Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shared Decision Making

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift from a sick care model to a health care model. Nurses (and all other health professionals) are helping patients learn to share the decision making aspects of their care and learning to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes.

This is a complicated process and a new role for nurses; especially those who are accustomed to doing for the patients. This often stems from time constraints that prohibit nurses from teaching patients. It's just easier to do it yourself. But as we move towards patient responsibility, patient education becomes much more important. Preventative care and reducing the risks and complications posed by chronic illness have to be moved to the front of the line in order to reduce the staggering costs of health care.

I've come across a couple of great tool-kits this week to help nurses better understand and implement these processes. One is from Dorland Health. It focuses on empowering patients and helping them become part of the decision making process in their health care.

The other is a Teach-Back process from Iowa Health System and it is focused on helping to ensure patients understand what we are teaching them. Health care literacy is vital to the success of the health care model. If patients don't have a clear understanding of what's expected of them and how to maneuver through the health care maze, they won't succeed in assuming responsibility for their health care. And their outcomes will not improve.

I hope you find the information helpful.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Free Options for CNA Training

Whether you are looking for a new field of work or just getting started, nothing is more satisfying or rewarding than working in the medical field. While you could spend years going to universities to receive your doctorate or nursing degree, these options cost significant amounts of money. If time and money are not on your side, then perhaps you want to look into becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). As a CNA, you are responsible for caring and providing great quality of life care for patients in nursing homes, adult daycare centers, hospitals, or home care. Best of all, there are multiple options on how to achieve your certification for free. Here are a few options that are available to receive your license as a CNA.

1. Job Corps
The Job Corps of America is a workforce program that is supported and funded by the United States Department of Labor. They offer programs for technical training for 16 to 24 year old students that fall within low income requirements. In addition to free training, students may receive living accommodations and monetary allowances.

To sign up, locate the nearest Job Corps site in your area by visiting http://www.recruiting.jobcorps.gov/en/centers.aspx. Once you have located the nearest Job Corps center, you will be able to sign up for their nursing assistant program.

2. WIA
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is designed to assist people who are seeking training for suitable work. WIA is generally available through your county's unemployment office. To join the CNA program you must be at least 18 years of age and be unemployed, or working at a job that you will not progress at and has low income. Those who are eligible may also receive a clothing allowance, transportation reimbursement, and any additional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses that were billed to you due to the training.

3. Your Local Hospital or Nursing Home
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for either of the programs above, you can still find options to receive free CNA training. There are multiple nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities that are understaffed and desperately seeking out qualified CNA's to help with their heavy workloads. Because of this, these facilities offer free CNA training from time to time to those who agree to work for them once the training is complete.

Beware Of Scams
While there are several programs designed to help you receive free CNA training, there are just as many scams out there. There are programs that will offer you free classes or classes for a small fee, but they are not accredited, meaning their certification is not accepted by the medical board.

People who have fallen victim to these scams spend several hours in training but will not be able to obtain work. In addition to these schools, there are other programs that offer to "reimburse" you once you have paid for their classes and agreed to work for their company. Many have paid for classes only to find out that there are no jobs available with the company or the jobs didn't exist at all.

Prior to signing up for classes, take the time to read through every piece of documentation you are given. Try to rely on using well-known companies, as listed above, for your training. As always, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This post was written by Catherine Bynes. You can get more details on free cna training in your state over at her blog: http://nursingcareertips.com/free-cna-training/

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: EasyNCLEX.com

Most nurses will tell you that once they passed the NCLEX they will do anything to NEVER have to take it again! Truth is, as long as they complete the required CEUs or inactivate their license until then, they won't have to. If they let their license lapse, they will have to repeat the NCLEX.
For student nurses, the NCLEX often represents unparalleled fear and anxiety. The NCLEX is a comprehensive exam to determine that a nurse has the skills and knowledge base to safely practice nursing. The questions are designed to test critical thinking skills, reading comprehension,  basic decision-making,  and clinical nursing knowledge and skills.

Many nurse graduates have found that taking practice tests is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the NCLEX. Recently, I discovered a great online resource for practice testing called EasyNCLEX.com.

EasyNCLEX.com offers a variety of tests for both RNs and LPNs. I took the NCLEX-PN test. They were good questions and I found them challenging, just as practice questions should be. The questions were up-to-date and the answers gave solid, yet concise, information in support of the right answer.
There were a couple I would challenge as not necessarily being "the best" answer, but I have always found this to be true in any study guide or practice testing format.

EasyNCLEX.com offers both the NCLEX-RN as well as the NCLEX-PN. The exam questions for each cover a broad range of topics to satisfy the various areas of RN or LPN nursing education and rotations. They are well-rounded tests of all of the nursing knowledge and skills necessary to satisfy license requirements. 
A number of different test lengths are available to challenge and prepare students for the NCLEX for a very affordable fee. The questions offer the same format of the actual NCLEX such as Multiple Choice, Select All That Apply, Sequence, and Fill-In-The-Blank questions.

So what’s “easy” about EasyNCLEX.com? Firstly, the signup process is perhaps the easiest I’ve seen on any NCLEX website. Just fill in a few fields, and you’re starting a practice exam in no time. Other sites will require you to put in much additional personal info, such as address, phone, etc.

Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the questions are challenging and cover a broad base of topics.

Doing practice tests such as these should make it easier for you to pass the real test. Plus, the practice exams themselves and the site in general are easy to navigate and use.

The site also offers an email Question of the Day format for a reasonable fee.

In summary, this site is well worth checking out, so let us know how it goes by replying in the comments.

Consideration was made for this article.