Caregivers and Dealing With Death

dealing with death as a nurseOne of the things you’re going to need to learn to deal with being a nurse is the idea of death.

It’s just one of the many aspects of being a nurse.

And when it comes time for you to deal with someone who has passed on, the most important part of your job will to be to handle the death in the manner in which the deceased instructed.

Although this may not always be so cut and dry.

Often family members will try to intervene. And due to their own feelings towards the departed, or even their own grief, they may try to change or delete the prior directives of the deceased.

The major problems most often stem from the departed not having a clear set of instructions on what they would like as far as how to dispose of the body. Or where they wanted to be buried.

And each individual is entirely different from another.

Some want to be buried next to their spouse while others want to be buried on a hill top.

Then others have more grander ideas on how they want to be laid to rest.

They may want to be cremated and have their remains flown into outer space like the kind of burials that are becoming more prevalent called funeral flights.

This is often the time the deceased relations step in as they feel something like this is far too dramatic. Again, not taking into consideration the deceased wishes or point of view on the matter.

So one of the best things you can do if you happen to be an elderly caregiver that has the opportunity to know and understand their patient, it’s helpful to bring up the idea of having a clear understanding on how they would like to be treated after death written in their will.

This protects all of the parties involved. And makes what needs to happen much easier and faster due to knowing which steps need to be taken rather than placing further burden on the deceased’s family in having to make decisions they are not sure the departed would want r agree with.

Although as a nurse it isn’t necessary to look after the details of a funeral, or even follow up after, it is reassuring to know that their wishes, at least within accordance with the law will be met.

So no matter how your patient wants to pass or be remembered, it is their decision.

It is not your job as a nurse to interfere or give suggestions as to what you think is best.

Just follow the instructions and you will be fine. After all, it’s wasn’t your choice.

Nursing Job Hints

registered nurse quick facts

USA Department Of Labor Statistics

There is a severe shortage of nurses in the United States, and that situation is projected to continue. In 2016, a report by the American Health Care Association showed RN vacancies at more than 135,000, or about 8% of available jobs. Even during the recession, the nursing profession added 21,000 jobs in November 2016. The shortages appear in every area of nursing, including hospitals, medical centers and offices, and nursing homes. As the baby boomer population enters retirement age, this trend will accelerate. Another factor in projected shortages is that many nurses are in their 40s and 50s, and their impending retirements will leave multiple openings.

nurse vacancy

Vacancy in Skilled Nursing Care Center Direct Care Staff Positions



Other reasons for the shortage include the impact of medical and technological advances. More patient tests, more monitors, and more medicines to pass out increase the time spent on each patient, leading to a need for more nurses. This trend also requires more teaching nurses and more time for continuing education for current nurses to update their skills.

In 2015, more than 19,500 open RN positions existed at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and adult day care centers. The need for this care will increase the shortage over the next 20 years.

Outlook for Nursing JobsNurse-supply-and-demand
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December 2015, there will be more than 580,000 RN positions created by 2018, increasing the RN workforce by 22%. This rate of growth is much higher than projected growth of other professions. The Department of Labor lists nursing as one of the top five fastest growing professions.

Nursing Salaries
There are a number of websites that give salary ranges for RNs and LPNs. One site lists RN pay at $22 to $31 per hour. With overtime, bonuses, and profit-sharing money, the annual salary is approximately $47,000 to $67,000.

LPN pay can range from $16 to $20 per hour, an annual salary of $32,000 to $40,000.

It’s a great time to be a nurse, whether an RN or an LPN, and the aging population of the United States means that nurses have job security for the foreseeable future.

Nursing Interview – Communicating Effectively

at the doctor's office

Communication is a vital skill for a nurse. Although you probably already have many types of communication skills, there are always more you can learn. Here are some tips for effective communication:

Appropriate Topics and Actions
Care and concern for other people are the hallmarks of a good communicator.

  • A good communicator has a broad knowledge of acceptable topics and can talk about a variety of ideas.
  • A good communicator can choose an appropriate topic for the setting and the people in the group.
  • A good communicator doesn’t talk constantly, but allows others to speak. The sharing of ideas is a true conversation.
  • A good communicator knows the value of eye contact and body language to show interest in another person’s words.
  • A good communicator knows how to give and accept compliments.

Inappropriate Topics and Actions
The skilled conversationalist knows that some topics and actions are inappropriate in a setting with people who are not close friends. Here is a short list of topics and actions that should be avoided:

  • The speaker’s health
  • Controversial topics, such as politics, religion, or prejudice
  • Off-color jokes or stories
  • Drunken behavior
  • Gossip about or mockery of anyone, whether family members or colleagues
  • Personal adversity
  • A person’s age or income

Working a Room
Mingling with other guests at a networking gathering or business function offers important opportunities to make contacts, learn about others in your field, or hear about current nursing trends.

  • Learn the art of small talk. The conversation should be informative, pleasant, and amusing without violating the rules of appropriate conversation.
  • Use small talk to relax the people around you and show your interest in them.
  • Use the “five Ws and one H” to start conversations: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Ask questions such as, “Where do you work?” “What are the best parts of your job?” “How long have you been in this professional organization?”
  • Make your questions fit the social setting.

The Art of Listening
A good conversationalist not only can speak well, but also excels at active listening. An effective conversationalist and listener is always an asset to any organization, and these skills will help you advance your career.

  • Show your appreciation for the person by paying close attention to what he or she is saying.
  • Don’t be thinking about your next response or how you can prove the other person wrong.
  • Listen actively, which leads to sharing of ideas and thoughts and opens you and the other person up to forming a relationship.
  • Listen to learn what is important to the other person; the knowledge increases your connection and possibly brings a new person to your network or as a friend.
  • Gain respect and understanding from the people around you and your supervisors by listening actively.
  • Show active listening in your posture, eye contact, expressions, and attitude.

The Nursing Interview

Your nursing job search and applications have netted you an interview. Congratulations! Here are some nursing interviewtips for the interview:

  • Know every aspect of your resume.
  • Be prepared to share specific examples of your experience. Practice telling these short anecdotes out loud to determine how they sound and to embed them in your memory.
  • Find out where the interview will be so you aren’t searching for the location at the last minute.
  • Be 10 to 15 minutes early.
  • Walk into the interview room with your briefcase or purse in your left hand so your right hand is available for a handshake.
  • Shake the interviewer’s hand firmly, making eye contact and smiling.
  • Address the interviewer in a formal way, unless he or she asks you to use a first name.
  • Take a seat when asked.
  • Sit up straight and lean forward slightly to show your enthusiasm for the interview.
  • Ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you don’t understand it, or ask for more specifics if the question seems vague.
  • Allow pauses without seeming flustered or uncomfortable.
  • Don’t be afraid to show some humor, when appropriate.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly.
  • Prepare questions about the position ahead of time. It’s expected that you will have questions for the interviewer. Ask about the job description or other details about the position or the company.
  • It is appropriate to ask when a hiring decision will be made and if it is all right for you to call at a certain time.
  • When the interview is over, stand and shake the interviewer’s hand and thank him or her for taking time to meet you.
  • After the interview, send a short note thanking the interviewer.

Nursing References

nursing recommendationReferences & Letters of Recommendation

Applications for nursing school or for a nursing position often require letters of recommendation. These letters should come from someone who knows you and your skill set well and who will be willing to take the time to write the letter.

Who should you ask for a letter of recommendation? Choose someone who knows you well – not necessarily for a long time, but a person who knows and values your experience and skill set. In most cases, a job supervisor or nursing teacher is a good choice.

It is also helpful if the person has good writing skills. You want the most professional-looking and professional-sounding letter possible. Also, choose a person who can meet the deadline for the letter to be received. A late letter does you no good. You may want to include a list of your accomplishments or a transcript to prompt the letter writer’s memory of your achievements.

Some letter writers prefer to send the letter directly to the employer without your seeing it. In that case, provide them with an addressed, stamped envelope.

Reviewing the letters. If you receive the letters directly from the writers, review them to judge their strength and clarity. Did the letter writer include all of your qualifications in the best light? Does the letter show strong support for you? Is it professional and well written? Does it include all the topics that need to be there?

What if the letter doesn’t do its job? If the letter does not fulfill its purpose, you will need to decide what to do. If you know the letter writer well enough, you may ask for a revision and stress what you would prefer to be added. Be specific, so the writer knows what you feel is missing. If conferring with the writer is not possible, you will have to hold on to that letter and use it only as a last resort. It is better to send a poorly written letter that doesn’t show the best of your qualifications than to be a letter short of the total requested by the school or employer.

Copies. If you receive the letters from the writer, keep copies to be available to send with other applications. Put them in a plastic sleeve in a notebook to have all the information in one place.

Notes of appreciation. Once the letter of recommendation is completed, send a note of appreciation to the letter writer. He or she has used personal time to help you, and you should express your gratitude.

Write One Yourself? People are busy, They may want to help you, but just can’t find the time. So write one instead and ask them if they’d sign it. There’s nothing devious about this. You’re just taking the work load off of someone else.

Ask them to proof read and scratch out or add anything they feel needs to be in the letter.

Good letters of recommendation will help you clinch the desired job or nursing school acceptance. Take some time to see that this part of your application process is done well.

Preparing the Nursing Job Application

nursing application


Looking for a job means filling out job applications. The types of applications vary, so you will need an efficient system to make best use of your time. Applications can sometimes take four to eight hours to fill out, so have all of the information ready, to save time and avoid mistakes such as leaving something out. Here are the essential ingredients for an effective application:

Your nursing resume must catch the employer’s attention enough so that he or she will want to read the entire document. It is your chance to emphasize your qualifications and experience. Making the effort to create a good resume is time well spent. It can make the difference in your chance to win your dream job.

The resume must have a well-designed layout. Don’t use catchy graphics or a variety of fonts. Stick with one or two fonts, and use bold and italics sparingly. Be sure to include all of your contact information. Leave white space between paragraphs and use indentation to make it easier to read. Edit the document until it captures your qualifications in a succinct manner.

Be sure to run spell check, but also print out a copy to proofread. The eye often catches errors more easily on paper than on the screen. Write about your qualifications and experiences in a way that shows the benefit you can provide your employer. Use active verbs and descriptive nouns, without many adverbs and adjectives.

Be sure to include your GPA and a list of extracurricular activities if you are a recent graduate. Employers like to hire well-rounded people, and these items could be what get you an interview.

Cover Letter
The cover letter should be one page and should be adapted to each job application. Research the hospital or medical center and the position that you are applying for, and include in the letter how you fit that atmosphere.

Showing how your skills can benefit the facility is more likely to lead to an interview. Let your personality shine through the words of the letter, but don’t make it too informal. Here are some things to consider when writing the cover letter:

  • Why are you applying for this position?
  • Why do you want to work for this organization?
  • How do your qualifications fit the job?
  • What benefit can you provide this employer?
  • What are your career goals and how does this job fit them?

As with the resume, be sure to provide contact information in the cover letter, keep the letter professional, and make certain it is free of grammar and other errors. If needed, have someone else proofread it for you. Use high quality paper and follow standard business letter format.

If you need help with the format, find an example in a book or online. A standout cover letter leads the employer to read your resume, where the meat of your qualifications is shown.

The application package, including resume and cover letter, is your introduction to the employer and your best tool for gaining an interview. Make it the best introduction possible.