Recent media coverage has brought great attention to the role of nurses in our society. At the Miss America pageant held recently, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson chose to perform a monologue about being a nurse in her talent segment. Joy Behar, host of the variety show “The View,” questioned the stethoscope around Johnson’s neck, a comment which quickly erupted in a social media storm in defense of nurses, which then spurred the #NursesUnite trending topic.
Every month in our ‘Nursing Blog of the Month’ feature, we will introduce a nursing-related blog that we enjoy reading and know you will too. We also hope that this series can help promote greater awareness, especially to those who work outside of the healthcare field, about the critical role nurses play.
This month’s blogger of the month is Gail Ingram. Gail is the founder of NurseGail.com but the website is not about her. The site, which started as Gail’s nursing business blog (which explains the name), has evolved into something much more exciting.
It is now the first health and wellness website authored solely by nurses and strives to correct misconceptions promoted by mainstream media, report the latest scientific research, and provide expert nursing opinion. NurseGail.com empowers nurses to take their health promotion to the next level and provides readers with accurate and reliable health information.
Tell us about your background. What led you to nursing and how long have you been a nurse?
Nursing was ingrained in me from childhood. Growing up, my sick grandmother and I took care of each other. But after high school, I travelled the world and worked in fashion and media production before my nursing career. It is the media experience combined with my BSN from UT Austin and my MS from NYU that made the growth of NurseGail.com possible.
As a registered nurse of ten years, I did everything from critical care to home care. I thought I might teach nursing someday so I set out on a mission to try many different specialties. I was a travel and contract nurse for over 6 years which provided opportunities for unique experiences. Working in different areas gave me a leg up in graduate school and helps me to publish a wide variety of topics on NurseGail.com.
While at NYU, I saw that the campus health center was struggling to reach students in a meaningful way so I pitched a health column to the popular student blog, NYULocal.com. They took a chance on me and my column developed a surprisingly large readership. I won a prestigious peer-nominated President’s Service Award for my efforts and it gave me the boost to expand NurseGail.com.
When I’m not working on the website, I’m a primary care adult nurse practitioner making house calls in Manhattan. I love what I do and I highly recommend that any nurse considering advanced education get started ASAP. I wish I hadn’t waited a decade to do it. But then again, I had to cross everything off my RN bucket list and that took some time.
What inspired you to start blogging?
In 2010, I started a concierge nursing service in Manhattan and along with it, I created a blog to communicate with clients and their families. The blog took on a life of its own and, while in grad school, my goals for the site expanded. I saw how it could reach a much wider audience with evidence-based health information, showcase the nursing profession, and become a leadership tool for nurses.
My Facebook feed gives me daily inspiration when I see “friends” sharing inaccurate health information from millennial fashion bloggers and self-proclaimed wellness “experts”. I am motivated to engage nurses (the REAL health experts) in the e-health conversation.
Has anything surprised you about starting a blog?
If it is done right, starting a blog is time-consuming and becomes a barrier to sustainability and longevity for many potential nurse writers. That is why we provide, maintain, and promote the collaborative online platform. Nurses can focus on the writing; we take care of the rest.
Also, there is a learning curve when writing, especially for nurses. Nurses are taught how to chart on patients which is very different from a writing style that is buzz worthy and gets a lot of hits. We have a media advisor who created a formula for us, we have a well-established mission, and we have editors who work closely with nurses to help cultivate their voice. All of these things combine to improve quality and shorten the trial and error period for new writers.
What can our readers expect to find on your blog? And is there anything they can get involved with?
Most nursing blogs target other nurses with nursing perspectives or nursing career advice. We are doing something very different. We don’t turn our knowledge inward, redirecting it back into the profession. Instead, we are showing the public what nurses know and do.
Without exposure to nurses, healthy young and middle-aged adults (who have never been hospitalized) have no idea what role nurses play in healthcare so they rely on stereotypes. These misconceptions prevent growth of the profession and minimize the education, experience, and hard work of nurses. The public will take a new interest in nursing and abandon old stereotypes when they find person value in us as health experts. It isn’t enough to simply tell them how great we are—they need to see it for themselves.
At NurseGail.com we show people how smart and capable nurses are by having nurses provide readers with information about current health issues. By doing this, the public better understands what we do, develops a personal appreciation for nurses, and ultimately the perception of the profession is enhanced. This is in addition to cultivating nursing leadership and making the world a healthier place.
If any nurses are interested in writing with us, they can click on the “Contribute” tab at the top of the main page and send us a note. No writing experience is necessary.
Is there one piece of advice you would give to a nurse at the start of their nursing career?
I encourage all nurses (new or seasoned) to practice at the top of their license. This means being the most effective nurse possible and taking on leadership roles. Though, it is important to keep in mind, this practice may not be rewarded with money.
Unlike other professions, money is not a marker for success in nursing. However, there are a lot of other outside-the-box jobs for nurses in the fields of medical technology, banking, and policymaking that come with a higher paycheck. Regardless of which direction a new nurse goes, it is my hope that they find joy and pride in their work.
Do you have a favorite nursing blog or run a nursing blog yourself? Nominate them or yourself to be featured in the comments below!