10 Insider Tips Only Nurses Will Tell You


During the four years I spent reporting my book The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles With the Heroes of the Hospital, I learned that nurses are not just the unsung heroes of healthcare; they’re also its secret keepers. If you want to know the truth about your doctor or healthcare institution, ask nurses. Meanwhile, here are 10 of the insider tips they shared with me to help patients get better care.

1. Get a Second Opinion on the Surgery Your Doctor Recommends

You might not actually need the surgery your physician says you need. Nurses told me that the healthcare system incentivizes some doctors to advise high-cost procedures, which can lead them to bully patients into undergoing treatments that won’t necessarily help them. “If I could talk to my open-heart surgery patients before the surgery, I would probably advise 30 percent of them not to have surgery,” said one New York nurse. “Doctors undersell how much rehabilitation the successful recovery from heart surgery requires. Every time I see patients over 85 opt for an aortic valve surgery because they were becoming short of breath on exertion, I scratch my head a little bit because I

How to get into nursing school


Identify Nursing Programs of Interest
If you are in an area with multiple nursing programs offered, you’ll need to identify what the entrance requirements are for each program. For most community colleges, the requirements will be similar, but a BSN program will likely have additional courses for you to take. Others of you are applying all over the country, so you’ll want to make note of each school’s unique requirements. Make a spreadsheet or chart showing all the programs and all the requirements. Anticipate applying to ALL these programs (even if you are already enrolled in a 4-yr university with its own nursing program…keep you options open!).

Increase Your Chance of Getting Classes
Nursing programs in many areas are impacted…which means there are more people who want to take the course than can be accommodated. This extends to the pre-requisite courses as well (mainly the heavy science classes). It can be extremely frustrating to find that you cannot get into Anatomy & Physiology at your college, so we are going to expand your bank of available classes.

If you are a community college student, look to

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Outdoor exercise has many advantages. Get some tips on getting fit while enjoying the great outdoors.


There is no debating the health benefits of daily exercise. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health all agree that we need at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day. The good news is that you don’t have to work out in a gym to get in shape. Outdoor exercises are just as effective, can be more fun, and have some appealing advantages.

Reasons to Take Your Workouts Outside

Outdoor fitness can be a structured exercise program that takes advantage of the natural terrain of the outdoors to get you in shape, or it can be as simple as taking a brisk walk outside. Outdoor fitness can take many forms: Raking leaves, for example, is considered moderate physical activity. If you weigh about 135 pounds, you can burn close to 250 calories by raking leaves for an hour.

Whichever way you choose to exercise outside, there are numerous benefits:

  • No membership fees. The outdoors belongs to all of us. “You don’t

25 Ways to Lose Weight

Everyday ways you haven’t heard of — and they work!

When it comes to losing weight, a little inspiration can go a long, long way. So we looked into the latest studies, combed the most intriguing research and interviewed real women on how they shed extra pounds to come up with 25 winning weight-loss tips that are well worth trying.

Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

  1. Put the kettle on.
    Drinking green tea (which is also known for its powerful cancer-fighting compounds) may help you burn more calories by inducing slight changes in metabolism, according to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
  2. Choose cereal.
    Eating cold cereal with skim milk for breakfast and as a replacement for lunch or dinner can help jump-start your diet, according to a Purdue University study released last fall. The men and women in the study, who all ate Special K, lost an average of six pounds in two weeks.
  3. Consider peanut butter.
    Foods rich in monounsaturated fats (including nuts, peanut butter, olive and canola oils and avocados) can help you lose weight, according to a study conducted at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

10 Best Slimming Foods

Looking for a miracle diet food? It’s time to call off the search — there’s no such thing. “If you take in more calories than you expend, you gain weight,” says David Katz, M.D., of the Yale Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. “It’s simple biology, and no milkshake or mackerel can save you from that fate.”

But before you throw in the towel, there are certain foods that promote satiety (the feeling of fullness that comes after a meal) more than others. While they’re not miracle foods, they can help you eat less over the course of the day. “When you’re looking for foods that are going to keep you fuller for longer, look for ones high in fiber, healthy fats and protein, or with a high water content,” says Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Penn State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. “The additional benefit is that a lot of these foods are also really good for you and packed with important nutrients, vitamins and minerals.”

An apple a day may keep the fat pants away, too. This portable fruit is the perfect snack, with a high water content and both kinds of weight-busting fiber:

How Portion Size Adds Up to Obesity

The food on your plate may be more than you need. Learn how increased portion size is contributing to America’s growing waistline.

Half-pound muffins? Two-pound pasta bowls? Since the 1970s, American fast-food and sit-down restaurants alike have contributed to the obesity epidemic by serving individual people enough food for a small family.

Portion Size and Obesity: How It All Adds Up

In competition with each other and operating under the philosophy that bigger is better, restaurants often serve up a portion size that is equal to two to four normal servings, while menu boards at fast-food restaurants scream “supersized burgers and fries!” Consider these portion-size facts:

  • In the 1950s, a regular fast-food burger was 2.8 ounces and 202 calories. In 2004, that same burger was 4.3 ounces and 310 calories.
  • A regular Coke grew from six ounces in 1916 to 21 ounces in 1996.
  • These days, you can buy a “double gulp” drink that’s 64 ounces and more than 600 calories, and a burrito that’s 1,100 calories or almost three-fourths of the entire daily 1,600-calorie allotment for an average-sized, non-exercising woman. Have them both, and you’re over the allotment.

Portion Size and Obesity: Retake Control

Of course, nobody stands over us, making us eat. But food psychology being

Nursing Advice Kids Back to School Health Tips

School is officially back in session, and parents and kids alike are getting back into the swing of things. As kids come home with more vocabulary lists, flash cards and book reports, they are also coming home with more germs.

No parent wants to have a sick child, especially when it can be avoided by following these tips, courtesy of Ruth Gallagher, NP-C, PhD, CNE and Director of Nursing Academic Services at Utica College.

Good Hand Washing

Nurse Gallagher’s first tip for helping kids stay healthy is to get them to wash their hands frequently. Of course everybody knows to wash your hands after using the restroom, but kids typically do not wash their hands often enough or for long enough. While kids are in school, they are constantly interacting with other children, teachers and their environment. Whether sharing crayons, playing with jump ropes in gym or touching a door handle, they’re constantly transmitting germs to one another. Although they can’t wash their hands after touching every little thing, it is important for them to know to wash their hands before eating, after using the restroom and after sneezing or coughing. Teach them to sing the ABCs while using warm water and plenty

Tips on Being a Mom and a Nursing Student

There are two dreams I have always had since I was a little girl. The first was the dream of being a mom. That dream started to come true after I married Steve, a Lutheran pastor. The role of mom is now a reality. Steve and I have 2 birth sons, Seth who is 7, and Sam, 6. We are also licensed foster/adopt parents and are in the process of adopting Amber, who is 2.

The fulfillment of my first dream, being a mom, is a blessing and a sacred gift. Two of my children have special needs. Sam was born with a birth defect, tracheal-esophageal fistula, and has asthma. Amber has phenylketonuria (PKU), which requires diet therapy and careful monitoring of food intake. These special needs require medication, organization, and patience.

My second dream was of being a nurse. After graduating from high school, I didn’t pursue nursing because I didn’t think I was strong in math and science. I earned a BA in psychology, married, became a preschool teacher, daycare provider, and a mom. I had the opportunity to return to school when we moved to Huron, SD, two years ago. I decided then to make my wish of

Idiot Proof your Patient

One of the most useful skills you will utilize as an RN is organization. In fact, if assessment is your King-Daddy skill, then organization is a close second. An organized, orderly room is a much safer (and more pleasant) place to be than a chaotic mess. One of the things I like to do is something I call “idiot-proofing” my patient. This has nothing to do with the intellectual capacity of my patient, but more to do with setting things up so that anyone (ANYONE) could walk into my room and know what’s what. Here are a few things I do to make sure that if someone walked into my room while I was away, they would know what they need to know:

Label label label
When you go into your room to do your initial assessment, take some masking tape and a sharpie with you. You will want to trace each med from the bag, to the pump, to the patient. You will label each IV pump. “But wait,” you say. “Doesn’t the pump display the name of the drug?” Yes, it does…but the scrolling takes several seconds and I don’t have several seconds to stand there and try

Hidden Fat Traps

How to prevent those pounds from packing on

You noticed that your pants were getting a little snug, but didn’t think much of it. When you could barely button your favorite skirt, you forced yourself onto a scale and discovered you’d gained eight pounds. But why? You haven’t changed your eating or exercise habits.

Chances are you overlooked some of the most common weight-gain culprits. Frequent dining out, nighttime snacks in front of the television and even your fondness for coffee can all cause a slow-but-steady weight gain. Once you identify and combat these “hidden” fat traps, you’ll find it easier to shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

Loss of Muscle

Getting older is one of the most frequently overlooked reasons for gaining weight, says Sheah Rarback, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association based in Miami. “You’re more susceptible to weight gain with every passing decade because your metabolism slows and you lose muscle mass,” says Rarback. “What that means is you can’t eat the same way you did when you were twenty. If you do, you’ll gain weight.”

The solution: Strength training helps build muscle mass and combat this effect of aging, says personal trainer Brad Schoenfeld, author of Look Great

8 Ways to Stick to Your Diet

You can do it — we’ll show you how.


diet plan you choose (South Beach, The Zone, cabbage soup) has less to do with weight loss than the act of sticking to your chosen diet. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many of us who start January zealously committed to getting fit only to crash hard in February (Valentine’s Day chocolates, anyone?) know it’s much easier said than done.

To help break us out of this oh-so-vicious cycle, life coaches Meredith Haberfield and Lauren Zander of Handel Group Private Coaching show us effective ways to overcome common diet pitfalls so we can keep our goals and look great this summer.

Remember you’re in charge

“Losing weight isn’t about cheesecake,” says Haberfield. “It’s about feeling like you can control your body and your life.” According to Haberfield, many people use food as an “I deserve this” treat, but then feel worse later when they can’t fit into their clothes. “Most people are used to feeling bad about themselves because they gained weight or didn’t keep their goal,” says Haberfield. “But you don’t have to feel bad anymore. You dictate what goes in your mouth. You have the power to change.”

Get good support

We all

9 Ways to Burn Fat


Easy steps you can take

Everyone’s metabolism naturally slows down with age. At 40, you could be burning 100 to 300 fewer calories a day than you did at 30, says Pamela M. Peeke, M.D., author of Body for Life for Women and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. That can translate into a 10-25-pound weight gain in a year. But you can counteract that slowdown and boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities by making just a few tweaks to your daily routine. The following strategies will help you bust out of a weight-loss plateau and burn even more fat.

Take five
Do five minutes of exercise each morning. We all have a metabolic thermostat, called the metastat, that can be turned up or down, and morning is the best time to activate it. Each day, your metastat is waiting for signals to rev up, so the more signals you can send it, the better. Your best bet is a light, full-body activity like walking or push-ups.

Fuel up in the morning
Numerous studies have found that regular breakfast eaters are often leaner than breakfast skippers. “Your metabolism naturally slows at night, but you can jump-start it in the

Obesity Treatment

One of the keys to successful weight loss is to have realistic goals.

The treatment for obesity is weight loss, and there are a number of ways to achieve that, including:

  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Prescription medicines
  • Weight-loss surgery

For adults, particularly those using diet and lifestyle modifications to lose weight, the following are generally considered realistic goals:

  • Aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over six months.
  • Lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week.
  • Once you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, focus your efforts on keeping it off before attempting further weight loss.

Obesity and Lifestyle Modifications

Overeating is a major contributor to obesity, and some of the most common reasons for overeating include:

  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Feeling happy or wanting to celebrate
  • Eating too fast
  • Eating mindlessly, or without paying attention to what you’re eating
  • Eating to please someone else or to fit in with a social group
  • Trying to follow a too-strict diet
  • Going too long between meals and getting overly hungry

Lifestyle modifications that can help to address these reasons and help with weight loss include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Becoming aware of the habits and/or emotions that lead you to overeat
  • Being mindful of how hungry or how full you are before,

Metabolism Makeover

Discover the key to slimming down and feeling healthier.

Do you believe you’re doomed to be overweight due to a sluggish metabolism? New research indicates that what’s wrong with your engine can be fixed. It is possible to improve metabolic functioning, and that means you can be healthier, feel younger and look better.

Doctors once thought all our bodies worked pretty much the same way when it comes to metabolism. Now they know that’s not true. Genes, along with other biological predispositions, most likely influence metabolic function. You can inherit a poky metabolism, it seems, as easily as blue eyes.

A fast metabolism is easy to spot: These are the people who can chow down yet remain slim. Then there’s your best friend, who seems to live on yogurt and rice cakes but is still a size 16. A slow internal engine, left unchecked, usually leads to weight gain and obesity.

Right now there are no safe, effective medications to speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight, says Barry Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., chief of endocrinology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. “Lifestyle changes are the only viable alternatives for people currently struggling with metabolic problems.”

That means changing what and how you eat,

Battle the Bulge by Battling Stress

A high-stress day can lead to a high-calorie night of cleaning out the fridge. While experts have long suspected a link between eating and emotions, a recent study confirms that when the pressure is on, many reach for food to cope.

In the study, women were divided into two groups – one was asked to solve an unsolvable puzzle and one was not. A tray of fatty cheese, potato chips, white chocolate, low-fat popcorn, pretzels, and jelly beans was then served while researchers “scored” how well participants did on the test. Not surprisingly, those whose stress levels were up ate twice as much of the fatty items while waiting for the test results!

Researchers said that while it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, being aware of your feelings and how they are linked to what you eat is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle. When pressure mounts, try going for a walk, using relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, or slipping into the tub for a post-work bubble bath!

Take a Five-Minute Stress Break!

Having one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Why not take a five-minute stress break – instead of hitting the fridge.

Why Baby Boomers Need More Vitamins

People who are 50 or over may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy, no matter how varied and balanced their diet. Here are the supplements you need and why

Anyone who has been to the vitamin aisle at the local grocery store won’t be surprised that the sale of multivitamins in the United States accounts for $4 billion in annual revenue. What’s more, nearly half of all dietary supplements were purchased by baby boomers.

The vast array of multivitamins, individual vitamins, and supplements is enough to overwhelm any consumer. The good news is it’s simpler than you might think. In fact, for most baby boomers, a multivitamin and perhaps a few carefully selected and doctor-approved additions should be all that’s needed.

Vitamins: What Is the Best Multivitamin?

As people age their bodies undergo an ironic transformation. Older adults generally need fewer calories and may eat less, yet at the same time their vitamin and mineral requirements increase due to less efficient digestion, among other physiological factors.

“For individuals over 50, a daily multivitamin supplement can provide all the micronutrients they aren’t getting in their daily food intake,” says Leticia Aliaga, RD, a dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center

Stop Yo Yo Dieting

As any veteran of the dieting wars can tell you, losing weight isn’t nearly as difficult as keeping it off over the long term.

“Whenever I take a diet history, I get a litany of weight-loss plans and programs from experienced dieters,” says Molly Gee, M.Ed., R.D., a weight-loss counselor and researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Yet most dieters’ successes with these plans are short-lived and, annoyingly, the pounds quickly return. Gee calls it the “then some” problem: “A lot of women lose ten pounds, then regain it and then some. A few years later, they’ll lose fifteen pounds, but regain it and then some.” Many clients, she says, have entire wardrobes in several different sizes in their closets.

But it’s more than just a clothing issue, unfortunately. The consequences of weight cycling include an increase in disease risk, and the habit can also lead to an undesirable alteration in body composition that ups fat and decreases muscle. This bleak picture explains why nutrition experts advise you to shelve your yo-yo habits and break the cycle with long-term strategies.

“Nearly all of the successful losers in the National Weight Control Registry have been yo-yo dieters,” notes registry director James O.

5 Key Facts About Calcium

Are you getting enough calcium? Find out which calcium-rich foods and dietary supplements to add to your diet.


Calcium is one of the essential nutrients, vital for many bodily functions and for strong bones and teeth. “Calcium is really a very important,” says Katherine Tallmadge, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “Without it, we would die, which is the definition of an essential nutrient.” Calcium is found in certain foods as well as being available in dietary supplements — such as calcium supplements and calcium magnesium supplements, which supply both essential minerals. Here are some basic facts you need to know about calcium.

  1. What is calcium?
  2. Calcium is a mineral. Our bodies contain more calcium than any other mineral. As much as 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is stored in our teeth and bones, although it is also present in our blood, muscle, and the fluid between body cells.
  3. What does calcium do?
  4. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining our bones. We have to have enough calcium at all times to ensure that our bones have adequate structure, says Tallmadge. Calcium is also necessary for the contraction and expansion of muscles and blood vessels, the secretion of

Top Foods High In Vitamin C

Vitamin C foods can help with gastrointestinal issues, depression, skin health and more.

The benefits of vitamin C were discovered quite by accident during a scurvy epidemic in Europe hundreds of years ago. Today, foods high in vitamin C and fruits high in vitamin C are regularly touted for their purported ability to help heal anything from the common cold to depression.

But research suggests that scurvy is still the only disease specifically caused by not getting enough vitamin C.

It’s a deficiency that is seldom seen in the Western world but that 200 years ago caused severe dental problems and non-healing wounds in English sailors,” explained Sean Paul, MD, a Fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. The sailors earned the name “limey” for their penchant for carrying citrus fruits high in vitamin C on long voyages.

“Vitamin C is beneficial for overall health, especially with wound healing and providing a source of antioxidants,” Dr. Paul said. “There is a bounty of evidence that when taken in recommended quantities, it serves to keep skin and teeth healthy.

It’s also been linked to better eye and brain health.

Which Foods Are Highest in Vitamin C?

Eating vitamin-C rich foods is

The One Supplement Everyone Needs

Here’s some surprising news: According to the National Institutes of Health, Americans spend almost $20 billion per year on vitamins and supplements, up a whopping $6 billion since 1999. Even more surprising? Almost all of them have little or no effect on your health. “For years there has been heated debate within the medical community about supplements helping to reduce the risk of certain diseases, but scientific studies have repeatedly failed to support these claims,” says Dr. Arthur Agatston, preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Diet® and The South Beach Heart Health Revolution.

Indeed, research from reputable institutions has shown that most supplements cannot prevent or treat diseases. For example, in one study from the U.S. Preventive Task Force (the leading panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care), researchers systematically reviewed the efficacy of vitamins A, C, and E; multivitamins with folic acid; and antioxidant combinations said to prevent cancer and/or cardiovascular disease. Their findings demonstrated that while these vitamins won’t harm you, they won’t help you, either. Furthermore, the Task Force concluded that there is insufficient evidence to recommend taking supplements containing these nutrients. This research bolsters the outcome of numerous earlier studies, including the groundbreaking