Nursing Career News

A study done by the U.S. Bureau of Health Professions indicates that by 2020, the U.S. nursing shortage will grow to more than 800,000 registered nurses. How can we put a serious dent in stemming this dangerous tide unless nurses take an active role in seeking possible solutions to the problem? This blog will attempt to openly discuss and address major issues confronting the nursing profession, health care issues, and nursing education.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Changing Face of Nursing

Forget the stereotypical nurses dressed in all white, catering to doctors' every request. Today's nurses are leaders, technology gurus, and patient care managers, thanks to LPN to BSN (Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs that prepare them for professional success. Karen Daley, RN, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU, Danbury, CT), can attest to this. "My graduates are assertive, innovative, and have the ability to make science-based independent care decisions."

In fact, by teaching medical surgical nursing, nursing practicums, as well as leadership and management over the past few years, Daley has noticed a significant change in curriculum. "We moved away from teaching a medical model [memorizing diseases and treatments]. Now, we emphasize conceptual nursing so students can problem-solve and think critically in any situation," she says. "We encourage independent thinking, assertive communication, and professionalism."

Debra Lajoie, MSN, assistant professor of nursing at WCSU, concurs that today's nurses assume an increasingly professional role, and by doing so, become the "glue that holds the health care system together." She emphasizes that in addition to having strong assessment skills and a strong theoretical base, nurses need to be experts in technology-, informatics-, and evidence-based practice. "Nurses look at the patient holistically and manage interdisciplinary care. We truly see the whole picture."

It's no surprise then that these intellectual nurses comprise more than half of all health professionals. In fact, they're the largest single component of hospital staff, the primary providers of hospital patient care, and they deliver most of the nation's long-term care.

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The Changing Face of Nursing

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