Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Attention Registered Nurses- Nursing Schools Need You!

By Sara Ellis RN, BSN


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 step

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 administrative or 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.

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 NLN 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 several schools.

Don't have a BSN Degree?

There's a fully accredited RN to MS in Nursing program that allows busy nurses to take the fast track to earning their Masters in Nursing. Students earn both degrees in a fraction of the time at 1/2 the cost of traditional programs and don't have to give up their job to do it.

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

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nursing Education - Passing the NCLEX

By Robyn Knapp

The time is going to come for every graduate nurse to sit for their state boards. To become a Registered Nurse, the graduate nurse must pass the NCLEX. This is a comprehensive examination of the skills necessary to practice nursing safely. It is important for the graduate nurse to use all of the tools available to ensure success at passing. Many schools prepare the student nurses early in their curriculum with test questions that mimic the format of the NCLEX.

This is done to familiarize the students with the type of questions that they will face when they take the NCLEX. Many schools, in addition to in class tests, are also incorporating outside resource testing. These companies offer a wide selection of computerized nursing test bank questions that measure the student's comprehension and application of practice and theory for each nursing course. The student's are required to pass these tests with an acceptable score that is decided by the school that they are attending.

Most of the time, the score that the student tries to achieve is at or above the national average. If the student's score falls below the national average, that student is then required to take the test until their score is acceptable. This can be most bothersome for many nursing students. Although these tests do not add or detract from the student's grade point average, they are mandatory for many schools. Most nursing schools will with hold the student's diploma if the student has not completed all of the necessary required tests. These questions not only help to measure the student's knowledge level in regards to the material covered, but it also acts as a tracking tool. In acting as a tracking tool, student's scores from all participating nursing schools can be compared and contrasted.

These same students are followed up until the end of the program, and then determinations regarding one schools performance over another can be interpolated. Once the student graduates from nursing school, they are further tracked by their mandatory and or voluntary participation in a four day NCLEX review seminar. These seminars are usually offered by the same testing corporation originally used by the school throughout the program and are offered at no extra expense to the student's. The performance of the student's throughout the program can then be interpolated with some degree of confidence on how well they perform on the NCLEX.

Of course all of the tracking and testing statistics can only predict outcomes. Only the student knows how much effort that they need to expend to pass their nursing courses and the state boards. Ask any nursing student, and most will concur that there is a lot of work that goes into getting through nursing school. It is important for the nursing student to look objectively at the numbers and percentages of those who pass the NCLEX. The rumor, that is supposedly based on fact, in, that all "A" and "B" students pass the NCLEX the first time, and all "C" student's fail the first time, is a false assumption, and one which can be detrimental to a "C" student's psyche. The only fact, is that the student must be the final judge of themselves, as far as knowing what they are capable of accomplishing, and not what rumor or statistics reflect.

Students should be aware that the use of outside practice resources is an acceptable and proven method to increase their chances of passing the NCLEX Nursing student's are encouraged to study not just one NCLEX study guide, but many. Using two or three NCLEX study guides as a reference is a solid strategic plan. Knowledge gained from the nursing program is of course valuable. However, a student cannot possibly remember every little detail. They would have thousands of flash cards to study, if that were the case. So, as the saying goes, "study smarter, not harder" applies.

The NCLEX is scientifically designed and percentages are assigned in respect to different content areas. The student is urged to study how the test is put together and use review material that best supports a similar format. This article will not recommend any study material, but it will impress upon student's to use up to date, current and respected sources. Nursing instructors are a good resource for suggesting resources. It is a good beginning strategy. Nursing instructor's have a lot of experience and are consistently revising their test bank material to keep current with the latest NCLEX question format.

Students are encouraged to practice online computer tests as well. Not only does familiarity with computer testing ease the student's anxiety, but it also gives the student the computer skill necessary to maneuver through the test without difficulty. Here is an example, imagine having to drive two thousand miles, and getting into a car. You know the direction to where you are going, but you never drove a car before in your life. How do you think you are going to feel getting behind that wheel, with such a long road ahead, and not being able to anticipate or know what to do when confronting unfamiliar situations?

It is the same thing with navigating the NCLEX. Knowing how to work the controls is very important, and it will save you time and energy that can be better put to use answering questions.

It is important not to go into the test thinking that luck is on your side, without having studied. Luck, may or may not be, but the fact is, most teachers will tell you, that if you didn't study, then you won't do well. The same thing can be said about the NCLEX. Study, is the key. Know what you are facing. There is so much information out there that gives the graduate nurse all the tools that they need to be successful in passing the NCLEX. Remember, it's up to you. So best wishes, on your test, and study, study, study.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Frameworks in Nursing Theory and Practical

Nursing theory is the term given to the body of wisdom that is used to support nursing practice. In their professional education, nurses will study a range of interconnected subjects which can be applied to the practice setting. This knowledge may come from experiential learning, from formal sources such as nursing research or from non-nursing sources.

Nursing theories provide a framework for nurses to systematize their nursing actions: what to ask, what to observe, what to focus on and what to think about, to develop new and validate current knowledge. They define commonalities of the variables in a stated field of inquiry, guide nursing research and actions, predict practice outcomes, and predict client response.

Nursing theories are used to describe, develop, disseminate, and use previous/present knowledge in nursing. Descriptive theory identifies properties and components of a discipline. They identify meaning and observations and describe what elements exist in that discipline. Explanatory theory identifies how the properties and components relate to each other and accounts for how the discipline functions. Predictive theories predict the relationships between the components of a phenomenon and predict under what conditions it will occur. And, Prescriptive theories address nursing therapeutics and consequences of interventions.

There are generally 4-levels of Nursing Theory: Metatheory is the most abstract and not easily tested. Grand Theory is a conceptual framework that defines broad perspectives for nursing practice. Middle Range Theory is moderately abstract and has a limited number of variables. They can be tested directly. Mid-range is very useful in nursing research and practice. Practice Theory traces the outline for practice. Objectives are set and actions are set to meet the objectives. Four steps in the development of practice theories are: factor isolating, factor relating, situation relating, and situation producing control.

In nursing, theories can also be analyzed by types which are needs, interaction, outcome, and humanistic-focused.

It is interesting to note that 90% of all nursing theories have been generated just in the last 20-years. Many schools encourage students to formulate theories of Nursing as part of their curriculum. In fact the pages of Nursing Science Quarterly are a major mouthpiece for Nursing Theory. Some still argue though that this multiplicity of theory is detrimental to the practice and undermines common vision. Others would say that the nature of the young science is sufficiently far reaching to require such tactics in order to elicit true consensus. It cannot be denied, however, that there is much vanity involved in the formulation of nursing theory.

Nursing theory is essential to the framework of nursing practice. Nursing theory information will assist in guiding individual practice and research methods.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

President Obama’s Economic Incentives Herald Hope for Nursing

By Susan Kreimer, MS, contributor

Nursing advocates view the economic stimulus signed by President Barack Obama as a significant investment in health care and believe the nursing profession stands to benefit greatly from the much-needed assistance.

“In fighting for resources in the stimulus, the nursing community shared a belief that this funding can help pave the way to fill many thousands of the over 200,000 currently vacant job openings within the next one to three years,” said Michelle Artz, chief associate director of government affairs at the American Nurses Association in Silver Spring, Maryland.

According to Artz, filling these vacancies will enhance patient care, increase efficiency and reduce costly medical errors. “The nurses produced through this investment are the chronic care/prevention managers, care coordinators and nurse educators of tomorrow,” she said.

The stimulus includes $500 million for the health workforce. Of this package, $300 million is allocated to National Health Service Corps, with $200 million dedicated to Title VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act. Title VII refers to health professions programs and VIII applies specifically to Nursing Workforce Development.

For the complete article, please go to:


Monday, March 30, 2009

AACN Applauds Congress for Enacting the Stimulus Bill That Includes Funding Nursing Education

All three provisions for health professions training will provide an opportunity for nursing students and schools to receive funding. The Nursing Workforce Development Programs support the supply and distribution of qualified nurses to meet our nation’s health care needs. Over the last 45 years, Title VIII programs have addressed each aspect of nursing shortages – education, practice, retention, and recruitment. By investing in these programs, Congress has shown its strong commitment to reversing the national nursing shortage and filling vacant nursing positions.

The provisions authorized under Title VII are the only federally funded programs that support the education and training of individuals across the interdisciplinary healthcare team. Schools of nursing and nursing students benefit from many Title VII programs, such as the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students and the Faculty Loan Repayment Program.

Finally, the National Health Service Corps provides scholarships and loans to nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, primary care physicians, dentists, mental and behavioral health professionals, physician assistants, and dental hygienists.
In November 2008, AACN’s Board of Directors approved the organization’s request to expand AACN’s efforts to secure funding for nursing education in the stimulus package. In this difficult economic time for schools of nursing, the Board recognized this unique opportunity to act now and alleviate current funding concerns for nursing education and increase appropriations for the Nursing Workforce Development programs in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Reacting to AACN’s call to action, nursing deans, faculty, and students rallied behind the stimulus legislation and sent more than a 1,000 messages through AACN’s online advocacy tool to Congress explaining the importance of supporting nursing education and funding for the Title VIII programs.

“Securing this funding is a tremendous feat for nursing education and a testament to the power of collaboration among nursing organizations,” added Dr. Raines. “AACN is grateful that our membership acted quickly, along with the thousands of nurses across the country, to encourage Members of Congress to include funding for nursing and health professions training in the final bill. Nursing united and prevailed.”
For more details on AACN’s advocacy effort on behalf of nursing education and research, see http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Government/index.htm.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hospital or Private Practice - What Nurses Need to Consider When Making This Vital Decision

By: Grant Eckert

In any career, there are a number of decisions to make. Within the nursing path, there are a number of directions you can take when you are first starting out, often resulting in different career paths and positions. The first and most vital decision you will make is whether to enter the hospital setting or the private practice setting. Both have their rewards, as well as their limitations, so this is a choice you need to spend time on making.

When You Choose the Hospital Setting

Any graduate of nursing school is probably going to be flooded with offers from hospitals and hospital type settings. And with the hiring bonuses they offer, these offers can be quite tempting. Here are the main benefits of talking to these human resources departments:

· Often unionized workplaces - Once you're into these hospitals, you're nearly guaranteed steady work for the rest of your life. Your wages will be raised yearly and your benefits will be negotiated regularly.
· Possibility of promotion or transfers - In a larger hospital setting, you will be able to change your position as your experience increases. Most hospitals will post jobs in other departments with preference given to those already in similar positions or with more years on the job.
· Variety of work - You can start out in one position and then transfer to other positions as your knowledge increases or you simply want a change of scenery and patient care.

But as with any setting in which you would choose to be a nurse, there are downsides too.

· Problems dealing with seniority in the beginning - Since seniority tends to be rewarded, as a new nurse, you might find that positions are slim and the hours are poor until you have a few years of experience.
· Fast paced setting, high patient to nurse ratio - While this can also be a benefit, the fast paced setting and high patient ratio can be exhausting for some nurses, often leading to burnout.

When You Choose the Private Practice Setting

If you're looking at joining a private practice as a nurse, you will find that there are just as many benefits as there are problems with this arrangement.

The benefits include:

· Regular hours - Because you are only working when the doctors are there, you can establish a more regular schedule. This works well for nurses with families that need their care.
· More chance for patient interaction - When you're only dealing with one patient at a time, you can feel more connected to the patients you do meet.
· Smaller patient population - This allows you to learn and to remember patients that come in regularly. You also can have less stress than in a hospital setting.

But the disadvantages to this setting are:

§ Lack of unionization in many cases - This can cause your job to be at risk for termination at any time, regardless of seniority. Your benefits will also be decided by the practice management instead of being supported by a union representative.
§ The pay can be less - While some practices pay better than others, the pay is often much less in a private setting as the revenue can be smaller.
§ There are fewer jobs - You might not be able to get into a higher position as a private practice nurse, plus the number of jobs available is fewer.

Whether you choose the hospital setting or the private practice setting, you will still be able to do what you do best - care for patients. However, most nurses find that one setting is a better fit than another. And that decision is up to you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Certified Nurse Assistant’s Duties

Among the vast array of health care careers lies the area of direct care giving. These professionals are often Home Health Assistant (HHA) or Home Health Aides, Personal Care Assistants, Nurse's Aides, Patient Care Technicians and several other titles, depending on the work environment and the region.

Certified Nursing Assistants work closely with patients and provide assistance with daily living tasks, such as: dressing (according to patients' needs, ranging from minimal assistance to totally dependent); bathing (bed baths, tub baths, showers); feeding (serving meals, physically feeding patients who are unable to do so themselves); toileting (assisting with bedpans & urinals, help to the bathroom, provide incontinent care for patients who need it); vital signs (Blood pressure, pulse, etc); Catheter caring (emptying, upkeep of Intake & Output sheets when necessary); answering call lights in a timely fashion; assisting patients with ambulation, when needed; range of Motion Exercises, as prescribed by physical therapy; assisting residents in wheelchairs (a lot of heavy lifting at times); making beds and keeping the patients' rooms and belongings neat and organized; ensuring that bedridden patients are turned at least every two hours, to ensure comfort and to prevent bedsores; reporting all changes, physical and mental, of the patients to the nurse; Post Mortem Care; safety awareness - keeping an eye on wanderers and watching for potentially dangerous situations; Documentation - daily documentation on the care provided to each patient; and anything else that needs to be done.

Certified Nurse Assistants are required to lift patients, assist a patient that is falling and carry heavy medical equipment. They should have the physical dexterity to perform skills that require fine motor movement. Basic observations are made by the CNA; therefore they should possess the senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch.

Certified Nursing Assistants can be found in nursing homes, hospitals, adult day health centers, assisted living facilities, even personal homes. Wherever there is a need for personal care, Certified Nursing Assistants are the ones who, for the most part, perform the most basic needs for patients, young and old alike. They work under the supervision of a nurse. Since aides have extensive daily contact with each patient, they are keys to providing vital information on the patients' conditions to the nurse.

A certified nursing assistant's job does not end with the physical needs of the patients. This is a job which requires compassion and a desire to make people comfortable and happy. Residents of nursing homes often suffer from depression and/or dementia, and the certified nursing assistant is often the closest human contact afforded to many of these people. A sense of humor helps in this field.