The NursingCenter.com's Consultant Clinical Editor, Lisa Morris Bonsall on Pursuing Nursing
BestNursingDegree.com interviews Lisa Morris Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP, a consultant clinical editor for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer Health business. Lisa is the clinical editor for Lippincott's NursingCenter.com and the online editor for the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association. She also clinically edits manuscripts for Nursing2011 and Nursing2011 Critical Care, as well as Nursing2011 Drug Handbook.
NursingCenter.com is a premier, online destination created for nurses, by nurses, to support clinical and professional nursing needs. The site provides access to important nursing literature from more than 50 titles published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, offers over 1,100 continuing education activities, including a CE planning tool, drug news and updates, access to thousands of free, peer-reviewed articles and e-newsletters, exclusive clinical and professional resources developed based on nurse's feedback and more.
Q: What is your current position?
I'm a consultant clinical editor for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Q: What is your background in nursing?
I was a clinical care RN for seven years. It took about three years for me to go back to school to get my master's degree in women's health. After I graduated, I saw an ad in a local nursing journal for a clinical editor. I didn't really know what that was, so I investigated a little further and was interested.
Q: What is the NursingCenter.com?
NursingCenter.com is a website that is a centralized location for all of Lipincott's nursing products. We have more than 50 journals on our site. Students and new nurses have access to those journals. A lot of the content is free. We also organize the content, which makes it easier to find what you're looking for. For example, if a new nurse is learning about asthma or a student is studying heart failure they can come and find information from all of our resources.
Q: What should students ask themselves if they're considering nursing school?
Before deciding to become a nurse you need to ask yourself where you see yourself in the future, what you want to be doing in five or 10 years. Why are you interested in nursing? What do you think nursing can do for you? What do you think you can do as a nurse? What are your goals?
Also, evaluate how nursing will fit in with other goals you have. When you do consider a career in nursing, you have to have an idea of what kind of practice you want to be in and what kinds of patients you want to see - that's not to say it won't change. In my experience, I always thought that I would do pediatrics. Yet, when I started my clinical rotation, I realized it was not for me at all. Then, I went to critical care, women's health, and publishing.
Q: What should students look for in a nursing program?
It is important to find a program that is a good fit for you. The most important thing would be [to have] strong clinical sites and strong faculty because you're going to spend a lot of time in clinical and you want to be prepared for the real world of nursing. You want to get the experience under your belt and actually do procedures, spend a lot of time with patients, and work on your communication skills. You want great teachers to help you along the way as well.
Q: Why should nurses consider pursuing advanced nursing degrees?
The more education you have, the more marketable you are. Advanced practice nurses are going to be playing an even bigger role in primary care as health care reform unfolds.
Q: What are some of the reasons to pursue a nursing degree right now?
Some students and new nurses are having a hard time finding jobs right now, but a big proportion of nurses are nearing retirement. So, I don't think that's going to be the case for very long. Also, there is so much you can do with nursing. My job is a prime example of that. If you want to go into research or education or publishing, there are a lot of opportunities.
Q: What are some of the challenges new nurses will face?
One challenge out there is reality shock. When you start out as a new nurse, it's good to prepare for [that shock]. Horizontal violence* [also exists]. There has been a lot written about that [subject] lately and many of us have experienced it. You need to be prepared. There is a lot to be said for being a team player and offering help to other nurses. If you offer help to other people and smile, you will [hopefully] encourage other [nurses] to do the same.
Q: What advice do you have for those making the switch into nursing from a different career?
I think that nursing is such an all-encompassing profession that any past experience that you have will add to your value as a nurse. At the same time, I think you need to be open to receiving input from other people. That mutual sharing of experience and information is very important.
Q: How has nursing changed in the last few years?
The technology available now is amazing. Things that were cutting edge 10 years ago are now the norm. Also, the number of nurses in leadership positions and in research, making a difference and bringing forward evidence-based practice is amazing. In addition, the requests for magnet designation* by hospitals have made a big impact in nursing.
Q: What do you see for the future of nursing?
I am really optimistic about nursing's future. The changes of health care reform are going to open up a lot of doors, especially for advanced practice nurses. The Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing Report talks about changes to education requirements [for nurses] - we have the potential to improve our professional image.
Q: Any other advice for aspiring nurses?
If you're thinking about a career in nursing, go for it - something is sparking that interest in you. Get your family and friends on board to support you on your journey. Talk to other nurses, and seek out learning experiences.
If you're a new nurse, keep your chin up and be a patient advocate. Advocate for yourself, and turn to your colleagues for support when you need it. Chances are that if you've had a bad day or a rough experience, many [nurses] have been through the same thing. Lean on each other, and good luck!
*Horizontal violence is hostile and aggressive behaviour by individual or group members toward another member or groups of members of the larger group. (Duffy 1995)
*Magnet Designation is provided by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to hospitals that have met a set list of stringent nursing practice and patient care requirements.