From Bedside Care to Advanced Practice Nursing – Opportunities Abound

Nursing opens a whole world of opportunity in the healthcare profession. From bedside care to advanced practice techniques in trauma care, cardiac and other technical care emergencies, chemotherapy or hemodialysis, to fields such as forensic science and informatics.  New fields and options for nurses open rapidly as medicine advances. According to The Campaign for Nursing from Johnson& Johnson, there are currently 104 nursing specialties. There seems to be something for everyone!

Many of these opportunities are open to entry level nurses as well as seasoned nurses. Some however, require a BSN and often some additional specialized training and certification. Advanced Practice RNs such as Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners have a wide range of specialties available as well, but they do require advanced education (MSN or PhD) and often additional certification.

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Informed Nurses Are Better Advocates and Educators

For the 15th straight year, Nurses were voted to have the highest (84%) honesty and ethical standards as a profession; making them the most trusted profession. The results were published by the Gallup Poll in December 2016. This sets the bar quite high, but nurses have always risen to the occasion, and no doubt will continue to do so far into the future. One way to ensure this is for nurses to be involved in the community and to advocate for choices made for nurses and patients. Understanding the process, as well as the needs of the community and professionals, keeps nurses as that most trusted level and source of information to help them advocate for and educate patients.

In this same poll, Pharmacists ranked #2 at 67%, and Doctors #3 at 65%. Members of Congress fell to the bottom at 8% as 59% of the voters ranked them as having low to very low ethical and honesty standards. There are currently only 3 members of Congress who are nurses; Karen Bass (D-CA-33), Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30). In the past there have been others. Perhaps many more nurses should be encouraged to run for public office to help raise the honesty and ethical standards and to push forward the agendas for improving quality nursing care and patient outcomes.

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Understanding the Importance of Documentation

Documentation and verbal communication is an essential part of any heath care professional’s daily routine. Any and all discussion and care provided to a patient, caregiver or family member has to be recorded accurately and without prejudice or judgement. Just the facts.

Sounds simple, but it can become very complex and time consuming rapidly. If it’s not done at the time, a lot can be lost or omitted. A recent article about a small study done with paramedics using body cameras to verify and improve their documentation actually did support the use of these cameras. They were expected to document as usual at first and then allowed to view the videos and edit their documentation based on the viewing.

The question that came up about using this process widely is one of privacy. It would have to pass the HIPAA test before it could be approved, and patients would have to have the right to refuse to have their situation recorded.

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History of Nurses Week

In 1974, President Gerald Ford declared EMS Week to celebrate the relatively new EMS profession and the health and safety contributions to the American people. This year the 46th annual EMS Week is May 21-27, 2017. Prior to that, in 1974 before Richard Nixon resigned his presidency, National Nurses Day and Week were established in the U.S.

Although there is always some controversy and grumbling about such a contrite event, it is important to honor those who do for us what so many cannot. The healthcare profession as a whole is something that is NOT for everyone. Dealing with matters that can lead to life and death situations means the professional must be serious about their education, their conduct “on and off the field” so to speak, and have a compassion and empathy for human beings. They also must be able to handle constantly challenging and changing situations that often involve blood, sputum, emesis, feces and urine and a whole host of other not so attractive matters.

So these special designated weeks offer the layperson an opportunity to take a moment to say Thank You and to give respect. They also bring a heightened awareness to the professions so that we may continue to recruit ideal candidates. Take pride and honor your colleagues. Learn more about Nurses Week May 6-12.

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Eight Basic Skills Shared with Nursing Profession

When employers are looking for the best possible candidates to join their team there are eight basic skills that come into play. Most employees will have at least 5-6 of these skills. In professions such as nursing, Paramedics and EMTs, teachers, and therapists such as PTs, OTs and Recreational Therapists, these professionals usually possess all 8 of these skills.

The 8 skills are:

  • Problem Solving
  • Team Player
  • Taking Initiative
  • Physical Stamina
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Leadership and ability to persuade others
  • Desire to help instruct or teach others
  • Networking skills/making public contacts

The fact that most Paramedics possess all 8 of these skills, makes the pathway to becoming a nurse a natural order of progression. Other factors that make the transition a natural one include the work environment being fast paced and adrenaline rushing. Paramedics most often transition to the fields of nursing where these factors apply such as ER/Trauma, ICU and other high tech step down units where these skills are put to use every day.

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The Scope of Practice is Different for RNs

In transitioning from one health care provider role to another it is vital to understand the differences in the Scope of Practice for each role. The scope of practice is defined asa description of the specific actions, procedures, and processes that a healthcare practitioner is permitted to undertake in keeping with the terms of their specific professional license. It is based on the level of training and education required for licensure.

The scope of practice is built on the knowledge base and level of skills, education and training required by that licensure. For the paramedic making the transition to Registered Nurse there will be some overlap in the scope of practice from one field to another.  And there will be some actions, procedures and processes that will not be part of the scope of practice for RNs. It is important to recognize this issue and to be acutely aware of the differences. The paramedic who has advanced to an RN is now held to the RN scope of practice and could be disciplined and/or held liable for a violation of the scope s/he is now working under.

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What’s the 2017 Job Outllook for Nursing?

Healthcare in the U.S under the Trump administration is facing some major turmoil and upheaval. One thing remains constant however, nurses are, and will continue to be in demand.

In recent years there has been an increase in new nurses, and in some areas of the country new grads actually faced a hiring crisis due to education and experience requirements causing a stir that perhaps there isn’t a shortage of nurses.  Those with a BSN had an easier time finding jobs. If they didn’t have the degree, health care experience counted for a lot with employers. Those who had experience in the medical field such as paramedics, EMTs, nursing aides, and vocational or practical nurses more easily found jobs as new grad RNs. Those with both, had even greater success.

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Is it Too Late to Start a Nursing Program?


Switching careers later in life can be intimidating, but the great news is that you’re not alone. There are always a variety of students in nursing and nursing bridge programs, ranging from fresh out of high school, to people in their 60’s on up! Age truly is a state of mind, and there are several advantages to having a few more years on your side.

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20 Helpful Tips When Transitioning from Paramedic to RN

A paramedic who wants to begin a career as a registered nurse (RN) can enroll in a paramedic-to-RN program, which includes bridge programs that allow students to take the the NCLEX-RN upon program completion. Becoming a RN can lead to a significant salary boost, since RNs can earn up to twice as much as a paramedic or an EMT. The following are 20 helpful tips to for you to use when transitioning from a paramedic to RN. This list includes information that you will need when enrolling in a program, classes you may want to brush up on (from online OpenCourseWare programs), and sites that will help you study for your NCLEX-RN.

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