Five ‘Must-Have Resources’ as a Nurse

Education, General, Our People

Scroll to the bottom of the blog to see how you can show your nursing pride with a State of Illinois “Nurses Save Lives” license plate!

Scroll to the bottom of the blog to see how you can show your nursing pride with a State of Illinois “Nurses Save Lives” license plate!

This blog post was written by Marquina Watts, MSN, who is a Nurse Resident at Independence Plus.

Three of the primary qualities I’m finding that are necessary to make it as a private duty nurse at Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI) are: undeniable passion, inherent confidence, and a science-enthusiast mentality. The first quality is a no-brainer. Being passionate about advocacy, relationship-building, and ensuring that people receive the best care will only grow as we develop as nurses. The last two will be a constant learning experience as healthcare continues to evolve. As a nurse it is essential to know the science behind disease processes, clinical skills, and interventions. It is this foundation that influences patient outcomes and our confidence when providing life-saving care.

As a novice nurse, I’m finding that the demands of my career make it challenging to find a healthy balance between my personal life and work life. I don’t ever want to lose my eagerness to learn so I was excited to find five ‘must-have resources’ as a nurse that are easy to navigate, not time-consuming, and can help us stay relevant in the field. I trust that these resources will serve you well! 

1. American Nurses Association (ANA)
For obvious reasons, being a member has many benefits and opportunities. ANA is our number one resource for knowing the most recent code of ethics; scopes and standards of nursing practice – both overall and by specialty; healthcare issues affecting nurses and the community; and updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Attending conferences are great resources for education, as you are exposed to various presentations and workshops relative to your specialty or interest in nursing. Meeting other nurses who share your passion opens the door to establish new relationships within the profession. As the ANA encourages leadership development, there are many leadership opportunities to become a member on various boards and committees, pertaining but not limited to ethics and human rights, political action, advocacy, and advisory for the Minority Fellowship Program. There are limitless opportunities to work with the ANA towards quality healthcare for everyone.

2. Medscape
Create an account…it is free! Medscape provides many valuable resources to nurses on various specialties and topics involving medications, diseases and conditions, and procedures. “Fast Five” quizzes, “Solve the Case” case challenges, drug updates from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), weekly newsletters by specialty, and free continuing education (CE) credits are some of the many evidence-based resources at your disposal. Medscape is a sure way to keep your mind fresh and up-to-date with evidence-based research and practices in your specialty. There is also an app that you can download to your phone that comes in handy when looking for information. One tip regarding the quizzes: do them. It is only five questions. Initially, I would avoid the five-question quiz if I felt that the topic did not pertain to me, however, in home healthcare, I am liable to see any medical condition, especially with IPI’s medically complex, ventilator-dependent patients.

Continuing education (CE) units are necessary tools to ensure quality patient care delivery and, of course, maintain licensure. There are many websites that provide credible CE courses. Nurse CEU has over 40 free online CE units that can be taken at your convenience.

4. Lippincott Nursing Center
Created by nurses, this website is free to join and provides access to over 40 peer-reviewed nursing journals such as the American Journal of Nursing, Home Healthcare Now, and Nursing Management. Here you can receive free eNewsletters tailored to your interests, patient education materials, tools to advance your nursing career and more.

5. Friends in various fields of nursing
Being a nurse is a busy life and it can be quite difficult to take the initiative to grow professionally and stay abreast on current trends in healthcare.  Keeping in contact with previous classmates or nurses in another field can be motivating and encouraging as they share their journey and updates as a nurse. All it takes is one impactful conversation to guide someone towards the road to making positive influences – personally and professionally – in healthcare.

ANA’s 2016 theme “Culture of Safety” discusses topics that affect patient outcomes, including the following: fatigue and patient handling, emerging infections, hospice and palliative care, mental health, and more. To me, a culture of safety and being the best advocate for your patient involves staying informed. There is too much knowledge in this world to not use it for the benefit of humanity. Nurses who are well-educated and trained are able to recognize the best methods of care delivery and incorporate high standards into practice. Knowledge is power!

Seeing recent nursing grads (including myself) as our future innovators, influencers, and change agents in healthcare, drives us to maintain a science-enthusiast mentality. I love being a nurse and the endless possibilities that come with the profession!


Show your nursing pride with a State of Illinois “Nurses Save Lives” license plate!
ANA-Illinois are asking nurses to reserve a specialty license plate. 1,500 reservations are needed before the Secretary of State begins to create them. There is one week left and reservations are still needed or the option to have nursing specialty plates or the opportunity will cease. Click here to reserve yours today!

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