also save a record of all the courses you take with them. You should be sure your certificate includes the name of the course you took, the date you took it, the hours you earned, and whether the course and provider are properly accredited by your state or profession.
Will your course completion be reported automatically if your state or profession requires it? Some online providers are tied in to states' reporting systems, and other providers are not. Some will report automatically with 24 hours, while others may take weeks. After all your hard work in completing a course, you need to feel confident that your success will be reported quickly—especially if you are up against a deadline to renew your license!

Nurses on Holiday Shift

Whether you are new to taking only continuing education or have taken courses online for years, be sure to ask these questions about any provider you are thinking of using. Finding the right online CE course for you will make the process smooth and ensure your success in meeting your requirements and mandates in order to renew your license.
If you’d like to consider whether Wild Iris Medical Education is the right provider for you, try out a free online CEU course now and earn 1 contact hour!

Organ and Tissue Donation and Recovery
This course is available free of charge through October 1, 2019, for 1 contact hour of Nursing continuing education (CNE) from ANCC-accredited provider.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month—widely recognized by the pink ribbon as its symbol—is observed every October to increase awareness and to raise funds for research to prevent, treat, and cure the disease. This yearly campaign aims to educate women about the importance of early screening, testing, and more. Additionally, it offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 266,120 new cases of invasive and 63,960 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women during 2018.

Breast Cancer Survivors

Who Gets Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States and the second most common cause of cancer death in women, claiming thousands of lives worldwide.

  • One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • On average, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes and one woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with and approximately 460 will die of breast cancer each year.
  • Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
Nurses on Holiday Shift

What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?

Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. Although some risks may be avoided or reduced, such as smoking, others, like genetic disposition, cannot.
Risk factors include:

  • Age (over 65)
  • Family history
  • Personal history of previous breast, endometrial, ovarian, or colon cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Never having been pregnant
  • First child after age 30
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol and drug consumption
  • Long-term, heavy smoking
  • Lack of exercise
Awareness March for Breast Cancer

Are There Lifestyle Choices to Reduce the Risk?
Yes, these factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle and may aid in preventing cancer:

  • Eating a diet consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Engaging in moderate physical activity for at least 2.5 hours or vigorous exercise for 75 minutes weekly
  • Participating in strength-training exercises at least two days per week
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day
  • Quitting smoking or other types of tobacco use
  • Attending annual cancer screenings
Nurses on Holiday Shift

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States and the second most common cause of cancer death in women, claiming thousands of lives worldwide.

How Can Nurses and Healthcare Providers Educate Patients about Breast Cancer?

Nurses and other healthcare providers frequently care for women with breast cancer in the acute and chronic stages of the disease.
Diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer varies based on many factors, including type, stage, and other individual differences. Women may be presented with various treatment options and need expert guidance to assist in decision making and weighing short- and long-term effects of each treatment choice.
Following the shock of a breast cancer diagnosis, patients may feel overwhelmed. At this time, nurses and other healthcare providers can assist by calmly answering any questions and offering more details about the various treatment options. Encouraging patients to take notes or have a trusted friend or relative with them during the appointment can help.
A nurse or healthcare professional can recommend further counseling from an independent counselor or specialized oncology social worker such as those from Cancer Care. Oncology social workers are licensed professionals specifically trained to provide individual counseling, lead support groups, locate services that help with home care or transportation, and guide people through the process of applying for Social Security disability or other forms of assistance.

Nurses on Holiday Shift
Patient discussing breast reconstruction

What about Breast Reconstruction?
For most, treatment does not end with the initial surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy but may also include long-term surgeries for reconstruction as well as endocrine therapy for a period of 5 to 10 years to prevent recurrence.
Frequently asked questions about breast reconstruction include:

  • Am I a candidate for breast reconstruction?
  • What type of reconstruction is the best for me and why?
  • Will my new breast look and feel different from my other breast?
  • Can I see pictures of reconstructive surgeries that show the final results?
  • What are the risks and possible complications?
  • When is the best time to have this done?
  • How long will I be in the hospital? How long is total recovery time?
  • Will I need help at home after surgery?
  • When will I be able to exercise again? Are there any restrictions?
  • What is the average cost? Does insurance usually cover this?
Breast Cancer survivors

What Is the Survival Rate?
Breast cancer is a common malignancy among women, representing 4 in 10 female cancer survivors in the United States. Long-term survival is common after breast cancer treatment, with a 5-year survival rate of almost 90%.
As women live longer with breast cancer and the associated long-term treatments, care has shifted to a chronic care model. Women with a history of breast cancer will benefit from the initiation of standards and expectations to provide patients with an individualized survivor care plan to assist them in being as informed as possible about their future.
Survivorship for women with a history of breast cancer may include monitoring and surveillance of short- and long-term effects of treatment as well as screening for other secondary cancers. Women who are actively involved in their care, with a focus on wellness goals—including nutrition, mind-body strategies, and exercise—may experience a better quality of life and have a decreased chance of cancer recurrence.

Nurses on Holiday Shift

To Learn More...
To raise awareness and educate nurses, case managers, and occupational therapists and assistants on breast cancer, Wild Iris Medical Education is offering a $10 discount on its 8-contact hour Breast Cancer CEU course during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (through 10/31/2018). ANCC-accredited and AOTA-approved provider for online continuing education credit.

Get your passport ready for travel

Travel healthcare professionals often find that pursuing a travel career can be a lonely experience. Travelers are spread all across the country, which can make it difficult to connect with their colleagues outside of social media.
So when the idea for a new travel healthcare conference came about during TravCon 2018, it wasn’t out of a desire to create a competing conference, but instead to provide another event where travelers can network and connect. Travel nurse Thomas Piper is helping organize the new conference Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha, set to take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 5–6, 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nurses on Holiday Shift

We want to provide people another option to supplement TravCon. Not everyone can make it to Vegas every year in September,” says Piper. “This new conference is another place where travelers can connect."

Tickets to Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha cost only $50, which covers the cost of food provided during the conference. Only 150 tickets will be sold, and the number of travel company exhibitors for the event is capped at 30. Information on tickets and exhibit space is available on the conference website.

Keynote, Panels, and Free Continuing Nursing Education

The program will include keynote speaker Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, an expert on hospital culture who speaks internationally to hospital boards, the military, leadership, and staff about safety, communication, cultural change, and power. With her husband, John J. Nance, she co-authored, Charting the Course: Launching Patient-Centric Healthcare.
Additional sessions will include both recruiter and CEO panel discussions as well as learning sessions with “movers and shakers” (i.e., industry professionals) on topics such as taxes, housing, technology, profit margins, contracts, fitness on the road.

Nurses on Holiday Shift
CEO Ann Johnson, RN

Five continuing education hours for nurses on Tuberculosis will also be offered to conference participants free of charge by industry leader Wild Iris Medical Education. Since 1998, Wild Iris Medical Education has provided evidence-based, high-quality, online CEU for nurses, case managers, and other healthcare professionals. Their catalog of more than 80 courses covers a wide range of topics and includes state-mandated nursing CE courses. A certified woman-owned company, "Wild Iris Medical Education is proud to be among the exhibitors of Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha" says CEO and RN Ann Johnson.

Stethoscope on a travel map

Small setting, good conversation

Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha is accepting only a small number of travelers and exhibitors. This setting is intended to offer more time for travelers and companies to network with each other. Piper explains, "We've set a lot of time aside for people to have actual conversations with agencies and recruiters. It's definitely going to be a more intimate setting for networking and forming relationships."
Organizers also wanted to keep the cost of entry as low as possible for both attendees and exhibitors. That’s one reason why Omaha was selected for the first year of the conference. "Since Omaha is so centrally located, it’s very inexpensive for travelers to access who may be on the edges of the country." Piper adds, "Omaha is also a central hub for travel nursing companies." More than a dozen travel healthcare staffing companies call Omaha home, including Aureus Medical Group, Atlas Medstaff, and Fusion Medical Staffing, all of which are exhibitors for the event.

Nurse in front of a travel map

But the conference won’t be held in Omaha every year. Another reason why organizers created a different conference was to provide a chance to meet up with travelers in new places. "We’re travelers—we like to travel the country and don’t want to go to the same city every year," Piper says. "TravCon is great and a lot of fun, but it can be expensive to visit Vegas every year if you’re working on the East Coast or want to bring your family along."
Piper is encouraged by how quickly Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha has come together and hopes this new conference will provide another great option for travelers to connect with each other. Organizers are already looking ahead to next year’s conference in Orlando, where they plan to offer even more tickets for travelers and space for exhibitors.

For more information about the conference, visit
Nurses in any US state can take CEU courses with ANCC-accredited Wild Iris Medical Education. Try our free Organ and Tissue Donation CEU course for 1 contact hour today!


Anja Grimes

Anja leads Wild Iris Medical Education's marketing team and is responsible for extending the company's promotional leadership, driving overall marketing operations and expanding the reach of our network while staying current with the latest industry trends and developments.

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