Mental Health Support Strategies for Healthcare Personnel

On the surface, nursing jobs meet so many of the criteria that lead to workplace satisfaction. They can elevate a person’s community standing. Most people recognize and appreciate the services of all healthcare workers, but perhaps none more than nurses.

They provide a person with meaningful work that they can be proud of. In a world where workplace satisfaction is almost non-existent, that is an enormous benefit that can’t be ignored. They even command salaries well above the national median.

So why are nurses leaving the healthcare profession in droves? At the time of writing this, around half of all nurses starting today will have quit within the next five years.

A key reason: Burnout. Nursing is a stressful job. What can be done to address the mental health needs of healthcare workers?

Understanding the Problem

Nurses report heightened rates of stress, depression, and anxiety. A wellness survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation revealed that 40% of nurses say they experience feelings of depression. For context, rates of depression among the general population hover at around 14%.

That’s a MAJOR difference— one that could account for the high turnover rate in nursing almost on its own.

What about the job is so difficult for people to process from a mental health perspective? Nurses:

  • See life at its hardest. When your job is to take care of people during what may very well be the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through, you may naturally find that their pain influences the way you feel. The extent to which this is the case will depend on the job. School nurses, for example, do not experience nearly as much trauma as those working in the hospice setting. Still, it remains a fact that most people who come before a nurse are there because something went wrong in their life.
  • Nurses deal with death much more often than the general population. Imagine that you’ve been taking care of a patient for the last two weeks. You aren’t friends, of course. Though you see them in an incredibly intimate setting, your relationship is strictly professional. Still, you feel like you know them. You’ve met their kids. Witnessed their fears and their vulnerabilities. You’ve come to enjoy popping into their room, knowing they will have a kind word or even a joke. Think about what it would feel like to watch that person die. Nurses have that experience all the time. Afterward, they don’t sit down with a therapist or social worker. They may not have any time at all to process their feelings. They keep working and then go home to people who can’t possibly understand what it is like to deal with death every day.
  • The job is stressful. Nurses make decisions that could mean life or death for their patients. That’s an enormous burden— one that very naturally translates into heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

To make matters worse, the working conditions that most nurses experience don’t translate well into good mental health. They work twelve-hour shifts, sometimes at night or on weekends and holidays. They are always on their feet. Work-life balance can be tricky.

These factors accumulate into a work environment that doesn’t produce ideal mental health conditions. What can be done about it?

Modifying Working Conditions

One of the simplest fixes is to give nurses scheduling options that are more conducive to their mental health. Twelve-hour shifts are designed mostly for administrative purposes. It’s easier to plan for two-shift rotations than it would be for three or four.

Admittedly, some nurses like this arrangement. While your work days are crazy, it gives you more flexibility with the rest of your week. When you only work three out of every seven days, it’s easier to plan trips and enjoy more time with your family.

However, the cons may very well outweigh the pros. The human mind is only designed to sustain high levels of concentration for around four hours a day. That doesn’t mean you are a zombie the rest of the time. It does mean you have a limited window to produce your best work. Is it wise to have healthcare workers so far exceeding that window?

Hospitals that switch to shorter scheduling sequences may boost the quality of concerns while improving patient outcomes.

Providing Mental Health Resources

It can also help simply to connect nurses with more opportunities to address their mental health needs. For example, counselors who are available when the job gets hard. Supplementary services (health, fitness, mindfulness) designed to elevate overall quality of life.

Even communication channels among hospital staff make it easier for nurses to vent. Many nurses lack social outlets for their work-related stress. Providing that sense of community could boost retention and improve the way nurses feel about their work.

Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs are particularly valuable for new hires but can be useful for any working nurse. They provide that valuable social outlet mentioned earlier, but they also connect new hires or struggling professionals with someone who can relate to their concerns and provide good advice.

Businesses that implement robust mentorship programs typically experience much higher employee retention than those that do not. Why? The employees feel more comfortable with their work.

Conclusion

There isn’t much that can be done about the core mental health challenges that are baked into nursing. Nurses have constant difficult experiences. It’s just part of the job description. However, hospitals can do more to help them by providing a robust support network.

Do mentorship programs or group communication apps take the pain away when a patient dies? Of course not. Taken together, however, these considerations can produce a better overall work environment. The key is to give healthcare professionals the tools they need to feel better on and off the job.

Doing so will not only improve retention but also boost patient outcomes.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Innovative Healthcare Careers Sparked by Evidence-Based Practice

Healthcare is constantly evolving to keep up with the most scientifically supported approaches to achieving good patient outcomes. Evidence-based practice is a concept that fully embraces that essential healthcare truth. Every patient is an individual and every individual requires personalized considerations when making health-related decisions.

In this article, we take a look at what evidence-based practice is, how it works, and what careers use it.

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

One would hope the phrase is a bit of a redundancy—at least in this context. What is healthcare work, after all, if not evidence-based? While doctors and nurses have always leveraged their training and factual understanding of medicine to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes, they haven’t and don’t always apply the “evidence-based” approach being described here.

Evidence-based healthcare is a very specific research-centric process in which care providers identify a clinical problem or question and take steps to investigate and address it. It’s time-consuming because it is very individualized. The “clinical problem,” is not necessarily transferable.

If two patients come in with congestive heart failure, the evidence-based research cycle may take place for both of them because there are other variables that will influence their outcome.

Because evidence-based practice is very research-demanding in an industry that often has little to nothing to spare it is not always applied consistently. However, it has been shown to produce good results, both for individual patients and in the way healthcare providers think about the services that they offer.

While there aren’t a lot of careers born specifically out of evidence-based practice, there are many that have been influenced by it.

It is now a concept that is taught both in nursing and medical school. It is particularly prominent in advanced curriculums. For example, if you wish to become a:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neo-Natal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Gerontological Nurse

You will probably deal routinely with evidence-based practice. Unfortunately, because it is a very demanding practice, it isn’t a solution that hospitals can leverage in all situations. However, it remains a desirable framework through which healthcare providers can filter and inform their decisions.

Informatics Nursing

Informatics nurses work primarily with numbers. They record and process healthcare data as a way to better strategize for individual patients and to provide broader solutions that can influence a hospital’s overall operations.

They are an enormous resource when it comes to maximizing efficiency. Hospitals that are short-staffed or not funded adequately can make the most of what resources they do have by understanding their numbers.

While informatics nursing has existed for years, it is a career path that evolves constantly and is more prominent than ever now that AI and other data-processing tools have made it more accessible.

Informatics nursing was not born of evidence-based practice but it certainly operates in the same arena, providing hospitals with the tools required to leverage factually-supported decisions.

What is the Quickest Way to Become a Nurse?

If you are interested in joining the world of healthcare, you are probably wondering—what is the quickest way to become a nurse? Nursing is a very popular career pivot because you can get certified relatively quickly—particularly if you already have a college degree.

People heading to college for the first time will often need to deal with pre-requisite classes that significantly increase the time and money they spend on school. If you have your degree, you can skip those requirements and enter an “accelerated program.”

Just how accelerated that program is will depend largely on your capacity, and what opportunities are available near you. Often, people who are able to fully commit may complete their educational requirements in 12-18 months. From there, you just need to pass the NCLEX—nursing’s big, bad, standardized test—to get a job in the world of healthcare.

If you are interested in a more advanced nursing career— for example, one that requires a graduate degree— you may still be able to “bundle,” your education in a direct-to-hire package. These curriculums are designed to allow students to complete their undergraduate and graduate work in a self-contained period, sometimes shorter than getting just an undergraduate degree would have been.

It takes most people 6-7 years of college to get their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Through an accelerated program, people who already have their undergraduate degree may be able to do everything in around three years.

This opens a lot of doors, both in terms of salary expectations and in the job that you will ultimately be qualified for. Many times, nurses who want to specialize in very specific fields must get their master’s degree to do it.

There are so many paths to becoming a healthcare worker. Research what opportunities are available to you, and figure out the strategy that feels most accessible. The key is to strike a balance between efficiency and quality of life. Everyone is a little bit different in terms of how they do with school work, and accelerated programs are—well. Accelerated. Choose the pace that works for you.

As a future healthcare worker, avoiding burnout will be just as important a skill as anything they teach you in nursing school.

Conclusion

Evidence-based care practices are just one of the many modern concepts influencing the direction of healthcare. Digital technology, for example, is shaping the field as much as anything else. Hospitals all over the country are looking for administrators and even doctors and nurses with a good grip on software solutions that can help improve patient outcomes and improve efficiency.

There are tons of ways to get into healthcare. Find the career that suits your interests, skills, and passions, and go from there.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Why Digital Upskilling is Your Key to a Resilient Healthcare Career

Any healthcare profession requires a significant amount of in-depth knowledge. This is why continuous education (CE) is required to maintain licensing for many professionals. Nurses, physicians, and pharmacists are among those who must attend board-approved courses. This ensures they keep up with the latest medical research, innovations, and regulatory changes that apply to their positions.

There are also courses that may not necessarily be required to hold a medical license but can nonetheless boost professionals’ career resilience. One such area of study is digital skills. The healthcare landscape is evolving and knowing how to navigate emerging tools is essential for staying in step with it. Let’s explore how you, as a health professional, can approach digital upskilling in an effective and career-enhancing way.

Understanding the Imperatives

Upskilling will always take time and energy. As a healthcare professional, you know how precious these resources are. So, it’s worth looking a little closer at why you should commit to digital upskilling in particular.

Maintain relevance

Digital technology is disrupting the healthcare industry and careers within it in a variety of ways at the moment. Tools like artificial intelligence (AI) driven virtual nursing assistants are already able to handle basic and repetitive tasks, allowing medical staff to focus attention on patients. Monitoring devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) and telemedical conference platforms have become integral parts of remote patient care. Having a good understanding of how to interact with digital healthcare technology helps keep your skill set relevant in a rapidly changing landscape.

Boost your value

One of the challenges of the changing medical tech landscape is that, unfortunately, the healthcare industry is facing a digital skills gap. All the new technology available to professionals isn’t of much use if there isn’t staff with the skills to use it. As a result, gaining digital skills may give you an advantage when applying for roles and negotiating for pay raises and promotions.

Support positive patient outcomes

Medicine, at its core, is an industry populated by caring professionals. Though there are career imperatives, it’s also worth noting that digital upskilling can improve patient outcomes. Understanding how to use AI diagnosis software may help identify and address conditions faster. As a result, patients can benefit from early intervention that could boost their treatment outcomes. Telemedical tools can also improve access for those with mobility challenges or who live in underserved communities. This empowers them to get regular checkups and timely medical attention that supports their ongoing wellness.

Knowing why to digitally upskill is just the start, though. It’s also important to make mindful decisions about what areas of digital knowledge to invest your valuable time in.

Identifying Learning Opportunities

Let’s face it: you have limited time at your disposal. It’s worth taking a strategic approach to get the most relevant learning from your digital CE. This begins with researching the digital skills that are most likely to be in demand in the industry both now and in the near future.

There are a handful of digital skills that are generally regarded as important across the healthcare sector. These include:

  • Cybersecurity awareness: Hospitals are targets of cybercriminals either to cause disruption or to steal valuable patient data. Having up-to-date education about the methods cybercriminals use and how to behave responsibly in healthcare spaces is key to both a more resilient healthcare career and a more robust industry.
  • Telehealth: Remote patient interactions are likely to become more prominent everywhere from psychological therapy to general practice. As a result, healthcare professionals need to gain proficiency in not just utilizing the tech tools, but also how to adapt characteristics such as body language and bedside manner to a virtual environment.

Alongside these general skills, you can also focus on the specialized digital knowledge related to your part of the industry. For instance, those working in medical coding are likely to see AI being used more often to enhance efficiency. Taking courses in the basics of natural language processing (NLP) and even writing generative AI prompts may help you more effectively collaborate with this software.

Getting Employer Support

Embarking on digital upskilling can be challenging. It’s important to remember you’re not alone in this endeavor. Your employer has a role to play, too. Just as you benefit from your education, there are also multiple ways that companies gain from supporting continuous worker learning. Employees with up-to-date tech skills can spur innovations and keep up with industry trends, maintaining a competitive edge. Companies also have a particular interest in ensuring workers have the knowledge to fill industry skills gaps.

Therefore, take the time to talk to your supervisors or human resources (HR) representatives about your plans to upskill. Some of the resources for digital learning you could seek might include:

  • Subsidized certifications: While there are some free online courses, many still come with fees. Ask the facility you work for about their willingness to subsidize the costs involved. Many employers have a budget for this as part of development programs or worker benefits.
  • Study time: It takes a dedication of time to both attend lectures and complete coursework projects. Many healthcare workers have tight schedules and the last thing you want is to risk burnout by squeezing a course in. You could seek an allowance of paid time off (PTO) for professional studying purposes to ease your burden.

Seeking support alone can be daunting. It may be better to collaborate with colleagues. You could highlight to administrators why learning support should be a part of the company culture, paying particular attention to how it benefits workers, businesses, and patients.

Conclusion

Digital upskilling can help you stay relevant, valuable, and effective in your healthcare career. It’s vital to take some time to identify what specific skill areas are most in demand and work with your employer to get support for your efforts. This isn’t just a way to stay up-to-date in your current role, though. By exploring the new range of digital tools in your sector, you may also find fascinating professional niches that you can explore further, contributing to a more enriching career experience.

 


 Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter. 


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

How Will Increased Remote Work in Healthcare Impact Both Employees and Patients?

Some jobs just can’t be done from home. Teachers do their best work in classrooms surrounded by students. Salespeople continue to value the personal face-to-face relationships that fuel their success. And try ordering a cappuccino from a barista who is working from home.

For a long time, it was assumed that healthcare workers fell into this same category of employment. They had to go into their workplace because that’s where all the patients are, right?

It turns out, there are a lot of tasks nurses and other healthcare professionals can do from home. In this article, we take a look at the rise of remote work in the world of healthcare.

Who Gets to Work From Home?

Hospitals have enormous administrative staffs. When you drive past a city hospital that is tall enough to poke at the moon, it’s natural to wonder just how many people are sick in this town. Is it safe to even be here?

Fear not! While much of this large hypothetical building is dedicated to patient care, an equally large portion of it may be serving an administrative function. Desk work that can just as readily be done from home.

Many are surprised to learn that nurses, doctors, and nurse practitioners are also getting the opportunity to work more from home. No, that doesn’t mean seeing patients in their dining rooms.

“Frontline healthcare workers,” as they are often called do not only see patients. That is an important part of their jobs, but they also do a lot on their computers, documenting details and performing other paperwork requirements.

A recent study found that nurses working twelve-hour shifts often only spend a quarter of that time in patient rooms. The rest of the time they are parked in front of the keyboard.

The implication of this figure is complicated. Just because nurses aren’t always in patient rooms does not necessarily mean they aren’t needed on their floors.

Healthcare workers know all too well that things on the job are peaceful— until they aren’t. When patients need help, they can’t wait.

Most hospitals don’t have the option to significantly reduce their staffing assignments to allow for more at-home work.

However, they do have the option to play around with “flex hours,” letting those who can complete some of their work at home under more flexible circumstances.

Below, we take a look at how this might impact healthcare.

Improved Productivity

The technology that allows people to work from home has existed for a long time. Working from home failed to catch on during the early stages of the Internet partially because many worried it would harm productivity.

After several years of almost standardized remote work, it’s safe to say that the productivity myth has been thoroughly debunked.

In many cases, people actually get more done at home than they did at the workplace. Offices—or hospitals as the case may be— are full of small but potent productivity killers. Desk conversations. Meetings that could have been emails. And we can’t forget the commute.

Most people spend thirty minutes each way just driving to their jobs.

Remote work can and often does cut the fat out of a person’s work routine. For healthcare workers, this means that they will have more time and energy to devote to the important aspects of their job— choices that directly influence patient outcomes.

Easier Recruitment

The potential to work from home is still a rare and enticing benefit in healthcare. Consider this development from the perspective of a rural hospital that has struggled to fully staff its floors. They simply can’t convince new nurses to move out into the country for a job when they could just as easily find work closer to home.

But if they could leverage a hybrid schedule in their recruitment efforts? This may be enough of an enticement to win over members of a generation who are more focused on work/life balance than any other employment consideration.

Improved Job Satisfaction

That’s the ultimate goal of hybrid work schedules. Today’s employers are constantly competing on quality of life grounds because that’s what modern employees want— and because it is often cheaper than leveraging higher salaries.

The remote work movement has been generally well-received in how it provides people with improved work/life balance.

Improving job satisfaction for doctors and nurses can go a long way toward reducing unsustainable turnover numbers.

Potential Problems

Remote work hasn’t been perfect. Common issues include technical difficulties—if a person’s WIFI cuts out, that simple issue can kill an entire day’s worth of productivity— loneliness, and balancing the schedules of people who live in all different parts of the world.

Most of these major remote work issues don’t pertain to the hybrid work environment that most healthcare facilities are implementing.

That doesn’t mean that remote work in healthcare will be painless. It’s new and “new,” often means challenging.

However, the circumstances for a successful rollout are certainly present.

How Will Patients Be Impacted?

All of the benefits described above should trickle down to patients. Burnout is a very real problem and one that can have a MAJOR impact on job performance. When doctors and nurses feel less stress, they will almost always engage more effectively at work.

This can have a very big impact on future patient outcomes.

Why Now?

Healthcare shortages are still very real. The United States labor market has seen wages cool off as the economy finally rebounds completely from Covid. Hospitals that were offering sometimes fairly large salary increases to attract new employees have largely stepped back from that strategy.

They need to leverage incentives to attract employees and the potential to work from home is a (relatively) easy way to do that.

It’s also an effective one. Burnout is such a major cause of turnover and remote work can help alleviate it.

Wage stagnation certainly should not be the consequence of this move, but if hospitals want to find more ways to entice doctors and nurses to stick around, this is a good way to do it.

The benefits will undoubtedly be passed down to the patients as well.

Less burnout means less stress. Less stress typically means better patient outcomes. Right now, remote work seems like an effective way to address so many of the issues plaguing Western healthcare.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Shaping the Future: How to Embark on a Career as a Nursing Educator

Nurses play an important role in society, there is no question about that. They are the backbone of the medical industry, making up a significant number of the workforce responsible for the care and attention to patients. For those that have chosen such a career there are plenty of avenues by which to expand upon that knowledge and experience. One of those is becoming a Nursing Educator.

There has been much discussion over the last decade or so about the quickly expanding need for more nurse practitioners in clinical settings and healthcare professionals. There is already a notable shortage of nurses compared to the projections needed to adequately care for the quickly aging Baby Boomer generation.

While those numbers are near common knowledge among colleges and medical institutions, there seems to be less vocality around the need for nursing educators, which is ironic considering that you can’t have more nurses without an adequate number or people to train them. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states that there is a current rate of 8.8% openings, vacancies for nursing educators and these numbers are expected to keep on climbing due to impending retirement rates. Disconcertingly, nearly one third of all currently employed nursing educators in bachelor programs are projected to retire by the year 2025.

So, if education and nursing are mutual interests, it may be a sound choice for the future. Here is how to begin a career path to becoming a nursing educator. But first, let’s consider what a nursing educator is and does.

What is a Nursing Educator?

Nurse Educators, also known as nurse instructors, are registered nurses (RN’s) who have gone on in the education and experience levels to support the training and education of those persons who would like to become nurses themselves. As with any teaching curriculum, nurse educators will be required to teach, guide, report, and sometimes create their own lesson plans in a variety of environments.

Nurse educators are, along with other educators in the program, responsible for the development and guidance of students. The preparation of those students equips them to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam— the test that all prospective nursing students need to take before they are certified to work in professional environments.

Nurse educators work in conjunction with other faculty members at primary and secondary institutions such as medical research hospitals, health-care facilities, and sometimes private research companies so as to stay up to date on what emerging nurses may need to know to be well equipped for their professional roles.

Additionally, nurse educators can double their time in clinical settings acting as supervisors for nursing students or RNs in training. Nurse educators are not only teachers but can stand as mentors for students as well.

How to Become Nursing Educator

Before pursuing this career course, it is important to consider the necessary steps needed to become a nursing educator. Nurse educators, depending on who is doing the hiring, will have different requirements. The minimum is a valid RN license and two years of experience as an RN. Many educators will work about three to five years before making the transition into a teaching position.

While most nursing educator positions will require a Master of Science in nursing in addition to a few years’ experience, there are some places that are willing to overlook a master’s degree in exchange for many years of experience, great references, and evidence of competency in supervision and training of others.

So, typically speaking, the correct order of completion to become a nurse educator is to complete an undergraduate degree such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, passing the NCLEX, serving as a nurse for a few years, and then feeling out whether education in this field is still desirable. From there, interested parties should enroll in a nurse educator program such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

For those of different ambitions, going on to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctorate of Education (Ed. D) should be considered. While not required for teaching at an undergraduate level, it is generally sought after for those who would teach at the graduate level as a tenured professor or school administrator.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Geographical Earnings: Comparing Nursing Salaries Across the USA

Over the last several decades, the nursing profession has risen in popularity among aspiring professionals. One key reason for this is the financial stability found in these roles along with opportunities for career advancement.

This being the case, many are curious about the differences in salaries that nurses can command in different geographical locations. Gaining a deeper understanding of how different locations compare in terms of nursing salaries can make it easier for one to pursue a role in the industry.

Here is a comparison of nursing salaries across the USA.

The States with the Highest Nursing Salaries

For aspiring nurses, it’s important to understand which states allow them to command the highest salaries. This knowledge allows these young professionals to command the best salaries for their work.

States that typically rank highest for nursing salaries include:

California

In addition to employing the highest percentage of nurses, California also reports the highest nursing salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in California made a mean annual wage of $133,340 in May of 2022.

When it comes to nurse practitioner salaries, the case is no different and California also ranks at the top. Experts estimate that the annual mean wage of nurse practitioners in California was $151,830 in 2021.

The high salaries offered to nurses in California make it an amazing choice for nurses entering the field and veteran nurses alike.

Massachusetts

Though it’s not a state that typically comes to mind when thinking of high-paying medical practices, Massachusetts is one of the states with the highest nursing salaries. The BLS reports that the mean annual wage for registered nurses in Massachusetts was $104,150 in May of 2022.

In terms of nurse practitioner wages, Massachusetts also ranks above most other American states. The annual mean wage of nurse practitioners in Massachusetts in 2021 was $129,540.

For nurses just entering the field and for those looking to step into advanced positions to increase their salaries, Massachusetts is an amazing place to work as a nurse.

The States with the Lowest Nursing Salaries

Just like it’s vital for nurses to be aware of the top-paying states, it’s also important for them to be aware of which states rank the lowest in terms of nursing salaries.

Here are the states with the lowest nursing salaries.

South Dakota

For aspiring nurses from South Dakota, the nursing salaries in the state are bleak. The BLS reports that the annual mean wage of registered nurses in South Dakota was $64,500 in May of 2022. This is less than half of the annual mean wage of registered nurses in California in the same year.

For nurse practitioners, salaries in South Dakota also fall under the national average. According to the job board website Ziprecruiter, the average salary of nurse practitioners in 2023 is $117,341. Though this may seem like a lucrative salary at first glance, it’s important to remember that this is an advanced nursing role and less-advanced registered nurses in other states are commanding higher salaries than this.

West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the lowest-rated states in terms of nursing salaries. The BLS reported that the annual mean wage of registered nurses in West Virginia was $72,230 in May of 2022. This is more than $15,000 less than the national annual mean salary of registered nurses which is $89,010.

According to Ziprecruiter, nurse practitioner salaries in West Virginia are also disheartening. This organization estimates that the annual average pay for these professionals in West Virginia is $94,428.

Why It’s Important to Understand Nursing Salaries Across the Country

Though many nurses don’t even think about looking at nursing salaries in various areas, understanding the breakdown of nursing wages can make a huge impact on one’s career.

In fact, changing the state that one works in as a nurse can even, in some cases, double one’s salary. However, it is also important to remember other factors when deciding where to practice nursing.

States with the highest nursing salaries often have the highest living costs as well. This can make amazing wages less significant after expenses. Even so, understanding the range of salaries nurses can command empowers current and aspiring nurses to get the most for their skills and hard work.

Nursing Salaries Can Vary Widely

Though people are aware that locations can make a difference in job salaries, few are aware of how significant these salary discrepancies can be for nurses in different states. To be capable of making more informed decisions, it’s essential that nurses and those interested in entering the field have a thorough understanding of which states have the best and worst nursing salaries.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Navigating the World of Community Mental Health Nursing

There is little doubt that those who choose to commit themselves to the nursing profession are doing so out of generosity, selflessness, and a level of care that leaves lives changed. All of that applies to nurses at every level, but those who chose to spend their time assisting as mental health nurses have a unique set of challenges that, while they overlap with other fields, tend to demand some unusual measures and means by which to serve such patients.

For those who may be thinking about, or indeed may already be doing so, choosing such a career path the following is a brief collection of observations and tips by which to better navigate the world of community mental health nursing.

Community Mental Health Care: A Definition

Community mental health care is made up of a collection of certain approaches to care. Some of those are as follows: the practice of associating to patients in a broader socio-economic context; the treatment of individuals as well as a collective population; service through a systematic approach that maintains open access services, both individually based and in team scenarios; taking into account a long-term approach that envisions more of a life-based care perspective.

All of these and more need to be accomplished very often in a financially sustainable and sensitive way being that both the niche of this healthcare system and sometimes its clientele lacks the resources needed to provide for themselves. There is a high level of attitudes which are of a social justice nature that tends to lean into the specified care in contexts which very often demonstrate themselves as being played out for minority groups, the homeless, immigrant populations, and those of lesser economic means.

Comprehensively, this needs to be done in locations that make the service of those populations easily reachable from both a proximal and financial position.

Fundamental Causes of Community Mental Health

As with any industry there are categories which, when individualized, can better clarify the overarching idea and mission of particular organizations and ideas. The same can be said for community mental health services as provided by nurses.

Community mental health care that is done well makes a point of attending not only to people’s challenges or their disabilities but seeks to acknowledge and draw out what existing health and strength of mind or will that is already present.

By doing so nurses in this field have greater leverage by which to affect recovery and change. This is accomplished by tapping into the basic strengths and individual qualities that make up a person. By identifying these traits, it can be shown that what mental health issues do exist are only a part of the overall person. The amount of hope and courage that can result from this approach helps in the management and overcoming of specific challenges.

Community mental health, being that it relates to multiple individuals and their towns or provinces, means that there are not only plenty of career opportunities in psychiatric mental health care, but that such care purposefully gives its attention to those techniques and services which best attend communities in an individual and collective sense. It does so not just by approaching mental health from a psychiatric standpoint, although this is important, but through the interaction with topics that stem from environmental issues.

By studying and attending to the various factors which relate and impose themselves on the mental health of communities, there grows a deeper understanding of how to best care for and reverse the environmental effects that can contribute to individual mental health concerns. This is best accomplished through a network of services that counteract the ills created by the various aspects of that community.

Another important factor in community mental health is that it is most effective when its approaches serve the public through a combination of evidence-based medical approaches as well as psychiatric and ethically based techniques. The use of heavy data socio-economic data enables a border understanding for what contributes to the community mental health issues and thus creates clarity for how to comprehensively approach treatment. Nurses that are trained in this way have a much higher likelihood of caring for and empowering those that they are treating.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Empowering Patients and Families: The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Palliative Care

The role of a nurse practitioner (NP) offers various types of opportunities and experiences. While many NPs work from doctor’s offices or hospital floors, others focus on more specialized areas. One of these is caring for terminally ill and end-of-life patients as they navigate their palliative journey.

As with so many careers in medicine, being a palliative care NP comes with a range of challenges, demands, and responsibilities. Nevertheless, it can also be a valuable experience in empowering patients and families as they face an emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically significant part of their lives.

Let’s take a closer look at the role of nurse practitioners in palliative care.

Care Planning and Symptom Management

One of the most impactful ways NPs can empower patients and their families is by helping them develop care plans. The last thing many people navigating palliative care want is to have arrangements that affect their lives just dictated to them. Rather, NPs, with their empathetic skill sets and in-depth medical knowledge, can act as expert guides. They provide patients and families with practical advice that both serves medical and emotional needs.

Care planning, by its nature, has to be a meticulous process. After all, terminal illness treatment can be quite complex. NPs can start by making a thorough assessment of the patient’s current health condition. This considers how severe the symptoms of specific illnesses are, but also elements that affect their quality of life, such as range of motion, mobility, and general comfort. NPs can also then discuss what the patient’s palliative journey goals and concerns are.

This is where an NP’s professional and compassionate abilities can be particularly effective. They’ll need to find ways for the medical and personal needs of the patients — and in some instances, the families involved — to meet. If there are problems, such as the side effects of some medications clashing with patients’ quality of life requirements, they discuss the options with the patient. Being transparent about the consequences, challenges, and benefits of different care paths is essential for patients to make informed decisions.

From here, NPs can create a formal document of care and symptom management that is shared with other relevant care staff and specialist medical providers. Importantly, NPs can revisit the plan periodically with patients as their symptoms and preferences develop during their care. This ensures that there’s always a medically robust yet patient-centric approach to delivering services.

Maintaining Mental Wellness

Palliative care is an emotionally and psychologically challenging experience. It’s also important to recognize that there is a growing national mental health crisis. A combination of factors contributes to difficulties here, from the escalating price of psychological health care to the sense of stigma surrounding mental wellness. This may further exacerbate the intense mental and physical impact of the palliative journey. As a result, NPs’ attention and skills are not just directed toward managing patients’ physical symptoms, but also tending to their mental wellness needs.

This can begin with something as simple as regularly checking in with patients about their emotions, thoughts, and concerns. The empathy and compassion NPs bring to their roles can be vital in establishing meaningful connections and trust bonds that encourage patients to share their feelings. In some cases, NPs might act as a bridge between patients and the most relevant resources, such as therapists specializing in terminal illness care. However, with additional training, NPs can also offer therapeutic activities such as guided meditation.

That said, it’s equally important to recognize that NPs’ own mental states can impact their patients. There’s no denying that providing palliative care can be emotionally and psychologically turbulent at times, particularly given the empathetic bonds they forge with patients. If NPs’ mental wellness begins to suffer, this is not only detrimental to their own quality of life but may also impact the quality of the care they provide. It is, therefore, a key part of an NP’s responsibility to take steps to safeguard their wellness. This could include adopting self-care routines and perhaps regularly speaking to therapists about their experiences and feelings.

Streamlining Care Processes

Being able to provide patients with the most thorough and compassionate attention is an important part of being an NP in palliative care. Unfortunately, this can be quite difficult when there are various other tasks to attend to. As a result, one of the ways NPs are most effective is in establishing the most efficient approaches to the tasks that surround the palliative journey.

This may involve regular assessments of medical and administrative practices. Continuously evaluating and improving processes has a variety of benefits. It helps to highlight where there may be unnecessarily repetitive or menial actions that result in inefficiencies. It can also reveal where new technology and automated software tools might offer opportunities to streamline workflows. Not to mention that this type of frequent evaluation is a great way to ensure that NPs are both continuing to meet patients’ needs while maintaining regulatory compliance.

It’s not just NPs themselves that are key to streamlining care processes. Care collaborators, patients, and families can provide useful insights here. Each of these parties has different perspectives on the services provided and what may be influencing bottlenecks or disruptions. NPs lead the charge of carefully gathering and assessing data from these individuals and reviewing what they can adjust accordingly. In essence, this is another way in which NPs facilitate care collaborations that positively impact patients’ quality of life during the palliative journey.

Conclusion

The role of NPs in palliative care involves various medical and administrative duties. However, each of these components, alongside intense empathy and compassion, is geared toward ensuring the most patient-centric approach to care. Throughout each step of making care plans, streamlining processes, and supporting mental wellness, there’s a common thread of striving to offer guidance, comfort, and expertise for this difficult part of life. It’s not an easy career path, but with careful consideration and a strong sense of emotional intelligence, it can certainly be a rewarding one.


Image by Freepik


Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter. 


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Pros and Cons of Being an FNP in a Rural Community

Choosing to work in healthcare is a smart career choice. The demand for these services continues to grow as the population ages. Plus, the work can be extremely fulfilling!

Nurse practitioners in particular are becoming a bigger part of the healthcare field, filling in care gaps and helping to improve preventative care. As a nurse practitioner, you can offer a lot of versatility to group practices, hospitals, or communities as an independent practitioner (depending on your state’s laws).

Once you’ve become a family nurse practitioner, you have to consider your options. Would it be better to get a job in an urban environment, where you’ll be one of many NPs working to keep the community healthy? Or would you thrive in a rural community, providing local care to a smaller population?

Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing to work as an FNP in a rural community.

The Demand for Healthcare Providers is Strong in Rural Areas

Many rural communities do not have good local healthcare options. This means that residents have to travel long distances to get the care they need. Ultimately, the lack of local services can lead to poorer health outcomes since people are likely to put off getting the care they need or do not have the resources to travel for their care. When community health services become available, everyone benefits.

It can be hard to attract qualified healthcare providers to rural communities. Why? Because most people prefer to live closer to urban centers and all the amenities they offer. This means that there are more opportunities and demand in rural areas, despite the smaller population numbers.

NPs Have More Autonomy and Scope of Practice

As long as you’re practicing in a state that allows FNPs to have lots of autonomy, you’ll be able to utilize that autonomy more fully in a rural healthcare job. With fewer healthcare providers available, everyone needs to provide a wide range of services with little supervision. FNPs who enjoy a large scope of practice and working independently are likely to thrive in a rural practice.

It’s Easy to Make a Difference and Build Relationships

In a rural community, you’ll really get to know your patients. You’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with them and get to know them. It’s also easier to see the difference you make in people’s lives. As a healthcare provider, you’ll get the chance to help reduce the health disparities that affect rural residents.

Being part of a rural community and providing care can be an incredible experience. Instead of working with thousands of patients and getting to know very few of them, you’ll be working directly within your community and providing care to your neighbors.

Resources and Collaborations Will Be Limited in Rural Practice

One of the downsides of rural practice is the lack of resources. A small hospital or practice won’t have the budget for the latest technology or the patient volume to support certain types of equipment. This can be a challenge and creates barriers to providing top-notch care.

Supplies and technology aside, you won’t have access to the same collaborative environment as a rural FNP as you would in an urban or suburban area. It will be more challenging to work through tricky diagnoses or collaborate on complex treatment plans without a network of specialists nearby.

In some cases, rural FNPs have to refer their patients to specialists that practice in far-off cities. This can be difficult emotionally, especially if you know that someone does not have the means to travel so far and see an expensive specialist.

Rural Living Can Be Isolating

Many people who take a job in rural healthcare settings struggle with the transition. It can be very isolating to live in sparsely populated areas. FNPs who decide to work in a rural community need to be proactive with self-care and making friends to fight off the potential for loneliness and isolation.

The Challenge of Maintaining Professional Boundaries

Rural communities are small and often have to rely on one another in many different ways. While that can be a huge positive for community-minded people, there are some downsides when it comes to privacy.

In a small town or rural community, everyone is likely to know your business. It can be difficult to maintain your privacy and professional boundaries when it’s normal in your community to gossip about your neighbors.

Embracing the Rewards and Challenges of FNP Work in Rural America

If you want to make a difference as a healthcare provider and work more independently, then becoming an FNP in a rural community could be a great fit. Embracing the rewards and challenges of healthcare in these settings can be a great way to grow as a healthcare provider while embracing a simpler life.

However, it’s important to consider your preferences and personality in making the decision. Weigh the pros and cons and be honest with yourself about whether life in the country or the wilderness is right for you before you decide.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

The Future of Healthcare: Why Nurse Practitioners are Poised to Play a Major Role

Healthcare in the United States has been in a rough spot for— well…quite some time. Covid certainly didn’t invent the struggles of Western healthcare but it did intensify them. Hospitals all across the country are suffering from dangerous personnel shortages that have made it challenging to deliver even basic levels of care to certain communities.

It’s a bad situation. But while the number of nurses shrinks, nurse practitioners have been growing enormously in prominence.

In this article, we talk about what nurse practitioners do, and how they are poised to shape the future of healthcare.

Nurse Practitioners Declutter the Healthcare System

One of the healthcare system’s greatest problems in the United States—

That’s a long list, friend.

Fair enough, one of the many problems is that hospitals have more patients than they do people who are qualified to see them. Nurse practitioners can help to relieve some of that burden by providing much of the same care that doctors have traditionally offered.

There are limitations to the extent that this is allowable. Many of these regulations are regional. For example, some states require nurse practitioners to get a doctor to sign off on all of their determinations, which can nullify the time-saving benefits.

However, in states with more permissive laws, this can be an enormous boon. Keep in mind that it takes a lot less time for someone to become a nurse practitioner than it does for someone to become an MD. This means that it is much easier for hospitals to staff up on nurse practitioners.

NPs can work on a wide range of different floors, from neonatal to maternal, allowing hospitals to declutter, and patients to get better quicker care. Fewer patient bottlenecks is better for everyone.

NPs in Private Practice

One of the big appeals of becoming a nurse practitioner is that it can allow you to effectively open up your own practice. Like so many things concerning the life of an NP, this will depend on where you live. However, in many states, nurse practitioners can make diagnoses and prescribe medication just like a general practitioner.

Sometimes, an NP’s ability to do this will be contingent on how long they have been practicing. Other times, it’s simply a matter of getting licensed and setting up a practice.

This is great for patients because it gives them more opportunities to receive care. Many people, particularly those living in areas with limited access to healthcare professionals, are finding that they have to wait more than a year to get a wellness visit.

This is a frustrating, sometimes even dangerous dynamic that more nurse practitioners could help solve.

If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner in the hopes of setting up your own practice, do some research about your local laws before you get too far in the process.

It is a Good Option for Burnt-out Nurses

You can’t seem to turn on the news without hearing more about the ongoing healthcare crisis that is taking place in the United States. Since Covid-19 hit it seems that hospitals everywhere have been dangerously understaffed.

This was brought to renewed attention a few months ago when a nurse working in Washington made national headlines for dialing 911 after her hospital reached a breaking point and had too few employees to treat their current patient load.

While that episode was dramatic, it was far from unique. Hospitals everywhere have been overwhelmed by the recent nursing shortage. While it is tempting to lay this crisis at Covid’s feet, the truth is that it has been a long time coming.

For years, experts have been warning about this. The problem? Many people have been leaving nursing, and not enough are coming up to replace them.

The culprit is burnout. Nursing is hard, so people look for different jobs. The healthcare industry, and all the people that it serves suffer as a result.

To become a nurse practitioner is to pivot into a similar, but perhaps more comfortable gig. NPs make more money, work friendlier hours, and get to work with patients on an entirely different scale.

In an industry that is in desperate need of personnel retention, more NPs would be an enormous boon with truly transformative potential.

Where are We At Now?

It sounds like more nurse practitioners would be a great thing for this country. And that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t really matter if we don’t have them, does it? Where are we at now?

That’s a good question. While it wouldn’t be right to say that the United States healthcare system’s need for nurse practitioners is being met, it is fair to say that the profession’s growth rate is in promising shape.

Between 2012-2022 the number of nurse practitioners nationwide grew by a whopping 30%—more than three times the national average for professional growth.

That’s an impressive figure by any metric, and all the more notable when compared to the numbers for regular nurses. RNs are expected to grow by only 6% in the next ten years.

It’s hard to contextualize exactly what this means for the American healthcare system. On the one hand, more nurse practitioners are great. This is definitely a “the more the merrier,” type of situation.

That said, we do still need bedside nurses, and that job market is still in questionable condition. It seems that no matter what happens, the US healthcare system will look different ten years from now than it does today.

A healthy stock of nurse practitioners won’t be able to solve all of our problems, but they certainly will help the transition into a brighter future.


With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.