Nursing Students Faced with Decision of Ethics – RN to BSN Students Have Tough Choices to Make

March 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm

          Being in an RN to BSN school isn’t easy. You have to be an expert on hundreds of medications, know how to use countless blinking and beeping machines, be a counselor to patients and families who are hurting and you have to make difficult life changing decisions. Nurses need to have an extra dose of courage and a strong sense of self to face the difficult moral decisions that may be presented on the job.
          John Jalsevac reports on about a controversial policy once implemented by Vanderbilt University to its nursing students. Jalsevac states that, “At issue was Vanderbilt’s nurse residency application, which stated on page 15, ‘If you are chosen for the Nurse Residency Program in the Women’s Health track, you will be expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy.’” He further explains that, “The application went on to encourage those who may feel that they cannot ‘provide care to women during this type of event,’ to ‘apply to a different track of the Nurse Residency Program.’”
          In this controversial situation, “the ADF argued that the policy was a clear violation of federal law, in that it forced students to participate in abortions, the university denied the charges… the university had argued that the offending clauses in the application were added simply “in order to create an awareness that terminations are performed here at Vanderbilt,” and that the university had a policy allowing students to opt-out of activities that violated their consciences.
          “The ADF shot back, however, saying that this wasn’t good enough. ‘Vanderbilt is being duplicitous by talking about the wrong policy,’ said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. ‘Vanderbilt’s application package specifically requires applicants to promise to assist in abortions and says nothing about another Vanderbilt policy which does not require them to assist in abortions.’
          “In its update to applicants Wednesday, Vanderbilt stated, ‘While Vanderbilt expects all health care providers, including nurses who participate in the Nurse Residency Program’s Women’s Health Track, to provide compassionate care to all patients, no health care provider is required to participate in a procedure terminating a pregnancy if such participation would be contrary to an individual’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.’”
          I believe that if you are going into nursing as an RN to BSN, know what you believe before you sign your name to your first job application. Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research and many other issues are hot topics that you may have to come face to face with. Before you enter the heat of battle, have your moral compass set.
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BSN Nurses Needed for Growing Senior Population

March 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

          We all know that the Baby Boomer generation is entering retirement age, but what affect is that going to have on our economy and the health care profession? Warren Wolfe, reporter for the Star Tribune in Minnesota takes an interesting look into this important subject and how it will effect those getting their RN to BSN degree.
          Wolfe reports that, “The leading edge of Minnesota’s 1.5 million baby boomers is about to turn 65, eligible for Medicare, the federal health care program for the aged. Nationwide, for the next 18 years, about 10,000 more boomers will join them each day.” The numbers are shocking; as our society gains a larger population of senior citizens, the need for health care workers is going to be tremendous. How are we going to take care of these valuable members of society physically, emotionally and financially? “The looming consequences are serious. The nation has 7,200 certified geriatricians, one for every 2,500 older Americans… Some experts suggest that five times that many will be needed by 2030, when the country’s aging population will have nearly doubled.”
          There are some ways that the health care industry is changing to accommodate these aging patients. “Along with helping doctors and nurses coordinate treatment of complex health problems, some geriatric pharmacists have set up new businesses to help older patients reduce debilitating problems caused by prescriptions from doctors who are more focused on diseases than aging patients,” explains Wolfe. Several colleges across the country are also implementing courses to teach nurses how to work in a nursing home or in geriatrics. “Professionals with geriatric training can improve older clients’ quality of life and lower medical costs by providing appropriate help, experts say. “But a lot of people seem afraid to work with seniors,” said geriatric social worker Christie Cuttell, 36, at Augustana Care Center. “People ask me, ‘Isn’t your work depressing?’ Well, it’s not. Yes, people die. But they also live, and many are still living fascinating lives, with fascinating stories,” she said. “When I talk to students, I tell them about the demographics and the opportunities and how rewarding my work is. But they’d rather work with kids.”
          It seems like nurses pursing their RN to BSN degree are in growing demand throughout the country. If you’ve thought about becoming a nurse, then see how Unitek College can give you the professional training you need to become a part of this growing healthcare field.
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Nursing Specialty Salaries for RNs to BSN

March 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

          I know we don’t get our degrees in nursing for the money… on a rough day no amount of zeros at the end of our paycheck could erase the stress or exhaustion. However, finding a career you love with a decent wage sure can make life a whole lot easier. With that said, here are the nursing specialties that could boost your spending power while doing what you love.
The top ten nursing salaries, according to the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses are as follows:

1. Nurse anesthetist: $154,221
2. Management/administration: senior management: $96,735
3. Nurse practitioner: $85,025
4. Nurse midwife: $82,111
5. Management/administration: $78,356
6. Consultant: $76,473
7. Informatics nurse: $75,242
8. Management/administration: middle management: $74,799
9. Clinical nurse specialist: $72,856
10. Management/administration: first-line management: $72,006

 reports that “typically, the top salaries in the nursing profession are earned by nurses in an advanced practice specialty or, in some cases, in higher-level management positions.” Peter McMenamin, Ph.D., senior policy fellow for the American Nurses Association, commented that “It looks like supply and demand to me,” he said. “The advanced practice nurses are fewer. They have more education. They can also do more under their own authority.”
          “We project RNs from 2008 to 2018 to add more jobs in that profession than any other profession,” said Adam Bibler, economist for the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections with the BLS. With an aging population and the change in the health care system, more nurses will be needed. As mentioned above, nurses will be in higher demand causing higher wage options. “Salaries for RNs tend to be inching upward each year, something that not many other professions can boast. More recent employment statistics from the BLS show that the median salary for RNs in 2009 was $63,750, more than $10,000 more than the median salary of $52,330 five years earlier in 2004,” commented
          Now is the time to think about getting your RN to BSN degree if you haven’t yet considered this option. Whether online or in person, a future in nursing is a wise choice.

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Is There Really Shortage for BSN Students?

March 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

   I keep hearing that there is a nursing shortage and that the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. So is nursing really the right career to get into or is this all just a bunch of media hype? Well, according to, nursing is the way to go. So for those in RN or BSN programs, you’re on the right track!
          According to, it is projected that by 2012 the need for both RNs and LPNs will grow upwards towards 22 percent. They explain the cause for this is as follows: “As medical procedures advance, nurses are needed to care for patients who are recovering from previously fatal diseases and conditions.” So the more advanced medicine gets the longer people live and the more people there will be to treat. (Or is it that the more sedentary we get and the more preservatives that are added to our food cause more patients that need to be seen? This is just an opinion and guilty verdict about myself…)
          In comparison to other job markets, reports that “Healthcare facilities across the U.S., including hospitals, long-term care and clinics, added 21,000 jobs in November 2009. In that same month, 85,000 people in other fields lost their jobs.” I suppose that people can hold off on buying that new car or house, but when sickness falls upon us treatment isn’t always an option. As the old saying goes, two things are a constant: death and taxes. Somehow that’s not reassuring…
          I have many friends who have applied to nursing school and have had to postpone their education due to the dreaded lottery system that so many higher education institutes implement. “Almost 50,000 potential nurses were refused entry into BSN and graduatenursing programs in the 2008-09 academic year due to the lack of resources—instructors, space and clinical sites,” explained This shouldn’t be an excuse much longer with alternative ways to get an education such as independent schools and internet programs.
          Finally, this article explains why many hospitals have staffing problems. “The nurse staffing problem isn’t just the lack of new nurses, but the mobility of the new graduates. Apparently, 13 percent of new RNs change jobs after just one year and 37 percent would like to. Considering how much it costs to recruit nurses and to teach them the ropes, this could result in significant dings in the annual staffing budgets. According to a 2005 report, it costs almost $3,000 to hire a new nurse.” So stick with it! Every job needs a period of adjustment.

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Children’s Hospital Oakland Fined for Not Protecting Employees

February 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I was shocked when I read how many dangerous incidents have occurred at Oakland Children’s Hospital within the past few years. I admit that Oakland isn’t on the list of the safest cities to work in, but I was amazed at the report that Sandy Kleffman wrote in the Contra Costa Times yesterday.

According to Kleffman, “State regulators fined Children’s Hospital Oakland $10,350 on Tuesday for safety violations that include inadequately protecting employees from violence in its emergency department.

“The hospital has had several dramatic incidents in recent months, noted the Cal-OSHA citation… In July, a 49-year-old gunman held a registered nurse and a ward clerk hostage before being subdued by police. No one was injured. In October, a gunshot victim was dropped off on hospital property within minutes of a second gunshot victim walking in and a third being carried there by bystanders. That occurred a year after three gunshot victims drove themselves to the front of the hospital in September 2009.”

I’m surprised at the incidents mentioned, but I am also wondering why this would happen at a children’s hospital. Okay, I can understand gunshot victims going to Alta Bates or Highlands General Hospitals, but to this specific hospital? Under emergency circumstances, I’m sure they were just trying to get any medical attention, but I’m not sure if a specialized hospital is even able to help patients outside of their designated clientele requirements.

Cal OSHA has fined Children’s Hospital Oakland $10,350 for “not having adequate procedures for protecting employees as they respond to gunshot victims dropped off at hospital doors, and for not effectively training employees to deal with workplace violence. The lack of a clear policy about how to bring dropped-off victims inside “caused unnecessary delay and potential security exposure to employees in the uncontrolled environment outside the building,” the citation stated.

“Cal-OSHA also cited the hospital for not documenting that it included nonmanagement employees in developing plans for protecting against bloodborne pathogens, not doing antibody testing of at least one health care worker after a Hepatitis B vaccination and conducting workplace violence training primarily by having employees read written materials instead of having interactive training with appropriate instructors.”

For those who are in an RN program or are pursuing their BSN degree, it’s important to consider the location and type of hospital you wish to work in. Even though a children’s hospital seems like a safe place to work, there are still dangers within the city. However, it’s interesting to note the defense that the state is providing the nursing staff to create a safer environment.

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More Money for Nursing Education

February 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

          While there seems to be cutbacks on every aspect of government spending, the officials in Washington, D.C. have recognized the need for more nurses. Congress has passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010 which reauthorized Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs therefore increasing federal dollars to support education in nursing.
          On, Debra Wood, RN, states that, “The largest dedicated source of federal funding for nursing education is through the Title VIII nursing programs, authorized through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), first established in 1961. Schools of nursing apply for Title VIII grants, but not all schools receive the money each year. AACN keeps schools aware of when funds become available.”
         “The biggest increase we have seen was last year, when we went from $171 million for these programs to $243 million,” said Suzanne Begeny, Ph.D., RN, director of government affairs for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in Washington, D.C. “A lot of those dollars went to loan repayment and scholarship programs, where students receive the funds directly.”
         The purpose for the increase in federal funding stems from the concern that there is going to be a major shortage of nurses in the near future. With baby boomers joining the ranks of senior citizens and many nurses on the cusp of retirement, those who are in current RN programs or who are getting their BSN degree will likely have an easier time finding job placement than graduates in other fields.
          Wood explains in detail how the new federal funding will further education and benefit current nursing students, “The Affordable Care Act provides additional funds for nursing faculty loan programs, which offer substantial financial assistance to repay education loans to nurses willing to work full-time at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or as faculty at an eligible school of nursing. For a two-year commitment, the program will pay participants 60 percent of their total outstanding, qualifying educational loan balance. An optional third year will pay 25 percent of those notes, subject to availability. The act expanded the loan amounts and who would qualify.”
          Wood also goes into detail about other new opportunities for students to help pay for continuing education. There are private corporations out there granting scholarships for those looking into certain specialties, minority students and some hospitals even provide tuition reimbursement.

Don’t let financial limitations hinder your decision to pursue a higher education. Even during cutbacks, there is money out there for those who are determined and persistant.

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Nurses Working in Hospitals are More Likely to Experience Burnout

February 14, 2011 at 9:04 pm

          Once you finish nursing school or get your BSN degree, it’s time to seriously consider what type of job you would like to pursue. (Actually, you’ve probably been thinking about this during each of your nursing classes.) Private practice, hospitals, nursing homes, or government agencies all provide different nursing experiences.
          According to a recent study published by a group of professors at the University of Pennsylvania, they found that “among nurses working directly with patients, 24 percent of hospital nurses and 27 percent of nursing home nurses reported dissatisfaction in their current jobs, compared to just 13 percent of nurses working in other settings.” The reason for these high percentages are due to “the work environment and staffing levels [which] are chronic stressers that cause burnout. Nurses working under those conditions feel over-extended and depleted of emotional and physical resources.”
          This survey was rather detailed as 95,449 nurses in 614 American hospitals and healthcare settings were interviewed. An interesting fact they discovered was that “nearly 41 percent were dissatisfied with their healthcare benefits- more than double that of nurses working elsewhere showing broad-based disincentives for attracting nurses to work at the bedside… 41 percent of hospital nurses and 51 percent of nursing home nurses who provide direct patient care were dissatisfied with their health care benefits. Nearly 60 percent of nurses in nursing homes and half of nurses in hospital are dissatisfied with retirement benefits.”
          Another finding that I found interesting but not surprising was that the more dissatisfied the nursing staff is, the lower the opinion the patient has of the hospital. “Researchers found that the percentage of patients who would definitely recommend a hospital to friends or family decreased by about 2 percent for every 10 percent of nurses at a hospital reporting dissatisfaction with their job.” I thought the rate would be in higher as patients could feel the negative feelings of the unsatisfied workers, but I’m still surprised that the percentages relate in direct proportion.
         The findings also stated that the more disenchanted nurses are with their benefits and working conditions, the higher the burnout rate. I think the key here is to find a job you love and remember why you went into nursing. Another key factor is to interview current nursing staff at the place you would like to work. If they hate it, you might too. But, you may have to trudge through it to get your foot in the door.

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Nurses Declare War at Stanford

February 10, 2011 at 3:30 am

          A strike may be on the horizon for the nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital as the hospital and nurses’ union fail to reach an agreement for the contract that was to be settled upon twelve months ago. The new level of advancement for experienced nurses who are RNs or have their BSNs is the major point of contention which may result in a strike of the 2,700 nurses involved.
          KCBS’ Mike Colgan reports that, “Nurses union attorney Peter Nussbaum said the key sticking point is the new level of advancement that the hospital wants to impose on nurses. ‘The result of that would be that the most experienced nurses, the ones who have the best bedside skills, will effectively be demoted,’ Nussbaum said. ‘And they’re going to say to themselves, why should I be demoted here when I can go to Kaiser, which just gave its nurses a very nice wage increase.’”
 also reported on this issue and further explains the conflict between the union and the hospitals. Sue Dremann details the problems with the contract that would limit advancement for these nurses. “Under the hospitals’ final proposal, Staff Nurse IIIs and IVs could effectively be demoted if they can’t qualify under revised staffing qualifications. Upper-tier clinical nurses can also be demoted and become ineligible to reapply for higher clinical-nurse positions for a substantial period of time because of a single warning for even the most minor alleged infractions. That could lead to potential abuses by managers who are vindictive or play favorites and would cause draconian cuts in the nurse’s wages.” Dremann also quotes Nussbaum as saying, “Nurses with many years of experience … who have unquestioned excellent bedside skills will be unfairly punished if the PNDP as proposed were to be implemented.”
          Greg Souza, vice president of human resources for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, said the hospitals are disappointed that after more than a year of contract negotiations “it will not be possible to reach mutually acceptable contract settlements at this time… We feel strongly that our offers advance nursing practice and programs and provide our patients with the very best in patient care,” he said. 

         As the negotiations continue, it will be interesting to see the outcome. I believe that most controversies that are fought within a profession tend to have a common thread and may cause a ripple effect to other medical agencies and impact higher education such as bsn programs and nursing classes. Evaluations plus education can equal promotions, but if this new contract goes into effect, evaluations with outweigh education. The problem rises based on who is doing the evaluating. We’ll just have to wait and see….

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Finding a BSN Job in a Difficult Economy

February 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

          We have all heard about the shortage of nurses and the growth one can experience in the medical field, but that doesn’t mean that job offers will be banging down your door once you graduate. With many people in a financial bind, many are delaying retirement, working overtime, or returning to the workforce. Here are some tips from which may help you get your foot in the door:
1. If you want to work at a hospital and can’t find work in one, look into other options. The important thing is not to let your skills go stagnant or have a large gap of time where you are not working on your resume. Look into other opportunities such as working at “a clinic, school nurse position, any doctor office, public health positions, medical staff in a gym, nursing home, health educator in a community setting, etc.
2. Volunteering can keep your skills sharp and will give you an opportunity to see which setting you would like to work in full time. “You can get some great experience and make good contacts. It also gives you something to discuss in an interview and can help to beef up your resume. Additionally, volunteer positions sometimes turn into paid employment. Consider a blood bank or local public health department.”
3. Explore the variety of job options that are available in the health care industry. “You can get good experience in acute and long-term rehabilitation facilities, long-term and sub-acute care, and a new type of care facility known as long term acute care (LTAC).”
4. Join the American Nurses Association chapter in your state. “Not only will you create a support system in your new profession, but you’ll also learn about trends and issues. Get active by joining a committee or working on a special project—it helps you to become known and develop opportunities to seek feedback, advice, mentoring and job-search help from experienced nurses.”
5. Further your education. “Look for interesting clinical courses offered by professional associations, education companies and others. Use online continuing education to expand your knowledge base and stay sharp.” Pursue your RN or BSN.
          If you want to enter the medical field and are looking for a school to help you pursue your RN or BSN, check out Unitek College.  Unitek can help you pursue your dreams as a nurse in a short amount of time with no waiting lists. Start the path to your future today!
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