October 7, 2019 · 3 min read

Differences Between a Doula and a Midwife

Learn the differences between nurse-midwives and doulas.

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When it comes to having a baby, a mother-to-be will have her own vision of the kind of birthing experience she wants. And many women are choosing to include a doula, a midwife—or both—as part of their plan for pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the crucial early months of learning to care for newborn.

But exactly what role does a doula or a midwife play in a birthing plan? Read on to learn more about how midwives and doulas contribute through the course of pregnancy and childbirth, and discover the differences between these two professions.

The Role of a Midwife From Pregnancy to Delivery

Responsibilities of a nurse-midwife

According to The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), here are the many duties that a nurse-midwife carries out during a woman’s pregnancy:

  • Perform regular exams through the course of the intrapartum period
  • Help women make decisions about their birthing plan, including whether or not to use anesthesia and what measures to take if complications arise.

After childbirth, a nurse-midwife helps a woman with the following newborn care needs:

  • Teaching her to breastfeed
  • Helping her find ways to soothe an infant through colic
  • Providing postpartum medical care to women and their newborns, if necessary
  • Recommending coping strategies to women and their partners for all the changes that come with having a newborn

The Role of a Doula From Pregnancy to Delivery

Doulas in the delivery room

Like nurse-midwives, doulas have significant experience in the delivery room. Doulas specialize in providing mothers with the emotional support and physical comforts they need through the course of pregnancy, labor and delivery.

DONA International explains the important role doulas play in helping women carry out their birthing plans and in facilitating the most positive experience of childbirth possible. Among other things, this may include:

  • Helping a woman and her partner understand what to expect during labor
  • Holding the mother’s hand and helping her breathe through contractions
  • Getting the mother more pillows when she asks

After the delivery, a postpartum doula can provide a number of services to a mother:

  • Offer companionship and nonjudgmental support as the mother goes through the postpartum period.
  • Educate mothers on breastfeeding, infant soothing, sleep schedules and other facets of newborn care.
  • Assist mothers with newborn care tasks, from diaper changes to rocking the little one to sleep.
  • Help the family adjust to the new baby, perform light housework and prepare some family meals.
  • Suggest coping skills for new parents and refer families to resources and other professionals who can provide additional support during this time.

Education and Training Standards for Nurse-Midwives and Doulas

Nurse-midwife qualifications

Nurse-midwives have advanced clinical nursing training. They typically hold a Master of Science degree in Nursing (MSN) and have passed a national certification exam. Their training and medical expertise qualify nurse-midwives to deliver babies independently in hospitals, clinics, birthing centers, and private practice. Further, a nurse-midwife can recognize when the circumstances of a woman’s pregnancy or delivery require the attention of a medical doctor.

Doula Qualifications

Doulas have received training on the birthing process and/or postpartum period and have met the requirements of a rigorous certification program. However, doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks. Instead, doulas hone in on a mother’s emotional and physical needs, working to create a calm environment during the most trying moments of labor, helping to ensure that a woman’s birthing plan is carried out, and providing a communication link between a mother, her partner and medical staff.

Learn more about certified nurse-midwife programs and degrees, and request more information from the midwifery schools that interest you most.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; DONA.org; Midwife.org.

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October 6, 2019 · 3 min read

Paramedic to RN Careers and Opportunities

Learn about paramedic to RN education and job opportunities.

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nurse and paramedics working together with injured patient on gurney

Paramedics stand on the front lines of emergency care. Their extensive medical training and quick reactions in crises save lives each and every day. But those days can take their toll, and many paramedics, dedicated to providing medical care to others, turn to registered nursing as a means of expanding their healthcare knowledge and career opportunities.

Job Opportunities

The experience paramedics gain on the job provides an outstanding foundation for work in registered nursing (RN), a field that continues to thrive in the midst of a struggling economy.

Add to that, the ongoing nursing shortage across the United States has created a high demand for paramedic to RN candidates in a wide range of areas. In particular, paramedics who transition to RN careers in specialized practice or who are interested in practicing in rural areas, inner cities or other medically under-served areas will find strong job opportunities.


Search Paramedic to RN Programs

Paramedics earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must already be a Paramedic.

Are You a Paramedic?:

Paramedic to RN Education

While paramedics obtain a significant number of training hours in emergency care and hold state-approved certification, moving from a paramedic to RN career requires some additional education that typically comes in one of two forms:

  • Paramedic to RN Bridge Programs—A paramedic to RN bridge program presents an educational fast track to certified paramedics looking to transition to a career as an RN. These programs can take 18 to 24 months to complete, with some schools offering online learning options.
  • Traditional RN Degree Programs—Traditional nursing college programs offer the most common entry-level credentials for RNs, the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many RNs enter their field with a 2-year associate’s degree; however, earning a 4-year BSN qualifies graduates for supervisory nursing roles and helps them build a foundation for an eventual master’s in nursing (MSN) degree.

Paramedic to RN Certification

The paramedic to RN degree program you choose depends on your career goals and how much time you can dedicate to school. Of course, any program you select should be accredited and should prepare you to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination—the national licensing exam for registered nursing candidates.

Also, different states may have established their own nursing licensure requirements in addition to national standards. Before you decide on a paramedic to RN program, research and understand your state’s regulations to ensure that you choose a program that provides the essential training and clinical experience you need to practice as an RN in your state.

Explore Your Career Options

Transition your emergency care training and experience to a career as a registered nurse. The inherent compassion and practical experience you possess gives you an edge not only in your classwork but in the care you can provide patients from the first day of your RN career. Take a closer look at what registered nursing jobs have to offer, and start your search for the right paramedic to RN training program for you.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; AllNurses.com; Fresno City College

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October 4, 2017 · 6 min read

How Nurses Can Promote Themselves on LinkedIn

Wondering how you can make your next career move? Learn more about the millions of nurses using LinkedIn to boost their presence.

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In case you had any fears, LinkedIn for nurses is just as important as LinkedIn for any other profession. It’s for everyone—and it’s going to be your new career-boosting best friend—because it’s a top tool for advocating for your strengths and accomplishments when you can’t. Whether you already have one or are thinking about building yours, we have tips for you to create a winning profile to increase your likelihood of getting a job, especially the one you really want.

LinkedIn for Nurses?

Of course! Think about it—LinkedIn is like social media for the professional world. Anyone can use it and anyone can use it well. It’s a great platform for remaining a part of the competition in today’s job market. According to LinkedIn, there are over 400 million users, and a few million of them are in the healthcare and nursing fields. That’s right, you’ll find millions of profiles on LinkedIn for nurses. Yes, that’s a lot of people to compete with, but it’ll be significantly fewer if you’re specific about all the nursing experience you’ve had.

Top Five Tips for a Competitive Profile

We’re breaking down how you can create a complete, impactful and eye-catching profile with just a few easy-to-do steps.

Keep it Professional

Remember that when you appear in a list of candidates in a LinkedIn search, people are only going to see your picture, your name, and your headline. You need to make these count. Here’s how.

  • Start off with your name. It should be the same as what’s on your resume, or the name you use in work settings, so you’re easily found. Additionally, since there isn’t a field in a LinkedIn profile for your credentials, this is a great opportunity to showcase your education. Jane Smith, MSN has nice ring to it, right?
  • What’s your picture like? Is it professional? This means it was taken with proper exposure against a background that doesn’t compete for attention.
  • Next, think about your headline. This is the space below your name and photo, and it’s the place where you tell people who you are in just a few words. Rather than just say you’re a Registered Nurse, explain what you’re experienced in, such as ICU or critical care, and perhaps for how long if it’s noteworthy.
  • No matter how tech savvy you are, you can create a custom URL for your profile. This URL should be as close to your name as possible, with limited numbers and characters. It makes things clean and easy to remember.

Advocate for Yourself

Your Summary

Ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s a short and sweet spiel about who you are and what you do. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you have a summary field to say exactly what you want people to hear. In order to stand out, you should let your personality shine through while being professional and concise. This includes mentioning strengths, skills and experiences, all described in the first person.

Your Experience

LinkedIn profiles are designed to be just like resumes, so use them to their full potential. List all of your relevant work experience, including nursing practicums and volunteer work. Make sure to lay out the details of each with achievements, skills learned and qualifications earned. If you think something adds to your educational or professional expertise, even trainings or industry memberships, put it down.

Utilize Keywords

On the one hand, LinkedIn is a social media platform for sharing work-relevant information about you and the nursing field. On the other hand, it’s a search engine for recruiters and HR personnel to find nurses like you to hire. Due to the sheer volume of LinkedIn members, those looking to hire will type in keywords related to the job description. You want to make sure that your profile includes the keywords that best describe your skillset and the type of job you’re looking to be hired for so you show up in search results. These may include terms such as “certification,” “clinical research” or “travel nursing,” depending on the person.

Get Endorsed

Don’t be shy—you’ll need to spread the word about your nursing prowess. You can do this in a few ways.

  • Skills: Check as many skill boxes as you can that relate to your actual experience and education. If you have the evidence to back it up, put that skill on your profile. The more the better.
  • Endorse Others: If you want those in your professional circle to vouch for your skills, make sure that you endorse theirs. The more you endorse other people’s skills, the more likely they are to return the favor. Endorsements build trust.
  • Recommendations: If you’ve had a particularly good experience with a certain fellow nurse, manager or doctor, ask them to please write you a recommendation. Of course, offer to write them one in return. If people will go out of their way to speak up about what a great nurse you are, people will want to work with you.

Make Connections

Given the social aspect of the platform, it’s imperative that you make connections, but be careful to make the right ones. When requesting to ‘link in’ with someone, you should have a reason to do so, meaning they are a nurse or doctor you’ve worked with, studied with or been mentored by. If you meet someone and want to learn more about them and from them, find them on LinkedIn—you’ll learn a lot about how people have succeeded as a nurse from their profile.

How to Find a Job

Now that you’ve got your profile set up and in “All Star” shape, as they say on the app, you can start making career moves. As we mentioned before, connecting with others is the best way to open up doors for several reasons:

  • It will remind people of you if they’re looking to hire.
  • It allows you to see if someone in your network posts a job opening.
  • You can see where people in your network choose to work.
  • You can connect with nursing recruiters to see what jobs are most commonly sought after.

An important thing to remember is that, if you’re currently employed, you don’t want to blast to everyone that you’re looking because your employer could see. Private messages or requests to meet for coffee are another great way that can get you in contact with the right people.

Even if you’re not looking for a job, LinkedIn is a key resource. Use it to learn about nursing trends, changes in the field, solutions to common problems nurses face and a gateway to academic resources you didn’t know were available. Take a minute to check out some nursing profiles today. You’re bound to learn something new.

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November 4, 2016 · 4 min read

Registered Nurse vs. Licensed Practical Nurse

Before you decide on an entry-level nursing program, compare RN vs. LPN education requirements.

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Even though they sound similar, if you compare registered nurse vs. licensed practical nurse careers and education you’ll see they have fairly little in common in terms of job tasks, educational paths, and salary ranges.

LPNs usually provide more basic nursing care and are responsible for the comfort of the patient.  RNs on the other hand, primarily administer medication, treatments, and offer educational advice to patients and the public.


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LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must be either an LPN or LVN to apply.

Are You an LPN/LVN?:

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Here’s a breakdown of the key distinctions between these two in-demand positions:

Licensed Practical Nurse

Registered Nurse

Job duties
Provide basic medical and nursing care such as checking blood pressure and inserting catheters, ensure the comfort of patients by helping them bathe or dress, discuss health care with patients, and report status of patients to registered nurses and doctors.Administer medication and treatment to patients, coordinate plans for patient care, perform diagnostic test and analyze results, instruct patients on how to manage illnesses after treatment, and oversee other workers such as LPNs, nursing aides, and home care aides.
Education
You must complete an accredited practical nursing program which usually takes about one year to complete. These programs are most often taken at technical or community colleges. Courses usually combine academia in nursing, biology, and pharmacology, in addition to supervised clinical experiences.Three educational options are available: a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. BSNs usually take four years to complete, whereas ADN and diploma programs usually require two to three years to complete. All programs include courses in social, behavior and physical science in addition to clinical experiences in various workplaces.
Licensing / certification
After completing your practical nursing course from a state-approved program, you’ll receive a certification in practical nursing. Once that is completed, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to obtain a license and be able to work as an LPN.All registered nurses require a nursing license acquired by completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Some RNs may choose to become certified through professional associations in certain specialties. Certification is usually voluntary, but some advanced positions require it.
Pay
Median annual salary:

$47,050

Median annual salary:

$71,730

Job growth
11—12% increase through 2028
Typical career steps
After gaining experience, many LPNs advance to supervisory positions. With additional education one may even advance into other medical specialties such as registered nurses.Most RNs begin as staff nurses, but with experience and continuing education there is opportunity to move into management positions such as chief of nursing. Other options include becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or moving into the business side of health care.

Licensed Practical Nurse:

Job Duties: Provide basic medical and nursing care such as checking blood pressure and inserting catheters, ensure the comfort of patients by helping them bathe or dress, discuss health care with patients, and report status of patients to registered nurses and doctors.

Education: You must complete an accredited practical nursing program which usually takes about one year to complete. These programs are most often taken at technical or community colleges. Courses usually combine academia in nursing, biology, and pharmacology, in addition to supervised clinical experiences.

Licensing / certification: After completing your practical nursing course from a state-approved program, you’ll receive a certification in practical nursing. Once that is completed, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to obtain a license and be able to work as an LPN.

Pay: Median annual salary: $47,050

Job Growth: 11% increase through 2028

Typical career steps: After gaining experience, many LPNs advance to supervisory positions. With additional education one may even advance into other medical specialties such as registered nurses.

Registered Nurse:

Job duties: Administer medication and treatment to patients, coordinate plans for patient care, perform diagnostic test and analyze results, instruct patients on how to manage illnesses after treatment, and oversee other workers such as LPNs, nursing aides, and home care aides.

Education: Three educational options are available: a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. BSNs usually take four years to complete, whereas ADN and diploma programs usually require two to three years to complete. All programs include courses in social, behavior and physical science in addition to clinical experiences in various workplaces.

Licensing / certification: All registered nurses require a nursing license acquired by completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Some RNs may choose to become certified through professional associations in certain specialties. Certification is usually voluntary, but some advanced positions require it.

Pay: Median annual salary: $71,730

Job growth: 12% increase through 2028

Typical career steps: Most RNs begin as staff nurses, but with experience and continuing education there is opportunity to move into management positions such as chief of nursing. Other options include becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or moving into the business side of health care.

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Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses; Registered Nurses.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

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November 4, 2016 · 3 min read

How the Affordable Care Act Has Impacted Nursing

The Affordable Care Act has resulted in good news, bad news and unexpected news for nurses.

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is in full effect and now news of its impact on the nursing industry has come in. Some reports are good, such as job growth; whereas others stress that nurses have bigger patient loads resulting in diminished care for patients.

Let’s take a closer look at how the largest group of health care professionals is faring.

What Has Changed?

More—and Sicker—Patients Have Entered the System
Since the Affordable Care Act began, the health care system experienced a rise in the number of new patients, as expected. What wasn’t expected is that some of these patients have chronic illnesses that have been neglected and thus require more care.

According to Amy Dertz, a registered nurse in Oakland, Calif., “Some haven’t had care in a long time (or ever). Some may have pre-existing conditions that enabled insurance companies to refuse them coverage. As they enter my care, their needs may be more complicated.”

The extra time and care it takes to improve the health of these new patients have placed a strain on nurses and hospitals.

Emergency Room Visits Have Increased, Not Decreased
In the past, the uninsured may have been reluctant to go to emergency rooms for treatment. But now that patients have insurance, some facilities are experiencing increased ER visits. As a result, wait times and patient loads have also increased for nurses and doctors.

Health Care Has Shifted Away from Hospitals
To save money, the Affordable Care Act wants to keep patients out of hospitals in favor of outpatient care provided within communities. Although this creates more outpatient workplaces for nurses, the opposite is true for inpatient nurses.

According to Dertz, “If the ACA is successful in contributing to keeping patients out of the hospital, inpatient care will be reserved for patients with acute, severe illnesses and the number of hospital nurses will drop dramatically.” Her hospital has already proposed nursing cuts, which would result in nurses working harder with fewer resources.

What’s the Job Outlook for Nurses?

Very good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses is estimated to grow by 15 percent through 2026—much faster than average for all occupations. The Arizona Capitol Times reported that more than 10,000 jobs have been added to Arizona’s health care industry in 2014.

The growth is twofold:

  • As baby boomers age, there’s an increasing need for health care, particularly from geriatric nurses.
  • Because health care is moving away from hospitals to outpatient care in the community, nurses have more workplaces to choose from. In community health centers alone, more than 4,500 nursing positions have been added nationwide since the ACA began. Nurses specializing in home care, care management, case management, and community health care are in high demand.

For nurses looking to advance their training in these and other areas, the Affordable Care Act helps cover training costs.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses; Time magazine; Orange County Register; Arizona Capitol Times.

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November 3, 2016 · 3 min read

Nursing Salaries for LPN, RN, AP

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Nursing is not only an in-demand profession; nursing salaries are also fairly lucrative. With the current nursing shortage, qualified nurses can find exceptional nursing career opportunities across the country.

Before you start your job search, however, let alone your nursing education, you will want to learn what you can about the nurse salary potential that different nursing careers offer.

Factors in Nursing Salaries

Overall, nursing salaries vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Level of nursing degree and nursing education
  • Years of experience in a chosen field
  • State and city where you work (cost of living)
  • Type of work you do
  • Type of specialty you pursue

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Nursing Salaries

Licensed practical nurses typically train for their careers through a year-long education program at a hospital, community college or vocational school. After graduation, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to earn their nursing licensure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is $44,090. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Registered Nurse (RN) Nursing Salaries

To become a registered nurse, students must earn a two-year associate’s or four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing or complete a nursing diploma program. After earning their degree, candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their registered nursing license.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for registered nurses is $71,70. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Advanced Practice (AP) Nursing Salaries

Advanced Practice Nurses hold a master’s degree in a particular focus area and provide one-on-one patient care services similar to those a physician would perform. The following statistics show annual nurse salary ranges for the different categories of advanced practice nursing careers.

Advanced Practice Nursing CategoryMedian Annual Salary*
Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)$167,950
Certified Nurse Midwife$103,770
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)$107,460
Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)$107,030

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook; Certified Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Recruitment Incentives

The nursing shortage offers extremely advantageous opportunities for current nurses earning a higher degree and for nursing students preparing to enter the workforce. Many hospitals are now offering incentive programs such as:

  • Recruitment bonuses (ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000)
  • Relocation assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Daycare
  • Tuition reimbursement

These recruitment incentives go to nurses who accept a position at their facility and agree to a set work commitment.

Take your first step today by telling us a little about yourself and we’ll connect you with schools that offer Nursing degree programs.

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November 3, 2016 · 2 min read

Nursing Jobs and Careers

Discover which type of nursing job and work environment is right for you.

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Across the U.S., nursing jobs continue to grow. As New Hampshire’s SentinelSource.com reports, the nursing profession falls among a small group of recession-proof careers, with many organizations adding nursing jobs even in the midst of an economic downturn. If strong nursing job opportunities aren’t enough, nursing offers highly versatile career options, from travel nursing to legal nurse consulting. The fact that nurses can design their careers to suit their individual interests presents a huge advantage to those eager and qualified to enter this highly challenging and rewarding profession.

Entry-Level vs. Advanced Practice Nursing Jobs

Entry-level nursing degree programs typically prepare students for nursing jobs in a variety of hospital and inpatient settings. Students can choose a licensed practical nursing (LPN) program or a registered nursing (RN) degree as a main entry point to the nursing career field. The duration of entry-level nursing degrees ranges from one to four years, depending on whether you pursue a nursing diploma, associate’s degree or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)that qualifies them for general patient care and specialized nursing jobs in which they perform many of the same duties as a medical doctor. Categories of advanced practice nursing include:

Specialties for Nursing Jobs

Specialized nursing jobs certainly offer choice. Discovering the right nursing specialty for you depends on the direction in which you plan to take your career and, of course, where your passion lies.

As an example, nurses interested in direct patient care might aim for a career in adult nursingparent-child nursingpediatric nursing or one of the many other nursing jobs that involve individualized treatment. On the other hand, nurses who want to help promote positive health habits and prevent the spread of disease among communities might specialize in public health nursingNursing informatics gives nurses with a penchant for technology another career alternative.

Work Environment

Along with hospitals and physicians’ offices, nurses work in the following environments:

  • Outpatient care facilities
  • Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Community health centers
  • In the case of some specialties, patients’ homes.

Forensics nurses and legal nurse consultants spend a large amount of time investigating cases in research setting, an office or in interviews with the parties involved.

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November 3, 2016 · 3 min read

Nursing Career Path: LPN, RN, BSN. What Does it All Mean?

Learn how to decipher the alphabet of different nursing careers.

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So you’re thinking about a nursing career. But as you browse the course catalog, instead of basic nursing programs you see LPNRN or BSN and wonder, “What do these letters mean?”

Each abbreviation represents a specific type of nursing degree you can earn. LPN is licensed practical nurse, RN is registered nurse and BSN is bachelor’s in nursing. The distinctions between these affect not only your area of practice, but also such things as income and professional advancement opportunities. And, each degree level has specific requirements in terms of the amount of education required.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Nursing Career

Typical Education Requirements:One to two years of training in such areas as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and practical patient care. LPNs must pass either a state or national board exam and periodically renew their professional license.
Practice Limitations:Licensed practical nurses are allowed to perform simple medical procedures under the direct supervision of either a doctor or a registered nurse. Common tasks include administering medications (but not an IV); dressing wounds; measuring blood pressure, heart rate and temperature; collecting samples; and maintaining patient records.
Median Annual Salary:$44,090*

Registered Nurse (RN) Nursing Career

Typical Education Requirements:There are several educational routes that can be taken in pursuit of an RN degree. The most common is a 2-year program that cumulates with earning an Associate of Science in Nursing degree (AND). Other options include a hospital diploma program that involves a 3-year course of study, or earning a 4-year Bachelor’s in Nursing degree.
Practice Limitations:A registered nurse often supervises the work of an LPN and is responsible for the overall safety and care of patients. RN’s also have a wide array of nursing career options available and often times work for insurance companies, attorneys, schools, surgical centers and even as independent medical consultants.
Median Annual Salary:$68,450*

Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) Nursing Degree and Careers

Typical Education Requirements:To earn a BSN, you must successfully complete a 4-year course of study that typically focuses on the sciences and principles of nursing career practice.
Practice Limitations:A BSN generally has the same job duties and responsibilities as a registered nurse. A nurse with a BSN often supervises the work of other nurses, along with providing personal patient care. BSN’s have a more direct and independent role in administering medications and IVs, as well as assisting physicians during complex surgical procedures.
Median Annual Salary:$68,450*

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook; Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses; Registered Nurses.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

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November 3, 2016 · 6 min read

7 Nontraditional Nursing Careers that Give Back

Learn about seven give back nursing programs for nontraditional nursing careers.

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As the health care field becomes increasingly complex and specialized, more and more nurses are finding steady, rewarding nursing careers beyond the traditional hospital setting. Nursing programs, such as forensic nursing, military nursing and legal nurse consulting are opening doors—and paychecks—to the savvy nurse. If you have a fascination with cutting-edge medicine, or want to explore new places and meet new people, check out seven nontraditional nursing careers.

1. Travel nursing

travel-nursing-careers

From the pristine beaches of Honolulu to the picturesque coasts of Florida, there are thousands of places in the United States, and around the world, for you to pursue a career in nursing. Travel nursing lets you be in control of your nursing career. You choose the location, nursing specialty, and length of commitment for each nursing assignment. With a shortage of qualified nurses in hospitals and clinics across the country, you can find short-term work (typically eight weeks or as long as 26 weeks) in virtually any location and offering generous compensation. Many facilities also provide perks such as free housing, as well as sign-on and completion bonuses to nurses under contract.

Getting started as a travel nurse: You must be a registered nurse and have at least one year of experience in a hospital setting. When you’re ready to work, travel nurse staffing agencies can help place you in a job. Be sure to ask about licensure options since RNs must be licensed in the state they work in.

Travel nursing is perfect for:

  • Nurses who are interested in seeing new locales
  • Nurses who want exposure to different health care organizations and systems

Degree Needed: ADN or BSN 

2. Military nursing

military-nursing-careers

Support our troops both at home and abroad as a military nurse. In addition to the honor of protecting our nation, choosing a nursing career in the armed forces opens the door to a wide variety of educational, travel and career-enhancing benefits. In return for service in the military, you can receive financial assistance for completing nursing programs, generous financial bonuses, as well as low-cost housing, specialized training, and worldwide travel opportunities. Do your part while advancing your nursing career.

Getting started as a military nurse: After completing your nursing education, you’ll need to become licensed. If you plan to enlist in active duty, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to become a military nurse and officer. Serving in the reserves is also an option.

Military nursing is a good fit if you are:

  • Looking for autonomy in your career
  • Willing to work in dangerous locations
  • Interested in helping people in all parts of the world

Degree Needed: BSN or MSN

3. Forensic nursing

forensic-nursing-careers

Advances in the growing field of forensic science have helped law enforcement agencies bring criminals to justice. From documenting injuries to collecting valuable DNA evidence, as a forensic nurse you will be working on the front lines of justice. You will counsel assault victims, conduct physical examinations and collect evidence. You will also play a direct part in taking criminals off the street by testifying against defendants at trial. It’s important to understand that forensic nursing can be an emotionally difficult career for some.

As the importance of forensic evidence continues to grow, so will the career opportunities in this exciting new field. In fact, registered nurses in general can anticipate a 15 percent job growth rate, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, is much faster than the national average for all occupations. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Getting started as a forensic nurse: RNs can earn an undergraduate degree and subsequently enroll in a forensic nursing certificate program. The other option is to earn a graduate degree with a focus on forensic nursing. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an advanced forensic nursing credential, although this isn’t required in order to practice. You can also become certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) through the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Forensic nursing is a good fit if you:

  • Already have stability and balance in your life
  • Enjoy researching and collecting information

Degree Needed: BSN or MSN

4. Legal nurse consulting (LNC)

healthcare and medicine concept - close up of female holding clipboard with cardiogram

Be a medical detective and use your nursing expertise to analyze complex medical records for your legal team. Apply your medical skills in the courtroom by testifying in court as an expert witness on a wide variety of medical malpractice, civil rights, product liability and personal injury cases.

Law firms seem like an obvious setting for legal nurse consultants, but you can also find them working for the government. Within the health care sphere, legal nurse consultants are employed at HMOs, insurance companies and medical facilities.

Getting started as a legal nurse consultant: Post-graduate legal nurse consulting certificates are available from some schools, but you’ll first need to earn your RN. You’ll also need several years of clinical experience. Professional certification is available.

Legal nursing is perfect if you are:

  • Interested in going beyond the bedside
  • Resourceful and organized
  • Looking to stay in nursing, but need a change

Degree Needed: ADN or BSN

5. Surgical nursing

Operating room nurse

As a surgical nurse, you will assist during delicate organ transplants, precision laser incisions and quadruple heart bypasses, to name a few. From preparing patients before surgery to assisting the surgeon in the operating room to charting progress in recovery, surgical nurses are there for patients every step of the way. Monitoring vitals signs, alleviating discomfort and comforting anxious patients and their families are all rewarding parts of a career in surgical nursing.

Getting started as a surgical nurse: Just like other nursing fields, you’ll need to be a licensed RN to work as a surgical nurse. After that, it’s all about getting experience in the operating or recovery rooms and becoming certified by the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.

Surgical nursing is a great career path if:

  • You want a busy day, every day
  • You find it easy to comfort others in times of stress
  • You are organized and detail-oriented

Degree Needed: BSN

6. Holistic nursing

Woman doctor using a mortar and pestle, herbal medicine

If your nursing approach leans more toward a mind-body-spirit approach, a holistic nursing career may be just the right path for you. Instead of utilizing only Western medicine, holistic nurses use alternative and natural therapies. You’ll incorporate bodywork and meditation, among other modalities, into your patients’ treatment plans.

According to the American Holistic Nurses Association, many nurses work as consultants or coaches. Others find luck working in acupuncturist offices.

Getting started as a holistic nurse: After getting your nursing degree, you can enroll in holistic health certificate program to hone your skills in the alternative medicine field. Credentialing is available through the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (AHNCC).

Holistic nursing is perfect for:

  • Nurses who want to work in holistic health settings
  • Nurses who want to broaden their level of expertise

Degree Needed: ADN, BSN or MSN

7. Nursing informatics specialist

Portrait of a female doctor using a tablet

Are you bilingual? That is, are you fluent in the technology and nursing languages? If you can decipher both, nursing informatics can be a great career option. You’ll be the chief communicator between nurses, patients and health care providers. Project management and systems maintenance are just a few parts of the job.

Nursing informatics is a growing field as technology continues to infiltrate medical facilities. Will you be there to make sense of it all?

Getting started as a nursing informatics specialist: Like other nursing specialties, you’ll need to be an RN to start. Gaining valuable work experience in health care information services will be integral. Certification from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center is available.

Nursing informatics is a good fit if:

  • You’re passionate about technology
  • You’re interested in working as a nurse programmer or manager

Degree Needed: BSN or MSN

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November 2, 2016 · 2 min read

Critical Thinking in Nursing

All Nursing Schools Staff

When it comes to our concept of a nurse, more than likely, we are all guilty of conjuring up an image of an outdated stereotype, something we were used to seeing in movies or on television: it’s the image of a woman dressed in white, wearing a white hat and carrying a tray of pills to a patient’s room. She doesn’t ask questions, she simply carries out doctor’s orders.

Times have changed. Nurses need to utilize critical thinking in their actions and decisions every day on the job, which is why critical thinking in nursing has become an important skill to learn.

Critical Thinking Plays a Role in Nursing Education

Today’s nurses play a major part in patient care, and they receive intense medical and patient care training that prepares them for tasks well beyond handing out pills and learn the important place that critical thinking in nursing occupies in practice.

One of the most important aspects of their education, critical thinking in nursing truly rounds out a nurse’s expertise and effectiveness. Developing critical thinking skills, nurses position themselves to manage and strategize patient care situations, deal with multiple physicians, family members and others involved in a patient’s treatment, and enhance their expertise in such a way as to truly excel in their occupation.

Critical thinking in nursing is integral to a nurse practitioner’s success.

Nursing Research

When it comes to health care research, the critical thinking required in nursing practice plays a unique role. Of all the health care professionals involved in a patient’s treatment, none stay as closely involved in day-to-day care as nurses. Certainly, they provide medical care to patients, but more than that, they offer understanding, compassion and a chance for patients to talk through not just their physical reactions to treatment but their feelings about it.

Simply put, nurses connect with their patients. A recent article in John Hopkins University’s Nursing magazine, describes how a nurses’ relationships to patients proves vital to the field of health care research. Who better to offer observations, analysis and a human perspective of treatment than nurses in the thick of helping patients get through their care physically and emotionally?

Nursing Careers

Critical thinking in nursing makes a significant difference to the health care profession as a whole. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates, nurses represent the largest health care occupation, holding over 2.75 million jobs. The medical skills and critical thinking they bring to patient care have the power to enhance medical treatments for decades to come.

Learn more about the different types of nursing career specialties and nursing education options.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook; Johns Hopkins University.

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