BSN Nurses are Taking Over the World

December 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Well, maybe BSN nurses aren’t taking over the world, but they are sure going back to school in droves and making a difference in countless patient lives. The word is out that there is a nursing shortage and many are heeding the call to help those with ailing health. Now more than ever is the best time to enter an RN to BSN bridge program.

Elizabeth G. Olson, contributor for CNN.com, reports about the amazing comeback the nursing profession is having and that higher education is the key to getting the prime job positions. “In the last decade, the number of young people (most of them women) between 23 and 26 years old to enter the field jumped by 62%, says David Auerbach, a health economist at RAND Health in Boston… Currently, those who earn a nursing baccalaureate — meaning four years of college — have more than a 60% hiring rate at graduation, which is almost 2.5 times the rate of general college graduate hiring, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

The bottom line is that with the Affordable Health Care Act in process to include those who haven’t previously been insured and with Baby Boomers entering their senior years, there is a huge number of nurses that are going to be needed in the very near future. More importantly for the nursing student, hospitals are hiring. Olson writes, “Last year, 55,000 qualified applicants were turned away from entry-level baccalaureate programs, up from 16,000 in 2003, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. That occurred despite a hike in the number of educational slots in the past decade, to 65,000 last year, compared to 45,000 in 2000.”

Furthermore “in a January 2011 report on the future of nurses, the Institute of Medicine urges that nursing education needs to be reformed to reach the goal of 80% of four-year degreed nurses. More also should attain masters and doctorate degrees, to improve patient care and ‘to succeed in this complex and evolving health care system,’ the study recommends.”

It is obvious that now is the time to pursue an online BSN degree. Patient needs are increasing, patient numbers are increasing and more hospitals are hiring nurses with a higher education. BSN nurses, now is your time to thrive!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/12/28/nursing-makes-a-comeback-just-in-time/?section=magazines_fortune

Latex Gloves Aren’t Impenetrable; Hand Washing is Vital

December 28, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Latex gloves are as much of a part of a nurses’ uniform as wearing comfortable scrubs and white tennis shoes. They feel like an impenetrable wall between you and the germs and fluids that may make you terribly ill. However, this false security is causing many patients to contract infections. Here is what students in an RN to BSN college should know about wearing Latex gloves.

On Nurse.com there was an interesting report about a study that was performed in the U.K. pertaining to Latex glove and medical staff hand hygiene. It was found that many workers assumed that since they were wearing gloves they did not need to wash their hands before or after contact with a patient.

“Although gloves can reduce the number of germs transmitted to the hands, germs can sometimes still get through latex. Hands can also be contaminated by ‘back spray’ when gloves are removed after contact with body fluids,” states the report.

“British researchers, led by Sheldon Stone, MD, of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, observed more than 7,000 patient contacts in 56 ICUs and geriatric care units in 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, making this one of the largest and most detailed studies on gloves and their impact on hand hygiene.

“Overall, the study found that hand hygiene compliance was ‘disappointingly low’ at just 47.7%. Compliance was even lower in instances where gloves were worn, dipping to just over 41%.”

Today my daughter has a routine doctor’s appointment and I’m going to closely watch whether the medical staff washes their hands before and after they examine her. I think the hard part as a patient is speaking up, though. If they don’t wash their hands, I would feel really uncomfortable requesting that they do so. My daughter is getting a flu shot also and I know the Medical Assistant snaps her gloves on, but I don’t recall ever seeing her wash her hands after administering the other vaccinations from past visits.

As a BSN nurse there are many aspects of the job that are important to review to make sure that you not only keep your patients healthy, but yourself. Proper hygiene is so important and although latex gloves may protect you to a certain extent and hand sanitizers can kill a lot of germs, nothing can replace proper hand washing.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://news.nurse.com/article/20111106/OR02/311060005

Partnership for Patients Initiative to Improve Patient Care

December 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

One of the best ways to study is with a fellow nursing student to share experiences, knowledge and accountability. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is doing something similar by having bigger hospitals with high patient care ratings share their methods for success with struggling hospitals. This could create better working environments and safer procedures for nurses getting their online RN to BSN degree.

On NurseZone.com it was reported that, “As a part of the Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide public-private collaboration to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans, $218 million will go to 26 state, regional, national, or hospital system organizations. As Hospital Engagement Networks, these organizations will help identify solutions already working to reduce healthcare acquired conditions, and work to spread them to other hospitals and health care providers.”

Hospitals in these “Engagement Networks” will “be required to conduct intensive training programs to teach and support hospitals in making patient care safer, provide technical assistance to hospitals so that hospitals can achieve quality measurement goals, and establish and implement a system to track and monitor hospital progress in meeting quality improvement goals,” states the website.

I think it’s great for hospitals to collaborate so that each one doesn’t have to spend time or money and risk patient health and nurses’ sanity to find out what works and what doesn’t. However, I didn’t see any comments as to how to the weaker hospitals are chosen or whether or not the hospitals being helped are in low income areas. I bring this up because I think it’s easier for a large, profitable hospital located in an affluent area to have a lower patient readmission rate and greater success due to patient education, safer neighborhoods and healthier personal bank accounts. Will success at one of these hospitals equal success at a hospital serving primarily seniors or low income individuals? (Or maybe I’m just a cynic…)

This program boasts that “Achieving the Partnership for Patients’ objectives would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients in the hospital, saving over 60,000 lives over three years, and would mean more than 1.6 million patients to recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization.”

Going to an RN to BSN college means that there will always be new procedures to learn, new skills to employ and new strategies to be educated in. It will be interesting to see if this one sticks and reaches it’s goals.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://nursezone.com/Nursing-News-Events/more-news/Partnership-for-Patients-Initiative-to-Improve-Hospital-Care_38726.aspx

How to Survive Working on Christmas

December 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm

No one wants to work on Christmas Day (well, except maybe Santa but that’s just in the early morning.) It can be really depressing having to get up early to go to work knowing you’re missing all the festivities at home. When you have your BSN degree, sometimes working holidays is just part of the job. Here is how my family deals with working holidays.

1) Celebrate on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas Day – My husband is a nurse and unfortunately this is his weekend to work. Over the years we’ve learned that this is the nature of his job so my pouting and sadness have been thrown out long ago with the dead, brittle Christmas trees. On December 23 we are celebrating the holiday with his side of the family. For Christmas Eve after work we are going to church, we’ll pick up a to go dinner and then open all of our gifts. Christmas morning my daughter and I are going to go to my sister’s house in our pajamas to open a few more gifts and have a nice brunch. After my husband gets off work we are going to go to my parents’ house for a delicious meal. Yep, it takes a lot more work and planning, but he won’t miss out on a thing. (And it certainly helps that our families are in driving distance.)

2) Make it special for your co-workers – Your fellow nurses want to be there about as much as you do. I’ve made three trays of Christmas cookies for each of the nursing shifts to share. It’s not much, but it’s something! I also made homemade jam from our peach tree over the summer and wrapped it with a cute kitchen towel for my husband to pass out at work. (Okay, so not everyone makes homemade jam and cookies, especially when they are in nursing school and working. These are just ideas….)

3) Make it special for your patients – Your patients want to be there about as much as you do. Although you won’t be handing them sugary treats or little gifts, your smile and cheerful attitude probably mean more than these trinkets. Dress in brightly colored scrubs or put on a stupid button with Rudolph’s light up nose. Ask them what their favorite Christmas movie is. A little cheer goes a long way.

Being a nurse sometimes means having to sacrifice, but your attitude makes all the difference. Graduating from an RN to BSN bridge program may mean that you have to work some holidays, but you can bring a little bit of joy to patients stuck in a hospital bed. You just may be their best gift.

Are Strikes Necessary in the Nursing World?

December 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

As another huge nursing strike is pending in California, it has me wondering if past strikes have made much progress. It seems like contracts are always in negotiations and that both management and staff have difficulty on coming to a mutual agreement. Is this the tide that nurses with an RN to BSN degree have to ride through the duration of their career?

In Southern California and San Francisco, approximately 6,000 nurses are planning a walk out on December 22, 2011 unless an agreement can be made. Carole Ditosti sums it up nicely on Technorati.com: “The problem for the nurses: staffing shortage strains, increased burdens, decreased health benefits. The problem for the hospitals: Medicare and Medicaid cuts, pressures to cut costs because of changes in health care financing. The problem for patients: how not to get sick during the walk out, and if one does become ill, how to select another hospital that doesn’t seem to be impacted, even though hospitals are reportedly contracting for strike-replacements at double the wages usually paid.”

My husband works for the county as a nurse and this week we were also given a bomb: 2% paycuts, we’d have to pay an additional $200 to $300 for our medical insurance and the state is no longer contributing to retirement funds. Ouch! Now one of these issues wouldn’t hit so hard, but combine all three with the cuts from last year and now it’s starting to really hurt. No strikes are planned at my husband’s work, but the nurses are getting increasingly frustrated. I can understand that the state is in a financial crisis and needs to make cuts in many areas, but hurting hard working individuals who are struggling to make it doesn’t seem like the best solution (and on a side note, neither does cutting funds for education and law enforcement.)

Ditosti also presents some scary statistics about when nurses go on strikes. “A recent study (for the National Bureau of Economic Research) of 50 nurses’ strikes in New York State between 1984 and 2004 showed that patient mortality was almost 20 percent higher during the strikes. To extrapolate in understandable numbers, for every 280 people admitted during the strike, one more person died than would have if there had been no strike. And of the people who were admitted, initially, 6.5 percent were more likely to come back and be readmitted within 30 days because they weren’t completely healed.”

So are strikes really necessary and will nurses with an online RN to BSN degree always have to battle management? Well, it sure seems that way. But with every job you have to take the good with the bad, and nursing is an amazing and fulfilling career to help others who desperately need you care.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://technorati.com/women/article/if-nurses-walk-out-will-hospital1/

A Year in Review: A Patient’s Point-of-View

December 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm

This has been one crazy year for my family. From a patient’s point-of-view, we’ve had more surgeries, doctor’s visits and physical therapy appointments then all the previous years combined. With my husband being a nurse, we’ve also seen a lot of changes this year and there are plenty more coming in 2012. This is what I’ve learned from both sides of the hospital gown and I hope it helps students in an RN to BSN program gain another perspective on the medical field.

2011 was a tough one on my family. In February my middle sister had a breast reduction, in May my mom had wrist surgery, in June my daughter had corrective ear surgery, in July my nephew had rods put in his leg to lengthen his bones and in September my oldest sister had gastric bypass surgery. Needless to say, their experiences and recovery times were as various as the procedures themselves.

I must say that the hardest part of this year was dealing with my nephew and his leg surgery. What was supposed to consist of two operations and three months of wheelchair time and recovery has taken over seven months and five operations. Between multiple infections, not cutting the rods properly, a fractured bone and misinformation, this poor 11 year old has been through the ringer. He was at a nationally renowned hospital with the country’s best children’s orthopedic surgeon, and yet I was surprised at how bad the care and communication was.

As a patient (and patients’ family member), this year I’ve learned to be more patient, more grateful and more understanding of what nurses go through. Though my nephew had a bad experience, the rest of us had amazing care and capable, skilled nurses to attend to our various needs. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this on this blog over the year, but the experiences and opportunities for nurses are as varied as the specialties they pursue. For example, a crowded children’s hospital is going to be a lot more stressful and demanding than a small outpatient clinic.

From a nurses’ perspective, this has been a challenging year. My husband is a nurse at a county detention facility and limited overtime, benefit cutbacks and pay cuts are here with more on the horizon. I’m so grateful he has a job, but I’m encouraging (aka nagging) him to get his BSN so the cuts won’t be quite so painful.

With all the trials and ups and downs of this year, we’ve come out stronger and more appreciative for our health, each other and the quality care that is available to us. Our country has the best nurses and the best care in the world and it’s amazing RN and BSN nurses that make our medical system strong. Thank you for making a difference!!!

New Nurses Tend to Stick Close to Home

December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I’m a homebody. I live about five miles from my childhood home, my parents and sisters live within 20 minutes of my house, and I’ve been attending the same church for 23 years. Apparently I’m not alone in digging roots in one area. Many students in an RN to BSN nursing program like to do the same.

Reporter Gretchen Wright discusses in the Kern Valley Sun some amazing statistics on the mobility of new nurses in a study conducted by the RN Work Project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “More than half (52.5 percent) of newly licensed RNs work within 40 miles of where they attended high school. Even more nurses reported working in the same state in which they attended high school. Nearly four in five (78.7 percent) of the nurses surveyed who held associate’s degrees and more than three in four (76.8 percent) of those with bachelor’s degrees practiced in the state they had attended high school.”

For rural areas, areas that don’t provide nursing programs, and those communities that don’t have many students who want to enter a nursing program, this can cause a serious shortage. “Given the strong tendency for nurses to practice close to where they attended nursing school and to attend nursing school near where they graduated high school, it’s not surprising that parts of the country with few or no schools of nursing are struggling to find nurses,” said Christine Kovner, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at the College of Nursing, New York University. “We did not investigate the reasons for nurses’ lack of mobility, but this reality suggests that more needs to be done in areas with few nursing schools in order to meet the health care needs of those communities.”

Fortunately, there are some great online RN to BSN programs that students can enroll in regardless of where they live. With the convenience of working from home and around busy work and family schedules, this is a viable option for many students. Many offer financial advice and support while providing an education equal to more traditional schools.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://www.kvsun.com/articles/2011/12/13/news/doc4ee7ccbe7aabf603819749.txt

The Well Rested Nurse

December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I’ve decided to continue with this theme of “Nurse Health” that I started last Friday. After reading about nurses facing burnout and not getting enough sleep, I realized that this is a real problem for many people. If you can’t take care of yourself, it makes it that much harder to care for others. As a nursing student in an accredited online RN to BSN program, you may need this information more than anyone!

With the demands of life seeming to increase and with only 24 hours in the day, how in the world can anyone possibly get everything done on their to do list? There are so many things to do from maintaining a family and household to caring for patients on your ward to Christmas shopping and delivering gifts, slowly the time for sleep keeps getting pushed back later and later. If you’re not getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you’re going to pay for it during the day.

I thought it interesting that the Sleep Foundation found that between 1952 and 1992, the average middle aged adult decreased their hours of sleep from 8-9 hours to 7-8 hours per night. Currently, about 30% of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per night. The study also found that if you get less than 4 hours of sleep over 1 to 2 nights, heart rate and blood pressure increase, hunger increases, and the risk for hypertension increases.

So how do you ensure that you’ll get a good night’s sleep and avoid additional health issues (not to mention irritability and hindered cognitive performance)? Marijke Durning provides some valuable tips on ScrubsMag.com: Develop a bed time routine and be consistent, don’t eat two hours before bedtime, exercise early in the day, check your medications to see if they will cause wakefulness, don’t bring work into the bedroom, make sure your room isn’t too hot or cold, and adjust your bedding or get ear plugs if you have a partner who has a different sleeping temperature or snores loud enough to rattle the windows. I would also like to add that noisy puppies and kids in the bed are also not conducive to REM sleep.

As a student in an RN to BSN nursing program, you have a lot of things on your plate. Feeling well rested and well prepared are probably the best things you can do for yourself and for a successful future.

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit
http://scrubsmag.com/top-ten-sleep-tips-for-nurses/
and
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/white-papers/how-much-sleep-do-adults-need

Avoiding Burnout on the Job

December 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

In my last post I wrote about how a lot of nurses are facing job burnout and I can’t seem to get that out of my head. With the proper planning, attitude and care of self, so many people could avoid those feelings of desperation and exhaustion. Here are some ways to prevent burnout when you get your RN to BSN degree:

1) Research where you work – I mentioned this in my last post but I think it still deserves a top spot. We all have bad days and have to deal with tough circumstances, but it helps to avoid a bad environment from the get go. Get a realistic perspective on the place and the patients you’ll be working with before you apply for the job. Research on the internet what people have to say about the hospital and ask friends and family members if they know anyone employed there that you can talk to. Is the management good? Are the nurses constantly deciding whether or not to go on strike? Is the hospital clean and organized? These are all clear signs for your future happiness.

2) Get plenty of rest – Okay, so as a nursing student you are probably running on fumes most of the time as you try to juggle studying, a job, taking care of a family and just reading your e-mail. However, I think that being tired is one of the biggest impacts on our attitude. When you’re tired you can’t think clearly and problems seem to be bigger than they really are. When you wake up refreshed, it’s much easier to face the day.

3) Balance – In my opinion, families are way too busy these days. Kids are in ten activities and parents are shuttling them from here to there like a cat chases a mouse. Plus with the holidays coming up there are a bunch of new tasks to fulfill like shopping , wrapping gifts, sending out 50 Christmas cards, baking endless amounts of cookies, etc. Choose what’s most important and prioritize what really matters. When you’re overextended and have a list ten miles long of things to do, you feel defeated before you’ve even started.

4) Focus on the positive – When you’re well rested and not burdened with a ton of outside demands, it is so much easier to focus on the positive. “I have a job… I’ve been able to make a difference in people’s lives… I have great people I work with…” Perspective makes all the difference.

5) Take time for you – Use those vacation days to relax! Do fun activities. Leave work behind those sliding glass doors.

Burnout is something that just about everyone faces in every career. It’s how you deal with those lows and take life one day at a time that gets you through them. You’re getting an online RN to BSN degree to fulfill your dream. Hopefully these steps can help you have a happy career.

Nurses Around the World are Facing Burnout

December 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

We all have those mornings when the alarm goes off, we hit snooze, pull the covers over our head and pray that time would stop just so we could recharge a little. The thought of crawling out of bed, fighting traffic and battling another long day at work can feel completely overwhelming and daunting. Trust me, you are not alone! Rarely does anyone pop out of bed like a piece of bread out of the toaster ready and rearing to go to their place of employment. However, it seems like nurses around the world have a tougher time facing the day with the demands and stresses of their jobs. As a student in a BSN degree program, it’s important to learn from the get go how to handle the pressures of work to prevent burnout.

There was a new study in which the results were posted in a press release that states that many nurses around the world are suffering from job burnout. The study was conducted by the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research which interviewed 100,000 nurses in nine countries.

“The percentage of nurses reporting high burnout was over a third in most countries and decidedly higher in South Korea and Japan, near 60 percent in both countries,” said lead author Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, director of the Center of Health Outcomes and Policy Research at Penn Nursing. “Job dissatisfaction varied from 17 percent in Germany to around a third of nurses in most countries and a high of 60 percent dissatisfied in Japan. Almost half of nurses in all countries, except in Germany, and many more than half of the nurses in a few of the countries, lacked confidence that patients could manage their care after discharge,” said Dr. Aiken.

So how can you avoid becoming one of the dissatisfied masses? Well, I think finding the right place of employment is key. If you research a variety of hospitals to work at and most of the employees look dower, the chances are they are unhappy and you will be too. Ask other nurses if they like their place of employment, if they have reasonable people in management and if they get along with their co-workers. The study shows that, “Hospitals with better work environments had lower burnout, lower likelihood of job dissatisfaction and a decrease in reports of little or no confidence in discharge readiness of patients.”

I can’t help but notice that the countries with the highest burnout and lowest nurse satisfaction rates do NOT include the United States. Fortunately we have strict nurse to patient ratios, better benefits and more options for recovering patients.

Prevention is key to avoiding burnout and knowing what to look for is vital for students in an accelerated RN to BSN program.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/uops-tkn120811.php