Medical Writer and Editor

Medical writing and editing or biomedical communication is a growing field for those with education and experience in nursing or other medical expertise. Medical writing is more than just the ability to narrate medical procedures or translate medical terminology into documents for public consumption. Many medical writers are also researchers who may gather and organize information before presenting it in written form such as web content, or journal or news articles. Medical writers can produce brochures and other educational information for patients and family members, or they can write grant proposals for researchers and institutions. Pharmaceutical corporations often hire medical writers to help produce their marketing materials and help train their sales teams.

A good medical editor or writer has a strong educational foundation in both communication and writing as well as experience in the medical field. Much of the training and education in a nursing program lends itself to a career as a medical writer, and the experience of nursing school and patient care can bring a deeper insight into medical terminology as it is translated into documents that the public can understand. For instance, the education requirements of a Bachelor’s in Nursing can easily be applied to a thriving career in medical writing, simply due to the nature of the information presented while in college.

A medical writer differs from a medical transcriptionist in the trained ability to distinguish and understand technical terminology related to various diseases and treatments. Transcriptionists may gain medical understanding, but a medical writer is specially trained to not only hear and write what is being said, but also translate it into different scenarios, depending on the audience.

The American Medical Writer’s Association reports that entry-level salaries in 2007 averaged $60,167 for those with at least a bachelor’s degree and the opportunity for career growth is expanding as more medical information, companies and hospitals rely on efficient and accurate documentation of medical issues. Much of this demand comes from pharmaceutical companies trying to receive approvals for new medications and treatments. Many medical writers work in a freelance or contract capacity, as well as in full- or part-time positions. Freelance medical writers and editors have the ability to set their own schedules or work to supplement income received from a nursing or other medical position in a hospital, clinic or other medical organization.

Medical writing and editing is an excellent career choice for a nurse or other medical professional who prefers to use the medical knowledge gained from a degree program in a less clinical setting. It is an excellent hybrid career choice for those who enjoy writing and still have the driving need to help others gain control of their health. Medical writers are people who want to be part of the process of helping patients, family members or other medical professionals understand medical terminology, procedures, treatments or medications. A career in medical writing or editing is an exciting alternative to a traditional medical career, and is an important part of any medical establishment and its ability to care for patients.

Self-Care for Nurses

Nursing is a noble profession, focusing on the care and nurturance from one person to another, helping to increase a person’s quality of life, keep them healthy and give them quality medical care. Many times, nurses are called to provide care that goes beyond medical knowledge, from case management to counselor, and anywhere in between. Much of the job of a nurse can take its toll on the nurse’s own health and well-being, and it is just as important for a nurse to take care of their own needs in addition to the needs of a patient.

Nurses should always be aware that their ability to care for patients is directly related to their ability to care for themselves. Getting enough sleep and participating in activities outside of the nursing environment help recharge a nurse who may be asked to work long hours or sacrifice personal well-being for the sake of their patients’ or employer’s needs. Hospitals or other medical establishments may place high demands on the schedule and duties of a nurse, taking advantage of the innate quality that most nurses possess to help those in need, even to the detriment of the heath of the nurse. Setting up positive care boundaries with an employer, staff and even demanding patients can help a nurse establish good self-care habits.

Being able to burn off stress in the form of physical activity is important to everyone, and nurses can benefit from regular exercise and time outdoors. When these activities are not possible because of work or home schedules, nurses can at least try to feed themselves with healthy foods that help keep their bodies performing at a better pace than if they consume snacks and beverages usually stocked in vending machines or convenience foods that are readily available in hospital cafeterias, local fast restaurants or lunch carts.

A creative outlet can also benefit the performance of a nurse. Writing, painting, singing or drumming may be good ways to positively reduce stress and keep motivation going in the nurse’s career as well as inspire reasons to keep the nurse’s workload at a tolerable level. If hospitals and medical facilities keep the mental well-being of nurses in mind, they are more likely to create a work environment that is productive and energetic. Nurses should encourage their employers to keep their needs in mind, especially since they are directly involved in the success of the hospital or medical facility.

Finally, having a resource available to nurses when they need to talk or verbally process what they encounter while at work can be a tremendous benefit to the entire medical community, as well as the patients. Nurses experience many different things during their careers, and few of those happen without leaving some type of lasting emotional impression. The ability to discuss these events and the feelings surrounding the care of others can be the greatest way a nurse can provide self-care.

The emotional and physical toll of nursing can quickly lead to nursing burnout, which affects not only the nurse’s job satisfaction, but also a nurse’s job performance. By practicing self-care strategies, a nurse is more likely to positively facilitate healing of patients, has better self-confidence and can easily transition from work to home or other obligations and personal pursuits.

Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse?

Making informed decisions is important in all aspects of healthcare, including the decision to become a nurse. There are different types of nursing careers to consider when venturing into a college that offers a nursing degree. Educational requirements, job duties, potential for career growth and salary vary by the nursing degree, and its best to be well-informed before choosing a nursing career.

A LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse, is considered more of a general nurse that can fulfill many of the basic functions of nursing. In order to become certified as a LPN, one must have a high school diploma or GED, as well as a year of study in a credited LPN program. LPNs are required to have some clinical experience and pass the NCLEX-PN test in order to receive their certification. LPNs can work in hospitals, nursing care centers or other facilities and fulfill the basic functions of nursing such as taking vital signs, collecting fluid samples, updating patient records and other duties as assigned. They are unable to perform any critical care interventions and are largely seen in medical areas that require basic care for patients with conventional medical conditions or those in long-term care facilities. An LPN must be under the direct supervision of a physician or registered nurse and the average pay for a LPN is between $16 to $18 an hour.

An RN, or Registered Nurse, is a nurse that has completed a two- to four-year degree in nursing and has passed the NCLEX-RN exam as well as more clinical experience than a LPN. Registered nurses have the option of specializing in their fields, especially if they choose to further their education, and are able to administer medications, construct and administer nursing care plans and act as more of a proactive medical professional than a LPN. RNs can work in trauma centers, emergency rooms, intensive care units or other areas that require more intense medical knowledge and experience than that of a LPN. RNs work independently and make anywhere from $26 - $33 an hour.

The decision to pursue a career in nursing has many different considerations that revolve around education, clinical experience and the type of job desired. Both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are in demand in hospitals across the country, and the need for qualified nurses is expected to increase in the years to come. Nursing students have the option to attend classes at their local college or university and there are also several options for those interested in pursuing online nursing programs that fulfill many of the requirements of nursing schools, but are more convenient to students who must work or have family obligations that are a priority.

Computers Make Informed Consent Easier

Informed consent is an important part of any medical treatment, whether in a clinical or hospital setting or in an emergency department. Informed consent is the process of communicating to a patient the various aspects of a treatment prior to implementing the treatment or engaging in any medical intervention or procedure. Patients must understand the medical value, risks or alternatives to a treatment or procedure, for their own peace of mind and without the written consent of the patient, a physician, nurse, hospital or medical facility is open to liability concerns and lawsuits, driving up healthcare costs and contributing to the distrust of the medical world. Health Information Management professionals know the value of informed consent and good recordkeeping for the safety of the patient, as well as the doctor, hospital or medical facility involved in the patient’s treatment.

Medical professionals have been urged to follow strict guidelines for informed consent for ethical reasons since the 1950s. Recently, in all 50 states, informed consent has become a legal issue as well, and the importance of Health Information Management has become increasingly important to the security of the medical world. Medical professionals such as nurses, physician’s assistants, doctors and other healthcare providers are all under the same ethical and legal guidelines to provide answers to patients for their wellbeing. Health Information Management professionals have long needed a way to not only be sure that patients remain informed of their health issues, but also have a way to keep their consent documented, to benefit legal issues as well as help with any recurring patient health issues.

As medical records become computerized, there are more options available for Health Information Management professionals to not only record the acknowledgement of treatments and procedures by patients, but to also provide easier methods of delivering this information. Much has been said about the introduction of telehealth devices that help doctors and nurses monitor the vital statistics and other health concerns of patients from their homes. With the help of computers, informed consent is being delivered through computer-based informed consent programs that impart medical information to patients.

These can programs detail the diagnosis as well as treatment options, side effects and alternatives, plus they enable the patient to ask questions or receive feedback. Another benefit to computerized informed consent programs is that they may be able to explain how procedures have developed and changed from prior interventions, giving patients the reassurance that their own health concerns are continually being researched and those new treatments and preventative options are being developed. Plus, by keeping records of consent for procedures, underlying causes of health concerns may begin to appear based on the medical information available. Health Information Management professionals also benefit from the programs since they help to cut back on malpractice lawsuits through the documentation and feedback that is provided during the computer sessions.

As technology becomes a regular part of people’s lives, the medical world is using it in ways to make the management of health information easier, benefitting both the patient and doctor or other healthcare professional. The ease with which telehealth and computer-based informed consent programs are delivering important information between patient and doctor can make a big difference in the overall health of those in need of medical intervention.

High-Income Nursing Careers

Nursing has its own benefits in terms of personal satisfaction, caring for others and using the skills and education earned through nursing programs and nursing schools. The benefits of being a nurse and helping others in their time of need, or assisting others in living a healthier lifestyle cannot be measured in any other way than with the knowledge that the nurse is making a difference in others’ lives. Since there is a shortage of nurses, many people are beginning to consider nursing as a career, but are not sure what is the best way to become a nurse, support their families and find that career satisfaction that many nurses have.

Nursing specialties can be a way for a nurse to utilize his or her skills in a meaningful way that benefits various populations in need of caring individuals to provide medical care and support. Nursing specialties are also a way to find a direct career path that is less about general medicine and more about personal interests or causes. Beyond those reasons, nursing specialties can also define how much a nurse will be paid for their career choice.

Top paying nursing jobs generally require at least an advanced degree in nursing, like a Masters in Nursing or other specialized nursing degree. Many of these nursing careers pay anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 and up, some requiring administrative experience or specialized education such as that for a Certified Nurse Midwife (average pay - $89,000). reports that Head of Nursing (or Chief Nursing Officer) jobs pay an average of $176,000 for policy-making and senior-level management. Following closely behind, Nurse Anesthetists and Nursing Directors are paid an average of $153,000 and $116,000, respectively.

Nurse researchers, those employed in a hospital, clinic or research facility, can bring home an average of $95,000 and help further the medical field through discovering new ways to treat disease, keep people healthy and address different medical issues within a laboratory environment. Other high-income nursing positions include Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners ($95,000/year), Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse or Orthopedic Nurse (both average $81,000/year) or Nurse Practitioner ($78,000/year), all of which require at least a two-year nursing degree, but prefer a Bachelor’s or RN degree.

Nursing jobs pay in more than financial ways, and the job satisfaction that comes from helping people in need may be the biggest reason that people choose nursing as a profession. The financial benefits of nursing can be rewarding, as well, especially for those who pursue higher levels of education and have the drive and ambition to specialize in certain nursing professions or who prefer the administrative aspects of nursing. Income is not everything, especially where nursing is concerned, but it can be a big motivating factor in any nurse's educational and career choices.

Camp Nurses and Nursing Camps

camping nurses nursing campCanoeing, swimming, campfires and communing with nature. Sometimes, the memories of fun times at summer camp can be motivating factor in a nurse’s career when they forego the hospital or other medical establishment for cabins and crafting, and tending to the injuries that can only happen in the woods in summer.

Camping nurses get to experience their love of the outdoors and help keep children safe and well during their time at summer camp. Some nurses choose to spend their summers under the stars as a way to decompress from the stress of their regular nursing job, while others enjoy the ability to care for children and enrich their camping experiences. Many camp nurses accompany their own children as they experience all of the wonders of nature and camping. They fill the role of medical professional, assuring all campers receive medication and first-aid, when needed. Camp nurses also care for ill campers, keep medical records updated and help keep the staff healthy and all extraneous medical facilities informed about the children attending camp. Camp nurses are usually required to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and practical experience with children is also desired.

Camps are not always held outside, in the woods and full of rustic activities. Another option for the nurse (or those considering nursing as a career) is attending a nursing camp as a high school student. For those students who are ready to get practical experience in nursing before starting a college-level nursing program, nursing camps can give them the actual experience of a nursing career, plus the educational environment of a nursing school. Students may shadow nurses as they go about their daily duties, and can even be considered for scholarships and other programs based upon their performance. In light of the nursing shortage, many hospitals and medical facilities are turning to younger students in order to increase their interest in nursing and potentially help bring more qualified nurses into the medical world.

Thinking of camps can bring back memories of roasting marshmallows or spending the day in the sun. For Camp Nurses, the joy and fun of summer camp can add to career satisfaction, especially for nurses in the more stressful specialties. Camps are also reaching out to young adults who may be curious about a career in nursing, but are unsure if a bachelor’s degree in nursing is the right step to take. Both camps help inspire the careers of nurses, giving them a chance to be part of a short-term experience with unending rewards.

What is a Telenurse?

Advances in technology are creating ways for industries to get more done, in less time, saving them countless dollars and improving productivity among workers. These same advances are trickling into the medical field, where medical charts are being replaced by laptops and paging systems have become smart phones.

Telenursing is one of these technology-based advances. A Telenurse is a nurse who utilizes the latest in technology to monitor patients, give medical or first-aid advice and even help locate a clinic, hospital or physican that can best serve the patient’s needs. Telenursing has been used with geriatric care, helping to keep track of the effects of medications and treatments, as well as with mothers in labor. Recently, in Houston, Texas, and Richmond, Virginia, telenurses have been used to help keep the rate of non-emergency visits to emergency departments in hospitals to a minimum.

One of the risks involved with Telenursing is that the patient may feel they have lost a personal connection with those in charge of their medical care, and the nurse can feel the same disconnect. Transitioning from face-to-face, interpersonal contact into a technology-based care system may be hard for many people to understand or accept, but on the other hand, Telenurses can help faster than a nurse can help in a doctor office. For instance, if a new mother has a question about her newborn baby'scough, she can "remote in" and get instant advice rather than going into the emergency department and waiting, or having to schedule an appointment to see the pediatrician. Telenursing also helps cut back on patient’s needs to schedule childcare or transportation around their medical appointments and can even save lives by providing information about critical first-aid care while waiting for an ambulance or other emergency care provider.

The learning curve involved with Telenursing is what some say holds the field back. Nurses and medical professionals with decades of experience were not trained in the use and benefits of telehealth devices, and for many of them, it is more work than its worth to use technology over standard care. Those graduating with a four-year degree in nursing are more likely to be familiar with the protocols, benefits and practices related to Telenursing, especially those who have taken classes online. Telenursing is a growing opportunity for nursing professionals who enjoy the role of a nurse who can help benefit many people by monitoring their health from a distance. The benefits of Telenursing come down to the ability to act faster than in a standard nursing environment when the medical issues begin at the patient’s home. It is also reported that Telenurses may even make a larger salary than "in-house" nurses. Nurses who incorporate the latest technologies and who are not afraid to go beyond their general nursing school curriculum may be able to take advantage of the upcoming opportunities in Telenursing, helping to bridge medical care and technology as well as helping patients receive beneficial medical care in the comfort of their own homes. Read more about the most popular careers in nursing.

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Alzheimer's Disease is a degenerative brain disease characterized by confusion and disorientation and the gradual loss of memory over time. It affects men and women, typically over the age of 65, but can also occur in a person's 40's or 50's, or even earlier. One in eight people age 65 or older have 'Alzheimer's disease'. With Alzheimer's disease, the earlier the diagnosis, the better; treatments that begin during the early stages of Alzheimer's can help preserve cognitive function and extend the patient's ability to function normally. Another benefit of early detection is that families have more time to prepare mentally, as well as get financial, legal, living and healthcare arrangements, such as choosing a Geriatric Nurse or care manager, in order.

With the latest advances in Alzheimer's research, there are new medications that can help with the neurological degeneration that takes place during the progression of the disease, giving seniors more time with loved ones and greatly improving their quality of life. Researchers are focusing more on the causes, treatments and prevention of Alzheimer's, as it is the sixth largest cause of death in the United States. There are also alternative treatments that have shown to benefit Alzheimer's patients. Some of these treatments include music therapy, geriatric massage or even supplements like ginkgo biloba or vitamin B-12.

When a family member or loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it is important to know what it in store for the patient so the best care can be given. Researching medical conditions can be confusing and, at times, frightening. One of the best resources that an Alzheimer's patient can have is a caring Geriatric Nurse or care manager who not only knows the latest in treatment options and research, but can also look out for the best interests of the patient. Family members and other caregivers who need to understand the disease, treatments or other concerns can also benefit from the experience and training of a Geriatric Nurse. This specialized nursing field requires the nurse to obtain and RN plus advanced training through either online nursing programs or traditional nursing schools to obtain the specific knowledge needed to care for this population. Alzheimer's patients can lead healthy and happy lives after their diagnosis, either at home, or within an assisted living facility. The support of family, friends and a knowledgeable medical team are all important to anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease. November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, and the goal is to make the diagnosis a little less scary through empowering the public with knowledge and resources that enable a greater understanding of the disease. Researchers continue to make great strides in the understanding of Alzheimer's, and from there, more treatments become available to help patients manage their lives and remain vital members of their families and social circles.

Program Spotlight

Earn as much as $74/hour in the Geriatric Nursing field. Kaplan University offers a self-study online geriatric care certification that can be completed in just 12 months

Kaplan University