Archive for September, 2009

PULSE: Editor’s Notes

By Laura Raines, Pulse editor, pulseeditor@ajc.com

Nurses have always had a starring role in health care. Television, it seems, has finally caught on. Three new TV series feature nurses as leading characters — “Nurse Jackie,” “HawthoRNe” and “Mercy.”

Pulse editor Laura Raines

Pulse editor Laura Raines

Reaction has been mixed about how these fictional nurses affect the image of the profession. Immediately after the premiere of Showtime’s drug-addicted, philandering and ethically challenged nurse, Jackie Peyton, the American Nurses Association issued a statement of disapproval, asking nurses to complain to the cable network.

“ANA’s concern is that negative images such as those on ‘Nurse Jackie’ erode the highly valued trust of patients who rely on the expertise of nurses in health care situations,” said ANA president Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR. “These harmful images also play a role in shaping the values, impressions and ultimately the career choice of young people, and may very well …

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PULSE: Why I Love My Job: Karen Petersen-Pugmire, APRN, CCRN, CNRN

Job: Trauma nurse practitioner, Atlanta Medical Center

Karen Petersen-Pugmire

Karen Petersen-Pugmire is a trauma nurse practitioner at Atlanta Medical Center. Photo by Barry Williams, for the AJC.

What I do: “I take care of all the trauma patients admitted to the floor. We get everything from gunshot wounds to car accidents.

“I round daily with the attending physicians, looking at the whole spectrum of patient care, ordering tests, managing pain and educating patients and staff. I’m the liaison between patients and their families, and doctors and nurses.”

What got me interested in this: “Out of nursing school, I worked for six months on the [neurology] floor; then went into ICU for 15 years before becoming a trauma nurse practitioner.

“I like the fast pace and challenge of very sick patients, who usually have multiple orthopedic injuries and other issues. I want to fix it, whatever it is.”

Best part of the job: “I love knowing that I make a difference in my patients’ …

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PULSE: Caring meets controversy

By Laura Raines, Pulse editor

When Cindy Balkstra thinks of nurses portrayed on television, she fondly remembers a show from her childhood.

” ‘Julia’ [played by Diahann Carroll in 1968] was a black single mother and a nurse. She got into some funny predicaments, but she was very professional. I still remember her putting on her nurse’s cape and going off to work,” said Balkstra, MS, RN, CNS-BC, Georgia Nurses Association president.

“I always wanted to be a nurse growing up, and that show was probably a positive influence on me.”

Balkstra can’t say the same about Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and TNT’s “HawthoRNe,” two new shows with controversial nurses as leading characters. She’s hoping that NBC’s “Mercy” — which debuted Sept. 23 — is more realistic and positive.

“Part of me says, ‘Wow, three shows about nurses doing nurses work in one season,’ but mostly I’m saddened by the fictional portrayal,” Balkstra said. “This could have been a great opportunity to promote the …

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If you have to be the one with the axe, be professional

BlogBreak contributor and e-resume.net vice president Chandra Fox gives advice on those who are in the unfortunate but necessary position of terminating someone else’s employment:

1. Be empathetic but not emotional – Now is not the time to be scripted or tear up yourself because you know the person you are terminating is going through other hard times too.

2. Stick with the facts – Do not get off the subject of why the company is firing people and what a great time you had on your last destination sales meeting together. Stay focused.

3. Make sure you have a witness in the termination – It is always a good idea to have a witness in a high pressure situation that can go a million directions. Protect yourself.

4. Document the termination in writing – Immediately write down the events that occurred surrounding the termination. It will be fresh in your mind and you can give the best recall right away.

5. Be sure to leave on a positive note – No matter what unfolds …

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Franchises make sense in this economy

Laura Raines, for the AJC

With the unemployment rate rising, corporate hiring stalled and 12,000 soldiers returning from Iraq, “it’s ugly out there in the job market,” sums up Rick Bowman, founder of Imprint in Time, LLC, a hands-on marketing and advertising business in Jasper.

Dora Gardo and Dora Gardo bought the franchise Imprint in Time in Jasper, Ga. The company specializes in computer signage, printing, trophy making, reprographics, etc. Photo by Leita Cowart, for the AJC.

Dora Gardo bought the franchise Imprint in Time in Jasper, Ga. The company specializes in computer signage, printing, trophy making, reprographics, etc. Photo by Leita Cowart, for the AJC.

After retiring from corporate life, he and his wife, Brenda, founded the company in 2005. It provides signage, imprinted garments, graphic services, engraving, blueprints and more. “It totally surprised us, how well the business did. Pickens County only has about 30,000 residents,” Bowman said.

“Providing everything under one roof turned out to be a very strong business model; when one part of the business slows down, another picks up. If we could be successful here, we figured someone could really …

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Good body language sends the right message

I recently enjoyed a few minutes with a local newscast discussing a topic that has been confounding job seekers for years: body language in the interview.

To prepare, I hit the Web and found 52,900,000 entries on the subject. That’s 52 million. Let’s just say I was scanning rather than reading by the end of my research.

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

So what did I learn? That a lot of the opinions on this subject sound like hooey to me. Here are a few:

● Using your left hand to touch your face means you’re lying.
● Touching your face at all means you’re lying.
● Crossing your leg by putting an ankle over the other knee means you’re stubborn.
● Rubbing your neck means you’re bored.
● Wherever your knees or shoes point is where your interest lies — so shoes aimed at the door indicate you wish you could leave.

Was it Freud who said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”? He meant that not everything is fraught with meaning, and I’d say that …

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Working Strategies: Networking potholes you should sidestep

This column idea comes from a workshop participant (thanks, Mike!) who asked for the most common networking mistakes made by job seekers. Here is my list of common mistakes and their remedies.

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Mistake 1: Not having a strategy in mind before beginning. If you got up one day and started calling people, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re running without a strategy. The problem? You’ll soon run out of contacts and things to say — then what?

Mistake 2: Confusing the tool for the strategy. LinkedIn and Twitter are not strategies; rather, they are two of the many tools you can use to conduct your networking.

Mistake 3: Relying too much on an inner circle of friends and family. They tend to know the same people you do. You need to push yourself to reach beyond this tight circle.

Mistake 4: Treating all contacts equally. If your approach to each person is the same, you have not stopped to identify the various needs you have in your …

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Atlanta is friendly to entrepreneurs

By Laura Raines, for the AJC

Soraya Rouchdi wasn’t about to let a recession stall her 3-year-old dream to open a preschool that focuses on multilingual learning this year. She launched the Little Da Vinci International School in August with 28 students, seven above her projected target.

Little Da Vinci Internatonal School founder and president Soraya Rouchdi

Little Da Vinci Internatonal School founder and president Soraya Rouchdi (right) sits with pre-schooler Rafael Bashi who is French Canadian, in one of the classrooms at the school in Buckhead. Photo by Leita Cowart, for the AJC.

“Some people thought I was crazy, but if we cross our hands and don’t do anything, we are miserable. We know there are risks, but we thought the timing was right,” Rouchdi said.

She’s an entrepreneur who has done her homework, knows her market, and has taken full advantage of Atlanta’s friendly small-business climate.

“Atlanta is a good location for this school because of its growing international population,” she said. “I’ve also seen that people …

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16 tips for surviving in job you’re stuck with

Don’t look now, but here comes Labor Day. If you’re not off doing something fun, you’re probably racing around getting the kids ready for school, or scanning the ads for new jobs. Sadly, for the unemployed, Labor Day doesn’t mean a break from working, but more of the same in terms of job search efforts.

If you already have a job, you might be feeling that combination of relief and despair that employed people experience during a recession. Relief that you have an income, of course, but also despair that you’ll be stuck with this job forever. High unemployment rates have a way of keeping people from voluntarily leaving jobs, even if they can afford to skip a few paychecks.

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

The result? Even people who like their jobs can feel trapped, while those who dislike their jobs are positively miserable.

Here are some tips for “making do with the job you have,” gleaned from my own experience and from my job search clients over the years. …

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Workers learn to roll with the punches

Jean Delano, Denis Buttimer, Allison Gilmore and Elisabeth Beasley

l-r-Jean Delano, Denis Buttimer, Allison Gilmore and Elisabeth Beasley all take part in a group improv exercise at Piedmont Hospital. Allison and Elizabeth are the Du More Improv team and teach improv skills to groups and companies to build leadership skills and teamwork. Dennis is a counselor and coach with Piedmont Hospital. Photo by Leita Cowart, for the AJC.

Laura Raines, for the AJC

Theoretically, American businesses run on a plan. There’s a budget, a mission statement, a sales strategy and a corporate structure with leaders and workers. It looks good on paper.

But what happens when the main plant goes down, the leading client leaves, the company merges with another, departments get realigned and jobs get cut? You improvise.

“Life and business are a lot like improv theater. You don’t get a script. A lot of what happens is unplanned, and it helps if you have the skills to make the most of it,” said Allison Gilmore, director of the Ph.D. in Business Program at the …

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