Here’s some news in the nursing space this past week that caught our eyes. Watch for more Nurse Watch every Wednesday in H&HN Daily.

Actors help RNs prepare for dire situations

I imagine it’s excruciatingly difficult for a nurse veteran to break the news to a terminally ill patient that there is nothing left to do, let alone if you’re a fresh-faced nurse just starting in a hospital.

Aiming to close that experience gap, the University of Alabama in Huntsville has teamed up its nursing school with the theater department, hoping to better prepare RNs for hospice situations, according to Maria Steele, clinical assistant professor of nursing at the school, got the idea for the effort amid calls for departments of the university to collaborate more, and worries that nurses were ill-prepared for such end-of-life situations.

The theater department, of course, was on board and came up with seven students who displayed exceptional talent and dependability in class, each tasked with playing a family member of the “dying” patient. Thus far, the effort’s been a success, with students from both schools spontaneously staying after the simulation to discuss what did and didn’t work. Already, they’re seeking further ways to collaborate.

“It takes a lot of planning and coordination, but it was a real win-win," Steele tells "I can foresee that this would only enhance the other simulations that we do."

Finding the best settling spot as a new nurse

What’s the best potential nesting ground if you’re a new nurse, fresh out of school? Is it sunny San Diego and its perfect year-round weather? New York City and its huge population of potential patients?

According to, which teamed up with job site to crunch the numbers, the ideal locale is none other than Houston. The site reached that conclusion based on a variety of factors, including job availability, average annual salary, median home price and median annual rent. Houston topped the list for its largest share of nursing jobs, at 14.6 percent, along with the highest average salary ($78,000) and more affordable housing.

No love for H&HN’s hometown of Chicago, but rounding out the top five are Tulsa, Okla., Dallas, Seattle and San Antonio, Texas.

Battling bullying in the nursing profession

Despite any strides made in the industry, bullying of nurses — by docs and RN peers — is still all too common in the profession.

To address the issue, American Sentinel University recently debuted a series of blogs on bullying prevention. Written by former nurse leader and anti-bullying expert Renee Thompson, R.N., the series explores the underlying causes of such hostility in the workplace, and offers up ways hospitals and other care settings might combat it.

The first such post explores what Thompson believes are the two primary causes of bullying: Nursing is a female-dominated profession and, as she puts it, “let’s face it, ladies, we are not always that nice to each other,” and, second, nursing is an oppressed profession. “Feelings of frustration, coupled with an increasingly complex and stressful job, can create environments where nurses ‘take it out’ on each other,” she writes. The second piece, meanwhile, poses the question “Who is eating whom?” and challenges the common perception that it’s always the older RNs who are “eating their young.”

Pay OK, but many still looking to leave nursing ranks

While many nurses may be happy with the paychecks they bring home, they’d still consider another profession if they had to do it all over again, according to a new survey of RNs by Medscape.

Only about 60 percent of advanced practice nurses said they would choose nursing as a career again, Medscape reports, which would drop to 56 percent for regular registered nurses, and 48 percent for licensed practical nurses. APNs made the most, according to the survey, at a range of $95,000 to $170,000, depending on their specialty. RN salaries averaged about $79,000 while LPNs make about $46,000.

Medscape hopes the numbers will kickstart a conversation about what’s fueling this dissatisfaction, Reuters reports. “Nursing is a very difficult and demanding career choice — long hours, weekend and holiday work, and most importantly, the need to provide hands-on care to people at their most vulnerable times in life — often when they are injured, ill, in pain or dying,” Susan Yox, R.N., a director of editorial content for Medscape, told the site. “We hope this survey will begin to foster dialogue about the reasons for nursing dissatisfaction and burnout and spur changes where needed.”

Got more nursing news that you’d like to see covered in H&HN, or ideas on how to make "Nurse Watch" better? Send your suggestions to Marty Stempniak at