Health Coaches New Role for Nurses

January 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

The longer I write this blog, the more amazed I am at the variety of options there are out there for nurses with an RN to BSN degree. I’ve come across a ton of specialties from oncology to pediatrics to gerontology to insurance advisors and now there is a new one that has caught my interest: health coaches. I believe that there literally is a niche in nursing for every personality type and lifestyle. What other occupation can boast of that?!?

On there was an interesting article distributed by the Associated Press that highlights the new position of health coach. There is a nonprofit organization called Femtique Associates Inc. which was started by Judith Beaulieu. This Web-based company, headquartered in Coatesville,PA offers health coaching and patient navigation services provided by registered nurses.

“While physician care is important in diagnosing medical issues, some people also need a different kind of help to address the lifestyle changes that go along with them. Some of the lifestyle changing issues that might spark women to contact Femtique include pregnancy, post-partum depression and breast feeding. Medical conditions that motivate lifestyle changes such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attack might also be addressed, as well as weight loss and addictions.”

The focus is truly on lifestyle changes. “You’re not a patient. You’re a client to us. You’re a person looking for a lifestyle change,” Beaulieu said.

This option would be great for a nurse who wants to avoid the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital or chooses a more preventative approach to health care.

These nurses are specifically assigned to a particular patient; the patient first contacts the organization through their website, explains their concerns, and a nurse then contacts the individual online or with a phone call armed with a written out plan for their issue. “The health coach works with the client to identify their goals, and then helps them make the lifestyle changes they need to meet them.”

With all of the options available to students in an online RN to BSN program, I can see why nurses continue to be in high demand. The role of nurses is ever evolving and the specialties that are available and are being created are vast. The possibilities seem limitless!

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

Spotlight on Forensic Nurses Week

November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

This week is Forensic Nurses Week so I thought I’d take a minute to highlight this intense and incredible nursing specialty. Each nursing specialty requires a distinct personality and the different positions available can accommodate a variety of schedules. Those in an online RN to BSN nursing program have many options to choose from when deciding on a career path to pursue.

It obviously takes a very special person to works as a forensic nurse. Quite frankly, I know that this would be beyond my emotional capabilities. Death, abuse and injuries are difficult to handle as a nurse caring for patients, but facing the uglier side of humanity on a daily basis is something that I could not face. I think that is one reason why nursing is so amazing: there seems to be a job for every type of person.

Last Friday the Sacramento Bee published an article from the International Association of Forensic Nurses which describes what these nurses do and why this occupation is so important. “Forensic Nurses are present to provide care in hospitals, clinics, jails and community settings around the world. Forensic Nurses are nurses with advanced education and training, giving them the skills to deal with the immediate health care consequences of violence.”

“The World Health Organization reports more than 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence each year and many, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems. ‘WHO reminds us that violence places a huge burden on national economies, costing countries billions each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity,’ said Eileen Allen, president of IAFN. ‘The 3000 members of IAFN work alongside fellow nurses and other professionals in more than 25 countries worldwide to address all aspects of violence including prevention, intervention and reduction of further harm.’”

I applaud those who are forensic nurses and who are making the difference in countless lives. I can’t imagine being a patient in one of these situations, but I do know that how the nurses respond will aid in the emotional and physical healing process. Compassion, strength and the ability to separate your professional life from your personal life are probably three of the most vital skills you need to possess.

As a student in an RN to BSN college, the opportunities that you have when you graduate are vast. There is sure to be a great career out there to suit your personality and skill level.

To read the complete article 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

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.

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

Top Paying Nursing Specialties

August 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’ve been focusing on nursing specialties lately but it’s because the options seem to be endless. From neonatal care to oncology, nursing offers a plethora of options to fulfill many interests. While getting your online BSN degree, this is one of the most fun and stressful decisions to make.

Money may make the world go round, but it won’t be much fun unless you love what you do. Nursing is a calling and a passion, not just a paycheck. However, I thought it would be interesting to explore interesting niche areas of nursing. On, contributing writer Debra Wood breaks down these high paying specialties.

Specialties that have a low number of experts such as otorhinolaryngology nurses who care for patients with airway management issues and reconstructive head and neck surgery get paid more. “Practice setting also makes a difference. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2010 that nurses in general medical and surgical hospitals earn a mean wage of $68,610, while nurses working in home health, nursing care facilities and outpatient clinics earn less, $63,850, $59,990 and $67,550 respectively. Nurses in specialty hospitals earn more, averaging $73,280 annually, and those in psychiatric hospitals a little less, at $65,600,” explains Webb.

There are also many opportunities opening up beyond the hospital doors. “Wendie A. Howland, RN-BC, MN, CRRN, CCM, CNLCP, NLCP-C, principal of Howland Health Consulting in Massachusetts, also has pursued a more independent practice as a certified nurse life care planner. She grossed about $120,000 last year, but knows of colleagues who earn in the $300,000 range. She prepares and reviews life care plans, estimating medical and nonmedical needs of people with a catastrophic injury or chronic illness over an estimated life span. Howland said that in addition to traditional nursing roles, many opportunities exist for nurses to positively affect the country’s health.”

Location can affects earning potential. Nursing who live in California average the highest wage and nurses in rural areas tend to make less. Nurses also need to factor in cost of living, commute time and stress to balance out the higher wages.

Regardless of what you choose, being in an accelerated RN to BSN program means that you are on the path to great opportunities. Do what you love and the rest will fall into place!

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

Having You Considered Becoming an Oncology Nurse?

August 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Cancer seems to touch just about everyone’s life. My grandmother battled breast cancer and a dear friend of mine passed away three years ago after a valiant attempt to defeat this illness. Oncology nurses are amazing people and a specialty that students in an accredited online RN to BSN program should consider.

I think some of the most dreaded words a patient can hear from a doctor is a diagnosis of cancer. Images of chemotherapy, weight loss, hair loss and immense pain come to mind in this life and death struggle. It takes an extra dose of strength and compassion for a nurse to choose this specialty.

On, writer Laura Raines interviewed several nurses in this field to “find out why they do it, how they deal with it and what they’ve learned in their jobs.”

Charlyn Lathem, RN, BSN, decided to become an oncology nurse when she was in her 40s and after her mother was diagnosed with a blood cancer. “Remembering how the oncology nurses could make her mother laugh and change her day for the better, Lathem is working toward always hitting the vein on the first try (a ‘one-stick wonder’) and being a nurse who knows her patients and meets their needs,” writes Raines.

“’To be an oncology nurse, you most of all need the desire for it’ said Lathem, who is working to gain oncology nursing certification. ‘You can learn the clinical skills, but it will be hard to be successful if you don’t want to be there.

“’The soft skills are so important. You have to use your assessment skills and drug knowledge to calculate a chemo dose correctly, but patients remember that you got them a cup of coffee, a warm blanket and that you talked to them.’”

Cyndi Mason, RN, “fell in love with radiation oncology during a one-day clinical rotation when she was a nursing student.”

‘We had to write papers after all our clinical rotations. Normally, you wrote the bare minimum but after radiation oncology, I couldn’t stop writing,’ said Mason, health systems clinical supervisor for radiation oncology at Northside Hospital… Mason loves learning about the pathophysiology, radiobiology and the ever-changing technology, and being a critical part of a team that helps patients get better.”

Since you’re reading this you probably already know that your calling is to get your RN to BSN degree. Now the next step seems to be finding a specialty that suits you. In the nursing field, the possibilities are endless!

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

Is Forensic Nursing for You?

August 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

When I was growing up I would always watch detective shows with my mom. I would get home from school, pull a snack from the pantry and watch anything from Matlock to Quincy with my mom as she would knit. Now she watches CSI and Law and Order, but the themes are still the same. If you are in an online RN to BSN program and have a passion for detail and forensic medicine, there may be a perfect job out there for you.

In the Newark Advocate reporter Abbey Roy interviewed forensic nurse Kelly Clemings about her interesting choice of occupation. This specialty isn’t for everyone but if you love criminal justice with a dose of medical knowledge, consider this occupation in the health field.

Roy states that, “Clemings’ medical background lends her the knowledge to help investigate scenes with a perspective law enforcement officers might not have as they comb the larger scope of a crime scene.

“The International Association of Forensic Nurses defines a forensic nurse as one who ‘provides specialized care for patients, both victims and perpetrators of violence. They care for the physical, psychological and social trauma that occurs in patients who have been assaulted or abused.’

“The description goes on to say the nurses ‘have a specialized knowledge of the legal system and collect evidence, provide medical testimony in court, and provide consultation to legal authorities.’”

Clemings explains that she went into this field because she found courtroom drama fascinating. She also feels that examining patients who are abused or assaulted is a step in preventing others from being harmed in the same way.

About ten years ago I was a juror in a three week murder case. Although it was a doctor that explained the fatal wounds, it was very interesting to hear the medical perspective on the injuries. The angle of the stabbing, the force applied, and the location of the wound all factored in on whether the murder was intentional or accidental and if it was in self defense or premeditative.

If you are interested in the law enforcement side of the medical field and not necessarily fond of the forensic aspect, there is also a need for nurses in prisons and jails. My husband currently works at a detention facility and rotates in various areas helping inmates who are newly arrested by taking their medical history, cleaning wounds or dispensing medications for those with chronic conditions.

It seems almost like there are as many specialties as there are nurses out there. If you are in an RN to BSN bridge program, the options and opportunities are endless.

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

Chronic Pain Patients on the Rise for Nurses

July 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm

It seems like chronic pain is a common complaint across the board for many patients. If you aren’t a person who suffers from this ailment, you can probably list several people you know who battle with constantly aching backs or muscle spasms. As an RN to BSN nurse, you’ll find that a large portion of the patients you treat will seek treatment for this complaint.

I’ve mentioned several times on this site that I too struggle with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Like most people who have this condition, mine came after a body-jarring incident. I had a bad car accident almost 15 years ago and have never been the same. columnist Susan Donaldson James reports that I am not alone. Apparently about one third of Americans suffer from chronic pain. If misery likes company, I’ve certainly got plenty of it!

“An estimated 116 million adults experience chronic pain, much of it preventable, and it is costing the United States up to $635 billion annually, according to a report released today by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies… The report, ‘Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research,’ says the nation’s health care system has largely failed Americans in pain and calls for a ‘cultural transformation’ of the way in which the United States approaches and manages patients with pain.”

Committee chair Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, dean of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine had a shocking statistic: “A third of the nation experiences chronic pain. … It’s more than we pay as a nation on cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

A large part of the problem with chronic pain is that sometimes there is no evidence of its existence such as with fibromyalgia. Another factor is the red tape that doctors have to go through with insurance companies to find the source of that pain through expensive MRIs and other procedures. Finally, it takes a huge investment of time and money to treat chronic pain through medications, exercise and physical therapy.

If you are an RN to BSN student, you’ve probably been seriously thinking about where you want to work and what specialty you want to focus on. Chronic pain is a major epidemic in our society that seems to be on the rise. We definitely need nurses to help!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit /chronic-pain-americans-live-iom-report/story?id=13950802

Pediatric Nurses are My New Favorite People

July 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Last Wednesday I posted about how my 21 month old daughter was undergoing minor surgery. We are fortunate to the live in the San Francisco Bay Area; Oakland Children’s Hospital has a reputation for being one of the best in the nation and I certainly agree. In a stressful and scary situation, the doctors and nurses that we came across were all amazing. If you are an RN to BSN student considering going into this specialty, I would love to share with you what made these incredible people heroes in my book.

The whole process went fairly quickly. We arrived at 7:00 am, our daughter was in surgery by 8:20 am, and we were headed home by 11:30 am. My daughter was having a cleft ear repaired, so the surgery wasn’t extensive and the biggest danger (as is usually the case) is the possible side effects from the anesthesia.

Now here is the part that I was most impressed with: we were always treated kindly and respectfully and kept in the know. When we were taken back into the exam room we were met with a BSN who explained in detail the process of the day and what we could expect. A Life Coach came in next with a box of toys and let our daughter play with a plastic stethoscope and mask that she would have to later in surgery. Next the surgeon came in to see if we had any further questions and to re-check our daughter. Finally the anesthesiologist came in to introduce herself and to see if we had any questions. After meeting the entire team, we were taken into the surgery room to watch our daughter “fall asleep” and kiss her before we went to sit in the waiting room.

Granted, I know that this was not a big deal, but when it’s your baby it’s pretty darn scary. Now all that explanation to say this: I learned so much about what TO DO as a nurse. Each person genuinely cared and made contact with my child. We were kept well informed and knew what to expect. For example, when our daughter woke up after her procedure, she was inconsolable and upset. We knew that this was a common side effect from the anesthesia and when she was given some more medicine, she calmed down. We were also aware of what we needed to do to help her heal properly and were well aware of what to look for if she did have dangerous side effects from the medication (such as vomiting, not urinating or having a fever over 102).

Pediatric nursing takes a special type of nurse. You need to be compassionate yet strong to care for children. If you are in an online RN to BSN program planning to go into this specialty, I commend you!