Walking in the Shoes of a Palliative Nurse

Ever thought of switching gears in your nursing career and trying a different, less traditional role? Then Medscape has the skinny for you, with a new ongoing series that lets nurses share their first-person insights into what life is like in varying RN roles. In the latest installment, Lisa Webster, R.N., delves into what her life is like as a palliative care nurse at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond. Webster said, like most, she was fearful at first that the gig would be too depressing. But she has embraced the role, gets to hear “fascinating” patient stories, and encourages others to try it. “Staring death in the face is not a job for the faint of heart; it takes courage, compassion, determination and faith. My personal belief is that our lives do not end with physical death. My spiritual beliefs sustain and comfort me and, when appropriate, I encourage and support that belief in others,” she said in the website post.

From PD to RN

It’s not every day that you see a police officer making the leap into the nursing profession, but that’s exactly the route taken by Cleveland’s Chris Cargile, the local NBC affiliate reports. The 47-year-old actually started out his career as an East Cleveland paramedic, but the closure of Huron Hospital forced him to change jobs and work as a police officer for some 15 years. After retiring recently, Cargile decided to take a second go at medicine, completing nursing school as the oldest student in his class, with plans to pursue a career in obstetrics. He has some experience, having helped to deliver some 40 babies as a paramedic, according to WKYC. "It's kind of where I think I was supposed to be anyway," he says of the career change. "It's just taken a road to get there."

Nursing Makes Financial Sense for Some MDs

If you’re thinking about becoming an MD, you might want to consider a career as a nurse practitioner instead, according to U.S. News and World Report. Often, NPs in some specialties can earn just as much as their physician counterparts, all while carrying a significantly reduced student debt load. On average, an NP degree can cost around $60,000, compared with an average indebtedness for med students at north of $170,000 for a private school. In certaint specialties, such as psychiatry and anesthesiology, job responsibilities between NPs and MDs overlap 80 to 85 percent. And some, such as certified nurse anesthetists, earn $140,000 early in their careers, compared with $45,000 to $75,000 for doctors in their first year of residency. "It's a huge difference in cost in becoming a nurse practitioner. There are years of residency where the physician's salary is compressed,” Ora Strickland, dean of Florida International University’s nursing school, told the site.

Rapid Fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items of interest that caught our eye in the past week, in rapid fashion:

  • The state of New Mexico is revising the guidelines related to recruiting nurses, in the hope of boosting hiring in rural and underserved areas, the Associated Press reports.
  • A University of Wyoming nursing professor recently snagged a nearly $1 million grant from the Department of Health & Human Services, which she’s using to develop a new program that integrates primary care with behavioral health, according to a news release.
  • A digital startup that’s created the “Airbnb of medical staffing” is soon making the move toward nursing, after already creating a system to help doctors who are looking for freelance work, Fortune reports.
  • And finally, hospitals and other facilities are dangling $5,000 bonuses to nurses in Idaho, hoping to recruit them to their staff amid a nursing shortage and fierce hiring competition, according to the Twin Falls area Times-News.