Barbara Ficarra, RN


Sharecare editorial and advisory board member, health educator, Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA, is an award-winning broadcast journalist, a featured writer for The Huffington Post and contributor to Dr. Oz. She has been featured in Real Simple Magazine, TED Blog, HIMSS and Latin Trends Magazine, to name a few. Barbara is a health and lifestyle expert, and HEALTH DESIGNER™. She is the founder of, a lifestyle destination site that helps people live a happier, bolder, healthier and more stylish life. Barbara explores the intersection of design, health, tech, art and travel. "Design Your Healthy and Happy Life." Barbara also explores the relationship between interior design-the home and healthy living. Living well and taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be a complete overhaul; simple actions can have a big impact – you don’t have to change everything--Barbara shows people how small tweaks will do the trick. She helps design ways to help people live healthier lives and empowers people to design their own healthy lifestyles. She is also the founder of, which offers health news and advice from a nurse’s perspective.

Barbara is an international speaker. She presents on the latest trends in health and health care issues focusing on professional development, healthy living and wellness, patient and consumer engagement and empowerment, social media, digital technology, including mhealth-mobile health, health apps, gasification, telemedicine, telehealth, leveraging her experience as former Senior Director of Clinical Affairs at Numera. She has presented at the Cleveland Clinic, Scripps, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, HIMSS So Ca, and HIMSS Arkansas, PIAA in Amsterdam, Ivey Global Health Care Conference in Canada, Cayman Islands Health Care Conference, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, e-Patient Connections Conference, Novartis, and BlogHer to name a few. She is on the front lines of health care as a registered nurse at a university trauma medical center and she is a leading voice in health offering practical advice focusing on healthy living, wellness, patient engagement and empowerment, health care social media, health IT, digital technology, (mHealth-mobile health, gamification, telemedicine), and doctor|nurse team. She is on the advisory board at the University of San Francisco for the Master of Science in Health Informatics.

Barbara began her broadcasting career in radio as creator, host and executive producer of the award-winning Health in 30® radio show, which brought listeners the latest health information and featured renowned health and wellness guest experts.

Barbara is a contributor to many health sites, is frequently quoted and featured by numerous media outlets, and her TV appearances include: FOX News, NBC, ABC, CBS, FIOS, and WMCN. Barbara contributes to radio at Working Mom Magazine Radio, Greater Media Radio, Health, Wealth and Wisdom Radio, Cayman Islands Radio News, to name a few. You can watch her on YouTube (Barbara Ficarra) where some of her TV appearances are housed. She is also in Sharecare's Health Smarts videos, in which she delivers her trademark brand of advice: simple, practical and trustworthy tips to help people take charge of their health and feel their best.

Barbara received a Broadcast Journalism Award of Excellence for Health in 30® from the American College of Emergency Physicians. The winning program, “Ins and Outs of the ER,” explained what patients should expect in the ER and explored the challenges created by crowding. In 2011, was voted Best Health Blog by Healthline.

Barbara was a board member for the former National Association of Medical Communicators and served on the Academy of Judges for the International Health and Medical Media Awards. She was invited by Microsoft to judge a series of innovative technology entries for the Imagine Cup 2012. She served as faculty for the American Medical Association’s Medical Communications Conferences, has taught classes in media broadcasting, and is a team member for one of TEDMED’s 20 Great Challenges, Improving Medical Communication.

Currently she is president of Barbara Ficarra Productions, LLC, and she is a consultant, mentor, moderator on panels and webinars, writer and TV and Radio personality. She is also an administrative supervisor at a large university medical center, where she covers multiple medical and surgical units, critical care, oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, the psychiatric unit, women’s and children’s services and the emergency trauma department. She always encourages patients and their families to be proactive and take charge of their health.

Currently, her professional affiliations include the Association of Health Care Journalists, Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, Advisory Board at the University of San Francisco and Sharecare. For more info, please go to


  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    Why is it important to get enough sleep?

    Sleep is vital for your health and well-being: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls insufficent sleep a public health epidemic. According to research, 50 to 70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorders.

    Sleep helps your brain work properly. If you’re not getting...Read More
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  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How is positive thinking good for my health?

    Positive thinking -- generally approaching life, and even unpleasantness, with an upbeat, productive attitude -- can be as important to your health as getting enough sleep, eating right and being active. The health benefits of positive thinking may include:
    • increased life span
    • lower rates of d
    ...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    Is losing weight an alternative to knee surgery?

    If you are overweight, losing weight is a good step. Weight loss can help reduce pain and make it easier for you to do daily activities, including walking. If your osteoarthritis continues to cause you pain, and you’ve exhausted all other options, knee surgery may be necessary. It’s very important that...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    Why should I surround myself with happy people?

    One path to happiness involves surrounding yourself with optimistic and happy people. Surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you, support you and are good listeners will fan your fire. Think about picking people to spend time with who make you laugh and smile.

    This content originally...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How can I protect myself from germs in the hospital?

    The number one way to stop the spread of germs is through proper hand washing.  Don’t assume that your doctor, nurse or any other member of the health care team that comes in contact with you has just washed their hands.  It is acceptable to ask them.  Similarly, make sure your visitors also wash...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    What should I bring to a doctor's visit?

    Before you visit with your doctor, write down any questions you may have. By being prepared and organized, you will be able to communicate effectively with your doctor. Some general questions you may want to ask your doctor are:
    • What are the causes of my symptoms?
    • Will the symptoms go away? 
    ...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    What should I tell the nurse when I get to the ER?

    When you get to the ER, you should tell the nurse the specific reason that you are there - and be honest!  This is called a ‘chief complaint’.  Let the nurse know what symptoms you have, when they began, and what may have affected them.
    The first nurse you will see is called a triage nurse.  The...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    What should I carry in case I have a medical emergency?

    In case of a medical emergency, it is a good idea to have your insurance card with you, plus an updated personal medical history and medication form.  This form should include:
    - A list of the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including the name of the medication; the dosage,...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How can I avoid feeling rushed in the doctor's office?

    You can avoid feeling rushed in the doctor’s office by being prepared, and by communicating clearly with your doctor.  Most doctors will welcome patients who are active in their health care. A doctor’s time is limited: the average office visit is estimated to last 15 minutes.   If you are prepared, you...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How can I lower my risk of getting the wrong medication?

    You can reduce your risk of getting the wrong medication by being engaged in your health care, and by being an active and empowered patient.  It is very important that you:
    • Understand your medications, their potential side effects, and whether they will interfere with any other medications or s
    ...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How can I get the absolute best treatment from a hospital staff?

    You can get the absolute best treatment from a hospital staff by being a respectful, polite, and assertive patient.  Communicate thoughtfully and respectfully with staff.  Speaking up and communicating needs to be continuous. Partner with your health care team.  Listen as they speak and formulate any...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    How can I reduce the risk of death due to medical error?

    It is estimated that nearly 100,000 people die each year due to medical errors. There are some steps that you can take to help prevent these errors. It is important for you to be an empowered patient, becoming engaged in your health care with your practitioners. It is also important that you comm...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    Why should I have a healthcare advocate?

    Whether you’re visiting your doctor or you’re a patient in the hospital, having a health care advocate (or patient advocate) with you is a great idea.  Let’s face, visiting your doctor or being a patient in a hospital can be very scary and overwhelming.  Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate. ...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing

    What should I ask my doctor during every appointment?

    There are specific questions you should ask your doctor, however before you even visit your doctor, make sure you write your questions down in a notebook.  By writing down your questions in advance you won’t leave without the answers you need.
    Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:
    • What l
    ...Read More
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN - ,  - Nursing
    Barbara Ficarra, RN has posted a blog entry:
    "The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy." These are heartfelt words by award-winning actress Meryl Streep.

    Do we all have...Full Post