Are You Ready For Flu Season?

October 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I love Fall. I adore the fire reds and vibrant yellows that paint the leaves on the trees. I love to snuggle up on the couch with a steaming mug of hot chocolate while listening to the soft tap of rain on my windows. I love to pull out my cozy sweaters that have been neglected all winter and I can’t wait to slip my feet into my Uggs that pillow my toes. Ah, Fall. Is there any better time of year?

Okay, so a dreamer thinks all of those above thoughts while a nurse thinks this: Where is my Purell? I think I’ve seen enough mucus to fill a pool. If one more person sneezes and doesn’t cover their mouth, I’m going to scream!

Being a nurse with an RN to BSN degree, flu season is one of the busiest times of the year. But fear not! It seems like we have the perfect vaccine for the strains that are most common this year.

On, Megan M. Krischke quotes that, “’The good news about this year’s flu season is that the vaccine seems to be perfectly formulated for the strains of flu–the pandemic influenza A [H1N1], seasonal [H3N2] and influenza B–that have been most commonly seen in the Southern Hemisphere. And, what happens in the Southern Hemisphere is typically a good predictor of what will happen in the Northern,’ noted Paul J. Poduska, CIC, M(ASCP), infection control preventionist for Poudre Valley Health System (PVHS) in Fort Collins, Colo.” While we can’t always be sure what the flu season will be like, the prospects are looking up.

“’Nurses and all medical staff should be getting a flu vaccination, not only for their own protection but also for the safety of their patients,’ emphasized Samuel B. Graitcer, M.D., medical epidemiologist for the immunization services division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

In years past there was a terrible shortage of the flu shot. Now, that is not the case. Currently there is an overflow, so it is vital that everyone get one to prevent illness. Now is the perfect time before the flu season really takes off.

As a nurse in an online RN to BSN nursing program, it is so important to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Get your flu shot today!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

From a Patient’s Point of View

October 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

None of us are immune from sickness or injuries. We take preventative measures like popping vitamins and exercising, but sometimes illness finds us no matter how we try to fight it off. Being in an online RN to BSN nursing program, we learn a lot about skills and procedures. However, some of the most valuable lessons we can learn are from life.

On, reporter Elizabeth Landau wrote a story about a doctor and nurse who both faced the monumental task of overcoming breast cancer. Not that anyone would want to take this journey, but through their pain they gained a new sense of strength, compassion and empathy for their patients.

“There have been times I’ve cried with the patient. You cry with them, you pray for them, you hope for them. You pray for their families. It’s a tough job, but it’s very rewarding,” said Cindy Davis who is an RN at the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas M.D.

Davis has also learned valuable insights that other nurses who haven’t gone through the process don’t know. She can advise on where to get a beautiful wig, how to disguise nails disfigured due to chemotherapy and how to take their minds off of the discomfort. There is something genuine and beautiful in connecting on a shared level that can’t be duplicated without the process.

Right now my family is going through its own medical dilemma. I’ve written before how my 11-year-old nephew, Nate, has hemihypertrophy and in early July had rods put into his leg to lengthen his bones. Now almost four months later, the poor little dude is in a spica cast. Armed with misinformation and brushed off like unwanted lint on a black coat, my nephew was sent home miserable and immobile. They only directions they were given was in the form of a small pamphlet published in 1990 with kids smiling in these constrictive devices with moms whose hair took up most of the picture. Would the doctor have treated the situation differently if his son was in the cast? I would never wish any child to have to suffer through this, but I would appreciate more compassion and thoughtfulness on behalf of the doctor.

Compassion is a vital requirement for anyone in a BSN degree program. We all have had situations where we or a family member have had to don a hospital gown. Whether you’re in the gown or helping someone in a gown, you have to show people more than your backside.

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More Education Equals More Job Opportunities

October 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Last week I wrote about how nursing jobs are on the rise, and I can’t help but write another post on this subject. I mean seriously, can anyone have too much good news? Now is certainly the time to be in an accelerated RN to BSN program.

On, contributor Debra Wood writes an exciting article about the projections and outlook for nurses in the near future. Wood starts off with this fact: “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the country will need more than half a million additional registered nurses by 2018.”

“Employment in nursing looks great,” said Billie G. Blair, Ph.D., president/CEO of Change Strategists in Temecula, Calif. “There’s a growing aging population so there will be no end, in the foreseeable future, for the continued growing need for nurses. Nursing during this decade is expected to grow at least 22 percent. It’s one of the few fields in which this is happening.” Blair continued to say that there is continued growth in travel nursing, something that fills a need for talent at a certain facility and creates potential career growth for nurses.

Wood also explains that, “The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report is guiding some of the change…The IOM report emphasizes the importance of additional education and suggests 80 percent of the nurses hold baccalaureate degrees by 2020. That is leading many employers to hire nurses with BSN degrees, making it more difficult for associate-degree-prepared nurses to secure jobs.”

“Employers are in a buyers’ market these days, thus there will be a continued emphasis on the more highly skilled degree, that is the BSN,” Blair added.

Many hospitals and government agencies are also providing grants and scholarships to prevent a major nursing shortage and to help those nurses who are pursuing a higher education. “In October, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $82 million in awards to help bolster the country’s nursing workforce. Administered by the agency’s Health Resources and Services Administration, the awards include $27 million for the Nursing Scholarship Program and $55.3 million for the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program,” states Wood.

If you’re not in an online RN to BSN program, sign up today! The future looks bright and the opportunities seem endless.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

Safer Needles Verses Hospital Costs

October 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

There are countless precautions that nurses need to take on a daily basis. From contagious illnesses to infected needles, nursing can be a dangerous profession. Learning safety procedures in an online BSN degree program is some of the most important information you can use in your occupation.

On, there was an interesting article on unsafe needles that are being used in thousands of hospitals. “Every year, nurses, physicians and other health care workers suffer an estimated 800,000 needlestick injuries in U.S. hospitals, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information… More than 1,000 of these hospital workers become infected with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C and other bloodborne diseases as a result.”

I had no idea that there was a safer alternative to the tradition syringe. “The problem might be preventable with a potentially life-saving safety syringe, which has a retractable needle, developed in the early 1990s. In trials, nurses and doctors loved the syringe, and the National Institutes of Health awarded the manufacturer a grant to refine it… However, due to a million-dollar agreement between hospital group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and a big needle maker, GPOs blocked the introduction of the new safety syringes to the market – as well as other medical innovations – in favor of unsafe standard needles.”

There is a new movie called Puncture that addresses this very issue. Based on a true story, it reenacts the tragedy of a Houston ER nurse who died from HIV as the result of a needle prick. The Fox News article states, “Puncture filmmakers said the movie highlights a ‘massive problem’ in America, where the best and most affordable medical devices aren’t always accessible, costing taxpayers more than $37 billion dollars per year… Some progress has been made thanks to the Needle Safety and Prevention Act signed in 2000, which set requirements for employers to identify, evaluate and implement safer medical devices, as well as maintain injury logs for employees… However, unsafe needles are still used throughout the country. The filmmakers said this is because the act did not fix the underlying problem, which is that GPOs continue to control the purchasing of medical supplies in the U.S.”

On this rare occasion, I feel the need to applaud Hollywood for highlighting this issue in the health care industry. Movies can be a great platform to bring attention to societal problems (such as Erin Brockovich), but most of the resources go into just making more money regardless of moral costs. Bravo filmmakers for taking a stand. You have a bunch of RN to BSN bridge program students behind you!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

Healthcare Jobs Continue to Rise

October 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Is there anything better than reading a recent news story that says that nursing jobs are still on the rise? As student in an RN to BSN bridge program, probably not.

On, there is an article which reports on the incredible increase in healthcare jobs being offered. “Leading travel nurse agency, American Traveler, announced in October a year-over-year increase of 56 percent in nurse job employment, a number that includes both staff RN positions and travel nurse jobs. The uptick, said Clinical Resource Manager, Deborah Bacurin, RN, is due to larger healthcare employers rebounding from recession and hiring travel nurses again, along with a sprouting up of ambulatory outpatient centers across all 50 states,” explains the article.

The article also states that “Though nurse pay flattened during the recession, recruitment VP, Mary Kay Hull said she’s starting to see wages bounce back to pre-recession levels and better. Her firm is experiencing a significant demand for nurse job specialties such as Operating Room and Labor and Delivery, and continues to fulfill requests for nurses and therapists well-versed in computerized patient care systems and modern therapies.”

The BLS also supports these numbers and reports that by the end of the year there will be approximately 344,000 health care jobs available which is the highest level in four years and higher than any other industry. The increase is jobs is often attributed to new technology positions, a higher need for preventative care and the aging population.

If you are not currently getting your online BSN degree, now is the time to do so. Many employers are looking for nurses with a higher degree and specialized skills. With the job market continuing to grow, what do you have to lose?

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit

201 Specialties for Nurses

October 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Education truly is the key to your future, and with your RN to BSN degree that key can open countless doors. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I’d be hard pressed to find another career path that leads to such a vast variety of options to fit your skill level and personality type.

On, contributor Megan M. Krischke reports on a new book written by Emerson E. Ea, DNP, APRN and Joyce Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, entitled 201 Careers in Nursing. The book explains “basic job description, educational requirements and core competencies and skills needed for more than 200 different nursing roles.”

“When we were compiling the list of nursing careers we stopped at 201, with the most common and most popular careers,” explained Ea. “But there are many opportunities above and beyond the 201. Our health care system is changing and creating more opportunities for nurses to assume responsibilities and increased leadership in health care.”

Fitzpatrick added ““There are a lot more opportunities for nurses to specialize and a lot of professional development around those specialties. There is a focus on reducing medical errors and making sure patients are safe while they are in hospitals–this will require both more nurses, and more specialized nurses.”

There are certain nursing areas that are experiencing greater growth. There continues to be a shortage of nursing educators and with the demand for nurses increasing, there is a huge gap in the field. Another area is “informatics” where nurses combine clinical and managerial skills. The legal field also is experiencing a need for nurses who can be consultants and forensic specialists. Fitzpatrick also mentioned “among the highest paid nurses, are nurse anesthetists. The majority of anesthesia in the United States is delivered by nurse anesthetists. Sometimes these nurses have their own practice and sometimes they work in collaborative practices with anesthesiologists.”

Furthermore, there are a lot of roles for nurses outside of the traditional hospital setting. Krischke explains “For nurses who are looking for a career outside of direct patient care, there is potential for positions such as a public policy advisor, researcher, lobbyist or recruiter. While some roles outside of the nurse mainstream may require additional education, nurses can also gain experience through volunteering or taking an entry-level job on a new career path.”

Once you have your RN to BSN bridge program completed, there are a variety of options for you to pursue. Are you ready?!?

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

Hospital Bathroom Secrets Flushed Out

October 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I don’t enjoy using public bathrooms. Once you get past the acrid smells, the disintegrating paper stuck on the floor and the earth shaking industrial flushes, you’re faced with the intimate task of private necessity. Then when you are finished taking care of business, you watch the person in the next stall briskly walk out the swinging door without a drop of water or bubble of soap located on their hands. Yuck.

So what is the point of knowing about hand washing for someone getting their RN to BSN degree? Why of all this “potty talk?” Helen M. French, retired operating nurse, writes on about the negligence of bathroom cleanliness and the high infection rate that it causes in hospitals. French writes, “Although there are many cost management concerns in all healthcare facilities which encompass staffing, inventory, turnover time between procedures and the like, the most cost-avoidant and most deadly issue for patients and even the staff is the lack of basic knowledge and awareness about simple handwashing and bathroom equipment issues. This lack of awareness — or the lack of compliance — could also come around full circle to the staffers in regard to their own health and possibly the health of their loved ones and even the public whom they might infect even in a local grocery store (note many recent articles pertaining to infected scrubs and even doctors’ ties ). Somewhere on the chord of a circle is our most important product — our patients. It is our patients whom we are entrusted to protect. It is our patients whom we cannot allow to be affected or infected by someone else’s bathroom contagion.”

French also explains six important things to know about using the bathroom: 1) “If there is no lid on a toilet, the surrounding area of about six feet in circumference will be covered with class #3 [gastrointestinal/genitourinary system fluids] or class #4 [GI/GU system fluids] toilet water. The area, or the stalls, the stall door, the stall handles, the floor of the stall, the toilet paper roll, etc., will be contaminated to some degree.”2) With no auto sensors on the faucet, soap pumps or paper towel holders, your hands will just get re-contaminated. 3) Touching the door also re-contaminates your hands. 4) Hand dryers are equally ineffective if the filters aren’t changed often. 5) If you don’t use enough friction or time to wash your hands thoroughly, you’re hands are still gross. 6) New soaps and foams are not as effective as the old way using “a 10-minute scrub initially and after that a five-minute scrub using cold water and/or warm water, with several options of hand soap.”

So even with all of your knowledge that you’ve obtained in an online RN to BSN program, sometimes it’s the simplest procedures that are the most effective.

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The Need for BSN Nurses Continues to Grow

October 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Nursing is one of those professions where once you get your license it’s just the first action in a series of educational steps on your career path. Nurses who are in an online BSN degree program agree that the best way to find a job is to pursue higher certification.

On, contributor Debra Wood, RN explains the importance of earning your BSN. “With a rapidly changing health care environment, more nurses are seeking specialty certification and baccalaureate degrees.”
“Lifelong learning is an expectation for nurses from the bedside to the board room,” said June Marshall, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, director of advancing professional nursing practice at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, adding, “Nurses today have many opportunities for defining their career paths and choosing a course of action that will help them accomplish their professional and personal goals.”

Nursing is becoming more competitive and earning your BSN is a great way to stay ahead of the pack. “If you want to move up in the organization, the need to continue your education and get certified in your specialty area is more compelling than it was five years ago,” said Rose Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, CNL, FAAN, director of the Nursing Leadership Institute at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

There are several reasons why hospitals are choosing nurses who have higher certification. The first is that it puts them in a position to be considered as a prestigious Magnet hospital giving them a higher status. Secondly, it gives the patients more peace of mind knowing that the nurses are highly knowledgeable. Thirdly, nurses who are certified with a specialty are a greater asset to the hospital.

Obviously nurses are choosing this course because it provides a variety of opportunities, a higher income, and more job stability. Many hospitals are looking to increase their number of BSN nurses. “The Future of Nursing report recommends increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses from approximately 50 to 80 percent by 2020,” explains Wood.

Many hospitals are trying to help accommodate their nurses as they attempt to go back to school. For example, “UnitedHealth Group takes additional education of its 7,000-nurse workforce seriously, establishing the Center for Nursing Advancement, creating career paths for RNs. Forty of the company’s nurses recently completed a pilot program, providing one-on-one mentoring and structured education about business, leadership in health care, nursing professionalism and other topics. The program was so successful–with 100 percent of nurses starting the program also finishing it–the company will offer it to a second cohort in October,” states Wood.

As you can see, now is the perfect time to be in an RN to BSN bridge program!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit

BSN “Nurse Navigators” Aid in Patient Care

October 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Health care is a complicated maze of indiscernible words, a hierarchy of caregivers and a rainbow of pills. To a patient, entering a hospital can feel much like Alice entering Wonderland; here comes the intense doctor much like a mad hatter, next enters the nurse with the lunch tray that says “Eat Me, Drink Me” and in the next bed is a patient who has just taken a pill that makes him smile like the Cheshire Cat. Fortunately, there are some nurses with an online BSN degree who are taking on the role of “Nurse Navigators.”

Adena Health System, an independent, not-for-profit and locally controlled healthcare organization serving the needs of 13 counties in south-central Ohio, has posted a press release explaining how they are attempting to help patients who struggle with chronic conditions.

“Historically, treatments for chronic conditions have been complicated, making it difficult for patients to comply. Management of chronic disease also takes a toll on health systems, which are under ever greater government scrutiny to reduce costs and improve outcomes… Fortunately, Adena Health System is helping to address the special needs of patients with chronic conditions. A pilot study that concluded earlier this year has led to dramatic improvements in the care of patients with Congestive Heart Failure.”

“Key to the pilot study’s success, said Carrie Hartsaugh, [RN, BSN, who had a significant role in the creation and implementation of the model], was vastly improved access to Primary Care Physicians; the introduction of Nurse Navigators, like herself; the exchange of information between PCPs and Nurse Navigators; and the involvement of a multidisciplinary team that included social workers and registered dieticians, as well as home care and information technology staff.

“Patients who may have found themselves lost in the system before are on the radar screens of physicians, nurse navigators and other healthcare professionals like never before,” she said.

“Today, for example, before hospitalized patients with congestive heart failure are released from the medical center, an appointment already has been scheduled with their primary care physician. And within 48 hours of discharge, patients receive a call from their patient navigator to check on their status,” reported the Press Release.

Why aren’t more facilities doing this? I know the starting costs must be outrageous, but haven’t we learned that preventative care is cost effective? Imagine everyone working together on the same team to provide patient care. This just might be the next course in one of your RN to BSN bridge program courses.

To read the complete story mentioned in this post, please visit

Alternative Medicine Becoming More Popular at Hospitals

October 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

As someone who struggles with chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I’ve tried a lot of different treatments to bring me some relief. From spinal injections to prescriptions of Vicodin, from physical therapy to numbing spray, I’ve tried more remedies than I can recall. When the standard doctor recommendations didn’t work, I tried to acupuncture, massage, a vegetarian diet and herbal supplements. Apparently I am not alone in dabbling in the alternative medicine industry.

The world of medicine is always evolving and students in an online RN to BSN degree program need to be up on the latest news. There was a new survey published that reporter Kevin B. O’Reilly examines on “Forty-two percent of the 714 hospitals surveyed said they provide unconventional therapies, and executives listed patient demand as the top criterion in choosing which therapies to offer, according to a report released in September by the American Hospital Assn.’s Health Forum and the Samueli Institute, a think tank that supports alternative medicine. In 2000, just 14% of hospitals told AHA researchers that they provided complementary therapies,” remarks O’Reilly.

“Nearly two-thirds of hospitals offering alternative services provide massages on an outpatient basis, and half offer pet therapy in the hospital. About 40% of these hospitals offer acupuncture or music and art therapies, said the report, based on a survey conducted in March 2010,” O’Reilly explains.
Is medicine really mind over matter? I find this to be a very grey area. This one statistic really intrigued me: “Though 70% of executives at hospitals providing unconventional therapies said they are doing so because they are clinically effective, only 42% said they use patients’ health outcomes to gauge the success of the alternative medicine programs. Instead, they are principally using patient satisfaction and volume as evaluation metrics, the report said.”

Patient satisfaction rates higher than health outcomes? Well, I guess a patient would be satisfied if their health outcome was better than when they started, yet where are the scientific stats and charts that we’ve come to know and love in medical studies? I’m not against alternative medicine and I do think we pop pills to easily, but I’m not sure warm fuzzies and thinking happy thoughts is the equivalent to practical medical care.

In an RN to BSN bridge program I’m sure you’re learning all about catheters, wound care and some jumbled Latin, but there are new treatments and trends at every corner.

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