Monday, September 9, 2019

Nursing student with a rare disorder featured on the Netflix series "Diagnosis"

In season 1, episode 1 "Detective work", Angel is a 23 year old nursing student who suffers from episodes of muscle pain so severe she often can't move. In order to move forward with her life and begin her nursing career, she needs answers. 

Dr. Lisa Sanders used crowd-sourcing to help Angel find a diagnosis. Angel's story is part of a documentary series based on Dr. Sanders column in the New York Times magazine. Dr. Sanders uses crowd sources to find diagnoses for rare and mysterious conditions.

A fascinating documentary series, this episode sheds light on the determination of a nursing student!

Bravo Angel!!!!



Saturday, August 24, 2019

A nurse with albinism and vision impairment

Ashley and Matt

Matt is a nurse and in a video called, "What we do for a living: Jobs and Careers", he shares candid information about becoming a nurse with albinism and offers some advice for others interested in a career in nursing. Matt has worked in hospitals and now works as a supervisor in home health. A magnifier and pocket organizer are essential for his practice.

Take a look at:

With thanks for all you do.



Sunday, August 4, 2019

Congratulations to the 2019 Scholarship recipients!

Nursing students with a wide range of disabilities are increasing in number every year. Disabilities may include hearing loss, low vision, learning disabilities, limb differences, paralysis, mental illness, autism and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and movement disorders.

Financing an education can be a challenge for some students with disabilities. In addition to routine expenses (tuition, room and board, books, uniforms, transportation), some students may need to purchase an amplified or electronic stethoscope, computer software programs, or audio books—as well as medications, hearing aids, therapies, prostheses, special equipment or custom alterations to uniforms and lab coats. Working a part-time job may not be possible.

Scholarships are available from, a nonprofit resource network for nursing students and nurses with disabilities. The organization provides links to disability-related organizations, technology, equipment, financial aid, employment opportunities, mentors, blogs, continuing education, a speaker’s bureau, legal resources, social media groups, research and related articles.

The organization has been awarding scholarships to nursing students with disabilities since 2003. The awards are based on academic performance, letters of recommendation, financial need and an essay which answers the questions: “How do you plan to contribute to the nursing profession? How will your disability influence your practice as a nurse”? The awards this year were $250.00-$500.00. is honored to announce the winners for 2019!!!
Katlyn Hosa from Boardman, Ohio will be attending the Youngston State University in Ohio. In her essay she stated, "I have made it my life goal to use my "disability" as something to enable me to reach people that others cannot connect with on the same level".

Allison Bartlebaugh from Akron, Ohio is attending Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA. In her essay she wrote, "...I hope to be an advocate for others as a way to increase understanding and reduce fears".

Ronald Pan, R.N. from Cerritos, CA is attending the nurse practitioner program at the University of California, Los Angeles. In his essay he wrote, "I have decided to become an advanced practice nurse to become a health advocate for people with disabilities,. Indeed, I have clarity on my life's purpose..."

Mackenzie Strubhar from Hummelstown, PA is attending Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA. In her essay she recounted, "I am aware of how scary it is to be on the other side of the clipboard and it will be my mission to make sure all my patients are comfortable with me and the care they are receiving."

Danika Peterson from Montesano, WA will be attending Saint Martin's University in Washington. In her essay she stated,"I know how terrifying a diagnosis can be, and how overwhelming it can be as well. Because I have been through this myself, I can bring that understanding into my interactions with patients and their families. I can honestly say, that I know, I understand and I have been where they are." 

Caroline Stevens from Monterey, LA will be attending Louisiana Tech University. Caroline wrote, "I have completed coursework through the Central Louisiana Technical and Community College in Patient Care Technology. Watching patients with cancer fight and struggle is one influence on my career choice.

Abbigale Suprenant from Springfield, IL will be attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Abbigale stated, "Since I have experience with a life-threatening illness, I want to be there to help other children who are going through similar experiences and be the nurse who makes sure all the children are getting the best care possible."

Anna Smith from Normal, IL is attending Illinois State University. "It's time to end the stigma. People with disabilities deserve to be treated with respect and given the chance to prove that they have just as big hearts as nurses without disabilities, and that they can be just as great, or even better, nurses."
                                     Congratulations and best wishes to all!! 

The scholarship awards are funded through donations, small grants and proceeds from book sales of “The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities”, “Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disabilities” , “Nursing students with disabilities change the course” and the coloring book "I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional! To make a donation, please visit

The scholarship application can be downloaded: 

Appreciate your support!

            With thanks, 


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What if I am reported to the Texas Nursing Board and fired? Straight talk from Joe Flores, nurse practitioner and attorney

The Termination
1. You have rights under Texas and Federal Law. Get an employment law consult within 1 week of termination.
2. If you have seen fraud or been asked to document fraudulently, write down details including who said what, where, when, how. Even write down patient names and try to remember room numbers. HIPPA does not apply to the federal and state agencies I will plug you in with.
3. Did your employer violate Medicare/Medicaid rules? Services not rendered? You may not have the power but your lawyer and the government do.
4. Get a Texas Workforce Hearing with your lawyer at your side. It is recorded sworn testimony that can be used for an employment lawsuit later.
****Please note that lawsuits are not easily won-especially in labor law. Often even a small settlement with a positive letter of rehire is a major victory. Losing cases is a reality before they really get going. Fraud, sexual harassment with witnesses and a past pattern are the strongest cases. The EMR "gotcha" write up game is the easiest way a nurse is railroaded and deemed unsafe by employers.

I am general counsel for employers but do not play those games. If there is ethical room, I offer the option to resign and if it is a minor incident found by the peer review committee than no board complaint.
The Board Complaint
 You may receive a Board Complaint especially if fired or a  negative outcome occurred. The law requires reporting of terminated nurses but facilities rarely give due process-- which includes proper peer review under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act. Seldom do facilities follow proper employment or BON rules. 

BON's Standard Policy
"We don't get involved in employment issues"
The Board's position is VERY slowly changing, but for now they don't get involved with employment issues. You can argue this issue but you could risk looking like someone who thinks everyone is always out to get them...and you are innocent. 

The BON wants to hear mitigating circumstances not excuses or finger pointing. The "Ain't Fair Law" if it ever existed, never or seldom if ever works. The Board's job is to make sure a nurse practices safely and if you catch a complain, your job is to convince them you are safe. Very safe. 
The Machines
EMR/MAR the electronic shield vs. sword. Nurses get tarred and feathered all the time by the EMR/MAR game. While others in the same group where you worked may have gotten away with murder, you may have be singled out for complaining justly about poor staffing, danger to patients, abusive supervisors or physicians being bullies, etc. 

You are the problem for whistle blowing? The irony: they are the problem yet you are the danger. Everyone makes documentation and med documentation errors. The EMR in my opinion, not because I am over 40, is a real pain in the A__. It takes away from real patient care by at least 10 percent. What a waste of time and it dehumanizes the nurse/patient relationship. In all fairness, the government first gave a carrot then the stick unless doctors and institutions played ball and used EMR a decade-plus ago. A multi-billion dollar industry is what it is now.  
More about the Board Complaint 
They give you 20 days to not only get over the stress ulcer and near MI that the complaint (which will make you sound like the worst nurse on the planet as you read the allegation(s))gives you, but also the lock starts ticking the date on the document--not when received. Do not get into long winded free-advice seeking conferences with the Board investigator that signed the complaint. I know their boss, Tony Diggs, big Chief Investigator. It will only make your case worse.

What if I do not go and pick up the certified letter? Now is not the time to bury your head in the sand. Pick up the letter from the post office! 
                                                    Now what?
Do not go out and spend thousands on a lawyer who handles car wrecks. You do not go to an OB/GYN or procto for a growth you saw on our shoulder that is asymmetrical, versicolor, over 5 millimeters and irregularly shaped or to a procto for a board complaint! 
Get a Qualified Attorney 
Get a lawyer who is known for nurse board cases (and, NO! This is not a solicitation--I have colleagues I trust that I can refer you to if you cannot decide on someone...but that takes 1-3 hours out of my staff and my day so I do bill administratively for the 40+ requests per week). 
The Smart Move 
Get a consult first. Translation: Ask for an hour or two ($250-$600) before you buy the whole enchilada. You can see if  you are a good fit or not. Well worth it. 

Why should I pay for a consult much less someone to defend me? Want to learn more? Email to receive a free copy of this chapter.  

****Note: The views expressed in this article are solely the opinions of Joe Flores, JD, Family Nurse Practitioner and do not reflect the views of Mr. Flores is not selling anything. This is part of 120 plus hours of work he is doing for the Texas Bar Pro Bono College.  

With thanks for all you do Joe!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!

     For adults and children, this coloring book is a celebration of abilities! Twenty-three nurses are illustrated working in a wide variety of healthcare settings. All of the nurses have visible or invisible disabilities. The nurses (names have been changed) represent real-life nurses in a variety of practice settings. The nurses are members of support groups connected to the non-profit resource network, We hope to inspire future nurses with and without disabilities and encourage nurses who become disabled to continue to practice. A career in nursing is filled with endless possibilities. Proceeds of the coloring book sales support a scholarship program for nursing students with disabilities. 
     Please enjoy coloring these Exceptional Nurses! 



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Think you can't do something? Take a look at Manami Ito, the first nurse in Japan with a prosthetic arm

 Nurse Manami Ito

Violinist Manami Ito

Paralympic swimmer


Much has been written about Manami Ito. She has become an inspiration to so many people! After losing her arm, she went on to finish nursing school and become a winning, Paralympic swimmer, violinist and mother! 

"She lost her right arm in a car accident in 2004, but in the years to follow, this 33-year-old has accomplished more than most of her able-bodied counterparts could ever dream". 

Here are links to stories written about her accomplishments. 

Bravo Manami! 



Thursday, June 13, 2019

How is making NCLEX Test Prep Accessible to Diverse Learners

The NCLEX examination represents the culmination of many years of hard work dedicated to the study of nursing. It is the final obstacle between studying and actually working as a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse. The NCLEX is a challenging, application-based exam, where traditional rote-learning study techniques will likely be minimally effective. Testers with learning difficulties may find preparing for the NCLEX particularly overwhelming – testers like Robert, for example.

Robert is a nursing student with ADHD who finds it challenging to focus on one task for extended periods. This affects his ability to recall specific details and to manage his time effectively. These ADHD-related symptoms have in the past made it difficult for Robert to be successful on standardized tests, and he is concerned that they will also affect his success on the NCLEX. Since the NCLEX is a computer-adaptive test that can last for up to six hours, testers are required to be deliberate in how much time they allot to each question. For testers like Robert, it can be frustrating to prepare independently for such an exam, particularly when many test preparation resources do not account for testers with learning difficulties.

This doesn’t mean that students like Robert can’t be successful on the NCLEX, or that preparing for the NCLEX has to be an exercise in frustration. There are resources that can help students with learning difficulties; the extremely comprehensive NCLEX preparation resource developed by is one such example. The NCLEX resource is much more than just a practice test – it’s really more of a practice hub, designed with all variety of learners in mind.

To begin with, both the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN study guides are more than just topic outlines and key word definitions. In fact, each guide is a fully-developed curriculum that supports each of the concepts tested on the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams. The guides are broken down into distinct chapters, each centered on a different aspect of nursing. Within each chapter are video lessons that elaborate on the principal ideas relative to each chapter’s theme, flash cards for reviewing key terms, and quizzes and practice tests.

For test takers with learning difficulties, particularly those that affect executive functions like attention, memory, and organization, this compartmentalized approach makes preparing for the NCLEX much more manageable. All lessons are marked with a timestamp, so testers can organize their study time before even beginning a study session. The videos are close-captioned and can be sped up or slowed down to better suit the needs of each learner; this feature is particularly useful for testers who face challenges with reading or with auditory processing, as it allows the viewer to simultaneously read and hear the information. There are also well-organized written transcripts for the video lessons available just under the video player.

When it comes to preparing for the exam itself,’s NCLEX resources help establish a strong foundation of knowledge by including quizzes within each lesson. The lesson quizzes are comprised of 30 multiple choice questions, with the ability to skip and come back to certain questions as necessary. There is a timer embedded on the quiz page, to provide learners like Robert a visual reminder that can help them regain focus and manage their time efficiently. That each quiz targets only one major concept at a time is also an effective way to target students’ attention and boost recall, which can be areas of difficulty for students who face learning challenges.

Finally, each NCLEX preparation guide offers a 50-question cumulative practice test. The practice test covers all topics previously addressed during the course and, like the shorter lesson quizzes, comes equipped with a timer. Wrong answers receive a detailed video explanation to clear up misunderstandings, and a link back to the lesson where the topic was initially covered for further review of potentially tricky material.

Of course, the NCLEX preparation guides are not just for test takers with learning difficulties. However, they are unique in that they account for the needs of an increasingly diverse candidate pool and ensure that all aspiring nurses go into the NCLEX as prepared and equipped for success as possible.  

Visit for more information



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