Category Archives: Nursing Career

Nursing Career News & Emerging Jobs in the Healthcare Industry

Career Options with a Healthcare Associate Degree

Registered Nurse
Registered nurses are responsible for direct patient care, health education, and patient advocacy. An RN can practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, surgical centers, chronic care units, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, hospice facilities, schools, the military, correctional facilities, community mental health centers, and in private homes. An RN must complete an associate degree in a nursing program at an college. Average annual salary: $64,690

Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists provide teeth cleaning services, examine patients for oral diseases, and educate patients on dental health. They may work in dentist’s offices, hospitals, the military, correctional facilities, schools, and extended-care facilities. A dental hygienist needs a license and an associate degree in dental hygiene. Average annual salary: $68,250

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Working with special imaging equipment that uses sound waves, diagnostic medical sonographers perform ultrasound examinations. A sonographer needs an associate degree, but and one-year certificate programs are available for those already employed in healthcare. Average annual salary: $64,380

Radiation Therapist
Using specialized equipment, radiation therapists work with a medical team that provides radiation treatment for cancer patients. Radiation therapists are qualified to work after completing a 12-month certificate program, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an associate or higher in radiation therapy. Average annual salary: $74,980

Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Using scanners and radioactive drugs, nuclear medicine technologists scan patients for internal physical conditions. Nuclear Medicine Technologists need a license and an associate degree in nuclear medicine technology. Average annual salary: $68,560

Healthcare Administrator
Ensuring the efficient operation of a medical facility is the primary responsibility of a healthcare administrator. Associate degree options include an A.S., A.A.S., A.O.S, or an A.A. in Healthcare Administration or Medical Office Administration. Programs include an externship at a healthcare facility. Several programs are available online. Career options include medical secretary, executive administrative assistant, medical transcriptionist or medical office manager. Average annual salaries – medical secretary: $30,530; healthcare executive administrative assistant: $43,520; medical transcriptionist: $32,900.

Resources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, retrieved July 7, 2013, from Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh
http://allhealthcare.monster.com/careers/articles/1892
http://degreedirectory.org/articles/Health_Care_Administration_Associates_Degree.html
http://www.healthecareers.com/article/top-10-healthcare-jobs-for-2-year-degrees/172562

Candy Striper – The Star Volunteer in Hospitals

A candy striper is a hospital volunteer who functions under nurse supervision. The name came from the traditional uniform that volunteers wore, that looked like peppermint candy, although this outfit isn’t frequently worn today. Previous generations of female volunteers wore pink and white dresses, but the modern candy striper will wear a uniform shirt with pants, as well as a hospital ID that lists name and position.

The modern candy striper is between thirteen and eighteen years of age and are typically female, because the role was originally created as a female job, but the number of men in the field is ever increasing.

Candy StriperThese volunteers are integral to the success of the hospital, thanks to their interactions with both nurses and patients. Duties range, but are frequently constrained to clerical activities, as a result of insurance liability. Candy stripers usually work in reception, gift shops, and nursing and administration stations. Some will transport items between units, or visit lonely patients, but these jobs require more experience.

One of the candy stripers most important duties is attending to patients. Overburdened hospitals don’t have the resources to provide patients with frequent one-on-one care, past the necessary time spent diagnosing and treating. Candy stripers make a hospital visit pleasant by eating with, reading to, assisting or delivering items to patients. Though they fulfill many other duties, these are the primary jobs fulfilled by the volunteer.

Experienced candy stripers have a number of opportunities in a hospital to gain knowledge about the medical field. Seasoned volunteers clean rooms, transport records and drugs from unit to unit, and can bring in lab specimens for testing. Overall, older candy stripers will spend more of their time interacting with health care professionals than do younger candy stripers, who spend most of their time with patients.

Training for the job usually takes only a few days. Candy stripers are most frequently employed at teaching hospitals, because the volunteering experience allows pre-med students and those working towards an advanced nursing degree a chance to work with patients, while relieving the care staff of more menial duties. Many students volunteering at the hospital find the familiarity worthwhile, as it’s one of the rare chances for a high school or college student to get a hands-on learning experience in a medical environment.

Finally, there are a number of steps before you can jump into volunteering at your local hospital. You’ll need to complete an application, which includes references and parental consent if you’re less than eighteen years old, and interview. Should you be chosen to volunteer, you will need to take a tuberculosis skin test and undergo a physical exam. This ensures that you won’t infect patients under your care.

When applying to become a candy striper, it’s important to keep a dependable schedule. Be sure that you leave time every week for volunteering, as the experience is impossible to replace for those interested in the medical field.

To make your experience as a candy striper the best it can be, you must make sure that you maintain first-rate behavior at all times, because your conduct reflects on the institution you work for. If you are able to observe all hospital policies, you’ll be sure to get a great reference in the future.

Certified Nurse Midwife Career Facts

Certified Nurse Midwife Career Facts

More women are turning to Certified Nurse Midwives to provide high-quality prenatal and maternal care from conception through delivery of a baby. A Certified Nurse Midwife is an advanced practice nurse that has achieved a Master of Science in Nursing degree, as well as credentials as a Registered Nurse and certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board. With a high level of education and unsurpassed nursing care, a CNM is a trusted partner in the journey of motherhood.

7.6% of all US births were attended by CNMs and CMs in 2009.

Women cared for by CNMs compared to women cared for by physicians had:

  • Lower rates of cesarean birth
  • Lower rates of labor induction
  • Reduced perineal tearing
  • Lower use of anesthesia
  • Higher rates of breastfeeding

CNM Education & Training Requirements:

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN Desgination
  • Certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)

Nurse Practitioner Career

Nurse practitioners are highly skilled primary and specialty care providers who are responsible for treating patients in a variety of health care settings. Often considered an extension of a physician, nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice nurses, are able to provide full primary care services and prescribe medications in all states and the District of Columbia.

Nurse practitioners can choose to specialize in a wide range of health disciplines including mental health, orthopaedics, and neonatology. However, the most common areas for specialty are pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice, and women’s health. Daily responsibilities often include:

  • Diagnosing and treating medical conditions
  • Ordering tests and diagnostic procedures
  • Prescribing medications
  • Performing physical exams and some surgical procedures

A Bright Future for Nurse Practitioners
Nurses comprise the largest health care occupation, holding 2.6 million jobs. And, employment opportunities in the field are expected to grow faster than any other occupation–particularly for advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners. As a nurse practitioner, you can expect to earn a higher annual salary than the median for registered nurses, which is about $63,000, due to the advanced training and education that is required.

Nurse Practitioner Education Requirements
A nurse practitioner must have advanced education and training–beyond that needed to become a registered nurse. The majority hold a master’s degree.
There are two roads you can travel to become a nurse practitioner:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, obtain registered nursing licensure through the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), and then move forward to earn a master’s degree in nursing. This is the most common route taken.
  2. Another option is to train to be a registered nurse while fulfilling the requirements of the nurse practitioner certification boards.

Regardless, you must successfully pass the NCLEX-RN before being admitted to a master’s program.

Health Information Technician Online

Online schools instruct future Health Information Technicians (also known as Medical Records Technicians) to handle patient accounts and serve as a liaison between the doctor and the patient. Through the Internet, individuals can earn a college degree in Health Information Technology at their own convenience, and without giving up current employment.

One of the fastest-growing and highly-paid fields in medical administration, Health Information Technology combines IT with Health Care Administration. Health Information Technicians and medical records managers are highly trained individuals who serve as a connection between the doctor and the patient. They assign diagnostic codes to patients’ records in order to determine the amount of insurance reimbursement the facility will receive, while making sure each patient’s account complies with current privacy laws.

An online Health Information Technology curriculum includes training in medical terminology, physiology, and anatomy, as well as IT. Graduates must pass a written examination to be certified as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).

Working professionals can go online to earn 100 percent of the credits needed for certification as a Medical Coding Specialist, or to get a degree in Health Information Technology. Distance learning courses make it convenient to advance your education on your own time and without commuting to classes.

Available online degrees include Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Health Information Technology, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Information Management, a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis on Health Information Technology, and many others.

If you are a technically-minded person who would like to work in a challenging and lucrative medical environment, an education in Health Information Technology may be right for you. You can research online colleges, universities and distance learning programs right here, at SchoolsGalore.com

The MSN/MBA/HCM program is intended to provide nurses with the blend of advanced nursing and business management skills necessary to manage today’s health care delivery systems. The MBA/HCM curriculum emphasizes the identification, analysis and solution of multifaceted management problems that require technical understanding and balanced decision making.

If you would like to work in a challenging and lucrative medical environment, we invite you to review the Health Information Management Degreeprogram at University of Phoenix Online.

Nurse Retention Strategies

Many nurses have a clear vision of the type of work environment they want and how they want to practice care. Experienced nurses have likely worked in a number of facilities, in a variety of roles and over time have seen their vision come to fruition in bits and pieces. True job satisfaction though comes only when the complete vision is realized and success stories show that most nurses share the same vision of what the ultimate work environment should be. Facilities that listen and react to the needs of nurses regarding their needs for a satisfying work place are the ones with the best retention rates.

Staffing Levels
One of the top reasons that nurses leave positions in bedside care is mental and physical exhaustion. Either there are not enough nurses to provide the level of care that makes nurses feel confident about their work or the balance of experienced and inexperienced nurses is not where it should be and nurses are put in uncomfortable positions where they aren’t sure how to handle a specific health concern of a patient. Facilities that incorporate having fully staffed shifts as part of their core beliefs results in a confident staff that is feels good about coming into work and actually performing their jobs well rather than a shift of dealing with crisis after crisis. When staffing levels are optimal, nurses have a more positive outlook and work together as a team to share knowledge and feel secure.

Support from Management
Nurses take great pride in their work and the biggest frustration comes when they are put in a position where they are unable to give their patients the level of care they feel they deserve and that they want to provide. They feel that they are not getting the support they need from management and that patient outcomes suffer. Over time, this can cause enough stress on the nurse to make them seek employment elsewhere where they feel management puts quality care as a priority over staffing budgets.

New nurse graduates are now able to conduct much more research on facilities before they even apply. With information available online, they can find out which facilities have the best nurse-to-patient ratios, which ones have won quality care awards and who includes ongoing education as an employment requirement. Most of the facilities that portray these high standards for care typically have waiting lists for employment which shows that a change in how to approach patient care can make all the difference in the quality of staff that they attract.

Costs for Nurse Retention
Studies have also shown that by improving nurse-to-patient ratios, operating costs actually decrease and money spent to make a change in philosophy about this topic is recouped. Facilities see the costs for overtime pay and agency help decreases well beyond the cost of having more regular staff on the floor during all shifts. In making a change to improve nurse-to-patient ratios and developing a culture of open communication between management and nursing staff, retention increases. This reduces turnover costs that can be quite significant when you look at recruiting and training expenses.

When nurses are living their vision of the optimal work environment, they report that what they enjoy most about their jobs is patient interaction and that they feel appreciated by their co-workers and management.

Holistic Nursing in Practice

Holistic NursingA holistic nurse utilizes technology and medical procedures as well as themselves as an instrument in the healing process of their patients. By looking at the total environment that the patient is in from the hospital walls to medical treatment plan to the actual patient’s state of mind, a deeper level of engagement from the patient can be achieved. A nurse who recognizes the power of the patient’s mind can use it as a tool to provide better care.

To be successful at this specialty nursing practice, one must practice the core fundamentals of holistic living in their daily lives. Meditation, relaxation and imagery are all important vehicles to expanding our understanding of our states of consciousness. Through this practice we learn to call to our higher self in times of distress and create a path to peace and well-being. Once a person has embraced this way of living, certifications are available for putting the work into practice to help heal others.

Holistic nursing is a philosophy of care that is a layer on top of being a registered nurse. What’s different in their approach is that they have a unique way of engaging with patients, their families and the entire healthcare team that is involved with the treatment plan.  In addition to using modern medicine and procedure, he or she will join the patient in their journey to recovery by creatively empowering them to communicate with their states of consciousness and access the place of healing.

How does it work?
A holistic nurse can engage a patient’s consciousness through verbal communication and through their own state of being. For example, a nurse who has administered pain medication to someone who is in extreme discomfort could take a few extra moments with the patient and through a calm, relaxed and sincere voice say “I am giving you this medication to ease your pain. It will be in your system very quickly and you will feel yourself shift from being tense and rigid to being relaxed. Be with the medicine as it moves through you and helps you to relax”. This visualization with the patient is one small step in engaging the power of their mind to help them feel better. In addition, you can take steps to get them to a meditative state by first letting them know you will stay with them until the pain has subsided and then walk them through closing their eyes and then to focus on their breathing.

The key is to help them reject thoughts of more pain or illness and accept only thoughts of health and a body that is pain free. To be effective at this hybrid role of a traditional nurse and holistic counselor, the nurse must call to their higher self to emit a state of calm and engage the patient in that calmness while at the same time performing medical duties such as reading charts, assessing the visible state of health of the patient, taking temperature, administering treatment, etc.
Listening to patients is an important part of holistic nursing. People who are ill or injured are inherently scared and have high levels of anxiety. In this state of vulnerability they will share stories about their pain and fear. This is an opportunity for the nurse to grab nuggets of that personal confession and use it to connect and engage the power of their consciousness to relax and heal.

Not all patients or medical facilities openly welcome this holistic practice. Some providers may be hindered by time regulations where a certain number of patients must be seen in a given amount of time that doesn’t allow true connections to take place. Some patients may reject the concept and will only let it go so far. In most cases though, a holistic nurse doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He or she can work within a traditional team of nurses and perform all of the required procedures. As this field becomes more accepted through clinical studies and patient requests, basic practices will be put into place by nursing teams as the results in overall quality of care show improvement when implemented.

How NDNQI Motivates Nurses & Improves Patient Outcomes

With the increased focus on healthcare costs and publicly available information about healthcare facilities, educated consumers are gaining control over the quality of care they receive. Participating in quality care programs and gaining recognition for superior care is becoming a top priority for leading facilities in the nation. From the patient’s point of view, quality care standards are set when they meet the nurse as the nurse is the first and last person to care for them.

The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® provides healthcare facilities with important comparative nursing data between providers with a goal to improve quality care and patient safety. Participating facilities can view the confidential data to interpret what award-winning nursing teams are doing to improve their quality scores.

NDNQI is the only nation-wide nurse quality measurement tool and it establishes a standard for nursing quality and through data, shows nurse leaders where improvement is needed.

The data is specific enough that it has reports for each nursing unit within the member hospital and compares the scores to national averages and rankings. This allows the hospital to see how well they are really doing with a view from outside their walls and allows them to set attainable goals to reach scores of other hospitals.

When hospital leaders strategize for quality improvement, data is the key to making decisions. Being able to drill down on data to determine the root cause of an issue is a requirement. Having granular data allows them to have evidence based practice in caring for patient.

NDNQI collects data from participating facilities is specific areas including patient falls, pressure ulcers, infection rates and work environment. Data is compiled and hospitals are recognized for top performance based on positive outcomes and improvements.

Working on attaining excellent NDNQI scores means that the nursing staff has adopted quality care and safety into their working routine. When this becomes second nature to a nurse, the patient benefits by preventing complications and accidents. The results become clear to the nurses which improves the work envirnoment and culture of the nursing team.

1 out of every 4 hospitals in the United States have joined NDNQI to evaluate their nursing care. Participating facilities continues to grow as evidence based practice is becoming the norm and data from NDNQI provides evidence needed to justify improvements in nursing care.

In the end, this database is available to provide the tools for nurses to provide better care and outcomes to patients. Efficient and effective change in healthcare is dependent on reliable and comprehensive data. NDNQI is dedicated to supporting and expanding this program to enhance patient care not only through data, but also through educational modules to help facilities create and implement quality improvement plans of action.

Nursing Salaries

Nursing salaries in the United States depend largely on the states where hospitals and clinics have flourished. The Advance Salary Survey 2008 found that nursing salaries in Delaware ($61,679) and California ($71,474) earned the most among RNs and LPNs. By contrast, this survey of nurses nationwide found that RNs and LPNs in Tennessee ($43,820) and Maine ($46,127) earned the lowest salaries. The national average for nursing salaries in the United States in 2007-2008 was $56,785 according to the Advance Salary Survey 2008.

This national average does not indicate the varied salaries given to professionals at various levels of certification.Clinical nurse specialists were paid $74,857 in 2007-2008 because of their advanced degrees as well as heightened responsibilities given by their employers. A board-certified nurse practitioner earned an average of $62,939 with higher salaries available for multiple state board certifications. The typical registered nurse (RN) in 2007-2008 earned $62,381 because of the dearth of talented RNs compared to vacancies at hospitals nationwide.

The high demand for nurses throughout the United States has contributed to higher salaries coast to coast. PharmacyChoice found that 75% of nurses responding to their July 2008 survey had received raises within the past year. These raises were limited to 1% to 3% increases over 2007 pay among these respondents, demonstrating the financial strains placed on healthcare providers. The variations in nursing salary increases from 2007 to 2008 can be attributed to general economic problems, changes in hospital budgets toward high-tech procedures, and the lack of nurses with advanced credentials.

Even as hospitals try to moderate nursing salaries, administrators are trying to recruit nurses worldwide to fill plentiful vacancies. Allied Physicians found that there were nearly 2. 2 million RN jobs in the United States, with thousands of jobs open from Maine to California. This astounding figure compares to 238,000 pharmacists and 688,000 physicians in the United States, showing the need for RNs in hospitals of all sizes. As nurses enter the workforce, they should look at advanced education as well as hospital size to boost their job prospects.

Nursing salaries vary greatly between Bachelors, Masters, and PhD holders working in the United States. According to Allied Physicians, the salary range based on degree ranges from $45,500 for Bachelors degree holders to $72,000 for doctorate holders. The upper range of nursing hourly wages in the United States in 2008 was $35.10 with thousands of nurses falling below this rate in areas with lower population. Allied Physicians also found that experience counts in terms of nursing salaries with entry-level nurses earning $57,000 in their first year, while nurses with three years of experience or more can earn upwards of $62,000.

A final metric for determining nursing salaries is looking at the number of beds within employing hospitals. The hourly rate for a registered nurse working in a hospital with less than 100 beds was $17.65 in 2008. This rate increased to $21.00 per hour for RNs working in major metro hospitals with more than 500 beds. If you are interested in a career in nursing, you should keep these factors in mind before committing time and money to this high-demand profession.

Virtual Nurses and Home Telecare

Many nurses treat their patients with home health care. Home health care in the traditional sense is where the nurse takes care of the patient, reading their blood pressure, listening to their heart, and reviewing their oxygen monitor. But now there is home health care that is in the virtual sense.

There are increasing costs and a growing shortage of nurses. The goal is to decrease the financial burden of the medical system and deal with the shortage of nurses – we may have found the answer. Nurses are extending their hand through the phone line into the future with the “home telecare” device – patients can now get their blood pressure read and oxygen monitored with transmitted cameras and phone lines. Nurses are now treating patients in their home, but not with their physical presence.

According to Candice Choi at the Associated Press, this will cut down on emergency room visits exponentially and cut costs and most importantly, allow the nurse who is in short supply provide care for those in need. Ms. Choi notes that a study by Kaiser Permanente compared two groups of 100 patients – approximately 200 hospital days were collectively reduced over a 18 month period of time. Another great quality of this technology is that it allows patients to avoid unnecessary travel to emergency rooms.

“Home telecare” is bringing the future to the present and allowing nurses the ability to make a difference and decrease hospital visits and unnecessary admission. Nurses are thought about in every area of medicine and are the gate keepers to many patients whose health can be determined just by a phone call.