Showing posts from: November 2016

Documenting a Back and Neck Exam Made Simple

Whether you're a seasoned nurse practitioner or a new grad, there's always room for improvement when it comes to documentation skills. Over the past few months here at MidlevelU, we've been looking at documentation basics for the various body systems. Accurately recording the findings of your physical exam is essential for the continued care of your patient and to protect yourself legally as a healthcare provider. What do you need to know when it comes to documenting exam findings of the back and neck?

Continue reading

Must-Have Posters for Your Primary Care Clinic

Most medical clinics are far too dingy and generic if you ask me. The walls are always painted some sort of band-aid tan. The smell of hand sanitizer and alcohol swabs wafts through the air causing every patient, regardless of chief complaint, to conjure up images of some sort of painful procedure. Pediatric practices make an effort to brighten up the environment to welcome kids. Maybe its time adult-focused practices did the same. 

Continue reading

7 Steps to Finding Your Clinical Passion

In some aspects of life, finding your passion is quite easy. You may have a natural talent or innate interest in a hobby or activity, your giftedness guiding your pursuits. You may be passionate about certain people - your family or significant other. When it comes to our careers, however, passions quickly become muddied with the practical. While this isn't always a bad thing, it can mean a swift spiral into job dissatisfaction, or a lack of enthusiasm for your career path. 

Continue reading

Navigating FMLA + HIPAA: Notes for Nurse Practitioners

In my last post, I discussed the basics of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as they relate to healthcare providers. Nurse practitioners are likely to treat patients requesting medical leave from employers, and are often responsible for completing the paperwork required for the patient to do so. Discussing a patient's medical condition with an employer, however, puts the NP in a precarious position as healthcare providers are restricted from releasing patient information by HIPAA privacy laws. What information can nurse practitioners reveal to employers about patients seeking FMLA?

Continue reading

FMLA Q&A for Nurse Practitioners

If you're a nurse practitioners, chances are that thinking about FMLA is accompanied by a groan. FMLA means more paperwork for healthcare providers charged with securing medical leave for patients or their family members. Before whipping out your pen and scribbling responses into the multi-page form, however, it's important that nurse practitioners familiarize themselves with the background of the law and the requirements for advocating for a patient's leave. An FMLA slip-up could leave you legally exposed. Maintain solid relationships with your patients, and follow the letter of the law by understanding the answers to these basic FMLA questions. 

Continue reading

Foreign Body Freakout! How to Remove an Insect from the Ear

Have you ever treated a patient presenting with a case of insect-in-the-ear? Understandably, the situation is quite distressing for the patient. Spiders, cockroaches, and other creepy-crawlies entering the ear canal, particularly during sleep, occurs more commonly than you might think. While this isn't a problem I treat on a daily basis as a nurse practitioner in the emergency department, it happens from time to time. What is the best approach for removing an insect from the ear?

Continue reading

Charting Hacks for Nurse Practitioners

Sometimes charting makes me want to scream. When I work in the fast track area of the emergency department diagnosing ear infections, suturing lacerations and treating minor injuries, I quickly become frustrated with documentation. It seems that charting the patient interaction takes longer than the visit itself. Not to mention, documenting what seems like the same visit over and over again makes me certifiably crazy. 

Continue reading

Oncology Subspecialty Programs for Nurse Practitioners

While most nurse practitioners are certified in general areas, such as 'Family Nurse Practitioner' or 'Adult Nurse Practitioner', some NPs opt for more specialized training. If you have a specific area of clinical interest, obtaining a nurse practitioner subspecialty can give you the competitive advantage you need to pursue a career in your desired setting. While there aren't many programs for NPs with an oncology bent, there are a few schools that offer the subspecialty. 

Continue reading

Avoid These 4 Mistakes on Your NP Program Application

Isn't writing NP program admissions essays the worst? The vague, nuanced questions leave you wondering what exactly faculty are looking to see in your responses. You must walk the fine line between bragging about your accomplishments and seeming like your credentials are lacking. You know you have overcome some challenge or obstacle in life, but of course can't think of it when you sit down to draft your admissions app. 

Continue reading

When Is It OK for a Nurse Practitioner to Fire a Patient?

As nurse practitioners, we’ve all heard about firing patients. We may have wanted to dismiss a patient or two ourselves at times. Part of the nurse practitioner skill set is the ability to work with patients of different backgrounds. Occasionally, however, a provider-patient relationship becomes ineffective or contentious. Given the complex nature of healthcare, firing a patient must be done ethically, legally, and with foresight. When is it OK to fire a patient from your care?

Continue reading

5 Things NPs Need to Know About MACRA

The alphabet soup that is provider reimbursement got a bit thicker over the past few weeks. MACRA, MIPS, and APM are among the new acronyms healthcare providers must know to get paid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MARCA) last month. Effectively, this ruling changes the standards by which Medicare reimburses healthcare providers. What do nurse practitioners need to know about the act?

Continue reading

Weekend Wrap Up 11.18.16

Happy Friday! What's on your agenda for the weekend? With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, I anticipate you're making travel plans or grocery shopping to feed a crowd next week. Fortunately, I think I'm off duty when it comes to cooking this year. Rather, you'll find me eating stuffing straight from the pan. If you could use a distraction from holiday chores, cooking, and cleaning, check out this week's latest health news stories. 

Continue reading

Pages