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

Nursing Shortage Still Looming

December 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

The nursing shortage is not a new issue or new story by any means. We all know that Baby Boomers make up almost 25% of the population and as they age, more medical care is going to be needed. Also with health care reform pending, more patients may be served. Finally, technology and new medications are keeping people alive longer which causes patients to require more medical attention. With these growing numbers, those in an accredited online RN to BSN program are going to continue to be in high demand.

JoAnne Young writes in the Lincoln Star Journal about the nursing shortage in Nebraska and how that state is planning on addressing this issue. Although this article is focused on one individual state, by no means is this just a Nebraska issue and their solutions are applicable across the nation.

“A Tuesday hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services and Appropriations committees was part of an interim study (LR285) on what to do about the nursing shortage, which threatens to worsen over the decade,” writes Young. “There are ways the state can help to alleviate the shortage, said Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad, who sponsored the study… Solutions include recruiting and retaining nursing professors, addressing infrastructure needs, improving access in rural and underserved areas and addressing health care reform issues.”

A lack of educators still is one of the main problems that contributes to the nursing shortage. In higher education institutions across the nation thousands of nursing students are being turned away because universities can’t supply professors to meet the demand. However, online programs are going strong and are a viable option to those who are turned away from a traditional program or need a more flexible schedule to fit into their life.

Young explains that having adequate medical care is vital. “Sebastian said researchers have found the ratio of nurses to patients is related to quality of care, patient mortality, hospital infections and falls, and the ability to save a hospitalized patient’s life when he or she experiences a complication.”

Students getting an RN to BSN degree are in high demand and the need seems to be getting stronger. While many are being laid off in this precarious economy, nurses are one of the few career options that is thriving.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit
http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/state-still-grappling-with-nursing-shortage/article_bbdc14db-2e21-5c30-9cbd-6bcd9aaeb8fb.html

National Nurses Week Brings Attention to Nursing Shortage

May 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Happy National Nurses Week! May 6 -12 this year is when nurses are honored and many hospitals have celebrated the workers that help so many people. It is also a time when we realize how hard nurses work and that the nursing shortage continues to be a problem.

I know, I think I’ve written about 10 posts about the nursing shortage, but there are a bunch of conflicting reports out there about this topic. If I was an RN to BSN student, I would definitely want to know that there will be a job waiting for me once I grab that degree. According to the Sacramento Bee and reporter Suzanne Gordon, there will be.

Gordon writes that, “To cut their budgets, most hospitals are not hiring enough nurses to adequately care for the kind of intensely sick patients that fill so many hospital beds today. These patients may not be getting the attention they need because nurses are assigned so many patients – six to eight on the day shift, and nine or maybe even more at night. (The optimal ratio is one nurse per four patients on medical-surgical units.) What’s more, hospital hiring policies are plugging the pipeline, as few hospitals are hiring newly minted registered nurses today. All over the country, they are reporting difficulty finding jobs, as hospitals seek out experienced nurses to cover the heavy patient load.

“This creates a patient care Catch-22. If hospitals won’t hire new graduates, they can’t get experience. And if they can’t get experience, there will be no one left to hire when the experienced nurses leave their positions. Since the average age of a registered nurse is 47, a lot of nurses will be retiring in a few years, no matter how bad the economy is.

“To make matters worse, hospitals, to save money, are not expeditiously filling positions left vacant when a registered nurse quits or retires. As one nurse manager at a major hospital in the Northeast told me, ‘They won’t allow us to fill a position once we know someone is leaving. We can only fill it when they’ve left. Then it can take up to a year to go through the search and paperwork to get someone in that position. So we’re working short for an entire year.’ These practices are bound to produce another catastrophic nursing shortage in only a few years.”

So yes, the nursing shortage still seems to be on the rise and in a few years hospital policies are going to have to change to accommodate this growing need. Those in an RN to BSN completion program today will have to fill in the gaps.

Obama’s Plan for Nurses

April 15, 2011 at 4:31 am

Many people considering nursing as a career are often deterred by the cost of school, particularly RN-BSN programs which tend to be longer and thus more expensive than other RN programs.  We’ve gone over the benefits of going the RN-BSN route in previous posts, and with Obama’s 2012 budget request, we can feel more (financially) secure about actually going.

Back in February we posted that we can expect more federal dollars for nursing education, here are some more details on the budget request:

On February 14, President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Request, which includes funding for critical nursing education and research programs. The new budget request shows the administration’s commitment to nursing by increasing the funding for the Nursing Workforce Development Programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act) and Nurse Managed Health Clinics to $333 million.  Additionally, the President’s request included a modest increase over the FY 2010 level for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), totaling $148 million, which will support NINR’s mission to advance nursing science and translate innovations into improved patient care.

And he’s doing this in the midst of major fiscal constraints.  This is because the demand for healthcare is higher than ever and cannot be denied.  One way to deal with meeting the need for healthcare is by increasing the workforce.  As we know, and reiterate over and over, there’s a definite shortage of nurses and this is finally being addressed at the national level.

In his budget, the President stated:

“Strengthening the primary care workforce is critical to reforming the Nation’s healthcare system. Increasing access to primary care health providers can help prevent disease and illness, ensure all Americans have access to high quality care, and reduce costs by decreasing the need for more invasive treatment that could have been prevented through early care. To increase access to this type of care, the Administration provides increased resources for primary care training and support for health care providers who choose to enter primary care in medically underserved areas. In total, the Budget includes investments that will help train more than 4,000 primary care providers estimated to enter the workforce over the next five years.”

Great news, yes?  However, we still have a year to see how the budget will pan out.  We know we’re up against some major opposition looking to crush any possibility of healthcare reform, but this recent budget request shows that we’ve got a fighting force on our side.

For more information on Obama’s budget request, visit: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Media/NewsReleases/2011/FY12Budget.html

Nurse Job Postings Outnumber Job Seekers

April 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Okay, I know. I’ve posted quit a few articles about how nurses are in demand and that there are more jobs than nurses out there. Can I help it if there are continually new studies to prove this point? If you are in an RN to BSN program or are considering this option, here is some new information that should make you feel really good about your career choices.

On Healthleadersmedia.com, reporter John Commins writes about the recently released statistics in The Conference Board Help Wanted Online report. “Labor demand for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations grew by 3,700 in March to 603,800. Healthcare support positions posted 4,400 new listings to 143,500 in March, with the primary demand coming for physical therapist assistants, home health aides, nursing aides, and medical assistants, The Conference Board reports.”

“In January, The Conference Board reported 78,500 new listings for healthcare practitioners and technicians, and 16,600 new ads for healthcare support jobs, as healthcare jobs led a strong first month of 2011. However, February saw online job ads for practitioners and technical occupations drop by 4,300 owing largely to decreases in advertised vacancies for registered nurses and occupational and physical therapists, while support positions posted a decrease of 4,200.”

While job postings dropped in February, there was substantial growth in March. “In the overall economy, online advertised vacancies rose 208,800 in March to 4.4 million, which brought the gain in labor demand for the first quarter of 2011 to more than 600,000.”

Across the board, health care jobs have been on the rise and are projected to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages and the government plans to implement more agencies to aid the poor and uninsured.

“Thus far in 2011, labor demand is looking strong,” says June Shelp, vice president at The Conference Board. “In the first quarter of 2011, the monthly increase in advertised vacancies has averaged about 200,000/month. That’s good news after the overall anemic growth in labor demand over the last 11 months of 2010. In March, almost half of the advertised vacancies were new ads that were not there the previous month (new ads up 98,200). This is a further positive sign that employers are continuing to look for workers.”

If you are looking to further your education, consider an online RN to BSN nursing program. With job openings on the rise and the health care industry going strong, this may be the opportunity that you are looking for!

To read the complete article referenced in this post, you can visit http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/content/PHY-264334/Healthcare-Job-Postings-Outnumber-Seekers

The Push for More BSNs

March 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Some believe that requiring four-year undergraduate degrees to practice as an RN is a necessary move in order to a have more informed, higher skilled nursing work force.  Canada, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Iceland, Korea, Greece, and the Philippines are just some of the countries that have this requirement.  States across the country are taking this into consideration.  As many as 18 states are working on initiatives that will require recent RN graduates to obtain a BSN in order to have their licensure.

There have been laws in the past that have required all hired nurses to possess baccalaureate degrees but were repealed because of opposition from various factions citing a nursing shortage.  Some argue that requiring all nurses to have a BSN will further contribute to the shortage as fewer people will be eligible to practice nursing, also that other, often undervalued programs such as LVNs*, ADNs*, and CNAs* sometimes produce better nurses than do BSNs who tend to have less on the job experience.

However, competency in the healthcare industry is an issue that needs to be dealt with and given attention.  Pamela Brown, RN, PhD, president, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, in Quincy, Ill., states that research shows that “There are better patient outcomes when patients are cared for by nurses with a BSN.”

Brown is referring to the landmark 2003 study to which executed by University of Pennsylvania professor Linda Aiken, RN, PhD. The study noted that the death rates of surgical patients at Pennsylvania hospitals where less than 10% of the RNs held bachelor’s degrees were nearly twice that of hospitals where more than 70% did. The researchers concluded that recruiting nurses from bachelor’s degree programs rather than two-year associate degree programs could lead to substantial improvements in care.

However, legislation isn’t necessary to make this push this initiative into reality.  Already this change is taking place as an increasing number of hospitals are choosing to hire nurses with BSNs and higher education over those who do not.  Some predict that other hospitals across the country will follow suit, regardless of whether legislation passes, just to remain competitive.

The problem, of course, is what will become of diploma and ADN holders who will be overlooked in the hiring process when up against BSN holders.  There needs to be more collaborative work between academic programs and the nursing industry in order to create a system that will benefit healthcare in the best way possible.

*LVN stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse
*AND stand for Associates in Nursing Degree
*CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant

For more information on this issue, please visit: Nurse.com and NurseWeek.

Current Health Care Trends Part II

March 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

On Monday I posted Part I of this article and today I am continuing with the second half. Here are items 6 -10.There is some information that I think RNs to BSNs would find helpful as you enter into a new phase in your career. I hope you find them as interesting as I do!

  • On-call pay has increased in half of hospitals. – “The survey looked at data from 148 healthcare organizations nationwide. From 2007-2010, the median on-call expenditures reported by trauma centers more than doubled, from $1.2 million in 2007 to $2.4 million in 2010. For non-trauma centers, expenditures in 2007 were $433,849, compared to $798,000 in 2010.”
  • Nurse provider shortage decreases – More nurses are delaying retirement or those who have retired are returning to the profession due to economic hardships.

It will be interesting to see if these trends continue and how they will affect those in an RN to BSN program. The healthcare industry is ever changing!

To read the complete article referenced in this post, you can visit
http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-financial-and-business-news/10-current-healthcare-employment-and-compensation-trends.html

RNs and BSNs Wanted: Nursing is Reaching Dangerous Shortage

March 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm

This past week I have come across a ton of articles proclaiming the nursing shortage of RNs and BSNs which is in effect and getting worse. This information is not new, but the New England Journal of Medicine has recently published some new statistics that may interest you.

According to this newly published study, the ratio of nurses is directly related to patient safety and therefore a shortage of nurses causes an increase of patient mortality. HealthCMI.com reports that, “An examination of nearly 200,000 nursing shifts showed that staffing of ‘RN’s below target levels’ is directly and causally related to increased patient mortality… Cost cutting techniques involve reducing the number of nurses in hospitals and medical clinics. The release of this data now links cost cutting techniques with increased death rates.” Surprising? No. Scary? You bet!

There are several factors that contribute to dangers in a low nurse to patient ratio. “In one finding, understaffing of nurses leads to inappropriate and dangerous levels of patient transfers and discharges. The study also concludes that nursing shortages are directly linked to higher nursing shift turnover rates. The study concluded the risk of death increased 2% for patients exposed to shifts below target RN staffing levels. The average patient was exposed to 3 nursing shifts below target levels thereby creating a 6% higher risk of death. High turnovers of nursing shifts resulted in a 4% higher death rate.”

As I was looking at the data, the percentages are quite low: 2%, 4%, 6%…. there is still an increased risk, but 2% doesn’t seem that big of a deal…. That is, until I thought “What if I was in that 2%?” Any increased risk can be monumental when you are your loved one are involved.

These statistics are quite important to those who are RNs or are in an RN to BSN program. Jobs are available and nurses are needed, but cutbacks may mean less shifts are being offered. Another important thing to consider is the increased workload; there is no room for brain lapses or minor mistakes. With more shift turnovers and less staff, nurses have to always be at the top of their game to ensure premium patient care.

To read the full articles referenced in the above post, you can visit
http://www.healthcmi.com/index.php/nursingceus/363-nursingshortagesdangerousnewresearch
and
http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsa1001025

Higher Education Addresses Shortage of RNs and BSNs

March 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm

          Universities in Maryland are addressing two major trends in the nursing profession: a large amount of current nurses are on the cusp of retirement and with the new health care reform bill, a large population will have medical coverage that did not before. Through increasing the number of their programs and making a degree more accessible, Maryland is starting a trend to help equip future nurses to enter the medical field.
          Andrea K. Walker, reporter for The Baltimore Sun, stated that “U.S. nursing schools turned away 54,991 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2009, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Area college officials say they do have plenty of applicants but are limited in how many students they can accept because of the small size of their programs.” Lack of educators is a major factor in the nursing shortage across the nation.
          With the aging population and President Obama’s new health care reform bill, “nationally more than 1 million new nurses will be needed to replace those leaving the profession and to serve the growing number of people expected to need medical care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics” reports Walker. Also, the federal Division of Nursing in the Department of Health and Human Resources claims that the average age for nurses to retire was 46 in 2008.
          Furthering education is another difficulty that RNs to BSNs face. Walker observes that “some of the new nursing programs are adopting curriculum models to better accommodate students. Many nurses find it difficult to go back to school once they have started working in the profession, health experts said. Their shift-work hours can make it hard to take classes, or like anyone else, they get caught up with the constraints of everyday life.” But there are other options and many schools are working hard at making a career in nursing more accessible.
         

For more information, please go to:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-bz-nursing-programs-20101219,0,2407642.story

What to Expect with Health Care Reform

February 22, 2011 at 3:08 am

Okay, I admit it: Health Care Reform scares me. When something seems too good to be true, it probably is, right? Plus I wonder where all of this funding is going to come from to make all of these wonderful changes. Now I’m not completely opposed to change, but in this day and age where it feels like the economy is balancing on thin ice, anything involving government has only my partial support and full guard up. Fortunately, Jennifer Larson on nursezone.com wrote a detailed article addressing this issue. She explains some of the controversies and what to expect in 2011.

Larson lists that some of the major changes we can see this year are:
• Subsidies and drug discounts to help close the Medicare coverage gap;
• Grants for states to establish health insurance exchanges;
• Increased premiums for higher-income Medicare beneficiaries;
• Establishment of medical-loss ratios for health plans, which will require that 85 percent of premiums collected by companies for large employer plans be spent on health care and quality improvement (and 80 percent for individual and small employee plans).”

For those that are in  LVN programs, RN programs or in a RN to BSN course, there are many changes which will impact the future of nursing. “The provisions to develop, educate and expand the nursing workforce are often cited, but there are other provisions that will affect the nursing workforce that are notable, too. Jan Towers, Ph.D., CRNP, federal director of health policy and professional affairs for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, noted there may also be more opportunities for nurse practitioners to make major contributions. ‘There are a lot of provisions in there for our patients and for nurse practitioners to be able to function more fully at their full scope. There are many things in it that we don’t want to lose.’”

There are some challenges and difficulties with this bill. “Two significant provisions with a 2014 implementation deadline have been controversial: the establishment of health insurance exchanges to offer insurance to people whose employers don’t offer insurance, and the requirement for people to buy basic health insurance, unless affordable coverage is unavailable, or face a tax penalty.”

Increasing health care availability also will increase the need for nurses in a shortage that is already taxing hospitals. The best thing to do is to wait and see how this will all pan out. Regardless, the future of nursing is going strong!

For more information, please go to:
http://www.nursezone.com/Nursing-News-Events/more-news/Health-Reform-Implementation-Underway_36294.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NursezonecomNursingNews+%28NurseZone.com+Nursing+News%29