Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Online Master’s Degree for Working Nurses

For many nurses who work long hours and start out at the low end of the totem pole, it’s a dream to work for some of the magnet status hospitals alongside top doctors and physicians. Nursing students often don’t realize that there are easier ways than slugging it out for years in a hospital. You can gain more experience and training with a master’s degree. While nurses are expected to be registered as a minimum requirement, those who excel beyond these simple requirements will advance farther than others and gain better positions at the top medical facilities.

But how do RNs have the time to go back to school to get such an advanced degree? Colleges have options to make things incredibly more flexible for nurses with busy schedules. Online master’s programs for nurses allow them to work independently and also in collaboration with physicians, providing primary care services. There are actually four types of nurses who require a master’s degree, including clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners. Of course, if you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, then you also have to upgrade your RN degree first.

Going From RN to BSN

There are so many programs available to upgrade your RN associate’s degree to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. There may be an accelerated program through a local school or even an online college. You can work and still take courses to get the degree, and most programs are only 12 to 15 months long. BSN degrees will help you get into better positions and work at top hospitals, but you still won’t be able to work in administration or primary care as readily as you would with a master’s degree. The BSN degree is the first step to advancing your nursing career.

Taking Graduate Courses Online

It’s not going to be as hard to work and study online, but there are still commitments that you have to make. You need 8 to 10 hours a week of free time to study and submit assignments. While you do get more personalized attention, you also have to put in the work and continue to gain clinical experience while studying at the graduate level. Many of these programs will focus more on a specialty that will help you once you move into a field, so it’s best if you already know what kind of primary care you want to pursue.

  • Clinical nurse specialists provide direct patient care and consultations in a variety of specialties, such as geriatrics, psychiatric and mental health. 
  • Nurse anesthetists deliver anesthesia and related care before and after surgical, diagnostic, obstetrical and therapeutic procedures. Pain management and emergency services are also a part of the position. 
  • Mid-wives have multiple responsibilities that relate specifically to primary care for women, including gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care, labor assistance and delivery, and neonatal care. 
  • Nurse practitioners are both specialty and primary care providers, working as healthcare specialists for individuals and families in primary or specialty areas.


What are the Job Prospects?

With an MSN, the growth is exponential. Because students with MSN degrees have more experience and training, they qualify for the top positions, both as nurses and administrators. There are also faster employment projections for those who are qualified, and may include perks such as signing bonuses, better work schedules and more hands-on training. In addition, you will earn higher salaries with your advanced degree.


What Else Can I Do with a Master’s?

Nursing actually isn’t the only thing that you can do with an MSN. Even if you enjoy the thrill of working in a hospital, nothing compares to teaching others and becoming a mentor. MSN graduates often go on to become counselors and teachers, helping new and experienced nurses receive more training. There is a shortage of nursing teachers as well. Earning a master’s online can significantly increase your chances of becoming a nurse educator and providing others with the tools to make a difference.

An online master’s degree in nursing can certainly tip the odds in your favor. Whether you are sick of working at the entry level or simply want to become a primary care nurse, more training and qualifications can lead to a brighter career. Online schools have created these programs with the nurse in mind and offer several ways to complete a degree in less time than you think. You can find a program that suits your specialty and get started today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Proprietary Institutions a Viable Alternative for Nursing Students

By Alvina Lopez

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018,” a figure that is largely at odds with the current number and capacity of nursing programs at traditional universities.

A recent survey of 2010-2011 enrollment figures administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that “U.S. nursing schools turned away 67,563 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2010 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints.”

Interest in nursing today continues to grow among students, but traditional colleges are unable to accommodate the trend, lacking a pool of resources large enough to support them.

And though most universities have acknowledged that there is a great opportunity in the enormous number of prospective nursing students looking to enroll in bachelors programs, the complex quagmire of educational bureaucracy can’t adapt fast enough to meet student need and market demand.

But for-profit institutions like University of Phoenix and South University (based in Savannah, GA) are changing the nursing education game, much to the benefits of potential nursing students everywhere.

Before 2004, there were very few, if any, for-profit institutions that offered programs in nursing. The reasons for this are numerous, but the shortage of for-profit nursing programs can mostly be attributed to the extremely high cost of nursing equipment, the requisite small faculty-student ratio, and the lengthy, complicated process of gaining accreditation.
Nursing programs are strictly regulated by government standards, and until recently many for-profit institutions have been met with prejudice and doubt about the quality of their programs, an unfortunate bias that kept many proprietary colleges from approaching the nursing field.

The shortage of nursing programs, however, along with the overwhelming number of applicants to these programs has spurred the regulatory agencies that supervise nursing programs to reexamine the legitimacy and viability of for-profit institutions as a solution to the widening gap between job openings for nurses and the number of qualified applicants.

The Chronicle of Higher Education remarked that “proprietary institutions tend to concentrate their resources on a narrow range of offerings, a business model that makes it easier for them to respond to changes in student demand.”
With over 500,000 job openings in the nursing field between now and 2018, prospective nursing students would do well to investigate proprietary colleges, such as South University and University of Phoenix, to complete their degrees. The stigma that once hung over these programs is lifting, and for-profit schools are all the time becoming a more sensible and practical alternative to traditional programs, even in the expensive, highly regulated nursing field.

Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More About Amanda Trujillo's Legal Case

Read for yourself the legal situation Amanda Trujillo is facing for doing her job.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

AZ Board to Consider Amanda Trujillo Case

The nursing world will be watching closely and holding its collective breath.

By next week we should know the outcome as the AZ BON considers the case of Amanda Trujillo, RN,  the nurse who was fired for advocating for her patient. Of course Amanda's career is at stake, but so is the nursing profession as well as patient's rights and physician responsibilities. And that's just for starters.

This situation has erupted into a huge firestorm on the Internet with nurse bloggers and writers and nursing organizations weighing in from many different directions. The AZ BON has a huge responsibility to uphold as it takes this case under consideration. Let's all hope things turn out for the best.

Read more... as RN Central recaps this week's developments.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day

May the luck of the Irish be with everyone tomorrow. Enjoy a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

National Nurse Act Gaining Momentum

The National Nurse Act of 2011(HR 3679) now has 24 Congressional co-sponsors. Click on the little ARROW next to Special Interest: HR3679 to drop down the list. Please contact your Congressional Representative to sign on as a co-sponsor. Information and directions for doing this are on the National Nurse Website.

The act also has garnered 103 individual and group endorsements as of 2/28/12. Please make an endorsement and consider a one time or monthly Donation to the cause.

This act is cost neutral and non-partisan.

Follow the National Nurse Campaign on FACEBOOK.