Your Mind Is Not a Microwave

So don't treat your clinical education like it is one

I see a number of posts from nurse practitioners requesting quick fixes. Inquiries like "I accepted a new position in neurology - do you know of any quick brush-up courses?" and "I'm trying to learn medical Spanish - does anyone know of any conferences to attend?". While conferences and other short learning experiences certainly have merit, mastering the various aspects of clinical practice takes much more time and involvement than a one-week continuing education bootcamp. 

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The Lucky 7: Classes of Meds for Pain Management

Pain management is basically a dirty word among nurse practitioners and physician assistants today. We shun patients on long-term pain medications and grow weary of requests for "that medicine that I had that one time - it starts with a 'D'...". The opioid problem and our resulting hesitancy to prescribe pain medications has become so bad that a patient comes to see us with something like an acute femur fracture and we pause before prescribing ten tablets of Percocet upon discharge from the hospital. 

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5 Must-Read Pharmacy Blogs for NPs & PAs

The nerd in me really loves pharmacology. The subject pairs my clinical career with my undergrad studies in biology and chemistry. It hits home with my academic and professional interests. Not to mention, as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, we prescribe a lot of medications. Pharmacology is complex leaving us with questions about what and how to prescribe. As part of this month's series on prescribing for pain, I thought it would be a good idea to share some resources that relate to prescribing in general. 

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The First Step to Appropriate Pain Management

I have to admit that I kind of hate talking about pain management. Pain is one of those things that your patients can't show you visibly (at least most of the time). It doesn't show up in lab results. Treatment of pain is based on subjective report. So, as a nurse practitioner it can be difficult for me to make decisions about managing pain for my patients. Then, toss into the mix that our nation is facing an opioid crisis, the fact that I've been duped a few times into writing narcotic prescriptions for addicts and I'm not sure what to do next or where to draw the line. 

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New Series! Approaching Pain Management

From pharmacology to putting your foot down

Raise you hand if you struggle with setting boundaries in treating pain for your patients. Pain management is a huge topic these days for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. As one who has personally broken ribs in the past and felt the relief a Lortab provides and as one who suffered from a nasty case of influenza as a child and was comforted by codeine-containing cough syrup, I understand that opioids have a valid place in medicine. But, as a nurse practitioner practicing amidst an opioid crisis, I also feel immense pressure to stray from prescribing these drugs. 

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Which Patients Actually Need Preventative Low Dose Aspirin?

The answer, simplified.

Keeping up with preventative care guidelines can be pretty confusing. It seems like every professional society related to each specialty publishes their own recommendations. From kidney and liver disease prevention to cardiac and osteoporosis screenings, where do you even begin? One particular preventative measure often recommended by nurse practitioners, taking low dose aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease, is particularly nebulous. 

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Can Essential Oils Interfere With the Prescriptions You're Writing?

When you take a patient’s history, are you asking what essential oils they may be using in addition to any medications they’re taking? Patients are often under the impression that because essential oils are derived from natural, plant-based substances, they’re a safe alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals and pose little to no health risk. As such they may not feel it’s relevant to disclose it to their healthcare provider unless asked. 

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5 Helpful Pocket Orthopedic Guides for Nurse Practitioners

Diagnosing orthopedic symptoms can be tricky. X-rays, for example, don't tell you a lot about tendons and ligaments that are often responsible for joint pain. More advanced testing, like MRI, is costly, and often requires prior authorization from insurance companies leading to a delay in treatment. While there are a number of clinical orthopedic exam maneuvers that indicate the exact type of injury and help lead nurse practitioners to a diagnosis, the specifics of these exam techniques can be difficult to recall on the spot. 

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Now, What Meds Are You Taking Again? Pill Identification Apps

By MidlevelU Intern and BSN in Progress Olivia DeFilippo

Countless times I have peered into my medicine cabinet in search of my allergy medication finding pills that have fallen out of the packaging. "I think that tablet looks like my allergy medicine" I say to myself..."But should I risk it?".

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Orthopedic Decision-Making Made Easy for the Ankle and Knee

Earlier this week, I discussed the concept of clinical prediction rules. Essentially, these rules are tools nurse practitioners can use to simplify and increase the accuracy of clinical decision making. If you've ever used Wells Criteria to rule out a DVT for example, you've used a clinical prediction rule. I frequently take advantage of such algorithms in my own nurse practitioner practice as they lend an added level of confidence to my course of diagnosis and treatment. So, today, let's talk about a few of these guidelines as they relate to orthopedics.

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