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, April 21, 2006

How prepared are nurses for terrorism?

The global threat of bioterrorism is here and it is serious. "It is a prospect so terrifying that the very thought of it can rob our world leaders of their sleep" states Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH, former Minnesota State Epidemiologist and internationally recognized leader in the area of infectious diseases (Osterholm & Schwartz, 2000, p. xvii). Domestic episodes that we've already seen such as the biological agent exposure of B. Anthracis has renewed concern for the tremendous effects that such exposures can have on our nation's health care system.

A bioterrorist attack may be initially difficult to identify. Unlike conventional weapons of mass destruction, explosives, an atomic bomb or chemical releases, the unique effects of biological agents could go undetected for days. Only when individuals present themselves to health care providers in emergency rooms and ambulatory clinics with symptoms would any evidence of the attack appear, and even then the initial symptoms might not be recognized and accurately diagnosed.
The registered nurse performing triage often will be the first health care professional a symptomatic victim will encounter when arriving in the emergency room or ambulatory clinic. Therefore, early detection and response by this first-line responder is imperative. As potential first-line responders, all registered nurses must know what to do in such situations because our decisions can have dire consequences on the survival of the RN and her coworkers as well as on greater health care system and on the public's health.

The threat is very real. Nurses and other healthcare professionals who actually think they don't need to know anything about the medical management of nuclear, chemical or biological casualties are self delusional, and in this case, self delusion can only lead to their own death as well as the deaths of countless others through ignorance.

Just how many nurses and healthcare workers are receiving any sort of education to help them survive and deal with the very real possibility of exposure to biological or chemical agents? Please raise your hands!

Nurses and other healthcare professionals might care to begin learning here: Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Resources for Healthcare Professionals


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nursing Continuing Education For the 21st Century

Nursing Continuing Education For the 21st Century
By Sara Ellis

One need only to scan a newspaper or read a weekly magazine to be astounded by the number of stories about new medical breakthroughs, disease processes, emerging threats of disease, or innovations in medical and health care technology. The World Health Organization warns us to prepare for a potential worldwide Bird Flu epidemic, terrorists threaten us with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and new protocols for ACLS are released. How is a working nurse to keep up?

Nursing education provides the basic building blocks of medical, scientific, and nursing knowledge, but competence in the nursing profession requires an ongoing process of continuing education. Continuing education for nurses is necessary for the nurse to remain up to date with the latest practice issues and it is necessary for patients safety as well. Some states have made continuing education for nurses mandatory and require a certain number of course credit hours be attained before license renewal, or require certain mandatory course subjects, while other states... leave it to the nursing professional themselves to accept a personal responsibility for their own continued learning. Regardless of whether nursing continuing education, or Nursing CEUS as such programs are commonly referred to, are mandatory in ones state or not, all nurses who describe themselves as professionals need to be willing and ready to implement change in their own practice by realizing that competence in any profession requires periodic updating.

Methods of obtaining nursing continuing education hours and the pros and cons of each:

1. Professional Journals: Most professional nursing journals offer an article for continuing education credit. Some offer a partial credit hour or one credit hour to readers who fill out a post test after reading the article and mail it in. While some journals offer the credit for free, others charge $10 or more and in addition to the inconvenience of needing to tear out a post test form and mail it in the nurse has no official record of having taken and passed the course. Obtaining continuing education hours through professional journals is costly and inefficient in that the cost of the journal itself must be taken into consideration along with the cost of the course if there is one, and the time and expense of mailing in addition to the lack of official record of completion and lack of central maintenance of all credits accumulated by the nurse. Additionally, nurses who rely on professional journals for their CEU hours are typically only exposed to courses related to their own specialty rather than a broader range of topics that they actually need to be exposed to in todays ever evolving health care climate.

2. Seminars: Professional development programs and seminars that offer accredited continuing education hours for nurses are frequently offered at various locations in every state, in some foreign countries, and even on cruises. Employers frequently pay the registration fees for nurses to attend local seminars of short duration such as one day, but nurses still have to sacrifice their precious day off to attend them or lose time from work to do so. In addition nurses who attend seminars away from home have to pay their own travel expenses, hotel bills, and costs of meals. Needless to say cruises and foreign travel are an appealing avenue, but obtaining one's continuing education by that method is not something every working nurse can afford to do.

3. Online Nursing CEUS: The internet provides nurses access to extremely affordable and high quality accredited continuing education courses covering a plethora of professional nursing topics. Online nursing ceu courses are the gateway to nursing continuing education for the 21st century! Nurses who take advantage of online ceu courses are not restricted by geographical barriers, financial hardships, or the inconvenience of taking time from work or family in order to attend courses.

Online nursing continuing education courses are readily available for both mandatory state required subjects, courses in ones own nursing specialty, and courses that all nurses regardless of practice specialty need to be familiarized with so nurses have access to a much broader choice of subject matters than they ever had before when restricted primarily to journals or seminars.

In addition to those benefits, substantial as they are, online nursing ceu courses are inexpensive, up to date with changing trends, can be taken from the comfort of ones own home, generally allow nurses who take them to keep an official record of courses completed and credit hours earned online with the course provider, and allow nurses who complete a course to print the course certificate immediately upon completion.

In order to stay professional and to safeguard the wellbeing of the public nurses need to continue their education over the course of their career through a variety of means including taking continuing education courses. The most convenient and most cost effective method of nursing continuing education is by taking online Nursing CE courses. Online nursing continuing education courses are readily available, flexible, offer online tracking, and provide nurses with the broad scope of subjects they need to familiarize themselves with in order to keep up to date in today's ever changing health care climate. One useful place for nurses to obtain online nursing ceus for free is Medi-Smart.com's Free Nursing CEU Directory. Online nursing continuing education is indeed the face of nursing continuing education for the 21st century!


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10 Steps To Containing The Health Care Stress Epidemic ...

10 Steps To Containing The Health Care Stress Epidemic or How to Get off the Stress Treadmill
By Diane Cate

The recent changes in health care have brought with them increased stress levels for all people involved in the medical field. Predictions indicate that this rapid pace of change will continue for the foreseeable future. There is, unfortunately, a resulting epidemic level of fear and stress among health care providers and their support staff.

The following tips are designed to be helpful to physicians, nurses, medical practice staff, as well as any hospital or treatment staff exposed to this toxic disease.

1. Provide positive reinforcement for those around you
When co-workers (in your practice, in the hospital, professional peers etc.) do a good job, or appear to be having a difficult day, compliment them on their work or on how well they handled a situation recently. You will feel less stressed and more confident when you give and/or receive a compliment. Not giving or getting positive reinforcement can cause "hardening of the attitudes."

2. Be willing to ask for and take a "time out"
We all need brief stress reduction breaks during hectic days. Productivity and overall effectiveness increases when you take a moment to clear your head and collect your thoughts. Everything and everybody are likely to be right there waiting for you after you take your quick "time out."

Remember heroes are like hemorrhoids--they are both a pain in the butt.

3. Shift discussion and concentration from the problem to all the possible solutions.
Stress is diminished when you concentrate on the positive vs. focusing on the negative. While you may not be able to control changes that come your way, you do have control over how you act or react to change. Encourage those around you to discuss solutions and concentrate on your own ability to come up with creative methods to cope with changes. When using a solution orientation in approaching serious problems you are likely to feel less stress and more resiliency.

4. Reach out to others and ask for help
You are not the only one in the medical field experiencing extreme stress at this time. No one person can possibly have all the answers. Ask fellow professionals and experts for ideas and assistance. Given the independent nature of most physicians (and their staff) this may be foreign and therefore take some real effort. Synergy, team work and continuing education are effective medicine for stress.

5. Develop positive affirmations, verbalizations and visions of change
Since you can't escape it, you must learn to envision change itself differently. Use post-it notes and repeat phrases in your mind that allow you to transform the stress (or threat) you feel from change into a vision of change as an opportunity and a challenge to grow, learn and evolve WITH your chosen field. Change can be an antidote for high stress levels. Use positive statements to strengthen your resolve to succeed.

6. Get out of the office at lunch time (or sometime mid-work period)
Even if you end up at a meeting, get air, get perspective and remind yourself that there is something beyond the pressure of telephones, patient demands and managed care craziness.

7. Today's problems may not be solved with yesterday's outdated solutions
Each day new books, continuing education workshops, newsletters, templated forms, magazines (i.e.. Medical Economics) etc. come across your desk. While these items may include news you don't really want to hear, they also contain practical, ready to use tips and tools that can help reduce stress and improve time management. Use ALL resources that are available to you--particularly those you have already paid for or those that may be free to you. Make "let's try a new way" your motto for new and old challenges.

8. Use a regular exercise program to reduce stress
Research has proven that when you exercise you experience an increased sense of well being and a reduction in stress. If it doesn't get written into your appointment book you are probably not prioritizing it high enough. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your not exercising. Besides, blame is the name of the no win game.

9. Set realistic goals and limits in your work and write them down
The way you set goals and your self-confidence will greatly effect the level of stress you experience. Maximized work output is critical in health care now (--always has been as far as most of us are concerned!) however allowing yourself to think you can "do it all" or that you are indispensable will set you up for added stress and ultimately for serious disappointment. Be realistic as you MAKE A LIST of your short and medium term goals. Goals should be challenging yet attainable, written and measurable, clear and unambiguous.

10. Avoid the contagious nature of the stress epidemic
Never forget that, in most interactions, what you give out dynamically effects what you get back. If your tone communicates stress, resistance, displeasure or impatience you can expect to experience those same reactions right back from the person with which we are communicating. The result is generally an increase in intensity and a stressful experience for both parties. When you have the ability to meet stress exhibited by others with calm and understanding you prevent stress from being contagious. Don't be infected by stress and don't be responsible for infecting others with stress.

About the Author: Diane Cate is a medical practice management consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa CA, a member of the American Academy of Family Physician's Network of Consultants, the American Medical Association's Doctors Advisory Network, and the American College of Physicians Managed Care Resource Center Network of Consultants. Phone 1-707-546-4433 for consulting and appraisal information


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New RN TO MS in NURSING Bridge Program Started

The Regis Univesity (AACN-CCNE) accredited RN to MS in Nursing program via The College Network allows busy nurses to take the fast track to earning their Masters in Nursing. Earn both degrees in a fraction of the time at 1/2 the cost of traditional programs. Local clinicals and No Clinical Testing. Get Started Today- No Waiting List! Regis University, founded in 1877, has been consistently ranked as one of "America’s Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report and is a top-rated Jesuit program like Georgetown University, Boston College, Loyola University, and Marquette University.


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Nursing Teachers Needed Desperately

Nursing is the nation's largest health care profession, with more than 2.7 million registered nurses nationwide, and nursing students account for more than half of all health professions students in the United States. Applications to attend nursing schools continue to increase nicely but did you know that thousands of students are being turned away because of an acute shortage of Nursing Educators?

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 educating the nurses of tomorrow?

Becoming a Nurse Educator is a wonderful career choice

Registered nurses ARE teachers! RNs teach patients and their families how to manage their illness or injury, including post-treatment home care needs, diet and exercise programs, and self-administration of medication and physical therapy. RNs mentor and precept new graduates and new hire staff as well as develop and implement ongoing continuing education activities within clinical settings. RNs combine their clinical expertise and passion for teaching others in thousands of ways every time they work.
Nurse Educators make use of that same clinical expertise and passion for teaching to guide and shape the future of the nursing profession- one student at a time!

Do you want to be doing direct patient care when you're 63 and still waiting to be old enough to retire? I say leave bedside nursing to the younger nurses, give your sore back a rest, and turn your talents towards building the next generation of nurses instead!

Some RNs choose to advance their nursing career by moving into
hospital administration or nursing management positions, but the responsibilities and stress of management isn't for everyone. For those RNs who would enjoy keeping in touch with direct patient care and in shaping the future of nursing the best career path to think about is becoming a nurse educator!

Given the growing shortage of nurse educators, the career outlook is strong for nurses interested in teaching careers. Nursing schools nationwide are struggling to find new faculty to accommodate the rising interest in nursing among new students.

Nurse Educators Enjoy Outstanding Career Flexibility

Most nurse educators work in colleges and universities that offer associate and baccalaureate programs in nursing, and some work as instructors for LPN courses while educators involved in clinical education also work at collaborating health care facilities. A Master's degree in nursing is typically required to become a faculty member at a university but RNs with a Bachelors degree in nursing and clinical experience are the minimum basic requirements for clinical instructors.

Nurse educators can work as full time faculty with all the benefits including tenure and retirement, or may choose to work as part time faculty while still continuing clinical employment and direct patient care. Nurse educators play a vital role in preparing and shaping future generations of nurses!

Earn an accredited Master's in Nursing Education Degree While You Work

You can earn an accredited Master's Degree in Nursing with a specialization in education or in health education online while maintaining your current job by investing just a few hours of study time per week through programs offered by the University of Phoenix Online and Walden University.

Don't have a BSN Degree?

The Regis University (AACN-CCNE) accredited RN to MS in Nursing program via The College Network allows busy nurses to take the fast track to earning their Masters in Nursing. Earn both degrees in a fraction of the time at 1/2 the cost of traditional programs. Local clinicals and No Clinical Testing.

Make a difference today that will impact the entire profession for years to come. Become a Nurse Educator!

For Additional Information about NLN Accredited Online Nursing Degrees and programs including LPN to RN/BSN, RN - BSN Degrees, Specialty Nursing Certification in Forensic Nursing, Legal Nurse Consulting, and Advanced Practice Nursing visit Medi-Smart's Online Nursing School Directory. Explore the schools and degree programs they offer and request free no-obligation information from as many as you like. It's best to request information from several so you can compare requirements, time involved and costs to find the one that meets your needs the best.


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